Priorities for Internet Governance

14 October 2009 Author: EIFonline

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Sharm El Sheik in Egypt is around the corner and the European Internet Foundation invited three high level speakers to comment on the state of play of the IGF as well as to provide thoughts about the future of this platform.

Henrik Hansson of the Swedish Presidency; Michael Niebel, Head of Unit "Internet, Network and Information Security" in the European Commission; and Nick Thorne, International Relations Adviser to the President and CEO of ICANN; all three provided their vision on the IGF.

The Swedish Presidency kicked off acknowledging that it would be important to speak with a single European voice at the IGF. The Presidency also mentioned support for the continuation of the IGF in the future as a non-decision making body and an open platform for discussions. Sweden is currently preparing a EU guideline statement for the IGF.

Michael Niebel raised the question whether or not the IGF will continue and, if yes, in what form? He put forward that the EU has expressed an interest in continuing the debate as long as the same, multi-stakeholder, non-binding approach is followed. In that way, the EU believes that IGF success can be continued. For many, the IGF is a one-stop shop on Internet issues, where you can learn and exchange ideas and that within that appears to lie its strength.

Nick Thorne from ICANN emphasized that the IGF process is under threat and that it would be in Europe’s interest to maintain the IGF process. He focused on a document named the so-called AOC (Affirmation of Commitments), a document signed between the US government department of Commerce and ICANN that confirms the multi-stakeholder approach. Thorne advocated that the multi-stakeholder element should be extended to stronger participation from national and European Parliamentarians.


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