The Central Asian Internet Governance Forum (CA IGF) is a sub-regional initiative of the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF), convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, with the participation of various stakeholders for dialogue on issues related to digital development and access to technology, leveraging the benefits of the Internet. The forum annually brings together delegates from Central Asia representing diverse actors to discuss utilizing the opportunities of the Internet to mitigate emerging risks and challenges in the digital era.
CA IGF is a regional international platform for representatives of governments, businesses, international and non-governmental organizations, and experts from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. The main goal of the Forum is to create a public platform for discussing Internet governance issues in the Central Asian region and developing recommendations to address the challenges of the new digital era. Since 2016, the forum has been held annually in Bishkek, Astana, Tashkent, and Dushanbe. In the current year 2023, the right to host the forum and set the agenda belongs to the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Experts from neighboring countries are traditionally invited to participate in the Forum, taking into account the commonality of problems in the digital space.
Objectives of CA IGF-2023:
The main goal of the Central Asian Internet Governance Forum 2023 is to discuss the digital future of Central Asia, the challenges and opportunities of the digital era, and to develop recommendations for ensuring inclusive access to the benefits of digital technologies. Representatives from the expert, academic, civil society, business, and government sectors of the region will discuss global and national approaches to building a sustainable digital ecosystem, enabling digital transformation, expanding internet access, overcoming the digital divide, and integrating digital innovations across all areas of governance, economy, and society in the Central Asian region.
The current digital agenda, modern technological, social, and humanitarian challenges, and the shift of many processes to online prioritize efforts to bridge the digital divide, enhance internet access, and promote digital literacy.
During the Forum, we will discuss:
- What are the potential benefits and risks of artificial intelligence (AI) and other new technologies?
- How can we ensure that every individual has access to the benefits of the digital era, regardless of their location, income, or social status?
- How can digital technologies be used to improve digital services and enhance government accountability to citizens?
- What human rights issues do new technologies pose, such as the right to privacy, freedom of expression, and non-discrimination?
The hosting of CA IGF 2023 in Almaty will provide stakeholders from Central Asian countries the opportunity to come together and discuss these critical issues. It will contribute to the alignment of digital agendas in the global digital era, define perspectives for multi-stakeholder dialogues on the sustainability of the global internet network, and prioritize the collective digital future of the countries in our region.
Format and participants:
CA IGF is planned to be conducted in a hybrid format – featuring offline expert discussions and online presentations by various international participants. Forum participants will include representatives from the ministries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The forum has extended invitations to representatives from international and non-governmental organizations, expert organizations from the Central Asian region, digital business representatives, technology companies, and digital development experts from Europe, China, and Canada.
The participation of representatives from ICANN, Internet Society (ISOC), IGF Secretariat, TikTok, Kaspersky Lab Cyber Attack Analysis and Investigation Center (TSARKA, Kazakhstan) is planned. The list is being supplemented and updated.
The forum will consist of plenary sessions, panel discussions, and sectional seminars. Plenary sessions will provide an overview of key issues, while group discussions will allow participants to share their opinions and experiences. Sectional seminars will offer participants the opportunity to delve deeper into specific topics. The forum will conclude with a closing session, during which participants will have the chance to share their recommendations for addressing the discussed issues.
Discussion of pertinent topics related to the digital future of Central Asia and internet development in the region will be focused on three main tracks, relevant for annual IGF discussions in all formats:
– Artificial Intelligence and New Technologies: trends, opportunities, risks, and solutions for the digital society
The advancement of AI holds potential for significant breakthroughs and innovations, yet comes with new challenges and risks. The rapid progress in machine learning, deep learning, and other technologies opens new horizons for AI application in fields such as medicine, industry, transportation, education, and more. However, along with these opportunities come ethical concerns, data security, potential job displacement, and algorithmic transparency.
In this context, it is crucial to examine the current trends in AI and new technologies to better understand their potential for efficiency enhancement, improved quality of life, and tackling complex issues. This session will encompass a wide range of topics related to the integration of AI into modern society and its impact on various aspects of our lives. The potential benefits and risks of AI and other emerging technologies like blockchain, big data analytics, cloud computing, and quantum technologies will be discussed. Topics will also include the ethical implications of AI deployment, the potential for digital technologies to exacerbate or alleviate existing inequalities, and the need for international cooperation in the responsible development and utilization of these technologies. It’s essential to discuss the risks and develop solutions that promote responsible AI application, data protection, privacy preservation, and the maintenance of society’s trust in new technologies.
– Digital Resilience: new approaches to addressing persistent challenges
As the possibilities of digital transformation increase, new challenges emerge, including those in the realm of cybersecurity, data protection, and maintaining stable digital systems. This session will explore innovative methods and strategies that can help ensure the reliability, security, and effectiveness of digital processes in the face of constantly evolving cyber threats. The potential of novel approaches to ensure data and system resilience will be discussed, along with how to enhance protection against emerging cybersecurity threats. Critical issues related to risks, ethics, regulation, and capacity building will also be addressed.
The objective of this discussion is to seek innovative and sustainable solutions that foster the development of the digital ecosystem, minimize vulnerabilities, and create a safer and more dependable digital environment for all stakeholders.
– Digital Citizenship: Avoiding Discrimination and Ensuring Digital Equality
Digital citizenship represents a new paradigm that defines our role and responsibility in the digital era. It involves not only technical skills but also rights, responsibilities, and values associated with our behavior and interaction in the digital space. The importance of creating a fair and non-discriminatory digital society, where every individual has equal opportunities and access to digital resources, cannot be overstated. The aim of this plenary session is to explore solutions and measures that will ensure digital equality and prevent discrimination while supporting innovation and the development of digital technologies for the benefit of all members of society.
This session will delve into issues posed by new technologies for human rights, such as the right to privacy, freedom of expression, and non-discrimination. Topics will include the necessity of updating international human rights standards in the context of the digital technology era, the role of governments in protecting human rights in the digital age, and the need for collaborative efforts between businesses and civil society to promote human rights on the internet. Additionally, challenges in ensuring that every individual has access to the benefits of the digital era, regardless of their location, income, or social status will be discussed. Themes will encompass the roles of governments, businesses, and civil society in bridging the digital divide, the need for accessible and reliable connectivity, as well as the importance of digital literacy and skills.
Become participant of CA IGF 2023
The Forum will become an open platform and a valuable opportunity for participants to share their knowledge and experience, as well as learn from each other.
We invite all interested parties from the countries of our region to actively participate.
For questions about participation in the Forum, as well as suggestions for speeches and reports within the specified tracks, you can contact the organizers.