IGF 2021 Open Forum #39 Inclusive and Safe Connectivity for Children and Adults

Time
Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (12:50 UTC) - Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (13:50 UTC)
Room
Conference Room 3
Subtheme

Defining universal and meaningful access: What are the key elements that constitute universal and meaningful Internet access? How can it be measured? How is the concept evolving in time and what does this evolution mean for policy?
Barriers to universal and meaningful access: What are the main challenges that people face in obtaining and making full use of Internet access? To what extent are these the result of social, economic and cultural factors, and to what extent do they result from aspects of the digital environment? How can we use the responses to these questions to better understand the intersection between digital policies and other policy areas? Can this understanding help us to develop and implement more realistic Internet-related policy goals?

Panel - Auditorium - 60 Min

Description

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the crucial role the digital environment plays in our everyday lives and further accelerated the digital transformation. As a result, the need for an inclusive connectivity, i.e. ubiquitous access to affordable high-quality broadband services has become even more critical. The pandemic furthermore demonstrated an urgent need to establish enabling and equitable conditions for all, especially for vulnerable groups such as children, so that they can exercise their rights and engage with the digital environment in a safe and beneficial manner.

This Open Forum seeks to reflect on these pressing issues by reporting on two key legal instruments recently adopted by the OECD: (i) the Recommendation on Broadband Connectivity and (ii) the Recommendation on Children in the Digital Environment:

The OECD Recommendation on Broadband Connectivity responds to the need to develop a holistic set of policies and regulation to ensure that citizens and organisations are connected well and that connectivity is expanded to areas that are lacking adequate levels of Internet access. The Recommendation provides a reference for policy makers and regulatory authorities within and outside of the OECD. Using the goals of the Recommendation as a “roadmap”, countries may be better able to unleash the full potential of connectivity for the digital transformation and to ensure equal access to connectivity for citizens and companies.

The OECD Recommendation on Children in the Digital Environment recognizes that the digital environment is a fundamental part of children’s daily lives and interactions, and responds to the urgent need for governments to set coherent policy and legal frameworks around which children can be supported and protected online. It seeks to address the delicate trade-off between enabling the opportunities that the digital environment can bring to children and protecting them from its risks.

This Open Forum will reflect on these two Recommendations by engaging representatives from government, business, and civil society with an aim to address the issues (i) around access to connectivity as well as (ii) the safe and beneficial use of digital environment for children.

In particular, this session aims to address two main questions: • How can governments and regulators unleash the full potential of connectivity for the digital transformation and ensure equal access to connectivity for all? • How can governments establish more enabling and equitable conditions for children to ensure that they can realise the benefits of the digital environment and protect them from its risks?

Agenda

This Open Forum has two main parts: 1. The first panel of high-level experts discusses the OECD Recommendation on Broadband Connectivity: a. The moderator gives a short introduction and sets the scene for the interventions of the panellists (1.5 minutes). b. The three high-level panellists present their views on the opportunities of and challenges to the provision of ubiquitous coverage and high-quality Internet access (15 minutes). c. Questions and answers (11 minutes) - The moderator opens the floor for questions and answers between the audience and the panellists.

2. The second panel will discuss the OECD Recommendation on Children in the Digital Environment: a. The moderator gives a short introduction and sets the scene for the interventions of the panellists (1.5 minutes). b. The four high-level panellists present their views on establishing a safe and beneficial digital environment for children (16 minutes). c. Questions and answers (10 minutes) - The moderator opens the floor for a section of questions and answers between the audience and panellists.

• The event will be held online. The OECD will advertise the event in the community of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy, the Working Party on Communication Infrastructure and Services Policy, as well as the Working Party on Data Governance and the Privacy in the Digital Economy Policy. In addition, the OECD will advertise the event through its network and informal groups of experts which are expected to reach audiences beyond OECD member-countries.

Organizers

OECD

  • Bengt Molleryd, Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) and Chair of OECD’s Working Party on Communication Infrastructure and Services Policy
  • Steve Wood, Deputy Commissioner (Policy) at the Information Commissioner’s Office (UK) and Chair of the OECD's Working Party on Data Governance and Privacy in the Digital Economy
  • Maximilian Reisch, OECD
  • Andras Molnar, OECD
Speakers

All speakers have been contacted and most of them confirmed their interest in participating. The final list of speakers will be confirmed closer to the event.

