European Commission-UN retreat focuses on SDG Summit and AI governance

The retreat will primarily focus on the implementation of ‘Our Common Agenda,’ with an emphasis on human rights, AI governance, sustainable development goals, and the digital transition.


Ahead of the European Commission-United Nations Retreat, President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission and Secretary-General António Guterres of the UN held a press statement. The retreat, which took place on July 13-14, 2023, gathered President von der Leyen, 11 members of the College in Brussels, Secretary-General Guterres, and other senior UN officials for a working meeting.

The primary objectives of the retreat were to identify practical measures for implementing ‘Our Common Agenda’ proposed by the Secretary-General, which aims to enhance global governance inclusivity and effectiveness, as well as to strengthen collaboration in advancing human rights worldwide. Additionally, the meeting served as a platform to prepare for the forthcoming High-level week of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, including the SDG Summit.

As indicated, high on the agenda will be discussions about the governance of AI; ways of achieving sustainable development goals; and digital transition. Although the statement provided only a brief mention of AI, it acknowledged the importance of addressing both the positive and negative aspects of this transformative technology.