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Thursday, May 16 • 14:00 - 15:00
Plenary session - Unpacking Access

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With ever more innovative technologies connecting the farthest reaches of the planet, crucial issues remain unresolved. People living in poverty risk not having either resources, physical connectivity nor capacity to take advantage of new technology, being excluded from yet another development leap. For people living in poverty, lower quality of access limits possibilities for participating in and enforcing the internet as a genuinely democratic space.  

The shrinking space online takes many forms, which often have negative consequences on both civil and political rights as well as social, cultural and economic rights and development. Online opportunities may be hampered by already existing power dynamics, particularly affecting women and other discriminated groups. The discussion on a rights-based approach to access must, therefore, include both the opportunities and risks presented by increased connectivity.

Previous SIF’s have looked at issues of expanding access (2015) as well as access and power (2017). This year’s session will unpack the concept of access, to look more closely at the drivers and interest behind the expansion and limitations of connectivity. It will attempt to identify practices that might limit the agency of the newly connected and try to devise ways to ensure that increased connectivity empowers individuals, rather than merely create new markets for one-way digital consumption. It will also look at the interface between economic growth and reliable, open connectivity.

avatar for Alison Gillwald

Alison Gillwald

Executive Director, Research ICT Africa

Arancha Gonzalez

Executive Director, ITC

Ashnah Kalemera

Programmes Officer, CIPESA
avatar for Nanjira Sambuli

Nanjira Sambuli

Senior Policy Manager and HLP on Digital Cooperation, World Wide Web Foundation
avatar for Nathalie Besèr

Nathalie Besèr

SIF Moderator
I am the main moderator at SIF2019. I work as an adviser to 16 MPs. For many years I was a Middle East Correspondent to the leading Swedish Daily Dagens Nyheter and before that a producer, radio host and journalist at the Swedish Radio. I also used to work at the Swedish news agency... Read More →

Thursday May 16, 2019 14:00 - 15:00 CEST