Press Release: Internet as key Internet governance issue

May 25, 2011:

Preparing for UN conference in Nairobi, consultations in Geneva, Switzerland identify mobile Internet as key Internet governance issue.

Consultations on the Internet Governance Forum’s programme and agenda have now been finalized, following a key meeting that saw Alice Munyua, Chair of the Kenya Internet Governance Steering Committee chair the second preparatory consultations in Geneva, Switzerland. The forum will be held in Nairobi, 27-30 September 2011.

Participants from around the world met in Geneva with the aim of maximizing the opportunity for the IGF to enable open and inclusive dialogue, and to create opportunities to share good practices and experiences.

The main theme for the 2011 IGF is “The Internet as a catalyst for change: access, development, freedoms and innovation”.

The UN IGF is a unique event in the United Nations calendar and the IGF programme is developed through an open, multi-stakeholder process that began earlier this year and is overseen by a “Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group” of experts appointed by the UN Secretary General to advise him on convening the Forum. Kenya will host the 2011 sixth IGF and has chaired the consultation process as well.

Those present in Geneva agreed the key emerging issue for the Nairobi meeting will be extensive dialogue and discussion about the mobile internet, technology, and its contribution to development. The main question addressed will be “Is governance for the mobile internet different from wired internet and how should Internet policy and regulations be developed and applied for both?”.

The 2011 IGF will improve understanding of the policy and governance choices and opportunities in the mobile Internet space that will foster innovation, skills building, entrepreneurship and maximizing the use of the Internet for socio-economic, cultural and political development.

With more than 4 million Kenyans accessing internet through their mobile phones, this year’s IGF will provide an important forum for discussion and consideration of these issues and how they affect people in developing regions of the world, while also relating them to global governance of the Internet.

Over the four days of the IGF in Nairobi there will be main sessions discussing issues such as broadband and mobile access, the resources critical to the stable and secure operation of the internet, cybersecurity, privacy and internet rights, and youth and entrepreneurship. In addition, over 90 workshops and side events will be held covering a broad range of internet policy and technology issues, with each event organized by a global, multi-stakeholder team of experts.

During the consultations, the Secretary of the Kenya IG steering committee, Michael Katundu of the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) introduced the activities Kenya is taking to prepare for the UN-IGF and also launched the host country website (www.igf.or.ke)

The Kenya IG steering committee also showcased the country’s development in the ICT sector through various presentations as well as a video interview with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of information and Communication, Dr. Bitange Ndemo, who used the opportunity to welcome all IGF delegates on behalf of the Government of Kenya.

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