UNESCO’s IPDC gives go ahead for Internet Universality Indicators


“The project to develop Internet Universality Indicators is at the very heart of UNESCO’s mandate. It is one of the best examples of UNESCO supporting its Member States in addressing digital gaps and contributing to sustainable development,” commented the Representative of Sweden, one of the donors of the project, at the 31st session of the IPDC (International Programme for Development of Communication) Council.

“A UNESCO analysis of above 50 existing instruments of Internet principles showed that none of them fully meet UNESCO’s interests and mandate. This is why UNESCO Member States adopted their own Internet Universality concept. Now, with the development of indicators to operationalize the concept, this is a unique contribution by UNESCO to global Internet governance and achieving the SDGs,” highlighted Guy Berger, UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development.

David Souter, the leading consultant who synthesized feedback from numerous consultations around the indicators as well as pre-testing and piloting processes in the past 18 months, presented the major outcome of 303 indicators which include a number of core indicators.

“Such a research instrument is needed to cope with the growing demand in UN agencies and from the Member States. The framework is robust and comprehensive to address the complexity of the Internet, and highly relevant for policy making to foster Internet development at national level,” concluded Alexandre Barbosa (CETIC.br, a UNESCO category 2 institute). He spoke of his experience of conducting the pre-testing and piloting of these indicators in Brazil.  CETIC.br was also instrumental in the early research into indicators and discussion of Internet Universality at the NETmundial conference.

A total of 22 representatives of IPDC Council members (El Salvador, Ecuador, Poland, Sweden, Thailand, Pakistan, China, Oman, Netherland, Norway, Cuba, Russia, Canada, Austria, Argentina, Finland, Senegal, the United Kingdom, Benin, Oman, Niger and Lithuania) took the floor during the Council discussion. 

Member States commended UNESCO Secretariat’s work on developing the indicators through the truly open, inclusive and multi-stakeholder process, and many expressed their strong support and interest to engage with UNESCO in the implementation phase of applying these indicators at national level.

The Council has taken the decision to welcome the Internet Universality Indicators and to endorse the voluntary application of the instrument for stakeholders to conduct national assessments of Internet development.

Mr. Moez Chakchouk, UNESCO Assistant Director General for Communication and Information, stressed his commitment to continuing the Secretariat’s work in assisting  Member States in conducting assessments at national level.  He encouraged Member States and stakeholders to support and engage with UNESCO and to use the research findings of the Indicators for evidence-based policy discussions and recommendations.

General enquiries on implementing the Internet Universality Indicators in assessments in interested countries can be sent to UNESCO’s focal points Xianhong Hu and Josselyn Guillarmou.

The full version of Internet Universality Indicators and more information are available at https://en.unesco.org/internetuniversality.

To keep updated on the future implementation process of the Internet Universality Indicators, stakeholders can sign up to the the Internet Universality community and receive periodic emails about developments at https://en.unesco.org/feedback/join-our-internet-universality-community.

This article was originally published by UNESCO.

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