Internet Governance Forum

What is IGF?

The United Nations Secretary-General established the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in 2006. The IGF is a prominent venue where civil society, industry, the technical community, and decision makers discuss key aspects of Internet governance issues on an equal footing. Mandated by the UN, the informal nature of the IGF promotes the full and frank exchange of ideas on important Internet policy issues without the high intensity conflicts that characterize other international fora where recommendations or binding treaties are made.

EFF continues to be an annual participant to these conferences to represent the public interest in upholding online privacy, freedom of expression and the rule of law.

How the IGF is organized?

The IGF Secretariat and the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) are the main institutional bodies of the IGF. The MAG is comprised of 56 members from all stakeholder groups. Its purpose is to assist the Secretary General in convening the IGF. The MAG holds meetings three times a year at the Palais des Nations in Geneva and is preceded by open consultations and meetings. Localized discussions of Internet policy occur at regional and national IGF events, which are held all year worldwide.

Why does it matter?

While the IGF does not adopt resolutions or create any binding treaties, its importance lies in its ability to facilitate discourse between international organizations dealing with international public policies and the future of the Internet. IGF gatherings discuss proposed regulatory frameworks, potential risks, global trends, best and worst practices that been adopted or are currently under discussion around the world. Participants examine the impact of treaties and recommendations adopted in other international venues.

How to participate?

Each year the IGF organizes an annual meeting. There have been six annual meetings since 2006. Meetings have been held in Greece (2006), Brazil (2007), India (2008), Egypt (2009), Lithuania (2010), Kenya (2011) and Baku (2012). There are also several national and regional IGF initiatives organized throughout the year.

The IGF is organized around dynamic coalitions on issue-specific topics. These coalitions convene academics, government representatives, and members of civil society interested in participating in a given topic under debate. The Freedom of Expression Coalition and the Internet Rights and Principle Coalition are two of the coalitions of which the EFF is a member.

What you can do?

You can follow the discussion of your national and regional IGF initiatives by subscribing to their list or by reading their website.

During the preparatory meetings and the annual IGF, you can attend the events remotely! You can follow the discussions from wherever you are and whenever you want by watching the event webcast, reading real-time closed captioning, and even engaging with the panels live by using their remote participation hubs.

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