Generating further momentum behind the World Sumit on the Information Society (WSIS) + 10 review taking place this year, representatives from the private sector, civil society, inter-governmental organizations, and the technical community voiced overwhelming support for the renewal of the mandate of the annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and suggested ways it could be further supported in its mission.
Co-organized by ICC BASIS, the Internet Society (ISOC), the Government of Mexico and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the
The IGF beyond 2015: Extending the mandate, strengthening the Institution workshop
highlighted the reasons why the United Nations General Assembly should seek to extend the IGF mandate by presenting the plethora of ways in which the IGF has served to strengthen the multistkaeholder model of Internet governance.
“The IGF has been the most informative experience, not only in Internet governance, but in international Internet governance. We are seeing how these discussions have a real impact on other fields,” said Raul Echeberría, Vice President, Global Engagement, ISOC.
Discussions underscored the IGF as a crucial and unique catalyst for many multistakeholder initiatives that have worked to address access and diversity in the digital economy.
ICC BASIS member David Fares, Senior Vice-President of Government Relations at 21st Century Fox emphasized the IGF’s ability to enable all stakeholders to participate on an equal footing and allow open discussion to share ideas and best practices, not for the creation or validation of negotiated texts, as crucial to the IGF’s success. “These characteristics bring us together. We all come committed to advancing our shared objectives and trying to find common ground where we can,” he said.
Panellists suggested ways in which all stakeholders can collaborate to further strengthen the IGF including encouraging more participation from developing countries, youth, governments and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Describing United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) work to encourage youth participation Xianhong Hu, Programme Specialist, Division of Freedom of Expression & Media Development, UNESCO said: “At the UNESCO general conference we offer a youth forum and have a network of 2,000 young people from different parts of the world. Like IGF, we have many youth participants but more needs to be done”.
The IGF has been the most informative experience, not only in Internet governance, but in international Internet governance. We are seeing how these discussions have a real impact on other fields.
ICC BASIS Officer Hossam Elgamal stressed the importance of raising IGF awareness and getting more stakeholders involved. “90% of all companies in the world are SMEs. If they are not here, then we are not doing our homework,” he said.
Discussions highlighted the utility of encouraging local content at the IGF, since development of local content drives demand for Internet access. Noting the vitality of national and regional IGFs and the need to apply concrete linkages to the global forum, Director General, Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) Paul Wilson, said: “We as a community can continue to develop the IGF not as the single global event, but as a whole system, an ecosystem or even a movement as some people have described it.”
Drawing the workshop to a close Moderator Matthew Shears, Representative and Director, Global Internet Policy and Human Rights Project, CDT noted the support voiced for the IGF mandate to be extended by at least 10 years. Reflecting on the discussion’s articulation of the IGF’s relevance and impact beyond the Internet governance space Mr Shears said: “It makes us realize that the IGF is maturing, evolving and really coming into its own.”
For more information on this workshop and to view the workshop report please click here.