The board of the Global Network Initiative (GNI) meeting in Paris on Friday 9 February heard an appeal from UNESCO to take part in the current consultation about Internet indicators.
GNI is a leading coalition of Internet companies, academics, civil society and investors, formed to promote the rights to free expression and privacy in the online arena.
The grouping earlier partnered with UNESCO on 8 February to mount the colloquium “Improving the communications and information ecosystem to protect the integrity of elections”.
In a briefing to the GNI board, UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development Guy Berger, explained why UNESCO was consulting widely on indicators for the concept of Internet Universality.
“Once finalized, the indicators will enable stakeholders at national level to voluntarily map how their country’s experience of the Internet aligns with international standards on human Rights, Openness, Accessibility, and Multistakeholder participation,” he said.
Besides these four areas, summarized as the ROAM principles, the draft indicators also cover cross-cutting issues such as gender and age dimensions, sustainable development, and trust and security as well as legal and ethical aspects of the Internet.
The current draft of the indicators follows a first phase of consultation, which included 24 face-to-face consultation meetings with 1000 experts from 21 countries and attracted 165 online contributions from 70 countries.
“When we end this round of consultation in mid-March, we will revise the indicators and then move to piloting them in a number of countries around mid-year,” Berger explained.
Based on this experience, the indicators will be revised once more, for presentation to the Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communications (IPDC) in November 2018.
Support for the work of developing the indicators comes from Sweden and the Internet Society (ISOC).