STATEMENT OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. ADIEL GUEVARA RODRíGUEZ, THIRD SECRETARY OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF CUBA TO THE UN, AT THE INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON THE DIGITAL COMPACT ON THE THEME "ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND OTHER EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES" (New York, 25 May 2023)
H.E. Ms. Anna Karin Eneström, Permanent Representative of Sweden,
H.E. Mr. Claver Gatete, Permanent Representative of Rwanda,
Excellencies and colleagues,
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the G77 and China.
At the outset, I would like to thank the co-facilitators for convening this thematic deep dive, which provides the opportunity to share our ideas and vision on this topic.
In 2023, developing countries face multiple challenges, while trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Difficult decisions are placed in developing countries where States have to, with limited resources, invest in recovering their economies and at the same time prioritize the well-being of their populations allocating resources to education, health, social protection, among others sectors. In this context, emerging technologies and the rapid digitalization process have put additional pressure on developing countries who need these tools to attain higher levels of development but do not have equal access to them.
The Group believes that when we discuss the role of the artificial intelligence and emerging technologies, the persistent digital divide needs to be considered. Technology has been a critical tool for addressing development needs, but not everyone has equal access to the benefits. Therefore, the Group reiterates that it is imperative to take actions to significantly reduce the growing digital divide if we want to build an inclusive Information Society.
According to the 2023 Technology and Innovation Report by UNCTAD, there is a rapidly expanding market for Artificial Intelligence, which by 2030 might be contributing between $13 trillion and $16 trillion to the global economy. Growth is driven by continued technical improvements in multiple sectors and as technologies progress, developing countries will need stronger digital infrastructure, in particular high speed and high-quality Internet connections.
The accumulated knowledge related to the development and use of emerging technologies needs to be shared with developing countries through international cooperation, multilateral forums and initiatives, so as to ensure that all countries can have access to emerging technologies and enjoy the benefits of technological advancement on an equal footing.
The Group believes that the Global Digital Compact (GDC) can explore the possibility for development of norms, principles and regulatory standards on the use of AI to achieve and accelerate sustainable development with the effective participation of developing countries while also recognizing the need for assistance in capacity building in those countries.
The GDC should recognize the need to harness the potential of information and communications technologies, frontier technologies and new and emerging technologies as critical enablers of sustainable development and to overcome digital divides. The Group stresses that capacity building for developing countries for the productive use of such technologies should be given due consideration in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.
The GDC should consider and evaluate the need for an enhanced international technology framework more aligned with the SDGs, which could, inter alia, focus on offering preferential access for developing countries to relevant advanced technologies, developing their productive capacities, ending discriminatory restrictions and promoting global research and development of scientific breakthroughs relevant to the 17 SDGs.
Finally, the Group stresses that the use of artificial intelligence in the field of information and communication technologies should take into account, as appropriate, the Declaration of Principles of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
How we deal with artificial intelligence and emerging technologies will determine if digitalization will bring inclusive and sustainable outcomes or lead to a further widening of the digital divide. The Global Digital Compact should outline concrete actions in this regard.