A cross-committee delegation participated in the 16th meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, from Monday to Friday (6-10 December) in Katowice, Poland.

The United Nations 16th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was hosted under the overarching theme ‎‎Internet United. During the delegation, MEPs participated in high-level exchange panels, in the Parliamentary track of the IGF and met, inter alia, with representatives of the Polish Government and the Youth IGF movement. Key topics included legislative approaches for a user-centric digital space; privacy rights and legitimate uses of personal data; balancing freedom of speech and the fight against harmful content; automated decision-making and human-centric approaches.                                                                Head of delegation, Marina Kaljurand (S&D, ET) said: “it is good to see that the Parliamentary Track has become an integral part of the IGF. The IGF provides a unique platform for exchanging information and best practices as well as learning from the rich experience of colleagues from different countries. We have to learn to cooperate if we want to stand for human rights online and a free, open, accessible, affordable and secure Internet”. Karen Melchior (Renew, DK) added, “bringing together both civil society, governments and companies in the forum of IGF is crucial for an innovative and open internet. Attending allows us parliamentarians to have a broader view on its future regulation”. The Russian opposition present at the IGF underlined the importance of online platforms maintaining democratic values and freedom in face of repressive governments and authorities”.        “The IGF is an important event to ensure further development of the Internet in its unity in a decentralized, open and democratic way. Europeans can and shall use it in order to further promote fundamental rights in the global scale” said Mikuláš Peksa (Greens/EFA, CZ). “We must investigate and regulate AI as it may profoundly affect personal rights, in particular freedom of speech, through online social platforms. In the AI act currently in Parliament, we will identify areas where AI systems must be forbidden, for example, when they distort human behaviour or cause physical or psychological harm”’ said Alessandra Basso (ID, IT).

UN Internet Governance Forum, each year brings together more than 7000 innovators, big tech executives, ministers and parliamentarians in order to exchange on best practices in dealing with digital policy issues. The 16th annual meeting was hosted by the Republic of Poland and took place in Katowice from the 6 to 10 December 2021.The meeting was held in hybrid format with participants joining both on site and online.                                    The cross-committee EP delegation to the IGF consisted of Members from the Industry, Legal Affairs, Internal Market and Civil Liberties committees.