|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Internet Governance Forum to Meet in Vilnius from 14 to 17 September
‘IGF 2010 — Developing the Future Together’ Theme of Meeting
Representatives of Governments, international organizations, the Internet community, the private sector, civil society, and the media will convene from 14 to 17 September 2010 in Vilnius, Lithuania, for the fifth meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). More than 1,200 people from 115 countries have already registered for attending the meeting. Many more will be actively taking part in the Forum’s discussions and workshops via remote participation.
The meeting will be chaired by Eligijus Masiulis, Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications. The meeting will be opened by Assistant Secretary-General at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Jomo Kwame Sundaram, and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė will give a keynote address. Among the ministers and high-ranking officials from Governments and international organizations, parliamentarians and representatives from the private sector, civil society and the academic and technical communities are Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda as well as Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, the two co-inventors of the Internet protocol TCP/IP.
The main theme for this year's meeting will be "IGF 2010 — developing the future together", which will explore how the Internet can benefit people worldwide and how Internet governance can be a means to achieving development for all as expressed in internationally agreed targets like the Millennium Development Goals. The theme reflects the open and inclusive nature of the IGF with its multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic and transparent approach to discussions on Internet-related public policy issues.
Other sessions during the Vilnius meeting will look at issues relating to the management of critical Internet resources such as the domain name system, Internet protocol addresses, and the maintenance of Internet services in disaster or crisis situations. The interconnected topics of security, openness and privacy will be discussed at the forum along with issues of access and diversity.
Participants will also reflect on Internet governance for development (IG4D), in a session exploring the possible effects of global Internet governance arrangements on the development of the Internet and people-centred information societies in developing countries.
The Vilnius meeting will look at the emerging issue of cloud computing, examining what is meant by the term and what are the Internet governance considerations arising from it. Cloud computing services already exist and are likely to have even greater impact in future. The Internet could become a commodity like electricity with everything from e-mail services and social networking to data storage and software offered from the cloud. Concerns about privacy, security and vendor lock-in arising from cloud computing will be explored at the IGF meeting.
In a session entitled “Taking stock of Internet governance and the way forward”, participants will look at the evolution in the overall Internet landscape since the first IGF meeting in Athens in 2006. It will also serve as a baseline from which to measure the changes over the next five years leading up to the ten-year review of implementation of and follow-up to the outcome of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2015.
Panel discussions, workshops and other meetings will be held on other issues, including privacy, freedom of expression, access to knowledge, protecting consumers online, international cooperation on cyber-security, public-private cooperation on Internet safety and cybercrime, a multilingual Internet, gender perspectives of Internet content, reaching socially excluded people and facilitating access to people with disabilities.
Good practices in Internet governance and examples from the Vilnius meeting will be added to the database being compiled by the IGF Secretariat. The inventory will serves as a sustainable and dynamic online resource and a first version will be made available in time for the meeting.
In a report to be considered by the General Assembly during its sixty-fifth session, the Secretary-General recommends the extension of the mandate of the IGF for a further five years. The Secretary-General says the forum has successfully brought together different stakeholders to share insights and achievements and build a common understanding of the potential of the Internet alongside the risks and challenges in its governance. The report calls for additional funding to increase participation in the IGF from developing countries, and to increase support for capacity-building for Internet governance in developing countries.
The Internet Governance Forum is an outcome of the "Tunis phase" of the World Summit on the Information Society, which took place in 2005 and where Governments, by adopting the "Tunis Agenda", asked the United Nations Secretary-General to convene a new forum for policy dialogue to discuss issues related to key elements of Internet governance in order to foster the Internet's sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development. The Forum is not a decision-making body, but offers a valuable space for dialogue for all those who have an important role and responsibility in the development of the Information Society to discuss Internet governance issues, and allows participants to share practical experiences from different perspectives. It is a multi-stakeholder mechanism which includes Governments and international organizations, but also the private sector, civil society, academics, the technical community, and others with a view to encouraging policy dialogue.
At the outcome of the "Geneva phase" of the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003, the "Geneva Declaration of Principles" was adopted whereby States declared a common commitment "to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". States agreed that the international management of the Internet should be multilateral, transparent and democratic, with the full involvement of Governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations.
The four previous meetings of the Forum were held in Athens, Greece, in November 2006, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in November 2007, in Hyderabad, India, in November 2008 and Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in November 2009. The Government of Kenya has offered to host the 2011 meeting, should the IGF mandate be extended.
A more detailed background information paper on the Vilnius agenda and other information on the meeting are available on the website of the Internet Governance Forum at http://www.intgovforum.org, as well as the host country website for the meeting at http://www.igf2010.lt.
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