The new normal is digital

With half of the global population under lockdown and with 90 per cent of students out of school at one point in 2020, the Internet has become our classroom, our workplace, our meeting space and even our dancefloor. The 2020 Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum is gathering this month to ensure that the Internet continues to connect us and not drive us apart.

Held under the theme of “Internet for human resilience and solidarity,” the Internet Governance Forum meeting will be hosted online by UN DESA on behalf of the Secretary-General between 2 and 17 November.

“The post-COVID-19 era will bring forward a new normal – one that will accelerate digital transformation in many areas,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General and Head of UN DESA.  “These include digital economy, digital finance, digital government, digital health, and digital education.”

“Indeed, many governments and businesses have already turned to digital platforms and digital solutions. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed harsh fragilities and digital divides that have been allowed to develop for far too long,” he added.

Featuring more than 150 sessions that focus on four main thematic tracks: Data, Environment, Inclusion, and Trust, the Forum “represents the extraordinary role that the Internet has been ‎playing during the pandemic,” according to Anriette Esterhuysen, Chair of the Forum’s Multistakeholder Advisory Group.

It will “approach network resilience ‎specifically from a people-centered perspective, exploring how it has supported the human ‎resilience and solidarity needed to respond to the many challenges posed by the pandemic,” ‎she added.

The Forum highlights include:

High-Level Leaders Track:

Leaders from governments, intergovernmental and international organizations, academic and research communities as well as businesses will participate in the high-level track, with discussions centered around Internet Governance in the Age of Uncertainty. Dedicated sessions will be held on issues related to health, the economy, security, social development and the environment.

Parliamentary Roundtable:

The Parliamentary Roundtable session with the theme “Building trust in a time of COVID-19 response and post-COVID-19 recovery” aims to fast-track the translation of the Forum’s recommendations into national laws, by bringing its outcomes to national legislative bodies for follow up and concrete action.

Youth Summit

It is the young minds that are truly shaping our shared digital space today. Their voices and perspectives will take centre stage at the Internet Governance Forum 2020 global Youth Summit, on 5 November.

See the Internet Governance Forum schedule here.

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