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Advancing the 10-Year Mandate of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

14-16 July 2016, Glen Cove, New York


Table of Contents

I.                   Background

II.                Retreat Summaries


Session on Setting the Scene

Session 1): Overall preparatory process and intersessional activities of the IGF  

Session 2a): Stakeholder Engagement

Session 2b): Capacity development

Session 3): Sustained funding support of IHF and the IGF Secretariat

Session 4): Outputs of the IGF and intersessional activities

Session 5a) and 5b) National and regional IGF initiatives, IGF Dynamic Coalitions.

Session 5c): Communication outreach and synergies.

Summing up and next steps

III. Annexes

1.      List of ideas and suggestions

2.      Retreat programme (with list of facilitators and rapporteurs)

3.      FAQs

4.      Participants list

5.      Background documents

6.      Written inputs

7.      Retreat evaluations


I. Background

In the outcome document of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on the overall review of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)(A/RES/70/125 of 16 December 2015), the existing mandate of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was extended for another 10 years.  At the same time, the General Assembly WSIS+10 review called for “progress on working modalities and the participation of relevant stakeholders from developing countries” and “accelerated implementation of recommendations in the report of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) Working Group on Improvements to the IGF.”  Against that backdrop, a two-day working retreat was convened with the support of the UN Secretariat from 14-16 July in Glen Cove, New York as part of the process of continual improvement of the IGF.

The renewal of the existing mandate of the IGF demonstrates that the IGF is perceived to have delivered on its role as a multilateral, multistakeholder, democratic and transparent forum for policy dialogue.  It was expected that the retreat would help to respond to the calls of the General Assembly’s WSIS+10 review.

In light of the many different viewpoints on the IGF work among countries and stakeholder groups, it was felt that such a retreat could help build a common ground for advancing the IGF so that it could continue to fulfil its mandate in the next 10 years. The timing of the retreat was also be good, as we are six months into the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF) was meeting at the same time as the retreat. The retreat was to reflect on how the IGF can relate to the implementation of the SDGs in the next ten years. The retreat and the process around it were seen as a way to continue to mobilize the ideas, experience and support of the community of different stakeholders, on which the Secretary-General, in his role to convene the IGF, and DESA will continue to count.

As documented on the IGF website www.intgovforum.org, in advance of the retreat, all relevant stakeholders, stakeholder groups and institutions were invited to submit nominations for participants in the retreat. Participants from the stakeholder groups directly selected over half of their participants, while the remaining seats were selected based on diversity considerations such as the need to assure geographical and other balance and benefit from institutional memory as well as new ideas. Detailed information on the call for participants is available here. A set of answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the retreat preparations and modalities was produced and updated on a rolling basis when the Secretariat received additional questions from the community. The Secretariat also convened an open virtual meeting for the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) and the broader community leading up to the retreat, to answer questions and to seek inputs on how the retreat could be best organized.

The Secretariat also issued a public call for written contributions to the community inviting all stakeholders to share their ideas and suggestions on the issues to be discussed at the retreat. The Secretariat posted on the IGF website the contributions received, which all retreat participants were asked to review and then take into consideration during the relevant retreat discussions. Some of these suggestions were referenced directly during the retreat discussions. A set of background documentation for the retreat was also made available for both retreat participants and the broader community on the IGF website. Finally, time was also set aside for dedicated discussions on the retreat during the IGF Open Consultations on 12 July which immediately preceded the retreat.

The retreat’s agenda reflected inputs from all retreat participants and from the wider community-wide through public consultations.  It guided the retreat discussions which focused on how to deliver on the clear mandate of the IGF, as stated in the Tunis Agenda, built upon by the CSTD Working Group, and reiterated in December 2015, at the General Assembly on the 10 year review of the implementation of the WSIS.

Retreat participants were asked to volunteer to act as co-facilitators and/or rapporteurs for the various sessions of the working retreat.

Preliminary drafts of the report related to each session were shared with participants during and immediately after the retreat. A comprehensive draft of the report was then prepared taking the participants’ comments into account. It was then shared again with participants for any further comments.  The present document is the outcome of this process. It aims to serve as a basis for a continuation of the discussion and comments by the communities. The annex to the present report outlines key ideas and suggestions on which consultations with community would follow. Follow-up steps are identified in the last section of the present report. 

At the outset of the retreat, all participants were reminded that the modalities for considering and taking forward any idea or suggestion coming out of the retreat would be subsequently considered by the global IGF community itself, as well as through individual stakeholder community reviews, following the various work streams of the IGF community.

Some points on the framework for the retreat were noted at its outset:         

·         The retreat was framed by the mandates of the Tunis Agenda and WSIS+10 review.  It also aimed to build on the report of CSTD Working Group on improvements to the IGF and the many years of reflection of the MAG and the IGF community on improving the working methods of the IGF.

·        The retreat was about “how” the IGF could best work to deliver its role and how it could be best supported.  So, as it aimed to focus on the “how”– and it should not try to carry out the substantive discussions that are to happen in the IGF itself.

·      The retreat would work according to the Chatham House rule.  Retreat participants agreed to respect a voluntary code of conduct on “principled tweeting”.


II. Retreat Summaries  

Introductory Session on Setting the Scene

This session provided an opportunity for retreat participants to discuss the purpose of the IGF and its relationship with other IG bodies and with wider public policy.  In doing so, participants were asked to address two main questions:

  • How has the IGF evolved since its creation in 2006?
  • What roles should the IGF play in 2025 and beyond?

There were also asked to consider three subsidiary questions:

  • Have the first 10 years of IGF shaped the evolution and use of the Internet?
  • If so, how do you evaluate the impact of IGF in the evolution and use of the Internet?
  • Looking forward: what role should the IGF play in the future evolution and use of the Internet?

In approaching these questions, participants were invited to reflect on the working definition of Internet governance agreed at WSIS, as ‘the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society in their respective roles of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet,’ a definition which includes both technical and public policy dimensions.

A question-and-answer session with Nitin Desai, former Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General for Internet Governance, was held during the session.

The evolution of the IGF since its creation in 2006

Participants discussed the creation and development of the IGF since it was established by the UN Secretary-General, as requested in the Tunis Agenda, in 2006. It was said by many that the Internet has evolved rapidly in the ten years since WSIS, becoming much more pervasive and offering a much wider range of services and applications, to more people, at higher speeds. Internet governance has also evolved, in line with changing technology and with new opportunities, problems and challenges arising from the Internet’s increasing scale and scope.  The IGF has responded to this evolution of the Internet and Internet governance, growing in confidence and capability from uncertain beginnings in 2006 to the point at which the extension of its mandate for a further ten-year term was unanimously agreed by the UN General Assembly in 2015.

Different views were expressed concerning the IGF’s impact on the evolution and use of the Internet. It was not generally felt that the IGF had contributed significantly to the technical evolution of the Internet (and some expressed the view that it was not appropriate for it to do so), but it was felt by some that the IGF has impacted issues concerning access and usage and on the ways in which discussions take place in the ICT sector. At the same time many felt that the evolution and use of the Internet has impacted equally on the development of the IGF.

A number of participants identified the influence of the IGF’s multistakeholder composition and culture on wider ICT decision-making processes as one of its major legacies.  Many expressed the view that the IGF provided a space in which multistakeholder discussion could take place before decisions need to be taken in other fora resulting in better quality decisions being made there.  Participants suggested that it has contributed thereby, for example, to greater clarity of understanding and improved decision-making on cybercrime and human rights, in international commitment to ‘connect the next billion’, in the emergence of shared principles in various discussions and fora. Many felt that it has also had an impact on the attention paid to surveillance and to privacy.

The IGF was felt by participants to have built a community of expertise across stakeholder communities, enabling more effective discourse between those responsible for technical and public policy aspects of the Internet.  In doing so, it was said to have developed a culture of inclusion and participation, with a ‘common language’, engaging sections of the community that would not otherwise have been involved in Internet governance discussions.  Participation in the IGF, and particularly the emergence of national and regional IGFs (NRIs) was said to have provided a stronger framework for developing country participation in Internet governance at both national and international levels, building the capacity and confidence of developing country stakeholders.  Also important is the role of the IGF in launching coalition and spurring international cooperation on specific areas.

However, a number of ongoing challenges were also identified.  Aspects of the mandate for the IGF which is set out in the Tunis Agenda, it was suggested, remain unfulfilled or only partially fulfilled. Some participants expressed the view that some stakeholders are under-represented in the IGF, including demand-side businesses such as those in financial services and manufacturing. While it was noted that the IGF has extended its range of thematic content to include once-controversial issues such as critical Internet resources and human rights, some said that it is not always quick enough to pick up on emerging issues (though there was a comment that it is able to address timely issues in the annual forum), address the anxieties which many people have about the Internet, or engage effectively with those concerned with other public policy issues with which the Internet now intersects.  There is a risk, some suggested, of it becoming a forum for Internet Governance insiders rather than reaching out, as it should, to stakeholders that currently do not participate in it.

IGF in 2025 and beyond?

It was generally recognized that the Internet has changed very substantially since 2006, and that it will change even more substantially between the renewal of the IGF’s mandate in 2015 and the end of that mandate in 2025.  Change during this coming period will be unpredictable, with many developments in Internet governance that are not yet anticipated.  Participants considered how to ensure that the IGF could remain fit for purpose in this time of rapid change.

Some suggestions in this context built on existing work to fulfil the mandate set out in the Tunis Agenda.  Suggested examples of this included continued work on ‘connecting the next billion’, awareness-raising and capacity-building, and the defence of human rights online.  Issues such as sustainable development and human rights, it was noted, are not specific to the Internet, but are established public policy areas which are substantially impacted by it.  It was felt that this raises issues of intersectionality: more should be done by the IGF to engage with institutions and fora concerned with public policy fields, such as these, with which the Internet now intersects.  The IGF has not, it was said by some, been sufficiently effective in reaching out to them to date.

It was considered particularly important that the IGF engage users of the Internet, who have actually generated many of the huge changes that have taken place in the Internet.  Ultimately, it was suggested, the IGF has to impact on people’s lives. While it was acknowledged that this would not be easy, there might be ways to make it happen.  

There was agreement that the pace of change that is now taking place in Internet technology and markets requires a growing attention by the IGF on what have been called emerging issues and on issues that will emerge in the next few years.  One possible focus for the retreat, as suggested by a participant in this context, should be on identifying approaches to its future work that would help it to address new challenges arising from rapid change in technology and markets over the next decade.

It was further suggested by some that the IGF keep a strong and narrow emphasis on issues that are directly related, or unique, to the Internet. Issues such as access to the Internet for the next billion in the lower layers of the Internet model, and such as cybercrime or cyberwar in the upper ones, may find increasingly resolution as "other governance", centred in conduct and not in technology or medium. Derived from this, it was suggested that looking into the future the IGF must actively prepare to shed issues that are properly picked up by pertinent, Tunis-compliant mechanisms and thus limit the potential uncontrolled expansion of demands for its attention. In turn this would allow the IGF to concentrate more effectively on the issues where it can have more, and more exclusive, impact.

