Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Fake News, Internet of Things and Virtual Reality to Dominate the Annual Meeting Taking Place in Geneva from 18 to 21 December
13 December 2017
Geneva, 13 December 2017 – More than 2,000 people, including high-level government officials, civil society leaders, private sector representatives and academic and technical experts, will gather on 18 December at the twelfth annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss the impact and influence of digitization on our economy, the media landscape and the political system. New technologies and the emerging issues such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, block chain technologies, big data, virtual reality and fake news, and their impact on public trust, democracy, human rights and freedom of expression, are capturing the attention of the in-person and online participants in this meeting hosted by the Government of Switzerland and taking place at the United Nations European Headquarters, the Palais des Nations.
At the opening ceremony on Monday 18 December, the participants to the 2017 Forum will hear welcoming remarks by the President of Switzerland, Doris Leuthard, and the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Liu Zhenmin. There will be a video message from Secretary-General António Guterres. Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva Pierre Maudet, Geneva State Councilor, and Rémy Pagani, Mayor of the City of Geneva, will also speak.
The IGF is a global multi-stakeholder forum that facilitates the discussion and dialogue about public policy issues pertaining to Internet governance. It is a neutral space in which all actors and members of various stakeholder groups convene as equals, and have equal opportunity to engage in the debate on Internet governance. Participants to the IGF do not make decisions or negotiate, but they inform and inspire those with policy-making powers in public and private sectors, facilitate a common understanding as to how Internet opportunities can be maximized, and address risks and challenges that arise. The Forum identifies issues to be addressed by the international community, shapes and informs the international agenda, and prepares the ground for negotiations and decision-making in other institutions.
The 2017 Internet Governance Forum is taking place in the context of a profound transformation, even disruption, of States, economies and societies, caused by increasing digitalization. In the face of such immense changes, close cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary and networked collaboration is crucial to seize the opportunities that the digital transformation offers. This year’s programme therefore addresses sub-themes and key issues related to cybersecurity and trust, digital economy and digital work, inclusiveness and diversity, openness and accessibility, Internet and human rights, critical Internet resources, gender and youth, and multi-stakeholders’ cooperation and governance.
As is the established practice, the Forum’s Multistakeholder Advisory Group, composed of 55 representatives from Governments, the private sector, civil society, and the academic and technical communities, has developed the programme in an inclusive and participative manner, and it includes:
· a high-level opening session on shaping future digital global governance;
· a high-level thematic session on the impact of digitization on politics, public trust and democracy;
· main or special sessions on the key themes of this year’s Forum, namely on Internet disruptions, encryption and data flows; on data for sustainable development road maps; on the impact of digitization on politics, public trues and democracy; on global cooperation on cybersecurity for sustainable development and peace; on the contribution of IGF Dynamic Coalitions to the digital future; on local and regional perspectives on rights in the digital world from IGF National and Regional Initiatives; on gender inclusion and the future of the Internet; and on shaping the socio-economic and labour impacts of digital transformation;
· more than 200 sessions organized by the Forum’s diverse stakeholders from all parts of the world, on issues ranging from net neutrality, to digital Geneva, to collaboration in the digital economy and society, to balancing security, openness and privacy, to fighting fake news and protecting free speech.
The discussions will provide a valuable input toward the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which relies on robust and strategic use of information and communication technologies and sound Internet policies. The placement of the IGF 2017 in Geneva, an important digital policy-making hub with a multitude of actors, provides the unprecedented opportunity to break the silos and bring together experts and decision-makers from all sectors to embark on new constructive cooperation and partnerships which are so crucial in harnessing the opportunities that digitalization offers.
While there will be no negotiated outcome, the 2017 Forum will produce several tangible outputs in an effort to bring the proceeds of the discussions and intersessional activities closer to the stakeholders. The outputs will include the Best Practice Forums reports, as well as the comprehensive report on the third phase of the Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion(s)’ (CENB) report, which has garnered more than 100 contributions from a wide range of stakeholders.
What’s New at the 2017 IGF
Since its inception, the IGF community has witnessed the creation of numerous National, Sub-Regional, Regional and Youth IGF initiatives (NRIs), and for the first time, the 2017 programme will feature dedicated NRI sessions. Participation of Governments and policy makers has increased significantly this year, and has reached a record with 45 sessions, or Open Forums, organized by Governments and inter-governmental organizations, including several United Nations agencies and regional organizations.
The IGF Village will include a record number of booths, more than 50 - doubled compared to previous years - and give exhibitors from across the regional and stakeholder spectrum the opportunity to advance their work, and network and create partnerships among the IGF’s participants. In an effort to continue to bring in new stakeholders, and specifically young people, the IGF will feature a dedicated track of activities aimed at IGF first-time attendees; the “Newcomers and Youth Track” will launch on Day Zero and will focus on putting newcomers in conversation with Internet policy leaders from all stakeholder groups.
The detailed programme with links to each of the more than 220 sessions is available here. The first sessions, or pre-events, will take place on Sunday, 17 December (Day 0).
