Internet Governance Forum

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Internet Governance Forum, Rio de Janeiro 2007

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a multi-stakeholder forum for policy dialogue on issues of Internet governance. It brings together all stakeholders in the Internet governance debate, whether they represent governments, the private sector or civil society, including the technical and academic community, on an equal basis and through an open and inclusive process.[1] The establishment of the IGF was formally announced by the United Nations Secretary-General in July 2006. It was first convened in October–November 2006 and has held an annual meeting since then.

History and development of the Internet Governance Forum[edit]

WSIS Phase I, WGIG, and WSIS Phase II[edit]

The first phase of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in Geneva in December 2003, failed to agree on the future of Internet governance, but did agree to continue the dialogue and requested the United Nations Secretary-General to establish a multi-stakeholder Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG).[2]

Following a series of open consultations in 2004 and 2005 and after reaching a clear consensus among its members the WGIG proposed the creation of the IGF as one of four proposals made in its final report.[3] Paragraph 40 of the WGIG report stated:

"(t)he WGIG identified a vacuum within the context of existing structures, since there is no global multi-stakeholder forum to address Internet-related public policy issues. It came to the conclusion that there would be merit in creating such a space for dialogue among all stakeholders. This space could address these issues, as well as emerging issues, that are cross-cutting and multidimensional and that either affect more than one institution, are not dealt with by any institution or are not addressed in a coordinated manner”.

The WGIG report was one of the inputs to the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society held in Tunis in 2005.

The idea of the Forum was also proposed by Argentina, as stated in its proposal made during the last Prepcom 3 in Tunis:[4]

"In order to strengthen the global multistakeholder interaction and cooperation on public policy issues and developmental aspects relating to Internet governance we propose a forum. This forum should not replace existing mechanisms or institutions but should build on the existing structures on Internet governance, should contribute to the sustainability, stability and robustness of the Internet by addressing appropriately public policy issues that are not otherwise being adequately addressed excluding any involvement in the day to day operation of the Internet. It should be constituted as a neutral, non-duplicative and non-binding process to facilitate the exchange of information and best practices and to identify issues and make known its findings, to enhance awareness and build consensus and engagement. Recognizing the rapid development of technology and institutions, we propose that the forum mechanism periodically be reviewed to determine the need for its continuation.”

The second phase of WSIS, held in Tunis in November 2005, formally called for the creation of the IGF and set out its mandate. Paragraph 72 of the Tunis Agenda called on the UN Secretary-General to convene a meeting with regards to the new multi-stakeholder forum to be known as the IGF.[5]

The Tunis WSIS meeting did not reach an agreement on any of the other WGIG proposals that generally focused on new oversight functions for the Internet that would reduce or eliminate the special role that the United States plays with respect to Internet governance through its contractual oversight of ICANN. The US Government's position during the lead-up to the Tunis WSIS meeting was flexible on the principle of global involvement, very strong on the principle of multi-stakeholder participation, but inflexible on the need for US control to remain for the foreseeable future in order to ensure the "security and stability of the Internet".[6]

2005 mandate[edit]

The mandate for the IGF is contained in the 2005 WSIS Tunis Agenda.[5] The IGF was mandated to be principally a discussion forum for facilitating dialogue between the Forum's participants. The IGF may "identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendations," but does not have any direct decision-making authority.[7] In this mandate, different stakeholders are encouraged to strengthen engagement, particularly those from developing countries. In paragraph 72(h), the mandate focused on capacity-building for developing countries and the drawing out of local resources.[5] This particular effort, for instance, has been reinforced through Diplo Foundation’s Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme (IGCBP) that allowed participants from different regions to benefit from valuable resources with the help of regional experts in Internet governance.

