Report of the UN Secretary-General’s ‎High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation

About the Report

The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, convened the High-Level Panel on ‎Digital Cooperation to advance proposals to strengthen cooperation in the digital space among ‎Governments, the private sector, civil society, international organizations, academia, the technical ‎community and other relevant stakeholders.‎

The 20-member panel, co-chaired by Ms. Melinda Gates and Mr. Jack Ma, was expected to raise ‎awareness about the transformative impact of digital technologies across society and the ‎economy, and contribute to the broader public debate on how to ensure a safe and inclusive ‎digital future for all, taking into account relevant human rights norms.‎

During its work, the panel broadly consulted with various stakeholders, including the IGF ‎community.‎

The Panel submitted the final report to the Secretary-General on 10 June 2019. During the ‎launch, the Secretary-General called for a broad consultation process on the topics covered in ‎the report. ‎

While the consultation launched below focuses mainly on Digital Cooperation and the IGF/IGF ‎Plus, the full report is also available for consultation (here) and there are many important topics ‎and recommendations that deserve consideration and careful review.‎

Digital Cooperation at the IGF 2019 

The IGF 2019 Annual Meeting will feature a main session dedicated to Digital Cooperation, ‎scheduled to be on 26 November, from 10:00-13:00 p.m. CEST, Main Hall. This session will ‎reflect on the HLPDC Report recommendations, with special focus on the Recommendation 5 ‎and the proposed model for global digital cooperation called: The Internet Governance Forum Plus ‎‎(IGF Plus). ‎

In preparation for this session, the IGF community is invited to provide feedback to the Recommendation 5 - Global Digital Cooperation and the IGF Plus model. Relevant sections of the Report are extracted further below. Respondents can also email written contributions to [email protected]. These contributions will be posted on the IGF website.

All received inputs will be synthesized in a written output document and this will be posted in late October as an input to the above-mentioned main session during the 14th IGF in Berlin, where we will facilitate online as well as physical participation.

It is very important that this report and subsequent discussions have a very broad outreach. We ‎need to do all we can to include those voices not historically engaged in discussions on Internet ‎Governance or Digital Cooperation. This is a great opportunity to reach out and increase ‎engagement from marginalized groups as well as other ‎disciplines. Concrete and actionable feedback will help all our improvement efforts. ‎

Please log into the IGF website and post your comments by clicking on 'Add new comment at this ‎section'. ‎

Received contributions, in addition to the below in-line comments:

  1. - Brazilian Internet Steering Committee
  2. Microsoft
  3. Web Foundaton
  4. Government of Australia, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  5. Government of France, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs 
  6. République Française, Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères
  7. Government of Finland, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
  8. Governance Primer, Brazilian Association of Software Companies (ABES), AR-TARC Certification Authority
  9. Mercari Inc.
  10. RIPE NCC
  11. Government of Denmark, Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs
  12. Government of Switzerland
  13. Raúl Echeberría 
  14. Instituto de Pesquisa em Direito e Tecnologia do Recife - IP.rec
  15. ICC Basis
  16. Pathways for Prosperity Commission 
  17. Government of Germany
  18. UK Government
  19. European Broadcasting Union
  20. Group of stakeholders gathered around IGF 2019 Best Practice Forums
  21. Media 21 Foundation
  22. United States Council for International Business
  23. The Association for Progressive Communications  (APC)
  24. Internet Society (ISOC)
  25. Juan Alfonso Fernández

See the Consolidated Summary of Received Feedback 




Recommendation 5A

We recommend that, as a matter of urgency, the UN ‎Secretary-General facilitate an agile and open consultation ‎process to develop updated mechanisms for global digital ‎cooperation, with the options discussed in Chapter 4 as a ‎starting point. We suggest an initial goal of marking the UN's ‎‎75th anniversary in 2020 with a “Global Commitment for ‎Digital Cooperation” to enshrine shared values, principles, ‎understandings and objectives for an improved global digital ‎cooperation architecture. As part of this process, we ‎understand that the UN Secretary-General may appoint a ‎Technology Envoy.

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Global Commitment for ‎Digital Cooperation

Global digital cooperation is certainly a need but with the growing trend of control over the internet and technology, the possibility of creating a uniform practice is a question of standard. The problem with the variation of interpretation and values has resulted in a chaos of Internet being manipulated by the rich and the powerful. Still today in major parts of the developing world, internet is not a choice but a question of access. In such scenario where the world is reaching the next billion, the question of Global Commitment for ‎Digital Cooperation is a bigger issue. Yes, shared values, principles, ‎understandings and objectives for an improved global digital ‎cooperation architecture is a basic need but at the developing level these values differentiate at individual country and region.
We must collaborate and understand the dynamics of such commitment where the role of multistakeholder is eminent. 

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Role of third world countries in digital era

The third world countries will bring the digitalization into mainstream. This will be an era of change where the leaders will follow these developing nations. This will be the start of digital cooperation. The best alternatives to the heavy economies will be small but composite economies of these developing nations.

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Global commitment need uniformity

Global digital cooperation is certainly a need but with the growing trend of control over the internet and technology, the possibility of creating a uniform practice is a question of standard. The problem with the variation of interpretation and values has resulted in a chaos of Internet being manipulated by the rich and the powerful. Still today in major parts of the developing world, internet is not a choice but a question of access. In such scenario where the world is reaching the next billion, the question of Global Commitment for ‎Digital Cooperation is a bigger issue. Yes, shared values, principles, ‎understandings and objectives for an improved global digital ‎cooperation architecture is a basic need but at the developing level these values differentiate at individual country and region.
We must collaborate and understand the dynamics of such commitment where the role of multistakeholder is eminent.

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The Role Of The UN

Concomitant to the recommendation 5A, which is sound, and together with the realization that a global digital cooperation mechanism requires a certain technical solution, I feel that a part of the UN's role in this process is to share their experiences with large technical solutions facilitating cooperation. Maybe this could be a task for the purported technology envoy.

