What is the Internet Governance Forum and what are its objectives?

An open dialogue between partners on an equal footing
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was created in 2005 in Tunis, following the second UNO World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). This is a worldwide platform offering all interested parties (governments, business, civil society, technical and scientific circles) the possibility of discussing issues relating to the development of codes of conduct for the internet (Internet Governance). The IGF is an experiment conducted by the UNO outside the usual intergovernmental context of the UNO and which brings together on an equal footing all the representatives of interested parties as partners in the discussion. There are no restrictions on entry and everyone can make their contribution to the IGF.

First understand, then decide
The themes are selected within a participatory framework which starts from the bottom up. Nothing is taboo and no decision is taken. The IGF sets up an interactive dialogue intended to help interested parties worldwide to gain a better understanding of the internet and the other players in this area. In addition, it acts as a catalyst and proposes innovative concepts, solutions and partnerships. It allows all participants from the worlds of politics, business, civil society and technical and scientific circles to take better decisions in their everyday private and professional life.

Global, regional and national levels
Since the first IGF in Athens in 2006, the annual conference has been held every autumn on a different continent and brings together 1500 to 2000 participants. In its wake, dozens of national and regional IGF structures were established spontaneously. In Europe alone, there are currently a dozen national IGFs alongside the European Dialogue on Internet Governance, founded in 2008 (EuroDIG.org); with more than 800 participants, this has become the most important IGF after the global IGF. The IGF structures are interconnected and the discussions are conducted in a network at the three levels (global, regional and national).

An interactive dialogue rather than a panel of experts
The establishment of a Swiss IGF aims to enable Swiss players to interactively discuss among themselves topical questions concerning governance of the internet. The next event, organised for 19 May 2015 in Berne, has the aim of setting up a national IGF exchange platform in Switzerland, enabling all interested parties to give their opinion and to conduct exchanges with players in the worlds of politics, business, civil society and science. As in EuroDIG – the European IGF – the dialogue will not be conducted primarily by a group of experts but, if possible, by all participants on an equal footing.


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