The UNESCO facilitated and international multistakeholder conference under the theme CONNECTing the Dots: Options for Future Action to discuss the first draft of the Comprehensive Study on Internet-related issues.
The objective of the conference was to discuss the first draft of the Comprehensive Study on Internet-related issues as part of UNESCO’s response in support of the decision taken by its 195 Member States, to examine current and emerging inter-related trends, challenges and opportunities around access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy, and ethical dimensions of the information society.
Four Keystones namely Access to information and knowledge, Freedom of Expression, Privacy, and Ethics on a Global Internet; were identified under UNESCO’s mandate, which is to promote international cooperation in education, the sciences, culture, communication and information, UNESCO’s contribution is essential. They shed new light on a people-centered perspective of Internet, including issues of empowerment and rights online.
A non-binding Outcome Document was presented from two days of intense discussion on the draft UNESCO Internet Study which is titled “Keystones to Foster Inclusive Knowledge Societies: Access to information and knowledge, Freedom of Expression, Privacy and Ethics on a Global Internet”. The Outcome Document reflects the process of finalizing the Study and the options which it proposes for UNESCO member states to consider.
Thanking the participants after the adoption of the Outcome Document, the Deputy Director General of UNESCO Mr. Getachew Engida in his closing remarks said: “The Internet and all new information and communication must be at the heart of the post-2015 agenda – as a transformational force and a foundation for building the knowledge societies we need.”
Several key global internet constituencies participated in the conference include DotConnectAfrica Trust from Africa. The Outcome Document will be forwarded to the UNESCO Executive Board, where Member States may decide to recommend it to the 38th General Conference of UNESCO in November 2015.