Article

Implementation of the UN Secretary-General's Roadmap on Digital Cooperation

19/06/2020
10 - Reduced Inequalities
16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

On 15 June, the Director-General of UNESCO participated in a high-level dialogue on the UN Secretary-General's Roadmap on Digital Cooperation, launched on 11 June. 

The Secretary-General's Roadmap responds to the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation on key issues such as universal connectivity, digital inclusion, human rights, artificial intelligence, and trust and security. 

As a co-champion of the 3C roundtable, the Director-General was invited to share her vision and strategies on the recommendations included in the road map on artificial intelligence and global digital cooperation. 

The dialogue was opened by Fabrizio Hochschild, Under-Secretary General and Special Advisor on Preparations for the 75th anniversary of the UN, working on Digital Cooperation. Other High-Level speakers included H.E. Mr S Iswaran, Minister of Communications and Information, Singapore; H.E. Mr Ville Skinnari, Minister, Development Cooperation & Foreign Trade, Finland; H.E. Mr Cedric O. Minister of Digital Affairs, France; and Mr Max Tegmark, President, Future of Life Institute.

During the high-level dialogue, the Director-General emphasized how global cooperation is the most effective way of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. She stressed that AI was being used as one way of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, creating tensions between health and ethical concerns. She emphasized the need for vigilance as a new world takes shape and that "we must not lose in humanism what we gain in convenience or productivity." 

This points to the importance of establishing ethical rules governing the use of AI because it is not a neutral technology, becoming a tool that quietly amplifies and reinforces social inequalities. This is why UNESCO, with the support of its Member States is working on a world first recommendation on the ethics of AI. International experts charged with drafting the initial text held its first meeting online from 20-24 April. Following a multistakeholder global consultation from May-July, the Group will draft an initial recommendation. The final version will be put forward for adoption by UNESCO's General Conference in November 2021.

Working with all of UNESCO's partners, who are precious allies in this process, the Organization will continue to lay the foundations of a multilateralism based on shared values, built around ethics and humanism.