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A report produced by the UN General Assembly Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Working Group on Improvements to the IGF called for the development of more tangible outputs to ‘enhance the impact of the IGF on global Internet governance and policy’. To enrich the potential for IGF outputs, the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) developed an intersessional programme intended to complement other IGF activities, such as national and regional IGF initiatives, dynamic coalitions, and best practice forums (BPFs). The outputs from this programme are intended to become robust resources, to serve as inputs into other pertinent forums, and to evolve and grow over time. 

The topic “Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion” was chosen for the 2015 intersessional work after an earlier public consultation during the preparatory process for IGF 2015.  In order to continue the valuable intersessional work, a theme the 2016 IGF programme of activities is expected to be determined during/immediately following the next IGF in November 2015 by the global IGF community. The theme is intended to reflect topical issues and to increase support to national and regional IGF initiatives, dynamic coalitions, and BPFs

Theme: Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion

Technological advancement in connectivity expanded broadband access and mobile penetration in recent years. Three billion people were connected to the Internet by the end of 2014. In spite of the progress achieved, more effort is necessary in order to connect the next billion and to address the digital divide. 

The identification of strategies to improve connectivity is timely due to the ongoing process of reviewing the outcomes of the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS+10) and the discussion of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Collaboration between governmental and non-governmental actors is key to meet this challenge and the mutistakeholder nature of the IGF makes it a privileged space for discussion.