Invitation to the Sixteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet ‎Governance Forum (IGF) ‎

On behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres, I have the honour to ‎invite you ‎to the sixteenth meeting of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF), to ‎be held in Katowice, Poland, and online, from 6 to 10 December 2021.‎

The sixteenth IGF will be hosted by the Government of Poland under the overarching theme: ‎‎‘’Internet United’’. The Forum aims at bringing together participants from different ‎stakeholder groups and some of the most prominent individuals in the global Internet ‎governance discussion from across the globe. ‎

While national authorities are expected to continue to apply a risk-based approach in  ‎implementing measures related to COVID-19 and international travel, preparations are being ‎made to organize the IGF as a hybrid event, allowing qualitative participation of onsite and ‎online to achieve the goal of making the IGF as inclusive as possible.‎

In response to inputs from the IGF community and from proposals relating to the UN ‎Secretary- General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation calling for a more focused IGF, the ‎Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) has opted for using an issue-driven approach to ‎design the IGF 2021 programme. This approach aims to contribute to the ongoing IGF ‎evolution and strengthening, through encouraging focused discussion that delves more deeply ‎into specific issue areas.  This approach is also conducive to leading to more focused ‎outcomes, while maintaining the IGF’s open and bottom-up character as a space for dialogue ‎on a wide-range of issues identified during the intersessional period.‎

Two main focus areas and four emerging and cross-cutting areas were selected after ‎community input:‎

IGF 2021 Main focus areas

  • ‎Economic and social inclusion and human rights
  • Universal access and meaningful connectivity

IGF 2021 Emerging and cross-cutting issue areas

  • Emerging regulation: market structure, content, data and consumer/users ‎rights regulation
  • ‎Environmental sustainability and climate change
  • Inclusive Internet governance ecosystems and digital cooperation.‎
  • ‎Trust, security, stability.‎

These focus areas reflect both challenges and opportunities brought forward by the use and ‎evolution of the Internet and related digital technologies, from the need to put more effort into ‎ensuring meaningful Internet access globally, to the role of multistakeholder cooperation in ‎advancing towards a more just and equitable digital world. ‎

In addition, the programme will be enriched by the intersessional activities: the Policy Network ‎on Environment, the Policy Network on Meaningful Access, the Best Practice Forum on ‎Gender and Digital Rights, Best Practice Forum on Cybersecurity, as well as by the work of ‎‎22 multistakeholder Dynamic Coalitions and 116 national and regional IGF initiatives. Building ‎on the experience of previous years, a parliamentarian track and a high-level leader’s track ‎will also be included in the meeting programme, demonstrating the relevance of Internet and ‎digital policy issues for parliamentarians and high-level leaders from across stakeholder ‎groups. ‎

I sincerely hope that we will have the pleasure and honour of your participation and ‎contribution at the sixteenth IGF, be it in Katowice or online, as well as during the preparatory ‎and engagement phase running between September and November. The success of the IGF ‎depends on the active involvement of stakeholders from across all groups and disciplines, and ‎we count on your views and experiences to enrich the dialogue on some of the most pressing ‎Internet and digital policy issues.

Mr. LIU Zhenmin

Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs