IGF 2020: Virtually together for an Internet for human resilience and solidarity

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IGF 2020: Virtually together for an Internet for human resilience and solidarity

Update from the MAG Chair

The IGF MAG is very pleased to announce IGF 2020’s dates, 2 to 17 November, and ‎overall theme, “Internet for human resilience and solidarity”.  ‎

This year, the IGF will be held online, in two phases. ‎

Phase One will include Day Zero events, introductory sessions for the four thematic tracks, (Data, ‎Environment, Inclusion and Trust) as well as Open Forums, National, Sub-regional, Regional and ‎Youth IGF initiatives (NRIs), Dynamic Coalition and newcomers sessions. ‎

Phase Two will include main sessions, workshops, high level leader sessions and formal opening ‎and closing sessions. ‎

The MAG is still finalising in which phase to schedule Best Practice Forum sessions, music night ‎and the IGF village, as well as a range of other networking sessions. We will inform IGF ‎stakeholders as soon as these remaining decisions are made.‎

Phase Dates Content
Phase One 2 to 6 November
  • Introductory sessions to the four thematic tracks (data, ‎environment, inclusion, trust)‎
  • Newcomers sessions
  • Dynamic Coalitions
  • Open Forums
  • NRI sessions
  • Day Zero events
  • Other preparatory events
  • Testing and training
  • Networking sessions
Phase Two 9 to 17 November
  • Opening and closing ceremonies
  • Main sessions
  • Workshops
  • High-level leaders track
  • Parliamentarians session
  • Networking sessions

Theme and a motto for IGF 2020 ‎

The overarching theme for IGF 2020 will be: “Internet for human resilience and solidarity”‎.

MAG members developed the theme to represent the extraordinary role that the Internet has been ‎playing during the pandemic. Resilience of the Internet as an interconnected, interoperable ‎network has been a regular topic at the IGF. In 2020, the IGF will approach network resilience ‎specifically from a people-centered perspective, exploring how it has supported the human ‎resilience and solidarity needed to respond to the many challenges posed by the pandemic. ‎

The theme for the high-level leaders track, organized by UN DESA, will be: “Internet ‎governance in the time of uncertainty”‎.

Key considerations in developing the theme and structure for this year’s virtual IGF 2020‎

The above-mentioned theme and structure for IGF 2020 is the result of the MAG processing ‎stakeholder input on the overall shape and character of a virtual IGF as well as careful thought ‎given by MAG members to both the challenges and opportunities presented by the event being ‎online. Two core concerns stood at the heart of the MAG’s deliberations:‎

  • Maximising inclusion, particularly for participants from the global South. A unique ‎consideration for the virtual event is to ensure that the meeting takes place in time zones ‎that suit all regions of the world, and are not only concentrated in hours which coincide ‎with the business day of Europe, Africa and the east coasts of the Americas.‎
  • Utilising the creative and innovative potential of online platforms to convene an IGF that is ‎more than merely an online version of a face-to-face event.‎

IGF 2020 will include well over 200 sessions1 ‎in different formats, stretching over up to 15 hours ‎during the 24-hour day, covering multiple time zones. To avoid an overly cluttered programme, ‎main sessions and workshops will not run at the same time, and there will be no more than three ‎parallel tracks at any time during Phase 2.‎

The MAG also adopted a motto for IGF 2020: “Virtually together”‎.

This motto is intended to convey the message that the meeting’s virtual nature should in no way ‎undermine the power of the IGF to bring people together to learn, agree, disagree and, most of all, ‎collaborate for stronger, more inclusive and accountable Internet governance.‎

Anriette Esterhuysen

‎31 July 2020‎

1Session proposers were asked to confirm whether they wanted to be part of a virtual event. Only a handful ‎withdrew their proposals.‎