Organization: IGF

IGF is the Internet Governance Forum, an annual forum created in 2006 that brings together all "stakeholders" to discuss important and timely Internet governance issues.

The forum is semi-autonomous but run by the United Nations. Its annual event rotates around the globe and it has spawned numerous "regional IGFs" that cater for more local issues.

Most recent IGF articles | Most popular IGF articles

15 October 2013

The idea that the growth of economic activity is linked to investment in the Internet and other ICTs is now well-documented. The Internet is making economic activity more efficient, faster, more affordable, while at the same time, extending social interaction in unparalleled ways. Increasingly, the largest productivity gains for businesses come from using online networks.

E-commerce is perhaps the most concrete evidence of the power of the Internet to create new economic opportunity and to expand the dimensions of traditional business. Indeed, e-commerce has been one of the principal engines promoting the growth of the Internet itself over the last fifteen years.

22 August 2013

The shift towards the digitisation of economies has opened up huge opportunities. But it’s also brought enormous security risks. As our online footprint grows and we touch the Internet through an average of 5.7 devices in every home, we are increasingly exposed to risks including fraud, identity theft, virus attack and breaches of personal information.

23 April 2013

Advisory group responds to insider nature of annual meeting

Photo credit: Veni Markovski

A deadline for workshop proposals at this year's Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has been extended to 7 May.

The extension is an annual ritual but this time it will be limited to those that have not previously run a workshop - a decision taken "to encourage newcomers to submit workshop proposals", according to a message on the IGF website.

28 February 2013

How the MAG is undermining the IGF's credibility

Despite increasing relevance in the uncertain post-WCIT world, the advisory group to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) remains incapable of fixing long-identified problems and is undermining its credibility.

6 November 2012
Person Organization Summary Length
Wu Hongbo  UNDESA Thanks. The IGF is important. The Internet is great. 13 mins 14 secs
Ali M. Abbasov Azerbaijan government Message from President: Azerbaijan loves the Internet. And it is used freely. 2 mins 24 secs
Hamadoun Touré ITU The IGF is great (because it came from an ITU conference). The ITU allows business and technical organizations into its processes. WCIT (next month) will not be about the ITU taking control of the Internet. (See extended notes below.) 10 mins 24 secs
Abid Sharifov Azerbaijan government [Spoken in Azerbaijani - no translation available] 6 mins 16 secs
6 November 2012
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Proving yet again that 23 speakers say no more than five speakers but take two hours longer to do it, the Internet Governance Forum held its seventh opening ceremony in Baku, Azerbaijan earlier today. Not much came out of it.

It was a government dominated morning, with 14 of the 23 speakers representing countries and the vast majority of them simply reiterating long-held positions. If the 1,500 attendees were looking for insights into governance of the Internet they were sadly disappointed.

Read a very concise summary of all speeches.

There were a few notable exceptions. Head of the ITU, Hamadoun Toure, exploited his position to get 10 minutes of airtime instead of five, and used it to reiterate the message that the WCIT conference next month is not about the ITU or United Nations taking over the Internet.

6 November 2012

The Internet Governance Forum is taking place this week in Azerbaijan. This annual get together of governments, the technical community, academics and others is in its seventh year and the overall theme this year is: "Internet Governance for Sustainable Human, Economic and Social Development."

As ever, there are a huge number of sessions and workshops - often 12 going on at the same time - which can make navigating the conference pretty difficult. But do no fear: .Nxt has been through the agenda and picked out what we think will be the sessions most worth following.

We have done our best to only pick one session per timeslot and it is worth noting that nearly all sessions will be webcast and transcribed so you can catch up on the ones you miss at a later date.

You can view all sessions live through the Baku webcast channel. Note: the time in Azerbaijan is UTC+4. Find the time there now.

Jump to particular days:

11 July 2012

The organization that can keep pace with the Internet is destined to walk away with the rights to govern the global network

Who will break free from its cocoon first: ICANN, the IGF or ITU?

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress
-- Charles Kettering

Charles Kettering was a most remarkable American. As an inventor, engineer and businessman, he made many of modern life's luxuries possible, including the car (he invented the start motor) and the refrigerator (invented Freon). He also moved Henry Ford's famous black automobile into the world of color by developing lacquered paints suitable for mass-production.

Kettering was a fierce believer in change. "If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong," he once said. And he was damning about people's inability to see what changes needed to be made and why. "People are very open-minded about new things - as long as they're exactly like the old ones," he warned.

9 July 2012

The Internet Governance Forum has been a novel hybrid of a traditional inter-governmental approach with the open Internet policy model since its inception.

A long series of careful compromises, brilliantly engineered by its original leaders (Nitin Desai as Special Advisor and Markus Kummer as Executive Coordinator), meant that the annual four-day forum made sense to the broad range of attendees.

Key elements of the IGF include:

  • Set-piece plenary sessions (that make governments comfortable)
  • Small, flexible workshops (which give civil society an opportunity to discuss particular topics)
  • An advisory committee (the MAG) comprising all stakeholders that provide a decision-making body
  • Two open preparatory meetings for each forum, typically in February and May in preparation for the November event
  • MAG meetings (originally closed) held after the preparatory meetings to make decisions
  • Light requirements on workshops allowing for a large number (around 100) to be approved
26 June 2012
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Nitin Desai was a key architect of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) as Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General for Internet Governance between. Previously he had held several Under-Secretary roles at the UN, as well as at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and as chair of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG).

We asked about his reflections specifically on the IGF, two years he had stepped down from running the annual conference.

Nitin Desai came out of retirement to build IGF. Photo: Richard Sambrook

What has been the biggest success and the largest lost opportunity of the IGF?

The biggest success: the multi-stakeholder format. The largest lost opportunity? Not enough attention on over-the-horizon issues.

So what has the IGF achieved?
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