The United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) brings various stakeholder groups together to discuss public policy issues relating to the Internet. While there are no negotiated outcomes for each annual gathering, delegates discuss, exchange information and share good practices with one other. Overall, the IGF facilitates a common understanding of how to maximise Internet opportunities and address risks and challenges that arise.
Five themes frame the programme for the IGF 2022 gathering under the overarching theme of “Resilient Internet for a shared sustainable and common future”:
- Connecting all people and safeguarding human rights
- Avoiding Internet fragmentation
- Governing data and protecting privacy
- Enabling safety, security and accountability
- Addressing advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI)
This year RIA again was involved in some of the intersessional and preparatory meetings in the run-up to the Forum. Overall, five members of the team participate in nine events at the Forum:
- Following training on the African Union Data Policy Framework for the African Parliamentary Network on Internet Governance, RIA’s Executive Director, Dr Alison Gillwald, chairs a symposium session on the first day of IGF 2022. The session, on “The contested governance of digital infrastructure”, is part of the Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet) Annual Symposium. Taking place 28 November 2022, 10.00 – 11.30 EAT.
- Dr Alison Gillwald joins dignitaries as a panellist at the High-level Session II on Digital Rights. This session of the High-Level Leaders Track of the IGF 2022 deals with the “Global Digital Compact (GDC) action areas: Apply human rights online and protect data”. The panel will discuss what different stakeholders can contribute to the standardisation and defense of digital rights. Taking place 28 November 2022, 12.00 – 14.30 EAT.
- Research ICT Africa hosts an event under the Governing Data and Protecting Privacy theme of IGF 2022. It deals with “Data stewardship, an alternative governance framework for data justice”. RIA Researcher Kristophina Shilongo is the onsite moderator and RIA Senior Economist Dr Roland Banga the rapporteur. The interactive hybrid event engages participants to input on a draft playbook on data stewardship approaches with a focus on environmentalism – a project of RIA and the Aapti Institute. Taking place 28 November 2022, 15.20 – 16.20 EAT.
- Dr Alison Gillwald speaks at the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network event to launch and share the findings of the network’s African Regional Status Report based on workshops with key African digital policy stakeholders, data collection interviews and surveys. The report showcases topical trends, themes, challenges, and opportunities related to cross-border digital policies for Africa. This IGF 2022 event provides a space for forward thinking on information needed to develop interoperable policy and regulatory frameworks for the digital 21st century. Taking place 28 November 2022, 15.20 – 16.20 EAT.
- Dr Alison Gillwald speaks at the Open Forum: Shaping Digital Platforms for the Public Good, hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The open forum is a multi-stakeholder consultation on UNESCO’s draft model regulatory framework for digital platforms to secure information as a public good ahead of next year’s global conference where the framework will be discussed. Taking place 29 November 2022, 15.30 – 16.30 EAT.
- Kristophina Shilongo speaks at the IGF 2022 workshop Afro-feminist AI Governance: Challenges and Lessons. The gathering discusses and reflects on the process of developing an Afro-feminist AI Governance framework as part of a collective goal of Pollicy, Research ICT Africa, The Future Society, and the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change to demystify and make governance and policymaking accessible. Taking place 30 November 2022, 09.30 – 11.30 EAT.
- Dr Alison Gillwald speaks at the Open Forum: Implementing the AU Data Policy Framework organised by the African Union Commission. It is an interactive and multistakeholder panel session to brainstorm how diverse stakeholders can better collaborate to ensure the timely implementation and domestication of this AU framework. The session aims to pick up on past recommendations from two IGF sessions to take towards further implementation. Taking place 1 December 2022, 08.45 – 09:45 EAT.
- Dr Alison Gillward presents at the Special Session of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network at IGF 2022 where stakeholders will be updated on the work of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network in 2021/2022. She participates in discussions on the I&JPN report “Framing, mapping and addressing cross-border digital policies in the Africa Union” which she was commissioned to prepare. Taking place 1 December 2022, 15:30 – 16:30 EAT.
- Dr Alison Gillwald and Kristophina Shilongo organise and moderate the IGF 2022 workshop on “How can data justice be realised practically?”. Framed from a Global South perspective, the roundtable aims to identify ways in which to translate the concepts of “data justice” into actionable frameworks across socio-economic, and political spheres to remedy the uneven distribution of opportunities and harms arising from data-driven value creation, both private and public. RIA’s Research and Communication Coordinator, Zara Schroeder rapporteurs. Taking place 2 December 2022, 11:45 – 12:45 EAT.