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MAG Chair's Blog

After many months of hard work and preparation, the IGF community has published draft Best Practices on a range of key issues, complementing other intersessional efforts such as Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion, and Dynamic Coalitions.

Best Practices Forums (BPFs) offer the Internet governance community tangible ways to address Internet issues. Discussions stemming from the BPFs can inform policy debates taking place in other fora and are 'living' outputs: they can be updated at any time to accommodate the pace of technological change faced by Internet policy-makers. Expert communities have the freedom to define their own methodologies, tailored to each theme's specific needs and requirements.

Tackling emerging issues in a collaborative fashion

Building on a busy and compelling agenda, the IGF community is united this year in its willingness to address concrete issues, with a view to work towards solutions. I am very pleased by this positive development. It demonstrates the IGF's capacity to produce tangible outcomes within multistakeholder collaboration frameworks.

IGF 2015 Best Practices Forums will be tackling critical issues: Regulation and Mitigation of Unwanted Communications; Establishing and Supporting Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs); Developing Meaningful Multistakeholder Participation Mechanisms; Practices to Countering Abuse Against Women Online; Creating an Enabling Environment for IPv6 Adoption and Enabling Environments to Establish Successful IXPs. All interested stakeholders are invited to join these open and transparent working groups. All BPF working processes are entirely open to all. (discussion lists, webinars, etc.)

Openness and transparency, key success factors of the BPF

I also wanted to reflect here on a recent event that highlights the importance to continue building on the IGF's commitment to principles of openness, transparency and respect. Last week the Twitter conversation convened by the BPF on Countering Online Abuse and Violence Against Women was unfortunately the target of an online harassment campaign. The IGF Secretariat responded to the offensive comments accordingly by blocking or expelling anyone that does not adhere to the general principles of engagement in all of the various BPF work outlined in the IGF Code of conduct, and that include interacting with other members of the community with respect. While it was truly regrettable that a small group of individuals decided to engage in this type of behavior, it reinforces at the same time the need for such best practices. Today, it has strengthened the group's resolve and determination to continue their excellent work on this important topic.

The value of IGF outputs is indeed intimately linked to the open, bottom-up and transparent nature of the process. Discussions on the various topics are healthy, but need to be led in a constructive manner. The BPF leaders have learned from this experience and are continuing the work leading into the upcoming IGF in Brazil from 10-13 November.

What comes next?

Draft Best Practice Forum outputs are currently open for comments on the IGF review platform and further versions will be made available at the end of the month. These will be further discussed at the IGF in João Pessoa, Brazil from 10 to 13 November, and finalized after the meeting based upon meetings there.

With the 2015 Best Practices effort, the Internet community is facing the challenges head on with new collaborative processes designed to turn dialogue into action and numerous, substantive results. As Internet-defining issues continue to emerge, the IGF is demonstrating that is has the potential to play an increasingly important role in the global debate on Internet governance.

Jānis Kārkliņš,
Ambassador of Latvia, Chair of the IGF MAG

After many months of hard work and preparation, the IGF community has published draft Best Practices on a range of key issues, complementing other intersessional efforts such as Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion, and Dynamic Coalitions.

Best Practices Forums (BPFs) offer the Internet governance community tangible ways to address Internet issues. Discussions stemming from the BPFs can inform policy debates taking place in other fora and are 'living' outputs: they can be updated at any time to accommodate the pace of technological change faced by Internet policy-makers. Expert communities have the freedom to define their own methodologies, tailored to each theme's specific needs and requirements.

Tackling emerging issues in a collaborative fashion

Building on a busy and compelling agenda, the IGF community is united this year in its willingness to address concrete issues, with a view to work towards solutions. I am very pleased by this positive development. It demonstrates the IGF's capacity to produce tangible outcomes within multistakeholder collaboration frameworks.

IGF 2015 Best Practices Forums will be tackling critical issues: Regulation and Mitigation of Unwanted Communications; Establishing and Supporting Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs); Developing Meaningful Multistakeholder Participation Mechanisms; Practices to Countering Abuse Against Women Online; Creating an Enabling Environment for IPv6 Adoption and Enabling Environments to Establish Successful IXPs. All interested stakeholders are invited to join these open and transparent working groups. All BPF working processes are entirely open to all. (discussion lists, webinars, etc.)

Openness and transparency, key success factors of the BPF

I also wanted to reflect here on a recent event that highlights the importance to continue building on the IGF's commitment to principles of openness, transparency and respect. Last week the Twitter conversation convened by the BPF on Countering Online Abuse and Violence Against Women was unfortunately the target of an online harassment campaign. The IGF Secretariat responded to the offensive comments accordingly by blocking or expelling anyone that does not adhere to the general principles of engagement in all of the various BPF work outlined in the IGF Code of conduct, and that include interacting with other members of the community with respect. While it was truly regrettable that a small group of individuals decided to engage in this type of behavior, it reinforces at the same time the need for such best practices. Today, it has strengthened the group's resolve and determination to continue their excellent work on this important topic.

