Imagine what can be and be unburdened by what has been: Four Pillars week

Imagine what can be and be unburdened by what has been: Four Pillars week

There are decades where weeks happen, and weeks where decades happen. THat is certainly true of the past couple of months in not just American issues, but the whole Four Pillars space as well.

In Europe, it is now formally official that Ursula von der Leyen, the 2020 World Peace and Security Award recipient, has been re-elected as president of the European Commission. This gives Europe a renewed strong hand of leadership, actively promoting the position of the EU and the continent as a major bloc and strengthening the unity of the bloc too. A strong Europe is a strong Pillar.

The main course this week is, of course, Biden’s decision to no longer seek reelection. He will be serving the rest of this term, and has chosen VP Kamala Harris as the heir-apparent to the nomination. Even though the past two months can be characterized by stubbornness, his administration and its foreign policy objectives have been critical to restoring normalcy and strengthening the alliance networks that one can now see taking shape in the Four Pillars. Policies such as the CHIPS Act, the renewed commitment to Japan, South Korea, and NATO, and the approach with India are important to the groundworks of the Four Pillars. We would like to thank his Cincinnatian decision and the frameworks set up during his term.

On the other side of the aisle, Trump has selected the junior Ohio Senator J.D. Vance as his running mate. Rather than a moderate pick, he instead has doubled down on American isolationism. Vance has openly expressed his contempt for Ukraine’s resistance against Russian invasion. Both of these men have also signaled willingness to throw the Pillars (Japan, India, Europe) and Taiwan under the bus vis-a-vis Chinese aggression. In other words, the implications of a Trump victory spells disaster for the Four Pillars’ mission in preserving and defending the rules-based order.

Hopefully, being unburdened by the weight of fear of China’s economic rise and growing political influence, the Four Pillars can imagine an alliance or platform to protect democracy, peace, and security in the Asia-Pacific and across the world.

Article of the week – Expanding AUKUS Pillar 2: An Inclusive Indo-Pacific Alliance Structure [Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies]

EU Publishes Groundbreaking AI Act, Initial Obligations Set to Take Effect on February 2, 2025

EU Publishes Groundbreaking AI Act, Initial Obligations Set to Take Effect on February 2, 2025

The original article was published on WilmerHale.

The EU Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on July 12, 2024, as “Regulation (EU) 2024/1689 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2024 laying down harmonised rules on artificial intelligence.” Please see our earlier blog post for a general overview of the AI Act.

While the AI Act will generally apply starting on August 2, 2026, the exact milestones are quite nuanced and complex, with some provisions applying as early as February 2, 2025.

Below, we set out the key dates for the various operators, especially providers and deployers, as well as the dates by which the European Commission will have to prepare implementing acts, documentation and reports to assist the operators to ensure compliance with the AI Act.

 

—– 2024 —–

August 1, 2024

Entry into force of the AI Act (Article 113). This means that the AI Act becomes part of the EU legal order. It does not mean that the provisions of the AI Act are applicable.

November 2, 2024

By this date, Member States must have identified the public authorities or bodies that supervise or enforce obligations under EU law protecting fundamental rights, including the right to nondiscrimination, in relation to the use of high-risk AI systems referred to in Annex III of the AI Act (Article 77(2)).

 

—– 2025 —–

February 2, 2025

Chapters I and II will apply from this date (Article 113(a)). These include the general provisions (e.g., geographic scope, definitions) and the provisions on prohibited AI practices (see our client alert). Therefore, evaluating activities that might be considered “prohibited practices” under Article 5 of the AI Act should start as soon as possible.

The general obligation to ensure a sufficient level of AI literacy of staff under Article 4 of the AI Act will also apply from this date.

May 2, 2025

By this date, codes of practice for the implementation of general-purpose AI models and related obligations must be ready (Article 56(9)). These codes should support providers in achieving compliance with their duties relating to general-purpose AI models.

August 2, 2025

From this date, Chapter III, Section 4 (Notifying authorities and notified bodies), Chapter V (General-purpose AI models), Chapter VII (Governance) and Chapter XII (Penalties) will apply (except for Article 101, which deals with fines for providers of general-purpose AI models).

