The EFTA Forum adopts opinions on sustainable development and artificial intelligence

Published 02-07-2019
Mayors and representatives of local and regional authorities from Iceland and Norway convened on 27-28 May, for the 19th meeting of the EFTA Forum of Local and Regional Authorities. The Minister for Environment of the canton of Jura, Switzerland, attended as an observer. Coming together in the scenic municipality of Hurdal, an hour north of Oslo, Norway, the meeting was moderated by the outgoing Chair of the EFTA Forum, Mr Nils Røhne, mayor of Stange municipality.

The main focus of the meeting was on sustainable development and how the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) are followed up at local and regional level. A visit to the eco-village in Hurdal, which focuses on reducing the human ‘carbon footprint’ as much as possible and is the only one of its kind in Norway, was met with great interest among the members of the Forum. This was also the case for the discussion with the invited guest speaker, Roger Robert, the County Mayor of Buskerud, who informed that all important political decisions taken by the new regional government of Viken now need to be justified as to how they comply with the SDGs.

Opinions adopted
The EFTA Forum adopted two opinions at its meeting. The first is an opinion on the European Commission’s reflection paper on a Sustainable Europe by 2030, which focuses on how the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should be followed up at local and regional level. The second is an opinion on the Ethical Guidelines for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence. Among other things, this last resolution underlines that local and regional levels of governance have to deal with a twofold dilemma; on the one hand to make sure AI can support industrial development and on the other, make ensure that AI does not compromise the date protection of the inhabitants, for example in the health sector.

The EFTA Forum elected Ms Rakel Óskarsdóttir from Iceland as its new Chair for the coming year.

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