STI Forum Side Event: Generative AI for the SDGs: Friend or Foe, Hope or Hype? 


May 4, 2023


UNHQ New York, NY

Relevant Resources

Side Event:

Title: Generative AI for the SDGs: Friend or Foe, Hope or Hype? 
Date: 4 May 2023
Time: 13h15 – 14h30 EST
Place: UNHQ, New York, Conference Room 9
Hosts: Broadband Commission, ITU, Global Partnerships Forum, Permanent Mission of Romania
Attendance: Must be registered for STI Forum
Live Stream: UN Web TV

Generative AI, a subfield of AI that can create novel content or ideas, such as images, music, and text, without human input, can be a powerful tool for advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It has the potential to inform new and creative solutions to complex problems like climate change, food insecurity, healthcare and education, but is also raising many ethical concerns. Progress in the understanding and implementation of generative AI tools will require multistakeholder efforts and collaborative decision-making to ensure a safe and inclusive digital future for all. 

This roundtable will present a landscape overview of generative AI, including benefits and risks of its use and the current UN response to the rapidly evolving technology. In the first portion of our discussion, we will explore the potential use-cases of generative AI for accelerating progress on the SDGs, the inherent risks associated with its application, and what safeguards may be needed to protect users. In the second portion, we will shift the focus to dialogue regarding potential collaborations and partnerships for shaping future policies and frameworks that maximize the use and safety of generative AI. By engaging in this dialogue, we can work collaboratively towards establishing guidelines, regulations, and ethical standards that ensure responsible and beneficial use of generative AI technology.


Sinead Bovell, Founder of WAYE

Amir Dossal, Broadband Commissioner and Founder & Chairman, Global Partnerships Forum

  • Ms. Ursula Wynhoven, ITU Representative to the UN   
  • H.E. Mr. Cornel Feruţă, Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations  
  • Mr. Guilherme Canela Godoi, UNESCO, Chief of Section, Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists  
  • Mr. Gayan Peiris, UNDP, Head of Data & Technology
  • Ms. Amira Dhalla, Consumer Reports, Director of Impact Partnerships and Programs  
  • Mr. Rami Amin, World Bank, Project Leader    
  • Mr. Dan Altman, Google, Lead, Technology and Society   
  • Ms. Cass Matthews, Microsoft, Office of Responsible AI

About the STI Forum:

The eighth annual Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs (STI Forum) will be held from 3 to 4 May 2023. The Forum will be convened by the President of ECOSOC Her Excellency Lachezara Stoeva who has appointed two co-chairs – H.E. Ms. Mathu Joyini, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations and H.E. Mr. Thomas Woodroffe, United Kingdom Ambassador to the UN Economic and Social Council. As per its mandate, the Forum will be organized by the UN interagency task team on STI for the SDGs (IATT), convened by UN-DESA and UNCTAD, and the 10-Member Group of high-level representatives appointed by the Secretary General. 

In line with recent mandates and as in previous years, the STI Forum will facilitate discussions on science, technology and innovation cooperation in support of the SDGs. In addition to providing the mandated inputs for the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development to be held from 10 to 19 July 2023, the Forum will also take a broader look at the contribution of STI to the achievement of all the SDGs in recognition of the September mid-term review of SDG progress.

Accordingly, the theme for the STI Forum 2023 is: “Science, technology and innovation for accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels”.