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The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, after having consulted with the Head of the various UN agencies, published last week a strategy note on how the United Nations system will support the use of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, material sciences and robot­ics.

The note is built around five principles which will guide the UN agencies and all UN colleagues.

  1. PROTECT AND PROMOTE GLOBAL VALUES: our work must be anchored in the values and obligations of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  2. FOSTER INCLUSION AND TRANSPARENCY: we must provide a platform for governments, businesses and civil society across generations to make collective choices about new technologies.
  3. WORK IN PARTNERSHIP: We must promote the development of partnerships across a range of actors to increase collective knowledge, test ideas, and expand dialogue.
  4. BUILD ON EXISTING CAPABILITIES AND MANDATES: our engagement with new technologies is necessary for preserving the values of the UN Charter and the implementation of existing UN mandates—it is not a new mandate.
  5. BE HUMBLE AND CONTINUE TO LEARN: for many industries, civil society groups and government bodies, the UN is not an obvious partner on these issues—so we need to engage and learn from each other.

These new and rapidly developing technologies hold incredible promise for the advancement of human welfare. They also hold the potential to generate more inequality and more violence. Read more on the UN Secretary-General’s Strategy on New Technologies and how new they can contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.