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Internet Governance 27 May 2024

It Takes a Community to Defend the Internet

By Mona GaballaSenior Advisor, Institutional Relations
Israel RosasDirector, Partnerships and Internet Development

Although the Internet governance scene is typically quite active, this year presents meaningful opportunities to engage in ways that will have long-lasting effects. Unfortunately, not all these opportunities allow full multistakeholder participation, but effective collaboration can deliver positive results in defending the Internet.

Several significant events will capture the global community’s attention this year. These include the NETmundial+10 meeting, negotiations for the Global Digital Compact (GDC), activities of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-24). Additionally, the World Summit on the Information Society Forum (WSIS+20) review is scheduled for next year, with preparations beginning at the WSIS+20 Forum High-Level event taking place this May.

The Strength of a Community in Multistakeholder Collaboration

As highlighted by the NETmundial+10 statement, collaboration among stakeholders is essential to fully implement the multistakeholder approach to Internet governance and digital policy. However, we share a growing concern about a stakeholder’s ability to participate in meaningful discussions, as these sometimes happen in parallel, stressing organizations’ structures from a resource point of view. In this challenging context, the true power of multistakeholder collaboration resides in the community’s ability to communicate openly to find consensus.

And we are trying to live by this principle. For instance, our team at the Internet Society, working with our community, contributed to the IGF Leadership Panel consultation about the Internet We Want, submitted a written contribution to the GDC Zero Draft, and produced an analysis of its content after it was released.

We constantly engage with our individual and organization members and partner organizations to defend the Internet from the technical community’s perspective. Our contributions are intended to leverage the community’s power by catalyzing ongoing conversations.

We also recognize that the Internet governance debates are not only about how to govern the Internet but also about digital transformation in our society. It’s important to keep in mind that although the Internet is needed for digital transformation to proceed effectively, not all digital transformation issues are about the Internet. That’s why we’ll advocate incorporating the lessons learned by the multistakeholder community when dealing with Internet governance challenges to inform the debates happening in the context of new technological developments to prevent unintended consequences against the Internet.

During the upcoming months, we’ll further analyze the upcoming GDC Zero Draft reviews and continue sharing our views on fragmentation threats in the context of the regional preparatory meetings leading up to WSTA-24 and bringing the Internet’s voice to the IGF activities.

If there’s a space in which we can defend the Internet and the multistakeholder model, you’ll see us advocating for lasting change based on collaborative consensus. That’s the best way to secure the Internet for everyone, and we need your voice to shape our views and make an impact.

Image © Levani Zhorzholiani

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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