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IGF 2016 Guidelines for Workshop Proposals

The IGF strives to be an open and inclusive forum, bringing different stakeholders together to exchange information and share best practices on public policy issues relating to Internet governance. The IGF meeting is organized through an open, bottom-up, multistakeholder process. 

The meeting programme features different types of Sessions: 

• Main Sessions

• Best Practice Forums 

• Dynamic Coalitions 

• Open Forums, and 

Workshop Sessions. 

Any individual or organisation can propose a Workshop for the IGF event, except for members of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), who evaluate these proposals. There are several types of Workshop Session formats:

• Break-out Group Discussions 

• Debate 

• Birds of a Feather 

• Flash Session 

• Panel, and 

• “Other”

For a description of these formats, please click here.

The IGF Secretariat receives a large number of workshop proposals each year, only a set of which can be selected due to space constraints. The MAG evaluates these proposals. Any given proposal may be accepted by the MAG, declined, or the MAG may ask one workshop proposer to collaborate and merge with another workshop proposer if both proposals cover the same material.

After submitting your proposal, please check the List of Published Workshop Proposals to verify that your proposal has been received for review.

For questions regarding this process, please contact Eleonora Mazzucchi at [email protected] , or +41(0)229173678


Contents of Workshop Proposal

All proposals must contain the following information:

•    The contact details of the workshop session organizers

•    The workshop session format 

•    If submitting a workshop proposal in the Panel format, a background paper must also be provided. Please consult the guidelines for this paper here.

•    The duration of the workshop session – 30, 60 or 90 minutes. Different formats have different durations. Please consult the workshop session format outlines here.

•    The title of your proposed workshop session

• A concise description of the Internet Governance issue that your workshop session will explore, and its relevance to the 2016 main theme, Internet Governance Forum: Enabling Inclusive and Sustainable Growth (Max 250 words)

• Up to three subject matter #tags that describe your workshop session (e.g. #privacy, #diversity, #security). For further information and examples of #tags, please click here.

• A list of workshop session co-organizers 

• Links to reports from previous workshops

• A list of speakers, participating individuals and organisations, or a description of how stakeholder perspectives will be represented (Note: proposed speakers will be sent automated messages to confirm their agreement to be included in your proposal, although their confirmation is not required for the proposal to be considered complete and eligible for evaluation.)

• The names of moderator(s), online moderator(s) and rapporteur(s)

• A description of how online participation will be facilitated

• Optional: A list which, if any, Sustainable Development Goals the workshop is meant to address. Note that this information is collected for programming purposes only, and has no bearing on the MAG’s evaluation of your workshop proposal.


About online participation

Online participants should join sessions through the WebEx platform provided by the IGF. Organisers should consider monitoring social media feeds/comments in the discussion, and not only allow for, but encourage online participants to intervene, preferably using audio and/or video through WebEx.

Workshop proposals must include the name of an online moderator. The online moderator must be an integral part of the workshop, technically capable, and work closely with the workshop organiser to develop a clear strategy that includes online participants; ensures that moderators and panellists know how to include online participants on an equal footing with in situ participants; and contains a clear strategy to communicate with online participants and the online moderator to ensure that queues are properly addressed. The online moderator is a critical part of the workshop, not part of the tech support team; therefore, online moderators must also be familiar with the workshop topics and aims. The Remote Participation WG will assist with guidelines and training of online moderators, but cannot provide for online moderators, since this is part of the workshop organisation. Online moderators are required to attend a training session before the IGF.


About the descriptive paragraph

This part of the proposal should contain a statement of the Internet Governance question to be addressed during the workshop and its relationship to the IGF2016 main theme Inclusive and Sustainable Growth, as well as an overview of the agenda and the session format. Proposers should also explain the room set-up and how it will assist participation in light of the proposed format. Please review the available formats here.


About the rapporteur

All workshop sessions must be attended by a rapporteur. The purpose of the rapporteur is to produce a summary report of the workshop session. Reports must be submitted to the IGF Secretariat no later than two weeks following the IGF event. If a report is not submitted, then the workshop proposer will not be allowed to submit a workshop proposal for the IGF2017.


Workshop Proposal Selection Process

To ensure that the final result is a manageable number of high quality workshops, the MAG will closely assess all proposals according to the process outlined below.

The selection process will take place in three stages.

1.    Initial Screening: Workshop proposals will be accepted from 15 April to 6 June. Proposals will not be accepted after this date. After this period, the IGF Secretariat will conduct an initial screening of proposals. Those which do not satisfy the minimum criteria will be declined for MAG consideration.

2.    Evaluation Process: MAG members will evaluate individual proposals between 13 June and 4 July prior to the next MAG meeting, based on the criteria below.

3.    Discussion, Identification of Merger Candidates, and Finalization: Final selection of workshop proposals and identification of “merger” candidates will occur during the in-person MAG meeting the week of 11-15 July. The overall programme will then be finalized.


Stage 1: Initial screening by IGF Secretariat

All proposals must contain the information outlined above, and meet the minimum criteria listed below. Proposals that do not satisfy minimum criteria will be declined for MAG consideration.

