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MAG Chair's 2018/2019 Blog

Message from the MAG Chair

The first face-to-face Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Open Consultation and MAG Meeting of 2019 ‎has just concluded in Geneva. The community and the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (IGF-MAG) ‎reviewed activities across the IGF ecosystem and began advancing plans for IGF 2019 and ‎associated intersessional activities.‎

Planning for 2019 is well advanced having begun last November immediately following the ‎Secretary-General’s announcement of the MAG, reflecting the MAG’s deep appreciation for the timely ‎appointment.‎

The French Government’s efforts to ensure a successful IGF 2018 were noted with great ‎appreciation, in particular, the efforts of Ambassador Martinon who along with his team worked ‎tirelessly to make IGF 2018 a success.‎

Dr. Daniela Brönstrup, Deputy Director General German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and ‎Energy was warmly welcomed as the Honorary Host Country Co-Chair and was present throughout ‎the meeting.‎

Particular attention was paid by the MAG to advancing improvements across the IGF ecosystem.  ‎Traditional review processes such as the CSTD WG on IGF Improvements were noted, along with the ‎many suggestions coming from the annual IGF Taking Stock activities, the IGF Retreat organized by ‎DESA in 2016, and of course more recent suggestions such as those from the UN Secretary-General ‎Guterres’ speech and Pres. Macron’s speech, both at IGF 2018, as well as comments from the ‎European Commission’s High Level on Internet Governance (HLIG) to name only a few. ‎

Building on improvements put in place last year the MAG redoubled their efforts to deliver a ‎cohesive, focused programme of work, including Best Practice Forums (BPFs) and the programme ‎of the Annual Meeting, while expressly signalling interest in greater collaboration between the ‎Dynamic Coalitions (DCs), and National, Regional and Youth IGF Initiatives (NRIs) as key activities ‎in the IGF ecosystem.‎

After much deliberation, the MAG decided to focus on three Main themes this year 1) Cybersecurity ‎& Safety, 2) Inclusion, and 3) Data Governance (final names to be agreed over the coming weeks but ‎the categories are expected to remain the same). These themes are supported by the results of the ‎recent community Call for Issues, and it is hoped will create a programme that will help advance the ‎most consequential areas, and for which we will need everyone’s support.  ‎

The MAG will create a short narrative (or shared reference) for each of the themes above and using ‎information from the ‘Call for Issues’ as well as other strategic input suggest some policy areas that ‎the community will be invited to address in their workshop submissions. It is believed that these ‎shared references will launch work – distributed and global - that combined will make a substantial ‎contribution and help advance the most challenging issues.‎

These changes are part of the MAG’s efforts to step up activities in light of developments in many ‎areas:  Artificial Intelligence, Data, Trust, IoT, Cybersecurity, etc., and many of these areas will be ‎captured in the Themes above.  The MAG and the IGF secretariat are working to finalize the process ‎and the ‘Call for Workshops’ and we will be back soon with more information.  In the meantime, ‎please send us your suggestions/questions and together we look forward to having the most ‎impactful year yet.‎


Lynn St.Amour

The Global Internet Governance Community is headed to France!!!

It was announced recently that the Government of France would host the thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Paris, France, from 12 to 14 November 2018.

The meeting will be held at the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in parallel with the Paris Peace Forum on 11-13 November.  In his announcement, French President Emmanuel Macron emphasized the importance of welcoming the IGF in Paris in order to “share common ideas” and progress discussions on International Internet policy issues.

Sharing ideas and broad and thoughtful collaboration has never been more important given the pace of change and the clear and increasing need to make progress.

The 2018 IGF will focus on a range of international internet policy issues, including cybersecurity, data privacy, emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Human Rights. The themes for the meeting were derived through an open global call for issues ensuring greater inclusion.

The IGF is unique as the open multistakeholder platform dedicated to advancing global Internet policy discussions. Past IGF meetings have attracted between 2,000 and 3,000 participants, representing all regions and stakeholder groups, including Governments, the private sector, civil society and the technical community. The 2017 IGF in Geneva, Switzerland, gathered over 2,200 participants from 142 countries, with thousands more stakeholders participating online.

The IGF meeting will feature one or more high-level policy segments, a select number of workshops, thematic ‘main sessions’, ‘open forum’ sessions organized by Governments and intergovernmental organizations, as well as an IGF Village exhibition area.  Recent years have also seen the inclusion of dedicated youth and newcomer sessions and shorter ‘lightning’ sessions, held in informal spaces and with a focus on late-breaking topics.

It will present the outputs from the IGF community’s intersessional activities throughout the year.  This includes best practices on Cybersecurity, Gender and Access, Local Content, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data, as well as the major policy initiative Policy Options on Connecting the Next Billions. In addition, 17 Dynamic Coalitions and 105 national, regional and Youth IGFs will contribute to the programme through their expertise and experiences.

Finally, we are fortunate to be able to collaborate with the French Government on IGF 2018 and to explore synergies with the inaugural Paris Peace Forum which will spotlight the role of governance in a number of policy fields.

The preparation of the annual IGF and all its related intersessional activities is guided by the 55-member Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General to advise him on these matters.

The MAG looks forward to seeing you in Paris – physically or virtually, and invites your participation in the upcoming MAG meeting.

Lynn St.Amour



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