IGF 2021 – Day 0 – Opening Ceremony

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> AGATA KONARSKA: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!  Welcome to Poland!  Welcome to Katowice!  This is the Opening Ceremony of 16th Annual UN Internet Governance Forum, the international meeting held at the initiative of the United Nations, enabling a global discussion on the development of the Internet.

My name is Agata Konarska.  I'm a TV journalist and believe me, it is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all dear participants at this most important and international event of the year!  I warmly welcome all those gathered here in this hospitable interior of the International Conference Centre in Katowice.  Ladies and gentlemen, please let me welcome United Nations Under‑Secretary‑General Mr. Liu Zhenmin.


Please take your seats.  Just a welcome!.

Prime Minister of Poland Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki.  During the Opening Ceremony we'll hear from the United Nations Secretary‑General Antonio Guterrs and President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda.  We welcome all participants online with us.  After all, ladies and gentlemen, it is an event about Digital World.

The headline of this year's UN Internet Governance Forum is United Internet, which means an accessible, united, friendly Internet for all.  The Internet connecting all its users into one community responsible for its shape and functioning.  During the COVID‑19 crisis the Internet proved to be enormously helpful in organizing our lives to an extent that we could have never have foreseen just a few months ago.  This is only confirming how precious and valuable part of our lives it actually is.  We're simply, ladies and gentlemen, living in a Digital World, and it is a fact.

For the first time in history, Poland is hosting the global Internet Governance Forum organized here in Katowice, International Conference Centre and we Poles, we're honored to hold this important event and we consider it as an appreciation of our efforts and activities in the field of the digitization.  We hope and believe that the forum will be a place of open and real debate about the future of Internet because everyone can influence this debate and express their opinion.

During the five days of this year's edition of the forum, there will be 300 events, activities and initiatives such as lecture, debates and workshops devoted to the Digital World from legislation, through currently available technologies, to future technologies such as quantum technologies.  Experts from all over the world, ministers of the digitization, entrepreneurs, representatives of the world of science are taking part in the IGF 2021.

We will also discuss more general horizontal issues, such as those related to the access to the Internet, because we have to remember that at the moment half of the world still does not have such access.

During the IGF 2021 important decisions about the future of the Internet will be made effecting web users and there is more and more of them, in just two years from 2019 782 million new users have used the Internet, that's more than twice the population of the United States.  The global pandemic has definitely accelerated the process of digitization of individual areas of economic, political and social life of course.  Economic, political and social life, of course it requires appropriate funding and the involvement of the younger generation.  The organizers of IGF 2021 are aware that young Internet users play a key role in the development of the Internet.  After all, the future belongs to them.  Therefore, an important part of this year's Internet Governance is the Youth IGF Summit.  This year's edition of IGF is held in a hybrid formula so anyone interested can in person in Katowice or join us online.  It's worth, ladies and gentlemen, being with us!

And it's time now to officially begin the first speaker will be Mr. Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under‑Secretary‑General for economic and social affairs.  I now invite to the stage with pleasure, Mr. Liu Zhenmin will give us the floor with a short introduction before the Secretary‑General's speech.

Please, welcome to the stage.


>> LIU ZHENMIN: Your Excellency, President of Poland Mr. Andrzej Duda, Your Excellency Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Poland, Excellency Mayor of Katowice Marcin Krupa.

Dear participants, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the United Nations Secretary‑General, I welcome you all to the official opening of the Internet Governance Forum held in Katowice. 

Due to the scheduling conflict, several dignitaries are not able to join us today in person, but we have the honor to hear the address delivered by the UN headquarters in New York.

Please play the video for Antonio Guterres' remarks.

>> ANTONIO GUTERRS:  The life‑changing power of the Internet, this is digital technology saving lives by enabling millions of people to work, study and socialize safely online. 

But the pandemic is also making us find the digital divide and the dark side of technology, the lightning fast spread of misinformation, the manipulation of people's behavior and more.  You can only address these challenges united through strength and corporation, by establishing real rules to safeguard Human Rights and fundamental freedoms, by gaining control over our data, by looking at this information and hate speech and by connecting everyone to the Internet by 2030.  The Internet Governance Forum is a crucial role in shaping the conversation. 

The vision of an open, vigilant, secure future underpins the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and my recent report on the common agenda proposed as Global Digital Compact aimed at bringing governments, the private sector, Civil Society together in support of this vision.

I hope this forum will create momentum and spur growth.  I urge you to be bold and I wish you successful deliberations.  Thank you.


>> LIU ZHENMIN: Thank you, Mr. Secretary‑General.

Dear participants, Antonio Guterres extending our great thanks to our host, the government of the Republic of Poland. 

