Responsible tech development in focus at UK-chaired OECD Global Forum

7 June 2023 | Muriel Cozier

Countries have gathered to ensure the development of emerging technologies remain responsible, values-based, and ethical.

The first OECD Global Forum on Technology was held in Paris on 6 June. Chaired by the UK’s Technology Secretary, Chloe Smith, the Forum, which was first announced during the OECD Digital Economy Ministerial meeting held in December 2022, brought together academia and the technology industry from OECD member and non-member countries. Topics covered included synthetic biology and emerging technologies to address climate change.

This inaugural event focused on identifying core questions and opening pathways for ‘continuing, inclusive dialogue and action to anticipate and respond to the opportunities and risks technology development brings.’

Over the longer term the Forum has five goals which include: identifying and analysing specific technological developments where there are gaps in existing fora and exploring nascent approaches to policy challenges and opportunities posed by emerging technologies and business.

As a major supporter of the Global Forum on Technology, the UK has already committed £2 million in funding, which will be used to help organise and host further events looking at the long-term opportunities and risks presented by emerging technologies. Spain and the US have also backed the Forum with funding.

Other countries attending the first meeting of the Forum included Australia, Brazil, Senegal, Ukraine, and the EU. Representatives from global businesses, trade unions and civil society groups were also in attendance.

As chair of the talks, the UK used the opportunity to highlight its ambitions to become an international technology superpower. ‘Today the UK will take the driving seat at the inaugural Global Forum on Technology, giving us and other and other like-minded countries an unprecedented platform to shape the world's future in technology,’ said Smith, as the event began.

The Global Technology Forum was held ahead of the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, taking place 7-8 June in Paris.

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