Ressa named member of UN chief’s Internet Governance Forum leadership panel

Published August 17, 2022, 7:46 AM

by Jaleen Ramos

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday, August 16, has appointed 10 high-level and eminent persons to serve on his inaugural Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Leadership Panel, among them Filipino-American journalist Maria Ressa.

(Photo from Twitter/@mariaressa)

“In line with the mandate of the Internet Governance Forum and as recommended in the secretary-general’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, the secretary-general has established the panel as a strategic, empowered, and multi-stakeholder body to support and strengthen the Internet Governance Forum,” the UN said.

The panel was also formed to address strategic and urgent issues and highlight forum discussions and possible follow-up actions to promote greater impact and dissemination of IGF discussions.

The new members were appointed following an open call for nominations, and in line with an equitably distributed, multi-stakeholder configuration of ministerial-level government representatives, executive-level representatives of the private sector, civil society and the technical community, and “at-large” prominent persons in the field of digital policy.

The complete members of the inaugural panel are Vint Cerf from the United States, Hatem Dowidar from Egypt, Lise Fuhr from Denmark, Maria Fernanda Garza from Mexico, Toomas Hendrik Ilves from Estonia, Ressa from the Philippines and the USA, Alkesh Kumar Sharma from India, Karoline Edtstadler from Austria, ‘Gbenga Sesan from Nigeria, and Lan Xue from China.

The panel also consists of five ex-officio members, including senior representatives of the current, immediately previous, and immediately upcoming IGF host countries; the Chair of the Forum’s Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group; and the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology.

The other ex-officio members are Mrs. Huria Ali Mahdi from Ethiopia, the host of this year’s IGF; Mr. Yuji Sasaki from Japan, where the 2023 Forum will be held; Mr. Krzysztof Szubert of Poland, the 2021 host country; and Mr. Paul Mitchell, the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group chair.

The IGF is an outcome of the Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) that was held in 2005.

In the Tunis Agenda, governments asked the Secretary-General to convene a “new forum for policy dialogue” to discuss issues related to key elements of Internet governance.

The Forum’s mandate was extended for another 10 years in December 2015 during the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the overall review of the implementation of the WSIS.

The 17th edition of the Forum is scheduled to take place on Nov. 28 to Dec. 2, 2022, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.