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The 2018 Internet Governance Forum Support Association held their annual General Assembly during which three main tasks were completed. The regular agenda included approvals of the summary record of 2017 General Assembly, proposed changes in the Articles of Association, approval of the budget, and adoption of records. New items such as crowdfunding efforts were addressed. The 2018 Executive Committee was discharged and the elections were held for the new Executive Committee.
Session moderator Mr Markus Kummer, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Internet Governance Forum Support Association (IGFSA), presented the working plan for the General Assembly, stressing the focus of the meeting on electing the new Executive Committee. Kummer pointed out that based on the bylaws only members in good standing can vote.
Ms Marilyn Cade, mCADE llc and IGFSA Executive Committee member, presented her Statement of Interest to be re-elected. She noted that since 2015 the number of National and Regional Initiatives (NRIs) has risen from 57 to 111 and that most of them come from developing countries. The new NRIs and their needs matter; therefore, she would work on improving communication with the membership. She emphasised that the IGFSA needs to expand its pool of sponsors and proposed new ways such as crowdsourcing as a worthwhile strategy. According to Cade, IGFSA will grow to at least 150 NRIs and IGFSA needs to be able to follow this trend.
Ms Avri Doria, Independent Researcher, called for renewing her position and emphasised the Association’s becoming more freestanding and independent. Her focus is on increased members involvement and on fundraising efforts. The IGFSA is important because its foundations are the national and regional associations that form the foundation of the IGF itself. Doria sees the change in funding from the IGF to NRIs in the last years as a good step forward, but suggested that the relevance of the IGF should also be strengthened through IGFSA support.
The new candidates introduced themselves, starting with Mr Makane Faye, Africa IGF. His focus is on extending the IGFSA in Africa and enhancing engagement continent-wide. Ms Nilmini Rubin, Tetra Tech, noted that she would engage her experience in policy and the private sector to advance the financial sustainability of the IGFSA. Ms Jacqueline Morris, Trinidad and Tobago IGF, and Mr Miguel Ignacio Estrada, Argentina IGF, submitted their statements online.
As the old Executive Committee was discharged, the new one, consisting of Cade, Doria, Faye, and Rubin, was voted in based on remote and in-situ votes.
The second part of the session focused on the regular agenda of the General Assembly. Kummar stressed the adoption of the contents of reports and financial statements for the year. Once the Internet Society withdrew its support for the IGFSA, the association restructured and is now a self-standing organisation. The total membership currently is 190 members and through fundraising a total of USD$117 000 was received with ICANN the biggest contributor.
The concern was raised about the process of applying for funding by the NRIs. A new system of deadlines was discussed that would set the deadline for application one month before the meeting. Cade mentioned the particular context of developing countries and asked for suggestions on how to address their needs.
In order not to neglect the UN IGF Trust Fund, further financial support from IGFSA to the fund was agreed upon. The 2017-2018 Annual Report was approved together with the Financial Overview.
Crowdfunding as a new method of fundraising was introduced. Mr Austin Ruckstuhl, United Nation University, Belgium, presented the fundraising campaign called #ILOVEIGF on the GiveGain website. He invited the audience to get involved on Twitter and to encourage their networks to donate to the IGFSA.
Cade mentioned that the 2018 IGF has six opportunities for interested parties to engage with the NRIs and invited the audience to join them and continue the debate on IGFSA long-term sustainability.
By Jana Mišić