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Published 17.07.18

In November, Paris will be the Capital of Internet Governance - IGF 2018 in France

Jutta Croll

The thirteenth Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will be held in Paris, France, from 12th to 14th of November 2018, hosted by the French Government. The meeting will be held at the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in parallel with the Paris Peace Forum on 11th to -13th of November.

In his announcement, French President Emmanuel Macron emphasized the importance of welcoming the IGF in Paris in order to “share common ideas” and to advance discussions on International Internet policy issues. Sharing ideas and broad and thoughtful collaboration has never been more important given the pace of change and the clear and increasing need to make progress.

The IGF programme and the intersessional activities are guided by the 55-member Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General to advise him on these matters. Jutta Croll, chairwoman of the board of the Digital Opportunities Foundation, was appointed as a member of the group this year. As a representative of Civil Society she will serve the MAG with her expertise especially with regard to children’s rights and child protection in the digital world and bring in her experience as a member of the Dynamic Coalition on Child Online Safety since its establishment at the IGF in Rio de Janeiro 2007.

From July 11th to 13th, the Multistakeholder Advisory Group convened for their second meeting this year in Geneva to decide on the programme and to discuss the selection of workshops for the IGF 2018. 344 proposals were sent in from all around the world within the four week deadline. When shaping the IGF programme, the MAG is strictly following the principle of diversity regarding regional background, stakeholder groups, gender, and content. The internet policy issues the IGF participants 2018 will focus on include cybersecurity, data privacy, emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things, Human Rights, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These themes for the meeting were derived through an open global call for issues, thus ensuring that the thematic main sessions, the workshops and other session formats will address themes that are currently of high relevance in Internet policy.

The IGF is unique as a platform for multistakeholder Internet policy discussions. After the World Summit of Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva and Tunis 2003 and 2005, the United Nations first initiated the IGF for five years to address the issues brought up during WSIS. In 2010, the mandate was prolonged for another five years and then in 2015 for the next decade till 2025. Past IGF meetings have attracted between 2,000 and 3,000 participants, representing all regions and stakeholder groups, including governments, the private sector, civil society and the technical community.

The fourteenth IGF will be hosted by the German Federal Government in Berlin in November 2019. Stakeholders from politics, industry, academia and civil society are already invited to engage in the multistakeholder process and develop their topics and ideas for the programme. For more information please refer to the website of the IGF at https://www.intgovforum.org/.