The NETmundial Initiative Meeting was held at the World Economic Forum, Geneva, 28 August 2014. The meeting was convened by the WEF, with support of ICANN, to discuss follow up actions from the NETmundial meeting held in Brazil in April 2014.
Participation was limited to those invited by the WEF, with Paul Wilson and Pablo Hinojosa attending from APNIC, however the event was webcast and viewed by several hundred remote participants.
The purpose of the event, as defined by the WEF, was to discuss next steps related to:
- The NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement, including the “Roadmap” for the future of Internet governance; and
- The recommendations the “High Level Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms”, established by ICANN and the WEF.
The meeting began with a discussion session opened by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF, about the Internet as a public good. President Ilves of Estonia then chaired a discussion on the need for an ongoing NETmundial initiative. Virgilio Almeida, Secretary of Information Technology, Brazil – chair of the NETmundial event in Sao Paulo – supported the continuity of NETmundial and the initiative. Fadi Chehadé, CEO of ICANN, then talked about a summit on Internet governance that will be held at the 2015 Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, and the activities to be achieved before then.
It emerged that over the next six months a series of open consultations will be organized by WEF to define specific activities under the Initiative. Four proposed projects were presented:
- A mechanism for “issue-to-solution mapping”, to be developed by the Governance LAB of MIT/NYU;
- Development of “Best Practices for Distributed Governance Groups”, by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society of Harvard University
- Development of “Best Practices for Local Multistakeholder IG Structures”, by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br)
- An open-source “online toolkit” for Internet Corporation/Governance, to be developed by ICANN
There were many questions about these projects, and about similar activities already underway that could add value and reduce duplication.
An inaugural meeting of an “interim steering group” took place in the afternoon, in which it was proposed that work and consultations continue over the next six months before the WEF annual meeting in Davos. Steering group members stated their support for the Internet Governance Forum and for NETmundial as a means to strengthen the IGF. However, much was left to be defined about the activities of the committee.
During this session, I remarked on the lack of participation in this committee from Asia Pacific region, and from the technical community.
The “NETmundial Initiative” meeting was not conclusive, but it provided an opportunity for discussions, which will continue in coming months and the coming Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul.
The WEF is maintaining a website regarding the event and its outcomes, including meeting documentation and webcast archive, here.
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