A number of issues arose in a question-and-answer session between participants and Nitin Desai, former Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General for Internet Governance, which was intended to prepare the ground for discussions amongst participants later in the agenda.  These issues included:

·         the distinction between the management and use of the Internet,

·         the emergence of social media and similar applications which are dependent on it,

·   the value of maintaining multistakeholder processes and providing a platform with ownership of and value added for each stakeholder community,

·     the need to continue to welcome views of Governments in particular so as to avoid fragmentation of the governance ecosystem,

·         the representation of the IGF and the IGF Secretariat within the UN system policy making bodies,

·         the selection processes, the need for continued leadership of the Secretary-General and role of the MAG (including its role in making policy recommendations), and

·         the resourcing of the IGF.

It was noted in this context that the IGF draws strength from and has accountability requirements towards both the UN system and the Internet community, and that its continued success will depend in part on its ability to bridge the different needs of these two groups during a period of rapid and unpredictable change for both Internet and Internet governance.


Session 1:  Ways to improve the overall preparatory process and intersessional activities of the IGF, the nomination process and make-up of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), and ways to strengthen the IGF support structures.

The three guiding questions for this session were:  what are some ways to:

  1. Improve the overall preparatory process of the IGF?
  2. Improve the nomination process and make-up of the MAG and the appointment process for the IGF MAG Chair?
  3. Strengthen the IGF structure?

It was noted by the retreat participants that the inputs received to the Retreat were valuable discussion resources. They are all recognized and appreciated and participants were encouraged to draw on them and refer to recommendations they suggested to be worth being considered. However, due to the time limits not all were analyzed in detail fashion on this session.

Overall preparatory process of the IGF

•          It was brought up that there is lack of clarity on the purpose of the MAG: whether it is a programme committee or an executive/steering committee for the IGF. This will require more discussion going forward.

•          It was suggested by some that the MAG have a more holistic mandate for supporting the preparations of the IGF and should be able to focus more on broader policy questions rather than getting bogged down with the minutiae of workshops and IGF session selection each year. For example, a strategic plan with different pillars may be established for the next 9 years, guiding each year’s work, themes, and policy discussions. Another suggestion was for 3 or 5-year plans.


•          Some participants expressed the view that MAG members spend too much time in workshop evaluation. It was suggested that the workshop selection process be improved, streamlined, and more transparent. There can be more work done prior to the selection discussion, and the selection processes started much earlier. It was discussed that if the MAG can establish more concrete and concise criteria up front, these can be reflected more clearly in all subsequent steps, e.g., call for workshops, proposal templates, clustering, etc. This will enable an improved Secretariat pre-screening process, including better evaluation of the proposals at the time of submission, suggested actions such as possible mergers, and more effective clustering.  

•          Regarding themes, it was suggested that there could be outreach to other organizations, institutions, venues where governments gather, NRIs, etc., to gather input from different communities on issues of interest, not just at the time of workshop proposals, but continuously, and use this to strengthen the IGF as a common platform for these discussions.

•          It was suggested that lessons can be learned from other large organizations and conferences that do similar programme selection.

•          There is not a very good understanding across the MAG and the community on the workshop selection process. It was suggested that this opacity be resolved and clearer guidelines, including a timetable of expectations for proposers, be provided. It was mentioned that greater efforts to identify similar or overlapping session proposals from different groups and to strongly encourage their consolidation would be helpful. An E-tool for connecting proposed events with similar themes, functioning along the same lines as dating apps, could be used.

•          A proposal was also made to adopt the so-called “EuroDIG model” in which themes are not predefined and sessions are selected based on ideas expressed at planning meetings by those willing to contribute

•          The knowledge of the process for selecting workshops seems to be lost each year. The selection processes need to be consistent year by year. It was recommended to ensure continuity between IGF annual meetings, and to avoid the current practice of reinventing the process every year.

•          It was suggested that the IGF Secretariat set the timeline for community contributions, and not according to the MAG schedule, in order to structure the process with advance notice and allow sufficient time for each step. It was felt that the MAG needs to trust the Secretariat as a steward.

•          There was general agreement that there needs to be more prioritization of human resources and technology to support the preparations for the MAG and processing of requests for workshops.  Greater efforts are also needed on the communications fronts - for better outreach to the community and better dissemination of IGF documentation and information.

•          With improvements in place, it is suggested that the IGF can be a true convener for other organizations and processes to utilize, and even a tool to reduce duplication across the Internet governance sphere. Among ideas put forward, one was that national and regional IGFs be strengthened, and another that perhaps the IGF should only be held every other year to enable more robust relationships and communications with the national and regional IGFs.

Nomination process and make-up of the MAG and the MAG Chair

There was general agreement that there is a need for a more transparent selection process across the different stakeholders groups and clearer criteria and priorities to enable more consistent candidate selection processes across the different stakeholder communities. A need was also expressed to have greater awareness and transparency in the selection processes used by the different stakeholder groups. Some felt there should be a set of specific criteria and priorities for nominations. Others felt that it is difficult for the communities to identify, target and come up with adequate candidates with insufficient information on what the UN Secretary-General is looking for. It was suggested that information on MAG Members’ tenures be published so it is known who are rotating out each year ahead of time. There was also a discussion on whether expertise or experience was a more appropriate criterion, and whether candidates with experience in more than one stakeholder community - or the ability to work across stakeholder communities - would be preferred so as to prevent silos among constituencies, while bearing in mind the need for ensuring regional and other balance and the Secretary-General’s role in this regard.

•          Accountability of MAG members to their communities was brought up. While some participants held the view that MAG members should represent the viewpoint of their respective communities, it was pointed out that they are appointed to serve in their personal capacities. Even if serving in their personal capacities, members can report back to their respective communities and keep them engaged in IGF processes.

•          A question was raised regarding the breadth of the call for new MAG members, who are currently included, and whether more information should be shared with the NRIs.

•          It was requested that there be full feedback on how the UN assesses the candidates, and why some are selected and some are not. This information is indeed crucial to allow stakeholder groups to select and put forward the best candidates possible. The possibility of having an apprenticeship programme to develop future MAG candidates was raised.

•          Setting up an induction and mentoring process to better integrate new MAG members was also discussed. It was suggested that it would be useful to have an induction or on boarding process for the new MAG members. The suggestion to reconsider the timing was made, in terms of the MAG members possibly being appointed before the new cycle, so they can sit in and understand their roles before taking them on.

•          A number of suggestions were brought up regarding the MAG Chair. One suggestion was for the MAG Chair to have a mandate for more than one year. Another suggestion was to consider aspirational and not prescriptive rotation of the MAG chairmanship among the stakeholder groups, and that the IGF should move away from the default that Chairs are government representatives. Yet another suggestion was to have one Chair with three Vice Chairs representing the other stakeholder groups following the bureau model as used in traditional UN meetings. There was also a suggestion on having two co-chairs - one chosen from non-governmental stakeholders and the other selected from governments. Finally, there were suggestions about the selection of the MAG chair, including calls for increased transparency about criteria for the MAG chair and consultation with the stakeholder communities about possible candidates.

•          The question on whether there are too many MAG members was brought up. It was explained that the original reason for having this current number was to dilute subjectivity and that there was also an issue of trust amongst the stakeholder communities. It was said that after ten years, mutual trust has improved and it was suggested by some to consider lowering the total number. It was said that we need to avoid monopolization by one stakeholder group.

•          It was explained that part of the reason why the MAG is so large is that in the original composition there had to be four representatives per region in the Government stakeholder group, further noting
that this stakeholder group holds half the seats of the MAG, with the other half to be divided among all other stakeholders.

Support Structures for the IGF

•          While there may be some concerns about the secretariat becoming “entrenched” and a need to preserve the secretariat’s independence, there is general agreement on the need for staff resourcing, in line with leveraging the quality and contract support for specific project needs. Technology and technological resources were raised as potential means to also help support the work that the Secretariat does. If these resource gaps could be better communicated to donors more funds could be raised.

•          There was general agreement that increased outreach was an overall need, including additional community engagement and solicitation of community inputs. Better-quality outreach and documentation of the IGF could also lead to more high-level/political interest in its processes and the annual meeting.

•          Secondments could be explored as an alternative to enhance the Secretariat, as is done elsewhere in the UN. Some entities could provide financial support. The seconded staff could help to make progress on strategic issues; open communications; and documentation related to the IGF.

•          It was discussed that the IGF could benefit from the expertise of the community, other organizations in the UN, the NRIs, and others, through MAG working groups and intersessional work to address specific needs.

•          There was a suggestion to appoint a Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General for Internet Governance to act as the “political face” of the IGF and protect the IGF Secretariat from outside pressures, so that it can be left to perform operational tasks. Governments react to seniority levels, and some felt that having this type of appointee to represent the IGF would attract more high-level engagement. It was noted that having such a person attached to the Secretary-General had worked well for the first five years of the IGF (2006-2010), where the function allowed raising the profile of the IGF within and beyond the UN.

•          A general comment was made that the IGF community, MAG and Secretariat, may not be taking sufficient advantage of its link to and support from the larger UN system and various institutions
to provide more information to the UN constituencies.

Session 2a): Measures to engage those stakeholders who are currently unengaged, with a view to expand and diversify physical and virtual participation/engagement and increase the engagement of individuals in IGF activities from underrepresented segments?

Various areas of discussion (including those coming from the inputs received through the call for inputs) were introduced. Possible practical elements to enhance engagement include:

  • Need to use social media in a strategic way
  • Need to engage the NRI’s
  • Better identify possible target groups
  • Need to enhance tools and resources for remote participation and adopt remote participation principles
  • Enhance the online presence and the website capabilities (to include for instance people with disabilities, or to devote specific sections to the youth)
  • Multilingualism of IGF (both inputs and outputs)
  • Low cost dissemination of the outcomes
  • How to better engage the governments (robust participation) particularly in the early stages
  • Consider the role of a special advisor to the SG on Internet Governance to engage different international organizations and different stakeholder groups

            The discussion focussed on generating new concrete ideas that can be implemented, around the following issues:

1.         What types of engagements are we looking for: financial, physical, content, virtual, others? On what level should the engagement exist: global, regional, national?

2.         Who are the missing stakeholders? At what level?

3.         Who are the emerging stakeholders? Who else should the IGF be engaging with?

4.         What is the ideal model of the multistakeholder engagement going forward?

5.         What has worked and what has not worked?

6.         What are the IGF values to the different stakeholder groups? (Governments, private sector, technical community, civil society)

7.         What three new principles that can apply to all levels of the IGF would you propose for the engagement of stakeholder groups?   

