On annual basis, the NRIs discussion programmes are looked at collectively and gathered in an annual compendium. Below is the compendium for 2021; as well as for 2020 and 2019. The latter is done in a comparative way to illustrate the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on Internet governance discussion priorities.
The 2019/2020 publication aims at providing an overall analytical overview of the NRIs discussion areas during 2019 and 2020. It presents thematic trends on a collective level, as well as the discussions focus on an individual level.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as early in 2020 annual cycle, the NRIs have seen sudden and dramatic challenges in both procedural and substantive areas of their work on implementation of the IGF frameworks across the word. Less meetings were hosted than in 2020, compared to 2019, primarily because of the pandemic and its impact on the overall environment.
There was an evident shift in the overall thematic focus, comparted to 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic and the role of the Internet dominated the 2020 NRIs discussions. This was mostly prompted by the fact that, due to strict measures for physical distancing, people were forced to turn to digital in order to continue going to schools, working and communicating etc. Given the proven dependency on the Internet, the NRIs discussions broadly focused on the urgent need for bridging the digital divides and meaningfully connecting everyone; toward the need for investment in capacity development on individual and institutional levels. The latter mostly related to developing digital literacy for people to safely and confidently use the Internet, through educational trainings, which calls for more collaborative efforts and cooperative mechanisms among all stakeholders. Digital transformation in education was present in many of the NRIs discussions, with narratives relating to accessibility of e-education to the need for modernisation of educational systems through digital tools and services, and as mentioned introducing digital literacy-related subjects.
As broadly emerging discussion area among the NRIs in 2020, the environmental sustainability stood out.
The 2021 compendium illustrates that several discussion areas emerged as priorities across the majority of the NRIs. The discussion narratives mostly related to areas of access and digital inclusion, followed by cybersecurity, new and emerging technologies as well as rights and freedoms online. The processes for Internet governance discussion and decision-making framework also featured prominently the NRIs agendas. In comparison to 2020 digital policy trends, it is evident that safety and security regained attention, while the biggest policy shift happened in respect to new and emerging technologies becoming the second top priority of the NRIs people-shaped agendas.
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