Being the FOC Chair for 2023, the USA focused on responsible AI use, UN SDGs, digital divides, and gender inclusion in technology.
Being the 2023 Chair of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), the USA gathered the Coalition’s Ministers, G77 representatives, and other stakeholders to discuss trends regarding AI technology, implementing inclusive approaches to digital technologies, and other relevant topics related to achieving UN sustainable development goals (SDGs).
With FOC being an intergovernmental coalition intended to promote and safeguard human rights online, the US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, emphasised the importance of responsibly using AI and digital technologies to achieve SDGs under the UN 2030 Agenda, tackling digital authoritarianism, the misuse of new technologies, as well as bridging the gap of the gender digital divide.
Blinken’s concerns with the UN 2030 Agenda lie within the fact that only 15% of general targets were achieved, and explains that this is currently one of the most prominent topics of the UNGA. To make use of advanced technological development, Blinken higlights the need for global policies and cooperation in managing digital technologies. Without proper governance, these technologies can be used for harmful purposes, undermining peace, prosperity, security, and human rights while hindering societal progress, he noted.
Blinken also highlited the commitment to enhancing access and inclusion in digital technologies. This includes addressing two types of digital divides: one related to access in certain countries or communities, and the other concerning gender disparities. Initiatives like the Women in the Digital Economy aim to bridge the gender digital divide by making technology more affordable and accessible, improving digital literacy for women and girls, ensuring online safety, and encouraging women’s leadership in developing digital technologies.