The following considerations and suggestions were made:

1)        Both physical and virtual participation are important and are to be regarded as complementary types of "engagement".

2)        Several categories of stakeholders to be reached were mentioned, including different sectors - both from industry, government (e.g. law enforcement agencies, different Ministries, etc.) and civil society groups. Developing countries were also mentioned as a specific category to take into consideration. High-level participants are needed to give visibility while expert participants enhance the quality of discussions. Proper consideration has to be given in finding the right mix of knowledge, commitment, influence, representation and communication. Cross-sector interactions should be encouraged.

3)        Stakeholders are not missing equally among the different stakeholder groups. An analysis of who is engaging with IGF at the moment might reveal interesting elements and help prioritise on some key stakeholders that are not there.

4)        NRIs could play an important role in this context, since they present a lower entry barrier for newcomers, although it was noted by some that not all NRIs have the same degree of maturity. Internet governance schools were also mentioned in this context, as a valuable capacity building mechanism aiming at engaging new stakeholders.

5)        Some participants also reflected on whether the lack of engagement in IGF by some groups might be related to the perception that Internet governance in general is not relevant for them.

6)        There was general convergence that the following principles could be applied:

            1. Relevance:

Relevance helps to focus attention and create demand from stakeholders. Some practical suggestions include to make more explicit the "value proposition" or "return on investment" for the different stakeholders. Positive incentives should be highlighted. IGF does not need to cover "all" issues every time and discussions should happen when needed. A multiyear year work plan identifying a roadmap with more concrete outputs at the end might help in bringing in new stakeholders (e.g. the financial sector, content producers, local SME, etc.). This should still allow for enough flexibility to adapt it to new and emerging situations. Such a process would need to be communicated clearly and widely. A communication strategy needs to be combined with a stakeholder outreach strategy. The predictability in the process is required, and not necessarily in the results, which should remain open, and not foreclosed by the design of the process and the selection of participants. Some participants mentioned that a possible lightweight structure could be defined along the SDGs.

        2. Accessibility:

It was said that information about the IGF, its processes and its discussions could be made more accessible and understandable. Some feel that there are currently high-entry barriers for newcomers. Possible improvements include: capacity-building at NRI level; specific workshops/webinars; involvement of Internet governance schools and programmes; enhance the IGF Secretariat’s general communications and outreach capacities; improve the website and make full use of different online tools.

        3. Sustainability:

Many felt that efforts to engage new stakeholders (and keep the ones that are already there) need to be sustained and nurtured. Adequate resources need to be allocated to outreach and engagement efforts. The work done in one year should not disappear in the next one; a plurennial programme of activities could help in this regard.

After 10 years, the IGF is growing and maturing. Many positive engagement efforts were recognized, in particular as far as the youth and NRIs are concerned. There is now a broader range of constituencies proposing workshops and this interest needs to be welcome and adequately catered for. While welcoming the "spontaneity" of the engagement processes, time might have arrived for the IGF to address the issue of engagement in a more results-oriented, structured and focused way.

Session 2b): What roles could the IGF play in Internet governance capacity development?

“Capacity development refers to the process through which individuals, organizations, and societies obtain, strengthen and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve their own development objectives over time”

Guiding Question:

  1. In what way is the IGF already developing Internet governance capacity  - WHO-HOW-WHAT
  • It was recalled that the IGF has a mandate for capacity building and development.

·         The IGF contributes to capacity development both directly (through workshops at the IGF or linked events) as well as indirectly (through providing multiple opportunities for learning and experience in debating, public speaking, and networking, to mention a few examples. It was noted, the programme of the annual IGF itself provides many learning opportunities through expert workshops as well as orientation and newcomer sessions. Several organizations convene linked capacity building events as IGF pre-events.

·         In line with the “train the trainer” approach, those who have benefitted from these events and learning-oriented sessions during the IGF have gone on to take this knowledge back to their countries at the local level (for instance by providing workshops at home, e.g. on IPv6).  Travel funding support to attend the annual meeting and MAG meetings is given to some eligible participants from developing countries, funding permitted.

·         In doing so, it was suggested, IGF plays a “knowledge transfer” role. It also disseminates “best practices” to:

o   students, government staff, activists, and business people attending national and regional IGFs, where they are exposed to experts

o   constituencies who attend IGFs spreading and sharing knowledge and experience among their members (e.g. ICC BASIS for the business sector)

  • It can also act as a catalyst for new initiatives through experience sharing, e.g. the African Declaration of Internet Rights was made possible by exchanges at the global and African IGFs.

·         Participation at the IGF global was said to build added knowledge on IG matters. This happens particularly through the efforts of networks/organizations such as the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), The Diplo Foundation, The Internet Society and the European, African and LAC Internet governance schools.

·         Observatories, schools on Internet governance and network review centres that have emerged as a result of being inspired, guided or directly influenced by the IGF, – were cited as all building capacity.

·         Also it was noted the NRIs provide concrete capacity building opportunities at the regional, country and local level. They were said to organize capacity building efforts for themselves and as IGF-associated entities, attract funding independently.

2.     Should it do more? If so, what? GAPS - WHAT - WHO - APPROACH - M&E 

·         Some suggested the more capacity development efforts are addressed towards governments; the better it would be for IGF Such efforts would need to be adapted to the local environment, to have continuity over the time and to be locally conceived.

·         It was suggested there would be a need to include capacity development in IGF intersessional activities that already exist, including the NRIs. Also it was noted there would be need for a mentoring-like approach that could spread knowledge in time and in other related events.

·         Funding and delivery were noted as challenges. Lack of funding was cited as one of the major factors preventing many from participating in the IGF, as well as for making the programme  more complete and inclusive. The need to find funding alternatives was mentioned.

·         There are content, or “academic” gaps in the  capacity building that takes place at the IGF. They noted that current efforts needed to be supplemented with inputs that assist participants with understanding some of the basic  conceptualization of Internet governance, citing it as a new field of study and research. Others mentioned the need for the IGF to provide, or partner with, an information clearing house on Internet governance curricula, training and study opportunities. It was suggested the IGF could officially support or partner with the work done by specialized initiatives, such as Diplo, the IG schools and university programmes in order to better develop these skills and competencies.

It was also stated that the IGF should recognize, connect and make visible numerous international, regional and national capacity-building efforts which include courses, open educational resources, seminars, webinars and sessions within other events, such as those developed and operated by ISOC, ICANN, NGOs, schools, universities, associations, and many others.

·         One of the gaps identified is in line with the issue of relevance. For example, many Internet users in the health and education spaces are not coming to the IGF because their fields re not covered, or issues dealt with at the IGF such as cybersecurity, are too specific to be of interest to them. On this note, it was said that these are areas where there is not enough capacity building activity  and where specific action could be highly beneficial and make the IGF more useful to the community.

·         Emphasis was placed on relationships and partnerships: who can you work with at the IGF to make funding and delivery happen ? A success story was referenced in which participation in an IGF provided knowledge to the participants, allowed them to report back to their Government and eventually receive funding from a partnership with the World Bank for Internet infrastructure development. Along similar lines, it would be important to include and work with organizations that are actually dealing with Internet issues at a technical level.

·         It was pointed out that cross-fertilization often happens inadvertently. However, the current impact and influence at the local level is more incidental. A proposal for having a more structured approach was suggested.

·         One of the gaps identified was the lack of certain users not coming to the IGF, such as those in health and education, because their fields were not specific enough to Internet governance, as  cybersecurity and cyberterrorism are seen to be. On this note, it was said that these areas are where there are not enough capacity building activities and where specific action could make IGF more useful to the community and produce a lot of benefit.

·         Another gap mentioned was the lack of available information on how stakeholders could start a national IGF.  It was noted this is not evident for those in developing countries, so there would be a need for more  “structural capacity” as part of a larger capacity gap in finding workable solutions at national and local levels.

3.   What is needed to make this happen?



Suggestions for how the IGF can strengthen its capacity development

  • It was cited as important to keep in understand who the audiences for capacity building efforts are and that there are a variety of topics to offer, ensuring they are relevant for regional and local needs and sustainable in the longer term.
  • It was cited as important to keep in view the audience for capacity building efforts and that there should be a variety of topics to offer, ensuring they are relevant for regional and local needs and sustainable in the longer term.
  • Suggestions included making it clear that IG was a central issue for the UN SDGs. The link between Internet governance and development was noted as needing to be made clearer for IGF capacity building efforts to be valued, properly understood and funded. The legitimacy of the IGF - as an UN-supported entity - also needs to be leveraged to these ends, it was said.

   Some suggested the IGF act as a facilitator and develop more partnership between institutions specialized in capacity development such as APC, Diplo, IG schools, and think tanks specialized in IG.

·          A proposal was made that the MAG establish a dedicated permanent sub-group on capacity development and works all year long on these topics.

·      Recommendations 47 and 48 of the CSTD Working Group on Improvements to the IGF were cited in this context, taking into account that the IGF is no longer seen as only an annual event.

·        Some called for incentives for cooperation and leveraging IGFs capacity to provide the institutional memory of what happens in the IGF field. Also suggested was that the legitimacy gained by the IGF be used to obtain support from IGOs and to develop partnerships with those interested in capacity development .

·         It was suggested the IGF could eventually  become a specialized center of expertise, or a space for match making sources of knowledge with those who need it, for instance on topics such as cybercrime.

·         ‘Disruptive’ thinking on capacity development was suggested to get the IGF out of its comfort zone, and to encourage a more a proactive approach to capacity development, which has not been the most visible aspect of the IGF’s activities.


·     It was suggested to increase the firm establishment of partnerships with regional organizations, academic institutions and Internet governance “think tanks”. Also with Diplo and IGF schools (Africa, Europe, Latin America, etc.). This process would need to be formalized and more structured and incentives for cooperation would need to be provided. Support was expressed for giving these existing initiatives visibility in the global IGF programme and creating open educational resources out of the IGF (MOOCS and similiar) making them available free to use for individual use and for a fee for commercial re-use.

·         There was a need expressed for more participation of UN agencies, particularly development agencies (like UNCTAD and UNDP), and regional commissions (UNECA, UNESCAP, ESCWA etc.) in the IGF’s meetings and processes, while  encouraging gpartnerships.  A similar call was made regarding  development banks (not just the World Bank and regional development banks), which were said to have been under-engaged or hardly engaged in the IGF.

·         Relationships among stakeholder communities were cited as important for assuring success in capacity building, in particular when it comes to exploiting “network effects” [e.g. South Africa hosting regional IGFs, tapping into the network effect of the global IGF]; local-level IGFs become points of entry as such in this instance.

·         It was suggested that a way to reach out to partners could be through one or several high-level statements from the MAG.


