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The 2015 IGF Brazil Will Focus on Empowering Sustainable Development

Janis Karklins

The preparations of the Brazil Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting are well under way. After consulting the wider Internet community and discussing the overarching theme of the 2015 IGF meeting, the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) decided to retain the title "Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development". This theme will be supported by eight sub-themes that will frame the discussions at the Joao Pessoa meeting: Cybersecurity and Trust; Internet Economy; Inclusiveness and Diversity; Openness; Enhancing Multistakeholder Cooperation; Internet and Human Rights; Critical Internet Resources; Emerging Issues.

The next step in the preparations for the IGF is to build the program. To this extent, organizations and companies from all stakeholder groups are invited to submit their proposals to the IGF Secretariat by 30 March. The Call for Proposals is published on the IGF website alongside with supporting documentation — workshop proposal submission form, description of proposal evaluation process and guidelines for workshop evaluation. In order to make IGF more dynamic and engaging suggestions of new and innovative session formats, such as break-out group discussions, debates, flash sessions, are encouraged. The MAG members and the Secretariat stand ready to assist the community in preparing these proposals, especially those who are considering first time participation or come from developing or least developed countries.

It is expected that during the next onsite meeting, which is scheduled for 20 – 22 May in Geneva, Switzerland, the MAG will select the majority of workshops in an open and transparent fashion. Because of time and space limitations last year the MAG could accommodate about half of all submitted proposals. Based on analysis of past experience, the MAG improved the workshop evaluation process and will follow it to the letter.

The inter-sessional activities that represent an integral part of IGF process are also under consideration. The three week public consultation resulted in additional proposals that the MAG working group will examine together with ones that were submitted during the overall assessment of the Istanbul IGF. It is expected that during the next MAG online meeting, on 18 February, an outline of the inter-sessional work will be presented and possibly endorsed by the MAG. The inter-sessional activities should strengthen links between existing national and regional IGF initiatives and contribute towards concrete outputs of the global IGF in form of on-line repository of resources and possible policy messages.

The Best Practice Forum work stream will continue as a part of the inter-sessional work. Some of the topics that were addressed in 2014 will be continued, while some other topics will be new. CERTs and IXPs have been pre-selected by the MAG and three other themes will be announced very soon.

This year is crucial for Internet governance evolution. The MAG is doing its utmost to make sure that the IGF in Brazil will contribute in a very meaningful way to this evolutionary process. The MAG is working on enhancing communication by the IGF, improving possibilities for on-line participation, often referred as remote participation and improving interactivity during and reporting mechanisms from the sessions. We hope that the new elements introduced by the MAG as well as the efforts toward higher quality outputs from the IGF will be appreciated by all — governments, civil society, industry, technical community and academia.

I call on the Internet community to actively participate in shaping the 2015 IGF. Please engage and submit as many session proposals as you feel necessary.

By Janis Karklins, Ambassador of Latvia, Chair of the MAG
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