On behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I have the pleasure to invite you to the 2017 annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), organized under the overarching theme: Shape Your Digital Future! The meeting will be hosted by the Government of Switzerland at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 18 to 21 December 2017.
The IGF is convened by the Secretary-General as a multistakeholder platform to discuss Internet Governance issues in a bottom-up, open and inclusive manner.
This year’s Forum is to take place in the heart of international Geneva, a base for the United Nations, international organizations and permanent missions. The setting will create an opportunity both for strengthening engagement between the IGF’s multistakeholder participants and the international community. We would like to convey our sincere gratitude to the Government of Switzerland for making this possible by hosting this year’s IGF.
The programme of the four-day meeting is built in a bottom-up and inclusive manner by the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group, taking into account inputs received from the wider global community.
Some of the most pertinent issues in Internet Governance are on the agenda of this year’s meeting. They include matters related to: Connectivity and Access; Impact of the Internet on Sustainable Development and Economic Growth; Human Rights Online; Gender Issues; Cybersecurity; Multistakeholder Collaboration at National, Regional and Global Levels; Emerging Technologies; and many others. The outcome of these discussions will act as valuable input toward the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which relies on robust and strategic use of ICTs and sound Internet policies.
Throughout the year, the IGF also supports community intersessional groups and facilitates their development of tangible outputs. I would like to invite all stakeholders to join and contribute to the substantive work done under the IGF Best Practice Forums, dedicated this year to Cybersecurity, Gender & Access, and Local Content, as well as the third phase of the initiative on ‘Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion(s)’, and many topical Dynamic Coalitions.
The rapid growth of national and regional IGFs strengthens the global IGF, as it allows us to learn more about local perspectives on Internet Governance and develop comprehensive policy discussions. This year, many countries and regions will attend the Forum and bring inputs from their communities.
The IGF as an open and inclusive discussion platform will keep aiming to strengthen linkages with all stakeholders, including Governments and intergovernmental organizations.
Further, I am encouraged by the continuous commitment of the broad multistakeholder community to improve on the IGF and to bring in new voices and ideas.
I hope we will continue to work in a spirit of mutual collaboration toward a fruitful meeting this year.
Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs