IGF underway in Brasil

EllenA blog post from Ellen Stickland, Community Programme Director at InternetNZ
11 November 2015

The 10th annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is officially underway in Joao Pessoa, Brasil, with the official opening ceremony having just taken place.  The IGF is a multistakeholder, democratic and transparent forum which facilitates discussions on Internet issues. You can read more about the history and purpose of the IGF here: 

The Internet Governance Forum

Ben Creet, Senior Issues Advisor at InternetNZ, and I are here to take part in the event and the many discussions and meetings on issues and topics relevant to the work of InternetNZ.

This is an important milestone for IGF, as next month in New York the UN General Assembly will decide, as part of the World Summit on the Information Society review (WSIS+10), whether the annual IGF event continues. WSIS+10 is a strong focus of the week, with a range of meetings and sessions devoted to this step in deciding the future of Internet Governance. We are hopeful that the IGF mandate will be renewed so this unique, annual event can continue to provide a space for international dialogue on Internet issues and policy.

It will be a busy and interesting week here for Ben and I. Yesterday, on day zero, I was a panelist in a session on gender and the Internet. This included discussion on New Zealand's Harmful Digital Communication Act. I also attended a session of the Global Internet Governance Academic network. And this morning I participated in an excellent session on funding for Internet innovation, which was very useful as an opportunity to explore current funding practices across sectors and learn from others doing work relevant to our own InternetNZ community funding.

A key focus of my attendance at the IGF is engaging with the network of organisers of national and regional Internet governance events - like our own NetHui. I will be co-moderating a half-day dialogue session tomorrow of this group, where we discuss issues and share lessons learned in organising such events.

There are 11 rooms of simultaneous sessions so one of the toughest tasks is picking which session to attend! I'm looking forward to attending a range of sessions on human rights, spectrum allocation, gender, zero rating, and a range of other topics.

This is Ben's first IGF and he is nerding out with a schedule packed with sessions on privacy, encryption, and best practice in computer security incident response, as well as sessions on WSIS+10 and broader Internet governance discussions. He'll blog later this week and share his experiences and thoughts on the event.

Personally, this is the fifth IGF I've attended, the third in person as well as two remotely from New Zealand. While the timezone is pretty harsh, I can recommend remote participation as a great way to engage in the event and sessions of interest, as it is live streamed with audio and video options for remote participants to interact in the session. I encourage you to check out the sessions and topics for the rest of the week - there is something here for just about everyone. The theme for the 2015 IGF meeting is the “Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development.” This theme is supported by eight sub-themes:

  • Cybersecurity and trust
  • The Internet economy
  • Inclusiveness and diversity
  • Openness
  • Enhancing multistakeholder cooperation
  • The Internet and human rights
  • Critical Internet resources
  • Emerging issues

The IGF 2015 schedule is available here:

IGF schedule