The value of IGF outputs is indeed intimately linked to the open, bottom-up and transparent nature of the process. Discussions on the various topics are healthy, but need to be led in a constructive manner. The BPF leaders have learned from this experience and are continuing the work leading into the upcoming IGF in Brazil from 10-13 November.

What comes next?

Draft Best Practice Forum outputs are currently open for comments on the IGF review platform and further versions will be made available at the end of the month. These will be further discussed at the IGF in João Pessoa, Brazil from 10 to 13 November, and finalized after the meeting based upon meetings there.

With the 2015 Best Practices effort, the Internet community is facing the challenges head on with new collaborative processes designed to turn dialogue into action and numerous, substantive results. As Internet-defining issues continue to emerge, the IGF is demonstrating that is has the potential to play an increasingly important role in the global debate on Internet governance.

Jānis Kārkliņš,
Ambassador of Latvia, Chair of the IGF MAG

On behalf of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) I would like to extend the official invitation from the United Nations Secretary-General which cordially invites and encourages all stakeholders to participate in the upcoming 10th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, being held this year in the beautiful coastal city of João Pessoa, Brazil.

IGF 2015 takes place at a turning point in the history of Internet governance.  The ten-year review of the WSIS is an opportunity to set a forward-looking vision for the Information Society, but also to discuss the renewal of the IGF’s mandate. Furthermore, with the Sustainable Development Summit, this year offers a unique opportunity for the community to articulate the value of ICTs and the Internet in supporting a people-centric and development oriented Information Society. Many of these issues will be at the heart of the IGF’s discussions.

 

Towards IGF 2015 Outputs

This year some innovative processes are under way, leading to tangible outputs:

 

·         ‘Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion’ exercise, which aims to create better synergies and create linkages between the IGF and National and Regional IGF initiatives that are mushrooming around the world. The process that has been put in place by the MAG strives to produce a community driven, bottom-up developed IGF output. It is direct response to the recommendation of the UN CSTD Working Group on improvements of IGF that called for more tangible outcomes from IGF. Information on how to contribute to this initiative in a variety of ways can be found here.

 

·         IGF Best Practice Forums (BPFs) are working to produce diverse outputs intended to become robust resources, to serve as inputs into other pertinent forums, and to evolve and grow over time on the subjects of: I. Developing meaningful multistakeholder participation mechanisms, II. Regulation and mitigation of unsolicited communications (e.g. "spam"), III. Establishing and supporting Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRT) for Internet security, IV. Practice to counter abuse against women online, V. Creating an Enabling Environment for IPv6 Adoption, VI. Enabling Environments for Establishing successful IXPs. All interested individuals and organizations are invited to join this community driven work. Information on how to join and participate in the BPFs can be found here.

 

·         IGF Dynamic Coalitions, some of which have been working since the first IGF in 2006, and others who have just began their work on important and emerging issues related to Internet Governance, are open to all interested stakeholders. This year some of the IGF Dynamic Coalitions will be presenting their work to the broader IGF community in a dedicated main session. This work will be available for public comment leading up to the IGF. 

 

Presence of the UN General Assembly President (or his representative), as well as review co-facilitators (ambassadors of Latvia and UAE to UN in NYC) at the IGF, will provide significant relevance to this multistakeholder engagement.

Registration is now open via the IGF website. More than 1,000 representatives from Governments, private sector, civil society and the technical community, have already registered. Thousands more are expected to join both in person and through online participation. Newcomers and first-time IGF participants are also encouraged to participate in the work of IGF.

We look forward to working with all of you online and seeing many of you at the IGF in November.

 

Jānis Kārkliņš,

Chair of the IGF MAG

 

Just two weeks ago, the United Nations hosted the Sustainable Development Summit (SDS) where the international community embraced a new global agenda. I was very pleased that ICTs were recognized as a crucial platform for the implementation of this agenda, which sets an ambitious goal to "significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020" (paragraph 9c of the text for the new Sustainable Development Goals).

A timely effort led by the IGF community

This shows the importance of the IGF's access work. Since May, its inter-sessional work on 'Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion' has gained some very positive momentum. This is when the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) made its initial call to the Internet community for background contributions on the topic. Over 50 contributions were received, from inter-governmental organizations, industry, civil society and the technical community.

During the 3rd round of IGF Open Consultations in early September, a document's structure was developed by the IGF community using the background submissions which formed the basis of the draft compilation paper for public comment now until 16 October on the IGF website review platform. Please take a few minutes to share your perspective on this important and timely effort. A revised version of the compilation document will be made available by the end of October based upon additional inputs and comments received by the Secretariat. The final version of the "Next Billion" paper will be presented at the IGF meeting in Joao Pessoa.

