Disruptive technologies and rights-based resilience [ICP 2021]

Project summary

This project will support OHCHR B-Tech project which provides authoritative guidance and resources for implementing the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights (UNGPs) in the technology space. The GSPI sponsored cooperation between B-Tech and the Geneva Academy will facilitate the production of tailored scientific evidence and analysis based on International Human Rights Law and support the development of sustained science-policy relationships around this process from a UNGP’s lens.

Some of the new fast-evolving technologies, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, facial recognition technologies and the Internet of Things, can have profoundly disrupting effects on sociopolitical systems and pose significant human rights challenges. Several policy actors at the national and international level are calling for more firm and smart regulation of these technologies, going beyond ethics and placing the UNGPs and international human rights law (IHRL) at the center of regulatory and policy frameworks.

Improving regulations and grounding them in the UNGPs and IHRL is difficult because it requires coordinating a wide variety of actors at the domestic and international level, as well as within the public and the private sphere. In addition, research is needed to better understand the specific situations in which fast-paced technological changes generate sociopolitical stresses as well as the effectiveness of existing policy and regulatory responses so far.

This project aims to facilitate a multistakeholder consultative process to identify knowledge gaps, generate new evidence and co-design evidence-based tools to support regulatory and policy responses to human rights challenges linked to digital technologies.

Policy stakeholders build on relevant evidence and on a shared understanding of the issues at stake to make effective, evidence-informed decisions about regulation and policy frameworks.

The project will implement the following activities:

  1. Analyse the situations in which fast-paced technological changes generate sociopolitical stresses and evaluation of existing policy and regulatory responses;
  2. Hold multistakeholder workshops to review the initial findings and consolidate them into a working paper;
  3. Hold thematic consultations with stakeholders from States, the technology industry; international organizations, academia and civil society on specific regulatory challenges and related policy responses;
  4. Publish and disseminate related policy brief and project outputs;
  5. Draft follow-up projects to sustain the collaboration between B-Tech and relevant scientists.
Duration
1 July 2021 – 28 February 2022
Project core partners
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