A rather eventful day started with the opening ceremony, which was attended by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali and UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Li Junhua. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, also addresses the participants with a welcoming speech.
On the same day, 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.
Another thorny issue that was raised during the session is the issue of disinformation. "Misinformation and disinformation are today tools and even weapons in the current international situation. And our country knows this well. Russia is constantly faced with disinformation, 80% more information attacks were made on our country than last year, and about 9 million fakes were distributed in Russia in 2022 alone," she concluded, emphasizing that operational and strategic countermeasures are important in the fight against disinformation campaigns.
The discussion also touched upon the climate agenda. Answering the moderator's question about what approaches should be used to guarantee the role of technology in solving climate security problems, Bella Cherkesova noted that it is necessary to promote access to and exchange of technologies with developing countries and countries with economies in transition for their transition to carbon neutrality, and invest in better coordination of global supply chains and remove unilateral barriers, including sanctions, for further development. To achieve this goal, international organizations are excellent, which in our rapidly changing world can offer some "islands of stability" for cooperation. One such organization is the International Telecommunication Union.
Summing up the results of the session, the Deputy Minister noted that Russia went through a kind of "global digital experiment", from which no country is immune. We passed this test and are ready to share with developing countries a unique and impressive experience in combating various types of digital discrimination, overcoming the digital divide and developing independent IT solutions.
The XVII Internet Governance Forum is held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) from November 28 to December 2. The main theme and motto of the event – "Resilient Internet" – is a sustainable Internet for a common future, capable of withstanding any difficulties in the world and continuing to connect people in all parts of the world.