Over 200 came in person to Day One of the Geneva Internet Conference (GIC), testament to the numbers and energy within the Geneva-based Internet Governance community. And, it has to be said, an impressive number for an organisation – the Geneva Internet Platform (theGIP) – that is not yet a year old! Even more impressive perhaps is the number of people who connected remotely throughout the day. For the opening session alone there were 7 hubs across the globe, and an almost full Adobe Connect conference room.
Participants ranged from the deeply knowledgeable and engaged – including one of the genuine ‘fathers of the Internet’, Louis Pouzin (though as somebody said, ‘no-body knows who the mother is’) – to newbies, for whom the conference was, as one of them said, the ‘gift that goes on giving’.
How to map the Internet Governance landscape was the theme of one of the morning’s plenaries. Summary notes from that session, as well as notes from all the others, are available on the conference wiki, which we’re using as an open note-pad, so that conference moderators, speakers and participants have an opportunity to comment on the summaries, add to and correct them, before they are published on the GIP space. Two new diagrams from Diplo were presented at the conference. Opposite is a revision of an earlier Diplo attempt to illustrate the complexity of the sector, adding in some new lines of communication and illustrating vividly how IG issues cross over with each other and other domains.
Internet Governance is a metaspace, as Parminder Singh memorably put it, one that is continually evolving. So it was fascinating to see the next iteration of the Internet Governance building released for the conference, a draft that is open for comment here.
Like many of us at the event, Parminder Singh has been engaged in these processes since the first WSIS summit in 2003. Vladmir Radunovic, of Diplo, shared the first definition of IG that was developed between the WSIS events by the Working Group on Internet Governance during the Introduction to IG workshop he led on Day 0.
"Internet governance is the development and applications by governments, the private sector, and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet."
Vlada's complete presentation is available below. It is a rich summary of those kind of facts and diagrams we all need when we’re trying to inculcate in the IG-illiterate (too many of whom inhabit senior positions in important organisations, lamented one participant) the significance of the actors, processes and issues which make up the key IG action-spaces, as Rinalia Abdul Rahim put it. Vlada's presentation continues on to provide a clear introduction to many of the key issues that within those action-spaces.
Mary Murphy, of Diplo, led a memorable final session for the day. Mary was perplexed by contradictions that were emerging from the reports, which she is coordinating, and shared her observations with the participants in a presentation which provoked a lot more thoughtful and engaged comments than is normal for a session at the end of a long day.
Join us tomorrow, in person or remotely, for Day Two, when there will be two rounds of workshops and one plenary – as ever packed with knowledgeable, experienced IG actors. The programme is available on the GIP site You can join a webcast of the plenary sessions or join the online conference room to participate remotely in the conversations in one of the three workshop rooms: