Google at the UN General Assembly
Next week, leaders from government, civil society and the business community will convene at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to discuss how we can work together to solve the world’s biggest challenges. If the past two years have shown us anything, it’s that tackling global problems like pandemics, economic inequality and climate change demand global collaboration, across borders and across sectors. At Google, we’re committed to doing our part.
Earlier this year, I wrote about how we are accelerating our partnerships with international organizations in a number of areas. For example, since the start of the pandemic, we've launched more than 200 new products, provided over $150 million to public health officials to promote vaccine education, and enhanced existing products like Google Search and Maps to highlight authoritative information about COVID-19 and local vaccination sites. We’ve also continued to increase our support for the UN by providing over $250 million in Ad Grants, which has enabled it to serve over 1.6 billion ads and reach people in more than 200 countries with messages about COVID-19 prevention, vaccine safety and more.
At UNGA this year, we will be deepening our collaboration with international organizations as we add our voice to critical policy discussions, share what we have learned from our partnerships, and seek out new ways to collaborate with multi-stakeholder groups.
Here are just a few events at which we’ll be participating next week around key issues.
While the pandemic has exacerbated economic inequality around the world, the data shows that nations that adopt technology are poised to recover quicker. According to recent research, 16 emerging countries could generate as much as $3.4 trillion of economic value through digital transformation by 2030.
On September 20, Google SVP of Global Affairs Kent Walker will join the Concordia Summit to discuss a new Future Readiness Index commissioned by Google and developed by the Portulans Institute. This interactive tool is designed to help governments use key metrics and data to make sound investments in technology, infrastructure and talent.
Later next week, Kent and I will join the Leaders on Purpose Summit for conversations about how the private sector and governments can work together to help more people prepare for jobs, and how sound digital policies can help governments drive economic opportunity and growth.
Sustainability and Climate Action
Technology has an important role to play in tackling climate change, and we’ve long been committed to advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and collaborating with UN entities like the Framework Convention on Climate Change to drive progress. We were the first major company to be carbon neutral and match 100% of our annual electricity use with renewables, and now we’re working to be the first major company to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030.
On September 24 at the UN High Level Dialogue on Energy, our CFO Ruth Porat will call on other companies and governments to join the Sustainable Energy for All-Google 24/7 Carbon Free Energy Compact. Ruth will also speak at the kickoff of Climate Week on September 20 to discuss how we are working to achieve sustainability at scale and fulfill our commitment to offer 1 billion people new ways to live more sustainably by 2022 via our core products.
Music and Culture
In celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, Google Arts & Culture and YouTube collaborated with other worldwide partners on the Global Ode To Joy project. Through this initiative, which is a fitting contribution to the UN’s International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, thousands of users, top-tier artists, and orchestras from more than 70 countries came together to create and share videos of Beethoven’s music. On September 22, Kent will host a panel during the Concordia Summit with participants from the Ode to Joy campaign to discuss how music is bringing people together during the pandemic.
To be sure, with many events this year again virtual, UNGA 2021 will be a little different from years past. But the opportunities it presents for engagement with partners from around the world remain rich, and the need for collaboration substantial. Whether in person or over a screen, Google is “all in” when it comes to supporting the UN’s vision of multilateral and multi-stakeholder approaches to confronting the world’s biggest challenges.