Multistakeholder Internet Governance and Sustainable Development

Internet Governance is defined as “the development of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and activities that shape the evolution and use of the Internet” (UNESCO). As the internet has grown and become such an integral part of the human experience globally, it is no surprise that it requires governance.Multistakeholder Internet Governance refers to how governments, the private sector, civil society and the technical community have all contributed to the development mentioned above. The multistakeholder approach is incredibly important to internet governance because it allows the internet to thrive and evolve. The Internet Society writes: “Multistakeholder decision-making is accountable, sustainable and – above all – effective. The better the inputs and the more inclusive the process, the better the outputs and their implementation.”

The multistakeholder governance framework is informed by “opened-ended unleashed innovation (infrastructure), decentralized governance institutions (governance) and, open and inclusive processes (human)” (Internet Society). Having these different groups involved holds all the stakeholders somewhat accountable for the success of different decisions and policies.

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was formed by the United Nations in 2006 and has met annually since then. The conference brings the many stakeholders into one place to discuss policy and transnational issues relating to the Internet. NETmundial was another platform to bring the many stakeholders of internet governance together. The initiative was controversial as many internet governance initiatives can be, because there is no past example for how we should be approaching the issues related. NETmundial was rejected by many key internet groups which eventually led to it fizzling out after about two years.

From Multistakeholder Internet Governance, we can learn how to make global policies that effect large groups of people. For Inclusive Development, we always must include the many different groups who will be impacted by the policies and development initiatives. Giving everyone a seat at the table is the most sustainable way to do anything because it allows every voice to be heard and compromises to be made.