IGF 2023 Town Hall #61 Beyond development: connectivity as human rights enabler

Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (04:30 UTC) - Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (05:00 UTC)
Room E

Affordable Access

Round Table - 90 Min


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development explicitly recognises that the spread of information and communication technologies has the power to bridge the digital divide; as such, governments are increasingly addressing connectivity expansion as part of their efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. However, framing connectivity solely as a facilitator for social and economic growth is limiting. These approaches ultimately privilege the most powerful telecommunication industries that can afford international agreements; if all connectivity is provided by the same few global incumbent telecommunication operators, there will be very little diversity in technologies, content, and little space for dissident voices. Would it be possible to re-center connectivity as a human rights enabler, moving away from the development-only approach? How can PPP and cross-national agreements help solve the digital divide while allowing the diversity in the ISP technologies, improving innovative policies and techniques to spectrum management instead of just promoting one specific industry? The session will bring together regulators, members from the private sector, the technical community and civil society to discuss the questions above and present alternatives resulting in more civil and political participation, in addition to economic and social development.

1.The opportunity for participating in the debate part of the session will also be extended to remote participants, who will be given the opportunity not only to ask questions through the dedicated online forum, but also make interventions during the session. 2. A collaborative document will gather these records of comments and questions during and after the workshop, to be later integrated into the report. Article 19 focuses their social media communication during previous the session to stimulate the IGF online and offline participation. 3. A Slido Q&A page will be available to collect local and remote audience inputs.


🔒Article 19
Jane Coffin, Connect Humanity, civil society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG) Lucs Teixeira, Mycelium, civil society, Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC) Nathan Paschoalini, Data Privacy, civil society, Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC)


Agostinho Linhares, Ministry of Communication Brazil, public sector, Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC) Steve Song, technical community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG) Michael Oghia, Datacenter Forum, civil society, Eastern Europe Martha Suarez, Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, private sector, Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC)

Onsite Moderator

Raquel Renno Nunes

Online Moderator

Lucs Teixeira


Nathan Pascoalini



Targets: SDG 9.1 refers to 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. In 2011, the United Nations declared the Internet to be a human right and Sustainable Development Goal n. 9 (Resilient Infrastructure, Sustainable Industrialization, and Innovation) includes the provision of universal and affordable access to the Internet as a target. Bridging the digital divide is also considered a determinant factor in a country’s sustained development and participation in the global digital economy. However, providing universal and meaningful connectivity - which includes “bridging the digital divide” - remains an outstanding problem and one of the reasons is the limited socioeconomic focus. The proposed session aims to understand the persistent issues that cause digital divide and propose actions to act upon it, ensuring SDG 10.2 is also taken into consideration, reducing inequalities by empowering and promoting the civic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.

Session Type