IGF | Internet Governance Forum | Overview
At the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva, in 2003, the keystone topic was the “global digital divide” — the separation of access to digital technology (most significantly, information technology) that exists between the rich nations and the poor. A demand for an international initiative created the WGIG (Working Group on Internet Governance) which drew up plans to develop what would be the IGF (Internet Governance Forum).
Two years later, the next WSIS in Tunisia reviewed the progress of the WGIG, and finalized most of the details. The IGF was formally announced by the United Nations Secretary-General in the summer of 2006 and held its first official meeting a few months later.
The IGF’s official mandate, from the Tunis Agenda:
- Discuss public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet;
- Facilitate discourse between bodies dealing with different cross-cutting international public policies regarding the Internet and discuss issues that do not fall within the scope of any existing body;
- Interface with appropriate inter-governmental organizations and other institutions on matters under their purview;
- Facilitate the exchange of information and best practices, and in this regard make full use of the expertise of the academic, scientific and technical communities;
- Advise all stakeholders in proposing ways and means to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world;
- Strengthen and enhance the engagement of stakeholders in existing and/or future Internet governance mechanisms, particularly those from developing countries;
- Identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendations;
- Contribute to capacity building for Internet governance in developing countries, drawing fully on local sources of knowledge and expertise;
- Promote and assess, on an ongoing basis, the embodiment of WSIS principles in Internet governance processes;
- Discuss, inter alia, issues relating to critical Internet resources;
- Help to find solutions to the issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet, of particular concern to everyday users;
- Publish its proceedings
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