Financing to the value of €4 million (R82 million) will be used to help low-income Unesco member states to develop national legislation on artificial intelligence (AI) ethical rules.
The agreement was endorsed by member states, which includes South Africa, after acknowledging the unprecedented global challenges brought about by the use of AI technologies.
In a statement, Unesco says where concerns over generative AI are growing, its partnership with the European Commission will support the least-developed countries in the establishment to develop their strategies and regulations at national level.
The European Commission will provide funding of R82 million.
“In the face of the pressing challenges posed by AI, we need to move faster by providing more support to the low-income countries,” says Unesco director-general Audrey Azoulay.
“I commend the decision of the European Commission to join forces with Unesco in supporting these countries, by financing the mobilisation of experts and the organisation of training. This is multilateral cooperation at its best.”
Unesco’s global agreement provides a normative framework for the ethics of AI. It is based on the promotion and protection of human rights, human dignity and environmental sustainability, with the aim to advance principles, such as accountability and the rule of law, and includes policy chapters that call for better data governance, inclusivity and gender equality.
Among the actions made possible by this agreement, Unesco indicates it will establish and operationalise a global facility of experts: “AI Ethics Experts without Borders”, to provide on-demand support and tailored policy advice to enhance the capacity of member states’ institutions to implement the framework.
Furthermore, it will deliver an annual “Global Forum on the Ethics of AI” as a platform for structured learning and sharing of global best practices among AI stakeholders worldwide.
Unesco concludes that it will also develop a toolkit for judicial operators on AI.