Linking connectivity, human rights, & development

07 December 2016 - A Workshop on Guadalajara,Mexico


We will explore whether and how human rights frameworks and inclusive governance processes should play a role in the drive to achieve universal connectivity. 

Sustainable Development Goal 9 targets “universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020.” Upon the SDG launch, global opinion shapers and business leaders released a Connectivity Declaration to “connect the world,” launched the Global Connect Initiative, and continued striving to Connect the World. These initiatives prize public-private partnerships, and laud maxims like “dig once” to ensure that diverse stakeholders plan and execute development projects efficiently.

But efficient connectivity alone cannot be the only priority in global ICT development. The digital pipeline that is essential to economic development also connects, and threatens, members of vulnerable groups worldwide. The challenge is building a framework for human rights in the digital age that allows the internet’s current billions and next 4 billion users to connect seamlessly, securely, affordably, and openly.

We posit that respect for privacy, freedom of expression, and inclusive governance processes must go hand in glove with the drive to connect. For that to occur, bridges must be built between connectivity, development, and human rights communities, and internet governance expertise must help create more inclusive models and structures.

This workshop will approach SDG9 through a lens of inclusivity and respect for rights. We will theorize practical solutions to connecting the last mile, capacity building among vulnerable groups, and more, and take the answers to the major stakeholders committed to connecting the world.

[Updated] Speakers confirmed:

Bhardwaj, Manu - U.S. Department of State
Jorge, Sonia - Alliance for Affordable Internet
Micek, Peter - Access Now
Nguyen, Carolyn - Microsoft
Solomon, Brett - Access Now
Viola, Mario - Institute for Technology & Society (ITS Rio)