The IGF and Networked Internet Governance

The European Parliament has issued a resolution which illustrates the growing interplay of global Internet governance and domestic or regional polities. It also hints at how we might begin to incorporate the broad array of interests affected by global Internet policies.

Issuing a call to raise “the parliamentary profile of the IGF process” and “to keep the IGF high on their agendas” the resolution stressed “that lessons can already be learnt from the fruitful exchanges held in the context of the IGF up to now, and put in motion, notably on electronic communications regulatory aspects and data security and privacy issues,…as well as freedom of expression.” Among other things, it calls “on the EU institutions concerned to take the Tunis agenda into consideration in their legislative work, such as the revision of the electronic telecommunications framework, the revision of i2010 and any upcoming ICT legislative proposals; emphasises the means of making the Internet more accessible for more people, e.g. competition between operators and service providers, neutrality between technology and development of ICT.” What any of this means in practice remains to be seen, I invite those more familiar the EU Internet policy landscape to comment.

Another interesting aspect of the resolution was the call to engage “national and regional interests in the IGF process in order to form 'local' IGFs, as is already being proposed in the UK” (AFAIK, this was an activity initiated by Nominet last year). Similar to the Caribbean Internet Forum (now in its 6th year, the next meeting is in Trinidad just before New Delhi), organized in part by IGP Scientific Committee member Lee McKnight, the Parliament encouraged the organization of a “European IGF” before mid-2009 and prepatory meetings in advance of the Delhi meeting “to reinforce the European dimension of the whole IGF/WSIS process.” Granted, many of the issues taken up in these forums will likely be best addressed by domestic policy, but they could also be valuable aggregation mechanisms into global governance processes when appropriate. If the forums continue to grow they could become an important facet of the networked governance that creates global Internet policy. But what really needs attention is creating reliable mechanisms for consistently feeding the preferences expressed in these forums to actual global policy-making institutions like ICANN, RIRs, WIPO, and WTO which impact distributional outcomes.

One comment

  1. Anonymous

    Regional and national Internet governance issues have been on the agenda from the start of the CIF. A regional framework for Internet Governance, initially drafted at the 4th forum, has already been agreed at Ministerial level in principle, and is winding its way through the drafting and revision process. The 4th forum also employed a simultaneous link to Athens to conjoin the global and regional activities. By its 5th year, the forum was regionally recognized as a helpful new vehicle for policy coordination and development of the regional Internet, and has been formally incorporated as a non-profit, multistakeholder entity.