IGF 2016 Main Session: Assessing the role of Internet Governance in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Title: Assessing the role of Internet Governance in the Sustainable Development Goals

Date/Time/Length: 6 December, 10:00-13:00, 180 minutes


In Sept 2015, UN Member States and the United Nations General Assembly adopted a set of goals to end povertyprotect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals established the global framework for development, building on the earlier Millennium Development Goals. The SDGs are a broad and inclusive agenda that addresses economic, social, and environmental challenges in both developed and developing countries.

Overall, there are 17 identified Sustainable Development goals, and each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. While the SDGs are not legally binding, still they create expectations.  For the goals to be achieved, everyone needs to do their part: governments, international organizations, the private sector, civil society, academia, and technical community members. 

In July 2016, the UN organized the first report ongoing annual report to track achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The July 2016 High Level Policy Forum included non-governmental stakeholders as well as UN member states, but engagement with stakeholders, broadly, remains a major challenge. This is thus a unique opportunity at the IGF2016 to consider the role of Internet Governance in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

While there is no single SDG focused on Internet, communications and technology [ICTs), it is recognized that to achieve the SDGs, ICTs can play integral roles. For example, the role of ICTs and the Internet are recognized as horizontal enablers to all the SDGs.  The SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for Action help us to align the work that we are already doing in the Internet Governance Forum.  But more importantly, is the need to address how development and Internet Governance intersect, and interact.  And to discuss how the IGF can support the 2030 agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goals.  While not a solution, still enabling technologies must support achieving the 2030 Agenda.

Recognizing the call of the 2030 Agenda, the UN organizations, such as UNESCO, ITU, and UN-DESA are already addressing how the SDGs can be incorporated into their daily work. And some countries are well advanced in incorporating the SDGs into their national plans, and into their inputs into intergovernmental organizations.  The IGF MAG2016 discussed the importance of Sustainable Development during its planning process; at IGF2016, there are several sessions at the IGF2016 that address one or more of the goals and the role of Internet Governance.  And, in the IGF Retreat, held in mid 2016, specific reference was made to the integration of the SDGs into the IGF’s work.

Until the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs, essentially Internet Governance and development were operating in relatively parallel paths.  However, now, it is recognized that implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires the active participation of all citizens and stakeholders.  The overall purpose of the WSIS Summit’s call for an Information Society for all and the SDGs goal of leaving no one behind can now be viewed as a shared challenge to build inclusive and sustainable societies, working toward 2030.  But, we can’t suggest that ICTs are a solution by themselves. SDGs take us further.

As noted, the IGF MAG began its active engagement in how SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for Action can be supported by the IGF during its planning process in 2016. And several workshops and also main sessions are discussing this linkage and synergy.

This session will engage in a town hall consultation about how Internet Governance supports, or contributes, or exists parallel to the Sustainable Development Goals. And how the IGF might further incorporate the SDGs. 

“Setting the stage speakers” will contribute to the dialogue by making brief remarks at the beginning of the session to share their views about achieving the SDGS and how Internet Governance contributes.

The session will then become a town hall with an interactive consultation from participants attending the session. [This session is modeled on the WSIS+10 consultation held at IGF2015.]

The format at the designated microphones will provide for mini statements of up to two to three minutes, spread equally across different stakeholder groups, encouraging as many individuals to speak as possible. Participants will be invited to queue at standing microphones by stakeholder group.  After the session, a key expert and rapporteurs will provide a summary of the key areas addressed.

Speakers are invited to respond to the following Policy questions, or to make independent statements about their views.

Policy Questions:

  • What are the development priorities which the Internet Governance community should be responding to? 
  • How should the Internet community interact (or improve its interaction) with the mainstream development communities?
  • The overriding objective of the SDG Agenda is to ensure that no one is left behind, addressing fundamental issues of poverty and inequality.  What opportunities and threats to this goal arise with the Internet age?
  • How do we improve the evidence base on which ICT4D is predicated?
  • How can the IGF further incorporate awareness about the SDGs into its planning, and into the IGF program in following years.
  • Are the SDGs being highlighted in your national or regional IGF session?

Co Moderators for the Session: Ambassador Benedicta Fonseca, Brazil and Karen McCabe, Senior Director of Technology Policy and International Affairs, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Host Country Chair:

 Mr. Victor Lagunes, Mexico City, Mexico – CIO, Office of the President of Mexico

Setting the Scene from different perspectives:

This session has limited speakers and time slots, as most the session is open consultation and statements by participants, on an equal footing, who are participating in person, or remotely. Speakers will be introduced by the co-moderators.

Special Comments:

Lenni Montiel, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, UN DESA

  • Megan Richards, Principal Advisor in DG Communications Networks, Content, and Technology [CONNECT] of the European Commission
  • Am. Daniel Sepulveda: Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, US State Department
  • Patrick Ho Chi Ping, Deputy Chair and Sec Gen of China Energy Fund Committee,
  • Doreen Bogdan, Chief, Strategic Planning and Membership Department, International Telecommunications Union [Invited]
  • David Souter, Managing Director, act Development Associates

Town Hall Segment:

Explanation of the format by the Co Moderators for the Session:  Ambassador Fonseca and Karen McCabe:

The session will use standing Microphones identified by Stakeholder Group – one per Stakeholder group.   The Remote Moderator will join the other two co-moderators on the stage.  Stakeholder Groups are urged to sit close to the microphone for their Stakeholder group.

Microphones are labeled: Academia; Business; Civil Society/NGOs; Government/IGOs; Technical Community.

For each major section, the co moderators will accept 2 or 3 minute statements per speaker, one from each stakeholder group with an identified standing microphone in a rotating manner, across all the standing microphones.  At the end of each segment, remote comments will be compiled and presented by the Remote Moderator.  Remote comments will be accepted via WEBEX chat, and read into the record. [Note: this follows a methodology used at Neptunian, April, 2014.]

It is anticipated that there will be two 30 minute segments and one 20-minute segment, with identified SDGs for each time slot.

Segment One: SDGs 1-8

Segment Two: SDGs 8-16

Segment Three: SDG17


  1. Continue the multi stakeholder discussion about the SDGs and IG that began at WSIS+10
  2. Increase awareness of SDGs and IG interrelationship
  3. Share perspectives about engagement in SDGs at national or regional levels and linkage to Internet Governance
  4. Identify how the IGF, through annual events, intercessional work, and NRIs work may be able to contribute to achieving the SDGs

After the Town Hall, the key messages and challenges will be summarized by David Souter.

The Co-Moderators will offer their summary comments in response.

Closing comments by the Host Country Chair will close the session.  

Following the session, the Rapporteurs and the co facilitators will prepare a summary report, which will become a part of the Submission of the report of the session.

Co-Coordinators of the Session:

Marilyn Cade

Igor Sent’ Anna Resend

Olusegun (Segun) Olugbile

Remote Moderator:

Judy Okite [invited]

Garland McCoy [confirmed]

Rapporteurs are being finalized:

-Skandera Mansoura, IEEE Fellow


-Andy Mack, AM Global