IGF 2019 Pre-Event #32 NETmundial+5: The Legacy and Implications for Future Internet Governance

William J. Drake, Euro-SSIG/Medienstadt Leipzig, CGI.br, DENIC.de, & the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society


In April 2014, representatives of governments and stakeholders from around the world gathered in São Paulo, Brazil to negotiate and adopt the NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement on global Internet governance. As the statement's Preamble explained, "This is the non-binding outcome of a bottom-up, open, and participatory process involving thousands of people from governments, private sector, civil society, technical community, and academia from around the world. The NETmundial conference was the first of its kind. It hopefully contributes to the evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem."

The statement had two main sections. The first was a list of Internet Governance Principles that enumerated human rights and shared values; set out procedural guidlines concerning the conduct of multistakeholder Internet governance; and highlighted other guiding objectives like promoting a unified and unfragmented Internet that retains an open and distributed architecture and is secure, stable and resilient. The second was a Roadmap for the Future Evolution of Internet Governance that covered a broad range of priorities for action, including strengthening the IGF, completing the IANA transition and advancing ICANN's globalization, promoting enhanced cooperation and multi-stakeholder mechanisms at the national and global levels, and improving communication and coordination among Internet governance processes. The Statement also took note of the need for further dialogue and cooperation in other issue-areas like law enforcement assistance and cyber security, mass and arbitrary surveillance, capacity building, the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, jurisdictional questions, benchmarking systems, and net neutrality.

Five years on, what has been achieved in terms of follow-up and implementation of the Statement's Principles and Roadmap? In which issue-areas they covered have we seen progress, stasis, or retrenchment, and why? What, if anything, could be done in the current geopolitical environment to advance cooperation on the Statement's unrealized objectives? Might any of the current initiatives being pursued in intergovernmental or multistakeholder settings help? Is there a role for the IGF in any such efforts, and could any aspects of the NETmundial process be instructive regarding the IGF's own performance? Does the NETmundial offer lessons and have normative relevance to emerging governance challenges, or should we just regard it merely as a one-off event of no lasting significance?

The purpose of this Day 0 session is to promote open and probing dialogue on these and related questions. The session will be structured as follows. In the first half, the co-moderators will pose a series of questions to a roundtable of panelists regarding the NETmundial's legacy and general impact as well as the progress or lack thereof on the issues outlined in the Principles and Roundmap. In the second half, the discussion will opened to all participants for what should be a highly interactive and illuminating community discussion.

Organizers and co-moderators:

William J. Drake, the University of Zurich, civil society, Switzerland
Wolfgang Kleinwachter, Euro-SSIG, civil society, Germany

Roundtable participants:

1. Carlos Afonso, Institute Nupef, civil society, Brazil 
2. Fiona Alexander, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, government, USA
3. Vint Cerf, Google, business, USA 
4. Hartmut Glaser, CGI.Br, technical community, Brazil 
5. Jeanette Hofmann, The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, academia, Germany 
6. Nnenna Nwakanma, The World Wide Web Foundation, civil society, Côte d'Ivoire
7. Stefan Schnoor, Ministry of Economics, government, Germany 
8. 3-4 more TBD