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Internet governance was one of the most controversial issues at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and at the subsequent WSIS+10 review by the General Assembly in the wake of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. Cognizant of the fact that any Internet governance approach should be inclusive and responsive, the WSIS mandated the Secretary-General of the United Nations to convene the Global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) for multistakeholder policy dialogue. The convening of the IGF was announced by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 18 July 2006.
As a platform for discussions, the IGF brings various people and stakeholder groups to the table as equals to exchange information and share good policies and practices relating to the Internet and technologies. While the IGF may not have decision-making mandates, it informs and inspires those who do. It facilitates common understandings and knowledge exchange of how to maximize Internet opportunities and address risks and challenges.
The IGF also gives stakeholders from all countries, including developing countries, the opportunity to engage in the debate on Internet governance and it contributes to capacity building, allowing these stakeholders to build knowledge and skills that will facilitate their participation in existing Internet governance institutions and arrangements. Ultimately the involvement of all stakeholders, from developed as well as developing countries, from governments to international organisations, from the private sector to the civil society, is necessary for advancing dynamic public policies in Internet governance.
The IGF has over the years identified a wide range of key issues to be addressed by the international community and has shaped policy decisions related to the Internet and technologies throughout the world. The IGF does not adopt resolutions or create any binding treaties. Its importance lies in its unique ability to facilitate discourse between governments, intergovernmental organisations, private companies, the technical community and civil society organisations that deal with or are interested in Internet governance related public policy issues. IGF gatherings discuss proposed responses including regulatory frameworks, potential risks, global trends, as well as best and worst practices that have been adopted or are currently under discussion. Participants also examine the impact of treaties, recommendations and other documents adopted in various international venues within the Internet governance ecosystem.
The IGF serves as a laboratory, a neutral space, where all actors can table an issue for an informed discussion across stakeholders. As an open forum, rather than a membership forum, the IGF is for all people with a stake in the Internet. Since its establishment in 2006, it has gained global prominence among stakeholders as an open, inclusive, and transparent forum for dialogue and collaboration. The IGF mandate was renewed for 5 years in 2010 (2011-2015) and again in 2015 during the WSIS+10 review for another 10 years (2016-2025).
The Sierra Leone Internet Governance Forum is open to all Sierra Leoneans. Please us the form below to contact us.