I thank President Andrzej Duda for the speech that will be delivered, and also thank the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki for his personal participation here today at this opening.

This is more timely than ever as we continue to witness how the COVID‑19 pandemic disrupts our lives of human beings.

The pandemic has impacted how we live, how we work, and how we interact with each other and how those unconnected are left further behind.  The IGF could deliver its promise for shaping a digital future for the world during the COVID‑19 crisis ‑‑ turning the crisis into opportunities.  Indeed, it is easier saying than done.  At the Global Internet Governance Forum it is accomplished, but united we can succeed together.

So dear participants, join us at this hybrid meeting on site and online.  As last night, we had over 8,000 registered participants representing governments, international and intergovernmental organizations, Civil Societies, academia, technical communities and others.

All the participants engage in over 200 different sessions focused on the forum's main areas, from access and accessibility to social, economic development, Human Rights, trust and cooperation to environment and the emerging regulations.  I believe there will be insightful exchanges highlighting the promises and appearance of digital space, showcasing solutions and approaches and aspiring ways forward to our digital future.  The way forward should reach those who can't make a concrete impact. 

United Nations remains fully committed to working for a better Internet for all through a strong IGF process.  I look forward to being part of many important exchanges at the Katowice IGF.  I wish this Internet Governance in Katowice a great success.

I thank you.


>> AGATA KONARSKA: Thank you very much, Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Under‑Secretary‑General, Economic and Social Affairs.  Thank you for your speech.  Thank you for being in person with us in Katowice.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is now time to give the floor to the President of Poland.  Mr. Andrzej Duda will now deliver his opening remarks in the form of video message.

>> ANDRZEJ DUDA: Distinguished guests, dear attendees of the 16th UN Internet Governance Forum, It is my great pleasure and true honor to welcome you to IGF 2021 in the beautiful and vibrant Polish City of Katowice!  Regretfully, I'm unable to join you personally today.  However, it's with great satisfaction that I can greet you, the most reputable Internet community, send you my best wishes and to address you by means of this video.

The numerous presence here on the site in Katowice, but also online due to the current pandemic situation only shows the significance of the digital space in present days and how important its issues are for us all.  Let's be honest, if there was no Internet, we would not be able to meet in such a big numbers these days.  It is true, that we all live in a digital world, yet we also live in a time of great challenges which effects this digital dimension of human activity.  Therefore, we all seek an environment which can be secure, neutral and trusted.  It's only up to us, the global community how we design it and how we organize it.

Digital transformation is simply a must for our global wellbeing, but we still need to answer some crucial questions, such as:  How does digitization change our lives?  How can we fully benefit from it globally?  What is our vision for future education?  Can we fully trust the emerging technologies?  How can we harvest its benefits?  Or how do we preserve Human Rights in a digital space?  These questions need to be answered in a collective manner, not just by a country, by a region or by a group of stakeholders.  What we really need is a joint concerted effort, otherwise it will simply not work.

Dear participants, I'm truly delighted that today Poland is at the heart of the debate on these vital problems.  Some of you have made a long journey to come here, to central Europe, a region of unique energy, home to ambitious nations as well as hard working, talented, creative individuals.  I have no doubt you will appreciate the character of this amazing region, extending from the Baltic in the north to the Black and Adriatic Seas in the South. 

I'm especially happy to see such a great response from younger generations of Internet users.  Your voice is so important in the process to be discussed in Katowice over the next several days.  The future is yours, and so is this debate. 

Talking about future, I simply cannot miss this opportunity to mention that this year we celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of a visionary writer and futurologist, Stanislaw Lem.  Lem once said we don't want to conquer the cosmos, we simply want to extend the boundaries of earth to the frontiers of the cosmos.  But does the Internet really have no boundaries?  And if so, can we extend them beyond the boundaries of our habits?  Is the global network the final frontier?  I'm sure those questions will be an inherent part of your dialogue, especially the main theme of this year's UN IGF in Poland is Internet United, free, open and indivisible.

I wish you undisturbed intellectual work, fruitful and passionate discussions as well as brave conclusions.  May your debate result in the making the Internet a valuable and unreaching space, as well as secure, inclusive and trusted dimension of human activity.

Good luck!


>> AGATA KONARSKA: It was the President of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Andrzej Duda.  Ladies and gentlemen, today the Prime Minister of Poland Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki is with us in Katowice and will take the floor now.


>> MATEUSZ MORAWIECKI: Ladies and gentlemen, Under‑Secretary‑General of the United Nations, ministers, members of parliament, distinguished guests:  The virtual world and the real world have started to become intertwined first in literature and then in real life.  Today we can see both of these worlds merge.  We can see this in our everyday lives, in our economy, in the social media and in public administration as well as in interpersonal relations.  This means that today we all belong to a global Internet community which can trigger further development in future but which also can become a trap and a threat.  It's just like a knife which you can use to cut a slice of bread, but which you can also use to hurt somebody, and the Internet is also a double‑edged sword, something that can impact the lives of every single person living in the world.

