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IPv6 5 November 2015

IGF 2015: Tackling key challenges with everyone at the table

Constance Bommelaer de Leusse
By Constance Bommelaer de LeusseSenior Director, Global Internet Policy and International Organizations

This year marks a milestone in the evolution of the Internet and its governance.

The growth of Internet access and its impact on society demonstrate the success and ongoing viability of a collaborative, people-centered, and inclusive information society. But the benefits of the online world in areas such as education, health and development have yet to reach us all. There are now 3 billion people connected to the Internet, but more than half of the world’s population are yet to have access.

With the ten year review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to be concluded in December, and the U.N. Sustainable Development Agenda calling for “universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020”, this is a critical year to build on successful practices and to take new steps towards a people-centric information society.

No one stakeholder can solve these challenges alone though: collaboration and partnerships with stakeholders across all segments of society are imperative to create an Internet of opportunities.

This is where the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) comes in: as a global event and a network of regional communities, the IGF is the only space that can effectively bring together so many diverse voices and experts in a bottom-up and inclusive fashion to address these challenges.

The 10th edition of the IGF will start next week, in João Pessoa, Brazil on 10-13 November. We expect more than 2’500 participants from all over the world to fly to Brazil, from governments, private sector, civil society, the Internet technical community and academia.

But the IGF is not only a series of annual and regional events: it has evolved since last year in an ongoing mechanism for community-based best practices on key Internet issues. Intersessional work through the Best Practice Forums and Dynamic Coalitions demonstrate the community’s efforts to strengthen the IGF, and to build consensus around key issues.

One of the new contributions this year is the “Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion”, aimed at addressing the challenges to bridge the digital divide. The document benefited from the input of 15 national and regional IGFs, out of more than 80 background contributions from all stakeholder groups, as well as comments through the IGF online platform.

All these IGF Best Practices and Policy Options will be discussed during the “IGF Intersessional Work: Policy Options and Best Practices for Connecting the Next Billion” that will be held on Nov. 11 from 2pm to 5:30 pm in the Main Hall. You are all invited to this session, either in person or remotely.

These efforts offer a unique opportunity for the community to prove the IGF’s value as a trust- building and outcome-oriented platform and to make a solid case for the renewal of its mandate by the U.N. beyond 2015, which the Internet Society is strongly calling for. But this success depends on your participation, and we strongly encourage you to contribute to this work and to use it!

The Internet Society has long been committed to the success of the IGF and will be there in numbers: Board Members, CEO, staff, members and fellows. We would particularly like to invite you to these two events:

Community meeting on Internet Governance challenges & WSIS+10
Day 0, 9 November, 13:00 – 14:00 local time, room 2
This meeting will be focused on the WSIS+10 Review, which will be held at the UN headquarters in New York in December. It will be an opportunity to exchange perspectives on key issues within the negotiations between all stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society and the Internet technical community. We invite all interested stakeholders to attend and participate in this open discussion.

Internet Society Open Forum at IGF – Connecting people across the globe
Day 2, 11 November, 11:00-12:00 local time, room 3
This annual event offers the opportunity to give an overview of the Internet Society’s mission, key activities and regional breadth. It will offer the opportunity to engage with senior members of staff, including our CEO, Kathy Brown and members of the Board.

You can find more on ISOC’s engagement at the IGF 2015, along with remote participation information and regular updates throughout the week on key developments: https://www.internetsociety.org/events/igf/2015/

We hope you will enjoy the 2015 IGF in Joao Pessoa and we invite you to actively participate in the many activities in which the Internet Society will be involved this year!

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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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