– With 2.7 billion people still offline, participants at the 17th United Nations Internet Governance Forum in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, have called for concerted efforts for a secure, sustainable and inclusive digital future for all.
This year’s edition of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF-2022), which started on Monday and will run until Friday and is the first to be held on the African continent in 11 years, is held under the motto ” Resilient Internet for a Shared and Sustainable World”. and common future”.
According to the UN, IGF-2022 is paying special attention to the African continent, which is the least connected, with 60 percent of the population disconnected due to a combination of reasons.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, addressing the forum in a video message on Tuesday, stressed the need to continue working for a safe, equitable and open digital future that does not infringe on privacy or dignity.
“We often hear that the future will be digital. But the future of digital must be human-centric. That ambition is reflected in its theme,” he said.
Guterres said the notion is behind his proposal for the Digital Global Compact on an open, free, inclusive and secure digital future for all.
“Our goal is for governments to agree to this pact at the 2024 Future Summit, with input from tech companies, civil society, academia and others,” he said.
“I urge the Internet Governance Forum and its leadership panel to help take all these issues forward, bringing together governments, the private sector, civil society and more, through concrete actions for a secure, sustainable and secure digital future. inclusive,” Guterres said.
The UN, in a statement on the ongoing forum, said there is immense potential to empower young people to thrive in a digital economy and advance technologies. However, he said that for a staggering 2.7 billion people, many of whom live in developing and least developed countries, meaningful connectivity remains elusive.
According to the UN, while the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in some sectors, including health and education, it has also exacerbated various forms of digital inequality, which run deep along social and economic lines.
The rise in internet use has also paved the way for the proliferation of its dark side, with the rampant spread of misinformation, disinformation and hate speech, the regular occurrence of data breaches and a rise in cybercrime, he said.
The UN said the forum theme calls for collective action and shared responsibility to connect all people and safeguard human rights; avoid fragmentation of the Internet; govern data and protect privacy; enable safety, security and accountability; and address advanced digital technologies.
According to the UN, the IGF outcomes, including high-level, parliamentary and youth ones, will serve as a concrete framework for the Digital Global Compact that is expected to be agreed at the UN Future Summit in 2024. ■