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Global Digital Cooperation

The U.S. Council for International Business  would support marking the UN’s 75th anniversary in 2020 with a “Global Commitment for Digital Cooperation,” using the nine values outlined in the report as the foundation and identifying the IGF Plus model as the mechanism. We urge revision of the final value – “harmony” – as follows:

Harmony and Cohesiveness – The use by governments and businesses of digital technologies in ways that earn the trust of peers, partners and people, and that avoid exploiting or exacerbating divides and conflicts and causing the Internet to fragment.

§  The italicized revision reflects our view that policies must ensure an open, safe, highly secure, stable, interoperable, seamless, and sustainable global Internet to fully realize the economic and social benefits of digital transformation.

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Technology Envoy

A Technology Envoy would be valuable were they a respected member of the community that most would find able to accurately represent and describe the issues being faced by the involved stakeholders. Were the person somebody appointed for reasons other than their unmistakable expertise, this would just generate a large degree of distrust in the community. This is a nomination that should require much thinking from those responsible for making the choice.

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Recommendation 5B

We support a multi-stakeholder “systems” approach for cooperation and regulation that is adaptive, agile, inclusive and fit for purpose for the fast-changing digital age.

Proposed questions for your feedback (suggestions only, all feedback welcome):

  1. How would you improve the current existing frameworks for digital cooperation?
  2. ‎What/if any new frameworks/mechanisms would you recommend?‎
  3. ‎How might we strengthen the practices/impacts of digital governance mechanisms?‎
  4. ‎How can we properly resource and fund multi-stakeholder processes to ensure:‎
    • Broad, inclusive and adequate participation
    • Ability to implement desired programmes
    • On-going improvement efforts are successful
  5. How do we further enhance our collaboration to advance our shared values, principles, understandings ‎and objectives for digital cooperation? ‎
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Multistakeholder also leaves space for politics and manipulation

Multistakeholder environment has been collaborated in various process and practice but in developing countries the push of multistakeholder approach is more complex in terms of lack of values and leadership. Representation and inclusion are a higher concern when it comes to global level but at national or country level right person and right choice is a major priority.
From multistakeholder to collaborative environment there are challenges of resource and commitment.
Multistakeholder is not just a concept of diversity or inclusion but it is the democratic value which we all have undermined. Reality is Multistakeholder concept is hugely misinterpreted by wrong interpretation and manipulated in developing countries, so it needs better core values and collaboration in terms of creating that dynamics.

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power sharing between stakeholders

Global diversity makes it a bit difficult for there to be simiar sets of values and leadership universally. The differences becaome more apparent as you move down the levels from global to regional to national. For developing countries, the power assigned to the stakeholder groups is not usually done equally. A possible rason for this is the lack of the need to bear responsibilty by some groups and the need for ultimate control by some other groups. All the stakeholder groups should be able to showcase equal committment towards global development. This will enable collaboration among them.

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Extended & Enhanced Framework

  1. The report identifies the shortcomings in the current existing frameworks for digital cooperation and identifies architectures. It does not document how and what low cost, high impact detailed processes it can use to resolve the issues, including but not limited to the need to:
    1. Distribute the Internet and its economy to all nations and peoples;
    2. Promote the development of local content that is culturally and linguistically relevant to the different regions to welcome existing users and on-board new users;
    3. Create an online local entry point into Internet Governance for bottom-up, inclusive participation in building and governing the Internet;
    4. Track trends and progress in resolving identified technical, security, policy or online Human Rights violations at the local, regional and global levels using documented, standardized processes for transparency;
    5. Identify, adopt, and distribute the Stakeholder Group portals/sub-portals to all 193 countries with escalation paths to regional and global levels;
    6. Move from discussion to operation;
    7. Grow new Internet Governance leaders from all countries and across identified Stakeholder Groups;
    8. Balance the disparate voices and needs between developing and industrialized countries;
    9. Balance the disparate voices and needs between Private Sector Stakeholder Groups and those of the public good;
    10. Facilitate and promote vertical and horizontal collaboration within and across Stakeholder Groups that promote the public good so they can share the knowledge, plans, needs and resources required to meet the 2030 deadline for implementing the SDGs;
    11. Fund the development and operation of the Internet and its Stakeholder Groups so the Internet can remain an independent global public asset; and
    12. Support the existing Internet Governance mechanism(s).
  1. I recommend the IFG incorporate “new ways” and “new mechanisms” by adopting and implementing the Search Skate system ( The system’s patent was issued in 2013, and between 2013-2016 an embodiment was specifically designed to deliver workable, low cost solutions to resolve the identified needs of the Internet Governance Community while working within the existing Internet Governance mechanisms. The patent has not been moved to the Creative Commons in order to reserve the rights to the system and its multi-billion-dollar revenue stream to benefit of the Internet and its stakeholders; and to ensure the Internet can remain an independent global public asset. It is Search Skate’s intent is to permanently license the system with $0 licensing fees to the Internet and the global non-profit it chooses to run the system.

The Search Skate system:

  1. Creates tens-of-thousands of locally owned and operated, interest-based portal businesses that can distribute both the Internet and its economy across all 193 nations. The portals make a profit by providing value added services such as website design, development, hosting, translation and other aids to related businesses and individuals. Their existence in an area can grow the local Internet economy while fueling the need to improve the infrastructure and growing the demand for inclusiveness. But the real bonus is Search Skate’s Portal Businesses can be equipped to serve as Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), improving connectedness, reaching the “forgotten” and systematically closing the digital divide;  
  2. Links interest-based portal businesses to existing related local content and promotes the development of new content. This creates culturally and linguistically comfortable digital spaces that welcome existing local users, and on-board new users. Spaces where users can connect with others who share similar interests; network; post or collaborate to resolve issues. In addition, users can easily access links to sites on literacy/training/education, healthcare, jobs, Internet Governance system, digital skills enhancement or building the Internet;
  3. Increases local, bottom-up participation by providing a local entry point to its online Governance System and its “Common Workflow/Service Management System.” Users at the local level can submit and track their concerns about the misuse/abuse of the Internet including technical, security and on-line human rights violations; or offer ideas for solutions or enhancements to the Internet. The workflow system then uses standardized, transparent processes to evaluate, route the concern to the appropriated stakeholder group or committee at the local, regional or global level, tracks and reports the progress back to the contributor for transparency;
  4. Creates standardized top-tier Stakeholder Groups in each country along with escalation paths to the regional and global levels (MAG and IGF) to move from discussion to operation. Links to the Stakeholder Groups from each interest-based portal increases visibility and encourages local users to grow their leadership skills by participating in on-line meeting or volunteering to work in a group or committee;




