IGF 2022 WS #217 Joint efforts to build a responsible & sustainable Metaverse

Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (08:15 UTC) - Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (09:45 UTC)

Organizer 1: Jieyao Wang, Consultative Committee on Information Technology of China Association for Science and Technology (CCIT/CAST)
Organizer 2: Xiaofeng Tao, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications
Organizer 3: Jiali Li, Internet Society of China
Organizer 4: Horst Kremers, CODATA-Germany
Organizer 5: Ricardo Israel Robles Pelayo, Universidad Anáhuac On Line
Organizer 6: Daisy Selematsela, University of South Africa (UNISA)

Speaker 1: Horst Kremers, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Ricardo Israel Robles Pelayo, Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Daisy Selematsela, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 4: Li YAN, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 5: Ying HE, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group

Additional Speakers

Gong Ke, Chair of CCIT/CAST, Immediate Past President of World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO)
Sun Wen, Professor at School of Cybersecurity, Northwestern Polytechnical University


Jieyao Wang, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Xiaofeng Tao, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Jiali Li, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. What are the key challenges and governing issues in building an ecological, responsible and sustainable Metaverse? 2. How to strengthen the cooperation between the governments, technical communities, private sectors, civil society and other multi-stakeholder groups to promote the sustainable development of the Metaverse? 3. What policy framework should be established to formulate policy guidance and supervision to promote the healthy development of the Metaverse?

Connection with previous Messages:


8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible Production and Consumption
13. Climate Action
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production GOAL 13: Climate Action GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal This workshop focuses on Metaverse, which is a representative industry of the new round of scientific and technological revolution, discussing its potential to drive the development of digital economy and industrial transformation and upgrading, and profoundly change the way of human production and life. Therefore, it is closely related to GOAL 8, GOAL 9 and GOAL 12. The workshop will explore the way to address the societal issues such as privacy, use of information, regulatory challenges etc. to ensure the inclusiveness, equality of the metaverse and to build a sustainable virtual community (GOAL 10 & GOAL 11). It will also involve discussions on the impacts of Metaverse on environmental sustainability. Since Compute-heavy metaverse commerce could raise climate concerns. Yet, substitution, digital twins, and immersive experiences could bring sustainability benefits (GOAL 13). This workshop also aims to strengthen cooperation among global multi-stakeholders to promote the sustainable development of the Metaverse, which corresponds to GOAL 17.


Advanced digital technologies increasingly shape and transform our economy and society. From the Internet to mobile Internet and then to digital economy, a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is booming. Since the 1980s, the concepts of cyberspace, digital twin, cyber physical system, and Metaverse have been proposed successively. Metaverse, supported by a series of advanced technologies such as Big Data, AI, VR, AR, XR, Blockchain, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, Digital Twin and 5g technology, will be a representative industry of the new round of scientific and technological revolution. Metaverse is a virtual world linked and created by scientific and technological means, mapped and interacted with the real world, and digital living space with a new social system. It integrates new Internet applications and social forms of virtual reality integration produced by a variety of new technologies. With the accelerated commercial application of 5g technology, it will become a key technology to drive the development of digital economy and industrial transformation and upgrading, and profoundly change the way of human production and life. Important events such as building the world's first meta-universe city in South Korea, changing Facebook to mean, and Baidu's release of the first meta-universe industry show that vigorously developing meta-universe has been the common choice of many countries and major enterprises. However, beyond their promises, advanced technologies often come with pitfalls. There are critical voices claiming that we, as humans, are not ready for creating such virtual worlds. In fact, the Metaverse has several severe problems that need to be solved. Privacy issues, use of information, health concerns, regulatory challenges are just some examples of the many concern areas. Moreover, compute-heavy Metaverse commerce also raises climate concerns, as well as issues of inclusivity and equality that challenge social sustainability. Therefore, Multi-stakeholder need to engage now to ensure the Metaverse develops in a way that is sustainable for the planet and people. This workshop is committed to facilitating dialogue and cooperation among private sectors, civil society, technical communities, and policymakers to discuss how to build an ecological, responsible and sustainable Metaverse.

Expected Outcomes

1. Facilitating dialogue among multi-stakeholders on building an ecological, responsible and sustainable Metaverse. 2. Reach common understandings on the potential of Metaverse to change the way of human production and life, and to promote sustainability. 3. Identify challenges of the sustainable development of Metaverse. 4. Establish cooperation mechanisms between multi-stakeholders to address issues of Metaverse. 5. Define a follow-up action plan and come out with a Policy framework for Metaverse governance.

