15th Annual Internet Governance Forum to Hold Online


igf2018_0The 15th meeting of the annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will now hold online as a result of the ravaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. To this end, the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) together with the IGF Secretariat and UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) have begun preparations and consultations on how best to carry out this virtual IGF annual meeting.

Usually, a physical meeting with several parallel sessions holding each day of the meeting, the 2020 edition of IGF was initially billed to be hosted by the government of Poland in Katowice, Poland, between November 2 and 6, 2020 with the overarching theme: “Internet United” and a programme planned to develop around the four main thematic tracks: Data, Environment, Inclusion, and Trust.

The Government of Poland will now host the IGF 2021 Annual Meeting in Katowice in the 4th quarter of next year while the Governments of Ethiopia and Japan will be hosting the IGF annual meetings in 2022 and 2023, respectively, pending organizational arrangement.

In view of the COVID-19 situation, the IGF Secretariat plans to host the IGF 2020 Second Open Consultations and MAG meeting online from June 15 – 19, 2020.

Towards the redevelopment of the IGF website into a fully-fledged interactive collaborative platform in order to better fulfil the IGF mandate, the UK Government has given a grant to the IGF Trust Fund. The grant is aimed at strengthening community collaboration and inclusiveness, particularly for developing countries, as well as the accessibility and usability of the website.

The call for IGF 2020 Remote Hubs is still open until September 20, 2020, and van be submitted online at https://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/content/igf-2020-remote-hubs. Calls for submission of session proposals for workshops, open forums, Day 0 Pre-Events, IGF Village Booths, DC Sessions, and NRIs Sessions closed on 22 April 2020, 23:59 UTC.

IGF 2020 First Open Consultations and MAG Meeting was hosted from January 14 to 16, 2020 at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) brings people together from various stakeholder groups as equals, in discussions on public policy issues relating to the Internet. While there is no negotiated outcome, the IGF informs inspires those with policy-making power in both the public and private sectors.

Stakeholders at the annual meeting will exchange information and share good practices while the IGF will facilitate a common understanding of how to maximize Internet opportunities and address risks and challenges that arise.

Under paragraphs, 72 to 78 of the Tunis Agenda, the discussions at the 15th IGF will raise and deliberate on issues of public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet.

The meeting will also facilitate discourse between bodies dealing with different cross-cutting international public policies regarding the Internet and discuss issues that do not fall within the scope of any existing body.