  1. Balances the disparate needs between the developing nations and the more industrialized nations. By bringing the countries of the Southern Hemisphere (plus Haiti) together as a “region” they can work together to develop a unified plan for advancing their needs and a stronger voice in discussions, and with the more heavily industrialized countries of the Northern Hemisphere “region;”
  2. Balances the needs of the Private Sector Stakeholder Groups and those of Stakeholder Groups promoting the public good.  Search Skate noticed they’re quite different!  The Private Sector is profit driven, built on marketing and selling of goods and services and there’s competition between organizations. The components of Civil Societies focus on meeting the basic human needs to survive and thrive (food, water, shelter, health, literacy/training/education and employment.) To achieve this, Civil Society organizations need a collaborative, cooperative way to work together locally, regionally and globally. Search Skate’s solution? Keep and enhance our existing Commercial Function of the Internet, but add a new, separate but integrated Non-Commercial Function to support the collaborative and cooperative needs of Civil Society organizations. Our Civil Societies perform critical function for us all. They are the silent partner of commerce, helping grow an educated, well-trained and healthy workforce; retooling workers for the Media Age; when the economy dips or industries falter; rebuilding lives after disaster strikes and transforming impoverished, forgotten communities into healthy, employed workers and consumers; and implementing the SDGs by the 2030 deadline;
  3. Creates and maintains consolidated, interest-based calendars. One major benefit of linking related local content to the local Interest-Based Portal Businesses is it opens the opportunity for the Non-Commercial Function Portals to create and maintain consolidated interest-based calendars. The calendars promote collaboration and coordination across Civil Society activities, within and across portals, to facilitate local problem solving and open-up opportunities for sharing of knowledge, resources, transportation and lodging as the organizations work together in building ecosystems to transform impoverished communities, meet the 2030 deadline for implementing the SDGs and coordinate local/global disaster response;
  4. Generates a new, independent multi-billion-dollar revenue stream by establishing a “franchise-like” relationship between the locally owned and operated interest-based portal businesses and the system (the Internet) wherein the portal businesses agree to adopt and work to entrench the openness and interoperability of the Internet and its published policies and standards; and to pay a small annual participation fee that supports Internet operation costs.  This creates another balance, since up until now businesses used a global public asset at no cost to generate trillions of dollars in trade, then charged the public owners of the Internet a fee to access it; and
  5. Integrates with the existing Internet Governance mechanisms at the global level, with clear local entry points for mechanisms at the national level. Search Skate’s committee at the global level that brings together the Non-Commercial and Commercial interests, is the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG).  It’s composed of one representative from each of the Top-Tier Stakeholder Groups, to include members from different nations in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and diverse interest areas. All committee members at this level must have experience in Internet governance and be elected by their stakeholder peers for a 3-year term, with a 2-term limit. Meetings are held once a month, are publicly broadcast over the Internet and are staffed by the IGF or other independent global Internet policy group providing administrative support for the Internet. Then annually, the MAG uses information from the “Common Workflow/Service Management System” to set the agenda for the global meeting the IGF. The IGF is the final arbiter in decisions made in Search Skate’s Multi-Stakeholder Internet Governance System, and in setting goals, issues to be addressed and timelines for the upcoming year. All issues and recommendations presented at the Global Level were directed by the IGF and/or entered into the “Common Workflow/Service Management System,” providing the public with transparent processes and trackable progress. In addition, the issues and recommendations have been reviewed, studied and prioritized by committees at the Top-Tier Stakeholder Group Level, National Level, Hemisphere Level, Commercial/Non-Commercial Function Level and now the Global Level. The Internet and the world need a bottom-up, inclusive Multi-Stakeholder Internet Governance System empowered to make decisions on the Internet’s direction, strategies, uses, rules, policies and the use of the funds it generates.


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WGEC experience

Some of the past discussions including the Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation 2016-2018 under CSTD/UNCTAD had good experiences in answer to these questions. I would suggest revisiting these discussions and think about what we have to add and renew to them. A number of examples of what we had discussed in the past may include;

- Mapping of existing mechanisms regarding Digital Cooperation will help us find duplicated or missing areas of required work. (improve existing frameworks)

- Multistakeholder structure is essential, but it will work best if each stakeholder can clearly show "who represents what". (adequate participation) Common classification of stakeholders like "government, private sector, academia (technology) and civil society" is only looking at the ground floor of a multiple story building. 

- Governance can be re-designed as combinations of four elements which are the law, social norms, the market, and architecture. Market-based governance and "by design" governance are sometimes not seriously considered with innovative ideas. 

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Multistakeholderism is referred to many times in the Report, but not sufficiently critically. There was a time when multistakeholderism, linked to a belief in and support for the superiority of self-regulation as a way of tackling any emerging difficulties with the new technology, was the only option available to policy makers across the world. Few politicians, civil servants and police officers and only a small number of civil society organizations had any kind of deep understanding of how these new exciting cyber businesses operated.  

At the beginning of the mass consumer internet, layered on top of the challenges public bodies faced in understanding it, the companies at the forefront of the internet revolution somehow managed to identify with a counter cultural, insurgent liberal spirit. They promoted themselves as wholly different types of ventures, principally driven by social goals rather than more traditional commercial ones. It was all about making life better, overturning old-fashioned clunky ways of doing things. Since many tremendous products some of the leading firms were providing at that time appeared to be “free” to the end user at the point of use, this helped cement this benign view of the internet into the public’s and the media’s consciousness.


The new orthodoxy consequently centred on a belief that the only important thing was to keep Governments out of the way.  Multistakeholderism meant everyone would talk but that was it. Regulation became a dirty word. Innovation  and market forces would take care of everything. This would be a wholly virtuous circle. Industry was not only  given pretty much a free hand, states even gave them special exemptions from certain types of liability e.g. via the EU’s e-Commerce Directive and s.230, CDA, 1998.


