Achieving impact through intergovernmental co-operation on artificial intelligence





Responsible development and use of trustworthy and ethical AI

Numerous guidelines by technical experts, sector representatives, national bodies and others promote the responsible development and use of trustworthy and ethical AI. The OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence promote artificial intelligence that is innovative, trustworthy and respects human rights and democratic values. They were adopted by 42 countries in May 2019 and welcomed by the G20 in June of the same year. The Principles focus on how governments and other actors can shape a human-centric approach to trustworthy AI. Trustworthy AI refers to AI systems that embody the OECD AI Principles; that is, AI systems that respect human rights and privacy; are fair, transparent, explainable, robust, secure and safe; and the actors involved in their development and use remain accountable. 


The European Commission, through its 2021 review of the Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence and the proposed EU AI Act, focuses on seizing the benefits and promoting the development of human-centric, sustainable, secure, inclusive and trustworthy artificial intelligence AI.


UNESCO is currently drafting Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, which will act as a global standard-setting instrument to provide AI with a strong ethical basis.


The Inter-American Development Bank is supporting LAC governments and entrepreneurs in the adoption of AI for social impact with a series of practical tools and recommendations that operationalise ethical principles.

AI aligned with human rights and democracy

International human rights refer to a body of international laws, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as regional human rights systems such as that of the Council of Europe and its European Convention on Human Rights. Human rights provide a set of universal minimum standards based on, among others, values of human dignity, autonomy and equality, in line with the rule of law. Human rights underpin other regulations relevant to AI, such as data protection, and are the cornerstone of any democratic system. It is within this overall framework that other binding regulations, such as product safety, or non-binding regulations, such as ethics, contribute to the development of responsible AI.

AI technologies provide a range of economic and social opportunities that can increase people’s well-being. The power, scale, and speed of AI systems can improve efficiency and effectiveness in numerous domains, including healthcare, transport, education, and public administration. AI systems/technologies promises to advance the protection and fulfilment of human rights, such by making personalised education and medical diagnosis and treatment services more widely available and accessible. However, AI technologies can also challenge human rights, democracy, and the rule of law and be used to violate human rights accidently or deliberately. Policymakers, technologists and all stakeholders must ensure that AI systems are designed in a way that respects the rule of law, human rights, democratic values and diversity. 

The Council of Europe is conducting a feasibility study and identifying elements of one or more legal instruments, possibly binding and non-binding, to support the design, development and implementation of AI systems compatible with human rights, democracy and the rule of law. This work involves an ad hoc committee (CAHAI) as well as all sectors of the Council of Europe working in a complementary way on a general legal instrument and specialised instruments.

AI for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

AI systems/technologies have risen to the forefront of public discourse in recent years. Breakthroughs enabled by this technology is accelerating and promise to advance global development and societal change. AI applications can also play a key role in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in areas such as education, health, transportation, agriculture and sustainable cities, among others. 


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet. It contains 17 Goals that call for urgent action by all countries. They recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations requires strategies that also improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth, while tackling climate change. The SDGs are: (1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Good Health and Well-being, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (10) Reducing Inequality, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life Below Water, (15) Life On Land, (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships for the Goals.