Just got word that the Internet Governance Forum, the multi-stakeholder policy deliberation body that came out of the WSIS Tunis conference, will be having its first meeting from February 16 to 17 in Geneva. This is pretty short notice for lots of groups around the world to try and book flights and find hotels to come to Switzerland within less than a month’s notice. Nevertheless it’s important that groups try and be there.
On the agenda:
- Adoption of the Agenda
- Nature, character and structure of the IGF
- Substantive priorities
- The first meeting of the IGF
So this meeting will decide on the basic rules, procedures and priorities of the new Forum.
What will be interesting to see is to what extent the Forum will allow for the observation and participation of actors who are not able to physically come to the meetings. It would be ironic if an “Internet Governance Forum” did not attempt to utilize the internet to make their processes more participatory, transparent and effective.
The Coordinating Board of Business Interlocutors, representing various business interests, has already submitted a contribution for the meeting. In it, they stress the importance of including all relevant stakeholders and using ICTs in innovative ways:
Wherever possible, e-mail, Webcasts, wikis, and online collaboration tools should be used in order to maximize the amount of work that the Forum can do online and minimize the need for expensive face-to-face meetings.
But until this is sorted, being physically present for the meetings is a must. No word on if any webcasting is anticipated.