The Internet Governance Forum: Connecting Conversations Toward a Global, Open, Secure Internet for the Next Generation

Earlier this month, I had the privilege to provide closing remarks on behalf of the United States at the 9th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul, Turkey.  The IGF is an annual, global, multistakeholder forum for addressing key Internet issues.  I followed a very articulate 14 year-old speaker from Moldova -- who made quite an impression on the audience.  She was certainly a tough act to follow! I was profoundly struck by the opportunity to listen to a representative of the next generation discuss the impact and potential of the Internet.   It reminded me why 3,000 people had come to Istanbul for the IGF: to make sure the Internet continues to be an engine of social development and economic growth that will empower the next generation to innovate, communicate, and improve the quality of life of people all over the world

The goal of the IGF is to bring together a diverse group of people that care about the Internet to explore ideas and solutions to ensure the open, inclusive, and global Internet. Just as the theme for this IGF was connecting continents, I concluded that an important way to make the most of the conference was in connecting conversations that take us from one event to another and move Internet governance forward in meaningful ways.  For the IGF itself, that means capturing the rich content of the substantive workshops that took place over the course of the week and sharing it beyond the borders of the conference.  We can collectively do that in various ways: through developing the programs for national and regional IGFs; through the compilations of best practices in key areas like protecting children online, mitigating spam, building computer emergency response teams, encouraging local content creation, and developing meaningful multistakeholder mechanisms; through related work in other venues that address Internet issues; and through the program planning for the next IGF in Brazil in November 2015.

By embodying all these efforts and ensuring continuity, the participants from the IGF are expanding the dialogue, sharing lessons learned, and responding to challenges. That’s why we are calling for a renewal of the IGF mandate at the UN General Assembly this year and why we are making substantive and financial contributions to it.  That’s why we continue to engage bilaterally and globally with our counterpart governments and constituent stakeholders around the world to further those efforts.  And, that’s why we support multistakeholder Internet governance that fosters innovation and collaboration toward an open and inclusive Internet for all. That’s the Internet that we want to leave for the next generation.

About the Author: Christopher Painter serves as the Coordinator for Cyber Issues. You can follow the Cyber Issues office on Twitter @State_Cyber.

Coordinator Painter Delivers Remarks at the Internet Governance Forum
September 20, 2014

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