  • BPFs, workshops and other existing IGF mechanisms could be used a vehicle for providing toolkits and resources for the people who come to the IGF.
  • It was suggested to use the know-how from the BPF, DC and Intersessional activity to produce tools that can be reproduced and used easily by everybody around the world. For instance building partnership with governments, with regional group, using NRI and global IGF.
  • A clear IGF-endorsed taxonomy was suggested as something that could be used in capacity building.

Other Measures

  • A proposal was made that day zero of the IGF annual meeting could be dedicated to capacity building. Drawing on recommendations and structured track on capacity building could also be adopted as a practice.
  • This could be done to target governments, particularly from developing countries, so as to make the IGF more relevant to their needs.
  • Curating the materials from the IGF and making them more easily accessible, was also encouraged.

3) Modalities to ensure sustained funding to support the IGF and the IGF Secretariat.

IGF Funding Structure

·         An overview of the funding process through the IGF Trust Fund account was presented, noting the “extra-budgetary” nature of the arrangement and highlighting that voluntary contributions from the stakeholder community are collected and direct trust fund agreements entered into between the individual donor entities and UN (through DESA).


·         Greater transparency and better reporting vis à vis the Trust Fund should also be considered, while acknowledging the improvements in the information available on the IGF website. It was noted that a lack of proactive information sharing on funding needs (and the closed nature of the donors’ meetings) have contributed to insufficient awareness of the IGF’s financial arrangements and, by extension, its financial needs. Plans were recently announced to provide more activity-based reporting and this was encouraged.


·         It was explained that donors to the trust fund are made public on the IGF’s website and that the fund covers the following for the IGF Secretariat: personnel and fellowships; meeting costs (open consultations and MAG – interpretation, venue, etc.); some participant travel from developing countries; office running costs.


·         A question was raised on why the IGF Trust Fund continues to be funded as an “extra-budgetary” project and not from the regular budget of the UN. It was explained that Member States would have to reach consensus on the option of regular budget funding of the IGF and would likely not do so if posed.


·         One participant recalled that the CSTD’s Working Group on IGF improvements deliberated over the issue of funding for several weeks. There was no consensus, from both developed and developing countries alike, on UN regular funding for the IGF.


·         There is often confusion between funding for the UN Trust Fund and the funding to conduct the annual meetings of the IGF. It was explained that the costs of holding the annual IGF meeting are covered by the host countries and is executed by a Host Country Agreement with the UN.


  • One participant suggested that to ensure the sustainability of the funding for annual meetings, the Secretariat should make efforts for outreach and to line up host countries as far in advance as possible, especially in light of the new ten-year mandate.


A reference was made to the recommendations contained in the CSTD WG on IGF Improvements with regard to funding:
1) Recommendations increasing voluntary financial contributions (para 24-30,

2) Recommendations to enhance accountability and transparency (para 31-33, A/67/65–E/2012/48)

3) Recommendations to acknowledge host country’s support and in-kind support from other countries, organizations and the UN (para 34-35, A/67/65–E/2012/48)


Suggestions for ensuring the IGF is sustainable financially: What can be done further based on the CSTD Recommendations?

·         It was generally noted that the current model should be continued but with renewed and strengthened efforts to increase voluntary contributions. This includes the option to explore ways to accept small contributions beyond the usual bilateral agreements, and recognition of donors wherever possible. It was noted that dedicated human resources and capacity could be devoted to stepping up these funding efforts. 

·         Rather than requesting the central UN Secretariat Trust Fund to support other activities such as the NRIs, “working from the edges” and collaborating with UNDP, which has impressive local-level connections in countries across the world, could be one viable solution for cost-sharing and capacity building at the local levels.  

·         There needs to be a systematic approach with a clear strategy and supporting activities for fundraising. Documenting and messaging could be the first steps.  

·         It was recommended that the IGF reach out more to private sector companies to seek funding.  

·         Should the IGF adopt multi-year programme or streams on topical issues, it could enable donors to support the IGF with explicit aims and longer-term orientation. 

·         There could be efforts to position IGF funding alongside stakeholders’ requirements and priorities, e.g. with the sustainable development agenda.

·         It was remarked that it would be an opportune moment at the start of this 10-year mandate of IGF for greater outreach, including to potential senior officials including Secretaries-General of international organizations as well as industry and other non-government entities to raise the general profile of the IGF and invite funding contributions.

4) Ways to better capture and shape the outputs of the IGF, including outputs of IGF community intersessional activities, and increasing their visibility and impact.

A distinction was made between the IGF’s intangible and tangible produced outcomes. Among the intangible outcomes are the following:

  • Education
  • Capacity Building
  • Networking
  • Marketing

The scope of tangible outputs is related to written documents available on the IGF website, including annual chair’s summaries, reports from all individual main sessions, workshops, Best Practice Forum (BPF) and Dynamic Coalition (DC) outputs, the “Connecting the Next Billion” (CNB) paper, reports by National and Regional Initiatives (NRIs) and several others. All in all, there are several thousand pages of content that is produced during the annual meeting and also intersessionally. A sample listing of the documents produced from the 2015 IGF is included in Appendix A. In addition, the IGF website, the IGF Youtube channel and in a complementary way the  “Friends of the IGF” website (www.friendsoftheigf.org) archive all transcripts, videos and other available documentation of all IGF sessions since the first IGF in 2006.

The following questions were put to the participants in the room by the facilitators:

1. What outputs should we be producing from the different types and subtypes of meetings, given the objectives we want to achieve, the audience we are targeting etc.,

2. What kind of documents are missing from the above?

3. Are there documents that we could cease producing, or reduce in scope?

4. What are the ways we can better capture and shape the outputs of the IGF?

5. How do we improve them – (increase their visibility and impact, relevance, reach, level of details, etc.)

6. What measures can be taken by the UN Secretariat, the MAG, and the broader IGF community to better disseminate IGF outputs to other relevant fora?

7. How can the IGF website be better used to capture and promote IGF outputs and reports, etc.?

Some issues with the current documents:

  • It was noted that many of the documents tended to be descriptive rather than substantive. Many also remarked that – in addition to the detailed reports – there should be shorter and more concise synthesis documents, in particular if they are to be made usable for policy makers.
  • All outputs and documents are on the IGF website but not always easy to find. There would be a need for better organization of these, to “librarianize” these documents (perhaps by a specialist from UNESCO, in co-operation with IFLA). A search optimization, e.g. using indexed texts or tagged keywords, would also be useful.
  • The issue was raised that all IGF documentation is in English. Translation, perhaps into French and other UN languages, should be considered for at least some selected important documents. Although lack of resources was cited as an impediment, particularly for the purpose of engaging new participants, it would be important to have translations.
  • Some said that some IGF outputs may appear a little “boring”, but it was also noted that this was at one point somewhat deliberate. It was said that there has been a degree of nervousness about IGF outputs and about who would produce them - straightforwardly descriptive reports provided a measure of neutrality and added to the legitimacy of the open and inclusive character of IGF dialogue. Records of IGF meetings have also always been provided via transcripts, which are still needed for adaptive use by some stakeholders. Resources would be needed to produce more dynamic documents - synthesis reports, for instance, and infographics for better usability.

Suggestions for improvement:

  • The general remark was made that in order to improve the IGF’s outputs, it should be determined first what the purpose or purposes and “target audiences” of these documents are and what types of documents would be most useful to the different user groups and their specific needs.

Some of the key uses of documents include the following:

  • Comprehensive and verbatim reports are important for academic research
  • Synthesis papers that condense the discussions into key messages highlighting main directions of how a discussion on an issue is developing for instance over time or across different regions, cultures or stakeholder groups
  • Executive summaries for decision makers
  • Documents that a focused on particular areas and issues which can then be used for follow-up in specialized UN agencies or other fora with a more specialized mandate
  • Documents highlighting the value added of the IGF dialogue for potential donors and sponsors of the IGF events and processes
  • While narrative reports are good - and it was noted by several participants that these continue to be appreciated by those who cannot attend the IGF in person - papers with clearly stated issues that constitute more of a quick snapshot (or a “cheat sheet”) would be more useful.  
  • Data mining, search tools, multimedia (photos, videos), multilingualism and taxonomy (tagging) are all elements that should be incorporated into the IGF website to enhance the accessibility, readability and attractiveness of the IGF’s documents.
  • Recommendations 12, 13, 14 of the CSTD working group on IGF improvements were also recalled and cited. In this context it was suggested IGF documents map out converging and diverging issues. There should also be some indication for each output of who the interested stakeholders are. Also in line with the recommendations, a baseline should be applied to make improvements properly, and a survey should be taken of existing documents.
  • Some suggested that social media and website analytics could also be used to measure how much the documents are used, their viewership, what users are looking for from them. In general user metrics of IGF outputs would be useful.
  • It was said that documents should be produced not just for existing IGF participants but potential ones. They should be as readable as possible for capacity-building purposes and engaging the unengaged.
  • It was stressed by some participants that there should be more of an effort made - not just by the IGF Secretariat or the MAG, but by engaged IGF community members and stakeholders wherever possible - to carry IGF outputs into other international and intergovernmental fora. This was the case with the CNB document, which was cited at the African Union Summit.
  • Given that the resources of the IGF secretariat are limited, it was proposed the IGF work on forming partnerships to address various aspects of improving outputs (e.g. with the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance-NetMundial to incorporate their comments platform; with the Friends of IGF website to adapt some of their archiving and presentation of materials; Diplo/Geneva Internet Platform, which produces briefs on many IGF meetings and events that help people finding their way through the vast amount of sessions and documentation). Similarly, the point was raised by many that better document platforms be used to support the work of NRIs, BPFs and DCs.
  • In order to translate the outcomes of the discussions into other languages than English and to spread them in all regions of the world, partnerships could be sought e.g. with UN specialized agencies that have translation and outreach resources and/or with private sector actors that may offer software tools e.g. for automated translation or other supporting services
  • Many emphasized that outputs are critical for attracting funding. It was suggested that they should be concrete, identify trends within the IGF, and give a forecast or sense of where the IGF is going.
  • Applying a rating system for sessions was proposed; this could generate inputs for session reports. To address the issue of multilingualism crowd-sourcing could be used for translation of IGF documents, perhaps even engaging the NRIs and the Friends of IGF collaborators.
  • It was mentioned by many that it would be worthwhile to include photos and other visual elements in at least some of the outputs. A suggestion was also made to include reports that capture success stories, as a specific addition to the IGF’s published material.
  • It was said that there should be a certain degree of increased formal communication before and after the IGF annual meeting in order to ensure the level of representation/commitment to engage IGOs, the private sector and others at the highest levels.
  • Other approaches, such as hackathons taking place during the IGF event, could be used to see what interested parties could do with the IGF datasets – such activities have yielded innovative tools and approaches in similar circumstances.

Other observations:

·         IGF host country Governments should be responsible for disseminating the outcomes of their respective IGF meetings in the relevant inter-governmental fora; UNDESA should disseminate the information through the UN system secretariats of relevant UN bodies; and non-governmental partners should do the same in their respective networks.

