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Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) serves to bring people together from various stakeholder groups as equals, in discussions on public policy issues relating to the Internet. While there is no negotiated outcome, the IGF informs and inspires those with policy-making power in both the public and private sectors.  At their annual meeting delegates discuss, exchange information and share good practices with each other. The IGF facilitates a common understanding of how to maximize Internet opportunities and address risks and challenges that arise.

In the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 December 2015, (70/125) 'Outcome document of the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society', the existing mandate of the IGF as set out in paragraphs 72 to 78 of the Tunis Agenda was extended for another 10 years. 


8th Internet Governance Forum, Kyoto Japan (8 to 12 October 2023)

The 18th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum was hosted by the Government of Japan in Kyoto from 8 to 12 October 2023. The Forum's overarching theme was: The Internet We Want - Empowering All People.

Building on the results of the call for thematic issues the MAG decided that the 18th annual IGF programme developed around the following sub-themes:

  • AI & Emerging Technologies 
  • Avoiding Internet Fragmentation    
  • Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety
  • Data Governance & Trust
  • Digital Divides & Inclusion
  • Global Digital Governance & Cooperation
  • Human Rights & Freedoms
  • Sustainability & Environment

For more information, click here.


Internet Governance Forum Mandate

Paragraph 72 of the Tunis Agenda:

We ask the UN Secretary-General, in an open and inclusive process, to convene, by the second quarter of 2006, a meeting of the new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue—called the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The mandate of the Forum is to:

  • Discuss public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet;
  • Facilitate discourse between bodies dealing with different cross-cutting international public policies regarding the Internet and discuss issues that do not fall within the scope of any existing body;
  • Interface with appropriate inter-governmental organizations and other institutions on matters under their purview;
  • Facilitate the exchange of information and best practices, and in this regard make full use of the expertise of the academic, scientific and technical communities;
  • Advise all stakeholders in proposing ways and means to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world;
  • Strengthen and enhance the engagement of stakeholders in existing and/or future Internet governance mechanisms, particularly those from developing countries;
  • Identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendations;
  • Contribute to capacity building for Internet governance in developing countries, drawing fully on local sources of knowledge and expertise;
  • Promote and assess, on an ongoing basis, the embodiment of WSIS principles in Internet governance processes;
  • Discuss, inter alia, issues relating to critical Internet resources;
  • Help to find solutions to the issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet, of particular concern to everyday users;
  • Publish its proceedings


IGF Structure  

The Secretariat of the IGF is based at the United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland. Its main task is to facilitate and coordinate the overall IGF process in accordance with its mandate. The Secretariat is institutionally placed with UN DESA. 

  • The programme of the annual IGF meeting is developed on the basis of the bottom-up received thematic inputs by the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG)1. The MAG is composed of around forty members coming from all stakeholder and regional group with gender parity and is led by a MAG Chair.

  • The IGF Leadership Panel2 is a body of fifteen experts from different stakeholder and regional groups which works on strengthening the IGF to make it more impactful. The Panel has its elected Chair and Vice Chair. 


IGF Intersessional Activities 

In between its annual meetings, the IGF carries out a programme of capacity development activities aimed at supporting all stakeholders, and particularly the Global South, international parliamentariansyouth and women. Engaging both constituencies is essential to the project of addressing digital regulatory challenges and gaps, as well as keeping pace with the impact of digital technologies on the Internet’s largest share of users. Learning toolkits have been developed and outreach workshops held as part of year-long tracks, culminating in dedicated parliamentary and youth events at the annual forum.  

IGF thematic policy and research activities are also implemented throughout the year via Secretariat-supported Best Practice Forums and Policy Networks, and stakeholder-led Dynamic Coalitions. These cover a wide range of topics, from Internet Fragmentation, Cybersecurity and Meaningful Access to Gender, and have produced timely policy outputs that include actionable recommendations. 


Network of National, Regional and Youth IGF Initiatives (NRIs) 

There are more than 150 national, regional and youth IGF initiatives who work inspired by and in accordance with the IGF principles of multistakeholder, bottom-up, transparent, and inclusive dialogue on Internet governance. Although achieving formal recognition through the Secretariat, NRIs are independent entities. As contributors to the work of the overall IGF, they provide critical national and local-level perspectives, particularly from the Global South. 


IGF Annual Meeting  

Each year, the annual IGF meeting is hosted by a different Host Country. The Forum brings together thousands of different stakeholders from around the world to discuss some 

of the most pressing Internet governance issues. Participants represent governments, intergovernmental organisations, the private sector, the technical community, and civil society (including academia).  

Visit the IGF website to learn more about who hosted the IGF and outputs3


For more information about the IGF, please refer to the following documents:

To access the IGF website, see here:

To view the most recent IGF annual meeting programme, see