The Internet is a wonderful promise of a better life in future.  It promises a life within a global network of connections.  We can, for example, see that in healthcare ‑‑ in the healthcare system.  This edition is organized one year after the previous edition which was canceled due to the pandemic situation which makes us realize the threats related to the pandemic, but we have also seen technology save many lives in Poland, for example, where we have implemented electronic healthcare solutions to help the population.  We have also experienced cybersecurity attacks organized by states which use the Internet as a weapon.  Today, it is of the utmost importance to work together during this IGF Summit to develop joint Internet Governance solutions.

If you don't pay for a product, you yourself become a product.  I think this phrase really represents the condition of the individual at a time of the development of the Internet and the social media.  If you don't pay for a product, you yourself become a product.  We need to realize that the Internet can be a powerful weapon.  We need to realize that today it is extremely important to develop the right solutions under the auspices of the UN and other international organizations.

It is a challenge.  It is the greatest challenge of the 21st Century.  A challenge which we must face altogether through joint efforts. 

100 years ago the first monopolies were created and nation states copied with that by appointing antitrust organizations.  Today we face global challenges and we must resolve those challenges, also the challenges related to the Internet.  We need to develop global solutions related to the Internet.  This is one of the greatest challenges faced by humanity.  It is one of the greatest challenges faced by the UN. 

The UN was established after the Second World War to make the world a better place, to protect peace and stability in the 20th Century.  I think today the UN will face up to the challenges of the 21st Century as well, and one of those greatest challenges of the 21st Century is to develop Best Practices and obligations to be fulfilled by all states as regards the management of the Internet which is a wonderful tool but one that carries a lot of risks and threats as well.

I am convinced that this Summit organized here in Katowice will contribute to the creation of new solutions.  I am convinced that it will help in the implementation of new solutions in countries across the globe.

Thank you very much.  I would like to thank the organizers of this event.  I would like to thank the Under‑Secretary‑General of the United Nations who is here with us today, and I would like to thank all of the distinguished participants.  I would like to wish you a fruitful debate, and I hope that you develop specific solutions that will benefit all of humanity.

Thank you.


>> AGATA KONARSKA: Thank you very much, Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki.  Thank you for the speech.

At this moment, ladies and gentlemen, I have to emphasize that the Chancellor of the Prime Minister is a coorganizer of the IGF 2021.  Thank you very much.

And as we're in Katowice, let's give the floor to the mayor of the city, Mr. Marcin Krupa, who will deliver his opening remarks.  You are now invited to listen and to watch his speech..

>> (Captioned video).


>> AGATA KONARSKA: Marcin Krupa, Mayor of Katowice, a town who became the centre of a global debate about the development of the Internet.

Ladies and gentlemen, now it is time for the opening statements from representatives of stakeholder groups.  I know that Doreen Bogdan‑Martin, Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU, is with us online. 

Good morning, hello, greetings from Katowice..

You're now invited to take the floor.

>> DOREEN BOGDAN-MARTIN: Thank you very much.  Good morning, good evening, good afternoon. 

Excellency, ladies and gentlemen:  It gives me great pleasure to join you for the opening of this 2021 edition of the IGF representing ITU Secretary‑General Houlin Zhao who is not able to be with us today.

This year's meeting in Katowice has a particularly special meaning for me because of my Polish heritage.  It is also special for all of us at ITU because this year marks the 100th anniversary of Poland's ITU membership.  Let me take a moment to thank the government of Poland for its many valuable contributions to our work over so many years and for its continued active engagement in our mission to connect the world.

This year's IGF challenges all of us to think about the Internet as one community.  Internet United is much more than just a theme.  It's an urgent call to action to bring meaningful connectivity to all.  Our new data released by ITU last week show that Internet uptake dramatically accelerated during the pandemic, we had what we call a COVID boost with almost 800 million users coming online since 2019.  That's encouraging new, but it is still very far from good enough because our figures also indicate that 2.9 billion people or 37% of the world's population remain totally shutout of the online world. 

With December passing quickly, we're nearing the dawn of a new year.  I believe that year may be the most critical in generations in terms of our efforts to bridge the digital divide.  In January the UN community will come together in Qatar for a conference and in a few short months that follow ITU will hold its World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly, its World Telecommunication Development Conference, and its 2022 Plenipotentiary Conference.  For the ITU, the lessons of the pandemic present us with an unmissable opportunity, an opportunity to push connectivity to the very top of the global Development Agenda and to leverage a holistic approach to collaboration, to shape a new world where a fast, safe and affordable Internet connection is not a given ‑‑ is a given ‑‑ pardon me ‑‑ it is not a privilege.

