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Internet Governance Forum 2011

05 October, 2010
By Allison Orr

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has held its sixth annual meeting on 27-30 September 2011 in Kenya.  The theme of the meeting was "Internet as a catalyst for change: access, development, freedoms and innovation". 

The annual meeting discusses Internet governance issues.  It doesn’t specifically make recommendations or declarations, but the discussions inform international processes and policy decisions.  The meeting includes representatives from the UN, politicians, government officials, academics and representatives from civil society organisations.

Much civil society input is through the Dynamic Coalitions, which were established after the first IGF meeting in Athens.   They are informal, issue-specific groups of stakeholders that are interested in a particular aspect of Internet governance.  Most allow anyone to join, not just academics and representatives of governments.  They report to the IGF Secretariat and participate in the annual meetings.

Transcripts for the sessions are available on the IGF website.  Also read the closing statements by the Association for Progressive Communications.

About the IGF

At the World Summit on the Information Society in 2005 there was a call for the creation of an independent governance forum the the Internet, and in the February 2006, the IGF was established, under the aegis of the United Nations.  It is designed to provide an opportunity for stakeholders from government, the private sector and civil society to have input into Internet governance issues.  Its work is non-binding. 

Each year the IGF meets in a different city.  The 2012 meeting is due to be held in Azerbaijan, which apparently cause some controversy at this year’s meeting as one human rights delegate slammed their human rights record.

For a critique on the work of the IGF, see IGFWatch.

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