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Morocco, USA Launch Group of Friends on AI for Sustainable Development

Morocco’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Omar Hilale, and his U.S. counterpart, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, launched, Friday in New York, the Group of Friends on AI for Sustainable Development (GoF AI4SD).

The launch of this Group, which held its first meeting at the ambassadorial level at the headquarters of the U.S. Permanent Mission in New York, comes following the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the first UN resolution on AI, initially co-sponsored by Morocco and the United States, then by 123 Member States.

This historic resolution defines a global consensus on Artificial Intelligence to support sustainable development.

Speaking during this event, Hilale underlined the need to build on the momentum triggered by the UN General Assembly Resolution to launch a platform allowing countries to promote efforts in digital cooperation and AI specifically.

This initiative aims to discuss common goals and possible contributions across this Group as well as the promises that AI offers and its impact on sustainable development in all its dimensions, the ambassador underlined.

“If used efficiently and ethically, AI is proving to be an engine that can help promote development, and even accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”, he pointed out.

The Ambassador also said that Global South countries, mainly in Africa, need all the tools, including AI, to help them accelerate the implementation of the SDGs.

“That is why Morocco will encourage many developing countries to be actively involved in this Group, in order to have a balanced approach to AI”, he underlined, adding that Morocco, aware of the huge potential of AI for Africa, hosted two weeks ago in Rabat the first African high-level forum on AI.

For her part, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations praised the partnership between Morocco and her country, as well as the leadership role that the Kingdom played in the efforts leading to the launch of GoF AI4SD.

She underlined that this Group is aimed at mobilizing efforts to accelerate achieving the SDGs by helping eradicate hunger and poverty, advance gender equality and economic growth, and tackle the climate crisis.

It is meant to engage discussions on “a future where rights-respecting AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy”, the diplomat said, adding that the Summit of the Future to take place in New York next September reminds us that the United Nations “has the power to effect meaningful change” and promote new ambition for sustainable development for the sake of present and future generations.

The Group of Friends will count on the institutional support of UNESCO and the International Communications Union (ITU) based respectively in Paris and Geneva and which together ensure the co-presidency of the working group of the United Nations system on artificial intelligence.