October 16-17, 2013, Riga, Latvia

Video welcome message by Jānis Kārkliņš, Assistant Director General for Communication and Information of UNESCO

Welcome message by Andrejs Pildegovičs, State Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Republic of Latvia

I would like to warmly welcome the participants of the Riga Global Meeting of Experts on the Ethical Aspects of Information Society!

The rapid development of the information and communications technologies bring along transformational changes. The Internet has a great capacity to empower people, ensure the transparency of governments, and promote development and innovation. At the same time we are confronted by ethical challenges in the context of the notions of accessibility, digital gap, freedom of expression, digital identity, privacy, ownership, reliability, cyber security, copyright, piracy etc. In addressing them, effective international multi-stakeholder cooperation is crucial.

However, cultural and ethical challenges cannot be used as pretext to limit internet freedom. Common understanding on the applicability of the existing international law to activities in cyberspace is essential to promoting an open, secure and accessible Internet. The view that the same human rights which apply offline must be also guaranteed and protected online should grow universal. The engagement of governments, private sector, civil society and experts alike is a significant prerequisite for promotion of inclusive, transparent and accountable internet governance.

Together, we must ensure that internet remains an open space where the fundamental freedoms are respected, vulnerable groups protected and active involvement of the civil society at all levels of decision making promoted.

I wish you all a fruitful meeting as well as a nice opportunity to get to know Latvia!

Andrejs Pildegovičs
State Secretary
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia

Riga Global Meeting of Experts on the Ethical Aspects of Information Society

Riga Global Meeting of Experts is an important step in an ongoing effort of UNESCO Information for All Programme (IFAP) to raise awareness, identify and reflect on the societal and ethical challenges brought by the Internet and the use of information and communication technologies.

Building a fair and just, multicultural information society for all requires concerted efforts to comprehend and address the ethical challenges of the 21st century.

Riga Meeting contributes to the fulfillment of the UNESCO mandate given by the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) C10 Action Line: Ethical dimensions of the Information Society.

Riga Global Meeting of Experts will reflect on the conclusions from the previous debates to come up with the proposals on addressing the most pressing ethical issues. Discussions will be focused on both current and emerging ethical challenges of the Information Society and its different aspects and dimensions, building multi-stakeholder partnerships, and to raise awareness of these issues for policy makers.