The Report remains strongly wedded to the idea of multistakeholderism. Its theoretical attractions are clear but the actual experience of it is a long way from being satisfactory. Multistakeholderism without concrete and deeply embedded measures to ensure a greater equality of arms  between the participants is simply another way of creating a platform which allows those with the deepest pockets to shout loudest and win or delay change while the cash keeps rolling in.


Turning more specifically to the position of children, while there are several excellent references in the Report,  save in respect of a passing comment  about “children’s agency” (page 17) the document as a whole makes no explicit mention of the importance of children’s rights to participate and their right to be heard in respect of matters affecting them. This subject deserves a much larger exposition, not least because children now constitute one in three of all human internet users.

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Enhancing digital cooperation will require both reinvigorating existing multilateral partnerships and potentially creating new mechanisms that involve stakeholders from business, academia, civil society and technical organisations. We should approach questions of governance based on their specific circumstances and choosing among all available tools.

Where possible we can make existing inter-governmental forums and mechanisms fit for the digital age rather than rush to create new mechanisms, though this may involve difficult judgement calls: for example, while the WTO remains a major forum to address issues raised by the rapid growth in cross-border e-commerce, it is now over two decades since it was last able to broker an agreement on the subject. 

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Digital cooperation at various stakeholder level is manipulated

Digital cooperation at various stakeholder level is manipulated at leadership level. The concept of power and lobbying attitude has engulfed the dynamics. The value of internet must be very clear in terms of standardization so that internet can be treated equally for all. Today the difference in not in-between people who have internet and technology but it’s between people who have no connection and they aspire to be connected and it’s a radical different thing.
The inter-governmental forum needs to mechanize the various process and values so that it can be neutralize in mitigating the gaps of net neutrality and Digital Divide. Though called a multistakeholder but the values of the practice have created gaps in process where still today the bottom up approach highlights the civil society to put the rich and famous as Multistakeholder Advisory group and there is limitation of developing countries and representation.  
 Technology has not just empowered people, but it has also brought in light the level of how it can be used see before and after the process. The limitation of inter-Governmental process is catered in the limited practice of the representation which needs to be addressed with proper values.

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Creation of new mechanisms

New mechanisms make themselves necessary due to the fact that Internet Governance touches upon such a variety of subjects that discussions carried out within other fora may be useful to advance specific matters, but end up further fragmenting the overall debate landscape. While integration with other fora is certainly important, there is no doubt that a fresh approach is needed for issues to be discussed in a more encompassing manner that is able to produce elaborate results.

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Given the speed of change, soft governance mechanisms – values and principles, standards and certification processes – should not wait for agreement on binding solutions. Soft governance mechanisms are also best suited to the multi-stakeholder approach demanded by the digital age: a fact-based, participative process of deliberation and design, including governments, private sector, civil society, diverse users and policy-makers.

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The aim of the holistic “systems” approach we recommended is to bring together government bodies such as competition authorities and consumer protection agencies with the private sector, citizens and civil society to enable them to be more agile in responding to issues and evaluating trade-offs as they emerge. Any new governance approaches in digital cooperation should also, wherever possible, look for ways – such as pilot zones, regulatory sandboxes or trial periods – to test efficacy and develop necessary procedures and technology before being more widely applied.213 

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We envisage that the process of developing a “Global Commitment for Digital Cooperation” would be inspired by the “World We Want” process, which helped formulate the SDGs. Participants would include governments, the private sector from technology and other industries, SMEs and entrepreneurs, civil society, international organisations including standards and professional organisations, academic scholars and other experts, and government representatives from varied departments at regional, national, municipal and community levels. Multi-stakeholder consultation in each member state and region would allow ideas to bubble up from the bottom. 

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The consultations on an updated global digital cooperation architecture could define upfront the criteria to be met by the governance mechanisms to be proposed, such as funding models, modes of operation and means for serving the functions explored in this report. 

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More broadly, if appointed, a UN Tech Envoy could identify over-the-horizon concerns that need improved cooperation or governance; provide light-touch coordination of multi-stakeholder actors to address shared concerns; reinforce principles and norms developed in forums with relevant mandates; and work with UN member states, civil society and businesses to support compliance with agreed norms. 

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It is really important to

It is really important to look into the current practice and gaps of multistakeholder practice and the gaps. The multistakeholder evolution also needs better enriching values which needs to be polished and collaborated time and again.

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The Envoy’s mandate could also include coordinating the digital technology-related efforts of UN entities; improving communication and collaboration among technology experts within the UN; and advising the UN Secretary-General on new technology issues. Finally, the Envoy could promote partnerships to build and maintain international digital common resources that could be used to help achieve the SDGs.

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A possible architecture for Global Digital Cooperation


The proposed Internet Governance Forum Plus, or IGF Plus, would build on the existing IGF which was established by the World Summit on the Information Society (Tunis, 2005). The IGF is currently the main global space convened by the UN for addressing internet governance and digital policy issues. The IGF Plus concept would provide additional multi-stakeholder and multilateral legitimacy by being open to all stakeholders and by being institutionally anchored in the UN system.

The IGF Plus would aim to build on the IGF’s strengths, including well-developed infrastructure and procedures, acceptance in stakeholder communities, gender balance in IGF bodies and activities, and a network of 114 national, regional and youth IGFs206. It would add important capacity strengthening and other support activities.

The IGF Plus model aims to address the IGF’s current shortcomings. For example, the lack of actionable outcomes can be addressed by working on policies and norms of direct interest to stakeholder communities. The limited participation of government and business representatives, especially from small and developing countries, can be addressed by introducing discussion tracks in which governments, the private sector and civil society address their specific concerns.

The IGF Plus would comprise an Advisory Group, Cooperation Accelerator, Policy Incubator and Observatory and Help Desk.

The Advisory Group, based on the IGF’s current Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group, would be responsible for preparing annual meetings, and identifying focus policy issues each year. This would not exclude coverage of other issues but ensure a critical mass of discussion on the selected issues. The Advisory Group could identify moments when emerging discussions in other forums need to be connected, and issues that are not covered by existing organisations or mechanisms.

