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UN General Assembly urge action and regulation to ensure technology facilitates development

By Gaia Gallotti & Giulia Fabbris

During the 10th and 11th meetings from the latest UN General Assembly, state representatives and world leaders discussed the role that the Digital Revolution and the application of AI can play in obtaining sustainable development. Throughout the high-level debate, each representative focused on specific topics crucial to their state’s existence, from the ongoing technological revolution to the transition in digital solutions and advancements in artificial intelligence, focusing also on the achievement of SDGs and the implementation of the Agenda 2030.

The climate change topic was brought up by Prime Minister of Tuvalu Kausea Natano, who opened his intervention by condemning the consequences of the phenomenon on the island environment and stressing the importance of smaller States being involved in the debates regarding climate change. In this regard, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Browne emphasized unity among developing countries to address climate change, debt issues, and historical injustices, and announced the hosting of the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States in 2024. Furthermore, Tuvalu called for a global digital transformation to better distribute education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, particularly in small island states. They emphasized the empowerment of small island states through the digital revolution.

The Secretary of State for the United Kingdom, Oliver Dowden, addressed the Artificial Intelligence topic, highlighting how AI can help fight climate change, and, in general, in improving every challenge debated at the General Assembly. Dowden has emphasized that nowadays technology companies can have an influence that’s bigger than that of some small Countries, making it necessary to involve them in multilateralism approaches, together with States. Only by collaborating AI can become a tool safe for everybody, with the final aim of using technologies as additional support in the achievement of SDGs.

In this regard, Malta Prime Minister Robert Abela highlighted its leadership in AI technology and its commitment to neutrality. They emphasized assisting neighbouring countries when necessary and engaging in diplomatic efforts. Malta also underscored the importance of preserving coastal state sovereignty, ocean conservation initiatives, and digital technology adoption. The country called for equitable global AI distribution and stressed the significance of international cooperation in Malta's political tradition. In this view, Mia Amor Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados focused on chronic hunger, responsible AI use, climate change, and corporate responsibility.

Bangladesh presented its progress in reducing poverty and promoting gender equality, as emphasized by Prime Minister Hasina, while Prime Minister of Vietnam Pham Minh Chinh has highlighted the need for stronger cooperation between States, enhancing how developed Countries must take into consideration developing States whenever making decisions in the global arena. The common trend that developing States should be included in decision-making processes was welcomed by most of the participants of the meetings, stating that those Nations are trying their best to adopt strategies aimed at the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The international community, and developed States in particular, must address development issues and prevent existing conflicts from widening.

Prime Minister of Haiti Ariel Henry has emphasized that the crisis his country is currently experiencing is something that most less-developed Countries are facing: The economy’s stagnation caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 has instigated price volatility, deteriorating national security and led to humanitarian crises. Haiti’s case is particularly alarming since half of the population lives below the poverty line, human rights violations are occurring daily, and the economy is experiencing increased inflation.

Over the years, OCCAM endeavoured to find new solutions in the field of food security and to reduce poverty; within the EWA-BELT Project, the Observatory contributes to implementing the Sustainable Intensification (SI) approach to increase agricultural yield, promoting food production systems through SI in six African countries.

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