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The Road to IGF2023

October 2, 2023

By Kenneth Merrill, Policy Specialist, NTIA Office of International Affairs

The upcoming Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Kyoto, Japan will unfold amidst two major Internet governance milestone events. It will come on the heels of a preparatory ministerial meeting for next year’s Summit of the Future, where the Global Digital Compact is envisioned to be agreed to, and in advance of the 20-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+20). 

Kyoto’s IGF will also serve as a venue to consult with stakeholders on the G7 Hiroshima Artificial Intelligence process.

To meet this moment, NTIA is engaged in a number of efforts leading up to and at IGF2023, all aimed at supporting and strengthening the multistakeholder system of Internet governance ahead of this critical period.

What’s next for the Declaration for the Future of the Internet

On October 8, Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications & Information and NTIA Administrator, will join government officials from the European Commission, Kenya, and IGF host Japan to convene a multistakeholder dialogue on how to realize the principles enshrined in the Declaration for the Future of the Internet (DFI).

Launched in 2022 by Commerce Deputy Secretary Graves and over 60 global partners, the DFI reasserts a vision of the global Internet as a platform for openness and innovation, while promoting and protecting human rights. Building on a series of consultations with stakeholder groups in the lead-up to the IGF in Kyoto, this event will feature remarks followed by four parallel breakout sessions aimed at identifying how governments can best work with the multistakeholder community to operationalize the DFI’s commitments.

Promoting Digital Inclusion through a Multilingual Internet

Assistant Secretary Davidson will also open a roundtable discussion October 10 focusing on Digital Inclusion Through a Multilingual Internet. Until late 2009, the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS) was available only in Latin character languages. While progress has been made, the Internet today is far from “multilingual.” This roundtable, which will feature participants from Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Internet Society (ISOC), amongst others, will take a deep look at the role of Universal Acceptance in promoting Internet multilingualism and how multilingualism is a key component of meaningful connectivity. Universal Acceptance ensures that all domain names and email addresses – including those in different scripts - are treated equally and can be used by all Internet-enabled applications, devices, and systems.

Inclusive Artificial Intelligence

Throughout the week, NTIA will participate in a range of programming on artificial intelligence (AI) and will work to advance Japan’s leadership of the G7 Hiroshima Process on AI, which includes promoting AI governance guided by democratic values. NTIA’s work with Japan and other G7 members on AI includes development of an international code of conduct for organizations developing advanced AI systems, as well as international guiding principles applicable for all AI actors.

NTIA’s longstanding support of the multistakeholder model is central to its work developing policies that preserve an open, interconnected global Internet. A free and open Internet supports continued innovation and economic growth, investment, and the trust of its users. Bottom-up processes like the IGF, in which government, the private sector, technical community, and civil society come together to address issues in a timely and flexible manner, has been an important key to the past success of the Internet and is critical to its future.