Building peace in the minds of men and women

Internet Universality Indicators

Have you ever wanted to gain a deeper understanding of your digital environment? To have a map of the Internet measuring its compliance with human Rights (R), evaluating its Openness (O) and Accessibility (A), and assessing the involvement of Multistakeholder actors (M) in its governance? If so, UNESCO’s ROAM-X Indicators are for you. The ROAM-X indicators framework is a unique and powerful resource which is relevant to all countries, whether developed or developing, to gain a holistic diagnosis of its Internet policies, digital environment and thereby the structural causes of digital inequalities.

In November 2015, UNESCO’s 38th General Conference endorsed the CONNECTing the Dots Outcome Document, along with the concept of Internet Universality.

The concept of Internet Universality summarizes UNESCO’s updated positions in the digital age, pointing to the four fundamental R.O.A.M principles, according to which the Internet should be

(i)    human Rights-based
(ii)    Open,
(iii)    Accessible to all, and
(iv)    nurtured by Multi-stakeholder participation.

In response to this key decision and to promote the R.O.A.M principles, UNESCO engaged in a three-year cycle of developing the Internet Universality Indicators framework through a global, open, inclusive and multi-stakeholder process.

In November 2018, the 31st Council Meeting of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) welcomed these Indicators. The Council “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”.

UNESCO now works to implement this decision by engaging stakeholders to conduct national assessments based on the Indicators framework.

The conduct of these assessments aim to:

  • Develop a clear and substantive understanding of the national Internet environment and of Internet policies contributing to sustainable development;
  • Assess such environment and policies in relation to the implementation of UNESCO’s R.O.A.M. principles;
  • Formulate policy recommendations that can help improve Internet development in the country.

UNESCO invites interested actors and research teams to conduct a national assessment of the Internet environment using the Internet Universality Indicators; encourages and welcomes those key actors and research institutions and individuals who have self-sustained resources and capacities to support the process.

UNESCO stands ready to support the entire process ranging from establishing the Multistakeholder Advisory Group, to co-organizing events and monitoring the impact. Where suitable, UNESCO will publish the results of a national assessment as part of a dedicated UNESCO publication series. UNESCO will also establish a global online platform to assist the national assessment process and share national exercises in order to facilitate exchange of practices, advocacy activities and policy debates.