IGF-related engagement at UN meetings in July and August

The IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) Chair, Anriette Esterhuysen, has helped raised the profile of the IGF at two United Nations-related events in July:

  • 2020 High-Level Political Forum
  • WSIS Forum 2020

At the 2020 High-Level Political Forum, on 9 July, Ms. Esterhuysen was one of two lead discussants in the session, “Are we leaving no one behind in eradicating poverty and working towards the 2030 Agenda?”  The question she was asked to respond to was “How can digital tools help to mitigate risks and enhance the resilience of individuals, groups and communities in vulnerable situations? To what extent has the COVID-19 crisis exacerbated the digital divide and how can this inequality be addressed?” In response, she referred to the digital inequality paradox, where, “as more people use advanced tools and technology, overall inequality tends to increase, not decrease – especially in countries which already have high levels of inequality”. She suggested that “to change this trajectory, digital policy and planning should start with people, rather than with technology. Governments should try to avoid being distracted by current ‘hot topics’ such as the so-called 4th industrial revolution, or blockchain, or cybersecurity - at the expense of addressing basic digital equality.” Ms. Esterhuysen’s full response can be found here

At the WSIS Forum 2020, on 24 July, Ms. Esterhuysen was a panelist at the High-Level Policy Session 8: WSIS Action Lines and 2030 Agenda/Enabling Environment. She was asked about the impact of national, regional and youth IGF initiatives (NRIs) on internet development at the national level. In response, Ms. Esterhuysen explained that NRIs create an opportunity for local ownership and initiatives in finding solutions to localized issues and help to build relationships between stakeholders that lead to more informed, sustainable policy. She emphasized that an Internet governance ecosystem that can provide spaces for all voices, from the north and the south, and of all stakeholders, needs strong and inclusive processes at global and at national levels. Ms. Esterhuysen concluded by inviting WSIS Forum participants to this year’s IGF. Ms. Esterhuysen’s full response can be found here

The IGF MAG Chair and IGF Secretariat also regularly speak on IGF and Internet public policy-related issues at National, Sub-Regional, Regional and Youth IGF initiatives. Most recently: the Ghana IGF, WAIGF and Ghana Youth IGF.

Coming up, on 3 August, 12:00-13:00 UTC, the IGF Secretariat will host an Outreach Event at the 2020 WSIS Forum. The agenda for the session is being organized in coordination with MAG members. To participate in the Outreach Event, register here.