An open ended editorial group has also been formed, open to all interested stakeholders, to steer the future development of the paper and the work stream. MAG also plans to organize an open webinar with the community to gather additional views and comments on the paper in the coming weeks. At the 10th IGF in Brazil, the 'Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion' will be discussed during a roundtable main session. All interested stakeholders will gather to discuss both the challenges and possible solutions from their unique perspectives to "Connect the Next Billion", using the IGF platform to build partnerships and catalyze joint efforts.

Looking ahead, building on IGF 2015 successes

This effort is in line with a report produced by the UN General Assembly Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Working Group on Improvements to the IGF. Indeed, the international community then called for several improvements: development of more tangible outputs to 'enhance the impact of the IGF on global Internet governance and policy', addressing more issues related to Internet governance for development as well as extending its interaction with Internet governance related entities in order to further develop the global policy dialogue. The 'Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion' aims to respond to all these calls. It also strives to bring National and Regional IGF Initiatives closer to the global forum and further IGF Best Practice Forums (BPFs). The views and discussions from the National and Regional initiatives and Best Practice Forums form the foundation of the 'Connecting the Next Billion' compilation.

In order to continue this valuable inter-sessional work, I invite the coordinators of national and regional IGF initiatives to propose a theme for 2016 IGF cycle. It could be supported by the IGF community at the Joao Pessoa meeting and introduced in the programmes of the upcoming IGF meetings at national and regional levels.

In the year of the review of the implementation of the WSIS outcomes by the United Nations General Assembly it is important to demonstrate that the Recommendations of the Working Group on Improvements to the IGF have been implemented in full. I count on the engagement of the community to reach this goal.

Thank you and look forward to seeing you in Joao Pessoa.

Jānis Kārkliņš,
Ambassador of Latvia, Chair of the IGF MAG

Chair’s blog

The 2015 IGF Brazil will focus on empowering sustainable development

The preparations of the Brazil IGF meeting are well under way. After consulting the wider Internet community and discussing the overarching theme of the 2015 IGF meeting, the Multistakeholder Advisory Group decided to retain the title “Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development”. This theme will be supported by eight sub-themes that will frame the discussions at the Joao Pessoa meeting: Cybersecurity and Trust; Internet Economy; Inclusiveness and Diversity; Openness; Enhancing Multistakeholder Cooperation; Internet and Human Rights; Critical Internet Resources; Emerging Issues.

The next step in the preparations for the IGF is to build the program. To this extent, organizations and companies from all stakeholder groups are invited to submit their proposals to the IGF Secretariat by 30 March. The Call for Proposals is published on the IGF website alongside with supporting documentation – workshop proposal submission form, description of proposal evaluation process and guidelines for workshop evaluation. In order to make IGF more dynamic and engaging suggestions of new and innovative session formats, such as break-out group discussions, debates, flash sessions, are encouraged. The MAG members and the Secretariat stand ready to assist the community in preparing these proposals, especially those who are considering first time participation or come from developing or least developed countries.
 
It is expected that during the next onsite meeting, which is scheduled for 20 – 22 May in Geneva, Switzerland, the MAG will select the majority of workshops in an open and transparent fashion. Because of time and space limitations last year the MAG could accommodate about half of all submitted proposals. Based on analysis of past experience, the MAG improved the workshop evaluation process and will follow it to the letter. 

The inter-sessional activities that represent an integral part of IGF process are also under consideration. The three week public consultation resulted in additional proposals that the MAG working group will examine together with ones that were submitted during the overall assessment of the Istanbul IGF. It is expected that during the next MAG online meeting, on 18 February, an outline of the inter-sessional work will be presented and possibly endorsed by the MAG. The inter-sessional activities should strengthen links between existing national and regional IGF initiatives and contribute towards concrete outputs of the global IGF in form of on-line repository of resources and possible policy messages.

The Best Practice Forum work stream will continue as a part of the inter-sessional work. Some of the topics that were addressed in 2014 will be continued, while some other topics will be new. CERTs and IXPs have been pre-selected by the MAG and three other themes will be announced very soon.

This year is crucial for Internet governance evolution. The MAG is doing its utmost to make sure that the IGF in Brazil will contribute in a very meaningful way to this evolutionary process. The MAG is working on enhancing communication by the IGF, improving possibilities for on-line participation, often referred as remote participation and improving interactivity during and reporting mechanisms from the sessions. We hope that the new elements introduced by the MAG as well as the efforts toward higher quality outputs from the IGF will be appreciated by all – governments, civil society, industry, technical community and academia.

I call on the Internet community to actively participate in shaping the 2015 IGF. Please engage and submit as many session proposals as you feel necessary.


Jānis Kārkliņš

Ambassador of Latvia, Chair of the MAG