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IGF 2021 focus areas
Issue-driven approach

In response to input from the IGF community a call for issues was launched in December 2020 with a deadline of 31 January 2021. Over 230 responses produced a set of issues. Some were indeed specific which is what was hoped for. These were clustered into seven areas and then prioritised by the MAG. After reviewing the issues and following the goals for a more focused IGF, it was decided on two main focus areas and four cross-cutting and emerging issue areas. This ‘issue-driven’ approach allowed to work with fewer issues treated in greater depth.

Following the advice of the MAG Working Group on IGF Strengthening and Strategy, that the “greater impact can be achieved by dealing with fewer policy issues in greater depth, making sure that relevant stakeholders participate in discussing these issues, and that the outcomes of the discussions are communicated effectively and strategically”, the issue-driven approach is expected to facilitate the creation of more focused and structured IGF outputs, including the “key messages”.

The MAG identified two 'baskets of issues': a ‘main focus area’ with only two issue areas, and an ‘emerging and cross cutting issue’ basket with four issue areas. This is intended to enable a more focused IGF, while at the same time keeping the IGF open for new and emerging issues and to give participants choice. A rough allocation of time/percentage of sessions has been proposed for each basket but MAG members felt that allocation within each basket should be flexible. A final decision on allocation of time/sessions can be made at a later stage, taking the quality and nature of proposals into account.

Organisers of the High-level Leaders and Parliamentary Tracks will be invited to also focus on these issue areas. NRIs, BPFs, DCs and PNs will also be invited to consider addressing these issues.

2021 IGF Main focus areas (outcome focused) with 60% estimated time allocation

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

2021 IGF Emerging and Cross-cutting issues (discussion driven) with 40% estimated time allocation

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

Next steps 
At the 23 March MAG meeting, it was decided that working groups are created to define the sub-themes, issues and policy questions to be featured within each area, and help shape the call for session proposals. The steps below describe the work expected from these groups. 
It is expected that the calls for session proposals are launched in late April, as per the IGF 2021 current timeline.

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

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

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