lighting, Diplomacy

[Briefing for diplomats] An inclusive internet: Lowering the barriers for access

02 December 2021


Event description


Online briefing for diplomats on inclusive internet:

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 9–10.30 EST / 15–16.30 CET

Closing the digital divide is one of the main priorities for governments worldwide. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development placed emphasis on closing the divide as a precondition to attaining the SDGs. The UN Secretary-General proposed further actions to accelerate access and inclusion. Numerous other global and regional initiatives seek to address the inequalities.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a reminder that the digital divide goes beyond simply connecting people to the internet. There are additional factors that affect one’s access to affordable internet, to the quality of access, and to one’s ability to make effective use of technology. These factors include issues of digital literacy, the availability of local content, and an accessible environment for persons with disabilities.

Inclusive internet

This briefing for diplomats (based in New York and Geneva), organised by the Geneva Internet Platform and the Internet Society, will revisit the current state of play of initiatives for closing the digital divide, and discuss the open gaps for further lowering the barriers to more sustainable access, and ultimately, a more inclusive internet.

What are the different and nuanced definitions of ‘access’ which policymakers need to consider? How far along are countries from closing the digital divide? In the light of the pandemic, what are the pressing priorities for closing the digital divide?


  • Juan Peirano, Senior Policy Advisor, Internet infrastructure and access, Internet Society
  • Kenny Olmstead, Senior Internet Security and Privacy Expert, Internet Society
  • Virginia (Ginger) Paque, Coordinator, Internet Governance and E-diplomacy, Diplo/Geneva Internet Platform
  • Pavlina Ittelson, Senior Programme Officer, Diplo/Geneva Internet Platform