Foundation Projects

FCA: APAC Remote Hubs and APAC Fellowships from the Global South to attend IGF 2023

IGF Secretariat – UN DESA

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is one of the most significant outcomes of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS), which was held in two phases in Geneva, 2003, and in Tunis, 2005. The IGF mandate stems from a request in paragraph 67 of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, for the Secretary-General of the United Nations to convene a new forum for multistakeholder Internet policy dialogue. 

This funding is to support two activities related to the IGF 2023:

  • Travel support for stakeholders from developing countries to participate in person at the 18th IGF in Kyoto, Japan.
  • Support for communities to register remote hubs and receive training and support.

Summary submitted by IGF organizers:

To foster the development of Internet governance capacity for communities from developing countries, the IGF Secretariat implemented several activities, as outlined below.

In addition to continuously providing substantive support to the national, regional and youth IGFs (NRIs), resulting in a significant annual increase of the recognised NRIs, financial support was provided to 16 NRIs that have a participation scope from developing countries, through a public call for grants to the NRIs. The value of the grants was up to 5,000 USD for national IGFs, up to 6,000 for sub-regional IGFs and up to 12,000 USD for regional IGFs. The NRIs that received the grants in 2023 are: African IGF, Asia Pacific regional IGF, Bangladesh IGF, Barbados IGF, Benin IGF, Caribbean IGF, Chad IGF, East African IGF, Ecuador IGF, El Salvador IGF, Namibia IGF, SEEDIG, Sierra Leone IGF, South Sudan IGF and Vietnam Youth IGF.

Given that the remote hubs have shown to be a good practice for local communities to participate in the annual IGF meeting through an organized, collective, manner from the comfort of their place of living, several were supported this year substantively and financially. In addition to providing substantial support to over thirty remote hubs, through the development of a substantive guide on how to set up and run a remote hub, the Secretariat specifically provided financial support to five remote hubs in developing countries with small grants of up to 2,500 USD value. Financially supported hubs were located in Ghana, Benin, Bangladesh, Vanuatu, and the Dominican Republic.

Furthermore, 125 individuals from developing countries, among them 27 from the Asia Pacific region, received travel support to participate in-person in the 18th annual IGF meeting in Kyoto. The eligibility criteria called for supporting the unrepresented disciplines and countries at the IGF, as well as for prioritization of vulnerable groups such as youth, people with disabilities, refugees, indigenous people, women, elderly etc. These stakeholders were also invited to approach the Secretariat with any support needed to better navigate the IGF 2023 and specifically were encouraged to take active participation in the programme. For several supported stakeholders, the Secretariat managed to ensure concrete support roles and have them connected with the session organizers, through guiding how to support the sessions as rapporteurs or actively contribute to the discussions. The overall composition of the supported participants was balanced across region, stakeholder and gender groups.

To build long-term engagement between various communities and the IGF, as well as build and strengthen the overall capacity on Internet governance processes at local global levels, capacity development workshops were organized in close collaboration with the community. Close to thirty workshops were hosted in conjunction with the NRIs meetings as part of the parliamentary or youth track, or stand-alone issue focused as the request of the community. The workshops were hosted back-to-back with the African IGF, WSIS Forum, EuroDIG, Youth LACIGF, LACIGF, Youth African IGF, APrIGF, and Youth LACIGF. Among them, four workshops were part of the IGF 2023 Youth Track specifically designed to support the engagement of youth in the IGF and cooperation among them; and sixteen were part of the IGF 2023 Parliamentary track, specifically designed to support the inclusion of legislators in the IGF and develop cooperation among them. Given the high number of first-time participants at the IGF, the Secretariat continued to implement the newcomers track by delivering the orientation session at the 18th IGF’s Day 1 in Kyoto to help orient the participants. Overall, these workshops had on average around 100 participants each and managed to attract more interest in the IGF intersessional work and the 18th annual IGF meeting.

The IGF Secretariat delivered over a hundred speaking engagements at various meetings and initiatives, many related to developing country communities through NRIs or schools on Internet governance.

Cooperation was sought with the IGF 2023 session organizers, including the rapporteurs and moderators. For these stakeholders, specific trainings were hosted on how to use the IGF 2023 participation platform and maximize opportunities for themselves and other participants. A communications kit was also provided to session organizers to support the holding of their sessions.

As schools on Internet governance (SIG) have been emerging for years and more rapidly in the few last years, the Secretariat continued to cooperate and support SIGs including by making available its syllabus which can guide stakeholders wishing to organize different forms of SIGs.

The IGF Secretariat continued building capacity through in-office training on Internet governance matters. Its fellowship programme supports stakeholders from developing countries, while its internship programme is open to anyone wishing to learn about Internet governance. During 2023, an intern from Kyrgyzstan joined the IGF Secretariat. She had the opportunity to work directly on Internet governance issues and benefit from unparalleled, up-close expertise engaging with the IGF community.