Approximately 5,000 people, including high-level government officials, civil society leaders and internet policy experts, will gather both – in-person and online – at the 10th Annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in João Pessoa, Brazil (10 to 13 November) to discuss the crucial role the internet must play in the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The tenth IGF comes at a critical time with the recent adoption of the new sustainable development agenda that underscores the importance of ICTs and the internet in development activities. The new agenda sets an ambitious goal to “significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020”.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the Internet promote development by enabling access to information and educational resources, health care and improving food production and distribution.
“Less than two months ago, world leaders adopted the visionary 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our challenge now is to implement this blueprint for a better future. Information and communication technologies and the Internet can empower this global undertaking”, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), there are more than 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, compared to only 738 million in 2000. However, while there has been some progress in bridging the digital divide, four billion people in the developing world remain unconnected.
The Internet Governance Forum, held annually, provides an impartial and independent platform for all stakeholders, including developed and developing countries to discuss public policy issues relating to the Internet. While there is no negotiated outcome, engagement at the Forum feed into discussions in the national and regional IGFs.
“Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development” is the overarching theme of this year’s Forum. With the adoption of the sustainable development agenda, the 10th IGF presents an opportunity to foster discussions on internet governance and identify means to increase internet connectivity for all stakeholders.
“Information and Communications Technologies, as a powerful enabler of sustainable development, can make great contributions to the implementation of the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda,” noted Mr. Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
The sub-themes of the Forum which will be addressed in the main sessions of the Forum are: Cybersecurity and Trust Internet Economy Inclusiveness and Diversity Openness Enhancing Multi-stakeholder Cooperation Internet and Human Rights Critical Internet Resources and Emerging Issues.
“The IGF Platform has contributed towards efforts at national, regional and international levels to build a cyberspace that promotes peace and security, enables development and ensure human rights,” stated Mr. Lenni Montiel, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development.
This week, the IGF’s Best Practices Forums, the Dynamic Coalitions and this year’s Policy Options on Connecting the Next Billion present opportunities to discuss matters related to the future of the internet.
Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion
The community-led ‘Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion’ process strives to help identify obstacles, solutions and strategies to improve and increase connectivity and access for the 4 billion people who are offline. Collaboration between governmental and non-governmental actors is key to addressing this issue.
IGF Best Practice Forums
The outputs from IGF Best Practice Forums (BPFs) are intended to become robust resources, to serve as inputs into other pertinent forums, and to evolve and grow over time on the subjects of: Regulation and Mitigation of Unwanted Communications Establishing and Supporting Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) Developing Meaningful Multistakeholder Participation Mechanisms Practices to Countering Abuse Against Women Online Creating an Enabling Environment for IPv6 Adoption and Enabling Environments to Establish Successful IXPs.
IGF Dynamic Coalitions
This year, some of the IGF Dynamic Coalitions (DCs) will be presenting their work to the broader IGF community in a dedicated main session. Many of the DCs have undertaken and achieved significant work in their respective fields. Broad community feedback at the IGF will help increase and strengthen IGF outputs for use of other relevant IG fora and bodies.
About the Internet Governance Forum
Each year, the United Nations convenes the IGF meeting, through the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, to bring together various stakeholders to discuss current and emerging Internet governance issues, as well as related opportunities and challenges.
The IGF is an open, inclusive and transparent forum for dialogue on public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance. It is intended to foster a common understanding of how to maximize Internet opportunities and address the challenges that arise.
While the IGF does not have a decision-making mandate, the discussions held during IGF meetings can contribute to shaping international agenda and preparing the ground for negotiations and decision making in other internet governance entities. The IGF also gives stakeholders from developing countries the opportunity to engage in debates on Internet governance, and contributes to capacity building and to enhancing their knowledge on matters related to the Internet, thus facilitating their participation in other Internet governance institutions and arrangements.
The General Assembly is also reviewing the extension of the IGF mandate within the overall review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) later this year.
For more information, including the schedule, please visit: www.intgovforum.org
Remote participation: Media and other stakeholders not present in João Pessoa can participate remotely. Anyone can access the events at https://www.intgovforum.org/cms/remote-participation/igf2015-cast
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