Thought leaders in the Internet Governance (IG) community will converge in Nairobi, Kenya from 27th September to 1st October to deliberate on the present and future of the Internet. Dubbed Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the meeting is convened by the United Nations and will be held at their offices in Gigiri.
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is an annual event; it is a multi-stakeholder platform for discussions into all aspects of the Internet Governance debate. Internet Governance itself, simply, is the coming together of different interest parties to figure out how the Internet should operate and what laws or principles should be applied in its use. IGF brings together all key actors in the Internet space: governments, the technical community, academics, civil society and corporate organisations, on an equal basis. IGF was birthed through the World Summit for Information Society (WSIS) that was held in Tunis in 2005. Considering that the Internet has become a useful tool in all aspects of human endeavour and that there are over 1.5 billion of us using the global platform, there is no doubt that the IG debate is crucial. IGF has become so important that its organisation has been diffused to regional and national levels. At the first Ghana IGF, I took part in the discussion on Youth and Internet Governance Issues.
The main theme for IGF 2011 is "Internet as a catalyst for change: access, development, freedoms and innovation". It has further been broken down into the following sub-themes:
- IG4D / Internet governance for development (IG4D) [also a cross cutting theme]
- Emerging Issues
- Managing critical Internet resources
- Security, openness and privacy
- Access and diversity
- Taking stock and the way forward
Various workshops, coordinated by different stakeholders, have been organised to raise discussion points under each sub-theme. For example, under security, openness and privancy, one of the workshops has been titled "Protecting the Most Vulnerable Users in Society: The Roles of Different Actors in Helping the New User Survive in an On-Line World", and under IG4D, we have "Can Digital Citizenship Scale into the Emerging and Developing Countries Effectivly? Should It?". Also, the dynamic coalitions would be having their own sessions to explore issues pertinent to their causes.