On behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I have the pleasure to invite you to the 13th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The meeting will be hosted by the Government of France at the Headquarters of UNESCO in Paris, from 12 to 14 November 2018.
The IGF is convened by the United Nations Secretary-General as an open, inclusive and multistakeholder platform for bringing all stakeholders together as equals to discuss public policy issues related to key elements of Internet Governance.
Through the bottom up process, the community has decided to address some of the currently most critical Internet policy issues, clustered into eight core themes: Cybersecurity, Trust and Privacy; Digital Inclusion and Accessibility; Emerging Technologies; Evolution of Internet Governance; Human Rights, Gender and Youth; Development, Innovation and Economic Issues; Media and Content; and Technical and Operational Topics.
This year’s annual IGF meeting is expected to include more than a hundred sessions, organized by various stakeholders from around the world, that will help to orient the public discourse toward achieving needed improvements.
In particular, the community is investing significant efforts in looking at best practices across the world related to: Gender and Access; Cybersecurity; Local Content; and Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Internet of Things, and having these reflected in final output documents. In addition to this important work, the fourth phase of finding the best policy options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion is underway. I would strongly encourage the community to continue contributing to these important processes.
Given the Internet’s global nature and specificities of issues across countries and regions, more than a hundred national, regional and youth IGF initiatives, as well as seventeen Dynamic Coalitions will feed into the programme with inputs from their respective communities, and add to the quality of the comprehensive discussions.
As during the past twelve years, I expect the IGF to continue being an open and inclusive space for a meaningful dialogue. I believe that the work of the IGF community, expressed through the 13th annual IGF meeting, will be an important contributor to the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as many of the Sustainable Development Goals depend on robust ICTs and good Internet policies.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Government of France for hosting this year's IGF, and making it possible for the IGF community to discuss best ways forward. I am hoping that many stakeholders from all parts of the world will be able to attend this important meeting. If not, I am encouraging everyone to take active participation remotely, and help us to make the 13th edition of the Internet Governance Forum a success for us all.
Mr. LIU Zhenmin
Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs