IGF 2023 WS #206 The world is full of AI strategies. What can they teach us?

Organizer 1: Andrew Merluzzi, USAID

Speaker 1: Andrew Merluzzi, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: May Ann Lim, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Shachee Doshi, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Andrew Merluzzi, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

May Ann Lim, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group


Andrew Merluzzi, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Round Table - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

A) What are examples of “responsible” approaches to AI design and deployment in SEA that can be shared and tested elsewhere?
B) What are the existing gaps in AI national strategies or policies in SEA? What do these policies not yet address?
C) Existing AI strategies globally are often not co-created in a participatory way; what are some methods by which AI policy can be more inclusive?

What will participants gain from attending this session? We will share our research findings with participants and engage with a wide range of stakeholders to strengthen our collective understanding of policymaking for AI. Depending on which sector or country participants join from, this will serve several purposes. For those joining from SEA, this session will provide them with nuanced, evidence-based research on AI from their country ecosystems. In doing so, they will be able to understand the current gaps or weaknesses when it comes to AI policy development, and will therefore be better equipped to influence their AI ecosystems themselves. For those joining outside SEA, this session will offer an opportunity to understand the successes or barriers in AI policy and strategy in this region, and think about how these findings translate to their local ecosystems. We expect that participants will consist of researchers, CSO representatives, national/regional policymakers, and members of multi-international organizations focused on AI.


More than 60 countries across the world have developed national artificial intelligence (AI) strategies. These strategies vary widely, with differences in their scopes, timelines, and goals. Many of these strategies include a focus on using AI to bolster the digital economy, or engaging in upskilling efforts to ensure the labor force can design and deploy AI systems. While the most mature AI strategies have been developed in the wealthiest nations, many other countries have begun adopting AI strategies in recent years. What can be learned from national AI strategies and policies from other countries throughout the world? This session will describe research findings based on a recent assessment of AI policies and strategies in Southeast Asia (SEA), and explore ways to strengthen these strategies going forward. With a population of over 650 million and a rapidly growing economy, SEA is emerging as a major player in the global AI landscape. Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, among others, have recently instituted national AI strategies. We will bring to light some of the successes and challenges from SEA countries on AI, and discuss what can be learned from these experiences for other countries and regions. In light of the IGF Policy Network on Artificial Intelligence (PNAI), this session will focus on issues of data governance, workforce development, the benefits and risks of scaling algorithmic systems, and participatory approaches to AI governance. As national strategies are adjusted for the era of generative AI, we will aim to focus on this question: what are the key factors that national AI strategies should include to push development of AI toward social good?

Expected Outcomes

The discussion and feedback during this session will inform next steps in the research USAID and its partners are conducting on AI policies and strategies in SEA. Specifically, the research team at Access Partnership will use information gathered at the roundtable to include in their forthcoming AI roadmap, which will focus on how different stakeholders in SEA can play a role in measuring progress against existing national strategies and re-shape national strategies to align with a responsible approach to AI. Further, based on the successes and challenges in AI governance that we identify in the session, this event will assist USAID in providing technical assistance to other countries around the globe on AI policy.

Hybrid Format: We will introduce this topic through virtual polls: specifically, we will ask participants which topics they think are essential to prioritize in AI strategies, and then use those responses as a jumping off point for further discussion for the remainder of the session. We will then use slides to describe some of the recent research findings on successes and challenges in AI governance in Southeast Asia, and ask participants to react to what they’ve heard using chat and in-person: which of the successes or challenges do they think is most noteworthy? How do they think these issues translate to other countries or regions? Which issues do they think are most neglected at the moment, and which stakeholders are best positioned to address those issues? We will invite individuals to this session who are attending IGF both in-person and virtually to ensure that we have robust participation in the hybrid format.