Internet Governance Forum

Last week, the 13th Internet Governance Forum was hosted in Paris, France.  This year’s theme was “Internet of Trust” and was quite a timely topic seeing that the conference was held the same week as the 100-year celebration of Armistice Day. I found the panel titled, “WS80 Hack the Hate: Empower Society to Face Hate Speech-RAW,” to be extremely fascinating seeing the prevalence of hate speech in our world today.  This 90-minute session addressed important policy issues and operational responses like:

  • Hate speech regulations and “the grey area”
  • The complementary approach between States initiatives, platforms, and civil society’s involvement; and
  • Digital literacy.

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Opportunities and Limitations in Global Strategic Frameworks

The Millennium Development Goals were established at the Millennium Summitof the United Nations in 2000. At the summit, eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established, forming an internationally agreed upon blueprint for solving the world’s most pressing issues.  The eight goals were

  1. Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
  2. Achieve Universal Primary Education
  3. Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
  4. Reduce Child Mortality
  5. Improve Maternal Health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and other Diseases
  7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability
  8. Global Partnership for Development

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Multistakeholder Internet Governance and the Digital Divide

When speaking about internet governance, the multi-stakeholder approach is known to work most effectively. This is because multi-stakeholder decision-making is accountable, sustainable, and inclusive.  The multi-stakeholder model can be described as one where individuals and organizations from different realms participate alongside each other to share and develop ideas and consensus policy. The Internet Society describes that the multi-stakeholder approach is widely accepted as the optimal way to make policy decisions for a globally allocated network such as the internet.  This is revealed through declarations, resolutions, and practices international organizations.

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ICTs and Inclusive Sustainable Development

Can you imagine living in a world without access to a telephone or the internet? Neither can I.  We live in a completely interconnected, globalized world where communication across boundaries is a key aspect of development.  However, not everyone has equal access to the tools needed to allow this communication to happen.  Reports such as The International Telecommunication Union’s, “The Missing Link”and the NTIA’s “Falling through the Net” shed light on this issue of limited ICT availability in rural and poor communities.  Continue reading

Inclusive Education

Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities outlines the international legal framework regarding disability education.  This article on the right to education emphasizes the rights to inclusive education and importantly prohibits any forms of disability-based discrimination in the education system.  As discussed in class, students with disabilities are some of the most vulnerable individuals and have been historically excluded from educational opportunities at all levels.  Continue reading

Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sendai Framework

Two of the most pressing questions of today are, how do you plan for natural disasters and how do you build back better after one occurs? The vast majority of disasters are linked to high-impact weather events caused by climate change.  The core areas of disaster risk reduction (DRR) work includes climate change adaptation, building disaster resilient cities, schools, and hospitals, and strengthening investment for DRR internationally.  Continue reading

The World Urban Forum

The World Urban Forum (WUF), established by the UN General Assembly in 2001 as a bi-annual event, examines pressing issues facing the world today regarding human settlements and the impact that rapid urbanization has on cities, communities, economics, and climate change.  According to the UNDP, by 2050 more than two-thirds of the world’s population is projected to be living in urban areas. Building sustainable and inclusive cities is one of the world’s most pertinent issues. Continue reading

Inclusive Cities and the New Urban Agenda

Our discussion of inclusive cities this week left me with a few questions regarding the equity of smart cities. While I agree that smart cities are an essential component of inclusive sustainable development, I am wrestling with how to make this a completely global conversation rather than a Westernized solution to the problem of inclusivity.  Continue reading

The SDGs and the High Level Political Forum

The creation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) marked a groundbreaking moment for the inclusivity of persons with disabilities in global development goals. Unlike the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs), where no language surrounding persons with disabilities was included, the SDGs were a crucial step in identifying the importance of inclusive sustainable development.  Continue reading

Sen’s Development Theory

Amartya Sen’s perspective on the importance of individual freedoms is more convincing than differing developmental theories.  In chapter two of his book Development as Freedom, Sen writes, “Development…is the process of expanding human freedoms, and the assessment of development has to be informed by this consideration” (1999, 36).  Sen (1999) explores the relationship between individual freedoms and development, as well as the ways in which freedom is both a fundamental component of development and an enabling springboard to other aspects.  Dominant views of development tend to revolve around GDP growth, industrialization, and technological advances.  Sen (1999) defies those models, highlighting three themes that I see emerge from his writing:  first, urbanization does not mean development; second, social welfare must come before economic growth; third, growth in the community means focusing on social and economic human rights.  Framed by these three themes, I argue that Sen’s focus on substantive human freedoms challenges other development theories, such as Modernization’s, idealized set of Eurocentric assumptions about what a developed society ought to include.  Continue reading