IGF: Internet Governance Forum

Many in the Internet community and some governments see a growing need for global cooperation on polices that address the development and use of the Internet.

In November 2005 at the WSIS (World Summit for the Information Society) meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan was asked to convene a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialog on the future of Internet Governance. In response, Annan convened the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to facilitate the dialog on Internet policy issues.

The IGF’s mandate is to establish a forum to discuss the main public policy issues related to Internet governance in order to foster the Internet’s sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development. 

The IGF Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group is Chaired by Nitin Desai from India, and Switzerland’s Markus Kummer serves as its Executive Coordinator.  In May 2006 IP Justice Executive Director Robin Gross was named to the IGF Advisory Group as a representative from civil society.

The inaugural meeting of the IGF was held in Athens from 30 October – 2 November 2006. Read IP Justice’s report on the Athens IGF 2006 meeting and check out our videos.

The 2007 IGF meeting was by Brazil and held in Rio de Janeiro on 12-15 November 2007 at the Windsor Barra Hotel. The Brazilian hosts published a website with more detailed information on IGF 2007 in Rio including text, videos, and audio recordings of the proceedings. Read IP Justice’s Report on 2007 IGF-Rio.

The 2008 IGF will be held in Hyderabad, India from 3-6 December 2008.  The first Open Consultations in preparation for IGF 2008 was held on 26 February 2008 in Geneva at the United Nations and the 2nd Open Consultation will likely be in May 2008.  IGF posted an online discussion forum to encourage remote participation here.   Egypt has offered to host the 2009 IGF in Cairo. 

IP Justice is member of the following IGF Dynamic Coalitions:

More Info on the Internet Governance Forum (IGF):

Important WSIS Documents:

Photo of IGF Chairman Nitin Desai and Secretariat Markus Kummer above; and lunch-time for some Advisory Group members at Sept. 2006 IGF meeting at United Nations below.

Sept 2006 IGF Advisory Group at Lunch

The Mandate of the IGF

The mandate of the IGF is set out in Paragraph 72 of the WSIS Tunis Agenda:

72. We ask the UN Secretary-General, in an open and inclusive process, to convene, by the second quarter of 2006, a meeting of the new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue—called the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).The mandate of the Forum is to:

  1. Discuss public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet;

  2. Facilitate discourse between bodies dealing with different cross-cutting international public policies regarding the Internet and discuss issues that do not fall within the scope of any existing body;

  3. Interface with appropriate inter-governmental organizations and other institutions on matters under their purview;

  4. Facilitate the exchange of information and best practices, and in this regard make full use of the expertise of the academic, scientific and technical communities;

  5. Advise all stakeholders in proposing ways and means to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world;

  6. Strengthen and enhance the engagement of stakeholders in existing and/or future Internet governance mechanisms, particularly those from developing countries;

  7. Identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendations;

  8. Contribute to capacity building for Internet governance in developing countries, drawing fully on local sources of knowledge and expertise;

  9. Promote and assess, on an ongoing basis, the embodiment of WSIS principles in Internet governance processes;

  10. Discuss, inter alia, issues relating to critical Internet resources;

  11. Help to find solutions to the issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet, of particular concern to everyday users;

  12. Publish its proceedings.