The Commonwealth Internet Governance Forum was established in 2009 and falls under the mandate of the Commonwealth Connects Programme, the ICT4D Programme of the Commonwealth. The Programme is a vehicle for knowledge and technology transfer across the Commonwealth in areas of National ICT Strategies, eGovernment, Telecommunication Regulation and related activities having a bearing on social and economic development.
The Commonwealth Internet Governance Forum is an online space for debate on public policy matters relating to the Internet. COMNET Foundation for ICT Development has been tasked with the leadership of this Forum whose objectives are:
To promote awareness of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) amongst policy makers and stakeholders from industry, civil society and academia;
To establish IGF links with the particular aim of securing the engagement of member countries which have not previously participated in the Internet Governance Forum or Governments Advisory Committee to ICANN,
To foster links between national and regional IGFs and identify areas of common interest such as affordable and secure access for all,
To provide a forum for stakeholders to discuss and formulate Commonwealth positions on Internet related public policy issues,
To help inform national positions on public policy issues for Internet good governance.
The COMNET Foundation for ICT development is both Chair and provides Secretariat Services to promote and coordinate CIGF activities. These activities include informing all stakeholders on matters relating to IG, participating at the IGF meetings, organising capcity building events, administering bursaries, participating in IGF consultations, identifying stakeholder priorities and commissioning relevant projects on Cyber Security and child protection.
The Website representing the forum includes current information and news on IG matters, repositories on Cyber Security and Online Child Protection, reading materials relating to the Internet, announcements of capacity building events across the Commonwealth and representation of any activities the forum may be involved in.
Over the past year, the website underwent a redesign and migrated to a more flexible platform to enable Web 2.0 functionality. This has allowed for the CIGF to become more active on Social Networks such as Twitter. The migration to more flexible software has also made possible the introduction of a regular newsletter circulated to subscribers These updates give an abstract on the current work of the Forum and highlight the best content published on the website in the past weeks.
A collaboration was established between the Diplo Foundation and the Commonwealth Internet Governance forum to provide regional perspectives on matters relating to Internet Governance. Diplo Foundation identified a number of bloggers from across the Commonwealth to participate in this content production. A publishing schedule was outlined and contributions from Africa, the Pacific, and the Caribbean were published online with a view to drive discussion within the forum. Submitted themes included Human Rights and Web Democracy in view of the Arab uprising, the discussion on the Caribbean IXP, and access to affordable and secure internet amongst others. The collaboration was a great success and allowed for further links to be established across the Commonwealth with active members in the IG arena. These bloggers continue to volunteer contributions to our website and the collaboration is projected to re-run in the coming year.
A pilot project in collaboration with the University of the Creative Arts, Farnham was launched in November 2010. The objectives of this project were:
Create interesting multimedia content for the website
Engage young people in the global discussion of Internet Governance
An initial briefing was organised at the University Campus, in Surrey, UK, where Martin Boyle from Nominet and Lara Pace from the CIGF attended and briefed students on the operation of the Internet and the CIGF respectively.
The project ran through January to April 2011 and during this time, the University organised additional lectures for WireUp! participants. Speakers focused on the Internet and its effect on the Media industry of today. Seven final submissions were published online and one contribution was awarded a best entry Award.
In keeping with the competition element of this collaboration, the CIGF and the University of the Creative Arts Farnham have offered the best entry awardee, student Lewis Fry, the opportunity to attend this IGF meeting in Nairobi as the official CIGF correspondent.
The pilot project has had positive feedback and is projected to run through the year of 2012. The first edition in 2012 will be open to all Commonwealth Educational Institutions who may wish to participate.
An outline of this Initiative is attached to this document under Appendix A.
The Commonwealth’s Proposal on Cybercrime
Cybercrime is a high priority area amongst stakeholders. The feedback received through open forums held in 2009 and 2010, is that developing country governments need substantitive assistance to realise the requisite legal, technical and human capacity to enable them to play their part in combating cybercrime.
Therefore, the CIGF is proposing a Commonwealth led Cybercrime Initiative. The development of this Initiative is in response to the increasing importance that is attached to cyber security in the face of the Internet’s exponential growth. The development of the Initiative is the product of a collaborative approach between the CIGF Steering Group and other stakeholders.
The CIGF has introduced this Initiative at the various regional IGFs for feedback purposes. These include: The West African IGF, The Caribbean IGF, The East African IGF, and the Southern African IGF. Presentations on behalf of the CIGF were made by individuals identified by the CIGF Secretariat and the support of the Diplo Foundation and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union. The Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative is the focus of the CIGF open forum at the 6th IGF in Nairobi.
An outline of this Initiative is attached to this document under Appendix B.
Ths initiative is being presented at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia in October.
The work of the Commonwealth IGF has been made possible through the following contributions from:
The Commonwealth Secretariat which enabled the launch of the initiative, setting up the Secretariat and website and relevant publications in 2009.
The UK government’s Department for Media, Culture and Sport and ITU who made possible the travel bursaries in 2009 and two additional bursaries in 2010. These entities have also financed the Secretariat’s participation in the 2010 IGF.
The Malta Government which has contributed to COMNET since its inception.
Much of the outreach work for CIGF has been through participation at events and meetings that CIGF members attended as part of their normal business. These include: