Retour Opening statement by the DSG at the Opening Session for Stakeholders, Internet Governance Forum

Remarks by Bjørn Berge, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe




Distinguished participants and guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,


Some people in this room today will not be able to remember what life was like before the Internet existed –

The telephone booths, the printed encyclopedias – waiting for the postman to deliver hand-typed letters.

The opening up of the online world, with its high-speed connections, has changed all of this.

Maybe it has even changed us.

So much of modern life would grind to an instant halt if, one day, it simply stopped working.

The internet is the transformative invention of our times.

So, it is an honour for me to speak after Vint Cerf –

Along with his colleagues, he pioneered it and designed the protocols that determine how the internet works today.

The Council of Europe is an international organisation made up of 46 member states.

We recognised early both the opportunities and the threats posed by the digital world.

That’s why, in 1996, we began negotiations for what became our Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.

Today, 68 countries have joined it and over 100 have used it as inspiration for their domestic legislation –

Helping them to combat crime online.

This treaty was born in Europe but it is open to the world –

Along with its two protocols, one on combating racism and xenophobia online, and the other on how to treat evidence on the cloud.

Negotiating the Budapest Convention taught us the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach when regulating the digital world –

With public authorities of course, but also civil society, the private sector, and technical and professional organisations taking part.

All their expertise is needed and we depend on them.

I note that the Internet Governance Forum has embraced that inclusive approach.

That is why we have been so supportive of it ever since its early days, as the World Summit on Information Society, twenty years ago.

Of course, the advance of technology means that there is always more to do, for the governments and others helping to set relevant standards, so that innovation remains a force for good, to the benefit of all.

Artificial Intelligence is both a pressing and pertinent example of that.

Harnessing its benefits and mitigating its dangers is a defining challenge for all of us.

That’s why the Council of Europe is now at work on an international treaty on the design, development, and use of AI systems.

Negotiations on its content are underway.

These include the 46 member states of our Organisation, along with our Observer States –

Plus countries from outside Europe –

And a range of international organisations, the private sector, professionals as well as others – again a true multi stakeholder process.

We are open – welcoming, in fact – of others joining where they share our objectives and values –

Because our aim is to make this treaty as strong, relevant and global as possible.

And I hope we will be able to finalise the negotiations by May next year.

Dear friends,

Finally, I want to express my deep gratitude to our excellent Japanese hosts and the IGF Secretariat for organising this important conference.

Japan is renowned for its innovation.

And this country is a perfect place to discuss how to make sure the internet is an open, free, and global space for all.


Thank you for your attention.

Kyoto 9 October 2023
  • Diminuer la taille du texte
  • Augmenter la taille du texte
  • Imprimer la page