Focus on the people: The 17th United Nations Internet Governance Forum ended on Friday, 02 December in Addis Ababa, EthiopiaJutta Croll, SDC
The 17th Internet Governance Forum concluded on 2 December with a call to urgently connect the 2.7 billion who are unconnected by increasing infrastructure investment, fostering digital literacy, harnessing advanced technologies, and building a safe and secure digital space where fundamental human rights are realized.
Over the course of five days, more than 5.100 participants representing 170 countries gathered in person in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and joined online with one mission in mind - to build a resilient Internet that is open, free, safe and inclusive.
The human-centered approach of the event was mirrored by an abundance of sessions dedicated to children’s rights and child protection. On the final day of the IGF the so-called National and Regional IGFs from around the world held their joint session under the title “Actions needed to keep our children safe online”. Representatives from Slovenia, Chad, China, Nepal, Nigeria and France stressed the need for further action to make the international vision for online conditions for children come true: the rights of every child must be respected, protected and fulfilled in the digital environment, and children should have access to age-appropriate and empowering digital content, and information from a wide diversity of trusted sources while being protected from various dangerous risks.
The Internet Governance Forum 2022 put a spotlight on Africa which is the least connected region in the world, with 60 per cent of the population offline. Aiming for a better digital future that provides space for everybody to participate, this year’s IGF saw an increase in representation from the Global South, with 44% of participants coming from Africa. Speaking on behalf of the host country, H.E. Mr. Demeke Mekonnen Hassen, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Minister of Foreign Affairs said, “Ethiopia has persisted in its drive for prosperity and in building a digital economy”. The continent’s growing youth population holds the key to transforming the region’s digital future.
The interlinkages between the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and all facets of digital space governance were evident in the over 300 sessions that took place throughout the week. Over 45 entities from the UN system, including the Heads of Global Communications and the Human Rights Office, and the UN Envoy on Technology lent their support in the IGF dialogues and deliberations that will inform the Global Digital Compact development process.
The Addis Ababa IGF Messages encapsulate the urgent priorities and actionable recommendations from governments, the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders for a safe, sustainable and inclusive digital future.
The 18. IGF will be held Oct. 8 -12, 2023 in Kyoto, Japan
You will find further information on all sessions related to children’s rights and child protection in our daily reports from the event: