The UN Digital Summit – IGF 2021 in Katowice is over

Ł. Gagulski/PAP

It is time to sum up this year’s prime digital event – the UN Digital Summit – IGF 2021, which closed on Friday in Katowice.

The substantive summary of the Summit – still a draft – is provided in a UN document entitled „Katowice IGF Messages”. Stakeholders can send their feedback about the points made in the document by 20 December.

The whole world in Katowice.

“Katowice IGF Messages” sets out the main conclusions formulated by participants in more than 300 discussion panels held at the Summit between 06 and 10 December 2021. For these couple of days Poland became the world capital for debate about the digital future.

We discussed some key issues around internet governance – from regulating platforms, to the role of digitisation in the pandemic realm and its impact on global economic development, cybersecurity and internet user rights.

The debates and discussions were divided into seven high-level exchange panels. Their summary is already available, too.

A total of 10,300 individuals from 175 countries and all continents took part in the Katowice IGF 2021, of whom 2,700 attended the event in person at the International Congress Centre in Katowice, and the rest joined online. 

We had almost 200 ministers from all over the world with us, as well as MPs and other high-level leaders representing the private sector, civil society, the technology community, UN agencies and international organisations.

The UN Digital Summit – IGF 2021 in Poland involved more than 15,000 online connections, 50,000 social interactions with the #IGF2021 hashtag and a reach of 5 million people, and more than 20,000 views of online sessions.

“Over 140 national, regional and youth IGF (NRI) initiatives participated in this year's IGF edition. This shows that internet dialogue has a local, integrative and multilateral nature,” said Francesca Maria Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). “Over the past week the Forum brought together 39 remote local hubs from multiple countries – from Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Libya, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia in Africa, through Bolivia, Columbia, Haiti and Venezuela in Latin America, to Malaysia and India in Asia,” she added.

Coffee and doughnuts.

The event's success is reflected not only in the substantive summaries, but also in what happened between discussions. 

Here are some figures – participants in the UN Digital Summit in Katowice drank 380 kgs of coffee and used 21,000 tea bags. And, while at it, they snacked on more than 12,000 doughnuts. Of course, the menu was much more diverse. Every day at lunch Summit guests could choose from a variety of Asian, American and, obviously, Polish (including, of course, Silesian) cuisines.

Discussion panels were held in 32 conference rooms, in which we provided more than 2,200 interpretation headsets. It took four days to install all the equipment. Summit personnel, including security staff, comprised 900 people.

Poland hosted a UN Digital Summit for the first time – the event was organised in cooperation with the UN by the Chancellery of the Prime Minister under the lead of Krzysztof Szubert,  Poland’s Plenipotentiary for the UN IGF 2021.

The next 17th edition of the IGF will take place in Ethiopia.

For more information about the UN Digital Summit in Katowice, go to:


- coverage from day one of the Summit

- coverage from day two of the Summit 

- coverage from day three of the Summit

- coverage from day four of the Summit

- coverage from day five of the Summit

Welcome to The First News weekly newsletter

Every Friday catch up on our editor’s top pick of news about Poland, including politics, business, life and culture. To receive your free email subscription, sign up today.