UNESCO’s General Conference reaches global agreements on artificial intelligence, open science and education

The 41st session of UNESCO General Conference ended yesterday with the adoption of key agreements demonstrating renewed multilateral cooperation for educational recovery, open science and the ethics of artificial intelligence.

On 9 November, the organization’s 193 Member States overwhelming voted in support of Audrey Azoulay to serve a second term of four years as Director-General of the Organization, which celebrated its 75th anniversary during this session.

Member States endorsed the Paris Declaration: A Global Call for Investing in the Futures of Education at a meeting which brought together Heads of State and Government and education ministers from 40 countries on the 10 November. The purpose of the meeting was to increase support for education in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. A key part of the event was the launch of a report Reimagining our futures together: a new social contract for education by UNESCO’s Director-General and the President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde.  

UNESCO’s Member States adopted the first ever global Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence.  It will be presented by the Director-General accompanied by experts at a press conference at 15.00 CET on Thursday, the 25 November, at UNESCO Headquarters. Journalists seeking Accreditation should contact Léo Bégé-Duclaud: l.bege-duclaud@unesco.org(link sends e-mail)

Another landmark moment was reached with the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science which was also adopted during the General Conference. Of particular relevance to global scientific cooperation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic , this agrement  promotes equality among scientists so that populations and policy-makers will reap the benefits of advances in science. More information is available at https://www.unesco.org/en/natural-sciences/open-science.

UNESCO also passed a significant milestone by marking its  75th anniversary with a special ceremony attended by 28 Heads of State and Government. There were moving  performances by an array of leading international musicians and artists. During the session, the Organization also celebrated the anniversary of its Man and the Biosphere Programme, which has been a vehicle for progress for sustainable development and the sharing of ideas and examples of best practice round the world for the last fifty years.

Finally, the Åland Islands, part of Finland with autonomous status, became UNESCO’s 12th Associate Member.

More information on the General Conference at https://www.unesco.org/en/general-conference/41

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