The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a multistakeholder, democratic and transparent forum which facilitates discussions on public policy issues related to key elements of internet governance among all interested stakeholders. This year’s IGF was held in Brazil in November. The overarching theme of the 2015 IGF meeting retained “Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development".
As in previous years, EIF has been working closely with the European Parliament and the European Commission delegations to facilitate bilateral meetings with relevant stakeholders and counterparts, including EIF Members, ICANN, EuroDIG, policy-makers from EU Member States, the Association for Progressive Communication (APC) and the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI).
On 2 December EIF hosted a debate to collect feedback from the participants at this year’s IGF. Sabine Verheyen, MEP, EIF Steering Committee member and Member of the European Parliament’s IGF delegation, chaired this meeting, and reviewed this year’s IGF, its participants and key sessions hosted during the meeting.
Megan Richards, Principal Adviser at DG CONNECT, noted that there was increased EU level participation at this year’s IGF and that there were many EU relevant topics discussed at the IGF this year, notably multilingualism and multiculturalism of the internet. She also stressed the importance of the upcoming EuroDIG meeting to be held in Brussels in June 2016.
Frederic Donck, Managing Director at the European Regional Bureau, Internet Society, focused on the evolution of the IGF since its creation in Tunis in 2005 and 1st meeting in Athens in 2006. The Forum has been able to slowly but steadily show the value of multistakeholderism and to produce more concrete outcomes. Of course the IGF role is not to provide immediate policy solutions to complex issues but rather to provide the space for continuous conversations on those issues with all relevant stakeholders.
Sandra Hoferichter, Secretary General of EuroDIG, highlighted European Internet Governance initiatives and key European topics in 2015. She called for more political support of internet governance debate in all stakeholder groups. She also invited participants to join the EuroDIG public planning meeting for the June meeting, to be held on January 26 in Brussels.