Between 1982 and 1987 several independent, national, non-profit computer networks emerged as viable information and communication resources for activists and NGOs. The networks were founded by people with experience in communication and international collaboration in the NGO world, and a deep commitment to making new communication techniques available to movements working for social change. Most networks were founded by a small number of people who devoted their personal equipment and all their free time to spread electronic communication to their colleagues working for change.
In 1987, people at GreenNet in the UK, began collaborating with their counterparts at the Institute for Global Communications (IGC) (then known as PeaceNet/EcoNet) in the United States. These two networks started sharing electronic conference material and demonstrated that trans-national electronic communications could serve international as well as domestic communities working for peace, human rights and the environment. The basis for an APC constitution was outlined at a meeting in IGC’s office in San Francisco.
This innovation proved so successful that by late 1989, networks in Sweden (NordNet), Canada (Web), Brazil (IBASE), Nicaragua (Nicarao) and Australia (Pegasus) were exchanging information with each other and with IGC and GreenNet. In May 1990, these seven organisations founded the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) to co-ordinate the operation and development of this emerging global network of networks.
In June 1995, APC received consultative (Category 1) status to the UN.
Today APC is a non-profit association of member and partner networks around the world, committed to making the internet serve the needs of global civil society.
Collected articles about the history of APC
- The internet is a “radically different” place because of APC A nice introduction to APC 1987-1993 by Karen Higgs and Frederick Noronha (APCNews July 2010)
- Why the Association for Progressive Communications is different A paper from 1987 about APC and speculating on our future
- Archive of early APC history Materials principally from 1985-1990 collected by Mitra Adron, GreenNet and APC founder. Includes the APC proposal on Mitra’s thinking regarding the APC, its structure and priorities.
- APC’s first decade: A chronological look at APC’s history
- APC links Cuba to the internet in 1990. An article by Carlos Afonso (in Portuguese)
- Enabling civil society participation in global policy-making: The APC and the United Nations
- Interdoc: the first international non-governmental computer network
- Mike Jensen and the code that stitched together the APC: The pre-internet days and early efforts at linking APC nodes
- Need and chance: APC in the Global South and the rise of some strong Southern members
- The Association for Progressive Communications and the networking of global civil society: APC at the 1992 Earth Summit
- The Cuban Internet — a look back and looking forward
- The founding of APC: Coincidences and logical steps in global civil society networking
- Where do we go from here? APC after the internet explosion
- Women’s networks and ICTs: The character, achievements and challenges past and present of the APC Women’s Networking Support Programme
- Networking in Africa Report A report from a 1992 meeting to shows that computer networking using Fido is an appropriate, inexpensive and effective form of communication for Africa and possibly other parts of the developing world.