Chapter III, Section 4 deals with notifying authorities and notified bodies, which are essential for the establishment of conformity assessment bodies.
Chapter V contains the provisions related to general-purpose AI models introduced late in the legislative process; for example, the mandatory notification procedure for the provider (Article 52 (1)), documentation requirements (Article 53) and the appointment of an authorized representative (Article 54). Article 55 contains additional responsibilities focusing on the evaluation and mitigation of systemic risk and cyber and infrastructure security.
Chapter VII sets out the governance structure on the EU level, including the AI Office, the European Artificial Intelligence Board, the advisory forum and the scientific panel. On the Member State level, the competent authorities must be appointed by this date (Article 70(2)).

By the same date, the European Commission must finalize its guidance to facilitate compliance with the reporting obligations in case of serious incidents (Article 73(7)).

Chapter XII deals with penalties. This includes Article 99(3), which specifies the fines for noncompliance with prohibited AI practices referred to in Article 5. These fines can reach €35 million, or up to 7% of worldwide annual revenue, if the offender is an undertaking.

 

—– 2026 —–

February 2, 2026

By this date, the European Commission will issue implementing acts creating a template for high-risk AI providers’ post-market monitoring plans, which should serve as the basis for said monitoring system established by Article 72.

Similarly, the European Commission must, by this date, provide guidelines for the practical implementation of Article 6 concerning the classification of an AI system as high risk (Article 6(5)).

August 2, 2026

This is the default date for the provisions of the AI Act being applicable.

The obligations regarding high-risk AI systems will apply from this date, including risk and quality management systems, diligent data governance, technical documentation, recordkeeping, and transparency and information obligations.

Chapter IV addresses operators of AI systems directly interacting with humans, generative AI systems, and emotion recognition or biometric categorization systems, introducing disclosure and information responsibilities (see our client alert).

By this date, Member States must have implemented rules on penalties and other enforcement measures and notified the European Commission about them (Article 99).

At least one AI regulatory sandbox must be operational at a national level (Article 57(1)).

 

—– 2027 —–

August 2, 2027

This is the ultimate deadline for AI systems covered by existing harmonization legislation (Article 113(c)) and for providers of general-purpose AI models that have been placed on the market up to 12 months after August 1, 2024, to comply with the AI Act.

Congratulations to Ursula von der Leyen, 2020 World Leader for Peace and Security Award Recipient, on her re-election as European Commission President

Congratulations to Ursula von der Leyen, 2020 World Leader for Peace and Security Award Recipient, on her re-election as European Commission President

Dear President Ursula von der Leyen,

We are writing to extend our heartfelt congratulations on your re-election as President of the European Commission. Your leadership and unwavering commitment to peace and security have been exemplary, earning you the 2020 World Leader for Peace and Security Award.

Your re-election is a testament to your dedication and the trust placed in you by the European community and the European Union. As you continue to lead, we look forward to witnessing the positive impact of your vision and initiatives on growth, peace, and security in Europe and around the world.

The Boston Global Forum is committed to supporting your efforts in promoting peace and security. Under your leadership, we are confident that the European Commission will continue to advance these crucial objectives. We look forward to collaborating with you to achieve these shared goals.

 

With warmest regards,

Governor Michael Dukakis
Co-founder and Chair
Boston Global Forum

Nguyen Anh Tuan
Co-chair and CEO
Boston Global Forum

Yasuhide Nakayama and The Children’s Future of the World Conference, in support of the United Nations, are exploring coordination with the Japan Parade in New York in 2025

Yasuhide Nakayama and The Children’s Future of the World Conference, in support of the United Nations, are exploring coordination with the Japan Parade in New York in 2025

This article was originally published in Japanese on Tokyo Headline, and was translated to English using DeepL.

The Children’s Conference of the Future in Support of the United Nations ~The Project Launch Event in New York 2024~” will be held at the United Nations Headquarters DDR on July 17 (local time), the last day of the High Level Political Forum at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA. Conference of the Future in Support of the United Nations ~The Project Launch Event in New York 2024~” at the United Nations Headquarters DDR on July 17 (local time), Mr. Koji Ichiki, Representative Director of the Peace Communication Foundation, and Mr. Nakayama, former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Yasuhide Nakayama, former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director for External Relations of the Foundation, visited Mr. Mikio Mori, Consul General and Ambassador of Japan in New York, at the Consulate General of Japan in New York on July 16, 2012.

