Multistakeholder Internet Governance and Sustainable Development

The internet itself is a fascinating commodity in that no one entity can really claim ownership over it. Multistakeholder internet governance, according to the Internet Governance Forum can essentially be thought of as a “multi-stakeholder dialogue on public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance issues, such as the Internet’s sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development” (intgovforum.org). The Internet Governance Forum was established in 2006 and aims to facilitate public policy discussions – that are both productive and inclusive– regarding some of the issues surrounding internet governance. I think that it is important that the IGF encourages discussion that is inclusive of all stakeholders because it allows for multiple actors to have the ability to express their opinions and concern over the governance of a single resource that is shared by millions of communities all over the world.

The 2016 Internet Governance Forum (IGF): ‘Enabling Inclusive and Sustainable Growth’, is currently being held in Jalisco, Mexico. According to the forum’s website, it looks like the discussions that have been held were in regards to maximizing internet opportunities, while also sharing opinions on different actor’s ideas of internet best practices. One aspect of the IGF’s website that I thought was a good compliment to their overall purpose, was that there is an option for people to submit their feedback on the conference directly to the IGF (which speaks to the inclusivity of all relevant actors having a voice in the IGF).

Furthermore, in regards to multistakeholder internet governance, NETMundial was a meeting held in Brazil in 2014 to discuss the principles of internet governance (including in relation to future international development). It is extraordinary to see that stakeholders from over 97 countries were able to participate in this forum. I think NETMundial was a good example of the importance in being inclusive of multiple voices in the discussion of development goals, as a means to gain the collective knowledge necessary to best approach development solutions. Within the forum’s outcome document, I think it is important to note that it explicitly mentions the idea that “persons with disabilities should enjoy full access to online resources Promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information, technologies and systems on the internet” (NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement 4), thus emphasizing the need for inclusivity in all development goals.