Formation of the IGF[edit]

The United Nations published its endorsement of a five-year mandate for the IGF in April 2006.[8]

There were two rounds of consultations with regards to the convening of the first IGF:

  1. 16 – 17 of February 2006 – The first round of consultations was held in Geneva. The transcripts of the two-day consultations are available in the IGF site.[9]
  2. 19 May 2006 – The second round of consultations was open to all stakeholders and was coordinated for the preparations of the inaugural IGF meeting. The meeting chairman was Nitin Desai who is the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Internet Governance.[10]

The convening of the IGF was announced on 18 July 2006, with the inaugural meeting of the Forum to be held in Athens, Greece from 30 October to 2 November 2006.

2011 mandate renewal and improvements process[edit]

In the lead-up to the completion of the first five-year mandate of the IGF in 2010, the UN initiated a process of evaluating the continuation of the IGF, resulting in a United Nations General Assembly resolution to continue the IGF for a further five years (2011-2015).[11]

In addition to the renewed mandate, another UN body, the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), established a Working Group on Improvements to the IGF (CSTDWG),[12] which first met in February 2011, held five working group meetings, completed its work in early 2012, and issued a report to the Commission for consideration during its 15th session to be held 21–25 May 2012, in Geneva.[13]

The Working Group report made 15 recommendations with regard to five specific areas, namely:[14]

  1. Shaping of the outcomes of IGF meetings (2);
  2. Working modalities of the IGF, including open consultations, the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) and the Secretariat (3);
  3. Funding of the IGF (3);
  4. Broadening participation and capacity-building (4); and
  5. Linking the IGF to other Internet governance-related entities (3).

At its meeting held from 21 to 25 May 2012 the CSTD made the following recommendations to the Economic and Social Council regarding Internet governance and the Internet Governance Forum,[15][16] which the Council accepted at its meeting on 24 July 2012:[17]

25. Takes note that the CSTD Working Group on improvements to the Internet Governance Forum successfully completed its task;
26. Takes note with appreciation of the report of the Working Group on improvements to the Internet Governance Forum and expresses its gratitude to all its members for their time and valuable efforts in this endeavour as well as to all member states and other relevant stakeholders that have submitted inputs to the Working Group consultation process;
35. Urges the Secretary-General to ensure the continued functioning of the IGF and its structures in preparation for the seventh meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, to be held from 6 to 9 November 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan and future meetings of the Internet Governance Forum;
36. Notes the necessity to appoint the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Internet Governance and the Executive Coordinator to the IGF.

Organizational structure[edit]

Following an open consultation meeting called in February 2006, the UN Secretary-General established an Advisory Group (now known as the Multistakeholder Advisory Group, or MAG), and a Secretariat, as the main institutional bodies of the IGF.

Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG)[edit]

The Advisory Group, now known as the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), was established by the then UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan on 17 May 2006, to assist in convening the first IGF, held in Athens, Greece. The MAG's mandate has been renewed or extended each year to provide assistance in the preparations for each upcoming IGF meeting.[18][19]

The MAG meets for two days three times each year — in February, May and September. All three meetings take place in Geneva and are preceded by a one day Open Consultations meeting. The details on the MAG's operating principles and selection criteria are contained in the summary reports of its meetings.[20]

The MAG was originally made up of 46 members, but membership grew first to 47, then 50, and eventually 56. Members are from international governments, the commercial private sector and public civil society, including academic and technical communities.[21] The MAG tries to renew roughly one third of the members within each stakeholder group each year.[22] In 2011, because there were only three new MAG members in 2010, it was suggested that two thirds of each group’s membership be renewed in 2012 and in fact 33 new members were appointed to the 56 member group.[23][24]

The first MAG chairman was Nitin Desai, an Indian economist and former UM Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs from 1992 to 2003.[25] He also served as the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the World Summit on the Information Society, later Special Advisor for Internet Governance.[26]

  • Starting in August 2007 Nitin Desai and Brazilian diplomat Hadil da Rocha Vianna served as co-chairman.[27]
  • Starting in April 2008 and continuing in 2009 and 2010 Nitin Desai again served as sole chairman.[28]
  • Alice Munyua, the Chair of the Kenyan IGF Steering Committee, was MAG chair in 2011.[29]
  • Elmir Valizada, Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Azerbaijan was MAG chairman in 2012.[30]
  • For 2013 Mr. Ashwin Sasongko, Director General of ICT Application, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (CIT), Indonesia serves as Honorary Chairman with Mr. Markus Kummer, Vice-President for Public Policy of the Internet Society as interim chairman of the MAG.[31]

