United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)


UNECE’s major aim is to promote pan-European economic integration. UNECE includes 56 member States in Europe, North America and Asia. However, all interested United Nations member States may participate in the work of UNECE. Over 70 international professional organizations and other non-governmental organizations take part in UNECE activities.

Description of Activities on AI

Project 1: Validation Method for Automated Vehicles

UNECE is working in the framework of the 1958 and 1998 Multilateral Agreements (allowing for the adoption of technical regulations) on the development of a methodology that can be used by the national and regional competent authorities for the assessment of the artificial intelligence used in automated vehicles. This work is co-Chaired by Japan, Canada and the Netherlands.

Project 2: The United for Smart Sustainable Cities initiative (U4SSC)

In 2016, UNECE and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) established the UN global initiative United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC), which currently involves 16 UN bodies. U4SSC is a global platform for smart cities stakeholders, which advocates for public policies to encourage the use of ICT to facilitate the transition to smart sustainable cities. The initiative aims to: Generate guidelines, policies and frameworks for the integration of ICTs into urban operations, based on the SDGs, international standards and urban key performance indicators (KPIs); and help streamline smart sustainable cities action plans and establish best practices with feasible targets that urban development stakeholders are encouraged to meet. The topics of this phase of U4SSC are: circular cities, financing smart sustainable cities projects, blockchain in cities, artificial intelligence in cities, sensing technologies and Internet of Things in cities.

Project 3: High-Level Group for Modernisation of Official Statistics (HLG-MOS) Machine Learning Project

Machine Learning (ML) holds a great potential for statistical organisations. It can make the production of statistics more efficient by automating certain production processes or assisting humans to carry out the processes. It also allows statistical organisations to use new data types of data such as social media data and imagery. Many national statistical offices (NSOs) are investigating how ML can be used in the context of official statistics which have to maintain rigorous standards for quality. While specific business environment may vary depending on country, NSOs face similar type of problems, therefore can benefit from developing shared understanding and solution within the broad official statistical community. HLG-MOS Machine Learning Project aims to demonstrate the value addition of ML, advance capability of NSOs to use ML and identify common issues encountered when incorporating ML in the organisation. The project consists of three work packages: 1) pilot studies to identify ML application areas; 2) research on the quality implication of ML; 3) organizational aspects to integrate ML into production

Project 4: Advisory Group on Advanced Technologies in Trade and Logistics (AGAT)

The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) has established the Advisory Group on Advanced Technologies in Trade and Logistics in order to advise and support the UNECE secretariat and UN/CEFACT on advanced technologies in trade facilitation and electronic business. The technologies in question include Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) such as blockchain, and – the most recent areas of rapid development in the international supply chain.

As we are at the intersection of several cutting-edge technologies that are redefining interactions between the physical and virtual world, driving disruption and enabling new business modes. The importance of technology innovation is recognized in by the international community in Sustainable Development Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Technology fields such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Distributed Ledger Technology, Quantum Computing, Cloud/Fog/Edge computing, 5G and connectivity related ones, hold significant promise in trade facilitation. Given these cutting-edge developments in technology, it becomes important to keep up to date with the latest trends to evaluate which trends and approaches may be viable for future developments, investments and practical implementation.

Related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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