A global commission on internet governance has been inaugurated by The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).
The move was announced today at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) taking place in Davos-Klosters.
The commission will be chaired by Carl Bildt, Sweden’s minister of foreign affairs. The global commission according to CIGI is a two-year initiative that will produce a comprehensive stand on the future of multi-stakeholder internet governance.
Bildt said the issues of net freedom, security and governance are concerns in various countries.
“In most countries, increased attention is being given to all the issues of net freedom, net security and net governance,” he said.
“And they are, in my view, closely related to each other. The rapid evolution of the net has been made possible by the open and flexible model by which it has evolved and been governed. But increasingly this is coming under attack.”
He said issues of net freedom, net security and net surveillance were thus increasingly debated.
“Net freedom is as fundamental as freedom of information and freedom of speech in our societies.”
CIGI said the 25 members of the commission would be drawn from various fields and from around the world, including policy and government, academia and civil society.
“The Global Commission on Internet Governance will encourage globally inclusive public discussions and debates on the future of Internet governance through a public consultation platform, and through other institutional, media, and academic channels. It will create and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance that can act as a rallying point for states that are striving for a continued free and open Internet,” CIGI said in a statement.
The four key themes that will be the focus of the commission are enhancing governance legitimacy, stimulating innovation, ensuring human rights online, and avoiding systemic risks.
“The work of this vitally important undertaking will be supported by a highly innovative research program at both CIGI and Chatham House as well as widespread stakeholder consultations with civil society and the private sector. The Commission’s work is also intended to build on a number of important strategic dialogues that are already underway and to feed into ongoing policy discussions at the global level,” said Fen Osler Hampson, director of the Global Security & Politics Program at CIGI.
“The issue of Internet governance is set to become one of the most pressing global public policy issues of our time. The Commission will work to develop ideas and propose a policy framework that enhances the legitimacy of internet governance whilst preserving innovation. Chatham House is honoured to partner with Foreign Minister Bildt and CIGI in the Global Commission on Internet Governance,” said Dr Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House.
“Internet governance is too important to be left just to governments. The internet is a fundamental part of the global economy and how we manage its future will be decisive in facilitating development for all. Finding a way through the issues of access, privacy, security, protection and surveillance requires in-depth consideration and the wisdom that the Global Commission will provide,” said Dr. Patricia Lewis, research director, International Security Department, Chatham House.
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