UN Internet Governance Forum is over in Ethiopia

UN Internet Governance Forum is over in Ethiopia

More than 5 thousand people (2.5 thousand of whom came to Ethiopia) from 170 countries of the world took part in the Forum. Approximately half of them were young people. Moreover, this year, a record number of delegates from Africa (1400 people) attended the Forum. Representatives of civil society presented the most part of all stakeholder groups at the Forum. Eastern Europe was the least represented. Only 81 people from this region took a personal part in the Forum. 

Huria Ali, State Minister for Innovation and Technology, addressed the participants at the closing ceremony. She thanked everyone for such an interest in the Internet Governance Forum and officially handed over the IGF chairmanship to Japan as well. 

Among the topics discussed at the IGF were connecting all people [to the Internet] and safeguarding human rights, preventing Internet fragmentation, protecting privacy and managing data, ensuring security, safety and responsibility, as well as advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence.

The Russian delegation, like last year, was represented at the Forum at a high level. Thus, on November 29, a high-level session was held with the participation of Bella Cherkesova, Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation. The discussion focused on digital trust and cybersecurity. In her speech, she emphasized that in today's global digital environment there are no universal rules of conduct, there is no principle of "fair play". There is no foundation for the further development of global trust and security. In this regard, it is necessary to develop universal rules for digital platforms, since now each of them has its own ideas about the rules of conduct in the information environment. Without universal rules, the development of global trust and security on the Internet is impossible. 

On December 1, the main session on connecting all people to the Internet and safeguarding human rights was held with participation of Elizaveta Belyakova, the chairman of the Alliance for the Protection of Children in the Digital Environment. "Responsibility for the next generation has managed to unite a variety of Russian companies in the field of IT development, content production, and mobile operators. Our Alliance has been working for more than a year and is based on the corporate social responsibility principles, which are in line with the UN Global Compact. We are always open to international cooperation, exchange of experience and best practices. We need to unite our efforts in the face of common cyber risks in future. Because children can't be “them”. Because children are always "us," - she said.

The Center for Global IT Cooperation, along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Digital Development, Telecommunications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation, ANO "Dialog", the Alliance for the Protection of Children in the Digital Environment, the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ and the School of International Information Security, participated in organization of a number of important Forum's sessions, which were greatly interesting for the international expert community and the participants themselves. 

November 29 was marked by the "Fragmented Reality: New Horizons of Digital Distrust" session organized by the Center. Its main theme was the Internet fragmentation. It involved representatives from the business sphere, the academic community and different countries all over the world. The speakers agreed that one of the main Internet principles is openness and interoperability, so they should make efforts to preserve it and allow the Internet to develop safely.  

Next day, there was a "Misty Metaverse: Blurring Letter of the Law" session devoted to the regulation of innovative technologies. Summing up the discussion, moderator Vadim Glushchenko, Director of the Center for Global IT Cooperation, noted that the metaverse should always have rules - and the discussion around the Global Digital Compact, an initiative proposed by UN Secretary-General A. Guterres in September 2021 as part of the "Our Common Agenda" report, can give impetus to the formation of these rules.

The Russian youth community was represented at the IGF by Roman Chukov, Chairman of the Board of the Center for Global IT-Cooperation. He stressed that youth participation could and should be more meaningful. "We need to make sure that young people all over the world have an affordable Internet and are able to participate in decision-making and be "connected" to events like the IGF. We need to make sure that we have new rules of the game that clearly define the role of youth as a meaningful facilitator in shaping the future of the Internet. In the end, it is the youth who have the most energy, ideas and desire to change something and come up with something new. Separately, I note the importance of conveying the position of young people of the whole world as part of the process of creating the Global Digital Compact, so that the voice of young people is heard and influences the final provisions that will be included in the document. We are ready to develop such work within the framework of the IGF youth track," he concluded. 

The next Internet Governance Forum will be held in Asia, more exactly, in Kyoto, Japan. You can find the materials of all sessions that took place at IGF-2022 on the Forum website. The results of the Forum will be reflected in the Addis Ababa messages, which will also be available on the website.