Secretariat[edit]

The Secretariat, based in the United Nations Office in Geneva, assists and coordinates the work of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG). The Secretariat also hosts fellowships. The Secretariat's Executive Coordinator position is currently vacant. Chengetai Masango is IGF Programme and Technology Manager.[1]

Until 31 January 2011 the IGF Secretariat was headed by Executive Coordinator Markus Kummer. Mr. Kummer was also Executive Coordinator of the Secretariat of the UN Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG).[32] On 1 February 2011 he joined the Internet Society as its Vice President for Public Policy.[33]

Activities at the IGF[edit]

The following activities take place during IGF meetings: Main sessions, Workshops, Dynamic Coalition meetings, Best Practice Forums, Open Forums, Inter-regional dialogue sessions, Pre-events, and the IGF Village.

Main sessions[edit]

The first IGF meeting in Greece in 2006 was organized around the main themes of: openness, security, diversity, and access. A new theme, critical Internet resources, was introduced for IGF Brazil in 2007. And starting with IGF Egypt in 2009 there have been six standard themes: (i) Internet governance for development, (ii) Emerging issues, (iii) Managing critical Internet resources, (iv) Security, openness, and privacy, (v) Access and diversity, and (vi) Taking stock and the way forward.

Workshops[edit]

Each year starting in 2007, the IGF has hosted a number of workshops (workshop with panel, roundtable, capacity building session).[34][35]

Examples of workshops held at IGF meetings include:[36]

Dynamic coalitions[edit]

The most tangible result of the first IGF in Athens was the establishment of a number of so-called Dynamic Coalitions.[37] These coalitions are relatively informal, issue-specific groups consisting of stakeholders that are interested in the particular issue. Most coalitions allow participation of anyone interested in contributing. Thus, these groups gather not only academics and representatives of governments, but also members of the civil society interested in participating on the debates and engaged in the coalition's works.

Open forums[edit]

All major organizations dealing with Internet governance related issues are given a 90 minutes workshop slot, at their request, to hold an Open Forum in order to present and discuss their activities during the past year and allow for questions and discussions.[46]

Examples of recent Open fora include:[47]

  • OECD: Promoting policies for the Internet economy
  • EBU, CoE, OSCE: Safety of online media actors
  • Internet Society: Internet Operations, How does the Internet work?
  • Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN): Update on the internationalization of ICANN, efforts underway pertaining to global and regional strategies, and other matters that might interest the audience
  • UNESCO: Digital preservation, multilingualism and UNESCO’s upcoming Internet special event
  • Council of Europe: Terrorism, the Internet and Human Rights - Preventing Misuse of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes
  • European Commission: Enhanced Cooperation – who does what on Internet-related public policy issues?

Regional, national, and subject area initiatives[edit]

A number of regional, national, and subject area initiatives hold separate meetings throughout the year and an inter-regional dialogue session at the annual IGF meeting.[48]

Pre-events[edit]

Examples of pre-events held the day before the IGF Baku meeting included:[49]

  • Concertation francophone sur la gouvernance d’Internet / Francophone IGF dialogue
  • Enhanced Cooperation in Internet Governance: From Deadlock to Dialogue (Association for Progressive Communications, Internet Society, and the Business Action to Support the Information Society initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce)
  • The Next Click, agenda for action within the European Union (European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online, eNACSO)
  • Human Rights and Internet Governance Must Go Hand in Hand (Expression Online Initiative)
  • The Privatisation of Censorship: the online responsibility to protect free expression (Index on Censorship)
  • Cybercrime and the rule of law safeguard (Council of Europe's Data Protection and Cybercrime Division of the Directorate General for Human Rights and Rule of Law)
  • GIGANET Annual Symposium (Global Internet Governance Academic Network)
  • IGF Incubator Challenge (Freedom House)

IGF Village[edit]

The IGF Village provides booths and meeting areas where participants may present their organizations and hold informal meetings.[50][51]

IGF meetings[edit]

Four day IGF meetings have been held in the last quarter of each year starting in 2006.