So a safe, affordable Internet connection, where it is a given.

Ladies and gentlemen, ITU has been a staunch supporter of the IGF since its inception at the World Summit on the Information Society for which we served, of course, as a lead agency.  As we look ahead to the shape of the future IGF Plus as foreseen in the UN Secretary‑General's high‑level panel report on digital cooperation ITU will work hard to further strengthen this partnership to drive broader participation and accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

I hope many of you will join us for our forthcoming World Telecommunication ICT policy forum where we will meet to discuss how to better harness emerging technologies to drive Sustainable Development.

I wish you a very successful IGF 2021, and I look forward to working alongside you to build an equitable, sustainable and inclusive digital future for all.

Thank you very much.


>> AGATA KONARSKA: Doreen Bogdan‑Martin, thank you very much for your opening statement.

Mr. Ralph Mupita, president and CEO of the MTN Group is with us online also.  Hello, good morning!  Greetings from Katowice!  Do you hear us?

>> RALPH MUPITA: Good morning!  Loud and clear.

>> AGATA KONARSKA: The floor is yours then.

>> RALPH MUPITA: Thank you so much.

A very good afternoon, morning and evening depending on your timeline.  I am Ralph Mupita from Johannesburg, South Africa, and just to wish all attendees to this very auspicious forum and the matters that are being discussed within the context of Internet and Internet freedoms.

Maybe just to start with some perspective of MTN Group and the role that we have seen ourselves and other operators play to enable more and more people to connect to the Internet and remain digitally included.  We serve close to 270 million subscribers across 20 markets, largely on the African continent, but we also serve markets in the Middle East.  In Africa, we are serving about 17 African countries where we have operations there, number one and number two in the markets, the size and scale of the business and the customers that we cover and in terms of Internet connectivity to the customers.

I think for many, it will be interesting to remind them that there are many markets where people are still not enjoying the benefits of the Internet and what it can do to transform societies and we have actually, you know, a smartphone penetration as a proxy for Internet connectivity and at best at 40%, so 60% of those subscribers we're dealing with actually are not enjoying the benefits of the Internet. 

What we have seen in the context of the COVID‑19 pandemic as the pandemic, you know, started to transform lives and livelihood from March last year, has been a clear divide of those that have and those that don't have.  Those that have and don't have access to the Internet.

We saw in March last year into the first couple of waves across markets that for those that had access to the Internet they were able to carry on, they were able to continue their normal economic activities, and more broader social activities.  We saw kids were able to go to school online for those that are privileged and those not privileged to have access to the Internet and the tools that are needed for continuing education, they were stranded.  In some of our countries, children have ‑‑ the countries we operate in, some children have not gone to school since March last year.  We have a generation of children who have been left behind at best, but also that were ‑‑ that their education, it has been completely disrupted.  There were other evidence and examples of this impact of showing the very stark divide between those who have and those that don't have.

We have seen a significant surge for those who have in terms of data usage across and in some markets in our data traffic, it is about 170% up from the same period, you know, two years ago, which shows that there is a lot more interaction and engagement in the Internet across pretty much the markets that we operate in predominantly in Africa.  We have taken a view as a company that one of the things we need to build as a core to our strategy has to be around accelerating broadband coverage over the next two to three years so that in pretty much all our markets we can have people covered by at least 3G technology at the 90% level.  We believe that that will ‑‑ even the countries that have the most challenged environments, they should be able to get to that level of coverage so that we can ultimately get to the universal coverage well before the UN goals of 2030.  We want to be able to accelerate that and we will have to work not only in the traditional modes, but also we'll need to think about in working with satellite companies, alternative technologies to be able to reach that last mile where people would otherwise not have access.

We believe quite fundamentally that the need for universal coverage is first becoming a Human Rights.  It is provided largely by the private sector but policy frameworks and incentives to continue the investment into providing more access, you know, we will need these to be provided also by governments and stakeholders more broadly.

We fundamentally believe that we need to maintain the Internet freedoms, so we do believe in an open Internet, we want information to flow and we want the Internet to remain safe.  Those three things for us are pretty sacrosanct, the so‑called Internet freedoms need to be maintained and we also do want to call out, you know, the ITU, structures more broadly to support the operators as they operate in environments where the Internet freedoms may be challenged from time to time by governments.  We have experienced that in several foreign markets and we're not in a position as an operator, you know, to operate outside of licensed conditions as well as outside of the legal and regulatory frameworks of countries, but the need to protect Internet freedoms to enable commerce, to enable people to continue to being educated, access to health, and so forth, we believe that these things are very, very important for the socioeconomic development of markets more generally but I speak with the hat of Africa in particular so that we can see the socioeconomic gross fully realized in the potential that Africa has in particular.

