New technologies must be “force for good”, says Secretary-General at Web Summit

On Monday, the Secretary-General spoke at the Web Summit in Lisbon and stressed the need for “cutting edge technologies to maximize their positive impacts on people and on the planet and at the same time to limit the risks of their misuse.” Speaking about the danger posed by the “weaponization of artificial intelligence”, he stated that “machines that have the power and the discretion to take human lives are politically unacceptable, are morally repugnant, and should be banned by international law.”  The Secretary-General said he would like the United Nations to be a platform where governments, academia, scientists, companies and civil society can come together and agree on protocols, codes of conduct and other mechanisms that allow for cyberspace, digital technologies, the Web and artificial intelligence to be “a force for good.”


Security Council debates multilateralism and the United Nations

On Friday, the Secretary-General delivered remarks at a Security Council open debate on “strengthening multilateralism and the role of the United Nations”.  He noted that the discussion was taking place only days before the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. “Europe was multi-polar at that time, but that was not enough to keep violence at bay. Without mechanisms for international problem-solving, war erupted and lasted for years. It took a second global cataclysm to trigger the multilateral arrangements we know today. These have a proven track record in saving lives, generating economic and social progress and avoiding a third descent into world war,” he said. The Secretary-General said that today, “multilateral efforts are under immense stress”, and that “key assumptions have been upended, key endeavours undermined, and key institutions undercut”.  He called for a “return to international cooperation” and for a “reformed, reinvigorated and strengthened multilateral system”.


Statements and Messages

On Somalia:

On the road accident in Zimbabwe:

On abductions in Cameroon:

For World Tsunami Awareness Day:

On the Second World Forum on Urban Violence (video):

On aid delivery in Syria:

Senior Appointments

Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico as Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit:

Major General Cheryl Pearce of Australia as Force Commander of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP):

Next Week

The Secretary-General will attend, in Paris, a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. He will also participate in the Paris Peace Forum and the Internet Governance Forum.