(Part of the ongoing WISENET Series)
Ana Cristina Neves, from the Knowledge Society Agency, Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal summarizes key points from her November 2009 presentation at the Internet Governance Forum.
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a unique platform that must continue for the sake of our own and future generations. It fulfills the United Nations’ mandate to convene a forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue. It is unique because of three features. First, it is strong and robust. One of the most powerful outcomes of IGF is the spontaneous creation of flourishing and diversified national and regional IGFs all over the world. Their existence is proof that the IGF process is a great and a powerful idea, because only a powerful idea could deliver such a result. It is possible that these national and regional IGF will become places to ripen ideas. History has shown us that when movements are spontaneous, it is because they are powerful and meaningful for societies and for their citizens. And it’s exactly these movements that can change the paradigm. The second unique feature is that it acts as the global conscience of the Internet and Information Society. This conscience is essential for the development of the economies and for societal improvement all over the globe. Finally, the IGF is sustained by multi-stakeholder cooperation. The IGF set up a remarkable, variable, and wide-ranging dialogue and cooperation geometry between different institutions: public, private and non-profit organizations, and countries. It provides space where the individual, the citizen, the civil society participate on equal footing along with more powerful entities. These 3 features are incompatible with any hierarchical formal structure; no existing structure of this kind has ever produced such deliverables. IGF should be allowed to continue to evolve as creatively as it has been evolving for the past 4 years. The public can visit the IGF website for more information.