Building on the current practices of the IGF, the Advisory Group could consist of members appointed for three years by the UN Secretary-General on the advice of member states and stakeholder groups, ensuring gender, age, stakeholder and geographical balance.

Potential questions for your feedback ‎(suggestions only, all feedback welcome):‎

  1. What are in your view criteria that the proposed Advisory Group should fulfil that are not ‎yet being taken into account by the IGF Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group in present IGF ‎setting?‎
  2. How do you address the concerns that these proposals may be considered going ‎beyond the original IGF governance structure and mandates?‎
  3. How might the current Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group be strengthened?‎
  4. What changes (if any) should be considered to the role and responsibilities of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group/Advisory Group?‎
  5. How do we ensure the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group/Advisory Group has appropriate ‎funding and support?‎

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On "emerging discussions in other forums need to be connected"

I believe this is a key aspect of the problem to be solved. The advisory group should have the extra responsibilities of:

1) Have a common format and platform for input and be very attentive to consolidate all the information of all processes.
2) Offer this collaborative tool and provide tutorials on how to include comments in an orderly manner (by topic, stakeholder).
3) Ensure that the tools are being used in the correct manner, that is, control mechanisms and easy process auditing.
4) Very important - the final part of a multistakeholder process is the most delicate and tedious, for this there should be shared responsibilities and auditors that rotate in the community to ensure the key aspect of consolidating comments in the most transparent way possible.

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The Advisory Group

The Advisory Group ---> WHAT

Its task is to identify WHAT policy issues should be discussed.

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The Present Advisory Group

The Present Advisory Group Model has been limited within the limitation of the standard process. The level of cooperation and collaboration needs to search better in context of adaptation where the new model suggested can certainly bring in a new angle. The internet that was created in room has today expanded beyond the geography and every day its shortcoming the limitation of what is possible.

With such growth and mechanism we certainly need a dynamic approach. The model suggest can be a new beginning to encapsulate the idea of adaptation for better collaboration and cooperation.  

Regarding the concern, internet must outgrow the expectation and it needs radical solution which is pervasive and more inclusive and adaptive.  

The current Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group needs to be more operational in the IGF as they have been limited. Their effectiveness can be only utilized when they are active and beating in the model. From the past few years I have seen very lame and less active people in the MAG position. This needs to change, we need young and energetic young leaders.  

The MAG members selected from consolidated groups highlights the politics and manipulation. People involved in real grounds needs to be selected.  The MAG basic criteria highlight least developed nation and other priority criteria which are never followed. Especially with civil society group the politics and manipulation an issue.   

MAG member needs to be funded and should be provided the best possible way of facilitation as they are volunteers and they expect the least.

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The Advisory Group

The Advisory Group has proven to be a stable organism that is capable of organizing the yearly IGF event and coordinating the selection and allocation of panels. As far as its objective structure is concerned, it shouldn’t be a problem to maintain it in a similar way to how it operates at the moment.

What does need to be changed, however, is the question of representation. Once selected, MAG members do not owe any sort of accountability to their constituents, in spite of theoretically representing their interests. Currently there is no public or transparent way to ask these representatives to address concerns, so one has to rely on direct contact, which while not wrong, is not always ideal or even desirable.

A non-binding system should be established in which stakeholders are able to communicate their positions and ideas to MAG members in a transparent way, so that a broader sense of debate and representation can be achieved. There have in the past been decisions made within the MAG that did not resonate with numerous stakeholders but went unaddressed due to the lack of proper communications channels, and this should be avoided in the future.

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IGF Plkus, MAG and other proposed structures

This is a non-exhaustive list of Internet governance initiatives (not necessarily coordinated or interacting with the IGF), which keeps growing:

    • Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network (2012-ongoing)
    • Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI, 2013-ongoing)
    • Smart Africa (2013-ongoing)
    • Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG, 2014-2016)
    • NetMundial Conference (2014)
    • Global Cyberalliance (2015-ongoing)
    • IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (2016-ongoing)
    • Global Commission on Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC, 2017-ongoing)
    • Entrepreneurial Charter of Trust (2018-ongoing)
    • Entrepreneurial Cybersecurity Tech Accord (2018-ongoing)
    • Web Foundation's Contract for the Web (2018-ongoing)
    • High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLPDC, 2018-2019)
    • Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace (2018)
    • International Panel on Artificial Intelligence (2019)

These initiatives generate many recommendations (with several overlaps), basically under the general goal of proposing actions to ensure a single, open and secure Internet for everyone. The list is testimony to the intense interest in finding ways to tackle several global challenges of Internet governance, but they lack a much needed coordination or integration of efforts in order to be more effective – something the HLPDC report recognizes as one of the six main gaps in these processes as a whole.

I trust several other commentators have covered the relevant aspects of the HLPDC proposals. I wish to make just a few observations. The IGF Plus proposal contemplates a MAG with additional functions. On the basis of my experience in earlier and current MAGs, I need to remind proponents that nearly all MAG members are volunteers who have their other time-consuming jobs. To cope with the current challenges is already hard enough, and the HLPDC proposal for the MAG seems to overlook this aspect. One of the proposed additional functions would be identifying "moments when emerging discussions in other forums need to be connected". Here is another reason for including the above non-exhaustive list of "other forums" – this task would be an impossible challenge for a voluntary group. In addition, this would be a function better carried out by the proposed Observatory/Help Desk, if these were to be implemented.

While recognizing the need of efforts to monitor and consolidate so many processes, this would ought to be the job of a specialized staff on a full-time basis. Should this be done as part of a UN-led forum? Some critics of the report think the whole idea of the Observatory/Help Desk, or even the Cooperation Accelerator, does not belong to the IGF at all, and should be thought of in other formats and fora. I agree with this view.

As to the Policy Incubator, I have to say that the intersessional activities (the many Dynamic Coalitions, the Best Practice Forums and so on) try to do just that, with the difficulties inherent to a voluntary effort, practically since the beginning of the IGF. There is a need here for qualified help in gathering and consolidating their ongoing work and recommendations.

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IGF and IGF Plus

A key reason why the IGF was created in the first place was to avoid a diplomatic rupture between States involved in the WSIS process in respect of how parts of the internet were to operate at a global level in the future.  


