ISOC @IGF 2012: Internet Governance for Sustainable Human, Economic and Social Development
6 – 9 November 2012, Baku
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was formed as an output of the 2005 United Nations World Summit on the Information Society. It resulted from lengthy and difficult negotiations that took place over three years leading up to the Tunis event. Its purpose, mandate and the basic ground rules for IGF are spelled out in the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (see http://www.itu.int/wsis/documents/doc_multi.asp?lang=en&id=2316|0).
The Tunis Agenda calls for the IGF to be multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic and transparent, with all stakeholders taking part on an equal footing. And most importantly, IGF is not a negotiating forum or a decision making body. Instead, the idea is for the IGF to be constituted as a neutral, non-duplicative and non-binding process. It has no involvement in day-to-day or technical operations of the Internet. In short, it is to be a place where issues can be explored in an open environment by Internet technical and policy experts, academics, civil society groups and governments interacting freely. In practice, the IGF has proven to be a place where issues are “conditioned” through a developmental process. Or as Nitin Desai, the first Chair of the IGF multi-stakeholder advisory group (MAG), has said: “The IGF is a place where people who do not ordinarily talk to one another can come to talk.”
ISOC has participated at all stages of WSIS and the follow-on IGF, and ISOC has been a leading non-governmental organization in the global debate about Internet Governance from beginning of the WSIS in 2003: http://www.internetsociety.org/internet-governance
In this process we have succeeded in gaining significant recognition for our positions which support an open and globally accessible Internet. Much of this has been achieved through cooperation with our members and partner organizations from around the world.
Introduction - Recent developments regarding the IGF
The first five-year term for the WSIS called for in the Tunis Agenda came to an end in 2010. The Forum has earned its place as an important educational and policy discussion event, which has led the United Nations to extend its mandate for an additional five years. But the 2010 extension came with a call for unspecified improvements to the forum, to be discussed by a Working Group convened by the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD).
The Working Group made recommendations in a report that was adopted by the CSTD in May 2012 and ECOSOC in July 2012. Final adoption by the General Assembly could happen in January 2013. It is still unknown, to a certain extent, if there will be significant changes to the IGF as most of the proposed changes will depend on the availability of resources.
I - 2012 IGF Theme
IGF #7: Baku, Azerbaijan on November 6-9, 2012
• Held at Baku Expo Exhibition and Convention Center.
• Registration open until 15 October.
• Main theme: “Internet Governance for Sustainable Human, Economic and Social Development”
• The program of the meeting is available on the IGF website. (http://igf2012.com/)
• IG4D / Internet governance for development (IG4D): pending expansion of the Top Level Domain Space, Enabling Environment, Infrastructure issues.
• Emerging issues: technical measures to address concerns about the online market for counterfeit goods and digital copyright infringement, as well as ever-stronger demands to enlist Internet intermediaries as the instrument of law enforcement.
• Managing critical Internet resources: issues pertaining to Critical Internet Resources, and associated Internet Governance choices, challenges and needs in an interconnected world.
• Security, openness and privacy: a wide range of issues relevant to and impacting Security, Privacy and Openness of the Internet, including as they relate to Human Rights and access to knowledge.
• Access and diversity: a range of access and diversity issues with an emphasis on the social and economic development dimensions. The session will be interactive in nature and should not include any formal presentations.
• Taking stock and the way forward: synthesis of the entire IGF, discussion on principles and frameworks for the IGF, what is the way forward?
II - ISOC’s Engagement with the IGF
ISOC is closely involved in preparations for all IGF meetings. In doing so, ISOC facilitates participation of all stakeholders:
• Participation to Open Consultations, agenda setting, workshops, influence on themes
• Participation to the CSTD WG on Improvements for the IGF (Constance Bommelaer)
• Presence on MAG (Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group): Board Member (and former Board Chairman), Raúl Echeberría and staff, Constance Bommelaer.
ISOC staff is highly involved and contributes to the IGF’s success:
- Pre-event on Enhanced Cooperation (Markus Kummer with APC, ICC Basis, etc.)
- Speech in the Opening session (Lynn St. Amour)
- Organization of and participation in numerous Workshops on critical issues such as ITRs, The future of the IGF and DNSSEC: http://www.internetsociety.org/igf/2012-internet-governance-forum/igf-2012-workshop-participants-list
- Open Forum (Andrei Robachevsky and Sebastian Bellagamba)
- Organization of a track on Capacity Building (Constance Bommelaer with Finland, DiploFoundation, etc.)
o Session on Capacity Building: designed for new-comers
o One stop shop, leading to all existing initiatives, and allowing to identify gaps
o Giving live examples of capacity building throughout the year (e.g. ISOC Ambassadorship, AfPIF, etc.)
o Feeding the IGF website, linking to existing initiatives
- Moderation of the Main Session Taking Stock and the Way forward (Constance Bommelaer with Peter Major)
- Speech from the technical community in the Closing ceremony (tbc)
Conducting on-site engagement plan with Members and Ambassadors:
- Prep calls, on-site briefing, reception in Baku, ISOC booth
- Pre-event on-line consultation on Internet Governance
- Leading the ISOC IGF Ambassadors program (Niel Harper): Leading the ISOC IGF Ambassadors programme: Supporting the participation of young Internet professionals across the Internet Ecosystem, ensuring regional, cultural, gender and occupational diversity, developing their diplomatic skills and deepening their technical expertise in participating actively to the Forum:
- 12 first time ambassadors
- 5 returning ambassadors
Read more about the NGL IGF Ambassadors program: http://www.internetsociety.org/what-we-do/education-and-leadership-programmes/next-generation-leaders/igf-ambassadors-programme
ISOC on-site events
Monday, 5 November
08:30-10:00 ISOC Member Briefing
10:00-11:30 ISOC Ambassador Briefing
10:30-17:30 Event on Enhanced Cooperation
19:00-21:00 ISOC reception
Tuesday, 6 November - Friday, 9 November
09:00-18:00 Internet Society Booth
09:00-18:00 Internet Society Booth
III - Useful links
IGF website: http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/
Host website: http://igf2012.com/
ISOC&IGF 2012: http://www.internetsociety.org/igf-2012
ISOC on Internet Governance: http://www.internetsociety.org/internet-governance
Director, Media and Communications
Director, Public Policy