Internet Society President on engaging Global Multi-Stakeholder Community on Internet Governance

This blog post by the Internet Society President Lynn St.Amour on Internet Governance issues is intended to share background with and invite comment from the Internet Society community on how we might strengthen the Internet governance model central to the Internet’s success. Of course, as always, I encourage and look forward to input more broadly, so I welcome input from anyone who shares our vision for an open and global Internet, and a vibrant and engaged community to support it.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, there have been many developments since the Montevideo statement, in which I* leaders agreed to catalyze community-wide efforts towards the evolution of global multistakeholder cooperation.

As the community’s discussion and the pace of developments continue to accelerate, including at the Buenos Aires ICANN meeting, now is an opportune time to consider opportunities for moving forward.

The path to where we are today

Shortly after the I* CEO’s met in Montevideo, a meeting in Brazil on Internet governance emerged—and was confirmed this week for Sao Paulo on 23-24 April 2014. At the Internet Governance Forum last month, numerous meetings were held with individuals from Industry, Civil Society, governments, I*, and others in order to assess what might be done to catalyze cooperation in evolving, and strengthening multistakeholder Internet governance arrangements. Since then, a mailing list has been launched at 1Net. This has sparked further discussion in many communities about what, exactly, 1Net ought to be.

Opportunities for moving forward

And, this is where we all play a role, as our collective experiences can inform that exploration. Speaking personally, fostering successful multistakeholder engagement and dialogue requires broad engagement, and it takes time. The result of this shared investment of time and effort are sustainable efforts that effect real and positive differences for the Internet and in the world.

For example, our experience with the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) and, of course, the IGF provides an important perspective. The Internet Society was asked to participate, and was represented by Daniel Kaplan from the French Chapter, in the initial discussions in 2001 that led to WSIS and ultimately the IGF. For the past seven years, the IGF has been a key forum for bringing people together. Today, the IGF encompasses not only the global meeting, but also regional IGF events around the world. The breadth of the community the IGF convenes around Internet governance is remarkable.

The Internet Society itself has grown and evolved significantly over the past two decades. In fact, we just welcomed the Paraguay Chapter of the Internet Society as our 100th Chapter, and we now have nearly 150 Organization Members. Together our members and Chapters are very active in policy and development as well as technical matters at local, regional, and global levels. Together, we have all done amazing work to build and strengthen the open, global Internet. Their work, and the work of organizations throughout the Internet ecosystem, has informed a framework that provides a way to understand and highlight the distributed, collaborative stewardship that is the hallmark of the Internet’s success, and how the challenges it faces are addressed.

You might ask, as 1Net is to be a dialogue on global Internet governance, does it stand alone? Does it work alongside or through the IGF and related processes? Or, you may be wondering how 1Net and Internet Society fit together?

Whatever you believe, we would like to have a discussion here, as ISOC Members, in order to inform the 1Net evolution. How can we, as a community, best strengthen Internet Governance cooperation across the world, for all?

Of course, we are all invited to participate in the 1Net discussion directly.

All of us in the Internet Society, look forward to hearing your thoughts, so please do share them.

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