The U.N.’s annual Internet Governance Forum, a global multistakeholder platform that facilitates the discussion of public policy issues pertaining to the Internet, has begun today in Addis Ababa.
The 17th Internet Governance Forum takes place from November 28 to December 2, 2022, and will try to determine concrete steps for achieving universal and meaningful Internet connectivity.
The forum, reported to be one of the largest international gatherings in Ethiopia’s capital in recent years, will focus on five key areas: connecting all people and safeguarding human rights; avoiding Internet fragmentation; governing data and protecting privacy; enabling safety, security, and accountability; and addressing advanced digital technologies.
Hosted by the Government of Ethiopia and supported by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the Forum will be in a hybrid format.
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The IGF, convened annually by the UN Secretary-General, is a platform for enabling open and engaging discussions on Internet governance, including the Internet’s sustainability, robustness, security, stability, and development.
With many technological advances underway—artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and neurotechnology—a new global digital compact as outlined in the United Nations’ Our Common Agenda is needed to build a concrete framework for an open, free, and secure digital future.
The 17th IGF comes at a time when approximately 2.7 billion people still remain unconnected, many of them living in least-developed countries and rural communities. Women also lag behind men in terms of Internet access. Other than access to and affordability of devices, an open and free Internet has also allowed for its misuse through online misinformation and disinformation, cyberattacks, and the endangerment of child online safety.