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Internet Governance 6 December 2021

Uniting the Internet at IGF 2021

By Agustina CallegariFormer Senior Manager, Community and External Engagement

The 16th annual Internet Governence Forum will be hosted this week by the Government of Poland in Katowice, from 6 to 10 December 2021, under the theme of ‘Internet United’.

That unity is something the Internet Society strives for every day as we work to build, promote, and defend the Internet for everyone. And the IGF is an ideal time for us to inspire others to join us and harness our collective power to do more to shape the Internet for the next generation. So we’ll be there to spread our message about the importance of an open, globally-connected, secure, and trustworthy Internet.

Across the week we’ll be leading and taking part in numerous discussions and workshops. Rinalia Abdul Rahim will be speaking in a panel about building equitable employment conditions and competences. She will also be opening this year’s ISOC Open Forum, which will discuss the different definitions of the Internet, the varying manifestations of “Internet openness” and how a lack of coherent understanding undermines regulation and the Internet itself.

Other speakers from the Internet Society include:

  • Hanna Kreitem, who will give an overview of the Pulse platform and the critical role it plays in measuring Internet resilience and shutdowns.
  • Constance Bommelaer de Leusse and Dawit Bekele, who will discuss the key elements that constitute universal and meaningful Internet access, in a UNESCO session on ROAM principles. 
  • Juan Peirano, who will talk about innovative strategies in achieving universal connectivity.
  • Michuki Mwangi, who will look at data governance and trust, and the importance of harmonising African regulation for cross-border data flows.
  • Olaf Kolkman, who will discuss how international standards address the different requirements and preferences of governments and citizens in different countries.

We’ll also be hosting a booth to showcase the work of this year’s IGF Youth Ambassadors, the next generation of Internet leaders from our IGF Youth Ambassador Program, who have been learning how to collaborate and innovate for a better Internet in their own communities and across the world.

Coming together to combat threats

We are long-time supporters of the IGF, and believe that the opportunities we can create from converging around common themes and bringing diverse stakeholders together in a single setting, can help us combat the threats we see facing the Internet today. 

We’re at IGF to defend against these threats by:

  • prioritizing extending the Internet to communities that do not have it and need it most, concentrating especially on building and empowering the movement of people who can make sure the Internet really is for everyone.
  • prioritizing promoting and defending the properties that underpin the Internet as the preferred model for network development.
  • emphasizing the importance and value of strong encryption as a primary means of protecting our activities online and ensuring that our communications are reliably safe and private.
  • showing how greater network resilience is advantageous to all, including those who are opposed to it and who use shutdowns as a way to restrict access.

We will also spotlight the important work that so many people around the globe, as part of the Internet Society community, are doing in all of these important fields. 

The challenges are complex, and demand that we all work together to overcome them. The more we can unite in aligning our multiple efforts, the greater the effect we will have in ensuring the Internet really is there for everyone.

Join us and help to build a stronger and bigger Internet for everyone

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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