The seventeenth edition of the annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is being held from 28 November to 2 December in Addis Ababa, hosted by the Ethiopian government under the aegis of the United Nations. The IGF was created by the World Summit on the Information Society during the Tunis phase in 2005 as a global platform to facilitate exchanges on questions of public policy relating to the Internet among stakeholders, governments, civil society, academia, the technical community and the private sector. It is complemented by regional and national forums such as the French Internet Governance Forum (IGF France), which contribute to the diversity of the debates and to reinforcing the multi-stakeholder model.
The Internet Governance Forum, at the heart of digital cooperation
For the 17th edition of this leading Internet governance event, preparatory intersessional work has been carried out throughout the year, in particular through two networks, one focusing on Internet fragmentation, the other on access, and by the forums’ work on best practices and dynamic coalitions.
As an extension to the Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, which seeks to strengthen the IGF, António Guterres, in “Our Common Agenda” presented to the General Assembly of the UN on 10 September 2021, proposes a Global Digital Compact intended to “outline shared principles for an open, free and secure digital future for all.” A consultation is open to all stakeholders until 31 March 2023. In this same context of reinforcing digital cooperation and the Forum, the IGF Leadership panel was put in place in August 2022, co-chaired by Vint Cerf and Maria Ressa.
17th edition in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
After Geneva in 2017, Paris in 2018, Berlin in 2019, an online edition in 2020 and Katowice in 2021, this 17th edition is the first since Guadalajara in 2016 to be held outside the European continent. In a tense geopolitical context, this year’s forum is guided by the overarching theme of a resilient Internet for a shared, sustainable and common future, encompassing five sub-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 AI.
More than 400 sessions were submitted in 2022, including 246 proposals for workshops – compared with 203 in 2021. On top of this, preparatory events will be taking place on Monday 28 November, plus the traditional opening ceremony and the open mic session. This year the parliamentary track, initiated in Berlin on the occasion of the 2019 IGF, will address national, regional and international approaches to cyberthreats with the aim of promoting dialogue among parliamentarians, discussing the implementation of legislative frameworks and the work of the UN in the field of cybersecurity and cybercrime.
- An initial session will be held on 30 November 2022 on political, regulatory and legislative frameworks, followed later the same day by a session on the implementation of these frameworks. On 1 December there will be a session entitled “Unpacking UN processes”, followed by a final session on the role of parliaments in addressing cyberthreats.
The diverse features of the programme notably include:
- The various plenary sessions devoted to each of the five sub-themes, such as the one on Internet fragmentation on 30 November;
- The open forums organised by ICANN, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Internet Society and the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI);
- A session on electronic evidence of cyberthreats,
- And, of course, a session called “Security Meets Responsibility: Connected Everything’s Resilience” co-organised by Afnic on the resilience of the Internet in relation to the security of the Internet of Things.
Scheduled for 2 December, the session will address the impact of a dedicated body of rules (guidelines, legislation, standards, etc.) on trust in connected products and services while preserving fundamental rights and freedoms.Security Meets Responsibility: Connected Everything’s Resilience
Just a few years to go to Agenda 2030
In 2022, seven years after the adoption in September 2015 of Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), rethinking all things digital and bringing about convergence of the ecological and digital transitions are key objectives that endorse the pertinence of the Internet Governance Forums.