Hybrid Format: All experts and audience will make comments and raise questions in regards to the speeches presented, guided by the moderator. There will be a live broadcast on the meeting, both online and onsite attendees will get involved in the workshop during the whole session. Besides, online attendees will have a separate queue and microphone which rotate equally with the mics in the room and is entitled to raise questions after each presentation of the speaker and engage during the discussion. Trained online moderator with previous experience will direct the online participation. During the workshop, there will be Q&A and open discussion session to encourage every online or onsite participant to share their views and make contributions to the issue. Audio-visual material: Organizers will explore the use of visuals (i.e. videos, PowerPoint slides, images, infographics) not just for the ice-breaker, but also throughout the workshop to animate the session and aid those whose native language may not be English.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.


Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Metaverse is a concept that all parties have yet to unite because it is a collection of scientific ideas and potential technologies in the next few years, such as Web 2.5/3, Blockchain, and AI. Its subsequent evolution, application scenarios, and corresponding specifications in various industries and fields are still unclear and need to be built jointly by multi-stakeholder groups.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

A standard development organization can be set up in conjunction with governments, technical communities, private sectors, civil society, and other multi-stakeholder groups to provide a stable environment for its members to discuss, define, and compile metaverse technical specifications and reports.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

On November 30th, IGF 2022 workshop #217 on "Joint efforts to build a responsible & sustainable Metaverse" was held. There were five experts from different fields and countries presented their views on Metaverse development, which will serve as an open and fair foundation for the future world.  Specifically, they discussed the Metaverse's key challenges, governing issues, and what policy framework may help a healthy development.


Xiaofeng Tao, professor at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), the vice chair of Consultative Committee on UN Information Technology (CCIT), China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), chaired the workshop.


Professor Gong Ke, the chair of  CCIT/CAST, and the past president of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), made an opening speech on building the accountability and sustainability of Metaverse. He introduced the core values and principles that could and should apply to Metaverse development for the good of humankind and the planet.


In this workshop, five speakers presented their views on the topic "Joint efforts to build a responsible & sustainable Metaverse", and the details are below.


Horst Kremers, the General Secretary of CODATA-Germany, presented the critical elements of a digital information strategy. He introduced basic management principles and challenges for international legal instrument information management. The demands for coherence and mutual synergies for the UN declarations and other UN instruments texts are urgent.


Li Yan, the Vice President of Singapore Blockchain Association, explained what Web 2.5 is, and Web2 and Web3 seem to converge towards Web2.5. From his speech, the most significant risks are regulations and a need for more non-technical talent familiar with political economy.


Wen Sun, professor at School of Cybersecurity, Northwestern Polytechnical University, shared her excellent ideas and thoughts about the challenges and potential solutions to build a trusted Metaverse. One of the promising solutions is Blockchain technology and other advanced technologies such as Digital Twin and Federated Learning. These new emerging technologies can ensure data integrity, privacy, and security and implement seamless and secured data sharing.


Daisy Selematsela from the University of the Witwatersrand and Lazarus Matizirofa from the University of Pretoria noticed the gap between academic research and the knowledge needed by policymakers and bridged the gap by providing policymakers with access to relevant research.


Ricardo Israel Robles Pelayo, professor of Universidad Anahuac online, UNIR México and EBC, introduced legal education and information communications technology such as digital books, AI, and big data. And in the end, he reminds us what the role of Metaverse in legal education. That is, the Metaverse is the link between academic theory and professional practice.


After all five speakers finished their presentations, the experts started an open discussion. Several key questions are discussed, such as the main challenges, including technical and legal aspects of building an ecological, responsible, sustainable Metaverse, cooperation among multi-stakeholders, and how to build a policy frame. The experts mentioned that the more important thing is to conceive what the issues are in Metaverse instead of how to apply Metaverse related technologies in education.


At last, we agreed that building a legal framework is challenging. This is because 1) we need an innovation of new technologies and 2) potential risks brought by these new technologies need to be identified. Hence, instead of technologies, ethical principles might a good starting point for the very first step to build a legal framework. We shall encourage a broader participants and efforts not only from tech engineers and scientists but also from multi-stakeholder communities to join the Metaverse development.