IGF 2016 Main Session: Sustainable Development, Internet and Inclusive Growth

Title: Sustainable Development, Internet and Inclusive growth

Date and Time: 7 December, 10:00-13:00

Length: 180 minutes


This main session will discuss two key themes of IGF 2016 “sustainable development” and “inclusive growth” and strengthen the “knowledge agenda” of the IGF on policies that have leveraged the Internet to facilitate development and enabled inclusive and sustainable growth. The session will draw perspectives from diverse and relevant stakeholder groups and have a special focus on developing countries and underrepresented groups such as women and youth.

Sustainable Development:

The contributions of the Internet economy to sustainable development have been well documented by initiatives linking the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) action lines. Recent multistakeholder discussion (such as IGF 2015 main session on Internet economy and sustainable development) heard how ICTs are relevant across all SDGs and can be key enablers of development across all pillars of sustainable development (people, planet, peace, prosperity and partnerships). The IGF 2016 main session aims to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to exchange views on how the Internet can enable development in ways that are sustainable and inclusive - providing equal opportunities for all.

Inclusive Growth:

The WSIS+10 outcome document affirms the international community’s commitment to bridging digital and knowledge divides. A person’s ability to access the Internet and the quality of that access is largely influenced by factors such as disabilities, gender, age, education as well as the nature of online content. The IGF main session would provide an opportunity for stakeholders to share experiences on policies and capacity building initiatives that have helped promote inclusivity when leveraging the Internet to enable sustainable growth.


In the context of the 2030 agenda and drawing on the 2016 IGF theme ‘enabling inclusive and sustainable growth’, the session will build on the foundations of the valuable and much appreciated main session on Internet economy and sustainable development at the IGF 2015, to discuss what factors can influence and promote sustainable and inclusive growth when leveraging ICTs for development.

Other recent multistakeholder dialogues on this topic that are facilitated locally, including a regional event in Egypt, among other developing countries will be drawn upon throughout the discussion. This will help insert local experiences into the global multistakeholder dialogue and foster an exchange of ideas and experiences that can then be taken away for local action. Recent research papers on those topics would be translated where necessary and provided one month prior to IGF 2016. The papers will be concise and geared to motivate participation.

The topics of discussion will cover: improving the educational system, engaging the youth in achieving development, fostering development of the information society to address main economic challenges through the implementation of projects, creation of jobs, relying on innovation as well as integrating talented youth into development plans.

Interventions will alternate between "conceptual" and real "case studies". This structure will be examined in more detail through the planning process. Three main themes for the discussion will include:

Knowledge for community development: The session will consider the role of education and the policies of vocational education and training. The challenge of illiteracy and the importance of integrating digital education to leverage the Internet for inclusive development will be discussed. This theme intersects with the fourth sustainable development goal, which stipulates: "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”

Sustainable communities start with youth and employment: This theme will include the engagement of youth with a special focus on enabling young women’s economic empowerment. It will address success stories for the engagement of skilled labour in the private sector. In addition, it will tackle issues facing small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and the significant entrepreneurial experiences needed to further inclusive growth. This theme intersects with the eighth sustainable development goal: " Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”

The development of the information society: The theme seeks to consider the advancement of ICTs in all economic and social areas, access to information and knowledge, and best practices in information and communication technology applications; e-government, e-services, e-business, e-health, e-learning, etc. Discussion will also look at how this can contribute to inclusive growth and what factors need to be addressed to ensure it is working towards that goal and not against it. This foundational discussion is about sustainable development but also very much aligned with the founding vision of the Geneva Declaration of Principles noted in paragraph 19, that “[w]e are resolute in our quest to ensure that everyone can benefit from the opportunities that ICTs can offer...” and paragraph 20 that states, “[b]uilding a people-centred Information Society is a joint effort which requires cooperation and partnership among all stakeholders.”

Policy Questions:

Public policy questions will be refined in a preparatory exchange with moderators and speakers.  A final short list of will be in the final submission and run-through of the session. The list of public policy questions will be distributed and translated together with the "papers" (noted above), with the same objective to prepare the audience of the session.

(i)    What lessons can we learn from the millennium development goals and what challenges to inclusion and sustainable development need to be addressed to arrive at the new global goals (SDGs)?

(ii)   What are the key enablers of inclusive and sustainable development and what are the policy approaches that can help leverage ICTs for these goals?

(iii)  What are the priorities for capacity building and what are some examples of how can these be implemented to make a difference to inclusive and sustainable growth?

