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Internet Governance Forum

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a global multi-stakeholder forum to discuss policy issues related to internet governance. The IGF is an open forum which has no standing members. The Forum was initiated in 2005 when the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in Tunis, requested the Secretary-General of the United Nations to convene ‘a new forum for a multi-stakeholder dialogue’ – the IGF.1 The IGF mandate, as set out in the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, is to ‘discuss public policy issues related to key elements of internet governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the internet,’ but also to facilitate discourse and exchange of information and best practices between stakeholders, and to provide advice to those stakeholders.2 The IGF has ‘no oversight function.’ It is constituted to be a ‘neutral, non-duplicative and non-binding process.’3 Initially the IGF’s mandate was given by the UN General Assembly for only five years, but in 2010 it was extended for another five years. The Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The IGF’s annual meetings cover different aspects of internet governance. The first meeting in 2006 dealt with four broad themes: openness, security, diversity and access. During the subsequent meetings other themes followed, but security has always been one of the central topics of discussion. Each annual meeting has produced a report, available in the INCYDER database. The IGF also provides an online platform to share views and exchange ideas, and facilitates different regional and national initiatives in the field of internet governance.

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