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Internet Governance

Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms

As I reported to you a few weeks ago, I had been asked to participate in a High Level Panel to address the future of Internet Governance. The goal of this panel is to provide fresh thinking and perspectives on Internet governance, principles and Internet cooperation. The first meeting of the panel took place last week in London and so we have a bit more information about how that work will develop and the timeline for its activities. The group brings together a good mix of participants with varying backgrounds and experiences and it is important to note that all panelists participate in their personal capacities. Toomas Ilves, President of Estonia, will serve as the chair and Vint Cerf (who needs no introduction to this group) will serve as a vice-chair. The meeting was also supported by Sally Wentworth, Bill Drake, Wolfgang Kleinwachter, David Gross and Bertrand de la Chapelle.

First, the discussions in London were very positive and constructive. As this was the first meeting of the panel, it was an opportunity for panelists to meet, listen to various perspectives on the issues, and map out some general direction for the panel’s work. The panel considered topics like: 1) ecosystem legitimacy, 2) effective and inclusive multi-interest and consensus-based system, 3) ensuring global participation including from the developing world, and 4) Co-existence with other governance systems (national and multi-lateral) ensuring a stable system.
In some ways, these are topics that are well-known to many of us but the goal was to consider them in light of the current challenges and opportunities for the ecosystem. One important point to note is that the panel is now titled the “Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms”, recognizing the current ecosystem and its evolutionary nature.
There will be more information coming forward soon on the specifics of the sub-topics above, and as several of us insisted on, there will be opportunities for broad participation in the discussion (likely via 1Net.org). Though, this assumes support from the newly formed 1Net Steering Committee. We will keep you informed of these developments as they emerge.
The announcement distributed after last week’s meeting (see link below), outlines a schedule of work over the next few months to develop a report that will reflect the views of the panelists. This includes in-person meetings in February and May.  A draft of the report may be provided as input to the meeting taking place in Brazil next April.
Please do read through this announcement as it includes information from the London meeting (including the agenda, and list of panelists).
Finally, Internet Governance has been a key priority area for ISOC for many years, and the incoming CEO Kathy Brown has also identified it as a priority, so the Society’s work here will continue uninterrupted. I am sure you will see much on this subject from Kathy and, of course, the very strong cross-functional team of ISOC staff in the weeks and months to come.
Best regards,
Lynn