The Chair referred to the discussions during the thirty-fourth session of the Committee, at which it had been stressed that the complex multidimensional impact of technological breakthroughs, such as artificial intelligence, needed to be addressed through an integrated, cross-sectoral and collaborative approach that mobilized and engaged the entire United Nations system. In line with the subsequent guidance from CEB, the Committee’s efforts were now focused on enhancing, through system-wide policy coherence and programmatic coordination, artificial intelligence-related capacity-building support in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The paper aimed at examining AI’s SDG implications and outlining the opportunity for constructing coordinated system-wide positions and engagement in supporting member state capacities on AI. The paper explored ways to scale up capacity building in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, harnessing the positive elements of AI’s transformative powers in a manner that benefits humanity equally and leaves no one behind. Divided in five sections, the paper highlighted ways in which the UN could help build capacity around AI and advocate a people-centred and inclusive approach that would ultimately advance AI in the global public interest and in support of the SDGs. The paper explored the main building blocks required for such efforts, noting that while many were already
part of ongoing UN capacity development efforts, AI was making such efforts ever more critical and urgent. Five broad substantive areas of capacity development were identified to address the unique challenges of AI technologies and advance the SDGs, with some concrete steps proposed towards developing system-wide engagement.
The paper proposed a three-step approach, as follows, towards developing UN system-wide engagement on AI capacity building:
i) develop a common UN system position and shared guiding principles on AI technologies that would help define the internal strategic direction of the UN system in its assistance to Member States;
ii) based on the guiding principles, articulate a system-wide framework on AI technologies in order to encourage and guide integrated action within the UN system; and
iii) based on this system-wide framework, elaborate recommendations and concrete actions towards a capacity building programme for developing countries.
The Committee decided to proceed, in as accelerated a manner as possible, with the three -step approach to pursue UN system-wide engagement on AI capacity development, and requested ITU, in cooperation with interested agencies and, taking into account the comments offered, to present a draft system-wide framework for the Committee’s consideration at its 36 th session. The Committee also agreed to explore, in parallel, additional complementary analyses on key relevant issues to inform and enrich this and other ongoing initiatives.