IGF I — Athens, Greece 2006[edit]

The first meeting of the IGF was held in Athens, Greece from 30 October to 2 November 2006. The overall theme for the meeting was: "Internet Governance for Development". The agenda was structured along five broad themes: (i) Openness - Freedom of expression, free flow of information, ideas and knowledge; (ii) Security - Creating trust and confidence through collaboration; (iii) Diversity - Promoting multilingualism and local content; and (iv) Access - Internet connectivity, policy and cost; and (v) Emerging issues, with capacity-building as a cross-cutting priority.[52][53]

IGF II — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2007[edit]

The second meeting of the IGF was held in Rio de Janeiro on 12–15 November 2007. The overall theme for the meeting was: "Internet Governance for Development". The main sessions were organized around five themes: (i) Critical Internet resources; (ii) Access; (iii) Diversity; (iv) Openness, and (v) Security.[54]

IGF III — Hyderabad, India 2008[edit]

The third meeting of the IGF was held in Hyderabad, India between 3–6 December 2008. The overall theme for the meeting was "Internet for All". The meeting was held in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The participants expressed their sympathies to the families of the victims and the Government and the people of India. The five main sessions were organized around the themes: (i) Reaching the next billion, (ii) Promoting cyber-security and trust, (iii) Managing critical Internet resources, (iv) Emerging issues - the Internet of tomorrow, and (v) Taking stock and the way forward.[57] The meeting was attended by 1280 participants from 94 countries.[58]

IGF IV — Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt 2009[edit]

Egypt hosted the fourth IGF meeting from 15–18 November 2009 in Sharm El Sheikh.[59] The overall theme for the meeting was: “Internet Governance – Creating Opportunities for all”. IGF IV marked the beginning of a new multi-stakeholder process. The main sessions on the agenda were (i) Managing critical Internet resources; (ii) Security, openness and privacy; (iii) Access and diversity; (iv) Internet governance in light of the WSIS principles; (v) Taking stock and the way forward: the desirability of the continuation of the forum; and (vi) Emerging Issues: impact of social networks. A key focus of IGF 2009 was encouraging youth participation in Internet Governance issues.[60]

IGF V — Vilnius, Lithuania 2010[edit]

The fifth IGF meeting was held in Vilnius, Lithuania on 14–17 September 2010. The overall theme for the meeting was "Developing the future together". The meeting was organized around six themes: (i) Internet governance for development, (ii) Emerging issues: cloud computing, (iii) Managing critical Internet resources, (iv) Security, openness, and privacy, (v) Access and diversity, and (vi) Taking stock and the way forward.[61]

IGF VI — Nairobi, Kenya 2011[edit]

The sixth IGF meeting was held in Nairobi, Kenya on 27–30 September 2011, at the United Nations Office (UNON). The overall theme for the meeting was "Internet as a catalyst for change: access, development, freedoms and innovation".[62] The meeting was organized around the traditional six themes: (i) Internet governance for development, (ii) Emerging issues, (iii) Managing critical Internet resources, (iv) Security, openness, and privacy, (v) Access and diversity, and (vi) Taking stock and the way forward.[63]

IGF VII — Baku, Azerbaijan 2012[edit]

The seventh IGF meeting was held in Baku, Azerbaijan on 6–9 November 2012. The overall theme for the meeting was: "Internet Governance for Sustainable Human, Economic and Social Development". The meeting was organized around the traditional six themes: (i) Internet governance for development, (ii) Emerging issues, (iii) Managing critical Internet resources, (iv) Security, openness, and privacy, (v) Access and diversity, and (vi) Taking stock and the way forward.[64]