So with those comments, I want to wish all of you well and wish that you have a very successful conference and for the IGF continued success going into the future.

Thank you very much.


>> AGATA KONARSKA: Thank you very much, thank you for interesting remarks.

Now I have the great pleasure inner in inviting to the stage Kossiwavi Anna Akpawu‑Kamassa who is with us in Katowice.  Welcome to the stage.  And the floor is yours.  Of course.


>> KOSSIWAVI ANNA AKPAWU-KAMASSA: Thank you, moderator.

Hello, everyone.  It is a pleasure for me to be here.  My name is Kossiwavi Anna Akpawu‑Kamassa.  I am a student at University in Togo.  I represent the IGF youth and my community. 

I'm so grateful for this opportunity, and in the meantime there are millions of girls like me who does not have this opportunity.  I would like in the future the program to understand what I learned from the pandemic, the Internet becomes a Human Right and social issue.  Due to education, poverty, I would like to see the governments and the UN collaborate as mentioned on the SDG17.  It will be a duty for me as IGF youth representative to spread program and benefits of the program to young people.

Thank you.


>> AGATA KONARSKA: Thank you.  Thank you very much.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, Mirjam Kuhne, Chair of the RIPE Community would like to say a few words to all of the participants of the IGF 2021 in Katowice.

Mirjam Kuhne, do you hear us?  Hello, good morning!

>> MIRJAM KUHNE: I can!  Do you hear me too?


>> MIRJAM KUHNE: Can you hear me?

>> AGATA KONARSKA: Yes.  Everyone can hear you.

>> MIRJAM KUHNE: Okay.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Great.  Thank you for the introduction.

Dear Excellency, colleague, friends, in Katowice, my name is Mirjam Kuhne and I'm the chair of the RIPE Community speaking here today on behalf of the Internet technical community.  RIPE stands for the technical coordination group of network operators in Europe and beyond.  Thank you very much for inviting me here to speak during the opening session of IGF 2021 and I especially want to commend the organizers in Poland for all their efforts to make this event a success despite the difficult and unpredictable circumstances leading up to the event.

I also want to recognize the importance of our collective efforts to innovate and to come together in this online and hybrid events using the technology made available by the Internet.  This also made Internet Governance more inclusive than ever I believe.

Our society's response to COVID‑19 has illustrated just how central the Internet is to our lives today.  It is the Internet that's kept us connected during this pandemic and it is amazing that despite the additional load, the Internet has for the most part kept running undisturbed.  This was possible to a large extent thanks to the collaboration and coordination of the technical community and especially those who operate and maintain the Internet's underlying infrastructure.  I was really impressed to see how operators helped each other, especially the beginning of the pandemic and many were in quarantine, lockdown, couldn't go to work, to the data centres, and network operators shared contact information and asked if they could help each other, you know, while going to data centre, maybe they could help another operator while there and don't forget, many of the operators are actually competitors, but they do know that the Internet would not work without such collaboration and that they and ultimately all of us benefit from it.

Sharing knowledge and information, learning from each other, helping each other out is an integral part of the technical community and it is one of the reasons the Internet exists in the first place.  The RIPE Community for instance is over 30 years old and even though it is mostly dealing with technical aspects of the Internet, it is diverse and EPA to anybody.  You could say it is multistakeholder.  Of course, you all understand that the success of the Internet and its importance to our daily lives brings with it new responsibility, it's not only do we need to build out and maintain the Internet technical infrastructure, we must also ensure that as we extend access to more people in our societies that we protect users online and ensure their security and privacy.  Public policy has an important role to play in addressing these concerns and public policymakers and legislature and regulatory authorities around the world are urgently looking to develop and deploy policy solutions.  If anything, this sense of urgency has only increased in the last two years.  Well‑meaning policies, like any other powerful tool, can have unintended consequences which could increase risks elsewhere or impact the operation of the Internet's underlying technical infrastructure that I have just described to you.  This is why the IGF continues to be such an important venue, bringing together people with different expertise in an open dialogue, and the Internet is so broad, diverse, that none of us can understand every aspect of its operations.  We need to learn from each other, examine what work, what doesn't work, we need to understand each other's concerns and value each other's expertise.

Just like the network operators in the RIPE Community coordinate to ensure that we can all connect we need to foster collaboration and cooperation among all levels and stakeholders.  IGF itself evolves to meet the needs of a changing Internet Governance space, we need to keep that open, inclusive, transparent, multistakeholder approach that's made the IGF such a unique example of how to manage governance at a global scale.  The value and benefits we all get from the Internet are deeply rooted in its being an open, single, stable network of networks.  It's global in nature and accessible to all.  We need to work together to ensure that it stays that way.

