What is the Internet Governance Forum?

In 2003 the UN Secretary General commissioned a multistakeholder working group to identify and define public policy issues relevant to governance of the Internet. The Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG)┬áreport proposed recommendations on the process to follow on Internet governance policies including the creation of an Internet Governance Forum (IGF), where “organizations responsible for essential tasks associated with the Internet to contribute to an environment that facilitates this development of public policy principles.”

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was established by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2005. The first IGF was held in Athens, Greece in 2006. The IGF has been held annually since, usually in the final quarter of the year. In 2013, the IGF will take place in Bali, Indonesia.

The IGF has no decision-making powers and has been deliberately set up to serve as a discussion space that gives developing countries the same opportunity as wealthier nations to engage in the debate on Internet governance. It provides a useful platform for new and ongoing issues of Internet governance to be frankly debated by stakeholders from civil society, the business and technical sectors, governments, and academia.

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