Feedback from IGF 2012 in Baku

12 December 2012 Author: EIFonline

The Seventh Annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Meeting, under the main theme ‘Internet Governance for Sustainable Human, Economic and Social Development', was held in Baku, Azerbaijan on 6-9 November 2012. 

As in earlier conferences, also this year EIF coordinated with the European Parliament delegation, led by MEP Pilar del Castillo, and the European Commission in organising bilateral meetings with ICANN, National Parliamentarians and EIF members. Click here to download the Report on meetings facilitated by EIF.

On 5 December the EIF network gathered to share the feedback from Baku, chaired by Pilar del Castillo MEP, EIF Chair and Head of the EP delegation to IGF. Linda Corugedo-Steneberg, Director for Cooperation at DG CONNECT European Commission, and Thomas Spiller, representing the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), joined the discussion to present their insights from Baku.

All speakers expressed satisfaction with the Baku conference and IGF as an open, multistakeholder platform. The topics and the content were very well received by the participants. However, there is a need to work more on ensuring the continuity of the discussions and transition from IGF 2012 in Baku to IGF 2013 in Bali.

This year’s IGF also showed that telecom service providers are playing a much bigger role in freedom of expression.  They hold great power over information and dissemination, but also have responsibilities to governments, customers and investors. At the same time they may have to take certain measures to comply with human rights standards when operating in different countries. This challenge must be met jointly by the industry, international and national organisations, and civil society. Therefore multistakeholder participation is of key importance. 

A low participation of the European industry at the IGF was also recognised by Ms. Corugedo-Steneberg and Mr. Spiller.

The speakers applauded the active work of VP Neelie Kroes not only during the IGF, but also with the local authorities raising the issue of internet freedom in Azerbaijan. Vice President Kroes together with Pilar Del Castillo MEP and EIF Chair, Amelia Andersdotter MEP, Marietje Schaake MEP, Catherine Trautmann MEP and Sabine Verheyen MEP signed the Joint Statement of the EU Delegation to the 7th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Baku calling for human rights and freedom of internet.  

Click here to read Neelie Kroes’ blog on her work at the IGF 2012.

The next Internet Governance Forum will be held in Bali, Indonesia next autumn.

To note:  In July 2012, EIF organised a breakfast debate on the preparatory process for this year’s IGF with Pilar del Castillo MEP, Megan Richards, Director Coordination at DG CONNECT, Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Professor for Internet Policy and Regulation at the University of Aarhus and Joseph Alhadeff, Vice President for Global Public Policy and Chief Privacy Officer at Oracle. Click here to read the summary and to listen to the speeches from this event.

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