4 December 2008 A United Nations-backed international forum focusing on Internet governance issues, particularly the potential expansion of access to greater numbers of people, is under way in India.
The third Internet Governance Forum brings together representatives from government, the private sector, civil society, the Internet community, international organizations and the media to discuss how to make the web accessible to the largest number of people possible while guaranteeing that cyberspace remains safe, secure and reflective of the diversity of the world’s people.
Some 2,000 participants from over 100 countries are slated to attend the four-day meeting in Hyderabad, titled “Internet for All,” which includes workshops addressing such topics as expanding Internet access, including for persons with disabilities; promoting cybersecurity and child protection; and the future of the Internet.
In his opening remarks to the Forum, Assistant Secretary-General for the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Jomo Kwame Sundaram, noted that the Forum has become a valuable tool for forging a common understanding of complex Internet issues from diverse points of view.
Mr. Sundaram noted that with an estimated 1 billion people on course to gain access to the Internet in the coming years, it is essential to ensure that people with disabilities are taken into account.
“The access needs to take into account the diversity of the world’s population, the diversity of languages but also the diversity of people with different abilities,” said Mr. Sundaram.
Nitin Desai, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Internet Governance, added that multilingualism is key as most of the expansion of Internet use is taking place in developing countries, where the English language and Latin script are not used.
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