Putting People First in AI – High Level Presentation of the OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence

Pic of AI presentation

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This meeting of the Slovak Republic/OECD: Putting People First in AI was convened to discuss OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence. Representatives from around the world gathered to discuss how we should act in this digital era.
First, H.E. Mr. Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen said that OECD has launched an AI policy that provides an online hub for open dialogue that implements AI principles. It is opened to any interested countries beyond OECD members. H.E. Darja Bavda Kuret, an Ambassador of Slovenia, said that digitalization like the Internet of Things, machine learning and AI transforms our economy. However, there is a huge gap since some people do not even have any access to the internet while big companies utilize AI. She asked, “How are we going to investigate that no one is behind?” Furthermore, H.E. Mr. Lazarous Kapambwe from Zambia asked, “How do we handle the inequality of social opportunities?”
Consequently, Knudsen answered the questions by saying that it is through accountability and transparency. He further questioned, “Who owns the data of this world? Is it an individual or the state or the party?” He said that it is a huge problem and we need a harmonization. Not only that, we need to care about AI and climate change. It is impossible to reduce CO2 without science, technology, and innovation. We should utilize AI to protect humanity from climate change.
Moreover, a representative from Canada said consumer protection is important. We need public education and should be responsible for innovation. We also need government funding for this. A representative from Columbia said that the government should commit this 4th industrial revolution. We should reduce inequality in this digital economy, and we should include trust and security.
Robert from UNDP said that development is redefined by technology. How to democratize technology such as big data, blockchain and IoT is important. We need a new business model that is more accessible to any income level. He emphasized that data is so important that the system gets more efficient with more data. Also, Steven from UNICEF said there should be human-centered AI. Nudsen concluded that the ethical issue is so important. Transparency is about consumers; consumers should know what they are consuming with a computer. Also, we need to share the data to become successful.

Meeting Title: Slovak Republic/OECD: Putting People First in AI

Date/Location: Thursday, 7 November, 2019; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 12; United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers:

H.E. Darja Bavda Kuret, Ambassador of Slovenia;

H.E. Mr. Lazarous Kapambwe, Permanent Representative of Zambia to the UN;

H.E. Mr. Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, Deputy Secretary General, OECD;

A Representative from Canada;

A Representative from Columbia;

Robert from UNDP;

Steven from UNICEF

Written by: WIT Representative, Won Ah Oh

Japan’s Implementation of the SDGs

The 2019 Forum for the implementation of the SDGs was organized by the Friends of the UN Asia Pacific and the World Federalist Movement Youth Forum. The purpose of the forum was to highlight Japanese initiatives that have, and continue to, promote the Sustainable Development Goals.

The discussion was divided into three sections: the promotion of SDGs at the municipal level, the promotion of women’s equality and empowerment in society at the workplace, and business and technology leadership. Speakers from two Japanese cities, Shizuoka and Sabae City, highlighted how their cities have integrated the SDGs into the daily lives of their citizens, with events such as a SDG week, a SDG middle school student summit, and a SDG high school summit in which they plan to hear the ideas of high school girls.

Moderator, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, consistently drew speakers’ speeches back to the importance of gender equality, without which, he emphasized, none of the other SDGs would be able to be accomplished. Multiple speakers stressed the presence of impostor syndrome, or the underestimation of one’s self and paying too much attention to what others think, as an impediment to accomplishing greater gender equality in Japan.

Speakers in the business and technology section of the forum focused primarily on how both present great potential for advancing SDG goals. This possibility was discussed in terms of the food industry, and the possibility to use new technology to freeze food in its most fresh state, thus working towards goal two of zero hunger, and goal 12 of responsible consumption and production.

Meeting: An Interactive Forum Highlighting Japanese Initiatives Promoting The Sustainable Development Goals

Date/Location: Thursday, June 06, 2019; 15:00-18:15; Conference Room 11. United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers:

  • Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative (Moderator);
  • Mr. Sukehiro Hasegawa, Former Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN, President of Global Peacebuilding Association of Japan;
  • H.E. Dr. Toshiya Hoshino, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations;
  • Mr. Robert Skinner, Executive Director, United Nations Office for Partnerships;
  • Mr. Fuminobu Akahori, Senior Policy Administrator of Shizuoka City;
  • Ms. Mayumi Takashima, on behalf of Mayor of Sabae City;
  • Ms. Marina Ponti, Director, SDG Action Campaign;
  • Ms. Mayuko Saeki, CEO of KIREIMO/ Vielis Inc;
  • Ms. Yukiko Ikeda, Chief Producer of TGC;
  • Mr Junji Torigoe, Representative Director of SAGAMIYA FOODS Inc.;
  • Ms.Fatima Khan, External Relations Officer, World Health Organization;
  • Mr. Takuji Otsu, Executive Director of FOUNAP SDGs Promoting Committee;
  • Mr. Yoshio Yamada, President of Technician Co. Ltd.;
  • Mr. Tomokiyo Tanaka, Shinto priest, Iwashimizu Hachimangu

