Community Projects Internet Governance

We have to continue working on building an Internet of opportunities!

This blog is based on the speech held by Raúl Echeberría at the opening of the 5th African IGF in Durban, South Africa, on 16th October 2016. 

My colleagues at the Internet Society and myself have already attended many of the national and regional IGFs that are being organised across the world. And it is amazing to see all the energy around those initiatives and how we have created a new way to discuss and to deal in an open and multistakeholder manner, with things that are very important for our societies.

I have been involved in IGF since its inception. In particular, I was involved in the work in the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) from where the recommendation of creating this forum came up, and the negotiations at the Summit in 2005.

Eleven years later, we can say that the IGF has been very successful; we have created something very useful, a real innovation in international governance. This is impressive. What is even more impressive is the large network of national and regional IGFs that have been created. This is very important because most of the policy making happens at the local level, so the closest we can bring the open and multistakeholder discussion to where the policies are discussed, the best to ensure that we take advantage of all the expertise and knowledge that it is available across all stakeholders groups.

Taking advantage of that diversity is the only way to be sure that the outcomes of the policy debates will fit the needs of our societies.

There are two things that impact our discussions:

One is the adoption in 2015 of the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s not new for most of us that the Internet is the vehicle for achieving other goals, goals that are the human, social and economic development. But the SDG offer a sound basis for a common understanding about that.

Now it is much more visible that Internet development is a horizontal issue to all the SDGs, that it is impossible to achieve the SDGs without taking advantage of the new technologies. We are not talking just about increasing the number of people connected, but about how to use the Internet for accomplishing the goals of education, healthcare, creating jobs, etc.

This gives us a much more tangible framework for a meaningful discussion.

The second thing is the successful transition of the IANA functions oversight.

This is important for two reasons: 

  1. Because it was a very successful example of how we conducted community-based, open, transparent and bottom-up processes and we produced the expected outcomes . . .  and we did it on time.
  2. We can now focus on other important matters that are the ones related to continuing promoting meaningful access to all the people.

Those who are here today, spending a Sunday on Internet Governance discussions, we are here because we share something. We care about what we do.

We care about the Internet, but we also care about people.

This is our work.  We have to connect the unconnected because this is essential, but we also have to continue to build an Internet that contributes to reducing inequities, to give opportunities to those who have not had enough opportunities, an Internet that helps to improve people’s lives, an Internet of opportunities.

This African Internet Governance Forum surely will be one important step forward for achieving that objective.

Community Projects Growing the Internet Internet Governance

Africa focuses on building an inclusive Internet

The 5th African Internet Governance Forum – AfIGF2016 kicked off on October 16, 2016 in Durban, South Africa. Under the theme “Inclusive development and the Digital transformation of Africa”, the forum will run through 18 October 2016. 

Raul Echeberria, Vice-President of the Internet Society, made an opening remark during the opening session of the Forum followed by presentations from Dawit Bekele, Director of the Internet Society African Regional Bureau, on “ How to shape the future of the Internet in Africa” and “Connecting the Unconnected”. 

The Internet Society’s presence at the AfIGF2016 was also marked by a bilateral meeting held with Prof Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services of the Republic of South Africa.

About the Internet Governance Forum 

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a platform for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on prevailing and emerging issues on Internet governance ecosystem. The IGF mandate was extended for ten years by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 2015. IGF aims at fostering the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and the development of the Internet, thus facilitating content development and access to information and knowledge. 

About the African Internet Governance Forum 

Presently, there are regional Internet Governance Forum initiatives in all the five regions of Africa. In order to bring together the national IGF initiatives together with the regional ones and to promote IG related issues on the continent, there was a strong need for the establishment of an African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF). Accordingly, AfIGF was convened by the sub-regional IGFs in cooperation with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) at the 6th IGF in Nairobi, Kenya. The AfIGF was formally launched on 30 September 2011.

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