  • More clarity in defining the scope of the role of the MAG and the Secretariat in the production of outputs was called for by some participants. The information should be made publicly available.
  • There are many valuable raw materials coming out of the IGF. It was said that UNESCO, for instance, uses the IGF’s outputs for various purposes. Outputs by BPFs and DCs were also described as generally well-written and results-oriented. The IGF’s Chair’s Summary is also a document that has been a consistent and immediate output of every annual IGF. One participant remarked that often issues covered in IGF outputs are ahead of the curve. It should be remembered that a document produced within the IGF context confers a sense of legitimacy.
  • A participant noted that the private sector would be ready to support any needed improvements to the outputs (concerning multilingualism, taxonomy, document management), in particular where the IGF website is involved.
  • The IGF Secretariat/UNDESA could explore a partnership with the Friends of IGF website and integrate its methodology for presenting audio-visual material online.
  • The session produced a number of ideas about how to improve communication and reporting of the outcomes and the value added of IGF debates. In order for this to be implemented and to have an actual effect, it will be of key importance that responsibilities are clearly defined and that persons and/or organizations are identified that will actually lead the various efforts to further develop communication and the different types of outcome and reporting documents.


1)     IGF 2015 Chair’s Summary: https://www.intgovforum.org/cms/10th%20IGF%20Chairs%20Summary_Finalv2.pdf

2)     IGF Annual Meeting Publications:

3)     Published online reports from the 2015 IGF:

4)     IGF Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion (2015): https://www.intgovforum.org/cms/policy-options-for-connection-the-next-billion/cnb-outdocs 

5)     2015 IGF Best Practice Forums (BPFs):


Session 5a) Ideas to support and complement the work of National and regional IGF initiatives and leverage the synergies between them as well as synergies with the IGF

5b) to support and complement the work of the IGF Dynamic Coalitions and leverage the synergies between them as well as synergies with the IGF.

This session focused on reviewing ideas and suggestions that would support and improve the work of the National and Regional IGF initiatives (NRIs), as well as to support the work of the dynamic coalitions, best practice forums and other intersessional activities. The aim was to leverage the synergies within them, as well as to enhance the linkages with the global IGF for coherence and to outreach to more stakeholders including through capacity building efforts.

National and Regional IGF Initiatives (NRIs):

Alignment to the IGF and global agenda related to Internet governance

·         Participants were reminded that the NRIs are only recognized by the IGF and listed on the IGF website if they meet the IGF principles of being open, inclusive, transparent, non-commercial and respecting the multistakeholder model.

·         It was suggested that there could be a clear and close alignment of the NRIs to the global IGF and the Tunis Agenda. At the same time, governments could consider utilizing or leveraging on the work of the NRIs to implement outcomes of the WSIS Action Lines.

·         Some suggested that the NRIs should stay independent and unique, as they are organic in their creation, while others suggested incorporating the NRIs more tightly into the overall IGF work processes. One concern was raised that NRIs do not have mandates provided for in the Tunis Agenda, and another concern questioned what closer affiliation with the global IGF would mean. Some noted NRIs are diverse, complex, autonomous and bottom-up, and should remain independent from the IGF. Similarly, it was recommended to avoid stipulating that interactions with and among NRIs occur through hierarchical mechanisms such as a national-regional-global chain or pyramid. There was a general reticence to imposing any strict control over them. At the same time, engagement with NRIs who wish to be more closely involved in the IGF’s work should be strengthened.

Visibility and Access to Information

·         It was suggested that the IGF website and NRIs mailing list could be improved to help with information exchange. Other tools such as social media could also be used as collaborative platform between the IGF and the NRIs.

·         A periodic regular newsletter could be sent out to ensure continuity of information flow with the NRIs. Where resources are available, any content on the IGF website could be available in multiple languages (i.e. 6 UN official languages) for content to be accessible to non-English users.

Outreach and Capacity Building

·         In addition to increased communication efforts with the NRIs, some suggested that a collaborative and bilateral relationship might be initiated, where the global IGF could reach out to the NRIs more systematically and with established guidelines. Tighter, more specific guidelines could be developed for the establishment of NRIs. This perspective shared that NRIs could be more functionally involved in the IGF work. On this note, it was called for NRIs to further integrate their work into the IGF annual programme, in alignment with its themes.

·         It was suggested that a stronger connection between the global IGF and the NRIs could also be created through capacity building activities. In this suggestion, one ne of the work streams of the IGF Secretariat could be in these capacity development efforts and within the MAG, there could be dedicated working groups for this. It was noted the NRIs may also need more financial support.

·         The IGF Secretariat could improve its communication platforms for outreach to the NRIs. It was noted that a capacity building strategy and a clear action plan could also be put in place.

·         It was suggested there could be a more systematic and analytical approach toward the engagement of the work of the NRIs. For instance, it would be a useful exercise to evaluate the extent of the multistakeholder process within each of the initiatives.

Dynamic Coalitions (DC):

·         It was noted that a more specific charter with terms for establishing the DCs, with clearly defined objectives and measures of achievement could be developed.

·         The point was made by some that the DCs are the only IGF-affiliated groups (focused on a particular issue or advocacy mission) with work activities held throughout the year.

·         It was noted that the DCs had agreed to abide to some basic principles, such as open mailing lists, open archives and open membership. In response to a request made at the open consultations in April they also agreed to include dissenting opinions in their reports.  It was suggested that this was a first step in the right direction towards developing a more specific charter with clearly defined objectives and measures of achievement.

·         The DCs could be recognized as a strategic tool for reaching to the stakeholders who are not currently participating in the IGF processes (e.g. business users such as banks and other unengaged communities).  

·         As there are different peak periods for DCs, their dynamic work programme could be supported dynamically.

·           Some felt that closer monitoring and evaluation of the DC’s could be done on a needs basis, taking into account their adherence to the guidelines for establishing a DC and the principles as spelled out in DC’s own terms of reference. They should be disbanded or more easily lose their IGF status when they become inactive (i.e. dynamic versus “static” coalitions).

·                      It was noted that the DCs serve a purpose for communities of interest to gather. For them to be integrated into the IGF, and especially, to present as a main session, it was noted that their process needs to comply with the basic principles of the IGF: multistakeholder, inclusive, transparent discussion and reports that reflect the viewpoints of all stakeholders.

·    It was suggested, albeit without consensus, that the Dynamic Coalitions’ requests to hold individual sessions at the annual IGF meetings be subject to a review process similar to workshop proposals. Currently these are granted automatically provided that the DC has filed an annual activities report.

·     It was suggested by some that the IGF website and social media could be better used to support the collaborative work of the DCs.

·         There is a need to strengthen the work of the Dynamic Coalitions for the purposes of producing consistent outputs. DCs’ work could be evaluated by the MAG supported by the IGF Secretariat.

Best Practice Forums (BPFs):

·           It was suggested that some form of liaison could be set up between the BPFs working groups and the MAG. It is also suggested that BPFs work groups could submit their annual work reports for review by the MAG supported by the Secretariat.

·         BPFs could reflect the multi-year thematic focus of the IGF (should there be one). This would be a more effective way in determining resource implications and end objectives. It is recommended to have a neutral third party to act as a consultant to support the logistics and writing components of the BPF work.

·        Guidelines for facilitators of BPFs could be developed to ensure consistency and inclusion of all members of the community.

Other Intersessional work activities:

·           A strategic multi-year action plan could be developed, outlining resource implications and objectives of intersessional work activities.

·         It was said that all intersessional work activities should meet the core IGF principles of openness, inclusiveness and multistakeholderism.

·         The work plans of the IGF intersessional activities should be reviewed and improved accordingly. Reflection of any intersessional work should in turn be transparent, following the multistakeholder, open and inclusive process of the IGF.


Session 5c) Ideas to support, collaborate and enhance communications and cooperation between other Internet governance related entities and the IGF and leverage the synergies with the IGF.

During this session, some overarching observations were noted:

  • When considering Internet governance (IG) entities for engagement, a broad and inclusive approach should be taken. There are many IG-related organizations and linkages should be identified accordingly.
  • It was noted that the majority of participants were referring to linkages with international organizations whereas the Tunis Agenda refers to the linkages with organizations of relevance to Internet governance. This led to a discussion about the need for an expanded interpretation of Internet governance to embrace new Internet-related issues.
  • Other actors and institutions that are not directly related to IG could also provide inputs or benefit from outputs of IGF, and therefore there is a need for the relevance of the IGF to be communicated to those that are both internal within and external to the current IGF community.
  • A distinction was made between the engagement at Secretariat/staff level and the engagement of members/participants. In the UN framework the IGF relied largely on the engagement of Member States.
  • It was also noted that different actors have different degrees of relationships, as seen in the concentric circles of influence (i.e. the most relevant actors around the centre of the influence, i.e. IGF) and that they would entail different kind of linkages and outreach to leverage the impact of the relationships.  As one example, the linkage with ICANN has become a robust and regularized practice of having information sessions at each other’s meetings, while other entities with more peripheral relationships, such as the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) would be a relationship that would benefit from information sharing and outreach for workshop content, etc. It was also noted that these relationships are not static, they evolve. For example, with the IGF’s growing focus on Human Rights issues a number of organizations active in this field have moved closer to the Forum over the past years.

Who to Engage:

  • It was suggested there could be more effective outreach efforts to engage with Governments, given their roles to champion some processes of Internet governance. It was noted that this role has already been exercised in different contexts, including the preparatory process towards WSIS+10.
  • A proposal was made to strengthen the relationship with the UN’s Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) including the Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum.
  • The IGF could engage more effectively with those organizations that have roles in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. There could be an alignment of implementation timelines through 2025.
  • The UN Development Programme (UNDP) could bring IGF issues to the local authorities including those that are in post-conflict situations. It is important to understand how the Internet can play a critical role in the rebuilding process of countries in post-conflict situations.
  • It was noted for specific subject matter, that the IGF could engage organizations that have a clear lead on specific issues (e.g. with the World Trade Organisation on IG related issues in trade should be engaged) or robust activities on specific issues (e.g. with IETF, APWG, ISOC, etc.).
  • It was suggested that a stronger relationship be sought with decision-making processes in the UN General Assembly notably the First, Second and Third Committees on issues relating to security, development and human rights respectively, including primarily by sharing more information about the IGF (i.e. output products).
  • Some UN regional commissions have good involvement with the IGF and this should continue. Links with institutions such as the Council of Europe, European Commission, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU), should be further strengthened.
  • There were calls to strengthen the linkages between the IGF and the UN Group on the Information Society (UNGIS).
  • Stronger links and partnerships with non-governmental organizations that have specific SDGs-related projects.
  • There were discussions about what kind of relationships would garner what kind of linkages (also part of the discussion about the concentric circles). 