Written by: WIT Representative Jenifer Miller

The Role of Technology: Implementing the New Urban Agenda to Achieve Sustainable Development

SDGs

With the advancement of technology nowadays, the role of science and innovation is increasingly valued when it comes to realizing sustainable development goals. The meeting focused specifically on SDG 11(Sustainable Cities and Communities) on implementing new urban agenda with the aid of technology.

The meeting began with a series of opening speeches delivered by distinguished guests. Mr Elefante first illustrated the significance of digital design making tools, such as information modelling, to foster innovation on building and designing cities. Dr Abu-Ghazaleh mentioned that technology acts as driver for everyday life in modern age and brings people and issues to a single community. Mr Guier provided certain examples that highlighted the importance of connecting technology to data on sustainability, including automated waste collection programs and driverless car schemes. Ms Sherif, the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Habitat, added that climate change also posed challenges in promoting inclusive and sustainable growth of cities. Dr. Lubin described the linkage between corporates, cities and sustainability by the business sustainability maturity curve.

The conference followed by two dialogue sessions conducted by different representatives. The first focuses on the emergence of technology where speakers presented various types of information technologies that are incorporated in daily lives. For example, robotics, big data and artificial intelligence. In order to achieve a unified vision on the use of technology to develop sustainable cities, panellists agreed that accountability, public will and team environment are critical elements to be facilitated. The second session concerns the Network 11 Initiative in the Arab region that outlined the challenges of operating in (post-) conflict urban context as well as difficulties in addressing the gap between humanitarian aid and development.

Meeting: United Nations Human Settlements Programme: The Role of Technology: Implementing the New Urban Agenda to Achieve Sustainable Development

Date/Location: Conference Room 2, UNHQ NYC; 10:00-13:00; June 20th 2018

Speakers: Ms Maimunah Mohd Sherif (UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Habitat)

Mr. Carl Elefante (FAIA, President, American Institute of Architects)

Mr Guy Gier (FAIA, President, American Institute of Architects of New York)

Dr. David A. Lubin (Co-Chairman and Managing Director, Constellation Research and Technology, Inc.)

Mr Michal Mlynar (Permanent Representative of Slovak Republic to the United Nations)

Professor Urs Gauchat (CSU, Dean Emeritus of the College of Architecture and Design)

Mr. John Paul Farner (Director of Technology and Civic Innovation, Microsoft)

Mr Jason Whittet (Associate Director in Innovation in Urban Data and Technology, Rockefeller Foundation)

Professor Sarah Williams (Director, Civic Data Design Lab, MIT School of Architecture and Planning)

Professor Mahesh Daas (Ed.D, DPACSA, ACSA Distinguished Professor, Dean, School of Architecture and Design, University of Kansas)

Mr. Phillip G. Bernstein (FAIA RIBA LEED APM Associate Dean and Senior Lecturer Yale School of Architecture)

Dr Talal Abu-Ghazaleh (PhD, CEO, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization, Senator)

Professor Lance Jay Brown (FAIA, CSU, ACSA Distinguished Professor, CCNY Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture)

Ms Zena Ali-Ahed (Director, Regional Office for Arab States, UN-Habitat)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

NGO Committee on Sustainable Development: Leveraging Innovative Technologies for the SDGs & Inclusive Economic Growth

The panel discussion, organized by the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development, explored the role of innovative technologies for achieving SDGs and inclusive economic growth from various perspectives. Mr. Sanchez, First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN began by stating that technology is placed as the core priority of the Mexican government in order to advocate economic growth with leading standards. He emphasized that how advancement of technology could positively accelerate the progress of achieving SDGs in the 2030 agenda. Partnerships between different stakeholders, such as the government, private sector, particularly, micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as civil societies, are pivotal to address the opportunities posed by technological development.

Ms Moliner, representing the UN women, highlighted the current gender gap in terms of technology production and consumption. She exemplified the current situation by illustrating the under-representation of women as innovators and entrepreneurs, limited market awareness and gender-blind approach to innovation, and inadequate investment in innovations that meet needs of women. Being the founder of an NGO that enhances global technology business ecosystems, Ms Schlegel mentioned a number of examples which utilized technology to improve inclusiveness in start-up industry.

