top of page

Navid Hanif, UN Assistant Secretary General, at the XXIII Infopoverty World Conference

Digital technologies and AI are essential in advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), facilitating access to opportunities, and helping address challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are ethical and inequality concerns associated with AI, requiring robust governance mechanisms to ensure equitable access and mitigate risks. 

Collaborative efforts across sectors are pivotal to harnessing AI's potential for global progress while ensuring inclusivity, transparency, and sustainability, as highlighted by NAVID HANIF, Assistant Secretary-General, UN Economic Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), during the Opening Session of the 23rd Infopoverty World Conference.


“Digital technologies and AI for ensuring human rights and fostering e-welfare for all are having and will continue to have a profound impact on our societies. These have an indispensable role in advancing sustainable development. 
Digital technologies serve as the cornerstone of the SDGs, directly contributing to approximately 70% of the SDGs targets. Their potential for accelerating progress towards the remaining 30% is immense. 
These technologies have not only transformed economies, but they’ve also opened avenues of opportunities for marginalized and disadvantaged social groups, by facilitating access to job opportunities, basic services, and social protection. Digital technologies have played a pivotal role in fostering inclusivity and reducing inequalities. 
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, governments worldwide have leveraged digital platforms to mitigate the social and economic impact of the crisis. From the World Data Forum to the Science Technology Innovation Forum, and the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), there is a growing emphasis on bridging digital divides and maximizing the benefits of digitalization. 
In this context, AI presents unparalleled opportunities for advancing digital development and achieving the SDGs. Its application expands various sectors, including agriculture, healthcare, energy, education, and transportation. It’ll be contributing by driving efficiency, innovation, and economic growth. A plethora of such “AI4Good” applications are emerging in every corner of the world. 
However, alongside its promise, AI also poses significant challenges, such as ethical concerns, and data privacy issues, and the risk of exacerbating inequalities. While AI has the potential to create new livelihoods and reduce global inequalities, it could also perpetuate a ‘winner-takes-all” scenario if left unregulated and inaccessible to many. 
Governance mechanisms must evolve to support open scientific and technological cooperation, fostering innovation, while addressing concerns of privacy, data security, and algorithm accountability.
As AI becomes increasingly integrated into digital processes, it is imperative to proactively address potential disruptions while safeguarding human rights and promoting inclusive e-welfare. Transparency, accountability, and fairness must be prioritized in AI algorithms to mitigate biases and discriminatory outcomes. Comprehensive legislative and regulatory framework regulations and ethical guidelines are essential to govern AI implementations, as well as ensure human rights principles across diverse socio-economic contexts. 
Investments in digital literacy and skills development programs are also crucial to empower individuals to navigate AI-driven environments effectively, promoting inclusive participation in the digital economy. 
Similarly, it is imperative to recognize the importance of helping developing countries in accessing digital transformation and safe AI systems. Capacity building and resilient infrastructure development are essential for inclusive progress, ensuring that all nations can benefit from the opportunities presented by AI while mitigating the potential risks and disparities.
Last October, the Secretary-General established a High-Level Multistakeholder advisory Body to support the international community's efforts to govern AI. This initiative facilitates collaboration among countries and across sectors and ensures a comprehensive approach to AI governance. 
Let me emphasize the path forward requires collaborative, inclusive, and innovative strategies that ensure the benefits of technological advancements are shared by all, particularly the most vulnerable. This would help in ensuring a resilient, equitable, and prosperous future for all nations and communities.
I cannot overemphasize that only together can governments, international organizations, scientific stakeholders, civil society, and the private sector leverage the transformative potential of AI to accelerate progress toward the SDGs and address climate change. 
The UN reaffirms its full commitment to this global cause, in driving a positive impact on people and the planet, for sustainability and prosperity. In September, an action-oriented Pact for the Future is expected to be agreed upon by the Member States.
A Global Digital Compact will also be adopted as a framework of shared digital principles, supporting our collective work on digital advancements, and cooperation. 
There is also the multistakeholder efforts of the Internal Governance Forum, which will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 15th to 19th December this year, in connection with the forthcoming review of the 20 years of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). 
I hope that your deliberations will provide ideas for the discussion and actions at the UN this year, starting from the STI forum, the Summit of the Future, and the Internet Governance Forum.
I thank you for your attention and wish you a highly successful meeting.”


The FINAL DECLARATION of the 23rd Infopoverty World Conference is now available with a list of projects and proposals suggested by the speakers.

0 visualizzazioni0 commenti

Bình luận

bottom of page