About IGF.

An open and international

multi-stakeholder platform.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 19 from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

When the United Nations (UN) made this declaration in 1948, no-one imagined that fifty years later there would be a medium which would turn the world upside-down. But today, it almost seems like Article 19 was written with the internet in mind. Because it actually sums up the essential nature of the internet – a medium that doesn’t recognise borders and is available to everyone.

The IGF: an open and international multi-stakeholder platform

In 2006, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was established in part to protect, monitor and encourage this aspect of the internet. The IGF is an annually held, international, neutral and open multi-stakeholder platform that falls under the provenance of the UN. During the forum, all relevant parties from across the world can make their contribution to the future of the internet, such as parliamentarians, civil servants, academics, non-profit organizations, business corporations, journalists and young people.

What is discussed during the IGF?

As the possibilities of the internet grow, so do the issues it brings up. Issues like privacy, cybersecurity, internet access for everyone, and freedom of expression. Every year, forum participants decide together on the topics to be discussed during the IGF, with the central questions always in mind: how can we ensure that the internet remains open, stable and safe? And how can we maximise its potential and further development? Because of the internet’s cross-border nature, it’s important for the discussion to be held at a global level. But countries can also relate their specific internet-related issues and dilemmas, and exchange experiences.

Dutch contribution

Every year, a large Dutch delegation attends the IGF. Anyone who wants to be involved, can join the delegation. In 2011, a Dutch variant of the IGF was also set up: the NL IGF. Its purpose, among other things, is to take international issues and translate them to the situation in the Netherlands. It also brings national questions to the attention of the international community and, by doing so, underscores the importance of the IGF.

What characterizes the IGF?

  • It is an open platform; no binding decisions are made. It is purely intended for everyone who can influence policy to gather input that may assist them in the development of (bottom-up) policy.
  • Representatives from developed and developing countries can freely share their vision without fear of reprisals.
  • Countries share their experience and best practices and learn from one another.
  • Due to the multi-stakeholder approach, ideas and subjects are approached from different angles. This ensures an evenly balanced and comprehensive debate.
  • Policy issues around sustainability, security, stability and the development of the internet are central. In addition, risks and challenges are identified and discussed.