Internet Governance Forum to be held at UNESCO


UNESCO will host the thirteenth annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), organized by the Government of France, from 12 to 14 November 2018. The Forum will examine ways to build an internet of trust that contributes to sustainable development and the building of knowledge societies.

More than 3,000 representatives from governments, United Nations agencies, the technology sector, regulators, civil society and academia are expected to attend the Forum.  Convened by the UN Secretary-General, the Forum seeks to highlight open and inclusive discussions on the need to uphold human rights in the digital environment. Specific topics to be addressed will include the digital divide, gender equality, the impact of artificial intelligence and frontier technologies as well as issues concerning cyber security, countering hate speech and violence extremism.

On Monday, November 12, the Director-General of UNESCO Ms Audrey Azoulay will open the Forum.  Remarks by Mr Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN, will follow before an address by the President of France, Mr Emmanuel Macron. 

Internet governance is a central issue to UNESCO’s work to maximize the potential of new technologies in fostering sustainable human development and enhancing the free flow of information and ideas worldwide.

In the context of the IGF, UNESCO will be organizing and participating in several workshops, open forums, and side events.

Preventing Youth Violence Through ICTs

Tuesday, 13 November, 11:50-13:20, Room X

This session will explore how ICTs affect youth violence in the Latin America Region. Issues to be discussed include how violent groups are using ICTs to influence youth, how ICTs can be used to prevent youth violence in the region, and constructive policy best practices to centralize ICTs in the fight against youth violence.

Preventing Youth from Online Violent Radicalization

Tuesday, 13 November, 15:00-16:30, Room IV

The United Nations System acknowledges that violent extremism has reached a level of threat and sophistication that requires concerted action beyond law enforcement, military or security measures to address development, good governance, human rights and safe and secure cyberspace for youth.

This workshop will look at the measures in place to ensure an Internet of Trust in the wake of violent extremism that is becoming a major challenge for many societies and is threatening the security and fundamental rights of citizens all over the world.

Artificial Intelligence for Human Rights and SDGs

Wednesday, 14 November, 11:20-12:50, Room IV

This workshop will primarily discuss why a multi-stakeholder, inclusive and open mechanism is needed to address some key issues surrounding Artificial Intelligence.
The development and application of Artificial Intelligence technologies will profoundly shape humanity’s access to information and knowledge, impact communication and the practice of journalism. AI also has great potential to foster open and inclusive knowledge societies and promote openness in education and scientific processes, digital persistence, and cultural diversity. In turn, these can all contribute to achieve democracy, peace and the sustainable development goals.

UNESCO sees an urgent need to take a global, pluralistic, multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder (e.g. public and private sectors, developed and developing countries, etc.) reflection on the ethical standards and policies that will guide the development of AI technologies. The session is proposed to explore these issues and reflect on how to harness AI technologies as processes to advance human rights, build inclusive knowledge societies and achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Measuring a free, open, rights based and inclusive Internet

Tuesday, 13 November, 16:10-17:10, Room X

Having completed a two-year global multi-stakeholder consultation process on defining Internet Universality Indicators including one workshop discussion conducted at IGF 2017, UNESCO will present in this Open Forum the final outcome of the indicators framework and engage further with IGF stakeholders on how to promote the R.O.A.M principles which advocate for a human-Rights based, Open and Accessible Internet governed by Multi-stakeholder participation.

This Open Forum will also be an opportunity for UNESCO to launch its new curriculum “Journalism, Fake news and Misinformation: Model Course for Journalism Educators and Trainers”. This model curriculum is designed to give journalism educators and trainers a framework and lessons to help students of journalism and practitioners to navigate the emerging global problem of disinformation.

Implementation of WSIS Action Lines for SDGs, WSIS Forum 2019

Monday, 12 November, Salle III, 12:20-13:20

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum is a global United Nations (UN) multistakeholder platform facilitating the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines for advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD. It represents the world's largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community. It provides an opportunity for information exchange, knowledge creation and sharing of best practices, while identifying emerging trends and fostering partnerships, taking into account the evolving Information and Knowledge Societies. The WSIS Forum is the only event of its kind where the programme and agenda are completely crowdsourced and built during the open consultation process. The inputs received during this meeting will be integrated in the outcomes of the Open Consultation Process.


Side Events

Open discussion: Harnessing Artificial Intelligence to advance Knowledge Societies and achieve Good Governance

Thursday, November 15th, 9:00-18:00, Mozilla Foundation, in partnership with Internet Society (ISOC) and the Mozilla Foundation

In order to reflect on the significant impact of emerging and smart technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) on UNESCO’s core mandate to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image and build inclusive knowledge societies, UNESCO’s Communication and Information (CI) Sector, in partnership with Internet Society (ISOC) and the Mozilla Foundation, will be organizing Open Discussions on Harnessing AI to Advance Knowledge Societies and Good Governance.  With stakeholders from the public and private sector as well as academia, the technical community, and civil society, the event will be dedicated to unpacking the technological, ethical, political, social, and legal implications of the development and application of AI.

Web stream link:

Symposium on Media Development and Internet Governance

Monday, 12 November 2018, 15:00 – 18:30, Bonvin Building, Room XVI

On Monday, 12 November 2018, UNESCO and the leading members of the Media Development and Internet Governance Working Group will convene an internal gathering of media development stakeholders.  The focus of the event will be 1) to discuss recent developments in Internet governance that impact media development; 2) to develop concrete mechanisms for collaborative strategies across organizations, with the goal of increasing stakeholder impact in Internet governance process (such that they promote independent and pluralistic media ecosystems); and 3) to discuss plans for the overall engagement/advocacy by the different organizations present at the IGF.


Other related events

Screening of The Cleaners

Tuesday, November 13th, 19h, Room II

What makes an image art or propaganda and what defines journalism? Where exactly is the point of balance for social media to be neither an unlegislated space nor a forum rife with censorship? THE CLEANERS struggles to come to terms with this new and disconcerting paradigm. Evolving from a shared social vision of a global village to a web of fake news and radicalization, the film charts the rise and fall of social media’s utopian ideology.

The film screening will be followed by a question and answer session.


UNESCO/INRIA Booth in IGF Village: Software Heritage

Hackathon “informational disorders in the digital era”

12 November 2pm to 14 November 2pm

This hackathon, co-organized by Internet Society France (ISOC France), Savoir*Devenir, Agence France Presse (AFP) and Renaissance numérique with the support of UNESCO, will be dedicated to informational disorders in the digital era. The initiative will bring together experts, academics, associations, developers, journalists, and students in order to propose cross-curricular solutions, combining social sciences and IT development, to face those issues.The hackathon will be organized around three main tracks: 1) The fight against online hate speech 2)Fake videos and informational disorders 3)Media and digital literacies.

For more information on the IGF, please visit the IGF website.