Seventh Annual IGF a success

The Seventh Annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF), held from 6 to 9 November in Baku, Azerbaijan, was a success.

The Seventh Annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF), held from 6 to 9 November, recently concluded in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was another success in the ongoing process of open, transparent, multi-stakeholder discussions about the worldwide evolution of the Internet governance agenda.

APNIC, as an organization and as part of the Number Resource Organization (NRO), has supported the IGF process intensely from its origins. The NRO has doubled its yearly financial contribution to the IGF this year to show a strong ongoing commitment to its program, content, and evolution.

This year, the NRO organized workshops on the challenges that IPv6 deployment presents to Internet governance and about the RPKI system of resource certification. NRO representatives also participated in debates about the emergence of the IPv4 transfer market.

An exciting event held during the IGF was the Seed Alliance Awards, granted to Internet development initiatives in their last stages of implementation. The Seed Alliance, a new partnership among the three RIR grants programs including, recently received a generous injection of funds from the Swedish International Development Cooperative Agency (Sida). This presented the opportunity for winners of the Seed Alliance Awards to contribute to discussions on Internet governance in this IGF.

Multi-stakeholder Internet governance discussion

Another topic that took precedence at this year's IGF was the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). There was a lot of discussion about the proposed modifications to the International treaty on Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs). The multi-stakeholder processes that built and continue to run the IGF present a contrast to the WCIT preparations, as the ITU deliberations are only open to government stakeholders.

In a recent submission by the NRO to a public consultation by the ITU on WCIT, the NRO stated:

"Under the current ITU procedures, our organizations do not have full access to the discussions nor a formal say in the negotiations. The outcomes of WCIT are important matters affecting the public interest, for which participation of relevant stakeholders could be sought in the decision-making process."

NRO contribution to the WCIT public consultation process

While in Baku, the Secretary-General of the ITU, Dr Hamadoun Touré said that ITR revisions will not include IP address issues, although there are proposals for consideration that would, and these have not been rejected.

APNIC Director General Paul Wilson gave the closing remarks to the IGF participants on behalf of the entire Internet technical community. In his speech, Mr Wilson said that the IGF is here to stay and should be supported by all stakeholders:

"There is no other event like the IGF – and no alternative or better idea anywhere in the world – which can fulfil the Tunis agenda, which can justify the work which created that agenda, and the work which has followed from it."

Shortly following the conclusion of the 2012 IGF, a campaign called "Stop the Net Grab" was launched by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), expressing deep concerns about the decision-making process at WCIT considering that its outcomes could affect the way Internet operates in the future.

These actions demonstrate a growing global commitment from new stakeholders to Internet governance issues.