Achieving impact through intergovernmental co-operation on artificial intelligence

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications continue to expand opportunities for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. UNESCO is working to harness these opportunities in its fields of competence across education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. UNESCO is leading reflections around pressing concerns related to the rapid development of AI, from a Human Rights and ethics perspective.

These range from AI’s role in the futures of education, the omnipresent challenges of disinformation and hate speech online, harnessing AI for the sustainable development goals and to empower the global south, and to promoting gender equality in the AI Sector and combatting algorithmic bias.

Agenda Setting and Awareness Raising 


UNESCO works towards fostering a human rights based and ethical development, use and governance of AI through its advocacy and awareness-raising work across the world. The organisation is:

Helping develop regional consensus on AI governance through its regional forums

Highlighting the role of AI in the gender divide

Encouraging Youth to explore the impact of AI on humankind

Developing partnerships for AI against climate change

  • Only 29% of science R&D positions are filled by women 
  • In 2022, the time needed to close the global gender gap in terms of economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment has increased by a generation (135.6 years up from 99.5 years).  
  • Women are 25% less likely to know how to use digital technology for basic uses than men 

Capacity Development and Policy Advice

In terms of capacity development and policy advice, UNESCO works to:

Provide advice and assistance to Member States on national, regional policy and development programmes

Build capacities of policymakers to take part in digital transformation and AI initiatives within governments

Strengthen capacities of judicial actors concerning AI

Standard Setter

As a standard setter, UNESCO is working on: 
Setting international norms

The Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

In November 2021, the 193 Member States at UNESCO’s General Conference adopted the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, the very first global agreement on the matter. It not only protects but also promotes human rights and human dignity, building an ethical guiding compass and a global normative bedrock and allowing to build strong respect for the rule of law in the digital world.
Read the Recommendation

Catalyst for International Cooperation

UNESCO works to ensure international cooperation in the field of Artificial Intelligence by:
Ensuring cooperation between international and regional agencies

  • UNESCO as an observer in the  Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) and participant in consultative processes of the OECD, Council of Europe, and European Commission. 
  • UNESCO and GIZ as co-organizers of the Open for Good Alliance joint webinar to engage judicial operators in a timely discussion on challenges of developing Open AI and Data initiatives in Law and Justice Systems in India, Kenya and Brazil. 

Find out more about UNESCO’s work on AI at:

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