Mr. ‘Gbenga Sesan, Paradigm Initiative (PIN)’s Executive Director, is among 10 high-level and eminent persons appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General to serve on his inaugural Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Leadership Panel.
The appointment by the UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, is a major milestone for Mr. Sesan and the Pan-African digital rights and inclusion organization as it is an endorsement to its role in expanding digital rights and freedoms on the continent.
Other eminent persons appointed on the panel are Mr. Vint Cerf (United States of America), Mr. Hatem Dowidar (Egypt), Mr. Lise Fuhr (Denmark), Ms. Maria Fernanda Garza (Mexico), Toomas Hendrik Ilves (Estonia), Ms. Maria Ressa (Philippines and United States of America), H. E. Mr Alkesh Kumar Sharma (India), H. E. Ms. Karoline Edtstadler (Austria) and Mr. Lan Xue (China).
Mr. Sesan welcomed the appointment saying he was honored and looking forward to serving the world alongside the high-level leaders and also influencing digital policy globally.
In an announcement made on Tuesday, August 16th, 2022, the UN Secretary-General indicated that the Leadership Panel has been established as a strategic, empowered and multi-stakeholder body to support and strengthen the Internet Governance Forum. It is also in line with the IGF mandate and the Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation.
The Panel will address strategic and urgent issues and highlight Forum discussions and possible follow-up actions in order to promote greater impact and dissemination of IGF discussions according to its Terms of Reference.
The 10 distinguished members who will serve for a two-year term during the 2022-23 IGF cycles were appointed following an open call for nominations and in line with an equitably distributed, multi-stakeholder configuration of ministerial-level Government representatives, executive-level representatives of the private sector, civil society and the technical community, as well as “at-large” prominent persons in the field of digital policy.
The Panel also consists of five ex-officio members who are senior representatives of the current, immediately previous, and immediately upcoming IGF host countries, the Chair of the Forum’s Multistakeholder Advisory Group and the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology.
They are; H.E, Mrs. Huria Ali Mahdi, IGF 2022 Host Country (Ethiopia), H.E. Mr Yuji Sasaki, IGF 2023 Host Country (Japan), H.E. Mr. Krzysztof Szubert IGF 2021 Host Country (Poland), Mr. Paul Mitchell, Chair of the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group and Mr. Amandeep Singh Gill, Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology.
The IGF is an outcome of the Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society that took place in 2005. In the Tunis Agenda, Governments asked the Secretary-General to convene a “new forum for policy dialogue” to discuss issues related to key elements of Internet governance. The mandate of the Forum was extended for another 10 years in December 2015, during the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the overall review of the implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society outcomes. The 17th edition of the Forum will take place from 28 November to 2 December 2022 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.