|Headquarters:||Palais des Nations,|
CH-1211 Geneva 10
| Chengetai Masango, Program & Technology Manager|
IGF, or the Internet Governance Forum, was established in order to provide the necessary support for the United Nations Secretary General in conducting the mandate from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The IGF serves as a platform wherein stakeholders from industry, government and civil society can discuss issues related to Internet governance. It serves as a collaborative, interactive platform where all stakeholders can put forward their views and exchange ideas beneficial for Internet governance. The IGF was formally established in 2006 as a part of the outcome of the second phase of WSIS. The first IGF meeting took place in October-November 2006 in Athens, Greece, with Internet Governance for Development as its theme.
As per the Tunis Agreement, the main objective of the IGF is to serve as a multilateral, democratic, transparent, multi-stake holder entity for the discussion of key areas of Internet governance, that will look after the security, stability, development, robustness and sustainability of the Internet across the world.
The Mandate for the IGF was set under paragraph 72 of the Tunis Agreement, and states that the IGF is principally a discussion forum established to facilitate dialogue amongst its participants. The IGF should “recognize the emerging issues in Internet governance, bring these issues to the attention of the general public and relevant bodies, and make recommendations as and where it feels appropriate." However, the mandate doesn’t give the authority to IGF to make any decisions.
The IGF is funded through donations from the various stakeholder groups. A majority of the funds that go into organizing IGF meetings are provided by the host countries. As far as the funding of the IGF Secretariat’s activities are concerned, they are funded through the multi-donor Trust Fund, which is administered by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
Activities of IGF
The IGF organizes Workshops, opens Best Practice Forums, and holds meetings of its Dynamic Coalitions. The first IGF meeting was held in 2006. The main highlight of this meeting was the formation of the Dynamic Coalitions. In the second meeting of the IGF, in 2007, five major themes were discussed. They were openness, diversity, access, security and other critical Internet resources. In its third meeting, in 2008, the IGF focused on promoting cyber security and the future of Internet. The IGF meeting in 2009 focused on Internet Governance as a whole, and ‘Developing the future of together’ was the main theme of the 2010 IGF meeting.
IGF and ICANN
ICANN has always commended the efforts of IGF in bringing together the Internet Community, including ICANN, to discuss issues concerning both ICANN and the IGF. The IGF has also provided ICANN with a good opportunity to share their experiences and information regarding the process of governing the Internet, and what role it plays in enhancing the workings of the Internet.