Consultations on Internet Governance Forum

By EDRi · March 1, 2006

On 16 and 17 February 2006, consultations were held in Geneva to
organise the Internet Governance Forum, a result of deliberations
during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to include a
wider group of stakeholders.

These consultations were held in a genuinely open and inclusive spirit, with
about 300 participants representing a large variety of stakeholder groups,
including some who would not have been accepted under the stricter
accreditation rules that were applied for WSIS.

The consultations were led by Mr. Nitin Desai, the Secretary-General’s
Special Adviser for WSIS, who explained that he intended to listen to the
various views about the Internet Governance Forum and then faithfully
report to the Secretary-General about the points of general agreement, and
that he would describe the range of opinions on issues where no consensus

There was wide agreement on the general principle that the Internet
Governance Forum should be very open and inclusive to all kinds of
stakeholder groups, and also that the management structure for the forum
should allow all kinds of stakeholders to contribute as equals in the
decision-making processes. A variety of ideas on how this could be organized
would be reached.

An important question was how many days the Internet Governance Forum should
last. Although initially there appeared to be a consensus on “two to three
days”, when Chairman Desai proposed it several interventions called for a
longer duration.

However if the IGF is scheduled to last for a long time, the leading
technical experts whose presence is important for the success of the IGF are
much less likely to come.

There was a lot of discussion on possible topics for the Internet Governance
Forum, and all stakeholders have been invited to submit in writing their top
three choices for public policy issues to be discussed at the first meeting
of the IGF, together with a short explanation on the reasons for these
choices, by 31 March 2006.

Also public comments are open until 28 February 2006 regarding the need for
a multistakeholder group to assist the Secretary-General in convening the
IGF, what the mandate of this group should be and how it should be formed.

The website for the Internet Governance Forum now includes transcripts of
the consultations in Geneva and a summary of the positions which were

Internet Governance Forum website

EDRi-gram: First Consultations on Establishment of Internet Governance Forum

(Contribution by Norbert Bollow – Foundation for a Free Information