During the visit, they discussed collaboration with the “Japan Parade,” which is held every May in New York to introduce and promote Japanese culture, including traditional culture such as taiko drumming and martial arts, as well as pop culture, in the year 2025.

On the same day, Ambassador Kazuyuki Yamazaki, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, visited the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations in New York to thank the Permanent Mission of Japan for its cooperation in the “Global Children’s Future Conference in Support of the United Nations” ceremony and project events to be held at UN Headquarters on April 17, and to discuss the exchange between Alpha generation children including Japanese and children around the world. He also explained the exchange between children of the Alpha generation, including those from Japan, and those from around the world, the exchange of opinions on creating global experiences through UN Headquarters, and plans for 2025, and asked for their continued readiness for cooperation.

The Week of Elections: Four Pillars week

The Week of Elections: Four Pillars week

This week saw three notable elections occurring, all with varying levels of importance for the Four Pillars.

Labour has won the UK general election. Although not a formal member of the EU anymore (and Bre-enter does not seem to be a plausible policy as of now), a UK on the rebound is good for strengthening the Pillar of Europe (they are still a NATO member after all). Keir Starmer and the new cabinet is also continuing on the strong support for Ukraine since the invasion began. A reinvigorated UK from the lost decade would be a key in maintaining the rules-based order around the world.

Macron called the French parliamentary elections early, in a major gamble that could hand a gift to the far-right, which sought to disrupt cooperation and collaboration within the EU and also abroad (read: with regards to the Four Pillars). The first round forecasted that the gamble failed, but after the run-off, it seems that Macron was vindicated – RN and Marine Le Pen fell to third in the voting. This is good for continued cooperation of the Pillars, and further French and European support for Ukraine, as Macron recently has been a major advocate in regional and international security. The full implications of this outcome is still yet to crystalize though.

Iran now has a new president, replacing the now-deceased Ibrahim Raisi. A supposed reformer, it is to be seen if this is a real reformist turn, or faux platitudes by the state. Since the Green Movement in the country, voter turnout has been decreasing, a marker of illegitimacy of the authoritarian and theocratic state – the voice of the public is not represented in government. It is to be seen how this will affect relations between Iran and its allies and rivals – most likely not very impactful.

Article of the week – What NATO Means to the World [Foreign Affairs]

Governor Michael Dukakis and BGF introduce Spiritual and Ethical Gifts to Inspire Youth Generations on U.S. Independence Day

Governor Michael Dukakis and BGF introduce Spiritual and Ethical Gifts to Inspire Youth Generations on U.S. Independence Day

On July 4th, 2024, Governor Michael Dukakis, co-founder and Chair of the Boston Global Forum, and the BGF began a new initiative designed to inspire and guide the youth generation towards values of peace, security, compassion, and innovation. Named “Spiritual and Ethical Gifts,” this initiative seeks to encourage young people worldwide to contribute to a better and more humane society.

The inaugural gifts of this initiative are special e-cards featuring topics related to the AI World Society and its core principles. These e-cards will focus on AIWS’s commitment to fostering peace, enhancing security, nurturing compassion, and driving innovation. Each e-card will serve as a source of inspiration and education, encouraging recipients to embrace and practice these values in their daily lives and future endeavors.

This initiative reflects the BGF’s dedication to shaping futures through ethical AI development and fostering new models for democracy. By connecting with the youths, the BGF aims to not only plant technologically proficiency, but also humane and ethical values for the next generations.

UNESCO rallies regulators from South-East Europe to debate on the governance of digital platforms

UNESCO rallies regulators from South-East Europe to debate on the governance of digital platforms

The full article on this UNESCO was published on its website.

As happens in different parts of the world, digital platforms in South-East Europe have certainly improved people’s access to information. However, they are also responsible for an increasing spread of harmful content, such as disinformation and hate speech, through human and automated systems. This threatens democracy, fuels conflict, hinders peacebuilding processes and undermines people’s right to access verified information, which is essential for quality public debate. These issues are particularly relevant in the Western Balkans, where the media sectors are deeply polarised and struggling for viability as concerns about media independence and integrity continue to undermine the credibility of journalism.

