On 21 September 2019, stakeholders from the Internet ecosystem in Benin pre-validated Benin’s Internet Universality national assessment report. This took place during the second gathering of the Beninese Multi-stakeholder Advisory Board (MAB) – the body responsible for overseeing the research process on UNESCO’s Internet Universality Indicators.
Held at the Ministry of Digitization of Bénin, the meeting gathered different stakeholders: civil society, associations representing groups with specific needs, the blogger and web-media community, and state institutions – ARCEP, ABSU-CEP, ADN, INSAE. Ahmed Sacca Yarou, the Ministry’s Head of Cabinet, and Serge Edgard Koudjo, Secretary General, represented Government.
Opening the session, participants examined the report’s overall contents, following the ROAM-X framework, and expressed initial comments.
Representatives from all stakeholder groups then provided their inputs and contributions to the document.
The report features a diagnosis of the state of the national Internet environment in Benin relative to human Rights, Openness, Accessibility and Multistakholder participation.
Building on the findings, recommendations are formulated for stakeholders – government, civil society, the private sector— to enable the country’s Internet to move a step further towards Internet Universality.
Relevant comments made during this event will be incorporated into the revised version of the report, which will be presented at the national validation workshop on 18 October in Cotonou.
The study will also be presented at the Internet Governance Forum in Berlin on 25 November, during the UNESCO-led pre-event that will feature ongoing assessments of the Internet Universality Indicators from all corners of the globe.
The Internet Universality ROAM-X Indicators framework is a set of 303 indicators that aims to assess how well national stakeholders including governments, companies and civil society perform in adhering to the ROAM standards – or to what extent human Rights are enforced on the Internet in the country, whether it is Open, equally Accessible to all and governed through Multi-stakeholder participation.
The Indicators were developed over a three-year process of global and inclusive consultations with stakeholders. In November 2018, the 31st Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) “endorsed the use of this tool on a voluntary basis as a useful resource available for Member States”; and “encouraged interested Member States and all stakeholders, on a voluntary basis, to support and conduct national assessments of Internet development with the Internet Universality Indicators”.
Since this key decision, UNESCO has been working with stakeholders from more than 25 countries to implement national assessments of Internet development using the Indicators. A total of 10 countries are expected to complete the assessment in 2019-2020, with the assessment report to be published in a newly-created UNESCO publication series called “Internet Universality Indicators National Assessments”.