Afterwards, Mr Chuter underscored the importance of expressing gratitude to foster communication and conversation, as well as collaboration and cooperation by bringing charities together to initiate campaigns. The Chairman of Quantum Media Group, Mr. Zoldan, explained how technology, especially block chain, could realize SDGs. With the use of block chain, transactions could be verified and recorded without a local bank, thus eradicating possible fraud potentially. Ms. Zfat, a social media entrepreneur, shared her experience in forming partnerships, for instance, with Samsung and the Council for Economic Education, to amplify impact by minimal resources via social media platforms.

Meeting:  NGO Committee on Sustainable Development: Leveraging Innovative Technologies for the SDGs & Inclusive Economic Growth

Date/Location: 2nd Floor Conference Room, Church Center for the UN; 15:00-18:00; June 20th 2018

Speakers: Ms Margo LaZaro (NGOCSD-NY Executive Board)

Mr Bruno Rios Sanchez (First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN)

Ms Helene Moliner (Senior Policy Advisor on Innovation, Leading the Innovation and Technology Facility of UN Women)

Ms. Mahrinah von Schlegel (Founder of VIAE Global Executive Director of Embassy 2.0

Mr. Mike Chuter (Co-founder of Thankful & Thankful Organization)

Mr. Ari Zoldan (Chairman of Quantum Media Group, CMO of Optherium Labs)

Ms Natalie Zfat (Social Media Entrepreneur)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

Third-annual multi-stakeholder High-Level forum on Science,Technology and Innovation

 

This forum was attended by member states, nonmember states, and stakeholders. The forum began with representatives from Ghana, Jamaica, and Japan expressing the state-specific problems that need to be addressed to establish STI roadmaps that further SDGs. For example, the Jamaican representative recognized the small size of Jamaica as well as the Caribbean, calling for a competitive and comparative advantage take with STI as this allows for stronger integration with the rest of the world. The financial sector speakers called for investing in STI partnerships and capacities and working with private tech partners.

The next session focused on the evident potential indigenous knowledge that can fulfill SDGs. Speakers from indigenous populations stressed that traditional knowledge needs to be viewed as equal to technology, or categorized as a “specific knowledge system.”  A final proposal of engagement with indigenous populations in order to reach SDG goals through science, innovation, and technology of indigenous people was stated.

The final discussion raised the question of how to effectively facilitate the TFM or the Technology Facilitation Mechanism, a method of sharing information, practices, and policies across  Member States, stakeholders, the private sector, and other entities. There is a gap between the solutions and the ability to “deploy” solutions. All speakers agree that improvement and collaboration is needed to have a successful TFM.  Technology is an underrepresented crucial factor in reaching the SDGs and more needs to be done.

Meeting​:  Third-annual multi-stakeholder Science,Technology and Innovation high level forum focusing on Sustainable Development Goals 6,7,11,12, and 15

Date/Location​: Wednesday  6th June 2018; 10:00 to 13:00; Conference Room 4, United

Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​:

H.E. Ms. Patricia Apiagyei,the Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation

Mr. Teruo Kishi, Science and Technology Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs

Ms. Aisha Jones, Director of Research, National Commission on Science and Technology

Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, the World Bank Group

Ms. Minnie Degawan, Director, Indigenous and traditional peoples programme in D.C

Mr. Joel Heath, Executive Director, The Arctic Eider Society

Mr. Mulubrhan Gebremikael, UNEP-IEMP (International Ecosystem Management Program)

Ms. Jozelin Soto, Milpa Maguey Tierno de la Mujer Sss

Mr. Alfred Watkins, Chair, Global Solutions Summit, USA

Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

Ms.Veerle Vandeweerd  Policy Director for G-STIC

Mr. Rafat Al-Akhal, Secretary for Pathways for Prosperity

Written By​: WIT Representative Mariam Elsaker

Global Symposium on the role of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

The meeting explores the role of innovation and technology when it comes to facilitating MSMEs’ growth, exemplified by different national case practices.

Mr, Agnaldo De Almeida Dantas shared the Brazilian project, SEBRAE, which aims to simplify the sophisticated process and relationship for MSMEs to access to technologies. He also illustrated the critical factor of establishing partnership with other organizations in order to attain the expected outcomes. Ms Riefqah then focused on how does science, technology and innovation enable inclusive growth of MSMEs from a people-centric approach. Using projects like Trade Facilitation in Kenya as example, Ms Jappie described how does the International Trade Centre foster transparency and comparability of nations’ foreign trade.

