Multistakeholder Internet Governance

With any type of tool or technology that is present in many nations around the world, there is the issue of governance. Who is responsible for how it is run and maintained? As there is no global government, the issue of anarchy makes the governance of transnational issues difficult. However, in recent decades, multistakeholder governance has become the best solution.

The multistakeholder governance framework is based on three pillars:

  1. Open-ended unleashed innovation (infrastructure)
  2. Decentralized governance institutions (governance)
  3. Open and inclusive processes (human)

This framework provides an optimal way to make policy decisions for globally distributed issues. The process is accountable, sustainable, and effective and takes advantage of incorporating a variety of views. The more inclusive the process, the better the outputs and governance of the issue. Multistakeholder decision-making only works if there is a sense of collective responsibility among those taking part in the process.

The Internet is a topic that transcends national boundaries. People all over the globe have access to the Internet and it has become a fundamental aspect of life. Though the Internet has been around for several decades, there are still issues surrounding it. Internet access and speed are not equal around the globe and many populations are at a disadvantage because of this. Multistakeholder Internet governance has been used to ensure that Internet development does not grow too disproportional. The stakeholders that are affected by Internet governance – individuals, businesses, governments, etc. – are able to raise issues to the other stakeholders and advocate for solutions.

There are several different platforms where stakeholders come together to discuss Internet governance. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was established by the UN and held its first meeting in 2006. With annual meetings, the IGF serves to bring people together from various stakeholder groups as equals to discuss public policy issues relating to the Internet, though there is no negotiated outcome. Another example of a global multistakeholder platform on Internet governance was NETmudial. In 2014, a two-day global meeting in São Paulo, Brazil brought together representatives of civil society, the private sector, academia, and the technical community to establish strategic guidelines related to the use and development of the Internet around the world. Over 1480 stakeholders from over 97 nations took part in the proceedings through direct and remote participation. Not all forums are as successful as others, but it is important that these platforms for multistakeholder governance are maintained to continue crucial discussions on transnational issues such as the Internet.