IGF 2021 Open Forum #48 Future of the Internet

Wednesday, 8th December, 2021 (08:30 UTC) - Wednesday, 8th December, 2021 (09:30 UTC)
Ballroom B

Governance and cooperation for an evolving Internet: How does Internet governance need to change in order to meet the changing nature and role of the Internet? What tools, mechanisms, and capacity building instruments are needed for stakeholders to effectively cooperate, and engage in Internet governance?
Technical Internet governance: How can the technical governance of the Internet (e.g. the development of standards and protocols, and the management of critical resources) take into account the needs and views of all stakeholders?

Round Table - U-shape - 60 Min


The future evolution of Internet architecture is driven by people and should be shaped for the benefit of all. Internet architecture is formed of a collection of infrastructure and protocols that make up a global network of networks. Looking ten or more years ahead, we would like to explore the values and trends shaping Internet architecture, what a positive and collaborative vision for the future of the Internet looks like, and how we can uphold core values, including the need for it to be free, open, secure and unfragmented. This interactive Open Forum will ask questions such as:

1. What does a positive vision for the future of the Internet look like and what are the core values to uphold?

2. How can we draw on values related to economic, security, societal, governance, and technology lenses for a more rounded debate on the Internet’s future?

3. Where are the critical forums and spaces for collaboration in upholding a positive vision?

4. Where can we act to help the multi-stakeholder governance ecosystem be more resilient to change, or evolve alongside the Internet architecture?

The Session will be run as a Roundtable in virtual format. Following a brief introduction on the overall Future of the Internet work in the UK, there will be an interactive panel discussion followed by an opportunity for comments and questions from participants.


Government of the United Kingdom

Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)



Rhys Bowen - International Director, Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

Anriette Esterhuysen - Chair, IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group 

Lise Fuhr - Director General, European Telecommunications Network Operator’s Association 

Joanna Kulesza - Assistant Professor, University of Lodz


Onsite Moderator

Rhys Bowen, DCMS

Online Moderator

Anna Goulden, DCMS


Nigel Hickson, DCMS


9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: SDG 9: (industry, innovation, infrastructure), with respect to the linkage on advances in Internet architecture to innovation and enhanced provision of communications infrastructure;

SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), using future Internet to enhance affordable and ubiquitous connectivity thus allowing enhanced educational opportunities and more equal healthcare provision

SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals); fostering, as advocated in UNSG "Roadmap for digital Cooperation" solid partnerships within and without existing stakeholder groupings.

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

- A positive vision for the future of the Internet has to draw together the strands of core values across technical principles, human rights, access and openness, as well as economic considerations. The future of the Internet needs to enable inclusion of the unconnected, and flexibility for a range of uses.

- While vital, the multistakeholder ecosystem experiences some challenges including the number and complexity of governance and technical forums and the speed of governance processes compared with technical developments.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

- The multistakeholder governance ecosystem, as well as multistakeholder technical fora must be reinforced, and made more inclusive and joined-up, to tackle complex Internet issues in a way that reflects the perspectives of all, and to ultimately uphold a positive vision for the future of the Internet.