UNESCO’s international expert group begins work on drafting the first global recommendation on the ethics of AI


From 20 to 24 April 2020, the 24 members of the Ad-Hoc Expert Group convened by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay held online discussions as part of the preparations for the first draft of a Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI). These discussions follow the decision of the 40th session of the General Conference in November 2019, whereby 193 Member States presented UNESCO with the mandate to create the first global normative instrument on the ethics of AI.

During the online meetings, lead-facilitated by SHS, with the support of the intersectoral AI task team, the experts deliberated about the basic principles and values that should be reflected, anchored in universal human rights, as well as possible policies that would foster the design, development and deployment of AI in a human-centred manner. The universal welfare of our societies, concerns particular to lower-income countries, possible environmental implications, and inequalities between and within demographic groups and countries, all came up as issues that should be addressed in the final recommendation.

In the coming months, from May to July 2020, UNESCO is organising widespread multi-stakeholder online consultations at the national, regional and international levels. These consultations are crucial to ensuring that the perspectives of all stakeholders, including scientists, civil society, technical community, private sector and the public, are reflected in the first global standard-setting instrument on the ethics of AI. The consultations will be followed by the delivery of the first draft of the recommendation by the expert group, which will be considered by Member States in November 2021.

For more information on the instrument and expert group, please visit

See also UNESCO Press Release No.2020-39.