I thank the conveners for this meeting and the briefers for their remarks.
The Security Council is seized by many contexts where modern technology can make a difference.
How can we maximize the potential of such technologies while mitigating their risks?
First: New technologies can help detect crises, make peacekeepers safer, peace operations more performant and humanitarian action more effective. Imagine your loved ones are missing, in the aftermath of an earthquake or an airstrike. A Swiss company developed the first collision-tolerant search-and-rescue drone. This drone makes it possible to look for victims in places difficult to access, and plan for their rescue. But technologies can also be abused. They often rely on the collection of data, and their misuse can be dangerous. Switzerland, the ICRC and OCHA have launched the Humanitarian Data and Trust Initiative to ensure that data-related technologies in humanitarian action are used responsibly, and to develop shared principles and guidance.
Second: Emerging technologies must be developed and used in full compliance with international law, both in the physical and virtual space. The General Assembly just reaffirmed that international law applies to cyberspace. Under the umbrella of the UN, we need to clarify how to apply those rules and make cyberspace more open, secure and peaceful. In order to ensure conformity with international humanitarian law and satisfy ethical concerns, human control is necessary concerning autonomous weapon systems. Promoting trust and human rights must be at the center of digital cooperation and the Secretary-General’s Roadmap.
Third: Partnerships are key. In Switzerland, together with businesses and research entities we foster technological solutions for development cooperation, including in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. We involve fintech and blockchain start-ups in our multilateral efforts. The Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator supports the international community in dealing with emerging technologies. And the private sector is part of the Geneva Dialogue on Responsible Behavior in Cyberspace.
The impact of new technologies on peace and security is real. It is encouraging that the Council embraces this issue, just as it deals with other contemporary challenges such as climate change. The Council should assess benefits and risks of new technologies and promote partnerships to unlock their potential while preventing abuse. As a candidate for the Council, we will further promote innovation to enhance peace.
I thank you.