Digitalising Development

Conference “Digitalising Development. Are we ready for the future?”

Moderator of the day: Margo Loor, Speaksmart

8.45–9.15           Morning coffee

Framework discussion: What should the future of development cooperation look like?

Some say that digitalization is here, only thing we can do is to adapt, learn, and harvest the dividends. Others say that there are more important issues for all stakeholders in development cooperation to deal with than the harmful potential of digitalisation. What does digitalization mean in the context of global sustainable development? Where do different stakeholders stand and what do they want?  What kind of future for the development cooperation can we imagine in this digitalized world?


  • Juhan Lepassaar, Head of Cabinet to Vice-President Ansip, European Commission
  • Katarzyna Hanula-Bobbitt, Head of Policy and Advocacy at CONCORD
  • Priit Kongo, NetGroup

Keynote speaker Alix Rübsaam

Alix is a researcher on posthumanism and philosophy of technology working at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. Alix will tackle the questions such as is technology as neutral, as they say? Does Artificial Intelligence mean the end for the human kind? What will be the future of leaning and work. We can place current technology in a long range of tools that increase people’s functioning. Contemporary technology however, is much more intrusive and could even take over part of our brain functions. If computers can think, what does it still mean to be a human being?

11.30–12.00 Coffee break

Digitalisation – risky and challenging?

Depending whom you are talking to, digitalization could be described as the miracle solution to all kind of problems or then, the most dangerous development we’ve ever faced. The truth is probably somewhere in between. To harvest the digital dividends and turn technology into an ally, possible risks need to be talked about and calculated. This session tackles the most common challenges faced in practice, but we’re also looking into issues not that much thought about – the blind spots of digital development. What are the biggest fears about digitalisation and what to do about them? Are we doing enough to mitigate the risks? What is missing?


  • Hannes Astok, Deputy Director for Strategy and Development in Estonian e-Governance Academy
  • Kari Käsper, The Executive Director of the EHRC

Discussion is moderated by Marleen Pedjasaar, SpeakSmart

13.00–14.00 Lunch

How to make it work? 

The future is already here. Apart from all possible risks, new technologies create opportunities. How to harvest these digital dividends? What are we missing? How to mitigate the cultural and social change digital future is bringing about? What steps do we need to take to leap over the digital inequality? How to foster stronger cooperation between different stakeholders?


  • Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, Professor in media and communication, in University of Malmö, School of Arts, Culture and Communication
  • Edna Soomre, Programme Manager for Health at SPIDER
  • Arnaud Castaignet, Head of Public Relations of Estonia’s e-Residency programme
  • Tobias Denskus, Senior Lecturer at Malmö University, Sweden
15.15–15.45 Break

Digital4Development: digital technologies in EU development policies

What is the viewpoint of DG DEVCO towards the role of digital technologies in development cooperation and sustainable development in the light of  Commission Staff Working Document Digital4Development.


  • Theodore Saramandis, European Commission, DG DEVCO.

Followed by two parallel working groups:

Working Group 1: Way forward for development actors – increasing our impact

Tech can be used to do better. How to use this plethora of digital tools for the benefit of organizations, for maximizing our impact? This working group discusses and shares  how different actors are using digital solutions for bigger efficiency, where are the bottlenecks and what kind of solutions are sought after in different organizations. Are we missing certain apps, is there a lack of skills or do we need a change in mindsets?

  • Facilitators: Kristiina Kerge, Let’s Do It World and Liia Ringo, Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations

Working Group 2: What is the position of civil society towards digitalisation and related EU and national policies?

The objective of this working group is to create the basis of common understanding and shared position on digitalisation in development. This is the opportunity for you to come and say what do you think about these latest developments on the field!



Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation (AKÜ) is an independent not-for-profit coalition of non-governmental organisations that work in the field of development cooperation, global citizenship education or sustainable development.

AKÜ is a strategic partner for Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a consultant the state in field of development cooperation, global citizenship education or sustainable development.

AKÜ also provides workshops and consultancy for private sector companies as well as for wider public on sustainable development goals and global issues. 

The highest decision-making body is the General Assmebly.  AKÜ’s legal representative is the Board, which is also responsible for managing the organisation’s staff. 

MTÜ Arengukoostöö Ümarlaud (AKÜ)

Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation

Telliskivi 60a/3, 10412, Tallinn


Agne Kuimet – member of management board,