IGF VIII — Bali, Indonesia 2013[edit]

The eighth IGF meeting was held in Bali, Indonesia from 22 to 25 October 2013. 135 focus sessions, workshops, open forums, flash sessions, and other meetings took place over the 4 day event. The overarching theme for meeting was: "Building Bridges - Enhancing Multistakeholder Cooperation for Growth and Sustainable Development". The meeting was organized around six sub-themes: (i) Access and Diversity - Internet as an engine for growth and sustainable development; (ii) Openness - Human rights, freedom of expression and free flow of information on the Internet; (iii) Security - Legal and other frameworks: spam, hacking and cyber-crime; (iv) Enhanced cooperation; (v) Principles of multi-stakeholder cooperation; (vi) Internet governance principles.[65][66] In the context of the recent revelations about government-led Internet surveillance activities, IGF 2013 was marked by many discussions about the need to ensure better protection of all citizens in the online environment and to reach a proper balance between actions driven by national security concerns and the respect for internationally recognized human rights, such as the right to privacy and freedom of expression.[67]

Attendance[edit]

  • IGF I — Athens, Greece 2006: Attendance was estimated to be around one thousand participants.[68]
  • IGF II — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2007: There were over 2,100 registered participants prior to the meeting, of which 700 came from civil society, 550 from government, 300 from business entities, 100 from international organizations, and 400 representing other categories. The meeting was attended by 1,363 participants from 109 countries. Over 100 members of the press attended.[54]
  • IGF III — Hyderabad, India 2008: The meeting was held in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Mumbai. While these tragic events led to some cancellations, the overall attendance with 1280 participants from 94 countries, of which 133 were media representatives, was close to that at the second annual meeting.[57]
  • IGF IV — Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt 2009: With more than 1800 participants from 112 countries the Sharm meeting had the largest attendance of any IGF to date. 96 governments were represented. 122 media representatives were accredited.[60]
  • IGF V — Vilnius, Lithuania 2010: With close to 2000 badges issued and 1461 participants, attendance at the Vilnius meeting was similar to the 2009 meeting in Sharm El Sheikh.[61]
  • IGF VI — Nairobi, Kenya 2011: More than 2,000 participants attended, the highest attendance of IGF meetings held so far. 125 governments were represented. 68 media representatives were accredited. The approximate nationality distribution was: African (53%), WEOG-Western European and Others Group (29%), Asian (11%), GRULAC-Latin American and Caribbean Group (4%) and Eastern Europe (3%).[63]
  • IGF VII — Baku, Azerbaijan 2012: More than 1,600 delegates representing 128 different countries attended with a particularly strong presence from civil society as this was the highest represented stakeholder group at the forum. Participation was regionally diverse and the participation of women at the forum increased significantly from previous years. Youth representation and activity was also sited to be a notable achievement.[64]
  • IGF VIII — Bali, Indonesia 2013: Nearly 1,500 delegates representing 111 different countries convened in Bali. Once again civil society was the largest represented stakeholder group at the forum.[67]

Remote participation[edit]

The Remote Participation Working Group (RPWG) has worked closely with the IGF Secretariat starting in 2008 to allow remote participants across the globe to interact in the IGF meetings.

