Remarks at the UN General Assembly High-Level Forum on the Culture of Peace in the Digital Era

Edward Heartney
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
August 31, 2023


Thank you, Moderator, and all the panelists for their very interesting discussion.

The United States welcomes the opportunity today to share our views on the topic of Promoting a Culture of Peace in the Digital Era.

The global internet and digital technologies continue to be a powerful catalyst for sustainable development and dynamic platforms and tools that can be used to advance economic development, greater social and civic inclusion, and respect for human rights.

When applied specifically to peace and security efforts, digital technologies have the potential to improve conflict analysis, enhance early warning and prevention efforts, support mediation and peacebuilding activities, and help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.

But as we all recognize at this point, digital technologies are neither inherently good nor inherently evil. The same potential to do good can also be leveraged by nefarious actors to promulgate hate, violence, and bigotry, increase instability and conflict, and widen the gap between the haves and have-nots.

Global cooperation is key to mitigate the risks.

The United States continues to work with global partners toward an environment that: reinforces the ability of all people to participate online; secures and protects individuals’ privacy; maintains secure and reliable connectivity; resists efforts to splinter the global Internet; and promotes a free and competitive global economy.

The United Nations has done important work on these issues.

Under the Presidency of the United States, the UN Security Council in May 2022 considered the Role of Digital Technologies in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security. And earlier this year, under the UK presidency, the Security Council considered the implications from Artificial Intelligence.

Further dialogue is needed, both inside and outside the UN system, on how to take a human-centric and human rights-respecting approach to digital technologies, to maximize the benefits while mitigating the risks particularly for those most vulnerable to facing online harassment and abuse.

The United States is committed to that work and looks forward to continuing that conversation with all stakeholders.

Thank you.