Q4/2019 - 40th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO

Paris, 12 – 27 November 2019

The 40th UNESCO General Conference adopted three resolutions that are relevant to the field of Internet governance.

Resolution on Artificial Intelligence

With the UNESCO Resolution 40/67, UNESCO decided to start negotiations on the development of a standard-setting instrument on the ethics of artificial intelligence (Recommendation on the ethics of artificial intelligence)[1]. The resolution points out both the opportunities and the risks associated with the further advancement of artificial intelligence. A UNESCO Recommendation could be a helpful instrument for the elaboration and implementation of national and international regulations, policies and strategies. When preparing it, UNESCO should pay particular attention to the ethical and human rights dimension. UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay is requested to submit a text ready for adoption already at the 41st UNESCO General Conference in autumn 2021. The Resolution 40/67 is based on years of work by UNESCO on this subject as well as on a comprehensive UNESCO study on the ethics of artificial intelligence[2]

Resolution on WSIS Follow-Up

UNESCO is responsible for the implementation of five of the eleven action lines of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The 2019 UNESCO Resolution 40/72 on the WSIS follow-up contains a survey of the related UNESCO activities performed to date. It calls on UNESCO to create a stronger link between the WSIS goals and the UN goals for sustainable development (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030 and to ensure that UNESCO plays a leading role in the UN system in the WSIS follow-up. UNESCO is the first UN organisation to focus on the WSIS Review Conference (WSIS+20) planned for 2025. It is requested to draw up by the 41st UNESCO General Conference in autumn 2021 a roadmap that outlines the way to the 2025 conference[3].

Resolution on Cyberbullying

With Resolution 40/78UNESCO has created a new World Day with a view to the increase in cyber bullying on the Internet, especially at school and against children and women. As from 2020, the first Thursday in November of each year is to be celebrated as UNESCO Day against Cyberbullying (International day against violence and bullying at school, including cyberbullying)4].


Mehr zum Thema
  1. [1] UNESCO-Resolution 40/67, Preliminary study on a possible standard-setting instrument on the ethics of artificial intelligence, Paris, 27. November 2019: „The General Conference… recognizing concerns on the expanding digital and technological gap between countries that could be exacerbated by artificial intelligence (AI), and reiterating the importance of addressing the concerns of developing countries regarding AI, including through transfer of AI technology, AI capacity building and education, data disclosure and access to data. Acknowledging that while artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform the future of humanity for the better and in favour of sustainable development, there is also a prevailing awareness of the risks and challenges associated with AI, especially in terms of deepening existing inequalities and divides, as well as the human rights implications. Reiterating the need to reinforce international collaboration in the field of advancing artificial intelligence (AI) with human values in the areas of education, the sciences, culture, information and communication for the good of present and future generations. Recognizing that a recommendation could be an essential tool to strengthen the elaboration and implementation of national and international legislation, policies and strategies in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), as well as to enhance international cooperation on the ethical development and use of AI in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),1. Decides that it is timely and relevant for UNESCO to prepare an international standard-setting instrument on the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of a recommendation;2. Requests the Director-General to ensure that a sufficient number of intergovernmental consultations be held in presenting the text of the aforementioned recommendation;3. Invites the Director-General to submit to it at its 41st session the draft text of a recommendation on the ethics of artificial intelligence in accordance with the Rules of Procedure concerning recommendations to Member States and international conventions covered by the terms of Article IV, paragraph 4, of the Constitution.“ In: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000369455
  2. [2] Siehe u.a. UNESCO-Courier, Paris, September 2018, Artificial Intelligence: The promises and the threats, in: https://unesco.public.lu/dam-assets/courriers/265211eng.pdf , und WISIS Forum, Genf, 24. April 2019, UNESCO Highlights the Ethical Dimensions of Artificial Intelligence, in https://en.unesco.org/news/unesco-highlights-ethical-dimensions-artificial-intelligence-wsis-forum-2019
  3. [3] UNESCO-Resolution 40C722, Paris, 27. November 2019, Report on the World Summit on the Information Society outcomes: „Recalling resolution 70/125 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 2015 on the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS),Having examined document 40 C/22,1. Takes note of the Report by the Director-General on the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS);2. Commits to harnessing the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);3. Invites Member States and all other stakeholders to strengthen their participation in, and contribution to, the endeavours of UNESCO’s World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in defining and applying Internet universality indicators, adopting access to information policies, ensuring international cooperation on the development of human-centred and ethical artificial intelligence, building inclusive knowledge societies for all, and contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;4. Requests the Director-General to continue reinforcing UNESCO’s leading role in the United Nations system in the implementation of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) outcomes, by building on UNESCO’s comparative advantages;5. Also requests the Director-General to submit to it at its 41st session a report for debate on implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) outcomes, along with a proposed resolution on the Organization’s roadmap towards the WSIS+20 Review in 2025.“ In https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000370277
  4. [4] UNESCO-Resolution 40C/78, Paris, 12. November 2019, Proclamation of an International Day against Violence and Bullying at School, including Cyberbullying, in: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000371434