On Monday, 18 December, the opening ceremony of the twelfth Internet Governance Forum will be held at 3 p.m. at the Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations. The participants will hear welcoming remarks by the President of Switzerland Doris Leuthard, and the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhemin. There will be a video message from Secretary-General António Guterres. Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Pierre Maudet, Geneva State Councilor, and Rémy Pagani, Mayor of the City of Geneva, will also speak. The opening ceremony will also include a cultural performance.
The opening ceremony will be followed at 4 p.m. by a high-level thematic session on Shaping Our Future Digital Global Governance, which will explore the unique opportunities for growth and development provided by digitization, and the growing challenges that call for a better coordinated global digital governance system. Speakers will address the issues of the global digital governance framework, gaps in the current digital governance system, and make suggestions in how global cooperation among all stakeholders can be improved. Doris Leuthard, President of Switzerland and Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, will take part in the roundtable discussion, moderated by Nathalie Ducommun of Radio Télévision Suisse.
On the morning of Monday, 18 December, the first main session titled Local interventions, global impacts: how can international, multistakeholder cooperation address Internet disruptions, encryption and data flows will take place at 10 a.m. in Room XVII at the Palais des Nations. The participants in the session will discuss the impacts that national policy initiatives may have on the global Internet environment and the jurisdictional issues still to be solved. Experts will discuss three different but interrelated topics: Internet disruptions (such as shutdowns and slowdowns), encryption, and data flows, and will also examine how multistakeholder dialogue can leverage its role towards the solution of major problems along these three main topics. The session will start at 10 a.m. in Room XVII, Palais des Nations.
A detailed programme of all sessions, workshops and parallel events on Monday, 18 December is available here.
On Tuesday, 19 December, the special session on Data for sustainable development maps, scheduled for 9 a.m. in Room XVI, Palais des Nations, will look back at the Millienium Development Goals (MDGs) much like a prologue to what must be done now to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and will take into account lessons learned about lack of data, and lack of focused reporting on achievements. Creating a form of standardized reporting is very challenging for developing countries, unless there is a sort of “road-map” that is built on their present status in terms of data gathering mechanisms and analysis.
The high-level thematic session on the theme of the Impact of digitization on politics, public trust and democracy will discuss the opportunities and the challenges that digitization brings to the digital political sphere, public trust, and democracy. Discussions will revolve around ways of strengthening the benefits of democratic participation and inclusion via digital means, limiting the negative impact of the misuse of the public policy space, and rebuilding trust among online users. The session will also look at issues such as government policies aimed at creating more inclusive policy-making processes through the use of digital tools, the responsibility of Internet intermediaries for the dissemination of fake news and false news that can influence political processes, and the elements that can help rebuild trust among users. The session will start at 10 a.m. in Room XVII, Palais des Nations.
The existence of critical global cybersecurity issues has underscored the urgent need for a renewed multi-stakeholder dialogue on the security of cyberspace for peace and sustainable development. However, there have been various institutional frameworks for dealing with cooperation on cybersecurity, which are operating in silos, and are yet to be translated into a meaningful global course of action. This will be the focus of the session titled Empowering global cooperation on cybersecurity for sustainable development and peace to be held at 3 p.m. in Room XVII, Palais des Nations.
Information about all other sessions, workshops and parallel events that will take place on Tuesday, 19 December is available here.
On Wednesday, 20 December, the participants will hear the Dynamic Coalitions discuss the topics they cover, from accessibility and disability, Internet of things and blockchain technologies, to child online safety, community connectivity and gender, and Internet governance, publicness and core Internet values. Dynamic Coalitions are some of the IGF’s longest-standing community groups that do continuous work around a chosen theme in Internet Governance, and each of the participating coalitions will make a brief intervention during the session Dynamic Coalitions: Contribute to the digital future!, held at 10 a.m. in Room XVII, Palais des Nations.
At 11.30 a.m., the national, regional and youth IGF initiatives (NRIs) will discuss extensively the notion of rights in the digital world, its importance and current practices in different countries and regions of the world, as well as the global policies and practices and its implications to their respective communities. The session is titled NRIs perspectives: Rights in the digital world.
The session Gender inclusion and the future of the Internet at 4 p.m. will strive to answer the question: what does it mean to integrate gender into Internet governance processes? The speakers will examine key issues related to gender and Internet policy, including access, intersectionality, and new and emerging technologies, and address online gender-based violence. Internet governance processes, mechanisms and structures will also be examined, and recommendations will be formulated on how to better integrate gender and address key issues such as gender digital divide, sexuality and freedom of expression, and privacy and surveillance and its gendered impact.
Other sessions and workshops will take place on Wednesday, 20 December as well, and the detailed programme can be viewed here.
On the last day of the 2017 Forum, Thursday, 21 December, the audiences will have an opportunity to engage in a thoughtful dialogue on the process of digitization and digital transformation, examining its effect on the global value chain, new business models, and the future workforce, during the session Digital transformation: how do we shape its socio-economic and labour impacts for good? at 10 a.m. in Room XVII, Palais des Nations.
The participants will gather at the Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations at 3 p.m. to take stock of the discussions that took place over the four days and to officially close the twelfth annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum.
A detailed programme of all sessions, workshops and parallel events on the last day of the Forum can be found here.
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