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Good morning, this is Paula. Ahead of a busy year in tech talks in Geneva and New York with the upcoming Summit of the Future, the issue of transparency in artificial intelligence will be an important one to tackle.

Before anyone came up with the term United Nations, the League of Nations set more cornerstones for its namesake in international Geneva than meets the eye, according to historian Pierre-Etienne Bourneuf, who has spent a lot of time in Palais archives.

Meanwhile, health ministers are meeting in Panama to discuss tobacco control and vapes.

photo journaliste

Paula Dupraz-Dobias


On our radar

Photo article

Digital Saudi House in Davos, 18 January 2023. (Geneva Solutions/Paula Dupraz-Dobias)

AI transparency: where should the goalpost be planted? As artificial intelligence (AI) swoops into our daily lives, often unbeknownst to many of us, its effectiveness and trustworthiness rely on the very data it can collect and programme. Fostering trust around technology depends on transparency, but how to go about that needs thoughtful consideration, experts say.

Geneva Solutions

A century apart, the League of Nations holds up a mirror to the UN. A book by Pierre-Etienne Bourneuf, scientific advisor at Palais des Nations, reveals how a number of touchy issues relating to international Geneva have persisted for over a century – starting with the disconnect between the locals and the foreign staff.

Geneva Solutions

What to watch this week

🚬CLEARING THE AIR. State parties to the World Health Organization’s Framework on Tobacco Control are meeting this week in Panama where new tobacco and nicotine products are set to take centre stage as well as the industry’s intensive lobbying efforts.

Stats. Smoking causes eight million deaths annually, including 1.3 million caused by second-hand smoke. Meanwhile, intense lobbying by cigarette companies has seen a growing market in e-cigarettes, which also contain nicotine, increasingly targeting children.

🎣REELED IN. After striking a deal in 2022 to ban harmful subsidies to protect the ocean’s fish, states are racing to hammer out a draft by Friday that will lay out the conditions under which they can grab onto some of their precious subsidies – provided that they report them and show the fished fish stocks are doing great.

Low-hanging fruit. It’s one of the key items on the agenda for the World Trade Organization’s upcoming big meet in Abu Dhabi – and one with better chances of success if trade ministers don’t secure progress on more contentious topics like agriculture and e-commerce.

Hooked. Expect a significant push for carveouts from countries hoping to protect their current or future subsidies. We’ll have more on that this week.

🫘VENEZUELA’S FOOD CRISIS. The UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food is visiting Venezuela from 1 to 14 February amid the country’s ongoing complex humanitarian emergency.

In numbers. A recent survey by HumVenezuela showed that nearly 70 per cent of people had stopped consuming certain food as a survival measure, with roughly the same number living under multidimensional poverty. More than 7.7 million Venezuelans have fled the country, representing a greater number than refugees from Syria or Ukraine.

US blow. Michael Fakhri’s visit comes days after the United States moved to reimpose sanctions on the country’s key oil and gas sector after Caracas banned the opposition from upcoming elections.

Also on the agenda

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