There was never any intention of allowing the IGF to be anything more than a talking shop. Talking shops have their value, no doubt, but  to say they are linked in any meaningful way to questions of “governance” is dubious.


The IGF today is a bit like a cross between a trade fair for people who work in and around internet policy questions and going back to University for a week where a vast array of interesting seminars are laid on by lots of equally interesting people who are there to deliver papers or participate in the discussions. Marvellous but not “governance” by any commonly understood meaning of the word, or rather if it has any impact on “governance” it is incredibly diffuse and tenuous and perhaps of lesser importance than discussions which take place elsewhere in other forums.


Whether it is necessary to have such elaborate or expensive mechanisms to organize a week of seminars linked to a trade fair must be moot but it would be a pity if the annual gathering disappeared because there is nothing else like it.


Thus the proposals to create an “IGF Plus” are welcome, but they fall a long way short of what is needed if the public interest across the whole internet governance eco system is to be adequately safeguarded.

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The proposed Internet

The proposed Internet Governance Forum Plus, or IGF Plus, would build on the existing IGF which was established by the World Summit on the Information Society (Tunis, 2005). The IGF is currently the main global space convened by the UN for addressing internet governance and digital policy issues. The IGF Plus concept would provide additional multi-stakeholder and multilateral legitimacy by being open to all stakeholders and by being institutionally anchored in the UN system.

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The Cooperation Accelerator would accelerate issue-centred cooperation across a wide range of institutions, organisations and processes; identify points of convergence among existing IGF coalitions, and issues around which new coalitions need to be established; convene stakeholder-specific coalitions to address the concerns of groups such as governments, businesses, civil society, parliamentarians, elderly people, young people, philanthropy, the media, and women; and facilitate convergences among debates in major digital and policy events at the UN and beyond.

The Cooperation Accelerator could consist of members selected for their multi-disciplinary experience and expertise. Membership would include civil society, businesses and governments and representation from major digital events such as the Web Summit, Mobile World Congress, Lift:Lab, Shift, LaWeb, and Telecom World.

Potential questions for your feedback ‎(suggestions only, all feedback welcome):‎

  1. ‎How would you envision the work of the Cooperation Accelerator in practice?‎
  2. How do we ensure the Cooperation Accelerator has appropriate funding and support?‎
  3. How could existing intersessional activities from across the IGF community ‎support/participate in a Cooperation Accelerator?  For example, Best Practice Forums ‎‎(BPFs), National, Regional, Sub-regional and Youth IGF Initiatives (NRIs), or Dynamic ‎Coalitions (DCs)?‎
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The Cooperation Accelerator

The Cooperation Accelerator ---> WHO

Its task is to identify WHO should sit at the table to discuss a particular policy issue identified by the Advisory Group, and to coordinate such discussion. It is paramount the participation of the relevant UN agencies (ITU, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNDP, regional economic commissions, etc.)

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Dynamics of internet demands

Dynamics of internet demands a collaboration among the different accelerated actors. With the ever-changing roles and values, it needs a matrix of collaboration and cooperation from all sides. The work of the cooperation accelerator in practice needs to be open and transparent giving the space and indicator of basic values.

It is relevant that cooperation accelerator needs a proper funding for research survey and information access which needs better guidance and mapping where the internet organization can help.

The current model needs to be readjusted the accelerators as they are the need and the previous model are the basic structure. So, it has to be strategically aligned. 

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The Cooperation Accelerator

The core idea around this organism is solid, as there is indeed a lack of communication between initiatives in Internet Governance, which is ironic considering the reason why the Internet was created in the first place. It can be hard to visualize how your project interacts with other ventures in such a broad landscape, even more so because there are linguistic and visibility barriers to overcome in the identification of overlaps and potential synergies.

However, there are different ways in which this accelerator could work and a clear vision needs to be chosen for it to be effective. A first, cheaper, idea would be for it to act as a sort of repository in which stakeholders could sort through initiatives categorized by tags, being able to find and communicate with other project leaders to facilitate partnerships and knowledge sharing. Even if the idea appears simple, currently no such resource exists and it would be a big step forward for the community.

Another, costlier, idea would be for it to count with the assistance of a team that would actively attempt to match projects and enhance their cooperation. This is something that could potentially be run on a voluntary basis, but there is an important component of outreach and actually getting stakeholders to buy into the project that would require much more sophisticated and therefore paid work.

In either case, some sort of central organization is necessary, with proper management of the available resources and monitoring of how the platform is being utilized to improve it in significant ways that react to how the system is actually being employed.

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The Cooperation Accelerator

I agree that the IGF cooalitions will achieve a lot more if there is more cooperation among them. Although they fulfil their individual roles and objectives, they will require the Cooperation Accelerator to identify common goals among them and map out a strategy for their collaboration. To carry out this task members of the cooperation will need to have up to date knowledge of all the activities being carried out by the coalitions. To attain this information, the cooperation accelerator memberhip could consist also of volunteer representatives of the IGF community. All BPFs, NRIs and DCs should be encouraged to assign a volunteer role to one of their members who will be responsible for ensuring that the cooperation accelerator is kept up to date of their activities. 

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The Policy Incubator would incubate policies and norms for public discussion and adoption. In response to requests to look at a perceived regulatory gap, it would examine if existing norms and regulations could fill the gap and, if not, form a policy group consisting of interested stakeholders to make proposals to governments and other decision making bodies. It would monitor policies and norms through feedback from the bodies that adopt and implement them.207

The Policy Incubator could provide the currently missing link between dialogue platforms identifying regulatory gaps and existing decision making bodies by maintaining momentum in discussions without making legally binding decisions. It should have a flexible and dynamic composition involving all stakeholders concerned by a specific policy issue.

