Business outlines priorities for next Internet Governance Forum

  • 26 February 2008

In consultations regarding the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) today, ICC made a number of recommendations on how to strengthen the next IGF, which is scheduled to take place in India in December.

ICC said that the UN-linked IGF must maintain its multi-stakeholder format, broaden participation, widen the discussion to include issues surrounding innovation, and focus on capacity building and development priorities.

The IGF is an outcome of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and aims to create a more inclusive and people centred information society. It provides a unique opportunity for government, business, civil society, academic and technical experts to discuss − on a level playing field − critical issues such as network security, infrastructure expansion, the free flow of information and data privacy.

ICC is involved in the IGF through its initiative, Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS).

Among the BASIS contributions to the consultations taking place in Geneva today was an emphasis on innovation and how to promote it as a new cross-cutting topic to be addressed during the next IGF in all four main sessions on access, security, openness, and diversity. Discussion about new developments, applications, and services that affect Internet governance issues and that might provide solutions and improvements in each theme’s area, would add an important dimension to the discussions and what participants gain from the forum, BASIS said.

BASIS also said that the IGF in India can build on the discussions on the four main themes at the previous IGFs in Athens (2006) and Rio (2007) by looking at the relationships between access and diversity, and between openness and security. Particular emphasis on the cross-cutting themes of capacity building and development priorities should also be integrated into the discussions.

BASIS also made recommendations regarding potential changes to the IGF advisory group, which supports the IGF programme development.  BASIS said that the group’s format, name, and general composition should be maintained and that it was important to build on the experience of experts who have participated in the advisory group and also to bring in new expertise for the planning of the next IGF. BASIS supports an initially voluntary renewal and rotation process that would replace approximately one-third of the representatives from each stakeholder group and re-confirm the remaining two-thirds.