·         A general remark was made recognizing that Internet governance is multicentric, issue-based and oriented to problem-solving. In consequence, the interaction with organizations active in Internet governance must be respectful of their role and output, which includes legitimacy gained by results. The proposal was made that the IGF induce and promote cooperation that is horizontal, decentralized and voluntary, and to the best of its capacities avoids unintended, detrimental consequences such as replacing resilience by brittleness.


How to Engage:

  • A Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General, if appointed by the Secretary-General, could engage missing actors at the senior level, including Governments.
  • There should be outreach to both the Secretariat’s and member states of international organizations.
  • Relations with Governments and organizations should be a shared responsibility of the MAG Chair and Co-Chairs (if appointed), and/or Special advisor to the SG on Internet Governance (if appointed). Special attention should be paid to entities that do not have current representation in the MAG.
  • IG coordinators in various institutions could act as effective focal points for communication with the IGF. On example is the role of the Internet governance coordinator in the Council of Europe, drawing linkages to a range of legally-binding treaties and other activities on human rights, rule of law, and democracy.
  • The MAG could step-up its outreach efforts. If a multi-year work programme were developed (i.e. annual or 3-year/5-year/9-year programme with specific themes), there could be an opportunity to strengthen and promote the sustainability of relations with other organizations.  
  • Better communication packages, capturing and presenting the outcomes of the IGF could be shared with various organizations at opportune occasions, e.g. during the annual WSIS Forums, so that representatives can duly inform their stakeholders and communities. There is an opportunity for multiplier effect.
  • There should be better outreach efforts during the annual IGF meetings. The IGF is an opportunity for participants to get to know one another and to bring back valuable experiences and outputs to their respective organizations.
  • It was noted that the CSTD mapping chart captured a large number of organizations that are doing work on any number of IG-related issues that could engender some kind of linkage, including intergovernmental and non-governmental, global, regional, etc. 

Concluding Session: Summing up and Next Steps

Various sessions of the retreat provided opportunities for participants to draw together the different strands of discussion and consider the extent to which the IGF, as currently constituted and organised, could advance the goals set out in its renewed mandate and meet new aspirations identified by the IGF community.

Discussion revolved around a series of questions concerning the IGF support structures and institutional arrangements.  It was recognized that the renewal of the IGF's mandate by the UN General Assembly at WSIS+10 had expressed expectations, specifically the need to show progress on working modalities and the participation of relevant stakeholders from developing countries, as well as the accelerated implementation of the CSTD Working Group on improvements to the IGF, though there was also recognition that improvements have been and continue to be made on an on-going basis.  It was felt that these expectations and the aspirations expressed by the IGF community reflected the current opportunities for the role of the IGF and its impact in other fora, including in supporting ways to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Some participants felt that the IGF had achieved significant impact in its first ten years, but also recognized that limited resources had been a constraining factor.  Its relevance in the future, it was suggested, was not assured, being dependent inter alia on voluntary funding as an extra-budgetary Trust Fund Project of the UN, on increased resources of the secretariat and on participation from a balanced and diverse set of stakeholders.

It was pointed out that other fora are emerging for those wishing to engage in discussions about Internet governance.  This suggested that the IGF's distinctiveness and value within this range of alternatives would need to remain sufficient to maintain participation levels from governments and the private sector in particular.  A few participants felt that the MAG does not engage all parts of the community who want to take part in the discussion on Internet governance, and the IGF itself as well as the various intersessional activities could address this.

In order for the IGF to respond fully to the expectations and aspirations that have been aroused, a number of practical ideas were suggested.  

·         It was stated that the IGF has evolved over the years and is now seen by many as much more than an annual forum.  At the same time, the organizational modalities do not fully recognize this, resulting in some operational complexities and role confusion in the IGF community, IGF secretariat, MAG, and UN DESA.  Increasingly, it is seen not just as an event which takes place once a year, but as an ecosystem including national and regional IGFs, intersessional work, best practice fora, dynamic coalitions and other activities.  This ecosystem offers a wider range of ways to engage stakeholders, including under-represented stakeholders, through which its role and impact could grow.

·         More could be done to take a strategic, long-term view of the role and activities of the IGF, such as through a predictable multi-year programme of work.  Even if not undertaken generally, it might be possible to reinvigorate the IGF by taking a longer-term view of particular issues, dedicating time and resources to progressing discussions and achieving concrete outcomes on these over time.  A longer time horizon such as this could help to bring in new collaborators, including international agencies, and new funders.

·                   Alongside this, it was suggested, it might be possible to move towards a continuous, predictable process for programming the work of the IGF.  Working groups of the MAG, for example, could address particular themes year-round and from one year to the next.  Mechanisms could be put in place to identify and address new or emerging issues, and the annual renewal and selection of MAG Members could be done earlier each year in order to provide a longer annual planning cycle.

·         Given both the relevance and possible vulnerability of the IGF, it was noted that its work should be 'future proof'.  This is not simply a matter of resourcing, but also of ensuring that its institutional structures and capacities are able to respond to changing contexts for Internet and Internet governance.

·         The IGF's innovative and unconventional multistakeholder structure and culture, compared with other UN processes, was generally felt to be one of its strengths.  However, it also made it more difficult to integrate it with other UN processes.  The same is true with respect to integrating the IGF and its institutional arrangements comfortably into expectations of multistakeholder processes.  One of the challenges therefore is how to reconcile its bottom-up approach and stakeholder expectations with other multilateral processes within the UN system.

The role of the MAG and IGF secretariat

The composition, role, capacity and effectiveness of the MAG formed a critical part of the discussion on how the IGF can best deliver on current expectations.  It is clear that there are different perspectives both within and beyond the MAG, and the community, concerning the MAG’s remit, in particular whether it is expected or authorized to take on responsibilities beyond the programming of the annual IGF meetings.

It was emphasized that the role of the MAG needs to be clarified in order to pursue significant innovations in the IGF.  It was suggested, in this context, that some functions relating to the programming of the annual IGF could be undertaken by the secretariat rather than the MAG.  Some participants felt that it would also be beneficial to clarify other aspects of the governance structure of the IGF, including the roles and responsibilities of the UN Secretary-General, of UNDESA under him and of the MAG Chair. Others stressed that the IGF mandate from the Tunis Agenda is clear as are the roles of other actors.   All participants were committed to respecting the Tunis Agenda and the direction established in the WSIS + 10 Outcome Document from December 2015.

In any case, any change to the overall set of IGF related activities would place an additional workload on the MAG and on the Secretariat.  It was generally felt that the IGF Secretariat is under-resourced and hence lacks capacities for its current responsibilities, let alone additional activities.  Clearly, these resourcing challenges need to be addressed if the expectations expressed during the retreat and by the community at large are to be fulfilled.

Ensuring the viability of the IGF

It was noted that renewed attention could help in accelerating implementation of the recommendations of the CSTD Working Group on Improvements to the IGF which reported in 2012.   Some stressed that to do so effectively would require development of an implementation plan for Working Group recommendations, with clear targets established for achievement of recommendations, linked where necessary to fundraising or to identify support required from existing resources.  This implementation plan, it was suggested, should be capable of adapting to changes in the IGF environment, moving out of 'comfort zones' which may cease to be relevant as the environment evolves.  A similar approach would be appropriate for capacity-building.

It was suggested that additional resources would have to be mobilized in order to allow the IGF to deliver on its mandate.  In particular resourcing for the secretariat would need to be enhanced if it were to undertake new responsibilities to analyse current or emerging issues, to reach out to underrepresented stakeholders, unengaged countries and international entities that are concerned with related policy areas, and to develop future thinking. It was generally noted that substantive efforts would be required to address these issues if outcomes were to be improved, but there was also a general sense that this was indeed achievable. DESA is in the process of strengthening its support to the IGF, and many participants suggested additional possibilities for increasing support from the community.

Taking stock

It was generally felt that the retreat had been an important reality check, focusing attention on the challenges to be addressed in order to meet both the aspirations and potential new activities that have been suggested.  The resulting ideas and suggestions were felt to have been valuable, in framing what could be done to address the challenges, including through augmenting available resources and capacities, better planning for and preparing meetings, adapting institutional frameworks and rallying various stakeholders.  The scope and scale of the challenges identified should not be underestimated, and some participants felt that the retreat could have identified even bolder actions, but others noted the input from the community writ large would be important for those considerations.  At the same time, participants felt that there was much that could be done through collective efforts, and that significant advancements could be achieved relatively quickly.

Moving forward

The last hour of the retreat was dedicated to a discussion on the way forward:   

·         An informal document containing proceedings of the retreat discussions will be finalized by the rapporteurs and facilitators with the support of the secretariat, based on reviews by the retreat’s participants

·         This retreat proceedings document will capture key ideas and suggestions without attributing them, per Chatham House rule. Following the modalities of the retreat, the document reflects the different viewpoints and possible actionable items; there were no negotiated decisions.

·         The retreat proceedings document will then be shared with the IGF community through the IGF website. It will be posted online through a review platform [1]. Additionally, one of the Annexes will be a document organizing all retreat ideas and suggestions organised by topic in order to aid a public review and comment period.  It will also be posted online through the review platform for a period of 8 weeks. Substantial outreach efforts will be made to ensure broad awareness that the document is available.

·         It was emphasized that sufficient time should be given to various communities and stakeholders to digest the ideas and suggestions and provide their views and comments.

·         As such, it is believed a review period of 8 weeks (mid-September) will allow stakeholders to provide comments. It was underscored that the conclusion of this retreat is the beginning of a process - contributions from the IGF community will always be welcomed. Some participants cautioned that some push-back might occur if some of the ideas or suggestions coming out of the retreat are carried forward too hastily.   

·         The consultations are expected to help advance and clarify, inter alia, the suggestions coming from the retreat, while additional suggestions will, of course, be very welcome.  Meanwhile, processes that are already on-going to enhance the work of the IGF, such as in the MAG, will continue, e.g. the MAG WG on improving the Workshop Evaluation process.

·   In moving forward, one suggestion was for stakeholders and their respective communities to hold webinars to discuss the ideas and suggestions coming out of the retreat. Holding open consultations was another option.   The IGF MAG Chair and UN DESA including the IGF Secretariat are committed to making themselves available as required, and an open Webinar with MAG members was also supported.

·   Another suggestion was that ideas and suggestions coming out of the retreat proceedings could also be discussed at the 2016 IGF Meeting, either through one of the main sessions (e.g. “Taking Stock Main Session” of past IGF meetings), workshops, or both as appropriate.  It was also noted that there could be outreach efforts to the NRIs as well as other fora to discuss the retreat proceedings.

·         The IGF Retreat of 14-16 July 2016 would no longer have any role or mandate at the public release of this document. Likewise, participants of the retreat would have no further role, function or responsibility in connection to the IGF Retreat as soon as this document is published, other than their existing roles and functions in respective personal and professional capacities, as the next step is engagement in the various communities.


