IGF 2023 WS #97 Reimagining the Web: Curbing Internet Fragmentation


Avoiding Internet Fragmentation
Technical challenges of Internet fragmentation

Organizer 1: Sani Suleiman, Paradigm Initiative
Organizer 2: Miriam Beartrice Wanjiru, Paradigm Initiative
Organizer 3: Ihueze Nwobilor, Paradigm Initiative

Speaker 1: Michaela Shapiro, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Jean F. Queralt, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Rafael Zanatta, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Ihueze Nwobilor, Civil Society, African Group

Online Moderator

Sani Suleiman, Civil Society, African Group


Miriam Beartrice Wanjiru, Civil Society, African Group


Birds of a Feather - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. How can governments work with private sector companies and civil society organisations to ensure that internet policies and regulations promote open and interoperable networks, rather than contributing to fragmentation?
2. What are the most effective strategies for promoting multi-stakeholder cooperation to address internet fragmentation, and how can different stakeholders be incentivized to participate?
3. What steps can be taken to address the root causes of internet fragmentation, such as geopolitical tensions, technical barriers, and commercial interests, and how can multi-stakeholder cooperation be leveraged to achieve these goals?

What will participants gain from attending this session? The session will provide participants with a better understanding of the drivers and impact of internet fragmentation and the importance of multi-stakeholder cooperation in addressing this issue. Participants will also learn about successful initiatives and strategies for collaboration across different stakeholder groups. They will leave with concrete ideas for next steps in promoting a more connected and secure internet. The session will contribute to broader efforts to promote a more open, interoperable, and secure internet, and will provide a platform for ongoing dialogue and collaboration.


The Internet has revolutionised the way we communicate, connect, and share information. However, over the years, the Internet has become increasingly fragmented, with different countries, regions, and even private entities creating their own localised versions of the Internet. This fragmentation is usually along geopolitical, technical, and commercial lines which has led to another form of digital divide, where some parts of the world have access to a global, interconnected web while others are left with a limited, isolated version of the Internet.

This panel session aims to explore the challenges of Internet fragmentation and the strategies that can be adopted to curb this trend. We will bring together a diverse group of experts, including industry leaders, policymakers, and academics, to discuss the impact of the internet fragmentation on global society, and how it affects issues such as cybersecurity, privacy, and innovation. The session will then highlight the importance of multi-stakeholder cooperation in addressing this issue and explore the challenges and benefits of collaboration across different stakeholder groups.
The panelists will also share their perspectives on the current state of Internet fragmentation and how it is impacting their respective fields. The discussion will focus on solutions for bridging this new form of digital divide and creating a more open, connected, and inclusive web that serves everyone.

Expected Outcomes

1. The session will contribute to the broader conversation on the role of multi-stakeholder cooperation in addressing the challenges facing the internet and its users. By bringing together experts and stakeholders from different sectors, the session will provide a platform for dialogue and collaboration on this critical issue, and will help to promote a more connected and secure online world.
2. Attendees will have gained a deeper understanding of the challenges of Internet fragmentation and the strategies that can be adopted to promote a more unified and inclusive web.
3. The session will aim to generate actionable recommendations for policymakers and industry leaders to take forward in their respective roles.

Hybrid Format: To ensure the session will be hybrid, Paradigm Initiative organizers will have a technical support staff on standby to troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the event. This will ensure that participants online will fully participate and benefit from the discussion. Additionally, the organizers will ensure three speakers are physically present on location.