Building peace in the minds of men and women

Assessing Internet Development in your country!

09 May 2019

Is the Internet a space where human rights are respected in your country? Is it open and accessible? Do those who have a stake in the Internet also contribute to its governance? The Internet Universality Indicators developed by UNESCO help bring answers to these questions.

They are a comprehensive set of indicators meant to assess Internet development at the national level. To this end, they seek to answer four fundamental questions. The first one refers to human rights. Does the Internet enable freedom of expression and association, and is it respectful of the right to privacy, and of social, economic and cultural rights?

Openness is the second key issue: What is the state of open standards, open markets, open data and open government in the country?

Third, the Indicators are concerned with Accessibility, as it relates to issues of affordability of Internet access, connectivity, local languages, users’ competencies, and equitable access.

Fourth, UNESCO stands for an Internet nurtured by multi-stakeholder governance – where all stakeholders from governments, companies, the technical community to intergovernmental organizations, civil society and academia are involved in decision-making. The Indicators thus seek to inform about national, regional and international governance mechanisms for the Internet.

Together, these categories form the R.O.A.M. framework – which translates into a Rights-based, Open, Accessible Internet governed through Multi-stakeholder cooperation – and becomes

R.O.A.M.-X when complemented by an additional set of five key crosscutting issues (X) – gender equality, the specific needs of children, sustainable development, trust and security, as well as the legal and ethical aspects of the Internet.

Over three years stakeholders worked with UNESCO to create a set of indicators designed to assess the state of the Internet at the country level. In November 2018, UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) reviewed the Indicators and approved them as important tool for assessing the state of Internet development nationally. It underlined that the Indicators are open for use by any party that wishes to conduct an assessment of the Internet in their country along the ROAM-X principles.

In addition to a detailed description of contextual and R.O.A.M.-X. indicators, the publication sets out eight steps of the process and concrete deliverables for a national assessment. It is currently being launched and will be presented in various events including the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), RightsCon, EuroDig, World Press Freedom Day and Access to Information Day.


To keep updated on the future implementation process of Internet Universality Indicators, stakeholders can sign up to the Internet Universality community and receive periodic emails about developments:

The full publication is currently available in English, French and Spanish and is in the process of being translated into other UN languages. A print-friendly version (without pictures) is also available at this link.

Your feedback can be sent to UNESCO’s focal points Xianhong Hu ( and Lucy Levinson (

Your general questions can be sent to: