Internet Governance Forum – virtually together
In a twist befitting its name, November’s annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) moved to an entirely online format. The change did not dampen the spirit of more than 6,000 participants who connected to the Forum from 173 countries. Speakers included some of the most authoritative voices on Internet governance, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the President of the UN General Assembly, the President of ECOSOC and Under-Secretary-General of UN DESA.
Under the overarching theme, “Internet for human resilience and solidarity”, the IGF 2020 saw engaged and informed discussions about Internet policies, amplifying digital cooperation and shaping the Internet into a driver for respecting human rights, bridging the digital divide and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The IGF programme was designed to weave together the full spectrum of policies, knowledge, experiences and situations related to Internet governance. From today’s leaders to those of the future, from government officials to local community organizations, all stakeholders were given a say at the IGF.
A high-level leaders’ track involved global experts and leaders from all disciplines in discussions on the role of Internet in health, economy, security, social development and environment. A parallel Youth Summit brought together young Internet leaders and influencers from different parts of the world.
Parliamentarians from around the world gathered at a roundtable to discuss trust online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And at the grassroots level, a robust network of national, regional and youth IGF initiatives collected more than 100 contributions for the main session on the transformative potential of the Internet in emergency situations.
The year 2020 has proven beyond doubt the benefits of Internet. Had connectivity and services not been as advanced as they are, the health, social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic would have been much worse. However, much of the world remains unconnected, or poorly connected, preventing billions of people from carrying on their lives online during the pandemic. While the next year’s meeting will hopefully be held in more positive circumstances, the importance of meaningful connectivity and the work of the IGF will remain as vital as ever. The messages and the recommendations emerging from the 2020 virtual IGF will be disseminated to policymakers across the world and contribute to multilateral processes.
Find out more at:
IGF 2020 Messages (DRAFT)
IGF2020 Summary (DRAFT)