The representative from China, Professor Zeng, pointed out the importance of greening MSMEs in the supply chain towards SDGs. He added that scientific innovation could be adopted for e-waste regulation. Dr. Iris introduced an array of projects and partnership initiated by the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada relevant to MSMEs. International collaboration and innovative holistic approach in engaging women are particularly highlighted.

Ms. Memedovic first explained the drivers of the 4th industrial revolution, such as artificial intelligence and block chains, which facilitate the emergence of smart tools nowadays. Opportunities, challenges and critical issues for SMEs are then presented. Ms. Anna addressed the worsening inequality faced by women, especially with the prevalence of digital divide.

Meeting: Global Symposium on the role of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Date/Location: Friday; 8th June 2018; 10:00-13:00; Conference Room 12, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY.

Speakers:

Mr Shantanu Mukherjee (Chief, Policy and Analysis Branch, Division for Sustainable Development Goals, Department of Economic and Social Affairs)

Mr Agnaldo De Almeida Dantas (Analyst, Access to Innovation, Technology and Sustainability Unit, SEBRAW-Brazillian Micro and Small Business Support Service)

Ms Riefqah Jappie (ITC Representative to the UN)

Prof. Zeng Xianlai (Tsinghua University, China)

Dr. Iris Jin (Senior Programme Manager, Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada

Ms Olga Memedovic (Deputy Director, Department of Trade, Investment and Innovation, UNIDO)

Ms Anna Falth (Programme Manager, UN Women)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

ITCs for Development

itcs-meeting

Marie Paule Roudil, the director of UNESCO, discussed the importance of community media. UNESCO is attempting to conclude crimes against journalists, as one of its goals is to facilitate media development. The significant impact which information and communications technologies (ICT) can have on sustainable development was also discussed from various angles. Financial inclusion, a broadened distribution of information and an increase in the quality of education were predicted from a future with greater ICT access. Ms. Roudil continued by explaining that press freedom and access to information are sustainable development goals.

In making a comparison, Ms. Roudil elucidated that 6.7% of households situated in least developed countries (LDC) have access to the Internet, while 34.1% of household in developed countries have access to the Internet. Statistical discrepancies also exist between the amount of ICT access in rural and urban areas, financially secure and financially insecure areas and between males and females.

Ms. Pitchaporn Liwjaroen of Thailand called for inclusive sustainable development. Often, due to gender-based prejudice, females are not afforded the same opportunities that their male counterparts are to access these resources. Inclusive development is called for in Agenda 2030.

To help promote the value of ICTs, various nations are instituting technology-based programs that offer scholarships and other opportunities to their respective pupils. Masud Bin Momen described IPOA, a scholarship for students in Bangladesh. Also, according to Ye Yongfeng, programs to teach coding in schools are being integrated in Singapore. The majority of delegates gave their condolences to the nation of Thailand for the death of their king, Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Ashish Kumar Sinha expressed that the integration of ICT in India has been through e-governance, which provides open, governmental information. This has helped empower vulnerable populations, including rural people. He discussed how better, real time information has been transforming public policy.

Meeting: Information and communications technologies for development

Date/ Location: Thursday, October 13th, 2016; 15:00-18:00; Conference Room 2

Speakers: Shamika Sirimanne, Director of ICT and Disaster Risk Reduction Division of. UNESCAP; Marie Paule Roudil, Director of UNESCO; Ms. Pitchaporn Liwjaroen, Second Secretary of Development Affairs Division of Department of International Organizations of Thailand; Dato Abdul Ghafar Ismail, New Permanent Representative of Brunei Darussalam; Pennelope Althea Beckles, new Permanent Representative of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; Masud Bin Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh; Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of the Maldives; Maria Angela A. Ponce, Career Minister of Philippines; Ina Hagniningtyas Krisnamurthi, Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia; Ashish Kumar Sinha, First Secretary of India; Michael Ronen, Ambassador of Israel; Roman V Lopyrev, Delegate of Russian Federation; Dr. Amrith Rohan Perera, Ambassador & Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka; Abdullah Mohammed A Alghunaim, Ambassador of Afghanistan; Ana Silvia Rodríguez Abascal, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba; William José Calvo Calvo, Minister-Counselor of Costa Rica; Ye Yongfeng, Permanent Representative of Singapore; Carlos Sergio Sobral Duarte Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Embassy of Brazil; Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah, Deputy Permanent Minister of Malaysia;  Nirmal Raj Kafle Deputy Head of Nepal; Ali Alnuaimi, Delegate of United Arab Emirates; Salvador De Lara Rangel, Counsellor of Mexico; Mounkaila Yacouba, Delegate of Niger; Tamara Kharashun, Counsellor of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus; Anthony Andanje, Ambassador/ Deputy Permanent Representative of Kenya; Liu Jun, Ambassador of China; Tekeda Alemu, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia; Ilkin Hajiyev, Third Secretary of Azerbaijan; Bankole Adeoye, Director of Second United Nations Division of Nigeria; Mr. Biljeek, Ambassador of Bahrain; Kadiatou Sall-Beye, International Telecommunication Union

