What do people perceive to be the top issues facing the Internet today? How can stakeholders work more effectively together to strengthen the governance mechanisms meant to address these issues? And when it comes to the Internet Society, what should our role be and where should we focus our attention?
To help inform our work in Internet governance, we posed these and other questions to our community in February. We had an overwhelming response with over 800 people taking a few minutes of their time to answer our survey. The responses have been illuminating and the level of interest shown in this survey confirms that we are at a critical juncture in the global Internet governance discussion. It is clear that our community supports Internet governance to be a key focus for the Internet Society.
2015: A critical juncture for Internet governance
The Internet governance landscape is peppered with events and meetings this year as a number of key Internet policy issues are debated. There are key global, regional and local discussions underway about how to strengthen the Internet governance model in ways that will be meaningful to users around the globe, and how to be more inclusive of new ideas and perspectives. As we move through the rest of the year, we still have many issues to navigate:
- The community must find a path for a successful IANA stewardship transition.
- The mandate of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is up for renewal.
- The role of new platforms such as the NETmundial Initiative (NMI) is being discussed.
- The ten-year Review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+10) will be held in December.
Our Community’s voice counts
Our community told us that:
- Cybersecurity is the most important issue we need to face today;
- Key priorities are to make Internet governance easier to understand, and to develop and share best practices amongst countries and communities.
- Informal local and regional communities must be enhanced, and the global, regional, and national IGFs should be strengthened.
- It is unclear whether NMI is needed for effective Internet governance.
What is clear from the results of the survey is that our community’s views are echoed in the Internet Society’s beliefs about what matters most. What our community told us means that we are already on a good path when it comes to our approach to the many Internet governance meetings and discussions yet to take place in 2015.
But there is fresh insight too, and our community has also proposed ways to enhance our Internet governance work and focus.
So What’s Next?
We are committed to addressing the priorities our community has set out, and also to stepping-up in the role our community is calling for us to play to strengthen Internet governance:
- Convening dialogues and facilitating information sharing among all stakeholders: we will not shy away from difficult discussions and will aim to bridge stakeholders whether in UN missions, governments, Civil Society or industry headquarters.
- Supporting platforms where best practices can be discussed in an open and inclusive manner: Our Chapters and members are at the heart of the IGF fabric. Building on the IGF Support Association and our efforts to develop local IGFs, we are in a unique position to help the IGF reach its full potential, on all continents.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our survey. We greatly appreciate the valuable input and what this means in helping us to do more, better. Our next Community Forum on 15 April will be an opportunity to continue exchanging thoughts and we are looking forward to a fruitful dialogue.