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Published 27.01.23

IGF Messages 2022 and Call for Thematic Inputs 2023

Marlene Fasolt, SDC

The IGF Secretariat has issued a Call for Thematic Inputs for the IGF 2023 that is still open until Tuesday, 31.01.2023. You can find the form here.

The result of this community survey will later serve as the basis for the workshop selection by the MAG. This means that the more often a topic is mentioned now, the more strongly the topic will be represented in the program later on. We encourage all child rights advocates to support children’s rights featuring prominently in the IGF program 2023.

Looking a few months back to IGF 2022 you may find messages and lessons learned below.

The 17th annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was hosted by the Government of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa in a hybrid format from 28 November to 2 December 2022. The IGF Messages summarize the most important lessons learned from this IGF, as well as demands addressed towards the government and private sector. The messages focus on the 5 themes:

  • Connecting All People and Safeguarding Human Rights
  • Avoiding Internet Fragmentation
  • Governing Data and Protecting Privacy
  • Enabling Safety, Security and Accountability
  • Addressing Advanced Technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Many sessions at this year’s IGF focused on children’s rights and the messages emphasize the need for children to enjoy the same rights and protections online as they do offline. They call to ensure children’s online safety by including digital literacy skills in the educational curricula. Digital literacy skills are important for all age groups and need differentiated approaches for young people and older generations.

The messages also underline the need for lawmakers and digital platforms to take responsibility to ensure children’s safety within a framework of children’s rights online consistent with international rights agreements including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as both stakeholder groups carry the responsibility.

Other messages do not explicitly mention children’s rights, but can be applied to the children’s rights framework. They emphasize the importance of having a human rights-centric framework for meaningful access to the internet. This is in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and includes not only having access to the internet, but also the ability for users to express themselves freely, the unfettered exercise of democratic and political participation, and for persons of all backgrounds to experience the Internet without fear of harassment or discrimination.

Translation issues present significant barriers that can inhibit young peoples meaningful engagement with platforms’ community standards and guidelines, as a lot of online content is not available in local languages. Engagement with different language communities to improve the accuracy and relevance of translation is an important part of empowering children and young people to participate. It is necessary to consider the intersectionality of digital disadvantages through the combination of factors related to age, gender, ethnicity, language, social class and other factors.

The IGF messages stress data privacy as a human right that affects the right to privacy, equal treatment and non-discrimination, as well as the right to healthcare, education and public services, free expression and association. Privacy laws should be substantial, evidence-based and capable of clear enforcement. Those affected by them should be able to understand their implications clearly.

The full IGF Messages can be downloaded here in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish.