Highlights Vol 23, No. 11 - November 2019

One world. One Net. One Vision ⁠— the 14th Internet Governance Forum

More and more of us seem to live our lives today in equal parts in the physical world and in cyberspace. From public discussion to education, to catching-up with friends and online commerce, a sizable portion of our social interactions now happens online. But while we have millennia of experience in managing our relations in the physical world, governance of the Internet is an area nearly as new as the web itself.

For the past 13 years, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has been the place where stakeholders from all walks of life can meet as equals and freely discuss the most burning issues in Internet governance.

With a Secretariat hosted by UN DESA, the IGF does not have decision-making mandates, but it does inform and inspire those who do. It facilitates a common understanding of how to maximize Internet opportunities and minimize its risks and challenges.

The fourteenth annual meeting of the IGF will be hosted by the Government of Germany in Berlin from 25 to 29 November 2019, to discuss the overarching theme of ‘’One World. One Net. One Vision.’’ More than 3,000 participants from different stakeholder groups, including some of the most prominent authorities on global Internet governance, will attend the Forum.

The discussions will revolve around the three priority themes of data governance, digital inclusion and security, safety, stability & resilience. In addition, the Best Practice Forums, led by the Internet community, will share experiences on big data, the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, gender and access and local content. With 18 Dynamic Coalitions and 116 national and regional IGF initiatives, the Forum’s programme will have something for everyone.

The Forum will discuss how digital frontier technologies can benefit our economies and societies, bringing us closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The IGF community will also consider a growing number of concerns and challenges that are eroding public trust in cyberspace. The increasing prevalence of cyber-attacks, data and privacy breaches, and the proliferation of hate speech and overly-restrictive forms of censorship, among other emerging challenges, threaten to undermine the beneficial impact of the Internet.

The Forum will conclude with forward-looking key messages from its main sessions and workshops and a closing ceremony to thank the host government and welcome the host of the 15th IGF – Poland.

For more information: Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

More than 125 Acceleration Actions already registered to speed up SDG implementation

At the recent SDG Summit, United Nations Secretary-General called for a Decade of Action to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.  To support this effort, UN DESA’s Division for SDGs has set up a dedicated online mechanism to mobilize and publish new and ambitious SDG Acceleration Actions from national governments and all non-state actors.

As we were closing this issue of UN DESA Voice, 129 SDG Acceleration Actions had been registered, including major commitments from Sweden, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Finland and the Netherlands. Given the numerous announcements of actions made during the September “summits week,” the list is expected to grow even further over the coming months.

An overwhelming majority – 78 per cent – of the 129 registered SDG Acceleration Actions aims to address multiple SDGs at the same time. SDGs 17 (partnerships) and 16 (peace, justice, strong institutions) have mobilized the largest number of actions (60 and 57 respectively). They were followed by SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth – 45 actions) and SDG 13 (climate action – 45 actions); SDG 5 (gender equality – 43 actions); and SDG 1 (no poverty – 40 actions).

Staying true to the spirit of the “global goals,” actions came flowing in from all over the world, with 43 per cent coming from Europe; 19 per cent from Latin American and the Caribbean; 14 per cent from Asia and the Pacific; 11 per cent from North America; 7 per cent from Africa; and 5 per cent from Arab States.

Over a half of all Actions – 65 per cent – came from high-income countries, with 32 per cent coming from middle-income countries and 3 per cent from low-income countries. National governments submitted the largest number of SDG Acceleration Actions (36 per cent), followed by civil society organizations (34 per cent) and UN entities (19 per cent). Other groups, such as the private sector, academia and philanthropic organizations made up the rest.

Major commitments include:

  • Sweden aims to become the world’s first fossil-free state by 2045. The country has doubled the support for its “Industry Leap” initiative which funds fossil-free steel projects. The country also plans to issue its first Green Bond by 2020 and is scaling up its Feminist Foreign Policy.
  • The United Kingdom announced a £515 million package to support education for girls. The country also launched the “Future High Streets Fund” to innovate urban infrastructure and services; mainstreamed social values in procurement in government; doubled its initial contribution to the Green Climate Fund (GCF); pledged an additional £7 million to support the Blue Belt Programme; and doubled its contribution to the Peacebuilding Fund (from £8 to £16 million for 2018-2020).
  • Mexico launched its plan to provide universal access to internet services for vulnerable communities and will set up a hundred 2030 Agenda Labs in universities.
  • In Finland, assessing climate impacts will become a set process for drafting legislation. Aiming to be carbon neutral by 2035, the country is encouraging its citizens to commit to reducing their average carbon footprints through a “sustainable lifestyle” service, through which users can calculate their personal carbon footprints and draw up a personal plan to reduce them by choosing actions from recommended smart choices.
  • The Netherlands will double the target for its initiative that helps people obtain access to justice. This means that the country aims to improve access to justice for 200,000 individuals in 2020.
  • The Philippines has an ambitious programme to provide free public Wi-Fi to all citizens in all public places in the country. As of June 2019, a total of 2,677 sites have become operational.
  • Greece announced an innovative cross-sectoral priority plan to speed up circular economy by setting criteria in public procurement, clustering businesses and taking employment measures towards collaborative economy.
  • The Maldives is partnering with Parley for the Oceans, American Express, AB InBev and Adidas to create a nationwide framework to deliver on several goals.
  • India has an ambitious plan to install 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2022, which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydropower.
  • The City of Barcelona announced an ambitious plan to guarantee the right to decent housing for every resident through addressing housing crisis and enhancing the functionality and affordability of houses.
  • Companies from 25 countries committed to science-based targets for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 as part of the UN Global Compact’s “Business Ambition for 1.5 °C: Our Only Future” initiative.
  • Through the “World’s Largest Lesson Nigeria” initiative, Project Everyone aims to spread the word about the SDGs to youth and adults throughout Nigeria. So far 500,000 children have learned about the SDGs, and 8,000 youth and teacher volunteers have been mobilized as trainers.
  • Agrolibano, a melon export company in Honduras, is working to reduce the multidimensional poverty in rural communities through social investment in education, health services and standard of living.
  • The Kadiwaku Family Foundation in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been reaching out to 650 youth with disabilities to strengthen their entrepreneurial capabilities.

You can browse the database—and find out how your government or organization can register an SDG Acceleration Action–here: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgactions.

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