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MAG Chair's Blog

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

 

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

 

The preparations for the 2015 IGF which will take place in João Pessoa, Brazil from 10 to 13 November will commence on 1 December 2014 with Open stakeholder consultations and the MAG meeting. These meetings will take place in Geneva and they will be hosted by the ITU.

The final year of the second five-year cycle is important for the renewal of the mandate of the IGF. The work of the Forum will be scrutinized in a framework of different processes that will contribute to the final decision of the United Nations General Assembly. The main reference document in this respect, of course, is the Recommendations of the CSTD Working Group on Improvements to the IGF. But a variety of other perceptions will also be taken into account. 

The 2015 edition of the IGF will take place in Brazil, where earlier this year the NETmundial took place. The outcome document of the Sao Paulo conference was very positive towards strengthening of the IGF and ensuring the extension of its mandate. Certainly, the Brazilian hosts will spare no effort in bringing the spirit of NETmundial into the João Pessoa IGF meeting.

The Open consultations that are scheduled on 1 December 2014 will focus on the analysis of the very successful Istanbul meeting and examine the impact of other Internet governance processes for the preparations and scope of the 2015 IGF. Participants will be able to discuss how the outcomes of the ITU 2014 Plenipotentiary Conference pertinent to Internet governance, or the NETmundial Initiative launched by ICANN, WEF and Brazil, should be factored into the structure of the 2015 IGF. 

The tasks for the MAG at the two-day meeting are multiple. We need to define the overall structure of the IGF meeting and the preparatory process that will lead to it. We need to review the existing workshop selection practice in order to take into account the lessons from the Istanbul process. We also need to revisit the main session preparation mechanism and see what improvements should be introduced to make the main sessions more dynamic and interactive. 

The best practices initiative of the 2014 IGF proved to be successful. The next edition of the IGF should continue to work on the compilation of best practices that will serve the global community and the developing world in particular. The MAG is expected to identify up to five new topics and design a process that will lead to the presentation of the documents at the Brazil meeting.

In planning the next IGF, the MAG also needs to keep in mind that next year will be critical given that the WSIS + 10 review high level conference will occur in December 2015.  In particular, the 2015 IGF meeting in November will take place at a decisive time in the intergovernmental negotiations of the WSIS +10 review.  The MAG should consider how the IGF could serve as a platform to engage nongovernmental stakeholders in this important discussion.

Other issues, like dynamic coalitions and their relation to IGF, the calendar of preparations for the Brazil meeting, and engagement with national and regional IGFs will be discussed as well.

The MAG should consider how to better communicate the outcomes of the IGF. The publication of the Istanbul IGF Report as a document of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference is a positive example of proactive communication. Many informative discussions are taking place at the IGF and we need to find ways of informing the rest of the world about them.

Let us work together to make the 2015 IGF meeting in Brazil an example of multistakeholder cooperation that benefits all.

Jānis Kārkliņš

Ambassador of Latvia, Chair of the MAG