After taking up his role as Chair of the Chief Executives Board (CEB) in 2017, the Secretary-General asked members of CEB to consider the potential impact of global megatrends on the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and beyond. In November 2017, CEB first examined the opportunities and challenges presented by frontier technologies and the fourth industrial revolution and the potential areas in which the United Nations system could engage most effectively. The Secretary-General has also released his Strategy on New Technologies.
In the following two years, the Board has deliberated on the threats and opportunities posed by artificial intelligence, biotechnology, new weaponry and cyberspace and asked the High-level Committee on Programmes (HLCP) to conduct in-depth analyses of the potential socioeconomic impacts of rapid technological change, in the areas of work, education and learning and food in particular, with a focus on the unique needs and perspectives of developing countries, in particular least developed countries, in this context, to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable were not further disadvantaged and left behind by new technologies.
The Board recognized the imperative for the organizations of United Nations system themselves to be more adept at utilizing new technologies and as well as mainstreaming the use of more innovative practices into the daily operations of individual entities and the United Nations system as a whole in order to become better equipped at adapting to the challenges facing the world today and to best support Member States in their pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.