IGF 2023 Day 0 Event #185 The Internet WE Want: Perspectives from the Amazonian Region

Sunday, 8th October, 2023 (00:00 UTC) - Sunday, 8th October, 2023 (01:00 UTC)
WS 11 – Room J

Digital Divides & Inclusion
Affordable Access
Skills Building for Basic and Advanced Technologies (Meaningful Access)

Digital Divides & Inclusion

Derechos Digitales
Vladimir Garay and Michel Souza, Derechos Digitales, Civil Society, Latin America


Vladimir Garay and Michel Souza, Derechos Digitales, Civil Society, Latin America

Onsite Moderator

Vladimir Garay

Online Moderator

Michel Souza


Vladimir Garay



Targets: Target 9.c is about significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020. On this session, we want to explore different alternatives to connectivity in the Amazonian region, with a focus on the experiences of the people that inhabit it. Target 9.b is about support domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries, including by ensuring a conducive policy environment for, inter alia, industrial diversification and value addition to commodities. We want to explore the possibilities for the development of situated solutions to connectivity, at the scale of the communities that inhabit a region like Amazonia, instead of importing technological solutions that might not be compatible with people's life, culture and necessities. Target 9.1 is about develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all. One of the main questions regarding connectivity in the Amazonian region has to do with the enviormental challenge and how to do it without disrupting the relationship that the communities have with the enviorment. That's one of the themes we will talk in this session.


Presentation and a roundtable, encouraging remote participation from people online.


Most stakeholders will agree with the need to connect “the other half”, as the Internet enables the exercise of Human Rights, including Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Civil and Political Rights. However, there is much less consensus regarding how to bring the underserved communities online. Many have point out to infrastructure as the main barrier to universal connectivity, with the resulting problem of economic incentives, especially regarding communities that inhabit areas far from the big urban centers, which are often impoverished communities as well. Many of the unconnected communities are traditional communities. To reduce the discussion to the technical and economic from a Global North/Western approach, not only lacks a deep understanding of the problem, but is also carries the dangers of colonialist oppression. Instead of imposing one single access model to the Internet, it is necessary to listen to the local communities, their needs and desires, in order to create solutions with the community, at their scale, that are respectful of their wishes and their culture. We have coordinated joint research on the Amazonian region, as the latest entry on our Latin America in a Glimpse series, that we have presented at previous editions of the IGF. Based on this research, in this session we want to present this new edition of the report and to explore the different challenges —technical and economic, but also political, cultural and environmental— faced by the communities in the Amazonian region and the people trying to come up with alternatives approaches to connectivity. What kind of processes are required to ensure effective community participation in the definition of accessibility policies? How can governments stimulate new approaches to connectivity? What’s the role of the private companies regarding alternatives to commercial access to the Internet? What are the environmental challenges related to connectivity and how can be mitigated? This are some of the questions that we expect discuss during the session, with stakeholders from Latin America and the rest of the world.

In order to ensure the best possible experience for online and onsite participation, we will take a number of precautions: First, the agenda of the session will be set beforehand, so it will be easier for people online to follow the discussion, even if connectivity problems arise. Second, we will compile questions a week before the session, so even if people could not attend or have connectivity problems, we can assure their question will be ask. Third, we will be reporting on social media during the session in Spanish, so people who are not able to follow the streaming or do not speak English, could follow the session. We will use tools like Miro and Mento, to engage with the audiences and collect opinions and impressions from attendees online and onsite.

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

We should look for local complementary solutions to connectivity. They seem to be more sustainable, because their address the real need of the communities.

We need to think about connectivity gaps not just as a technical, but a multidimensional problem.

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

The Internet WE Want: Perspectives from the Amazonian Region”, our session at #IGF2023 presents the results of our research “Latin America in a Glimpse: The Amazon". A joint comparative research coordinated by Derechos Digitales,  with studies by Idec, Fundamedios, Fundación Internet Bolivia and Dejusticia, to attempts to understand the digital divide and gaps in the Amazon region, with case studies in Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia.

Our comparative report highlights trends in the case studies and lessons for new experiences and initiatives. It also offers recommendations for the different stakeholders.

Brazilian research Camila Leite from IDEC, highlighted that in Brazil, “despite North and Northeast Region are the biggest that occupy 40% of the territory, we still have lack meaningful connectivity, we have a lot of inequalities”. The case study from IDEC studied the Nossa Senhora do Livramento community, one of the 6 existing communities in the Tupé Sustainable Development Reserve, in the rural area of Manaus, capital of Amazonas state.
“Structural concerns is that this community is in a place that face challenges related to climate change, rains and dry soil, lack of electricity”, said Leite.
Presenting the work from Rhizomatica and APC regarding community networks in the Amazon Region, Carlos Baca shows Hermes, a free and open-source that provides affordable communication, allowing for the transmission and reception of data.
Carlos Baca highlights that “local complementary solutions are more sustainable because their address the real need of the communities”. But it is necessary to enable “environments and synergies between different stakeholders”.
“Autonomy is the key to draw the type of access the communities want to have” says Carlos Baca.