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Internet Governance 7 December 2009

Day 2 – Monday, 16 November

My first session for this day was the The Commonwealth Internet Governance Forum – Open Forum, I was so keen to participate in this forum because prior to the IGF together with my colleague Emmanuel from Nigeria we tried organizing something similar which was not success full due to some challenges experienced. This forum then proved to be one of the best platforms to push for Internet Governance Capacity Building in the region. The Commonwealth Internet Governance Forum (CIGF) seeks to encourage greater participation from Commonwealth member states on policy issues and discussions related to Internet Governance, with a view to coming up with informed solutions or the pooling of good practice to address their needs more directly.

The objectives of the Commonwealth IGF are:
To promote awareness of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) amongst policy makers and stakeholders from industry, civil society and academia in Commonwealth member countries.

To establish IGF links around the Commonwealth with the particular aim of securing the engagement of those Commonwealth member countries which have not previously participated in the Internet Governance Forum.

To foster links between Commonwealth national and regional IGFs and the identify areas of common concern such as affordable and secure access for all.

To provide a forum for stakeholders from Commonwealth member countries to discuss and formulate Commonwealth-wide policies, best practice and position papers to be tabled at the IGF in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, on 16 -18 November 2009.

To inform national positions on public policy issues for the good governance of the Internet and provide a forum for Commonwealth members to enable them to work towards formulating Commonwealth wide policies or positions to be tabled at the IGF.

Tony and Alice highlighted on the Commonwealth Connects programme and East African IGF respectively. All the discussions at the forum focused on building a community of practice on IG issues in the commonwealth.
The forum was filled with many interesting ideas and contributions on supporting and promoting the activities of the Commonwealth IGF. We had to convene again in the evening to continue and conclude the discussions.
There were lots of contributions to the discussions on the future of the Commonwealth IGF. It was agreed to share best practises and existing resources and experiences as far as possible.

The priority areas that were suggested were:
1. Promotion of Regional and National IG Groups
2. Capacity building and awareness raising for policy makers, and legislators
3. Fighting Cybercrime through Prevention, Regulation and enforcement.
4. Supporting the continuance of IGF

Teaching Internet Governance – The experience of the Summers School of Internet Governance was the second session for the day. The workshop described the three summer Schools on Internet Governance that took place during 2007 and 2008. It was mentioned that majority of all who have been through this programme are deeply and actively involved in various IG processes. This is very true because for one to be able to follow and contribute meaningfully in the Internet Governance debate, the fellow must have a thorough understanding of the process and IG Capacity Building Programmes offers the right foundation because it is difficult to find teaching programmes that cover all aspects of Internet Governance.

In reviewing the existing experiences and trying to find improvement for subsequent summer schools I made a comment about expanding the number of people that participate in the programme annually because it was noted that the organizers are not able to offer seats to majority of the applicants because of funding. Since this is a good initiative the introduction of elearning platforms will prove very useful.

Nearing lunch time already, the third workshop was Managing Internet Addresses: Global and regional viewpoint organized by the NRO. The aim of this workshop was to present detailed information about the functioning and main activities the RIRs develop, including description and analysis of their processes (PDP, allocation process, criteria and evaluation of the requests), their involvement in the projects to foster the Information Society and their current challenges in the management of the Internet resources.

The process of IP Address allocation coming from IANA and distributed to the RIRs to the ISP’s then finally to the users was explained giving the functions of each player at each stage. Address space and IPv4 depletion as a resource management challenge was an issue of major concern looking at the introduction of IPv6 and arrangements being made for successful transitions.

RIRs operate on a basic principle of open, transparent, consensus-based decision-making, following a self-regulatory model, based on a broad and multi-stakeholder participation in their activities. The activities and services of each of the RIRs are defined, performed, discussed in open forums within each of their communities, accomplishing a bottom-up decision-making process. The workshop answered the question of what do RIR’s do, here it was known that amongst its functions RIRs beyond their registry function, have an important role in educating and informing their communities. The activities carried out by the individual RIRs vary, but include open policy meetings, training courses, seminars, outreach activities, statistical reporting, research and projects related to whois, RPKI, cybersecurity and encouraging the launching of IXPs, among others. Another role for the RIRs is to represent the interests of their communities by participating in global forums and cooperating with other stakeholders involved in Internet addressing issues.

This day was tight I must confess with three workshop already in the morning session with the afternoon session to go. The next session for me was the role of Internet Exchange Points in creating Internet capacity and bringing autonomy to developing nations. This workshop explained how Internet bandwidth, the capacity to route Internet traffic, is produced within Internet exchange points, an overview of the distribution of Internet exchange points globally, and discussion of the role of Internet exchange points in making developing regions autonomous from the draining expense of international telecommunications carriage. The creation of an Internet exchange point is the single most economically-empowering decision that the Internet community within any region can make, and the one which will most secure their future as an independent and viable center of local content and online community.

Experiences from different IXP’s were shared from the way they begun to how they operate and challenges they encounter.

I Thought I had another session but that was all for the day. Two other workshops I intended to attend were the 2CENTRE, the Cybercrime Centres of Excellence for Training, Research & Education workshop and Managing Critical Internet Resources. Well that’s all for the second day.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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