[1] This platform will be similar to “CommentPress” which was also used for “Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion”, an initiative of the 2015 IGF; such a platform allows any public reader to provide comment paragraph-by-paragraph, line-by-line or block-by-block in the margins of a text.


III. Annexes

1. List of ideas and suggestions

2. Retreat programme (with list of facilitators and rapporteurs)

3. FAQs

4. Participants list

5. Background documents

6. Written inputs

7. Retreat evaluations


1.         List of ideas and suggestions

The following compilation of ideas and suggestions from the retreat is open for public consultation:




Please share your comments and additional suggestions for review by the community, and as input to the 11th Annual IGF, by 26 September 2016. 


2.                 Retreat programme




Co-Facilitators & Rapporteurs

14 July Day 1

1830 - 2000 hrs

Arrival at conference location and check-in


2000 - 2200 hrs

Introduction and networking (Dinner)


15 July Day 2

0700 - 0830 hrs



0830 - 1030 hrs

Setting the scene - the last 10 years and the next 10 years of IGF; what role should the IGF play in 2025 and beyond?

Format: Plenary

Welcome Note from Marion Barthélémy, Acting Director of DPADM/DESA

Opening Note from Nitin Desai

Facilitator 1: Lynn St. Amour

Facilitator 2: Juan Fernandez

Rapporteur: David Souter


1030 - 1100 hrs

Coffee break


1100 - 1300 hrs

1) Ways to improve the overall preparatory process and intersessional activities of the IGF, the nomination process and make-up of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), and ways to strengthen the IGF support structures.


11:00-11:15 – Intro to topic in Plenary (Led by 2 Facilitators)

11:15-12:15 – 4 Breakout groups of approx. 10 participants

12:15-13:00 – Sum-up in Plenary + Conclusions and Report-out (Led by 2 Facilitators; Report by rapporteur)

Facilitator 1: Markus Kummer

Facilitator 2:  Lea Kaspar

Rapporteur: Carolyn Nguyen


1300 - 1400 hrs



1400 - 1600 hrs

2a) Measures to engage those stakeholders who are currently unengaged, with a view to expand and diversify physical and virtual participation/engagement and increase the engagement of individuals in IGF activities from underrepresented segments? (Capacity building)



14:00-14:15 – Intro to topic in Plenary

14:15-15:15 – Breakout groups

15:15-16:00 - Sum-up in Plenary + Conclusions and Report-out

Facilitator 1: Nnenna Nwakanma

Facilitator 2: Benedicto Fonseca

Rapporteur: Cristina Monti


1600 - 1630 hrs

Coffee break


1630 - 1745 hrs

2b) What roles could the IGF play in Internet governance capacity development?

Facilitator 1: Juuso Moisander

Facilitator 2: Anriette Esterhuysen

Rapporteur: Giacomo Mazzone


1745 - 1830 hrs

Continued discussion on Items 1-2

Summing up and Possible Next Steps for Stakeholder Community Engagement

Format: Plenary

Facilitator 1: Lynn St. Amour

Facilitator 2: Marion Barthélémy

Rapporteur: David Souter


1830 - 2000 hrs



2000 - 2130 hrs

3) Modalities to ensure sustained funding to support the IGF and the IGF Secretariat.


Facilitator 1: Elizabeth Thomas-Reynaud

Facilitator 2: Liesyl Franz

Rapporteur: Constance Bommelaer


16 July Day 3

0700 - 0830 hrs



08300 - 1030 hrs

4) Ways to better capture and shape the outputs of the IGF, including outputs of IGF community intersessional activities, and increasing their visibility and impact.


8:30- 8:45 – Intro to topic in Plenary

8:45 -09:45 – Breakout groups

09:45 -10:30 – Sum-up in Plenary + Conclusions and Report-out

Facilitator 1: Peter Dengate-Thrush

Facilitator 2: Thomas Schneider

Rapporteur: Stuart Hamilton


1030 - 1100 hrs

Coffee break


1100 - 1300 hrs

5a) Ideas to support and complement the work of National and regional IGF initiatives and leverage the synergies between them as well as synergies with the IGF.

5b)  to support and complement the work of the IGF Dynamic Coalitions and leverage the synergies between them as well as synergies with the IGF.


11:00-11:15 – Intro to topic in Plenary

11:15-12:15 – Breakout groups

12:15-13:00 – Sum-up in Plenary + Conclusions and Report-out

Facilitator 1: Flavio Wagner

Facilitator 2: Janis Karklins

Rapporteur: Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro


1300 - 1400 hrs

Lunch and Room check-out


1400 - 1530 hrs

Continued discussion on Item 5

c) Ideas to support, collaborate and enhance communications and cooperation between other Internet governance related entities and the IGF and leverage the synergies with the IGF.


14:00-14:15 – Intro to topic in Plenary

14:15-15:00 – Breakout groups

15:00-15:30 – Sum-up in Plenary + Conclusions and Report-out

Facilitator 1: Zahid Jamil

Facilitator 2: Peter Major

Rapporteur: Lee Hibbard


1530 - 1600 hrs

Coffee break


1600 - 1730 hrs

Concluding Session: Summing up and Next Steps for Stakeholder Community Engagement

Format: Plenary

Facilitator 1: Lynn St. Amour

Facilitator 2: Marion Barthélémy

Rapporteur: David Souter


1730 - 1800 hrs



3.                 FAQs

1. What is the IGF Retreat?

A two-day working retreat is proposed by the United Nations Secretariat for 14-16 July 2016 in Glen Cove, New York on Advancing the 10-Year Mandate of the IGF, as part of the process of continual improvement of the IGF.

2. What is the purpose of the retreat?

The proposed retreat is part of a larger ongoing process aimed at improving the IGF. It is envisaged as a strategic dialogue to be held among experts, policymakers and practitioners in enriching IGF as the global forum for facilitating multistakeholder policy discussion and exchange on public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance, in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet, as mandated the Tunis Agenda para 72. As part of the discussion, the retreat will welcome inputs on how IGF can contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

To recall, in the outcome document of the General Assembly on the overall review of the outcomes of WSIS (A/RES/70/125 of 16 December 2015), the existing mandate of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was extended for another 10 years, with a call to show “progress on working modalities and the participation of relevant stakeholders from developing countries” and “accelerated implementation of recommendations in the report of the Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development”  

3. What will be the outcome(s)?

Expected outcomes of the retreat include recommendations on (but are not limited to):

(i) ways to improve the overall preparatory process of the IGF, the structure and nomination process for the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), and ways to strengthen the IGF Secretariat;

(ii) measures to engage those stakeholders who are currently unengaged, with a view to expand and diversify physical and virtual participation;

(iii) ways to better capture the outputs of the IGF and increasing their visibility and impact;

(iv) ideas to support the work of national and regional IGF initiatives, and leverage the synergies between them as well as synergies with the IGF; and

(v) modalities to ensure sustained funding to support the IGF and the IGF Secretariat.

4. Will these outcomes be shared with the IGF community?

Yes, any outcomes or recommendations coming out of the retreat will be shared with the broader IGF community for further comment/consultation.

5. Who will participate in the Retreat?

In view of retreat limitations, the total number of participants is estimated at 35.

Participants will be invited from relevant stakeholder groups such as governments, private sector, civil society, technical community and international and intergovernmental organizations, past and current MAG members, past IGF host country representatives and the IGF community in general. It is expected there will be approximately 5 participants from each of the 4 IGF stakeholder communities. This is in addition to some representatives from relevant International and Intergovernmental organizations, former and current IGF host countries, etc.

6. How are participants selected?

The final list of participants in the proposed retreat will be composed of individuals designated through community processes as well as a number to be appointed by the UN Secretariat, largely based upon nominations received by the multistakeholder community. The final participants list will be construed to assure balanced participation and broad diversity across a number of considerations.

The UN Secretariat welcomes nominations by individuals or any stakeholder groups and institutions to participate at the proposed retreat.

-MAG Process:

To ensure continuity and integration with current IGF and MAG efforts, current MAG members from each of the Civil Society, Technical, and Private Sector communities within the 2016 MAG are being asked to designate 1 participant each. The MAG Chair has also been invited to participate in the retreat.

-Process by Stakeholder Groups:

Each of the 3 non-governmental stakeholder groups (civil society, private sector, technical community) have the option of designating 2 participants through their own processes.

The remaining two positions within each stakeholder group will be selected by the UN secretariat through the public nomination process to assure balanced participation and broad diversity across a number of considerations.  Stakeholder communities are therefore requested to submit 3 - 4 additional nominations for these 2 positions while noting that participants may also be drawn from self-nominations as well as nominations from other institutions/organizations.

-Government Process:

Governments will be contacted by their UNCTAD regional coordinators and invited to submit names for consideration to the IGF Secretariat directly.

-International and Intergovernmental Organizations:

The UN may invite relevant international, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to participate. Any organization can also nominate participants/representatives through the public nomination process.

7.  What is the breakdown of the other participants?

As indicated in question 6 above, the total number of participants is estimated at 35. In addition to 20 participants representing the 4 stakeholder groups, (i.e. governments, civil society, private sector and the technical community) it's expected that the approximately 15 remaining participants slots will be filled by invited and or interested relevant International (including non-governmental) and Intergovernmental organizations and former IGF host countries.

8. How do I nominate a participant (or myself) for the Retreat?

A form was available to nominate a participant or to submit a self-nomination for the Internet Governance Forum Retreat before 7 June 2016.

9. What are the other modalities for the Retreat?

The proposed retreat will be conducted in a participatory manner. Retreat participants are requested to be involved in designing and organizing the programme and to act as moderators and discussants.

10. Will there be online/remote participation?

Due to on-site logistics, online/remote participation may not be available for the retreat; however, outcome documents of the retreat will be shared for further comment/consultation.

11. Since there is a limitation to the number of participants at the retreat, how can anyone in the IGF community contribute to the retreat?

To be as inclusive as possible and allow for a broad set of contributions, the UN Secretariat will publish a “Call for inputs” with guiding questions to solicit inputs from all relevant stakeholders and the wider IGF and WSIS community ahead of the retreat. These contributions will then feed into the programme and expected outcomes of the retreat, as appropriate, along with reports from the CSTD WG on Improvements to the IGF, the outcome document of the General Assembly on the overall review of the outcomes of WSIS (A/RES/70/125 of 16 December 2015, and other related outcome documents of past IGF sessions and MAG meetings. In addition, a substantive section of the Open Consultation Day (12th July 2016) immediately ahead of the MAG meeting on 13-14 July 2016 will focus on the Retreat Agenda.

