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UNGA adopts China-proposed resolution on AI capacity-building cooperation

2024-07-03 09:56:20Source: CGTN
July 2, 2024 -- The 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution, proposed by China and co-sponsored by over 140 countries, on strengthening international cooperation in the capacity building of artificial intelligence (AI).

The resolution on "Enhancing International Cooperation on Capacity-building of Artificial Intelligence" emphasizes that the development of AI should adhere to "the principles of being human-centered," promote beneficial intelligence and benefit humanity.


It encourages international cooperation and practical actions to help countries, especially developing countries, strengthen their AI capacity building, enhance their representation and voice in global AI governance, advocate for "an open, fair, and non-discriminatory business environment," and support the UN in playing a central role in international cooperation.


The resolution aims to achieve inclusive, beneficial and sustainable development of AI, thereby contributing to the realization of the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


AI capacity building for all


China's permanent representative to the United Nations, Fu Cong, stated while introducing the draft resolution at the General Assembly plenary session that the rapid development of global AI technology is having a profound impact on the economic and social development of countries and the progress of human civilization.


However, most countries, especially developing ones, have yet to truly access, use and benefit from AI, and the global digital divide continues to widen, he noted.


"Many UN member states widely anticipate strengthening international cooperation on AI capacity building, developing and utilizing AI technology equally, and sharing the knowledge and achievements of AI," he said.


Fu noted that the China-proposed resolution focuses on AI capacity building, proposing a series of significant and practical measures to strengthen related international cooperation.


"The goal is to help all countries, especially developing ones, equally benefit from AI development, bridge the digital divide, improve global AI governance, and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," said the ambassador.


"The unanimous adoption of the resolution indicates broad agreement among member states to enhance global AI governance through dialogue and cooperation, fully demonstrating China's responsible attitude and leading role in AI development and governance," said Fu.


The ambassador added that China looks forward to using the adoption of this resolution as an opportunity "to actively promote its subsequent implementation with the broad membership," adhering to development priorities, being human-centered, ensuring equality and mutual benefit, and upholding innovation.


"China aims to help developing countries strengthen AI capacity building with practical actions, promote sustainable development empowered by AI, enhance the common well-being of humanity, and contribute to building a community with a shared future for mankind," he said.


A spokesperson for the Chinese permanent mission to the UN stated that UN member states, especially developing countries, warmly welcomed the unanimous adoption of the resolution and highly appreciated China's leadership role in promoting global AI cooperation and governance, as well as accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.


They unanimously agreed that the resolution's focus on AI capacity building and its series of practical measures are of significant milestone importance in bridging the global digital divide and promoting the shared benefits of AI development among countries, he said.


The spokesperson also noted that in October 2023, the Chinese leader announced the Global AI Governance Initiative, which provides direction for global AI development and governance.


As the UN's first resolution on international cooperation in AI capacity building, it fully reflects the core essence of the Global AI Governance Initiative and the Global Development Initiative, the spokesperson said. It meets "the eager expectations" of the broad membership, especially developing countries, and "demonstrates strong support for multilateralism and the United Nations," the spokesperson added.


"It is another major step in practicing the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind on the UN platform," the spokesperson noted.  


AI for women's rights


China also spoke on behalf of a group of countries at the 56th session of the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, advocating for strengthened international cooperation on AI to promote women's rights.


Delivering a joint statement on behalf of over 80 countries, Chen Xu, permanent representative of China to the UN office in Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland, emphasized the tremendous potential of rapid AI technology development for promoting economic and social progress and advancing human civilization.


Highlighting women's significant role in driving social development and progress, the statement said that next year marks the 30th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which should be used as an opportunity to promote gender equality and ensure that women become key participants in, strong contributors to, and true beneficiaries of the development of new quality productive forces.


The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, regarded by UN agencies as the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women's rights, was adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.


To this end, the statement put forward a four-point proposal. It emphasizes upholding a people-centered approach, advocating for the principle of gender equality to promote the comprehensive, equal and meaningful participation of women in AI governance.


Additionally, it calls for adherence to the principle of non-discrimination, striving to achieve fairness and non-discrimination in AI systems. The proposal also prioritizes ethics by enhancing standards and norms for AI in advancing gender equality.


Finally, it stresses the importance of maintaining international cooperation to bridge the AI gap and jointly address the challenges AI poses to women worldwide.


This is one of several statements initiated by China at the Human Rights Council on AI's role in advancing the rights of specific groups. China also introduced an initiative at the 53rd session of the Human Rights Council on promoting the rights of people with disabilities in relation to AI, and another one at the 55th session on enhancing children's rights in relation to AI.


(With input from Xinhua. Cover via CFP)