NEW YORK, A high-profile group of tech experts has been assembled at the request of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, tasked with putting the benefits of digital technology to more effective use, while also protecting against unwanted or unexpected negative impacts.

"This is the first such panel of its kind � and will be comprised of women and men at the frontiers of technology, public policy, science, and academia," Mr. Guterres told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.

The Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, which is to be co-chaired by US philanthropist Melinda Gates and China-based Alibaba founder Jack Ma, will have 20 members in total and include leaders from industry, civil society and academia, said the UN chief, announcing the panel on Thursday.

Mr. Guterres noted that digital technology is changing economies and societies "at warp speed" and the scale and pace of change is "unprecedented."

"But the current means and levels of international cooperation are unequal to the challenge," he said. "I see the United Nations as a unique platform for dialogue in our digital age."

The Panel will map trends in digital technologies, identify gaps and opportunities, and outline proposals for strengthening international cooperation.

The initiative comes after approximately a year of consultations involving his team and more than 120 Member States, industry and civil society.

Source: Emirates News Agency