Thank you very much for your attention and I wish us all a productive, insightful discussion in the days' ahead.


>> AGATA KONARSKA: Mirjam Kuhne from the RIPE Community, thank you very much for inspiring comments.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have the pleasure now to invite to the stage Republic of Poland Plenipotentiary for UN IGF 2021, Mr. Krzysztof Szubert.

Welcome to the stage.  The floor is yours.

>> KRZYSZTOF SZUBERT: Excellency, Mr. Prime Minister, distinguished guests:  I have the great pleasure to be hosting you here personally in the City of Katowice that has undergone a transformation that is becoming a modern city, oriented on innovation. 

I have the pleasure of summarizing the first day, Day 0 of this year's IGF, Day 0 was filled with interesting debates that gathered a very diverse community interested in the development of the Digital World.  This is a multistakeholder community, ladies and gentlemen, and this is what the United Nations holds very close to their heart.

4.5 thousand participants registered online.  800,000 participants registered in total, representing so many different countries and different continents.  This is what we all wished for.

Irrespectively of the difficulty, irrespective of the fact that last year's edition had to be canceled, we have managed to organize this event.  Polish participants were active last year during the online digital Summit and I think that was dually observed.

Let me summarize it in a few words, what happened yesterday:  We talked about the infrastructure, about access to modern 5G, 6G infrastructure, but we also talked about access to the Internet in general.

The second area that was discussed yesterday was related to the digital service, digital services offered by the worlds of administration as well as the world of business.  The last two years of the COVID‑19 pandemic have shown it to us how important digital services are to us.  Without them, we wouldn't be able to work, we wouldn't be able to study, we wouldn't be able to make purchases online, and so we all had to go through a very steep learning curve, and I think we have tapped into the potential of those past years.

The third area that was discussed yesterday was the competences of the Digital World.  The more we live in the Digital World, the more we are affected by a number of concerns related to the Digital World.

The fourth area that was discussed yesterday, it was cybersecurity.  Cybersecurity as seen from the perspective of enterprises, citizens, members of the administration. 

There were two more sessions held yesterday dedicated to the need of international cooperation, multistakeholder cooperation involving the representatives of business, the representatives of the world of academia as well as the representatives of government agencies.  We also discussed cooperation in the digital area including different countries.  There were ministers representing different countries who talked about the different forms of collaboration both at the European level within the V4 group but also at a broader international level.

We also discussed investment.  We discussed supporting digital development.  Without investment, without the necessary outliers, this is not going to be possible, we all realize it. 

We talked about supporting SMEs as well as start‑ups.  We talked about developing emerging companies in the realm of digital services. 

A new component that was proposed by Poland this year is the Youth Summit, so senior specialists are going to confront the younger generation who will continue managing the Internet in the future and that has met with a lot of interest.  We were not quite sure what the response would be, but the auditorium was full yesterday and a lot of interesting talks were held during the Youth Summit.  This is what happened yesterday, and in the evening we attended a beautiful concert at the Polish National Radio sympathy Orchestra Concert Hall, it was truly a beautiful evening.  There are four more days ahead of us!  Four more days of high‑level meeting, different sessions, and multiple interesting events.

I would like to thank the representatives of the United Nations for conferring the right to us to be the host of the 16th edition of the Internet Governance Forum, it's 16th edition.

We no longer discuss governing the Internet solely, but we discussed new regulations as well as the forthcoming technology, quantum technology, high‑performance computing technologies.  All that is part of the debate that's held during this edition of the forum.

I would like to encourage you to participate in the discussions during the forum.  Please be active.  You can comment on whatever is happening here using the #IGF2021.

Thank you very much for your presence here.

>> AGATA KONARSKA: Thank you for making a short summary of the first day of IGF 2021.

The official part of the Opening Ceremony is nearing its end, but we still have for you a cultural show. 

In a moment, a great artist will perform especially for you dear guest, dear participants of the IGF 2021 in Katowice.  He's a classical pianist, composer, conductor and entrepreneur and public speaker.  He started to play piano at the age of 14, a few months later he won his first piano competition.  At the age of 18 he played in Paris.  His breakthrough came in 2010 at the most important piano competition in the world, Chopin Competition in Warsaw and won more than anyone else that year.  He's performed in the prestigious halls of Europe, Asia and both Americas. 

Recently with his wife Paulina,  they founded a music and art education start‑up used by universities APPASSIMO. 

He appears as a speaker representing the music world.  He has spoken and participated in the discussion at the World Economic Forum and also in San Diego during the world's largest educational conference and, of course, a lot of other places! 

Passion is a keyword in his life.  Today he's with us in Katowice to play three pieces by famous Polish composers.  Additionally, he will speak about the importance of quality music and music education for all of us in a world full of technology and artificial intelligence.

Please give a big applause to Ingolf Wunder!

(Cultural Show.) 

>> INGOLF WUNDER: Thank you so much.  Thank you very much.  It's my huge pleasure to be here today in Poland at the IGF and to talk to such a great international crowd of people who all deeply care about Digital Transformation.  Thank you so much for having me.

Today I would like to talk to you about the importance of music, quality music and music education in a world full of AI.

We are surrounded by technology and we definitely live in a world of overstimulation.  The smartphone became our best companion and with the current crazy times we live through, we get even more connected to computers.

I'm a musician, as you heard, but my wife and I, we also have an Internet start‑up.  I love technology.  The journey so far, we got to know the up and downsides of technology and got to know how they can influence our human evolution.  However, our tech consumption habits might change in the future.  It's quite safe to assume that we go into a world where most segments of our lives will be controlled to some degree by an AI.  Through this AI systems we'll be continuously bombarded by audio video content 24/7 and in record speeds.

It is very important to know that all the streams of content coming into our brain are immediately evaluated with the two minds within us.  We have the conscience mind and we have the subconscious mind.  The conscience one runs on a computer equivalent speed of about 40 to 100 bits per second, which is quite decent already.  Our subconscious mind runs on a mind blowing 42 100 million bits per second.  So while your conscience brain can only focus on a few things at the same time, your subconscious mind takes in everything so, in, fact, everything you have ever experienced, thought, or listened to stays to some degree in your brain. 

And in the streams of content, there's almost always also some music present.  Music and sounds, it's something we simply cannot get away from, even if you cover your ears, you still hear sounds.  But before we go deeper in the relation of music and tech, it is important to answer this basic question:  Why is music and sounds, why is that so important for us humans, for our bodies?  Why is it relevant?  Well, firstly, we process sounds the quickest, therefore they shoot a pistol at the start of a 100‑meter race and they don't flash you in the face with a light.

Secondly, music seems to have a very direct influence on our human neuro systems, music makes us sad, music makes us happy, music makes us think and music makes us focus.  Music seems to have all these direct influences on our body, but why does music do this?  Well, this is because of frequency.  Music is obviously frequency, but if you zoom in on a quantum level, all of the trillions of our cells are frequency too, they are waves.  And if you scientifically analyze that, you see that all the information we receive has a direct biological impact on our bodies.  The science around this is called epigenetics and it tells us what some of us call the personal realities, what you thought, what you eat what, you think ‑‑ of course, what you listen to, it has a direct influence on how our DNA blueprint is being used in order to make proteins and these proteins make up the cells and the cells in the group are what we call us.  Here's the thing, billions of cells die every day and are replaced by newly created ones.  And these new ones have been directly altered by your personal reality.  When I first learned about this, it blew my mind, almost literally!  So it means that it is scientifically proven that what you listen to changes you biologically, and as a musician who became conscience of these things, I can tell you firsthand that the influence of music on our bodies and brains is absolutely profound.  What I can also tell you is that the more quality music has, the more good change it's doing within us.

I will come to this in a bit, but quality music means it gives our body more information, more diversification, more emotional detail, more shades and so on.  And all of this happens to all of us every day, no matter if you're aware of it, no matter if you're a musician or not.  So I'm asking you, if you know what you know now, that it is scientifically prove than music changes our bodies and that quality music does it better, why would you feed yourself with low‑quality music exactly?  Low‑quality music means that it has less specification, less meaning, less details and shades.  In fact, low‑quality music can be directly compared to junk food and unless you're a 7‑year‑old kid, you wouldn't want to eat junk food every day, would you?  In order to know what you should eat or listen to in this example, it is important to know what quality in music actually is and this is a very hard one.  In specialist, they got used to saying there are so many, you know, so many details, most of it is objective they say.  You like this, I like that.  Let's agree to disagree and let the market decide about quality.

Well, this is obviously the wrong strategy but there is indeed something subjective on top of it, and this is beautiful because two people listening to the same piece of music will hear every time something slightly different every time they listen to it.  This is wonderful!  But underneath, there is a more objective, more important layer which can be scientifically analyzed, measured, and passed on by human traditions.  So if you take these two layer, subjective and objective, and put them together, then you have roughly the overall quality of a piece of music.  Unfortunately, in the second half of the 20th Century we let this overall quality of music go down quite rapidly, but fortunately it left the world where we have billions of people being surrounded day in and day out by low‑quality music.  By the way, low‑quality is not genre specific, there is great and bad pop music as well as great and bad classical music, and with this overall downfall of quality we unfortunately also influenced the conscience and subconscious music understanding and sensitivity of billions of people today and this is something that we urgently need to fix.  In my opinion, making sure we have high‑quality music for billions of people is right up there this terms of importance with all of the other SDGs.  In fact, it false directly that SDG number 3, good health and wellbeing and SDG number 4, quality education. 

We know now that music influences our body and that quality music does it better.  Why is it relevant in a world full of tech?  Well, as most of you know, we're at crossroads currently and the technology that leads us into the future while in depth only understood by very few people is being used by billions of people and it has us already halfway through the singularly and ‑‑ or at least in a world where it is very hard to distinguish human and machine.  A few examples, imagine AI composing your personal music without you ever learning anything about composition.  Imagine AI doing your law work without you being a lawyer or imagine an AI system healing you without you visiting a doctor or the obvious one, imagine a world where you just Google something by thinking.  As most of you know, we're almost already in that world and it will take only a few steps until we're completely.  Some of us will go there voluntary, some of us involuntary.

For music, this means we have to ask ourselves questions like what is quality?  I touched upon that.  Who will be the judge of quality?  An AI?  My mood?  My informed or uninformed opinion?  How are we giving billions of people the needed sensitivity back to become consciously aware of this quality differences?  You know, the ones that our bodies take in anyway, whether you know or not.

In my opinion, it is very important to think about these questions and dream up solutions around them.  What's happened in the past was actually quite the opposite.  We made sure that humans become less sensitive, that we create art with less meaningful difference, with less shades, with less musicality, less naturalness.  In other words, we make sure that we humans become a bit less human and a bit more machine. 

At the same time, computer AI, technology, rapidly increased capabilities and at this low‑quality music level machines almost don't need us anymore.  They're just scaling by themselves very fast.  So if you have this human curve going down, making us a little bit less human, a bit more machine, and you have the technology curve going up rapidly, you clearly see the problem we're facing.  But don't get me wrong, technology is a huge opportunity, and I believe it can be used to make good change and to propel this good thing and to help us on our path.

In fact, I believe we must get that right because this human fine tuning and musical quality is a layer that isn't used much or not at all in that transformation and it leaves the world where basically only sellablity, scalability decides about quality of things and I wouldn't want my kid to grow newspaper a world where junk food would get a label of best quality food ever.

What we should be focusing on is making us more sensitive, making us more humane in a way and creating art and music with more subtle difference, naturalness, musicality, and teach technology to help us on that path.  It's a hand in hand process.

In music, as in many other subjects, the most important questions of this century will be around ethics, quality and value.  Fortunately, there are start‑ups that have tried to tackle music exactly with these things and as you know, technology is getting so much better, so quickly, that frankly speaking, there isn't an awful lot of time left for us humans to become better at being human.  I'm very optimistic though, and especially as a musician, because I believe for all of us, this quality music factor can play a key role in the transformation.  I'm also very optimistic for the youth, because music education, quality music, it gives all of these neuron connection, this value understanding and sensibility that makes kids and adults more sensitive to the world around them.  In addition, music education makes kids almost better at everything they do from finance, engineering, math to coding, therefore in my opinion it is an absolute must that music gets, again, the same importance in normal schools as other main subjects.  It's a globally added value, and it is high time that we take STEM, science, technology, engineering and math and make STEAM out of it, science, technology, engineer, arts and math. 

So if you're a curious young person or an adult with kids, I invite you dearly to open your mind and become conscience of this musical awareness.  I promise you it will be the best present you will ever do to yourself or to your kids.

Far, far in the future when humans or whatever creatures look back at our times and will ask questions like did they find a place in the world full of AI or were they fleshed away by the avalanche of data because we were unable to collaborate and use tech the right way?  It cannot be repeated often enough, it is amongst the most important things to deal with quality, value and ethic questions in supposedly subjective fields and also try to improve as humans and not only the machines.

I believe we can leverage the power of quality music to make us smarter, more sensitive, more empathetic, happier and healthy years.  And at the end of the day, isn't that all we want.

Thank you so much for your attention.  Thank you very much, Katowice, Poland!  It was a huge pleasure!

>> AGATA KONARSKA: Thank you very much!  What a performance and what a speech!  Ingolf Wunder, thank you for being with us in Katowice!.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Opening Ceremony of the Annual Internet Governance Forum is nearing its end.  The IGF 2021 in Katowice has started.  I wish you a very, very successful and fruitful debate and remember that this is an open debate about the future of the Internet, everyone can influence, be free to comment, to share your opinion.  Thank you all dear guests and participants here in Katowice and in the International Congress Centre and all those who are with us online.  Thank you for your attention and for being with us.

Have a great time those in Katowice, in Poland!  Thank you!  Have a good day!