Brazil and Beyond – An IGF 2015 Debrief

Friday, November 20, 2015 from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM

This year’s Internet Governance Forum is taking place in Joao Pessoa, Brazil from November 10 – 13and the theme of the 2015 IGF is “The Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development”. Delegates from all over the globe will debate critical issues affecting the future of the Internet at a time when much is at stake. Please join ISOC-DC for a discussion about the IGF 2015. This is an audience participation event.

Discussion Facilitators

Fiona Alexander – NTIA, US Department of Commerce

Courtney Radsch – Advocacy Director, Committee to Protect Journalists

Carolyn Nguyen – Telecommunications and Internet Governance, Microsoft

Moderator

Paul Brigner – Co-Convenor, ISOC-DC

Summary

The 2015 Internet Governance Forum took place in Joao Pesoa, Brazil, November 10th through the 13th, with the theme of “The Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development”. The ISOC-DC chapter with the generous help of Microsoft, put together a debrief on the IGF called, “Brazil and Beyond” on November 20th. 

The moderator was Paul Brigner, the ISOC DC co-convenor, with Fiona Alexander, Associate Administrator NTIA, US Department of Commerce, Courtney Radsch, Advocacy Director, Committee to Protect Journalists and Carolyn Nguyen Telecommunications and Internet Governance, Microsoft as panelists. 

Ms. Alexander, doing double duty as both a MAG member and as a representative of the US Government at the IGF, deemed this year’s conference, her 10th overall as an attendant, a success from most, if not all perspectives. Ms. Nguyen, a first-time participant echoed Ms. Alexander’s point of view, and added that the WSIS+10 discussion was specifically important, and that the UN facilitators were in the room at IGF, and got to experience the value of the multistakeholder process. She lauded the conversation, which was well moderated, and constructed with great, targeted comments. The value of the IGF platform, according to Nguyen, was the fact that different parts of the world, including non-governmental actors, youths, other different stakeholders were able to bring in their ideas to the discussion on a number of issues.

Ms. Radsch agreed with the two previous panelists in saying that it was the best organized IGF, with the human rights panels and workshops given proper placement and importance. However, her concerns are with the lack of diversity of views, the location which it limited civil society participation, and overall with the large resource drain, of money and time on civil society participation.

Mr. Brigner brought up the call for the IGF to have more outcomes, actual policy recommendations. Ms. Alexander argues that there are is a lot of information coming out from the IGF, but it hasn’t been properly archived and put up online, which Ms. Radsch agreed with, and brought up throughout the event. Ms. Nguyen added that there is significant output which has had indirect policy effects, and reiterated that the main value of the IGF is free sharing of information without a need for negotiation for a final product, which both Ms. Radsch and Ms. Alexander supported. Mr. Brigner said that the lessons of the IGF could be very useful for the IGF USA.

During the question and answer period, other topics, such as the IANA transition, the broad topic of “Connecting the next Billion” and specific IGF structures were brought up, with Ms. Alexander explaining the next steps, both about the MAG, and about the IGF in general. Ms. Nguyen took the opportunity to stress again, the value of the IGF being in listening to multiple ideas.