Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO to Highlight its Work on Artificial Intelligence at the WSIS Forum 2019

26 March 2019

When: Monday, April 8, 8am to Friday, April 12 2019 5:00 pm (local time)
Where: Switzerland, Geneva
Type of Event: Category 3 Nongovernmental conference


As the UN agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and promote the free flow of ideas by word and image, UNESCO works to create inclusive knowledge societies and empower local communities by increasing access to and preservation and sharing of information and knowledge in all of UNESCO’s domains of action.  ICTs play a crucial role in this work.

From April 8-12  in Geneva, Switzerland, UNESCO will co-host the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) forum, the world's largest annual gathering of the ICT for development community, around the theme “Information and Communication Technologies for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” The forum provides an opportunity for information exchange, knowledge creation and sharing of best practices, while identifying emerging trends and fostering partnerships.  This year’s gathering, which is the 10th anniversary of the Forum, will ensure a global multi-stakeholder platform to facilitate the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines for advancing sustainable development.

UNESCO at the WSIS Forum 2019

As the main organizing partner of WSIS in partnership with the ITU, UNESCO is the facilitator for 6 action lines of the WSIS implementation process, and will be bringing together stakeholders in the framework of 2 high-level dialogues and 4 action line sessions at the forum. 

Access to Scientific Information: Are We Ready for the Global South and SDGs?

This session, hosted by UNESCO on April 8, will discuss measures to foster cost effective mechanisms for sharing, accessing and utilizing scientific scholarship. It will provide an opportunity to discuss recent initiatives and underline good practices to support Open Access and Open Science activities in the global south. The session will also discuss recommendations to promote democratization of scientific communication in the global south that support the SDGs and propose a set of options for multi-stakeholder partnership and capacity building in the field of access to information and e-science.

Open Solutions for Digital Skills Development

Artificial Intelligence (AI), and frontier technologies such as Blockchain and Learning Analytics have immense potential to meet the five strategic challenges to mainstream OER as outlined in the Ljubljana OER Action Plan and Draft OER Recommendation. This session, hosted by UNESCO on April 8, will examine how   AI and frontier technologies can revolutionize OER to ensure the maximum impact for the creation of inclusive Knowledge Societies.

Culture for a Sustainable Digital Environment

UNESCO has long advocated and demonstrated that culture, in its diverse manifestations is a driver and enabler of sustainable development. Today, the advancement of Artificial Intelligence highlights that ICTs are having a direct impact on the way cultural expressions are created, disseminated, and accessed, and the way cultural heritage is experienced, safeguarded and shared.  This session, hosted by UNESCO on April 8, will highlight how 3-D scanning methods are supporting the rehabilitation of destroyed cultural heritage in post conflict situations, as well as how ICTs can foster cultural entrepreneurship in the cultural and creative industries, notably in developing countries.

Harnessing Artificial Intelligence to Strengthen Journalism and Media Development in Line with UNESCO’s Internet Universality ROAM Principles

UNESCO’s Internet Universality R.O.A.M principles and indicators framework, which advocate for human rights, openness, accessibility and multi-stakeholder participation, also inform the Organization’s view of the ethical development of advanced ICTs including Artificial Intelligence.  This session, hosted by UNESCO on April 11, will ensure multi-stakeholder discussion on the crucial challenges of guiding the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a conducive manner to strengthen the role of journalism and media development in line with UNESCO’s Internet Universality ROAM principles. In this framework, UNESCO will also  present the major outcomes from it policy report “Steering AI for Knowledge Societies: A ROAM Perspective,” which sheds light on the human rights implications and opportunities and challenges for journalism and media that advanced ICTs are bringing, under the prism of the ROAM framework.

The Ethical Dimensions of Artificial Intelligence

If we are to make the most of the possibilities offered by AI to the world, we must ensure that it serves humanity, with respect for human rights and human dignity.  Today, no global ethical framework or principles for AI developments and applications exist. UNESCO is a unique universal forum with over twenty years of experience in developing international instruments related to the ethics of science and technology, notably through its Intergovernmental Information for All Programme and its World Commission on Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology, known as COMEST . This high-level dialogue, hosted by UNESCO on April 10, will look at the ethical dimensions of Artificial Intelligence that can contribute towards sustainable development, but also pose questions related to the use of this emerging technology and the respect of universal ethical principles and fundamental human rights.  With high level panelists from International Organizations, civil society, and the private sector, this high level dialogue will also present findings from the COMEST report on ethical issues related to AI.

ICT4ALL: Indigenous Languages Matter for Peace, Innovation, and Development

Indigenous languages are imbued with invaluable potential and universal knowledge that can be unlocked in order to contribute to development and innovation in domains such as education, science and research, culture, policy, industry and environment.  This High Level Dialogue, hosted by UNESCO on April 10, will provide space for open consultations and encourage discourse on a shift of paradigm on the important role that indigenous languages could play towards sustainable development if ICTs are made accessible, inclusive and affordable for all, including indigenous language users.  The high-level dialogue will build on the outcomes of the recently held consultations for the elaboration of the Global Action Plan for the implementation of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution (REF.: 71/178) that proclaimed 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and explore ways in which the recommendations on usage of inclusive and accessible ICTs by indigenous language users in all societal domains could be incorporated and mainstreamed within the WSIS framework.