Between 2 and 17 November, the first fully-virtual Internet Governance Forum will bring together stakeholders from around the globe. IFLA continues to engage – and encourages libraries to take part – in discussions on how the internet works and should be governed. From digital inclusion to privacy, access to content, accessibility, digital skills and beyond – there are many relevant discussions where libraries have an interest.

The 15th Global Internet Governance Forum has been fundamentally impacted by the ongoing pandemic. The past months have emphasised and exacerbated the existing digital divide, raised crucial questions about intellectual freedom and access to information online, and accelerated discussions about online content moderation. All these and many other questions about the ongoing changes and future of the internet will be addressed at this year’s IGF.

At the same time, the new fully-virtual format presents new opportunities for stakeholder engagement. While the IGF has always had an online component, now all participants will join through the same channels – and this online format can be a perfect opportunity for new stakeholders to join in and explore the opportunities the IGF offers!

What the 2020 IGF will focus on

The topic of this year’s IGF is Internet for human resilience and solidarity. It will follow four key thematic tracks:

– ‘Data’, which explores digital information and data governance practices, the opportunities they present for supporting sustainable socioeconomic development, and possible challenges to users’ rights.

– ‘Environment’, which examines ways to reduce the impact of ICT and the internet on the environment – and harness their potential to help deliver on environment, climate and sustainability policy goals.

– ‘Inclusion’, focusing on how to make sure everyone can benefit from the opportunities ICT offers and take part in decision-making around internet governance.

– and ‘Trust’, which discusses the ways to ensure that users are able to access an internet which is trusted, resilient and safe – from questions around cybersecurity to fundamental human rights amd freedoms online.

What IFLA will do

  • Towards equitable access to content. As a founding member of the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries, IFLA is co-organising an open session on equitable access to content in crisis situations. The session will discuss emergency responses from governments, libraries, publishers and other key stakeholders that aimed to support digital inclusion and access to key content and services during the pandemic; and what policy changes are needed to support equitable access in the ‘new normal’ and future emergencies.

Find out more about the 2020 DC-PAL session

  • Stakeholder cooperation for response and recovery. IFLA will also take part in a session that brings together all IGF Dynamic Coalitions, discussing how the many different stakeholders – those working on public access, the gender digital divide, accessibility, sustainability and many other areas – can work to support pandemic response and socioeconomic recovery.


  • Local content in focus. This year, IFLA contributed to the work of the Best Practice Forum on Local Content, which focused on sustainable models of protecting, preserving and supporting the creation of local and indigenous digital content. From driving access and facilitating engagement with digitised cultural heritage materials to supporting creation and co-creation of unique local content, libraries help create an online environment where communities can access online materials which are interesting and relevant for them.


  • Connected communities and universal public access. We also look forward to meeting the diverse members of the IGF community, exchanging ideas and charting further action to support digital inclusion during a dedicated networking event.  This networking break will focus on the recent Call to Action “Every Community Connected” by Partnership for Public Access (P4PA) and its accompanying pledges, including IFLA’s “Maximising Access Now: A Library Pledge for Digital Inclusion“. Do you want to share your insights or experiences? Do you want to find out more about this Call for Action and what you can do? Or do you simply want to meet like-minded IGF community members? We would be excited to see you there!

You can find out more about the themes and sessions of the 2020 IGF, and register to take part in discussions that matter to you! You can check out our Get Into IGF Guide for more ideas on how to get engaged and power your advocacy.