Part 1 - Akihiko Sasaki, Director, Multilateral Economic Affairs Office, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan - Daniel Cavalcanti, Coordinator, Telecommunications Policy, Ministry of Communications, Brazil - Zeimm Auladin-Suhootoorah, Director of Operations, BDO Solutions

Part 2 - Elettra Ronchi, Senior Policy Analyst, Head of the Data Governance and Privacy Unit in the Division for Digital Economy Policy, OECD - Brian O’Neill, Director or Research, Enterprise & Innovation Services, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland [To be confirmed] - Alexandre Barbosa, Head of the Center of Studies for Information and Communications Technologies (CETIC.br), Brazil [To be confirmed] - Amelia Vance, Director of Youth and Education Privacy, Future of Privacy Forum, United States [To be confirmed]

Online Moderator

Bengt Molleryd (Part I), Steve Wood (Part II)

Rapporteur

Andras Molnar, Maximilian Reisch

SDGs

3. Good Health and Well-Being
4. Quality Education
5. Gender Equality
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
13. Climate Action
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: SDG Goal 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages): o The OECD Recommendation on Broadband Connectivity promotes the elimination of digital divides and access to connectivity for all, including all locations, genders, abilities, and socio-economic circumstances. The Recommendation explicitly mentions the promotion of programmes for low-income and other non-adopting households. o In addition, the OECD Recommendation on Children in the Digital Environment also refers to the digital environment as a fundamental part of children’s lives in a number of contexts, including in formal and informal health services. It also calls upon Actors (i.e. all public and private organisations who play an active role in setting policies and practices or providing services for children in the digital environment) to make children, as well as their parents, guardians, and carers, aware of legal, psychosocial, or therapeutic services available. SDG Goal 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all): o Access to high-quality connectivity becomes increasingly indispensable to ensure equal access to education. The OECD Recommendation on Broadband connectivity promotes the elimination of digital divides. It promotes access for all and fostering the adoption and effective use of advanced broadband services at affordable prices, accessible for everyone, including all locations, genders, abilities, and socio-economic circumstances. o The OECD Recommendation on Children in the Digital Environment also highlights the importance of education for children, specifically calls for the support of teachers, and promotes digital literacy as an essential tool for meeting the needs of children in the digital environment. SDG Goal 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls): o The OECD Recommendation on Broadband Connectivity explicitly promotes access to connectivity and effective use of advanced broadband services at affordable prices, accessible for everyone, including all genders. o The OECD Recommendation on Children in the Digital Environment has specific parts which recognise that there are specific groups of children who may require specific attention because of their age, maturity and circumstances – including gender. The needs of girls, or other children who might suffer increased exposure to risk, or who may suffer bias and discrimination purely because of who they are is also captured in the Recommendation. SDG Goal 9 (Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation): o Target 9c of the SDGs called to “significantly increase access to ICT and strive to provide universal and affordable access to Internet in LDCs by 2020”. The OECD Recommendation on Broadband Connectivity provides a roadmap for ubiquitous connectivity, promoting resilient, reliable, secure, and high-capacity networks, access to connectivity for all, and measures to foster innovation in broadband development, among others. It furthermore promotes the minimisation of environmental impacts of communication networks. SDG Goal 10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries): o The Recommendation on Broadband Connectivity recognises the importance of connectivity for the promotion of equal opportunities for all and the need for policies supporting access to ubiquitous deployment and use of broadband infrastructure and services. It furthermore contains several provisions to eliminate digital divides and promotes access for all, including all locations, genders, abilities, and socio-economic circumstances. o The Recommendation on Children in the Digital Environment seeks to ensure that no child is more vulnerable to risk because of their particular social or economic circumstances and that no child is at risk of being excluded or discriminated against, or likely to suffer a future bias, because of: (i) a lack of digital access or digital literacy; (ii) inappropriate digital access or digital literacy; or (iii) the way in which services are designed SDG Goal 13 (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts): o The Recommendation on Broadband Connectivity recognises the positive and negative impact of communication networks and services on the environment. It furthermore promotes the minimisation of negative environmental impacts of communication networks. SDG Goal 16 (Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels): o Access to high-quality connectivity increasingly becomes a prerequisite for an inclusive society. The OECD Recommendation on Broadband connectivity promotes the elimination of digital divides. It promotes access for all and fostering the adoption and effective use of advanced broadband services at affordable prices, accessible for everyone, including all locations, genders, abilities, and socio-economic circumstances. o The Recommendation on Children in the Digital Environment has a specific section on “Appropriateness and Inclusion”, which states that Actors should (i) account for the different needs of different children, taking into consideration their age and maturity and (ii) seek to ensure that no child is more vulnerable to risk because of their particular social or economic circumstances. The instrument also recommends that Adherents demonstrate leadership and commitment taking into account the best interests of the child by (i) adopting clear policy objectives at the highest level of government; (ii) articulating a whole-of-government approach, through a national strategy where appropriate, that is flexible, technology neutral, and coherent with other strategies for fostering a sustainable and inclusive digital economy; and (iii) consider establishing oversight bodies. SDG Goal 17 (Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development): o The OECD Recommendation on Broadband connectivity promotes the elimination of digital divides. It promotes access for all and fostering the adoption and effective use of advanced broadband services at affordable prices, accessible for everyone, including all locations, genders, abilities, and socio-economic circumstances. In addition, it promotes the minimisation of negative environmental impacts of communication networks.

Session Type
OF