(iv) How do the youth of today and tomorrow intrinsically relate to inclusive and sustainable growth?

(v)  How can we tackle gender divides and boost the use of ICTs to promote the empowerment of women?

(vi) What can be done to improve the chances of successful promotion of local content and applications?

Chair(s) and/or Moderator(s)

Moderators:    Dr Abdul Munhem Youssef, CEO of Ogero Telecom, Lebanon; Dr Robert Pepper, Global Connectivity and Technology Policy, Facebook, USA

Rapporteurs:   Carolyn Nguyen, Microsoft Corporation; Alejandro Pissanty, ISOC

Host Country Chair: TBC







Dr May El-Batran

Head of the ICT Committee, People’s Assembly/Parliament Egypt


Aruna Sundararajan,

Secretary Meity, Government of India


Andrus Ansip

European Commission Vice President


Daniel Abadie

Undersecretary of Digital Government, Argentina, Ministry of Modernization

Civil society:







Mr Peter Van Rooji




Director ILO DWT for North Africa and Country Office for Eygpt and Eritrea



Mr Aldo Olcese Santonja

Chairman, European Education for Employment (EFE)


Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki

Chief Executive Office, New Partnership for Africa's Development

Technical community:





Ms Kathy Brown

Chief Executive Officer, ISOC


Mr Jari Arkko

IETF, Expert on Internet Architecture


Prof. Nii Quaynor

Chairman, Network Computer Systems, Ghana, a member of the United Nations Secretary General Advisory Group on ICT, member of the ITU Telecom Board, Chair and of the OAU Internet Task Force, President of the Internet Society of Ghana, and member of the Worldbank Infodev TAP.

Private sector:





Mr Eric Loeb


Senior VP, AT&T, USA


Ms Yessica Cartajena


Business Development Executive at Apple&IBM Global Partnership; as well as contributing to Pais Digital, Chile


Mr Rajan S Mathews

Director General COAI, India (former President of Afghan Wireless among extensive experience in Asian business sector)

International Organizations:





Mr Frank la Rue

UNESCO Assistant Director General


Antonio Garcia Zaballos

International Organization, Inter-American Development Bank


Lenni Montiel

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs






Mr Raul Katz

Director, Business Strategy Research at Columbia Institute for Tele-Information


Dr LIU Chuang

Professor, Institute of Geography and Natural Resources in Beijing , China (moderator of workshop 68)  (tbc)

Plan for in-room participant engagement/interaction:

Two seasoned moderators will be assisted by one remote moderator and 2-3 volunteers to facilitate participation from the microphones available to the audience. Moderators will frame a topic that a diversity of panellists will address in 2-3min remarks and questions linked to the policy topics will be divided among the panellists to allow different voices to address those issues most relevant to their expertise, while ensuring diversity of stakeholder responses for each one.

Moderators will have roaming mics, and will moderate the session while standing

Remote moderator/Plan for online interaction:

Remote moderator: Timea Suto, International Chamber of Commerce, ICC BASIS Project co-ordinator

Efforts will be made to facilitate remote participation and remote interventions throughout the session. To further help insert local experiences into the global multistakeholder dialogue and foster an exchange of ideas and experiences that can inspire local action, a remote link could be established with a "case study" on the ground in a developing country.

Connections with other sessions:

Workshop tags: Internet economy, access and diversity, Internet and ICTs for the SDGs, gender issues, enhancing accessibility for persons with disabilities, capacity building, multistakeholder cooperation, connecting the under connected, Internet fragmentation, Internet governance ecosystem.


A: Build on the successful discussion from 2015 that was notably appreciated by developing country participants and advance that exchange along the overall IGF theme of Enabling Inclusive and Sustainable Growth.

B: Frame a global multistakeholder discussion on the SDGs that makes the relationship between the role of the Internet and the importance of inclusive growth better understood to focus cooperation and effort on these aligned aims.

C: Bring the questions and perspectives shared at local and regional level to further generate ideas and insight across IGF global exchanges. Advance the goal enshrined in the mandate of the IGF as stated in the Tunis Agenda paragraph 72 that calls for the IGF to “contribute to capacity building for Internet governance in developing countries” and serve the goal of more informed and effective local action through the unique opportunity of global multistakeholder interaction provided by the IGF.

D: Reinforce the understanding among stakeholders of the interdependence of efforts in addressing developmental challenges while reinforcing multistakeholder cooperation on connecting and including those not yet realising the Internet’s full potential for development.