Written By: Donna Sunny, WIT Representative

 

Bringing Statistics into the Digital Age

The Statistical Commission of the Economic and Social Council hosted a meeting and had several items for discussion and decision. After the chair gave opening remarks, the floor was open to the representatives. The first topic for discussion was the transformative agenda for official statistics.

The representative of the United Kingdom stated that the UK supports the work of the higher-level groups and supports the global action plan for the agenda. He also explained that we need to find efficient ways in which we can produce statistics, and because it is a global agenda, we need to think about sequencing and think about other activities when implementing such initiatives.

The representative of China said that the transformative agenda is very important, and that China has been promoting standardization and development of technologies for many years. China has also been exploring big data, cloud computing, and other modern technologies to conduct surveys and analyze data.

The representative of Jordan noted that last year, Jordan used a completely electronic census for the first time in 11 years. The results were produced in record time, as it only took two months, and the government was able to use the data collected and provide maps of the population distribution.

Another topic for discussion during the meeting was big data for official statistics. The representative of Korea mentioned that Korea has a deep appreciation for global working groups, with activities like global surveys. He said that privacy protection is one of the challenges the NATO Standardization Office (NSO) should be facing with big data, and that it is necessary to have an international agreement on the use of personal data, which should be used only for statistical purposes. After the topics were discussed, the chair gave closing remarks.

Meeting: Economic and Social Council 3rd meeting

Date/Location: Wednesday March 9, 2016, 10:00 –13:00; Conference Room 4

Speakers: representative of United Kingdom; representative of China; representative of Jordan; representative of Australia; representative of Kuwait; representative of Korea

Written By: WIT Representative Kangho (Paul) Jung

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Making the World of Books Accessible to People who are Print Disabled

 

innovtech-pwdsMs. Bas began by presenting the Treaty of Marrakesh, which addresses the current relative lack of availability of print material to print disabled individuals, as the next step in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’s efforts of leaving no one behind. All of the efforts thus far tell us that mainstreaming disabilities is a successful but slow process. It is thus imperative that we encourage promotion and awareness of this new treaty.

Ambassador Webson approved the treaty because the world is now in a position in which it can address the problem of the “book famine”–just 1.7% of print material is available to people that are blind or otherwise print disabled. Thanks to Marrakesh, however, barriers to information are being removed and a new world is being opened up to the print disabled. This is especially significant when considering that access to information is key to getting an education, and education in turn is an proven path out poverty.

Mr. LaBarre discussed the Accessible Book Consortium (ABC), saying that it achieved three objectives:  (1) getting permission from rights holders so entities can exchange book copies across borders; (2) capacity building to enable countries to put books into accessible formats; and (3) accessible publishing, meaning all books are initially created digitally. Mr. Power added that the technology is in place to secure the achievement of such goals, but we must now enable this technology to be available internationally. Cost is also an issue for braille and audio reader technologies, but lower cost solutions are on the way.

Mr. Mitra asserted that addressing the print disabled is a central mission for UNICEF. The education system fails millions of children around the world, yet the technology exists to create book in formats that are accessible to all people. Of course, costs and resources are issues, but to create accessible books requires a one-time production cost at the beginning of the process. If we wish to meet goal number 4, he concluded, there is no other way than to ensure that all textbooks are available to all children.

 

Meeting: Innovative Technologies: Making the world of books accessible to people who are print disabled
Date & Location: 25 March 2015, Conference Room 9, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Ms. Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social policy and Development, united Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).   H.E. Dr. W. Aubrey Webson, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, New York.   Mr. Scott LaBarre, Board Member, Accessible Books Consortium and Representative, World Blind Union. Mr. Dave Power, President and Chief Executive Officer, Perkins, Watertown. Mr. Gopal Mitra, Programme Specialist, Children with Disabilities, Gender Rights and Civic Engagement, UNICEF, New York. Moderator: Ms. Lucinda Longcroft, Head, WIPO New York Office.
Written By WIT Representative: James Victory
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey