Caption picture 1. ICANN LAC team (left-to-right): Rodrigo de la Parra, Daniel Fink, Alex Dans, Rodrigo Saucedo, Albert Daniels.)
This year, the Latin American and Caribbean Preparatory Meeting for the Internet Governance Forum (LACIGF) was held from July 16 to 18, 2014, in San Salvador, El Salvador. It is the first time that one of the most important events of the year for the regional Internet community comes to Central America. The previous editions of the LACIGF took place in Montevideo (Uruguay), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Quito (Ecuador), Port-of-Spain (Trinidad and Tobago), Bogota (Colombia), and Córdoba (Argentina).
The LACIGF has become a true regional meeting space for multistakeholder policy debate where different stakeholders representing governments, the private sector, the technical community, academia and civil society organizations debate, share experiences, try to understand current Internet governance challenges and identify regional priorities while significantly broadening the region's participation in the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF).
With the support of APC, LACNIC, CGI.br/NIC.br, the Internet Society, Google, Telefónica and ICANN, the local host CONEXION El Salvador was in charge of this seventh edition, where 150 participants from 24 Latin American and Caribbean countries met to address eight thematic sessions:
- The Internet Governance ecosystem in 2014. Where are we coming from? Where are we going?
- Internet access: Challenges and opportunities for development
- Net Neutrality
- The NETmundial process and the development of a regional agenda for Internet Governance
- Development of a working plan and discussion of the topics to be included in the regional Internet Governance agenda
- Openness on the Internet and open data
- Internet and Human Rights
- National Internet Governance multistakeholder forums and dialogue space initiatives
It was very interesting to hear the different experiences of national Internet governance multistakeholder initiatives from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. It was the first time that a session with these characteristics was organized within a LACIGF. Rodrigo de la Parra emphasized the need to create mechanisms so that these existing initiatives can nurture future and new experiences in other countries in the region.
This regional meeting is key to ICANN activities to ensure a safe and stable Internet while promoting a multistakeholder Internet governance model. Our regional team had a strong presence coordinating remote participation, sharing materials, giving presentations and moderating sessions, supporting communications activities such as media relations and social media presence and, last but not least, Rodrigo de la Parra, our regional VP, participated as a member of the Program Committee on behalf of the technical community. The Program Committee is the forum's general coordination body. It is made up by two members appointed by each of the following interest groups:
- Regional organizations representing the private sector
- Latin American and Caribbean governments, appointed according to the eLAC follow-up mechanism
- Civil Society organizations
- Regional organizations representing the technical Internet community
Building on the NETmundial experience, it is not surprising that this edition was the most successful in terms of remote participation. Only on the first day, the event's official hashtag #lacigf7 received 1700 tweets. During the 3-day event, each session received 5 or more remote questions via chat and Twitter. This is a positive, tangible and encouraging result in terms of inclusiveness and openness of these regional spaces.
The multiplicity of actors involved in-situ and remotely in this LACIGF edition turned it into an ideal place to discuss politically sensitive and complex issues while it also legitimized the ongoing creation of a regional Internet governance agenda.
Undoubtedly, this has been the best Latin American and Caribbean regional IGF so far. The 7th LACIGF was an opportunity to show maturity and commitment as a community, all of which was reflected in the seriousness of the moderation and reporting for each session. The enthusiasm of the participants was also demonstrated in the emotive scholarship giveaway which took place before the closing ceremony and which will allow three people from the region (Mexico, Venezuela and Guatemala) to participate in their first global Internet Governance Forum.