[Read more session reports and updates from the 14th Internet Governance Forum]
The closing ceremony of the 2019 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) began with a speech by Ms Dorothee Bär (State Minister for Digitisation, Germany).
Bär highlighted the good reception of the forum and approached the representativity of issues discussed, the diversity of participants, and the richness of the sessions. She re-iterated Germany’s commitment to allocate €1 million to the IGF Trust Fund over the next few years.
The Contract for the Web, proposed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation, was mentioned, with its commitment to bring all stakeholders together.
The issues of data governance and data protection received special attention, highlighting their present and future relevance in most technology-related debates, as we witness an ever-increasingly digitised economy.
Bär reaffirmed Germany’s commitment to strengthening the IGF and towards an open and global Internet.
Gratitude was expressed to all involved in organising the IGF and making it possible. The values of solidarity, inclusion, openness, tolerance, freedom, and integration were exalted as values that should transcend borders.
Vows of success were wished for Poland, the next host country for the IGF in 2020.
Ms Wanda Buk (Deputy Minister of Digital Affairs, Poland) reminded participants of the increasing proportion of the digital economy in our world. Her speech approached matters of Internet fragmentation, freedom of speech, and cybersecurity. The past of Central and Eastern Europe, especially its transition to democracy, was noted as a reminder of the positive impacts of values such as openness, transparency, decentralisation, and freedom. She highlighted that Poland is the first country where citizens have a legal right to re-appeal on Facebook’s decision to block the content of profiles.
The main theme of IGF 2020 ‘Internet United: An open, free, and undivided Internet’, and the meeting will be held in a historical Polish city between two rivers, in a venue that has already hosted this year’s United Nations Climate Summit.
Finally, Mr Liu Zhenmin (Under-Secretary-General for the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) concluded with a short speech in which he presented this year’s IGF numbers: 10 main sessions, 40 open forums, 64 multistakeholder workshops, 4 best practice forums sessions, 18 dynamic coalition sessions, 7 national and original initiative sessions, and 45 other events. The theme and values previously mentioned were reaffirmed, and the importance of local and national IGFs was also stressed.
He concluded by thanking all the participants, remote and present, all the donors, the organisation, the volunteers, and wished to end IGF 2019 with a sense of encouragement and preparation for the forthcoming event in Katowice.
By Pedro Vilela