Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Stakeholders route to stabilize IGF, seeks UN endorsement

Participants at the ongoing Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in alliance with stakeholders across the global may have began to route for more stable IGF by seeking the endorsement of the United Nations (UN) to make it a permanent forum, ITRealms reports exclusively.

ITRealms recalls that the IGF which commenced in 2003 saw the second phase in 2005 held in Tunisia coming out with a five-year lifespan which was renewed 2010.

Most of the internet stakeholders who commented on this development described it as a laudable step.
According to the Executive Director, Operations at DigitalSENSE Africa (DSA), the organizers of the Nigeria DSA Forum on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke, it is a welcome development, after all, the Internet has continued to evolve and needs sustained stakeholder involvement beyond the five-year term previously given.

She also said this development when adopted, would pave the way for a more structured IGF across the world, therefore more inclusive.

Mrs. Nweke further commended the efforts of Messrs Stephanie Perrin and Jeanette Hofmann in awakening this process with a draft recommendation.

As contained in the draft recommendation to UN General Assembly through its Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, IGF stakeholders noted in the letter entitle “Recommendation for consideration to the UN General Assembly for a permanent mandate of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)” that in 2005, UN Member states had asked the UN Secretary-General in the Tunis Agenda, to convene a meeting of the new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue—called the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). 

The mandate of the Forum, the petitioners said, was to discuss public policy issues relating to key elements of Internet governance, such as those enumerated in the Tunis Agenda, in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet for all. “The Forum was not to replace existing arrangements, mechanisms, institutions or organizations. It was intended to constitute a neutral, non-duplicative and non-binding process, and have no involvement in day-to-day or technical operations of the Internet.”

The Tunis Agenda also asked the UN Secretary-General to examine the desirability of the continuation of the Forum, in formal consultation with Forum participants, within five years of its creation, and to make recommendations to the UN Membership in this regard.
Equally, at UN sixty-fifth session, the General Assembly decided to extend the mandate of the IGF, underlining the need to improve the IGF “with a view to linking it to the broader dialogue on global Internet governance”.

In his note on the continuation of the Internet Governance Forum, the UN Secretary General confirmed that the IGF was unique and valuable. It is a place where governments, civil society, the private sector and international organizations build a common understanding of the Internet’s great potential.

In furtherance of this, the Secretary-General had recommended that the mandate of the Internet Governance Forum be extended for a further five years; that the desirability of continuation be considered again by Member States within the context of a 10-year review of implementation of the outcome of the World Summit on the Information Society in 2015.
ITRealms gathered that in order to allow the IGF to reach its full potential, stakeholders recommended “an extension of the IGF mandate, which is open-ended, without term limitation.”  They stressed that this would ensure the stability of the IGF, and support long range planning for more comprehensive projects and funding initiatives. 

As part of its plan-B, stakeholders suggested that if the aforementioned is impossible given current UN rules and regulations, “we would recommend a stable ten year extension, to enable longer-range commitments and financial planning.” 

Remmy Nweke: 
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