Potential questions for your feedback (suggestions only, all feedback welcome):‎

  1. ‎How should the Policy Incubator be organized, locally and globally?‎
  2. How could existing intersessional activities from across the IGF community ‎support/participate in the Policy Incubator?  For example, Best Practice Forums (BPFs), ‎National, Regional, Sub-regional and Youth IGF Initiatives (NRIs), or Dynamic Coalitions ‎‎(DCs)?‎
  3. ‎How do we ensure the Policy Incubator has appropriate funding and support?‎
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The Policy Incubator

The Policy Incubator ---> HOW

Its task is to identify HOW a particular policy issue should be "solved". The policy incubation should be done in coordination with the Cooperation Accelerator to create synergies and avoid duplications. Additionally, the identified gaps in the existing norms and regulations, should be submitted to the Advisory Group so the corresponding policy issue is considered for discussion.

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First the policy incubator

First the policy incubator needs to understand the dynamic of how the world works. In Developed nation the policy is an open and transparent where people have their rights and responsibility and the government itself is willing to adapt and understand. In developing countries, the situation is a bit complex as people are aware and there can be rigidity from the government in adaptation process. But when we talk about the least developed country there is a huge gap of rights and acceptance.  IN such region the government is solely responsible for the public policy process where the consultation is a desired way of cooperation. People are the end just to face the consequences.

The current Intersessional Activities have to be further collaborated with better values to engage leaders as it can be great source of policy.

The only solution to the policy incubator can be a strategic planning with internet organization like ISOC, and ICANN to create better governance model.   

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Policy Incubator

The US Council for International Business sees the potential of the Cooperation Accelerator and Policy Incubator to retain the brainstorming, sharing of best practices, and other informal aspects that we have come to value from the current IGF. But we have questions about how the incubator would be staffed and how stakeholders would be permitted to join the “policy groups.” Further, we are concerned that government stakeholders might question the legitimacy of the Policy Incubator proposing regulations for their adoption. We do not foresee how such bodies would be sufficiently expert or reflective of key stakeholder interests.

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The Policy Incubator

Out of the organisms that have been proposed, this is the one that might have the most complications. Conceptually it is a good idea, but how to structure and carry out its activities seems a difficult question. Taking our experiences from the ICANN community as an example and supposing that Working Groups and “policy groups” share the same core concepts, it is genuinely hard to be very inclusive and at the same time create the correct incentives for policy to follow an evidence-based approaches in which effective compromises are made and result in quality policy.

Over at ICANN, to achieve such results demands years, with the recent Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) having generated significant results within a year at the cost of much exertion from the community, which at the end of the day burned out important volunteers and generated great tension around the subject. How would this be replicated with even broader policy subjects involved?

A very structured approach would need to be taken for this organism to function properly, which includes the establishment of firm criteria for policy group membership, which should have a limited number of participants, have a cut-off date for joining, follow firm deadlines, and overall not pursue loose goals, but rather have the aim of finding the best evidence available or generating it via research to end up with strong advice on specific matters.

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Influencing policies from other regions

It may be quite difficult for stakeholders to influence policies from other regions outside of their region. The main reason for this is because they may not be fully aware of the grassroots issues surrounding the policy within the region. For the policy incubator to function optimally, there will be a need for serious local participation from the stakeholder being affected by the regulatory gap. This may be easy for developed countries but not quite as easy for developing countris where the representation and participation of citizens in global Internet governance is already low. 

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Thank you for this amazing guide and it really help me a lot 


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The Observatory and Help Desk would direct requests for help on digital policy (such as dealing with crisis situations, drafting legislation, or advising on policy) to appropriate entities, including the Help Desks described in Recommendation 2; coordinate capacity development activities provided by other organisations; collect and share best practices; and provide an overview of digital policy issues, including monitoring trends, identifying emerging issues and providing data on digital policy.

Potential questions for your feedback (suggestions only, all feedback welcome):‎

  1. ‎How do you see the implementation of the Observatory and Help Desk? ‎
  2. How do we connect the local and global levels through this proposed mechanism?‎
  3. How could existing intersessional activities from across the IGF community ‎support/participate in the Observatory and Help Desk?  For example, Best Practice ‎Forums (BPFs), National, Regional, Sub-regional and Youth IGF Initiatives (NRIs), or ‎Dynamic Coalitions (DCs)?‎
  4. How do we ensure the Observatory and Help Desk has appropriate funding and support?‎
  5. How do you address the concern that these proposals will go beyond the original mandate ‎add an operational workstream to IGF, with significant resource implications?‎ 
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A good way to connect ideas and suggestions is through a multistakeholder collaborative software like the one I am using to make this comment. But given the mass of comments and participations, it should has like a filter (by stakeholder, by topic), and address these issues in an agile process. Have lessons learned section and use collective replication would be great.

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The Observatory and Help Desk

The Observatory and Help Desk ---> 2 main functions:

The Observatory function: Continuously evaluate the whole IGF Plus process and emit timely reports. Also to do prospective studies in collaboration with the UN Tech Envoy.

The Help Desk function: To function as an efficient "clearing house" collecting needs from the different stakeholder groups and dispatching them to the appropriate IGF Plus body. (See point 12 in:…)

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Observatory and Help Desk

The U.S. Council for International Business understands the practicality underlying these two IGF innovations.  We urge active consultation with the OECD as they are being designed because some of the functions proposed -- providing an overview of digital policy issues, identifying emerging issues, and providing data on digital policy – already have been developed or are on track to be developed as part of the OECD’s Going Digital Toolkit. Rather than replicating the Going Digital Toolkit’s functions, the Observatory and Help Desk should, as described in the report, focus on directing requests for help on digital policy to appropriate entities and coordinating activities provided by other organizations. A properly funded Help Desk also could tap the wealth of written information provided by IGF workshop reports, Best Practices Forums, and Connecting the Next Billion recommendations.

o   More clarity is needed, however, about how the Help Desk would “coordinate the capacity development activities provided by other organizations,” particularly those unaffiliated with the UN.

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The Observatory and Help Desk

This represents a key set of components that risk being sidelined in the face of other, more noticeable, organisms being proposed in this IGF overhaul. From our experience, most stakeholders find it difficult to keep around specialists that can tackle the varied issues that emerge from the digital environment. Even coming up with structures to deal with pressing issues such as data protection and cybersecurity present a challenge to many businesses and governments, never mind dealing with all relevant matters in a proactive manner. This is why this component would be quite useful.

