UNESCO and the Internet Society announce strategic partnership to advance universality of the Internet

On 1 July 2021, Tawfik Jelassi, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information and Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Implementation at the Internet Society (ISOC) signed an expanded collaboration framework to jointly shape and advance Internet development and digital transformation by operationalizing Internet Universality ROAM principles (Rights, Openness, Access, Multi-stakeholder participation) at a global, regional and national levels.

Sharing the vision and strategy to promote an Internet that is open, globally connected and underpinned by humanistic values, this collaboration emphasizes the importance of multistakeholder participation to achieve Internet reforms, as advocated by Marielza Oliveira, UNESCO’s Director for Partnerships and Operational Programme Monitoring, at the last edition of the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG). She stated: “Multistakeholder participation is crucial to advance human rights in the digital age, mainstream ROAM principles and apply Internet Universality ROAM-X indicators to generate evidence for digital policies that leave no one behind.”

Recognizing the Internet Society’s and UNESCO’s interests in improving Internet development, both organizations have set out a broader collaboration framework encompassing both financial and intellectual synergies, and also identified focused actions in supporting the Internet Universality ROAM-X Indicators (IUIs) national assessments in prioritized countries. These efforts will focus on Access and Growing the Internet, while enhancing the multi-stakeholder approach in global Internet governance.

This enhanced partnership builds on a long-term UNESCO-Internet Society endeavor in co-developing Internet Universality ROAM principles and indicators, and synergies involving the Internet Society and its national chapters in a number of national assessments. Constance Bommelaer de Leusse, Area Vice President, Institutional Relations and Empowerment at the Internet Society, has consistently reiterated the organization’s strong support of the ROAM principles and indicators at national and international levels, at advocacy events such as WSIS Forum 2021 and EuroDIG 2021, and stated: “the values embedded in the ROAM principles and indicators are in line with the Internet Society’s mandate to grow and strengthen the Internet.”

Both UNESCO and ISOC are pleased to enhance their longstanding collaboration and seize the opportunity for advancing global digital cooperation via implementing UNESCO Internet Universality Indicators project at all levels.