More than 10 thousand people took part in the Forum (2 thousand of whom were on-site participants) and more than a thousand speakers from 175 countries presented their ideas, including representatives of governments, business, technical, academic and civil societies. It should be said that the number of registered participants (10,300) became a record in the entire history of the IGF. At the same time, there were more than 15 thousand connections to live broadcasts and more than 50 thousand mentions of the hashtag #IGF2021 in social networks. Topics discussed at the IGF were economic and social inclusion and human rights in the digital environment, universal Internet access, market regulation, content, consumer protection, environmental sustainability and climate change, inclusive Internet governance ecosystems and digital collaboration, trust, security and stability.
During the opening ceremony, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed the hope that the Forum will help unite civil society to develop a Global Digital Compact: “I hope this Forum will give momentum and accelerate progress. I urge you to show courage and wish you successful work," - he added.
For the first time Russia was represented at the Forum at a high level. On December 7, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Chernyshenko represented Russia at the high-level plenary session of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF), dedicated to investments in the development of the digital environment and transnational digital cooperation. “Russia is open to dialogue to develop joint solutions within the global digital agenda and supports the UN initiative to develop a Global Digital Compact. In addition, Russia is going to become a host country at the XX IGF in 2025,” he said.
Alexander Khinshtein, Chairman of the Committee of the State Duma on Information Policy, Information Technology and Communications, spoke about Russian initiatives in the field of digital space regulation at the parliamentary debates at the Forum. In particular, he mentioned the recently adopted “landing” law, which obliges foreign Internet companies, whose daily audience in Russia exceeds 500 thousand users, to open a representative office, branch or establish a Russian legal entity in our country.
Center for Global IT-Cooperation, along with the Coordination Center for TLD .ru/.рф and Kaspersky Lab, participated in the organization of a number of important sessions of the Forum. The sessions were of great interest to the international expert community and the participants themselves. The session, titled “Clash of Digital Civilizations: Governments and Tech Giants” was held on December 9 and was devoted to a discussion about the “rules of the game” for digital platforms at the moment. It was attended by representatives of business, academic community and government from different parts of the world. It was moderated by Anna Dupan, Director of the Institute for Legal Regulation Problems at the Higher School of Economics.
On December 10, interesting Russian initiatives were presented on the session “All we need is YOUth: connecting young people and ICT”: The Institute of the Youth Digital Ombudsman (YDO) and the Alliance for the Protection of Children in the Digital Environment. One of the main topics of discussion was the promotion of Russian practices for the protection of young users in the international arena. For example, it was proposed to create a global YDO network, and during Russia's chairmanship of the IGF in 2025 – to hold a forum with the participation of ombudspeople from different parts of the world. The discussion was moderated by Roman Chukov, the representative of Russia in the IGF Multilateral Advisory Group.
Center for Global IT-Cooperation also participated in the development of the final document of the IGF Global Youth Summit, which was presented as part of the Youth Day of the Forum. The theme of youth engagement ran through all the events of the Forum. The tone was set by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin, who read out a message from UN Secretary General António Guterres to the IGF youth. The message stressed the need to listen to the ideas of a new generation.
The next Internet Governance Forum will take place on the African continent, in the capital of Ethiopia – Addis Ababa. The materials of all sessions that took place at IGF-2021 can be found on the Forum website.