It is important to note, however, that these Help Desks cannot be assembled as a “best effort”, they need to employ specialized teams that can effectively deal with situations instead of answering to the concerns from stakeholders using a limited FAQ or something similar. There is not much margin for error, if a few attempts are made by a stakeholder to be helped and they end up with non-answers or experience a massive delay, they will not come back for another attempt.

An important role for this organism could be to act as connector between stakeholders in need of help and service providers that are qualified to support them. This should not be a cumbersome process, but providers should be vetted in some way, needing to prove proven competence in the area. This should not be a situation in which the UN acts as some sort of gatekeeper to services, but rather it would establish a slightly more organized market that allows problems and solutions to be matched at a global level.

In this sense, it could not be run on a voluntary basis. People need to be remunerated to take part in such an effort and be able to adhere to deadlines – unlike the ever-slipping deadlines of voluntary multistakeholder efforts. It could be that companies and organizations donate the time of their employees, or money could be pooled from involved stakeholders to pay for the time of contractors. This is something that needs to be discussed in an open and realistic manner.

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The IGF Trust Fund would be a dedicated fund for the IGF Plus. All stakeholders – including governments, international organisations, businesses and the tech sector – would be encouraged to contribute. The IGF Plus Secretariat should be linked to the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General to reflect its interdisciplinary and system-wide approach.

Potential questions for your feedback (suggestions only, all feedback welcome):‎

  1. Do you believe the IGF Plus model is implementable, given that the IGF Trust Fund is based on voluntary donations?
  2. ‎What can we do to ensure the IGF Plus has appropriate funding and support? The IGF ‎Trust Fund historically lacked sufficient funding to fulfil its current (and basic) budget.  ‎
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The IGF Trust Fund

The IGF Trust Fund  ---> Taxes

Who "owns" the common words (not names or brands) in the different languages that are used as domain names in the Internet?
Who "owns" the personal data of Internet users?
Who "owns" the content (text, audio/music, video) that individuals share in the Internet?
While there is a debate around these questions, a handful of companies are "monetizing" these words, data and content.
So a tax could be imposed to these companies.
The collected taxes should be more than enough to finance the IGF Plus.
Additionally, the surplus monies accrued could go to a Universal Internet Fund that can be used to finance developmental projects to achieve meaningful Internet use in undeserved communities.

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It is a great initiation of

It is a great initiation of the IGF Plus model that is more focused towards the engagement and creating better scope. Yes, the IGF plus model is implementable based on the voluntary donation. As the model itself is very practice in context of toady’s internet and internet behavior of the users. Better collaboration with the stakeholder and business and private sector can result in better solution.

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The IGF Trust Fund ---> A clarification

I have received some questions about whether my previous comment on the IGF Trust Fund reflects any animosity against the Internet companies mentioned.
I want to clarify that this is not the case!
On the contrary: I am an admirer of these companies that in a creative way have managed to extract value from ICTs, for their own gain, but also creating 'spills' that benefit others in the global economy.
As a former computer programmer in the 80s, I can fully assess the merit of the founders of these companies, who with their intelligence and effort, and that of their collaborators, managed to solve definitively the "Solow Paradox", and turn the ICTs into an engine for economic, social and cultural development in many parts of the world.
These companies and their business models grew in an environment dominated by a corporate culture that gives priority to the profit of its shareholders over other considerations.
But I am pleased to know that very recently a major US business organization released a new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation.
The Statement says at the end: "Each of our stakeholders is essential. We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country."
I hope that for transnational corporations, as in the case of Internet companies, this refers to all countries and communities of the world.
Therefore, to be consistent with this new commitment that these companies have adopted, their participation in the global mechanisms for digital collaboration is essential.
It is in this sense that I consider appropriate to suggest that these companies dedicate a small part of their income to this purpose, which includes, among other actions, the financing of the IGF.

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IGF Trust Fund

Innovations such as the Cooperation Accelerator, Policy Incubator, and Observatory/Help Desk will require resources to be effective and truly transform the IGF. USCIB appreciates that the report states that “all stakeholders” would be encouraged to contribute to the IGF Trust Fund. All business sectors have been affected by the digital transformation of the economy. For example, the agricultural sector, which is using cutting-edge technologies to improve crop yields and realize other efficiencies, has a significant stake in global digital cooperation. Thus, encouraging “business stakeholders” to contribute to the Trust Fund – and not calling out a specific sector – would better serve the objective.

At the same time, however, we highlight that the IGF Trust Fund has never garnered enough funds to support the existing IGF. Thus, we remain skeptical that – notwithstanding the report’s call to all stakeholders -- that the Trust Fund will generate enough funds to support the IGF Plus with its additional functions. Other options should be explored.  For instance, if accompanied by a commitment to full transparency with respect to budgeting and programming decisions, including regarding meeting site selection and any commitments to and support from host governments, it may be effective to have the United Nations assume responsibility for directly funding the Forum. This would be consistent with the report’s recommendation that recognizes a bigger role for the multistakeholder model in the UN system and proposes moving the IGF Plus to the UN Secretary-General’s office.

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The IGF Trust Fund

While several UN agencies dealing with critical contemporary matters are treated as priorities and enjoy wide support and funding from the institution’s regular budget and additional donations from highly interested countries, the IGF has been treated as a non-entity that is nice to have but not essential. While the matter of the Internet and the digital space certainly intersect with other themes and appear as part of the work of different agencies, the fact remains that the IGF is the reference space for this sort of discussion within the UN.

The continuation of the vision that the IGF is something fairly ad-hoc does not make sense considering the scope of the issues being addressed. To establish a proper functioning environment that would be able to deal with the massive challenges that lie ahead requires not only commitment from the stakeholders, but the UN itself needs to evaluate what its role is in an IGF Plus environment. While it should not be made into an agency, it should not be something detached that is ran on a volunteer basis either.

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suggestion for The IGF Trust Fund

my suggestion is a precent of Tech companies and private sectors income or a precent of Taxes that is paid by global tech companies them to governments can be dedicated to the IGF Trust Fund. these can really help  IGF to implement its strategic plans and reseach and development projects in the field of Internet Governance capacity building. 

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