Due to the digital divide, nearly half the world’s citizens are denied opportunities to study, communicate, shop, work and participate in much of modern life, he said, with close to half a billion students – including at least 11 million girls – affected by school closures.
Meanwhile, disinformation about covid-19 spread online has put health and lives at risk.
He welcomed the Forum’s focus on digital inclusion, which he described as essential to building strong recovery from the pandemic.
"We urgently need to address the growing digital gender gap and put digital technology to work for those who need it most: the vulnerable, the marginalized, those living in poverty, and people suffering from discrimination of all kinds," he said.
Guterres stressed that the pursuit of inclusion must also focus on how to make the best use of digital data for the public good.
"Together, as we seek to build a strong recovery from the pandemic, we can reduce the harmful aspects of digital technology, and unleash its power as a true equalizer and enabler," he said.
"I urge all governments to make sure that your response and recovery plans include increasing digital connectivity in a way that is affordable, safe and inclusive," he added.