•    MAG members may not themselves submit workshop proposals, but their institutions may do so;

•    The subject matter of the workshop proposal must be of direct relevance to Internet Governance;

•    Proposal must be complete and ready for consideration, with all fields of the proposal submission form completed;

•    Proposers who held a workshops at previous IGFs were required to have submitted a workshop report after the meeting. The proposer must provide a link to this workshop report in their new proposal for IGF2016. Proposals submitted by those who held workshops in the 2014 or 2015 IGF, but who failed to file a workshop report afterwards, will be declined;

•    No more than 3 proposals from any one individual or institution will be accepted for consideration. 

MAG members will have the opportunity to review and discuss declined proposals.

The initial screening will be completed by: 13 June, one week following the close of the Call for Proposals.


Stage 2: Individual MAG member evaluation

Following the initial screening, the IGF Secretariat will circulate the workshop proposals to MAG members for individual evaluation. In evaluating workshop proposals, each MAG member will grade the proposal on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) based upon the following considerations:

1.    Is the proposal well thought-through and complete?

2.    Is the proposal relevant to Internet Governance and to the IGF2016 main theme, Enabling Inclusive and Sustainable Growth? 

3.    Does the proposal contain a list of proposed speakers, participating individuals and organisations, or a description of how different stakeholder perspectives will be represented across the participants?

4.    Is this the first time this individual or organization has submitted a workshop proposal to the IGF? (first-time proposers are preferred over repeat proposers),

5.    Is the Workshop description consistent with the format listed (for example, if the format is Debate, then does the proposal describe how the debate will be set up, with timings, etc., indicated)?

6.    Is the proposal for a new format? (Break-out Group Discussions, Debates, Flash Sessions, Birds of a Feather and Other formats are encouraged over the Panel format),

7.    Is there diversity amongst the participants (gender, geography, stakeholder group, policy perspective, and inclusive of persons with disabilities)? (as a general matter, greater diversity is encouraged),

8.    Is there developing country participation? (as a general matter, developing country participation is encouraged),

9.    Does the description clearly specify the Internet Governance question to be addressed during the workshop?

10.  Does the proposal include a well-considered plan for effective interaction with the workshop participants, both online and on-site?

MAG members who do not have expertise in a particular field are not obliged to rate a proposal. If a MAG member rates a proposal 3 or below, he or she must provide a reason for doing so, as feedback for the workshop proposers whose workshops are declined. Proposer names will not be given to MAG members when evaluating (anonymous), but indication will be provided if the proposer is from a developing country.


Upon receiving the MAG member scoring, with a target date of 4 July, the Secretariat will prepare a synthesis of the evaluation for MAG members by 11 July, in preparation for the in-person meeting during the week of 11-15 July. The total score for each proposal will be the mean average of the grades received by MAG members. Proposals will be rank ordered and accepted according to available space.


Stage 3: MAG discussion, identification of merger candidates, and finalization.

During the May meeting, MAG members will look at the results to ensure an overall balance of the themes/topics. It is possible that for certain proposals, which scored just below the threshold of space and availability, the MAG will discuss whether to ask the proposers to make improvements to overcome deficiencies. Proposers will then be contacted and asked to submit a revised proposal. 

In some cases, the MAG will receive workshop proposals that propose the same issues, topics and format. Due to constraints in space, these similar workshops will be invited to collaborate and “merge” together. In this case, the workshop proposers will be contacted by the IGF Secretariat. In the event that the proposers decline to collaborate the workshop slot can be lost.

Following the merger process and other necessary arrangements, the IGF programme will then be finalized. 


Organizational principles:

•    When scheduling the overall meeting, the IGF Secretariat will strive to ensure that workshop sessions and other events dealing with topics that are addressed in the Main Sessions will not be scheduled at the same time.

•    To increase participation, the MAG has expressed a general preference for workshop session formats that are not Panels. Therefore Break-out Group Discussions, Debates, BoFs, Flash Session and Other (new and innovative) formats will be preferred over Panel formats.

•    Workshop organizers are encouraged to bring new faces to their workshop sessions. In order to do so, they can consult with the resource persons list on the IGF website. 

•    All workshop sessions will be webcasted and will have real-time transcription. Organizers are encouraged to seamlessly include online participants.

•    The rooms reserved for workshop sessions and all equipment, including a screen and a PC or laptop for projections and a projector (XGA/SVGA Data), will be available free of charge. Details related to the logistics will be made available in due course.

•    Interpretation in the UN six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish), as well as the host country language, is only provided free of charge for the Main Sessions. If workshop session organizers would like to have interpretation for their Session, they would need to bear the cost. To have more information about arranging interpretation for your session, please contact the Secretariat at igf[at] 

• The MAG’s workshop evaluation process should be: fair, transparent, inclusive, practical, and efficient.



All Workshops must include a rapporteur, who shall provide a summary report to the IGF Secretariat within two weeks of the IGF meeting. As indicated in Stage 1, above, workshop organizers failing to meet this deadline will not be allowed to hold an event at the following IGF meeting.


Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 411