Terms of Reference for the IGF Leadership Panel

In line with the mandate of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and as recommended in the Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, the United Nations Secretary-General has established the IGF Leadership Panel as a strategic, empowered, and multistakeholder body, to address strategic and urgent issues, and to highlight Forum discussions and possible follow-up actions, in order to promote greater impact and dissemination of IGF discussions. The following terms of reference provide the overall framework for the IGF Leadership Panel.


The Panel performs the following key functions: 

  • Provides strategic inputs and advice on the IGF;
  • Promotes the IGF and its outputs;
  • Supports both high-level and at-large stakeholder engagement in the IGF and IGF fundraising efforts; and
  • Exchanges IGF outputs from the Forum with other stakeholders and relevant fora and facilitates the feeding of input of these decision-makers and fora to the IGF’s agenda-setting process, leveraging relevant MAG expertise.

 Individual member responsibilities

As a member of the Panel, individuals are expected to engage actively in the work of the Panel throughout the year. Specifically, each Panel member is expected to carry out the following tasks throughout the year:

  • Attend the Panel’s meetings. If physical presence at the onsite meetings is not possible, every effort should be made to participate online;
  • Advise on emerging and urgent issues and IGF priorities;
  • Participate actively in the annual IGF meeting particularly the High-Level sessions but also in other relevant sessions, and actively seek to engage other relevant high-level representatives from public and private organisations;
  • Familiarise themselves with the IGF’s intersessional work and all IGF relevant updates communicated by IGF Secretariat;
  • Support raising awareness about the IGF and engage at-large stakeholders in its processes and debates; 
  • Explore new fundraising opportunities for contributions to the IGF trust fund; 
  • Communicate IGF outputs and update the Panel on outcomes and decisions of other processes and initiatives;
  • Help promote and elevate the level of participation in the annual IGF meeting; and
  • Help identify prospective host countries for future IGFs. 

Membership and tenure

The Panel’s members will serve a two-year term.

The selection of members will be made following a similar process as the MAG selection, with a public call for nominations from the respective stakeholder groups, with the eventual decision to be made by the Secretary-General, with due regard for regional and gender balance, following recommendations from the IGF Secretariat and the Office of the Envoy on Technology, taking into account other possible inputs as well. The nomination processes will be kept distinct from each other as separate exercises.

Panel configuration

The Panel will be composed of ten [10] Members plus the ex-officio members described below with the following configuration:

  • Two [2] ministerial-level or above representatives from Governments that are Member States of the United Nations or regional intergovernmental organizations that have observer status in the General Assembly;
  • Two [2] CEO-level (or deputy-level) representatives from each of the other three stakeholder groups (private sector, technical community and civil society), a total of six [6]; and
  • Two [2] at-large members (distinguished or prominent persons who do not fall under above stakeholder groups).

The roles of Chair and Vice-Chair of the Panel will be held on an annual rotating basis amongst members, elected by members of the Panel. 

Ex-officios of the Panel consist of:

  • A total of three [3] senior representatives (Minister or head of agency-level) made up of the current, immediately previous, and the immediately upcoming host countries;
  • The Chair of the IGF’s Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG); and
  • The Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology.

Meeting procedures

The Panel will meet at least three times a year, in the first quarter, the second quarter, and at the IGF annual meeting.

Relations between the Panel and the MAG

To ensure that there is no overlap between the functions of the Panel and those of the MAG, the two bodies will function as distinct entities, but with close linkages and continuous efforts to promote collaboration and cooperation within the IGF. For instance, the Panel will draw on the expertise of the MAG and IGF established networks.

Recognising the relevance of existing IGF structures and activities, the MAG will continue to lead on the IGF annual work programme and the global forum. The Panel will contribute strategic inputs to the programme-setting and support the visibility of the IGF consistent with the responsibilities and functions described above. The Panel will also provide high-level input and promote IGF outputs. This will not substitute but rather complement and support similar and ongoing efforts by the MAG.

Secretariat support

The Panel will be supported by the IGF Secretariat.  Funding will come from the IGF Grant for which additional donations will need to be sourced. Funding will be in line with what is currently provided for the MAG (e.g., travel support for members from developing countries).

Panel procedures

The Panel’s meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, unless the Panel decides otherwise. They will follow pre-approved agendas prepared by the Chair, in consultation with the Panel and with the support of the Secretariat. A summary note of each meeting will be prepared and widely disseminated.


There shall be no relationship between membership of the Panel and financial contributions to the work of the IGF. Panel members shall not receive any honorarium, fee or other remuneration from the United Nations. Some Panel members may be eligible to receive some funding to cover travel and daily subsistence costs for their participation in in-person IGF meetings, subject to prior written authorization and availability of funds and in accordance with the relevant provisions of United Nations rules governing payment of travel expenses. Where possible, it is encouraged for the Panel members to seek other sources of funding to cover their in-person participation.