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IGF 2020: Virtually together for an Internet for human resilience and solidarity

Update from the MAG Chair

The IGF MAG is very pleased to announce IGF 2020’s dates, 23 October to 17 November, and ‎overall theme, “Internet for human resilience and solidarity”.  ‎

This year, the IGF will be held online, in two phases. ‎

Phase One will include Day Zero events, introductory sessions for the four thematic tracks, (Data, ‎Environment, Inclusion and Trust) as well as Open Forums, National, Sub-regional, Regional and ‎Youth IGF initiatives (NRIs), Dynamic Coalition and newcomers sessions. ‎

Phase Two will include main sessions, workshops, high level leader sessions and formal opening ‎and closing sessions. ‎

The MAG is still finalising in which phase to schedule Best Practice Forum sessions, music night ‎and the IGF village, as well as a range of other networking sessions. We will inform IGF ‎stakeholders as soon as these remaining decisions are made.‎

Phase Dates Content
Phase One 23 October to 6 November
  • Introductory sessions to the four thematic tracks (data, ‎environment, inclusion, trust)‎
  • Newcomers sessions
  • Dynamic Coalitions
  • Open Forums
  • NRI sessions
  • Day Zero events
  • Other preparatory events
  • Testing and training
  • Networking sessions
Phase Two 9 to 17 November
  • Opening and closing ceremonies
  • Main sessions
  • Workshops
  • High-level leaders track
  • Parliamentarians session
  • Networking sessions

Theme and a motto for IGF 2020 ‎
The overarching theme for IGF 2020 will be: “Internet for human resilience and solidarity”‎.

MAG members developed the theme to represent the extraordinary role that the Internet has been ‎playing during the pandemic. Resilience of the Internet as an interconnected, interoperable ‎network has been a regular topic at the IGF. In 2020, the IGF will approach network resilience ‎specifically from a people-centered perspective, exploring how it has supported the human ‎resilience and solidarity needed to respond to the many challenges posed by the pandemic. ‎

The theme for the high-level leaders track, organized by UN DESA, will be: “Internet ‎governance in the time of uncertainty”‎.

Key considerations in developing the theme and structure for this year’s virtual IGF 2020‎
The above-mentioned theme and structure for IGF 2020 is the result of the MAG processing ‎stakeholder input on the overall shape and character of a virtual IGF as well as careful thought ‎given by MAG members to both the challenges and opportunities presented by the event being ‎online. Two core concerns stood at the heart of the MAG’s deliberations:‎

  • Maximising inclusion, particularly for participants from the global South. A unique ‎consideration for the virtual event is to ensure that the meeting takes place in time zones ‎that suit all regions of the world, and are not only concentrated in hours which coincide ‎with the business day of Europe, Africa and the east coasts of the Americas.‎
  • Utilising the creative and innovative potential of online platforms to convene an IGF that is ‎more than merely an online version of a face-to-face event.‎

IGF 2020 will include well over 200 sessions1 ‎in different formats, stretching over up to 15 hours ‎during the 24-hour day, covering multiple time zones. To avoid an overly cluttered programme, ‎main sessions and workshops will not run at the same time, and there will be no more than three ‎parallel tracks at any time during Phase 2.‎

The MAG also adopted a motto for IGF 2020: “Virtually together”‎.

This motto is intended to convey the message that the meeting’s virtual nature should in no way ‎undermine the power of the IGF to bring people together to learn, agree, disagree and, most of all, ‎collaborate for stronger, more inclusive and accountable Internet governance.‎

Anriette Esterhuysen
‎31 July 2020‎
1Session proposers were asked to confirm whether they wanted to be part of a virtual event. Only a handful ‎withdrew their proposals.‎

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 411