More than 3,000 participants — including high-level Government officials, civil society leaders, private sector and Internet policy experts — will gather in Paris, France, from 12-14 November to discuss international cooperation on such issues as “fake news”, the spread of disinformation, cybersecurity and privacy, big data, the Internet of Things, and their effects on society.
Having taken on a higher profile as digital technology has become an integral part of daily life, the Forum will explore means by which to promote positive impacts of new technologies and how they can realize their full social and economic potential while also looking at curbing the more insidious uses of the Internet.
Convened by the United Nations Secretary-General, the Forum facilitates such dialogues to promote better Internet governance and a safe and trustworthy environment. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and President Emmanuel Macron of France will address the Forum, in addition to representatives of intergovernmental organizations, Governments, the private sector, the technical community and civil society, who will exchange ideas on a range of actions that can be taken to ensure an “Internet of Trust”.
With almost half the world’s population connected to the Internet, including the world’s poorest countries — striving to keep on track in their pursuit of universal and affordable access to the Internet by 2020 — access to information has never been easier. Faster, more affordable Internet and mobile technology has opened up a world of opportunities that in turn present a host of global challenges. Hate speech, polarization, terrorist recruitment, data manipulation and hacking undermine fundamental human rights and cause exposure to risks and security gaps. The Internet Governance Forum is the foremost global platform addressing those challenges in an ever-evolving digital landscape.
The Secretary-General, who has called for raising awareness about the transformative impact of digital technologies in securing a safe and inclusive digital future, says in the UN Strategy on New Technologies: “Without a stepped up, smart and responsible use of technology, we will fail to reach the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] and we will miss opportunities to prevent conflict and sustain peace.”
The World Economic and Social Survey 2018: Frontier Technologies for Sustainable Development, released earlier this year, presents data showing the considerable disparity in Internet use between developed and developing countries, between men and women, urban and rural areas, and young and old. Efforts to increase access to frontier technologies in those countries, artificial intelligence in particular, present tremendous potential to improve people’s lives, but lack of access could also drive greater inequality.
Women, who are almost equal in using the Internet in developed countries, according to the International Telecommunication Union, lag behind in Internet use in developing and least developed countries. Digital inclusion, a key goal of the United Nations permeating all facets of sustainable development, is a pathway to empowerment and self-sufficiency in countries where women face a lack of employment opportunities. In those countries, access to mobile technology has enabled them to take charge of their own lives via digital financing, online trading and information-sharing apps. The Forum will address the digital divide and ways to harness technology in support of sustainable development.
Workshops and Events
The three-day meeting will feature interactive dialogues and debates, while addressing a broad range of themes and issues under eight themes: Cybersecurity, Trust and Privacy; Development, Innovation and Economic Issues; Digital Inclusion and Accessibility; Emerging Technologies; Evolution of Internet Governance; Human Rights, Gender and Youth; Media and Content; and Technical and Operational Topics. These workshops and panel discussions aim to encourage comprehensive debates among global stakeholders and to set policy recommendations on how to address Internet governance. More than 160 different types of sessions will be convened.
About the Internet Governance Forum
The Internet Governance Forum, convened annually by the Secretary-General and supported by Department of Economic and Social Affairs, is a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue on public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance, such as its sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development. The Forum’s purpose is to maximize opportunities for open and inclusive dialogue and the exchange of ideas on Internet governance-related matters, to create opportunities for sharing best practices and experiences, to identify emerging issues and bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and to contribute in building capacity for Internet governance. Marking the thirteenth Forum, the 2018 event will be held under the theme “Internet of Trust”.
For additional information, live webcast and schedule, please visit www.intgovforum.org.
Online participation: Media and other stakeholders not present in Paris are encouraged to participate and engage remotely in all sessions. Anyone can access the events at www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/content/igf-2018-remote-hubs.