October 16-17, 2013, Riga, Latvia


Transformational changes brought on by the rapid development of the Internet and other information and communications technologies not only open tremendous opportunities to humankind but also pose unprecedented ethical challenges.

How are we to avoid new disparities in the development of knowledge society? How are we to ensure that everybody can enjoy freedom of expression through the Internet and new media? How are we to ensure that information society will be based upon principles of mutual respect and the observance of human rights? Creating a fair and multicultural information society for all requires concerted efforts to comprehend and address the ethical challenges of the 21st century.

The Riga Global Meeting of Experts is the next step in an ongoing effort of the UNESCO Information for All Programme (IFAP) to raise awareness of, identify, and reflect upon  societal and ethical challenges brought on by means of the Internet and use of information and communications technologies. It is part of the implementation of UNESCO Executive Board decision EX 190/SR7 III on possible ways in which the Organization could call attention to the ethical dimensions of the information society.

The Riga Meeting also 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. IFAP discussions on information ethics have been held throughout the WSIS implementation process involving inter-sectorial multi-stakeholders from all regions of the world.

The Riga Global Meeting of Experts will reflect upon conclusions from previous debates in order to formulate proposals concerning the most troubling ethical issues. Discussions will focus on current and emerging ethical challenges of the Information Society and its different aspects and dimensions; building multi-stakeholder partnerships; and raising awareness of these issues for policy makers.

The Riga Global Meeting of Experts is an important platform to elaborate discussions and develop further actions on the ethical aspects of the Information Society. One intended purpose is to raise awareness of the role of technology and technology-mediated processes in social transformation, while another is to explore how sustainable outcomes may be managed.