UNESCO advocates Internet Freedom and Internet Universality at 10th Internet Governance Forum in João Pessoa

“Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development", is the main theme of the tenth Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which will take place in João Pessoa, Brazil, from 10 to 13 November 2015. Echoed with the theme of IGF this year and guided by Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UNESCO will present its comprehensive Internet Study “Keystone to Foster Inclusive Knowledge Societies” at UNESCO Open Forum in the IGF.

UNESCO will also launch 6 editions of its publications in the Internet Freedom Series and trigger discussion through three workshops on burning subjects in balancing transparency and privacy, mitigating online hate speech and youth radicalization. The UNESCO delegation will also be speaking at more than 20 engagements including high level events, main sessions and workshops at the IGF.

Led by Dr Brito Lidia, UNESCO Director for Montevideo Office, UNESCO is sending to the 10thIGF a joint team consisting colleagues from Headquarters and the regional office. Dr Brito will address the High Level Leaders Meeting of the IGF on 10 November to advocate the draft UNESCO concept “Internet Universality” and its R.O.A.M principles: (i) that the Internet is human Rights-based (ii) Open, (iii) Accessible to all, and (iv) nurtured by Multi-stakeholder participation (acronym R.O.A.M. principles).

Being recognized as potentially being UNESCO’s own clear identifier for various fields of Internet related issues with UNESCO concerns, this concept has been therefore proposed as an option for formal adoption at Organization’s 38 General Conference in this month.

UNESCO will take the occasion to launch its new publication “Keystones to Foster Inclusive Knowledge Societies”, plus 6 editions in the Internet Freedom Series: 1. Freedom of connection, freedom of expression; 2. Global survey on Internet privacy and freedom of expression; 3. Fostering freedom online: the role of Internet intermediaries; 4. Building digital safety for journalism; 5. Countering online hate speech; 6. Principles for governing the Internet. (hyperlinks)

Highlighting the participation of multi-stakeholders as one of its principles to build knowledge societies, UNESCO considers IGF’s multistakeholder character to be the most important factor to enable wide-ranging discussions in a collaborative atmosphere. UNESCO welcomes participants from different sectors to bring inputs and discussions to UNESCO’s Open Forum and workshops it will convene in the forthcoming 10th IGF.

The program and background documents for these UNESCO events are available at the link below:

  • Balancing privacy and transparency: to protect online freedom of expression and freedom of information
    Tuesday 10 November, 11:00-12:00, Workshop room 7
  • Launching UNESCO Internet Freedom Series Publications
    Thursday 12 November, 9:00-9:30, Workshop room 2
  • Understanding and Mitigating Online Hate Speech and Youth Radicalisation
    Thursday 12 November, 16:00-17:30, Workshop room 9
  • UNESCO Open Forum: Keystone to Foster Inclusive Knowledge Societies: Launching UNESCO’s Comprehensive Study on the Internet
    Friday 13 November, 12:00-13:00, Workshop room 3

The leaflet for free download: please click here.

UNESCO has supported the Internet Governance Forum and has contributed to its work since the first IGF in Athens in 2006. UNESCO’s Member States have repeatedly expressed support for the important work of the IGF.  In the past nine IGFs, UNESCO organized and co-organized workshops and Open Fora on promoting freedom of expression and privacy on the Internet, multilingualism in cyberspace, local content, digital preservation and many more dimensions of our Internet-related work. 

UNESCO in parallel has been contributing to the WSIS Review process at the UN General Assembly, and will draw on its engagements at the IGF in further engagement with this process.