7 February 2024, New York, USA – The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) New York Office, in partnership with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Costa Rica to the United Nations and the Simon Institute for Long Term Governance, hosted a day-long seminar entitled 'Training course on AI governance for UN missions in New York' on both 6 and 7 February 2024. Over 60 participants from dozens of countries attended this series aimed to enhance engagement in negotiations of the Global Digital Compact (GDC) and the Pact for the Future.

This interactive seminar comprised four sessions focused on AI Governance. It aimed to improve participants’ understanding of AI research and development, the impact of AI on economies, societies, and governments, and the challenges of AI governance. Maxime Stauffer and Belinda Cleeland from the Simon Institute for Long Term Governance led scenario-building exercises to explore how the United Nations can influence AI governance and AI's role in the Global Digital Compact.


Mr. Marco A. Suazo, head of UNITAR New York office, and H.E. Ms. Maritza Chan, Ambassador to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Costa Rica to the United Nations, inaugurated the seminar. The first session, an AI technical primer by Stauffer and Cleeland, introduced or further acquainted participants with AI, discussing its current role in the technological landscape. Lewis Ho, from Google Deepmind, specializing in long-term strategy and governance, and author of 'International Institutions for Advanced AI,' joined as an expert guest on AI governance.

In the second session, Stauffer and Cleeland explored AI risks and opportunities, followed by a scenario-building exercise. The latter half of the course shifted focus to AI governance. The third session examined various methods to govern AI, emphasizing that AI, being a diverse technology, requires different governance models. The final session featured Dr. Renata Dawn, Special Advisor in the Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Technology. It concluded that while the UN is at an early stage of AI governance, the Global Digital Compact presents a significant opportunity for advancement.

Share with