The 7th Internet Governance Forum – GeoIGF 2021 will be held in Georgia from 30 November to 1 December. The event will be co-organized and supported by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, the Communications Commission, the Internet Society of Georgia (ISOC Georgia) and the Council of Europe in coordination with the Telecom Operators Association (TOA).
The forum is a 2-day event and will be held in a hybrid format. It offers 10 thematic sessions, focused on key challenges and future opportunities in the internet space of Georgia.
The forum was opened by Guram Guramishvili, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia; Ekaterine Imedadze - Member of the Georgian National Communications Commission; Petr Mikyska - H.E. Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Georgia; Natalia Voutova - Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia; Antriette Esterhuysen - Chair of the UN Global Internet Governance Forum and Commissioner for the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace; Jane Coffin - Senior Vice President at Internet Society (ISOC); David Songulashvili - Chairman of the Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee of the Parliament.
With the facilitation of the Council of Europe, the event hosted signature of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the forum and the Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee of the Parliament of Georgia.
The Memorandum aims to facilitate the involvement of the Parliament’s Committee, one of the important players in the internet-related legislative process, into the Internet Governance Dialogue of Georgia. To this end, the parties agreed on close cooperation in order to ensure the efficiency and openness of the legislative process in the field of Internet. Herewith, the Memorandum implies the adherence of the Committee to the forum.
According to Guram Guramishvili, the Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, in the wake of the pandemic caused by the new Corona virus, an even greater burden has been placed on information and telecommunications technologies and on their proper functioning in order to ensure the provision of critical services within the country. "In this regard, our Ministry is actively implementing a number of strategies and programs aimed at developing electronic communications and information technology in Georgia, promoting innovative businesses, as well as completing the construction of Internet infrastructure, integrating it with international innovative platforms and establishing an IT hub. It is important that we successfully cooperate with the third sector as a business, because we believe that in order to achieve such global goals, it is necessary to bring together the positions of stakeholders across the country and to work together, which is still being successfully implemented," - said the Deputy Minister.
Ekaterine Imedadze, a member of the Communications Commission, spoke about the challenges and future plans of the Georgian telecommunications market and noted that the opening of the telecom market, the introduction of new, innovative services and the technological development of the field are necessary preconditions for customers to receive affordable and adequate services, as well as to increase the benefits through digital services. As the world economy becomes increasingly digital, it is important to make telecommunications even more secure and accessible. In this regard, there are many interesting prospects for Georgia in both local and regional markets. Increasing number of global projects and initiatives are being elaborated in the Modern Telecom. Hence, the development of new technologies in the country creates unprecedented opportunities for innovation, which in turn will bring even more economic benefits to consumers. The role of the State is crucial in providing secure digital telecommunications services, but the responsibilities of the field players in the field are also great. Along with the State policy on the internet development within the country, it is necessary for the field representatives to work together and provide the customers with the quality, innovative and affordable services. A key precondition for achieving these goals is the availability of sector infrastructure, which means that barriers for small and medium-sized businesses must be removed. SMEs should be supported by stimulating innovative, digital business models. Thanks to this approach, the existing regulatory model of Georgia should become an example.” – said Ekaterine Imedadze.
According to Natalia Voutova, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia, the Council of Europe is happy to support multi stakeholder dialogue, which is the key to democratic decision-making process in the field of internet. We welcome the Parliament’s Committee of the Sector Economy and Economic Development joining the forum and invite all other relevant stakeholders to become members of the forum and use this platform to express their views on all aspects related to the internet.
The following important topics will be discussed at the GeoIGF 2021: artificial intelligence - its capabilities and challenges; Misinformation in the internet space of Georgia; Broadband Georgia - current situation and challenges, prospects on the development of Digital Hub in Georgia; Open telecom market and market access prospects for the mobile virtual network operators; 5G readiness and the role of new technologies in the development of the country; Internet quality; Development of community-based internet networks; Self-regulatory framework of the internet content; Georgian language in the Internet world; Cybersecurity and digital rights; Pandemic-inspired innovations and personal data protection; Digital Literacy and readiness - the role of various sectors in this process; Virtual Mobile operation development related issues and more.
GeoIGF 2021 is open to all interested parties. The event will be streamed online. To participate in the Q&A session, you should register online at www.igf.ge. The event agenda, the list of speakers and other forum-related information can also be found on the webpage.
The Internet Governance Forum (GeoIGF) is an annual conference established in 2015 with the support of the Council of Europe. Nowadays, the forum includes more than 30 members from different fields. It is hosted by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) and the Internet Society – Georgia Chapter (ISOC - Georgia). The event is organized by the Georgian Telecommunications Operators Association (TOA). The Council of Europe is the institutional partner of the forum. It is also supported by various international organizations: the Internet Society (ISOC), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Coordination Committee of the RIPE Network (RIPE NCC).
Each year, the forum is attended by up to 200 participants and is internationally recognized as one of the most important events in the field of internet governance development in Georgia. It brings together field experts from the governmental and non-governmental sectors, international and local organizations, representatives of private companies, academia and young participants. The forum is the most important multifaceted platform for discussing topical issues and projects related to the development of electronic communications and information technologies within the country, accumulated for the current year.