Looking back at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process in its early days, it's clear that the global Internet community has made great progress in establishing a space for multistakeholder discussions. Back in 2002, during the preparatory meetings, some stakeholder groups were struggling to have their voice heard in shaping the world's Information Society, and in particular Internet Governance, discussions. The 10th Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which was held in Brazil, was just the opposite. It was a testament to open and inclusive dialogue aimed at advancing the various topics around the Internet Governance agenda.
During the 2003 WSIS phase, held in Geneva, it became apparent that the discussions on Internet Governance deserved a neutral space that would guarantee that all stakeholders could be heard. A first step in that direction was the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). By 2005, there was strong consensus that this space should evolve and consolidate into what we now know as the IGF.
Ten editions of the IGF have been held over the past ten years, and now, more than ever, this dialogue platform has demonstrated its usefulness as a gathering point of ideas, contrasts, divergence and convergence.
It has now also become clear that ICANN has an important role in the Internet Governance agenda. The tenth IGF saw substantive discussions from the ICANN community as it works to finalize the IANA Stewardship Transition and Enhancing ICANN Accountability proposals which will be soon sent for the final review. But beyond that, the IGF in Brazil was also an important opportunity for the community to discuss, in depth, other relevant topics such as privacy, copyrights, human rights and network neutrality.
There is now a better understanding on where to place the different topics around Internet Governance and we are seeing the emergence of new ideas and platforms on how to deal with those issues. The IGF continues to be a critical meeting for those involved in Internet Governance, and many of the participants seem to agree. We sincerely hope that the IGF's mandate is renewed for another ten years – all signs are pointing that way.
Long live the IGF!