"We congratulate UNESCO for conducting such valuable research and engaging all stakeholders in the process", was the sentiment of several speakers at UNESCO Open Forum 13th November at the 10th IGF.
UNESCO took the occasion to launch its comprehensive Internet Study titled “Keystones to Foster Inclusive Knowledge Societies: Access to information and knowledge, Freedom of Expression, Privacy and Ethics on a Global Internet”, as mandated by its 37th General Conference Resolution 52 in 2013.
The Open Forum, chaired by Ms Lidia Brito, UNESCO Director for Montvideo Office, was kicked off by a short presentation on the Study by Ms Xianhong Hu. She explained that the CONNECTing-the-dots conference had enabled the study to be finalised, and that its Outcome Document was mirrored in the study’s options for the way forward.
This major global study explores global perspectives on the new and emerging trends that are shaping the Internet space. Among the options for future action by UNESCO is support for the Internet Universality principles that promote a Human Rights-based, Open Internet, which is Accessible to all and characterized by Multi-stakeholder participation (R.O.A.M).
Ms Hu informed that the Study is being validated by UNESCO Member States, and that the Communication and Information Commission of the ongoing 38th General Conference of UNESCO, had recommended the Internet Study and the options for endorsement by the full 195 Member States next week.
Panelists acknowledged the significance of the study in promoting a comprehensive and inclusive approach to envision four key stones of access, freedom of expression, privacy and ethics for building knowledge society.
They said that UNESCO was highly expected by stakeholders to use its institutional power to move forward on multi-stakeholderism, and to play a role of a trust broker so as to promote dialogue and harmonize different values and frameworks on Internet governance.
Participants also suggested a list of emerging issues for UNESCO to consider actions for future such as network neutrality, algorithms and encryption and how these impact fundamental human rights.