The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) brings together over 7,000 innovators, big tech executives, young people, ministers and parliamentarians to spur efforts to build an open, secure and free digital future for all.
In his video message to the opening session on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres spoke of how the Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the forum´s theme of ¨Internet United¨.
The global crisis has highlighted the life-changing power of the Internet, he said, with digital technology enabling millions to work, study and socialize safely online.
“We can only address these challenges united, through strengthened cooperation,” said Mr. Guterres.
“By establishing clear rules to safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms, by regaining control over our data, by countering disinformation and hate speech, and by connecting everyone to the Internet by 2030.”
The number of people using the Internet has risen during the pandemic, according to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), which supports the IGF Secretariat.
Covid-19 saw Internet user ranks grow from 4.1 billion in 2019 to 4.9 billion two years later, data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN agency, has revealed. The additional 782 million people who came online during this period, represents more than twice the population of the United States.