THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION AND ITS IMPACT ON THE FUTURE OF MANKIND

INTRODUCTION

On March 7 and 8, 2019, the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions (AICESIS) will hold its annual board meeting in Willemstad, Curaçao (Dutch Caribbean), which will be followed by an open workshop for all members. This international event will take place in the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino.

AICESIS, whose primary objective is to encourage and promote dialogue and exchange of views and good practices among its members and, at a wider level, to encourage dialogue between economic and social partners around the world, currently unifies 72 Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions (‘ESC’s-SI’s) from African, Latin American, Asian and European countries.

The Economic and Social Council of Curaçao (‘SER’) is since 2017 member of the board of AICESIS, representing the Latin American region.

The SER feels much honored to have been offered the responsibility to host this great event this year, which will bring delegates from ESC’s-SI’s from all over the world to our colorful and vibrant island.

The SER sees this as a unique opportunity for AICESIS-members to meet and greet each other and to exchange ideas and best practices in a distinctive Caribbean environment, known for its European style, rich cultural and architectural heritage with a blend of more than 55 nationalities.

Official Opening

The Prime Minister of Curaçao, His Excellency Mr. Eugène Rhuggenaath, will address the international audience during the official opening ceremony of the sessions on March 7, 2019.

After the official opening address given by the Prime Minister, the acting President of the SER, the Honorable Mr. John Jacobs, LL.M., will give a welcome speech. In addition, the President of AICESIS, the Honorable Mr. Iacob Baciu from Romania, will open the board meeting of AICESIS.

Board Meeting

The board meeting is a closed session, accessible only to the board members, which are ESC’s-SI’s from the following countries: Benin, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Morocco, Senegal, Mali, the Dominican Republic, the People’s Republic of China, Russia, Spain, France, Greece, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Romania, and of course Curaçao.

AICESIS uses the following languages at its meetings: English, French and Romanian.

In the evening hours there will be a gala dinner for the foreign delegates, local dignitaries, consuls-general and honorary consuls of the visiting countries and other special guests.

Open workshop

On March 8, 2019, there will be an open workshop for all members of AICESIS. The workshop will also be attended by international observers, regional and local institutions that have received a special invitation.

The workshop will focus on the theme The Digital Revolution and Its Impact on the Future of Mankind, which has been chosen by the current President of AICESIS, Mr. Baciu, as the main working theme of AICESIS during his term as President of the association.

During the workshop there will be panel discussions where AICESIS-members will present their findings and reports regarding the main theme of the Romanian Presidency. Furthermore, there will be an exchange of ideas and best practices concerning the actions, that are being prepared or have already been taken by the social partners of the various member states to further promote the transition to the digital economy, in a socially balanced manner.

During the workshop there will also be an interchange of ideas and information regarding specific aspects related to the main theme, like e.g. robotization, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) and the way these developments affect the economy in terms of employment arrangements and working conditions.

Debates will be held on the way public policies should be formulated and implemented to effectively regulate the effects of the digital economy and the role social partners should play in this regard. Proper attention will be given to related issues like reform of education and training systems, changes in labor legislation, the reconciliation of personal and work life and the protection of privacy in the new economic and social environment.

Additionally, there will be some review of labor and social aspects of the digital economy, like e.g. changes in work (the example of digital platforms) and opportunities to promote women’s work and equality.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Curaçao, His Excellency Mr. Kenneth Gijsbertha, will open the workshop and will elaborate on the topic of Digital Government Transformation towards a Smart Nation.

Context

Humanity continues to embark on a period of unparalleled technological advancement. The next 5, 10 and 20 years will present both significant challenges and opportunities. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is bringing technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres across all sectors. Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), nanotechnology, quantum computing, synthetic biology and robotics will all drastically supersede any digital progress made in the past 60 years and create realities that we previously thought to be unthinkable. Such profound realities will disrupt and change the business model of each and every industry and the social economic model of each and every country. Private sectors, governments, academics, labor unions and entrepreneurs are all seeking the roadmap for navigating these profound changes in the world of work. Such a road map must be created collaboratively by all stakeholders.