lighting, Diplomacy

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Regional Forum side event: Digital Black Box – CSO participation in AI-based surveys

14 March 2024


Event description

During the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development 2024, the Commonwealth Medical Trust (Commat) is organising a side event titled ‘Digital Black Box: CSO participation in AI-based surveys‘ on 14 March.

In this upcoming event, panellists will cast a spotlight on the potential obstacles the UN and other international organisations (IOs) might impose if their digital platforms designed to engage civil society organisations (CSOs) turn into a ‘digital black box’. Rather than serving as catalysts for engagement, these platforms might impede the active involvement of CSOs in important policymaking and negotiation processes. This event will examine the possibility of such a ‘black box’ phenomenon and point out its potential causes, with a specific focus on the UN and IOs’ use of digital platforms in CSO engagement.

  • Is the challenge technological?
  • Are limitations in financial and technical resources responsible for obstructing UN transparency and openness?
  • Or does the issue stem from a lack of clear policy mandates outlining CSO engagement and participation criteria?

Beyond addressing these concerns, the panel will also propose initial strategies aimed at amplifying CSO participation along the lines of:

  • New policy mandates for public disclosure.
  • Feedback mechanisms that allow the tracking of CSO submissions and updates.
  • Better digital tools tailored to enhance CSO engagement.
  • Best practices sharing from national, regional, and international initiatives.

The overarching aspiration is to chart a course towards a more transparent, inclusive, and effective CSO engagement in the digital landscape.

The full list of panellists includes:

  • Marianne Haslegrave, Commonwealth Medical Trust (Commat, organiser)
  • Raymond Saner, Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (CSEND)
  • Emad Tinawi, Coalition for a Common Digital Future (C4-CDF)
  • Yung-Hsuan Wu, DiploFoundation
  • Bernhard Fuhrer, Swiss Network of International Studies (SNIS)

Read here for more resources.