UNESCO Internet Universality ROAM-X Indicators at the Ethiopia Internet Development Conference 2020

While announcing that Ethiopia will host the 2021 Internet Global Forum (IGF),  H.E. Dr Ahmedin Mohammed, State Minister of Innovation and Technology in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, invited UNESCO to exchange more on assessing the Internet Universality ROAM-X Indicators at national level for further discussions on how to move forward, as the country is currently putting in place a Digital Transformation Strategy that will provide IT enabled services to all citizens.

“The UNESCO Internet Universality Indicators are an important tool for assessing national internet development and the academia has an important role to play in sustaining up-to-date data.”   said Dr. Belay Hagos Hailu, Director of Institute of Educational Research, Addis Ababa University, following UNESCO’s presentation on Internet Universality ROAM-X Indicators during the Ethiopia Internet Development Conference 2020 organized by the Internet Society from 3-5 March 2020 in Addis Ababa. (https://www.internetsociety.org/events/ethiopia-internet-development-conference-2020/)

On behalf of UNESCO, Lydiah Gachungi the Regional Adviser on Freedom of Expression at UNESCO Liaison Office to the African Union (AU) and United Nations Commission for Africa (UNECA), presented the Internet Universality principles and 303 ROAM-X Indicators and outlined the importance of assessing the 109 core indicators which align with the country’s context. UNESCO highlighted how the outcome of the IUIs assessments provides new insights, allowing for evidence-based policy improvements, and how it presents comprehensive and substantive understanding of the national Internet environment and policies. She invited the Government and other Internet stakeholders in Ethiopia to apply the ROAM-X indicators in order to assess the country’s Internet Universality Indicators, alongside with the ongoing country reform agenda.

Lydiah Gachungi presented UNESCO’s Internet Universality ROAM-X Indicators project at the Ethiopia Internet Development Conference 2020 in Addis Ababa, 5 March 2020.

Grace Githaiga from the KICTANet (Kenya ICT Action Network) shared the initial findings from the the national assessment ROAM-X indicators conducted in Kenya and stressed that the Government intends to address a number of issues related to laws and policies which will enhance Internet use an provide widely for human rights, but acknowledged also that implementation remains challenging.

Participants recognized the ROAM-X indicators are a valuable assessment tool which contains key indicators that support the development of internet in various countries. They urged UNESCO to increase its awareness-raising among the media, relevant government, ministries, and research institutions.

The Internet Universality ROAM-X Indicators framework is a set of 303 indicators that aims to assess how well national stakeholders including governments, companies and civil society perform in adhering to the ROAM standards of Rights, Openness, Accessiblity, Multistakeholder participation. Developed over a three-year process of global and inclusive consultations with stakeholders, it was endorsed in November 2018 by the 31st Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). Since then, UNESCO has been working with stakeholders and encouraging more countries to implement national assessments of Internet development using the Indicators. The first completed assessment of Internet Universality indicators is in Brazil, with the report published by UNESCO as the first edition of the newly created Series of National Assessment of Internet Universality Indicators

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