Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

The Internet Governance Forum is a multi-stakeholder policy dialogue space convened by the United Nations Secretary General in 2006 to “foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the internet”.

It provides a kind of “pressure relief valve” for some of the most controversial internet governance issues, allowing actors with quite radically different and often opposing views to come together in an environment that is in the main respectful and constructive.

APC has found that the IGF is an experimental and influential policy forum for achieving our mission of ensuring open, universal and affordable access to the internet for all people. At the IGF, we advocate for policies and regulatory approaches that ensure equitable and affordable access, freedom of information and expression, access to knowledge, public participation, human rights, capacity-building and a development agenda for internet governance. And we express our concern about the erosion and diminishing visibility of a rights-based approach to how the internet is governed.

At the first IGF in Athens in 2006, “access (to the internet)” emerged as an issue of common concern and priority to all stakeholders. At the second IGF in Rio de Janeiro, business, civil society and the technical communities active in the IGF, worked together to prepare a more coherent approach to the access in the IGF, the outcome of which was a convergence in views as to what should be done to increase access to the internet across the world. “Reaching the next billion” was a priority theme for the third IGF held in Hyderabad.

Human rights were far more prominent in the 2009 IGF. In our assessment the most significant development was the consensus among all stakeholder groups in the main session on “openness and security” that privacy and security are not to be traded off against one another but that both are equally important. This was a significant step in the right direction to a human rights-based internet and one that APC has been advocating for especially in our work around content regulation.

The fifth IGF took place in Lithuania from 14-17 September 2010. We produced an assessment, in which, among other things, we insist on the importance of improving developing country participation.

The sixth IGF took place in Nairobi, Kenya from 27-30 September 2011. APC hosted a pre-event on access to the internet as well as workshops on human rights, open spectrum for development and mobile internet .

The seventh IGF was held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 6-9 November 2012. The main theme for the meeting was: ‘Internet Governance for Sustainable Human, Economic and Social Development’

The tenth IGF was held in João Pessoa, Brazil, from 10-13 November 2015. The overall theme was ‘Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development’

Regional Internet Governance Forums

Since 2008, APC has been directly involved in regional IGFs in Latin America and Africa.

Photo: Keith Ramsey – Used under Creative Commons licence

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