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The IGF – an experiment in multi-stakeholder cooperation. Washington DC, 1 February 2007. Markus Kummer Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Background.

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the igf an experiment in multi stakeholder cooperation
The IGF – an experiment in multi-stakeholder cooperation

Washington DC, 1 February 2007

Markus Kummer

Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

  • WSIS invited the UN Secretary-General to “convene a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue” – the IGF.
  • A space for dialogue – to bring all interested parties together as equals:
    • Governments and Intergovernmental Organizations;
    • Internet institutions;
    • Private Sector;
    • Civil Society;
    • Academic and Technical Communities.
the igf in an international context
The IGF in an international context
  • Search for new forms of international cooperation;
  • Recognition of non-State actors in international co-operation / development co-operation;
  • inductive approach: learning by doing;
  • The Secretary-General in his message to the meeting: ‘a move into uncharted territory’.
what is the igf
What is the IGF?

Easier to define what it is not…:

  • …not a new organization;
  • …not a decision-making body;
  • …no defined membership.

Expectations range from:

  • IGF should be a new meta-body to fix all Internet related problems…
  • IGF at the most could be used as a platform for damage control.

Governments :

  • Afraid that their role would not be given due recognition.

Civil Society:

  • Afraid that IGF would be dominated by Business and Governments.

Internet Technical Community / Business:

  • Afraid of politicization of the Internet and interventionism ('trying to fix what ain’t broke’)
the igf mandate
The IGF Mandate

Mandate to

- discussInternet related public policy issues, including issues relating to critical resources;

- promote exchange of information and best practices;

  • identify emerging issues;
  • identify issues that are cross-cutting and multi-dimensional, or are not addressed in a coordinated manner.
  • asses “the embodiment of WSIS principles” in Internet governance processes;

- contribute to capacity-building for Internet Governance in developing countries;

  • provide a platform for interaction between IGOs and other institutions.
the igf work and function
The IGF - Work and Function

- no oversight function, would not replace existing institutions, but involve them and bring them together;

  • build on existing structures – complementarily between all stakeholders, including IGOs;
  • multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic and transparent;
  • lightweight and decentralized structure;
  • subject to periodic review;
  • meet periodically, as required.
the preparatory process 1
ThePreparatory Process - 1
  • Invited Contributions on IGF website
  • 16 and 17 February 2006 - Open consultations
  • Outcome:
    • Development orientation and capacity building as overarching objectives.
    • Open and inclusive format.
    • Yearly meetings of 3 to 5 days duration.
    • Ad-hoc multi-stakeholder management structure (Advisory Group).
the preparatory process 2
The Preparatory Process - 2

Based on these consultations, the Secretary

General :

  • announced the establishment of a small Secretariat, hosted by the United Nations Office at Geneva (2 March 2006);
  • established a 46 member multi-stakholder Advisory Group (17 May 2006);
  • A second round of Consultations was held on 19 May 2006;
  • the Advisory Group met on 22-23 May 2006 and 7-8 September in Geneva;
the agenda of the first igf meeting
The Agenda of the first IGF Meeting

Overall theme:

“Internet Governance for Development”

Four broad themes:

  • Openness – free flow of information;
  • Security – creating trust and confidence;
  • Diversity – multilingualism / local content;
  • Access – interconnection costs;

- Capacity building as crosscutting priority.

structure of the first igf meeting
Structure of the first IGF Meeting

General Sessions:

- Interactive Panels


  • Focused on specific issues
  • Multi-stakeholder in nature

Encounter Plaza:

- An open space for showcasing institutions and projects

the athens meeting
The Athens Meeting
  • It exceeded expectations:
    • 1350 registered participants
    • 97 member States with 397 delegates.
  • Good cross section of opening speakers.
  • Interactive nature of Panels.
  • 36 Workshops.
  • Most participants were generally happy with the meeting, scepticism proved unfounded.
  • A solid basis to build on for the Rio meeting
dynamic coalitions
Dynamic Coalitions

‘Dynamic Coalitions’ emerged from the workshops:

  • Stop Spam Alliance (ITU, OECD,APEC…)
  • Open Standards (i.a. Brazil, W3C, Sun Microsystems)
  • Privacy (i.a. France, World Bank, Microsoft, Amnesty International)
  • Internet Bill of Rights (i.a. Brazil, ISOC Italy, IP Justice)
  • Access to Knowledge (i.a. Google, CoE, EFF.)
athens review what worked well
Athens Review: What worked well
  • Interactive nature of the panels;
  • Broad agenda;
  • Workshops;
  • Lack of decision-making facilitated discussions;
  • Space for interaction and networking;
  • Open and inclusive preparatory process.
athens review what worked less well
Athens Review:What worked less well
  • Geographical diversity (developing country participation);
  • Workshops selection and relationship with main sessions;
  • Virtual interaction and remote participation.
what the igf could turn into
What the IGF could turn into:

IGF could:

- provide a space for structured policy dialogue on Internet related public policy issues;

- provide a platform for sharing best practices at national and regional levels;

- provide a neutral meeting place for all relevant institutions – IGOs and ‘Internet institutions’.

- help build trust and confidence among all Internet users;

- assist developing countries in finding their place in Internet governance structures.

next steps and future
Next steps and future
  • Stock-taking Session on 13 February: to assess what worked well and what worked less well and how to move forward;
  • Based on consultations: proposals to Secretary-General on way forward
  • New consultations in May
  • Rio de Janeiro : 12 – 15 November 2007
  • 2008: New Delhi
  • 2009 : Cairo
  • 2010: Vilnius or Baku?
  • Review ‘within five years’ whether to continue.