IGF 2018 Calls for Workshop Proposals

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 Chengetai Masango, Programme and Technology Manager at United Nations
Chengetai Masango, Programme and Technology Manager at United Nations

The Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is calling for workshop proposals for the 2018 forum scheduled to take place in Paris, France. The Secretariat is inviting proposers to submit proposals under the following eight themes: Cybersecurity, Trust and Privacy; Digital Inclusion and Accessibility; Emerging Technologies; Evolution of Internet Governance; Human Rights, Gender and Youth; Development, Innovation and Economic Issues; Media and Content; as well as Technical and Operational Topics.

Stakeholders are invited to submit proposals to hold workshops at the 13th annual meeting of the IGF which will take place in November/December 2018. In addition, proposers are invited to select from more than 50 subthemes classified under the themes. These cover a broad range of Internet governance interests and include topics as varied as Access & Connectivity, Cyber diplomacy, Encryption, Internet & the Environment, Local Content, and Virtual Reality, among many others.

Proposers may also write in a subtheme of their choosing.

Based on inputs from the IGF 2017 stocktaking process as well as the first 2018 IGF Open Consultations, and in line with outcomes of the earlier CSTD Working Group on IGF Improvements and the IGF Retreat organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), this year, many MAG members expressed their preference for having more concrete, focused and cohesive discussions during the IGF annual meeting, trying to avoid sessions that duplicate content and concepts, and reducing the number of parallel sessions. It was decided that taking a more thematic approach to the programme would be most likely to deliver the requested results.

A bottom-up, community-wide Call for Issues was held between 26 March and 13 April, during which stakeholders were asked to indicate their areas of interest (‘themes’) and suggest the issues (‘subthemes’) to feature in this year’s programme, including new or emerging ones. The themes and proposed subthemes for the meeting have therefore been preliminarily determined through the more than 300 submissions received through this process.

The four major criteria in the evaluation process will centre around Relevance, Content, Diversity, and Format of each proposal. Proposers are strongly advised to pay particular attention to ensuring gender, regional and stakeholder diversity within their organizing teams, as well as among their listed speakers, as these will be reviewed against diversity criteria, which is a key measure. Proposers are further advised that they should have a minimum of three speakers listed and to limit their number of speakers to five wherever possible, in particular when selecting a panel format, so as to ensure space in their session for participant engagement. While this is not a disqualifying criterion, excessive numbers of speakers will result in lower support for the proposal. Please note that individual speakers will be limited to three sessions after the selection process.

Resource documents include an abbreviated manual for proposers, a step-by-step overview of the screening and evaluation process by the Secretariat and MAG, as well as explanations on workshop formats and how they may impact evaluation criteria.

The deadline for workshop submissions was initially May 27, 2018, 23:59 UTC. However, in view of the offer of the Government of France to host the 2018 IGF in Paris the week of November 12, the deadline for workshop submissions has been extended beyond May 27 to the current deadline of June 6, 2018, 23:59 UTC.

The final selection of workshops will take place during the IGF 2018 Second Open Consultations and MAG Meeting, scheduled on 11-13 July 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.