12. Will participants be funded for travel?

Limited funding will be available to support the travel costs of participants from developing countries. More details athttp://www.intgovforum.org/cms/aboutigf/2016-05-10-14-28-13

13. What is the cost of attending the retreat (accommodation, meals, etc.)?

Accommodation and meals will be provided for all participants at the retreat venue - Glen Cove, New York.


4.                 Participants list


Affiliation/Stakeholder Group

Mr. Amessinou, Kossi


Ms. Arida, Christine


Ms. Bommelaer, Constance

Technical Community

Ms. Contreras, Claudia

International (UNCTAD)

Mr. de Lara, Salvador


Mr. Dengate Thrush, Peter

Technical Community

Mr. Desai, Nitin (Opening intervention)

Former Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General

Mr. Elgamal, Hossam

Private Sector

Ms. Esterhuysen, Anriette

Civil Society

Mr. Fernandez, Juan


Mr. Fonseca Filho, Benedicto


Ms. Franz, Liesyl


Mr. Hajiyev, Nariman


Mr. Hamilton, Stuart

Civil Society

Mr. Hibbard, Lee


Mr. Jamil, Zahid

Private Sector

Mr. Kārkliņš, Jānis

Former MAG Chair

Ms. Kaspar, Lea

Civil Society

Mr. Kerimi, Danil


Mr. Klensin, John

Technical Community

Mr. Kummer, Markus

Former MAG Chair

Mr. Lanteri, Paolo

International (WIPO)

Mr. Major, Peter

Chair of CSTD WG on IGF Improvements

Mr. Maloor, Preetam

International (ITU)

Mr. Mazzone, Giacomo


Mr. Moisander, Juuso


Ms. Monti, Cristina


Ms. Nguyen, Carolyn

Private Sector

Ms. Nwakanma, Nnenna

Civil Society

Mr. Olufuye, Jimson

Private Sector

Mr. Pisanty, Alejandro

Technical Community

Mr. Schneider, Thomas


Mr. Souter, David

Former WSIS/WSIS+10 Consultant

Ms. St. Amour, Lynn

MAG Chair

Ms. Tamanikaiwaimaro, Salanieta

Civil Society

Ms. Thomas-Raynaud, Elizabeth

Private Sector

Mr. Triansyah Djani, Dian


Ms. Hu, Xianhong

International (UNESCO)

Mr. Wagner, Flavio

Technical Community

5.                 Background documents



6.                 Written inputs (listed in order received)

1. Contribution from John Carr and Sonia Livingston  [18/06/2016]

2. Contribution from Juan Fernandez  [20/06/2016]                               

3. Contribution from Shreedeep Rayamajhi [24/06/2016]

4. Contribution from Kossi Amessinou [28/06/2016]

5. Contribution from the Civil Society Co-ordination Group (CSCG) [29/06/2016]

6. Contribution from Jeremy Malcolm [30/06/2016]

7. Contribution from Virginia Paque (Also Endorsed by DiploFoundation) [30/06/2016]

8. Contribution from 'Friends of the IGF' [30/06/2016]

9. Contribution from Jeremy Malcolm on behalf of a group of Civil Society Organisations and Individuals [30/06/2016]

10. Contribution from the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) [30/06/2016]

11. Contribution from the African Civil Society on the Information Society (ACSIS) [01/07/2016]

12. Contribution from AfICTA [01/07/2016]

13. Contribution from Deirdre Williams [01/07/2016]

14. Contribution from the Indonesia IGF (ID-IGF) [01/07/2016]

15. Contribution from DiploFoundation and Geneva Internet Platform [01/07/2016]

16. Contribution from Yahoo Japan Corporation [01/07/2016]

17. Contribution from the Government of the United States of America [01/07/2016]

18. Contribution from the European Broadcasting Union/World Broadcasting Union [01/07/2016]

19. Contribution from the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) [01/07/2016]

20. Contribution from Silvia Way, Peru [01/07/2016]

21. Contribution from Jyoti Panday [01/07/2016]

22. Contribution from Avri Doria [01/07/2016]

23. Contribution from David Souter [01/07/2016]

24. Contribution from ICANN [03/07/2016]

25. Contribution from the Internet Society [04/07/2016]

26. Contribution from the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) [05/07/2016]

27. Contribution from RIPE NCC [05/07/2016]

28. Contribution from the Federal Telecommunications Institute of Mexico [06/07/2016]

29. Contribution from Mark Carvell, UK Government [07/07/2016]

30. Contribution from Kossi Amessinou [07/07/2016]



7.                 Retreat evaluations

Overall Summary

Participants were satisfied with the overall discussion and organization of the Retreat. They stated that the objectives of the meeting could be improved, but that the pointes raised during the meeting were relevant. It was recommended to conduct a pre-meeting briefing preparations and develop a set of guiding questions, in order to streamline the discussion. Participants agreed that the Retreat provided a unique ground for different perspectives to reflect the IGF improvements.


Negative Answers

Intermediate Answers

Positive Answers







Very Good




Your overall assessment of the relevance of this Retreat






Clarity of the objectives






Relevance and quality of the discussions at the Retreat






Extent to which the objectives of the Retreat were achieved






Extent to which you were satisfied with the organization of this Retreat






*Based on evaluation forms submitted by 22 respondents


Summary of Qualitative Feedback

Feedback on specific aspects of the event


Discussion Arena and Stakeholder engagement

·         This retreat has been a great opportunity to reflect on the value of the IGF and its future evolution, together with many experts from different fields. It has educational impact as well.

·         This event created unique opportunity for the community to discuss important, specific issues that wouldn’t be otherwise discussed. Participants were able to hear, understand and engage with other perspectives

·         It helped to build trust among the constituencies. The Chatham House rule enabled individuals to speak freely

·         The facilities worked well for the purpose


Nature and format of discussion

·         The manner in which the Retreat was organized fostered free-range dialogue which enabled creative thoughts and inputs feeding into dialogue on improvements of the IGF

·         There was an atmosphere of openness and collaboration to find

·         Organizer had a light touch that resulted in a true bottom-up process

·         The Retreat’s friendly, open and collaborative environment resulted in an interactive and free discussion on a very open and wide agenda, under Chatham House rule, that essentially helped promoting new ideas for improving the IGF

·         There was a good practice with some of the sessions providing a factual overview, that later led to a more substantive discussion

·         To work in small groups was effective

·         It was useful to have live capturing of discussion by rapporteurs and note takers


Content of discussion

·         Everything was useful related to the segments of conducting better outreach to the NRIs, DCs, unconnected stakeholders from all groups and to, not so well connected intergovernmental organizations

·         Sessions 1 and 2 were, in particular, the most open-ended oriented discussions that reflected improvements of the IGF and MAG

·         The most useful new information came from the session on IGF funding. The recommendation is to find modalities to have easier access to these information and to understand them

·         Sessions on utilizing the IGF information were useful and achieving the consensus on the need for better communication and transparency

·         The potential need to mainstream the IGF with the UN system was useful to hear

·         The discussions successfully  presented the usefulness of reflecting on ways to continuously improve the IGF by accelerating implementation of the CSTD Working Group on the IGF Improvements recommendations, as per the mandate given by the UNGA High Level Meeting on WSIS+10


Suggestions to the IGF

·         To provide outputs from the IGF events to all stakeholders

·         All stakeholders to work together in order for the Forum to be fully inclusive and accessible to everyone

·         To adjust the IGF website content to all six UN official languages

·         To make more efficient outreach toward the developing countries’ governments

·         To hear from UNDESA contributing and engaging into the discussion


Pre-Retreat preparation logistics

·         Discussions would have benefitted from a baseline analysis of the status quo that should have been provided either before the retreat, on Day 1, or at the start of each session.

·         Before the Retreat, to produce a compendium of written input contributions, clustered per session, so that it can serve as a substantive base for the discussion

·         Community input was not given adequate consideration. It would be helpful to have it summarised and presented before the discussions begin

·         Facilitators of individual sessions could have been given more structured guidance in terms of format and objectives. This resulted in sessions being inconsistent in referencing to community inputs


Time constraints

·         The Retreat discussion needed more time

·         The Retreat organizers should allow more time for receiving input contributions

·         To have more time to read the submissions received as inputs, as they came in too close to the start of the Retreat

·         To produce the guiding questions of the discussion debate in advance, so that the participants can prepare better. Some of them were produced just before the beginning of the session, which made impossible to adapt prepared arguments

·         Having a two days discussion was too compressed. Additionally, 15 to 20 minutes breaks on every 2.5 hours are necessary


Communication mechanisms

·         More coordination by staff and the agenda setters with those facilitating the sessions to meet the expectations

·         A chat room for all attendees could have been set up to allow timely information exchanges as the retreat proceeded without interrupting the flow of the sessions

·         Some interventions could have been avoided if participants had a way of saying "+1" in the chatroom and time could be used more effectively

·         It would be useful to have a dedicated tweeter

·         It was useful to have live capturing of content discussion by rapporteurs and note takers



·         There was an optimal number of attendees

·         There was a good diversity of participants, with different level of experience and time length of involvement with the IGF

·         More delegates to be included in this types of discussions

·         The attendee list was composed entirely of friends and supporters of the IGF. To have  more "dissent" might be useful to expose other ideas

·         Participants were repetitive in some of the points made


Format and Content

·         Ideas and proposals contained in the contribution input documents were largely ignored

·         Although there was a good discussion, there were less actionable recommendations

·         Consider a format where the first day is dedicated to the generation of issues, that are categorized and summarized at the start of the second day, and after to engage in the discussion of what should be done

·         The session could benefit from an initial presentation on the state of the art of each issue under discussion in order to help circumvent, allow more time for forward looking discussions and avoid repeating what is already done



·         The ideas and recommendations of the Retreat to be materialized in a strategic plan that includes concrete actions, defining implementation action players and follow-up mechanisms, with active participation of the MAG and open to contributions from the community

·         It was not clear what is the post Retreat plan, from the Retreat discussion itself. This should be clearly developed, following the meeting discussion

·         The Retreat should generate a final output document that will be referenced by the MAG, IGF Secretariat, UNDESA and wider community

·         It is of crucial importance that clear responsibilities are defined and that teams - involving the Secretariat, MAG and the community, reflect each of the issues discussed and move towards implementation, while being transparent and accountable towards the global community

·         To develop a formal follow up of the results towards implementing the suggestions emerged during the Retreat

·         It is important to continue working on what was discussed

·         To define what are at least the 5 years targets to be achieved through the IGF operation

·         It was recommended to re-organise the MAG into expert groups, to achieve the objectives that the community will define



Retreat on Advancing the 10-Year Mandate of the Internet Governance Forum                                          Evaluation Report

Annexes 1 - Questionnaire Feedback

Overall assessment of the relevance of this Retreat


Clarity of objectives


Relevance and quality of the discussion at the Retreat


Extent to which the objectives were achieved


Extent to which you were satisfied with the organization of this Retreat


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