IGF 2018 Under-Secretary-General of Economic and Social Affairs Introductory Remarks of High Level Panel II


Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the Head of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the UNDESA, which serves as the institutional home of the Internet Governance Forum Secretariat, I am very glad to be here and to welcome the distinguished High-Level Panel on “Strengthening the Internet Governance and the IGF”.       

Since the establishment of the Internet Governance Forum in 2005, in supporting the Secretary-General to convene the annual IGF meetings as mandated by the General Assembly, UNDESA has been organizing this event in cooperation with the host countries and supporting the work of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to donors from different stakehlder groups, for their generous contributuons to the IGF Trust Fund managed by UNDESA over the past 13 years.

As the event is not covered by the UN regular budget, we count on your continued support and also welcome support from any stakeholder in sustaining and improving the IGF.

The IGF received global recognition as the key platform for dialogue on Internet governance, with its mandate renewed not once but twice by the UN General Assembly.  


Ladies and Gentlemen,         

While the IGF may not have decision-making mandates, it informs and inspires those who do -- as we see in the multiplier effect it has on the national, regional, youth IGFs, or NRIs in short.

At the same time, the UN General Assemby recognised that the IGF should continue to show progress with strengthened participation of stakeholders, especially from developing countries.

We are encouraged by the strong – diverse -- interests and deep engagement from different stakeholders including governments and non-government institutions, in formulating a strategic long-term view of the role of IGF, and its outputs, between now and 2025.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are living in a true digital revolution which is considered as the greatest single enabler of sustainable development.

And we are now nearing the end of the third year of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Next year -- 2019, the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, also supported by UN DESA, will take place under the auspices of both the Economic and Social Council in July as well as the General Assembly in September.

We should galvanise the momentum to mobilize technology and innovation for the service of people and not allow them to result in polarization and division.                             

As the UN Secretary-General mentioned last week during the Web Summit in Lisbon, we need to create platforms where governments, academia,  private sector, civil society can come together and find the way to discuss and to agree on protocols, on code of conducts and on other mechanisms that allow for the cyberspace and digital technologies to be essentially a force for good!

IGF is well-positioned to continue to realize this vision.

At UN DESA, we are always open to new ideas and look forward to the progressive suggestions of the High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation and the IGF community to further strengthen the role and outputs of the IGF.

Let me conclude by extending deep appreciation and thanks to the French Government and UNESCO for their excellent collaboration with UNDESA in organizing this thirteenth IGF.

I also want to add my personal gratitude and appreciation to the French Government and UNESCO.

I wish this thirteenth IGF a great success!

I thank you.

Mr. LIU Zhenmin

Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

United Nations