Thu. Oct 6th, 2022

Bern, 16 September 2022

The Federal Council is committed to Switzerland playing an active role in shaping Council of Europe rules on artificial intelligence. At its meeting of 16 September, the Federal Council therefore approved the negotiation mandate of the Swiss delegation to the Council of Europe Committee on Artificial Intelligence.

The Council of Europe Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAI) was established at the beginning of 2022 with a mandate to draw up a binding legal framework on artificial intelligence by November 2023. Negotiations will begin at the CAI plenary session from 21 to 23 September 2022. At the first meeting in April, Thomas Schneider, ambassador and vice-director of the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM), was elected to chair the committee.

The Swiss delegation will advocate for the positions that the Federal Council adopted on 16 September and promote international rules developed on the basis of existing law. The new legal framework should regulate the negative effects of artificial intelligence rather than the technology itself. It is also important to foster innovation while guaranteeing human rights, including data protection. Designed to leave states with significant freedom, the rules can be applied by all countries that share the same values based on human rights, democracy and the rule of law, whether or not they are members of the Council of Europe.

In defining the mandate of the Swiss delegation, the Federal Council drew on the conclusions of the FDFA’s Artificial Intelligence and International Rules report, which it had taken note of on 13 April, as well as on the digital foreign policy strategy 2021-2024.

Involving various stakeholders 

The Federal Council also stresses the importance of transparent and inclusive negotiations involving all stakeholders, such as the private sector, non-governmental organisations and the scientific community.

Led by Ambassador Roger Dubach, the Swiss delegation will include representatives of OFCOM, the Directorate of International Law and the Federal Office of Justice. At national level, the work also involves the Plateforme Tripartite – a national multi-stakeholder platform for people and institutions to discuss the information society, internet and digital governance, and artificial intelligence – as well as the Competence Network for Artificial Intelligence established by the Federal Council.

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