World Economic Forum Technology Governance Network Expands to more than 100 Organizations, Five G7 Nations

23 Jan 2019

Fon Mathuros, Head of Media, World Economic Forum: Tel.: +41 (0)79 201 0211; Email:

· The Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network grows to more than 100 businesses and governments, including five G7 nations: Canada, France, Japan, United States, United Kingdom

· Colombia, Israel and United Arab Emirates launch the Network’s first Affiliate Centres to accelerate and scale pilot projects

· UNICEF, OHCHR, WFP are the first international organizations to join

· For more information on our Annual Meeting, please visit

Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 23 January 2019 – The World Economic Forum, the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation, today announced that more than 100 forward-looking international organizations, businesses and governments have joined the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network to co-design and pilot new policies for emerging technologies.

UNICEF, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the World Food Programme, are the first international organizations partnering with the Network. They will help design human-centred policies for emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is moving faster than anyone expected,” said Murat Sönmez, Managing Director and Head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network. “Businesses and governments are falling behind in responding to this pace, continuously operating in the ‘too late zone’. As the platform for global technology policy the Centre Network aims to accelerate the creation and implementation of forward-looking governance protocols. The addition of Affiliate Centres is critical in capturing this opportunity so that the Fourth Industrial Revolution benefits not just the few but society as a whole.”

20+ governmental partners

At the Annual Meeting 2019, new partnerships with the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco (the Network’s headquarters) were announced by the governments of Azerbaijan, Canada, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey and Viet Nam. The United Kingdom announced this week that it will be expanding its current AI partnership with the Network to include a new initiative with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to develop innovative regulatory approaches for emerging technologies that can be scaled globally.

They join the following governmental organizations already working on projects across the Network: Bahrain, Brazil, China, City of San Francisco, Denmark, India, Inter-American Development Bank, National Governors Association (USA), Japan, Rwanda, State of Maharashtra (India), State of Andhra Pradesh (India), United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates.

80+ business partners

Businesses and start-ups are crucial parts of the Network’s multistakeholder approach. Centre Partners are global companies with the scale and ambition to help chart Fourth Industrial Revolution governance and some of the world’s most dynamic start-ups. More than 80 of these companies are engaged with the Centre Network. The newest additions include: Amazon Web Services, Cognite, Deloitte, Guardian Life,, Netflix, Vara Technology and Visa. Our newest start-up partners include: AirMap, Curl Analytics, Diginex, Fiscal Note, Global Gene Corp, Integral Petroleum, LCX, LYNK and MetricStream.

Focused on impact

Over the past year, the Network helped Rwanda write the world’s first agile drone regulation and is scaling it across Africa and Asia, developed actionable governance toolkits for corporate executives on blockchain, co-designed the first-ever Industrial IoT (IIoT) Safety and Security Protocol (with pilot implementation by a leading global insurance company being announced this week), and created a personal data policy framework with the UAE for governments looking to balance the risks and opportunities of emerging technologies.

At this year’s Annual Meeting, a new global initiative focused on accelerating the responsible and sustainable development of smart cities was launched. This work will be based in Japan, where more than 90% of the population currently lives in cities. Leveraging Japan’s role as chair of the G20 Summit this year, a coalition of G20 cities will be formed to help ensure that global smart city efforts are built upon a common set of human-centred principles and shared policy frameworks.

This week, Centre teams will be previewing new policies to help corporate boards steward the responsible adoption of AI by their companies and new blueprints to ensure that internet-of-things devices are deployed effectively and responsibly.

Over the next months, teams will be launching a policy playbook to ensure safe, equitable, efficient and sustainable adoption of autonomous vehicles; a governance framework to balance anonymity and transparency on blockchains that will be piloted this year by the Government of Colombia; a data-sharing platform in India that enables precision agriculture while protecting privacy, which can be scaled up globally; guidelines for government use of AI that will be piloted by the United Kingdom and numerous other governments; Precision Medicine Readiness Principles that can be used by policy-makers in low-resource contexts beginning with partners in Africa; and a governance framework to unlock cross-border access to health data for precision medicine that will be piloted by institutions in Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Quotes from our new partners

UNICEF: “AI has great potential to improve the quality of children’s lives but, without effective governance, it could present serious threats to their well-being. UNICEF is excited to be partnering with the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution to develop innovative governance approaches that maximize the benefits of AI for children while minimizing its risks,” said Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF.

World Food Programme (WFP): “To get to zero hunger, the world needs innovative tools and approaches. Blockchain technology has the potential to increase supply chain efficiency by allowing us to track in real time where food shipments are – from the point of origin to the moment it is dispatched for delivery from our warehouses. Through blockchain, the humanitarian community can share this information and, in times of emergency, the partners can call forward stocks for families in urgent need. This collaboration with the Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution will help the humanitarian community bring the technology to scale,” said David Beasley, Executive Director of WFP.

Azerbaijan: “Azerbaijan has already undertaken a number of strategic initiatives to achieve its goal of becoming a global leader in digital trade and e-commerce, including the establishment of the Digital Trade Hub and world-leading e-residency programme. Through its exciting partnership with the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Government of Azerbaijan will accelerate and expand this progress, creating new opportunities for Azerbaijani businesses and citizens and positioning Azerbaijan as a global leader in this fast-growing space,” said Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Canada: “Success in the digital age relies not only on our ability to create, commercialize and implement digital technologies, but also on ensuring all our citizens can benefit. Canada is partnering with the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network fellowship programme to advance our work on these critical issues, ensuring a strong, global approach to tackling the challenges while seizing the opportunities that lie ahead,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development of Canada.

Turkey: “Productivity growth and innovative technologies became main drivers for increase in value added and sound economic growth within the knowledge-based society transformation. Those factors are also crucial for increasing competitive power of the Turkish economy. With this in mind, digitalization, which promises to boost productivity growth, is going to be an important anchor for structural transformation of the Turkish economy. In line with this, thanks to high-level guidance and ownership from H.E. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, we pay utmost importance to the partnership between our ministry and the World Economic Forum on this strategic priority. With the help of technical leadership of TUBITAK, this partnership will co-design and pilot governance tools and frameworks to address opportunities and challenges related to enabling technologies of digitalization, especially focusing on artificial intelligence. Besides, the combined value of digital transformation across industries is expected to be greater than $100 trillion over the next 10 years, but the full potential will not be achieved without collaboration between policy-makers, business and NGOs. Therefore, this deepened cooperation between the Forum and Turkey will be not only a win-win for both of us, but also beneficial for developing creative and collaborative solutions for the international community at large,” said Mustafa Varank, Minister of Industry and Technology of Turkey.

Viet Nam: “Viet Nam will work closely with the Forum on the Digital Trade Project, focusing on mobile money. This project aims to help Viet Nam develop policies to enable its citizens to purchase or transfer money through their mobile accounts. This project will make electronic transaction and e-commerce possible to every single citizen, even in the rural areas, and therefore, help stimulate economic growth. By doing this, this project will also help Viet Nam achieve the goal of bridging the digital gap between rural and urban areas,” said Nguyen Manh Hung, Minister of Information and Communications of Viet Nam.

The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network brings together governments, leading companies, civil society and experts from around the world to co-design and pilot innovative approaches to the policy and governance of technology. Its vision is to shape the development and use of technology in ways that maximize the benefits and minimize the risks. The network develops, implements and scales up agile and human-centred pilot projects that can be adopted by policy-makers, legislators and regulators worldwide.

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