UNESCO Member States encouraged to participate in the framing of Internet Universality indicators during IPDC meeting

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Albana Shala, IPDC Chair, welcomes Internet expert David Souter during IPDC’s information meeting, on 29 September 2017.
© UNESCO
10 October 2017

“We strongly encourage your countries and experts to participate in UNESCO’s new project to define Internet Universality indicators and respond to the ongoing online consultation” said UNESCO representative Guy Berger and Internet expert David Souter (APC consortium) to more than 40 diplomats gathered during an information meeting of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) on 29 September 2017.

During an information meeting of the IPDC held on Friday 29 September 2017 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (France), the leading author of UNESCO’s ongoing research on developing Internet Universality indicators presented the project and invited all Member States to participate in the online consultation. UNESCO representative Guy Berger also encouraged all present diplomats and experts to engage in the project “so that we can produce workable universal indicators”.

Following the adoption of the Media Development Indicators (MDIs) as well as the Journalists’ Safety Indicators (JSIs), the project to define Internet Universality Indicators is part of UNESCO's ongoing response in support of decisions both by the IPDC and the Organization’s 38th General Conference Resolution in 2015 on the Outcome Document of the “CONNECTing the Dots: Options for Future Action” conference. The project strategically contributes to reinforcing UNESCO’s priority program areas related to promote freedom of expression on all platforms and universal access to information and knowledge, enriching UNESCO’s leadership contribution to global Internet governance.

The project aims to build a framework of indicators through which to assess levels of achievement, in individual countries, of the four fundamental ROAM principles included in the concept of “Internet Universality” which means that the Internet should be based on human Rights (R), should be Open (O), Accessible to all (A) and that it should be nurtured by Multistakeholder participation (M).

Responding to questions by the Russian and Dutch delegations, UNESCO representative Guy Berger stressed that the indicators will not allow for comparison between countries and that UNESCO does not intend to produce rankings of countries. The set of indicators will rather be used as a way to support governments and other interested stakeholders in assessing progress towards Internet Universality. “The indicators will allow individual countries and experts to assess their own Internet development. We see this project as a way to improve national legal frameworks related to Internet and the implementation of the ROAM principles” said Guy Berger.

As part of its methodology to develop the indicators, UNESCO (in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications Consortium), is conducting a global multistakeholder consultation, on- and off-line. The deadline for participating in the first phase of the online consultation is set on 31 October 2017. Contributions can be made in any of the six UN languages (EN, FR, ES, RU, AR, CH). The Organization has also convened more than 20 consultation events in 18 countries since March 2017 and will organize 4 regional fora as part of the second phase of the consultation, starting in December 2017.

The project is supported by Sweden and Internet Society, and the elaboration of the Indicators will be finalized by June 2018.