An IGF 2023 Program Addressing Digital Change Head-on: Message from the MAG Chair

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An IGF 2023 Program Addressing Digital Change Head-on

Message from the MAG Chair

I continue to be amazed at the pace of digital transformation that has occurred globally over the past two decades. Our technical capabilities have expanded exponentially and continue to advance. In large parts of the world, how people live their daily lives is unrecognizable from the from the state of twenty years ago.  Education, entertainment, healthcare, manufacturing, communication, how we grow our food.  Every sector has been forever changed. And the pace of change is accelerating still.  

At the same time there remain significant digital inequities in every part of the world.

Over the past 19 years, the Internet Governance Forum has evolved to become the multistakeholder platform for global discussion of Internet governance topics.

The IGF evolves each year based on what’s current, and what’s emerging.  We take time to take stock of the environment through an open process, and then try to distill that to a key theme and sub-themes to ensure that we have coherence and relevance.  

This year, the MAG has selected “The Internet We Want - Empowering All People“ with accompanying sub-themes:  

  • Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety
  • Artificial Intelligence & Emerging Technologies
  • Digital Divides & Inclusion
  • Global Digital Governance & Cooperation
  • Human Rights & Freedoms
  • Data Governance & Trust
  • Sustainability & Environment
  • Avoiding Internet Fragmentation

We received a total of 768 session proposals - a 72% increase over 2022. Of these, approximately 50% of the proposals are addressing Cybersecurity, Safety, or AI clearly reflecting raised awareness and concern over the potential impact of these technologies on our societies.

Given the importance of the Internet and digital technologies, it’s critical that we work to achieve the Internet we want. But what does that mean? 

I believe that one that addresses our selected sub-themes is a good place to start. One that can address divides and is grounded in enabling human rights, one that enhances data governance and trust, one that enables sustainability and the environment, and one that avoids Internet fragmentation. We all have our own ideals, our own hopes and dreams. 

These are big challenges, but I am a digital optimist and believe that the solutions to these challenges lie in digital cooperation among all relevant stakeholders – to identify and implement solutions. And the IGF is an important vehicle to discuss and share. I hope you will.

Operationally, the IGF is shaped by its multistakeholder advisory group that I have the honor of chairing this year, and we receive excellent support from the IGF Secretariat. In addition, we work with the Secretary General’s Leadership Panel to ensure coherence and knowledge sharing.

This week, we will work through all of the submissions leading to the final program selections. 

Thank you for all of your support and contributions.

Please put IGF 2023 on your calendar today: