IGF 2021 – Official Opening of the IGF 2021 Preparatory and Engagement Phase - Introductory Session I

Monday, 1st November, 2021 (12:00 UTC)
About this Session

Facilitated by MAG Issue Teams

IGF 2021 – Official Opening of the IGF 2021 Preparatory and Engagement Phase

- IGF 2021 Preparatory Sessions on (i) Universal access and meaningful connectivity and (ii) Economic and social inclusion and human rights -

Introducing IGF 2021 issue areas - 12:00 UTC

  • Overview of the issue areas
  • Strategic goals for IGF 2021
  • Keynote address by David Souter, Managing Director, ICT Development Associates; Member, UK IGF Organising Committee
  • Discussion

Main challenges associated with the main focus areas 

The main goal is to refine the scope of these issues with input from the perspective of different regions and stakeholder groups; and to establish a common ground on expectations for IGF 2021 outcomes.


Eight Challenges for Internet Governance, David Souter

>>Twitter Comments for this Session: #IGF2021 #UAMCIntro>>

PART I [12:30-14:00 UTC]

Universal Access and Meaningful Connectivity ‎

This preparatory session will offer attendees an introduction to the policy issue area of ‎Universal Access & Meaningful Connectivity (UAMC), one of two Main Focus areas of the ‎IGF2021, as well as a preview of related IGF programming.  The session will feature discussion ‎on developing meaningful access to Internet infrastructure where there is none, for example ‎through innovative business models and the creation and maintenance of community networks, ‎as well as key topics relating to accessibility and use of the Internet, such as Universal ‎Acceptance, content in one’s own language, and digital skill-building.  All interested are ‎welcome, and organizers and speakers in UAMC sessions planned for IGF2021 are particularly ‎encouraged to attend, in order to foster early connections and exchange in preparation for the ‎hybrid event in December.‎


*Introduction - 5 minutes‎ - Sylvia Cadena (Moderator)

*Scene-Setting Remarks - 8 minutes‎ - Sonia Jorge

*Universal Access to Infrastructure – 15 minutes

•Community networks and capacity building, Carlos Baca

•Access to spectrum, Adriana Labardini

*Q&A - 10 minutes‎

*Accessibility - 15 minutes‎

•Topic 1 – Domain names as a navigation tool for other languages, Edmon Chung

•Topic 2 – Applications/content in underserved languages, Chenai Chair

*Q&A - 10 minutes

*How do universal access to infrastructure and accessibility relate to each other? - 15 minutes – All panelist discussion

*Conclusion - 5 minutes‎


What Is Meaning Access: Defining for Digital Inclusion, Sonia Jorge

Community Networks and Capacity Building, Carlos Baca Feldman

Session Report

Universal Access and Meaningful Connectivity 

30-Minute Break

>>Twitter Comments for this Session: #IGF2021 #ESIHRIntro>>

PART II [14:30-16:00 UTC]

Economic and social inclusion and human rights

While the topic of economic and social inclusion and human rights is not new to internet ‎governance, this issue area has been gaining strength as compared to previous IGFs. This ‎was also reflected by the total number of workshop applications received (34%), which made ‎this the issue group with the highest number of submissions. On the one hand, the increased ‎importance of inclusion and human rights as compared to previous years may be attributable ‎to middle to long term tendencies as is also reflected in the UN Secretary General’s Road map ‎for digital cooperation that identified inclusion and human rights as central to digital public ‎goods. On the other hand, however, this new trend might at least partly be attributed to the ‎disrupting effect of the still ongoing covid-19 pandemic. Social and economic consequences ‎have affected societies to different extents and stressed the need to rethink the values that we ‎want digital technologies and the internet to serve. ‎

High-level speakers from government, business, academia and civil society will discuss ‎emerging trends, challenges and opportunities. How can the rising significance of inclusion ‎and human rights in societal debates and public awareness be explained? What new risks ‎have emerged since the pandemic? How can we use new opportunities offered by digital ‎technologies and the internet for positive change? And to this aim, what governance strategies ‎should international organizations, governments, civil society and business adopt to promote ‎inclusive societies (e.g. sustainable development, education, health) recognising the needs of ‎vulnerable and marginalised groups and at the same time prevent new harms and risks to civil ‎and political rights (e.g. data privacy, freedom of expression, new forms of surveillance and ‎manipulation of behaviour by private and state actors, AI ethics, hate speech, child ‎protection)? What is the role of the IGF to promote economic and social inclusion and human ‎rights? ‎


*Introductory remarks by moderator / MAG member, welcome to the audience, short ‎description of topic and introduction of speakers (5 minutes)‎

*First block - Trends, new opportunities and risks (35 min)‎

  • Short input talks of 4 speakers / panellist, 4 min per speaker (16 min) ‎
  • Possibility to respond to other speakers’ inputs, 2 min per speaker (8 min)‎
  • Poll, ranking the top risks and opportunities identified by panellists
  •  Questions from the audience (10 min)‎

*Second block - Possible governance strategies to promote inclusion and human ‎rights, including the role of the IGF (35 min)‎

  • Short input talks from speakers / panellists, 4 min each (16 min in total)‎
  • ‎‎Possibility to respond to other speakers’ inputs, 2 min per speaker (8 min)‎
  • ‎Poll, ranking the top governance strategies identified by panellists
  • ‎Questions from the audience (10 min)‎
  • Final discussion among audience and panellist (15 min)‎

*Short summary of main points by the moderator and outlook to the main session at ‎IGF 2021 (5 min)‎

Session Report

Economic and social inclusion and human rights


Alex Walden, Global Head of Human Rights, Google

Amalia Toledo, Wikimedia Foundation, Tech, Law & Policy Fellow

Bob Fay, Managing Director of Digital Economy at the Center for International Governance Innovation in Canada

Thea Anderson, Director, Responsible Technology, Omidyar Network


Courtney Radsch, MAG Member (Civil Society)