  • IGF I — Athens, Greece 2006: Remote participants were able to take part via blogs, chat rooms, email, and text messaging.[53]
  • IGF II — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2007: The entire meeting was webcast and transcribed in real time. Video and text records were made available on the IGF Web site.[54]
  • IGF III — Hyderabad, India 2008: The entire meeting was webcast in real-time using high quality video, audio streaming, and live chat. There were 522 remote participants from around the world who joined the main sessions and workshops. Remote hubs were also introduced with remote moderators leading discussions in their region. Most of the hubs were able to discuss pertinent local and domestic Internet Governance issues. The Remote Hubs were located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Belgrade, Serbia, São Paulo (Brazil), Pune (India), Lahore (Pakistan), Bogotà (Colombia), Barcelona and Madrid (Spain). The platform used for remote participation was DimDim. The text transcripts of the main sessions, the video and audio records of all workshops and other meetings were made available through the IGF Web site.[57]
  • IGF IV — Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt 2009: The entire meeting was Webcast, with video streaming provided from the main session room and audio streaming provided from all workshop meeting rooms. The proceedings of the main sessions were transcribed and displayed in the main session hall in real-time and streamed to the Web. Remote hubs in 11 locations around the world allowed remote participation. The text transcripts of the main sessions, the video and audio records of all workshops and other meetings were made available through the IGF Web site.[60] Webex was used as the remote participation platform.[69]
  • IGF V — Vilnius, Lithuania 2010: The entire meeting was Webcast, with video streaming provided from the main session room and all nine other meeting rooms. All proceedings were transcribed and displayed in the meeting rooms in real-time and streamed to the Web. Remote hubs in 32 locations around the world provided the means for more than 600 people who could not travel to the meeting to participate actively in the forum and contribute to discussions.The text transcripts as well as the video and audio records of all official meetings are archived on the IGF Web site.[61]
  • IGF VI — Nairobi, Kenya 2011: All the main sessions and workshops had real time transcription. The entire meeting was Webcast, with video streaming provided from the main session room and audio streaming provided from all workshop meeting rooms. Remote hubs were established in 47 locations, and provided the means for more than 823 people participate contribute to discussions. 38 remote participants/panelists participated via video or audio and an approximate 2,500 connections were made throughout the week from 89 countries. The text transcripts and video of all meetings were made available through the IGF Website.[63]
  • IGF VII — Baku, Azerbaijan 2012: Real time transcription was available. The entire meeting was webcast and remote participation was offered, which doubled the active participation in main sessions, workshops, and other events. 49 expert remote participants and panelists participated in various sessions via video and audio. 52 different remote ‘hubs’ allowed remote participants to gather together to follow the proceedings in Baku online. There was also an increase in social media activity allowing discussions to begin prior to the start of the meeting, continue between sessions and during breaks throughout the week and extend after delegates left Baku to return home. There were thousands of ‘tweets’ about the forum each day, which reached millions of followers.[64]
  • IGF VIII — Bali, Indonesia 2013: Real time transcription was available. The entire meeting was web-cast and remote participation more than doubled the in person participation. Approximately 1,704 connections were made to the meetings remotely from participants from 83 different countries. All web-casted videos were immediately uploaded to YouTube right after the sessions ended allowing for additional public viewership. There were approximately 25 remote hubs and more than 100 remote presenters. Millions of interested individuals followed the proceedings on Twitter.[67]

Future meetings[edit]

The IGF has tentative plans to hold the following meetings in 2014, 2015, and 2016:[67]

  • IGF IX - Turkey, 2014.
  • IGF X  - Brazil, 2015.
  • IGF XI - Mexico, 2016 (contingent on the mandate of the IGF being extended beyond 2015).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  69. ^ "Remote Participation Sharm El Sheikh 2009 ", Internet Government Forum, 23 June 2010, retrieved 11 June 2013

External links[edit]

Meetings[edit]

IGF I Greece 2006  • IGF site  • Host site  • Summary  • Photos
IGF II Brazil 2007  • IGF site  • Host site  • Summary  • Photos  • Videos  • Audio
IGF III India 2008  • IGF site  •       —  • Summary  • Photos  • Videos
IGF IV Egypt 2009  • IGF site  • Host site  • Summary  • Photos  • Videos  • Videos from YouTube
IGF V Lithuania 2010  • IGF site  • Host site  • Summary  • Photos  • Videos
IGF VI Kenya 2011  • IGF site  • Host site  • Summary  • Photos  • Videos
IGF VII Azerbaijan 2012  • IGF site  • Host site  • Summary  • Photos  • Videos
IGF VIII Indonesia 2013  • IGF site  • Host site  • Summary  • Photos  • Videos