The Multistakeholder Approach to Development

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a multistakeholder platform where public policy pertaining to the Internet is discussed. The IGF was established in 2006 and its goal is to work towards a more sustainable and inclusive Internet. The Multistakeholder approach is so important because it allows for a wider range of ideas and interests to come together to help solve the problems surrounding the Internet. Additionally, because the Internet itself spans across countries and it makes sense that a multistakeholder approach would be the most useful. The Netmundial initiative is a platform that allows multistakeholders to come together to solve issues about Internet governance. This includes work from governments, academia, civil society, the private sector, and the technical community. Together, these different stakeholders are able to work on work on Internet related public policy and build a community of Internet governance.

Even though the multistakeholder approach is not a single solution, for something like the Internet it seems to be the best solution to solving problems and coming up with a framework for Internet governance. For example, having multiple actors working on policy helps to make sure there is more of a consensus among everyone, especially since the Internet is a global tool. A multistakeholder approach to IG is important to inclusive sustainable development because of how important the Internet and communications are to the world and to development. It is vital that the Internet remains free and open for everyone, which is why something like the IG is so necessary.

The IGF is open to all organizations and individuals with WSIS accreditation or any other group that is able to prove they have some relevance to Internet governance. The multistakeholder approach that works so well for Internet governance should be applied to other areas of development. It is important to get numerous viewpoints and experiences when it comes to solving problems related to development. By including groups that represent different constituencies into the discussion, it is possible that outcomes can be more inclusive. However, this doesn’t mean that every development issue is going to be easily solved with an international multistakeholder approach. Some issues would need to be solved within countries or within specific regions, like education and certain environmental issues. Countries that are surround by water have more cause to be concerned about flooding than landlocked countries. That does not mean that working with other countries or governments isn’t helpful, but having multiple parties discussing at one time can make reaching a consensus difficult.