3 September 2014

Internet Governance Forum 2014: Kathy Brown Opening Speech

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Secretary, UN DESA, Colleagues:

Thank you to our Turkish hosts for inviting us to experience the wonder of this amazing city where the confluence of cultures, religion, and ideas have met and melded over the ages.  We know that there is power and progress to be derived from drawing on a mix of traditions and beliefs to forge cooperation and growth. 

And isn’t that what we are doing here at the IGF? Building bridges among stakeholders, blending cultures and experience, sharing ideas,  identifying from our discussions best practices that can help guide us forward toward a goal that I believe we all share — A global Internet which benefits all of the world’s citizens.

I find that it is often useful at the beginning of something important — and this IGF is important — to set out what I understand are our goals, so that we can calibrate our actions and measure our results.  So let me share with you what the Internet Society believes we need to accomplish in this short and busy week:

  • First, we need to, once again, demonstrate that the IGF is essential to the future of the Internet.  Since the Internet is increasingly both the foundation and the stitching that binds together world economic development and social well-being, the value of the IGF is far greater than perhaps we even realize. So our primary goal this week is to further strengthen the IGF, assure its future value and its future financial stability.  Let’s stay focused and clear-headed as we work toward this goal.
  • Second, we need to strengthen the IGF by demonstrating again that the multi-stakeholder model works and that we can take the new step here of producing tangible results through our innovative best practice forums. We will call for the renewal of the IGF mandate. And, based on the success of the open IGF model, call for WSIS+10 discussions to be as open and inclusive.
  • Third, following the NETmundial principles, we need to be fearless in tackling the tough, yet undeniable important issues.  There is no better place to have these discussions than here.
  • Fourth, we need to ensure that the IGF belongs to everyone through broad engagement of stakeholders in and outside of these halls.  How — through conversation and collaboration by “the many” this week and in between now and next year in Brazil.  We need to keep the intersessional time productive. And, we need to encourage strong participation in the local and regional IGFs.  These are a critical elements in the IGF inter sessional work and in the NETmundial follow up. 

Finally, a reminder to support and contribute to the IGF Support Association, which was launched yesterday.  Visit their booth.  The Internet Society Board of Trustees launched a plan a bit more than a year ago to create this association to help build a more solid financial base for the IGF and further support Regional IGFs. I encourage you to become a supporter!

The goals I outlined are achievable. The Internet Society is ready to work with you this week.  Colleagues, we can do this.  Let’s get to work.

Thank you.