Internet Governance Forum

Just-in-time reports from the IGF

The GIP Digital Watch observatory provided just-in-time reporting from the 12th IGF in Geneva.

Read the IGF Report, IGF Dailies, session reports and additional content from Geneva.

IGF 2017

The 12th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was held on 18–21 December 2017, at the United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland, under the overarching theme 'Shape your digital future'.

Latest updates related to IGF 2017

In focus at IGF 2017

In line with the IGF mandate of promoting discussions and dialogue on Internet-related public policy issues, the IGF 2017 meeting featured over 100 sessions focused on topics such as cybersecurity and cybercrime, digital human rights, sustainable development, and the digital economy. 

Opening ceremony & High-level sessions

  • During the Opening Ceremony, welcoming remarks were given by Ms. Doris Leuthard, President of Switzerland, Mr. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General (tbc), Mr. Michael Møller, Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva (tbc), Mr. Pierre Maudet, Geneva State Councilor, and Mr. Rémy Pagani, Mayor of the City of Geneva. 
  • The high-level session on 'Shaping our future digital global governance' discussed the pressing matters relating to digitisation and to the future evolution of the global digital governance framework. Potential gaps in the current digital governance system would be part of the conversation and suggestions for improving global cooperation among all stakeholders can be developed. 
  • The high-level session on 'The impact of digitalisation on politics, public trust, and democracy' explored the opportunities and the challenges that digitisation brings to the digital political sphere, the public trust, and democracy. Discussions will revolve around ways of strengthening the benefits of democratic participation and inclusion via digital means, limiting the negative impact of the misuse of the public policy space, and rebuilding trust among online users.

Main and special sessions

  • Digital transformation: How do we shape its socio-economic and labor impacts for good?
  • Empowering global cooperation on cybersecurity for sustainable development & peace
  • Gender inclusion and the future of the Internet
  • Local interventions, global impacts: How can international, multistakeholder cooperation address Internet shutdowns, encryption and data flows
  • Dynamic Coalitions-organised main session
  • National and Regional Initiatives (NRIs)-organised main session | NRIs perspective: Rights in the digital world
  • Data for sustainable development roadmaps (special session)


  • Workshops at IGF 2017 explored a wide range of Internet governance and digital policy issues, such as cybersecurity and privacy, data localisation and crossborder data flows, fake news, Internet shutdowns, digital divide and digital inclusion, e-commerce, the sharing economy, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, and big data.
  • A complete list of workshops is available.

Open forums

  • Open forums are dedicated to governments, treaty-based organosations, and global organisations with international scope and presence, dealing with Internet governance-related issues.

Intersessional activities


For more information: IGF Secretariat website | Host country website | Flyer for IGF 2017


The IGF process in detail

The IGF mandate

The Internet Governance Forum is a UN forum for multistakeholder policy dialogue on Internet governance issues. The IGF was established by the Tunis Agenda of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) as a forum for multistakeholder policy dialogue to discuss public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance. The mandate of the Forum is established in paragraph 72 of the Agenda:

72. 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

The mandate of the IGF, intially set for five years, and then extended with a further five year, was further extended in December 2016 with another 10 years. For more information, see the WSIS+10 outcome document [A/70/L.33, para 63] adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 2015. 


IGF annual meetings

In line with its mandate, the IGF holds annual meetings dedicated to discussions on Internet governance related issues.

The programme of the annual meeting and the general direction of the IGF work is deliberated by the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) to the UN Secretary General. The IGF Secretariat, based in Geneva, conducts the preparations for the annual event and assists the MAG in its work between two sessions. Even though the IGF is not a decision-making body, its great potential lies in open discussions among all stakeholders on challenges and best practices.

Remote participation systems have become an integral part of over the past years, and the capacity building track, integrated into the annual meetings, has provided an opportunity for all to learn more and exchange their knowledge.

Past IGF meetings: 2016 Jalisco (for more details on this meeting, see IGF Report, IGF daily summaries, sessions reports, and more) | 2015 João Pessoa (for more details on this meeting, see IGF Report, IGF daily summaries, workshops reports, and more| 2014 Istanbul | 2013 Bali | 2012 Baku | 2011 Nairobi | 2010 Vilnius | 2009 Sharm El Sheikh | 2008 Hyderabad | 2007 Rio de Janeiro | 2006 Athens


IGF inter-sessional activities

In recent years, the IGF has also engaged in more intensive and output oriented inter-sessional work, including best practice forums, outputs of dynamic coalitions, and a project on Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the next billion. Below is an overview of the results of such work:

IGF 2016

IGF 2015

IGF 2014:

IGF Dynamic Coalitions

The concept of Dynamic Coalitions was established as a result of the first IGF meeting in Athens. These coalitions are informal, issue-specific groups comprising members of various stakeholder groups. 

Active Dynamic Coalitions: Accessibility and Disability | AccountabilityBlockchain Technologies | Child Online Safety | Community ConnectivityCore Internet Values |  Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Media on the Internet | Gender and Internet Governance | Innovative Approaches to Connecting the UnconectedInternet and Climate Change | Internet Rights and Principles | Network Neutrality | Platform Responsibility | Public Access in Libraries | The Internet of Things | Youth Coalition on Internet Governance


National and Regional IGF initiatives

Regional and national IGF initiatives (such as EuroDIG, the African IGF, Canada IGF, Kenya IGF, etc.) have appeared as a result of the global process; they focus on Internet-related issues that are seen as particularly relevant at regional and national level, and many of them also contribute to the annual IGF meetings and the IGF inter-sessional work. In many cases, the outcomes of these initiatives were used by stakeholders to feed into the main IGF, either through workshops organised by the initiatives, or through the direct participation of the stakeholders. This has fostered wider participation in the Internet governance process at national/regional levels; it has given a stronger voice to concerns raised at national/regional levels; and has ensured continuity in the discussions with stakeholders at a global level.

Regional IGF initiatives (active)

2017 Meetings

Africa IGF

4–6 December | Cairo, Egypt

Arab IGF


Asia Pacific Regional IGF (APrIGF)

26–29 July | Bangkok | Thailand

Central Africa IGF 

10–11 April | Bazzaville | Republic of the Congo 

Central Asian IGF

22–23 June | Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Caribbean IGF

21–23 August | Tortola, British Virgin Islands

East Africa IGF


European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG)

6–7 June 2017 | Tallinn, Estonia

IGF Latin America and Caribbean (LAC IGF)

2 –4 August | Panama City, Panama

Pacific Internet Governance Forum

17 –18 May | Port Vila, Vanuatu

South Eastern European Dialogue on Internet Governance (SEEDIG)

24–25 May 2017 | Ohrid, Macedonia

West Africa IGF

27–28 July | Cotonou, Benin

National initiatives

The map below shows countries where national IGF initiatives have been put in place, or are under creation (as at 19 May 2016). The IGF Secretariat's website also includes a list of national IGFs.




The GIP Digital Watch observatory is provided by

in partnership with

and members of the GIP Steering Committee


GIP Digital Watch is operated by

Scroll to Top