Within the “International Conference on the Digital Platform Governance: Building a Global Forum of Networks”, held in Dubrovnik on the occasion of the International Day for Countering Hate Speech (18 June), the Croatian Agency for Electronic Media (AEM) organised a roundtable titled “Digital platform governance through a multi-stakeholder and human rights based approach”. Supported by UNESCO, within the EU-funded project “Building Trust in Media in South-East Europe: Support to Journalism as a Public Good”, the roundtable brought together media regulatory authorities from UNESCO Member States including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia to exchange views on the governance of digital platforms, through a human-rights and multi-stakeholder based approach.

In his opening remarks, Tawfiq Jelassi, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, noted referring to freedom of expression and access to information, that these fundamental rights are not just abstract ideals; they are vital tools in countering hate speech and empowering the communities targeted by it. “Independent regulatory authorities from South-East Europe play a key role in the governance of digital platforms, in line with human rights standards and through a multi-stakeholder approach,” he stated.

Maida Bahto Kestendžić/Press and Online Media Council BiH

The Shinzo Abe Initiative for Peace and Security: Commemorating Two Years Since Prime Minister Abe’s Assassination

The Shinzo Abe Initiative for Peace and Security: Commemorating Two Years Since Prime Minister Abe’s Assassination

On July 8, 2022, the world was shocked and saddened by the tragic assassination of Japan’s former Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. In the two years since this devastating event, the Boston Global Forum (BGF) has honored his legacy through the Shinzo Abe Initiative for Peace and Security. Launched on July 10, 2022, shortly after his untimely death, this initiative aims to advance global peace, security, and stability through collaborative efforts and innovative solutions.

The Shinzo Abe Initiative for Peace and Security was established to:

  1. Promote Global Peace: Foster dialogue and cooperation among nations to resolve conflicts and promote peace.
  2. Enhance Security: Develop strategies and frameworks to address global security challenges, including cyber threats and geopolitical tensions.
  3. Encourage Innovation: Support technological advancements that contribute to global stability and security.

Key Results and Impacts

In the two years since its inception, the Shinzo Abe Initiative has achieved significant milestones, including three Shinzo Abe Conferences held at Harvard University and in Tokyo in 2022, 2023, and 2024. These conferences produced Shinzo Abe Special Reports on Peace, Security, and new economic development strategies for Japan, emphasizing cooperation among the four pillars: the US, Japan, India, and the EU. Additionally, the initiative has focused on reinventing Silicon Valley for the Age of AI and the AI World Society.

On June 21, 2024, the Boston Global Forum, Shinzo Abe Initiative, and Wilson Center launched the Indo-Pacific Spark Initiative, fostering special economic and political relations between the US, Japan, India, and Vietnam. This effort continues Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visionary Indo-Pacific strategy with the support of partners like the Boston Global Forum and Wilson Center. With contributions from distinguished leaders and thinkers, the Indo-Pacific Spark Initiative aims to make significant strides in promoting peace, security, and development.

The Boston Global Forum remains dedicated to advancing the ideals and vision of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, ensuring that his legacy continues to inspire efforts toward a more peaceful and secure world.

Shinzo Abe first talked of the concept of a free and open Indo-Pacific region at the 2016 Tokyo International Conference on African Development. © Reuters

2023 World Leader for Peace and Security Award recipient Amma will visit the US from July 4th to August 11th

2023 World Leader for Peace and Security Award recipient Amma will visit the US from July 4th to August 11th

Amma will be visiting the United States from July 4 – August 11, in her first international tour since 2019. Amma will be conducting free public programmes in every city on her tour schedule. The programmes include a meditation guided by Amma, spiritual discourses by Amma and her disciples, bhajans (devotional singing) led by Amma in a call and response format, and the opportunity to meet Amma personally and receive her darshan (embrace). 

Amma will also be holding spiritual retreats in a number of cities. The retreats offer a transformative opportunity to immerse oneself in Amma’s presence over three days, and include additional programs like a question-and-answer session with Amma, classes with Amma’s disciples and devotees on bhajans, meditation, yoga, and service opportunities. 

https://amma.org/news/announcing-ammas-2024-us-tour/

https://us.amma.org/meeting-amma/ammas-north-america-tour