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Published 13.10.23

Wise words for an Internet we want

Jutta Croll, SDC

On Thursday evening the 18th Internet Governance Forum was closed and the baton was handed over to Saudi-Arabia where the 19th edition of the Forum shall be held in Ryad in November 2024.

With more than 300 sessions and over 8.000 participants about two third of these taking part onsite in Kyoto the event was well positioned to have a huge impact on the Internet ecosystem. Drawing on the key take-aways from the session reports the Kyoto IGF-messages are formulated. These messages are intended to provide a high-level overview for decision-makers of the most current thinking on key Internet governance and digital policy issues.

Child safety and children’s right to be protected from illegal activities like sexual exploitation online were rightly addressed in several sessions at the IGF 2023. Moreover Children are recognized by the multistakeholder community as the future generation not only to beneficially use but also to shape the Internet we want.

This features prominently in the messages addressed to children’s rights as follows:

  • Applying a vulnerability lens across all areas of work related to digital development and internet governance is essential if we are to ensure an inclusive, safe and secure online world - particularly for children who now make up a third of global Internet users.
  • Children have the right to safe, inclusive age-appropriate digital spaces in which they can explore, learn and play. Data, evidence and knowledge-sharing are critical to placing children's safety at the heart of global digital agendas including those concerned with cybersecurity and child online safety.
  • Safety by design requires investment in child online safety across the entire ecosystem, with a particular focus on the capacities of low and middle income countries, as well as more upstream and collaborative action.
  • We are very grateful for all the stakeholders that have supported the child-rights based approach to Internet Governance in this year’s Forum. And we couldn’t agree more with the message that stating the sustainability of the Internet governance ecosystem requires the involvement and engagement of young people, who are the next generation of users, experts and leaders. Given the rapid pace of technological change, it is important to build the capacity of future generations in all countries at all levels.

    We are ready to do our share of responsibility in this regard, now and in the future.

    An overview on aour daily reports from IGF 2023 is available here: