Internet governance and digital policy

Internet governance is a new topic on the global policy agenda and is addressed in a wide variety of global public and business forums. For many small and developing countries with limited resources and institutional capacity in this sector, it is a major challenge to follow and participate in these processes.

Diplo provides capacity development support through online and blended courses, policy research, policy immersion and community support. Browse this portal, and learn more about our philosophy and approach. Get in touch with Diplo’s IG Team.

Science & Diplomacy: How countries interact with the Boston innovation ecosystemUpdate: Science & Diplomacy: How countries interact with the Boston innovation ecosystem

The report Science & Diplomacy: How countries interact with the Boston innovation ecosystem, on how diplomatic representations use their science and technology arms to conduct activities in the Boston ecosystem, is now available for download.

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What is Internet governance?

Internet governance can be defined as the development and application 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. (WGIG, 2015)

Although Internet governance deals with the core of the digital world, governance cannot be handled with the digital-binary logic of the true or false, or good or bad. Instead, the subject demands many subtleties and shades of meaning and perception, requiring an analogue approach, covering a continuum of options and compromises.


An Introduction to Internet GovernanceThe book An Introduction to Internet Governance, by Dr Jovan Kurbalija, now in its seventh edition, needs no introduction. It provides a comprehensive overview of the main issues and actors in the field through a practical framework for analysis, discussion, and resolution of significant issues, and is one of the most widely-used books by IG professionals. The book has been translated into 10 languages. Download the latest edition, or any of the translated versions.

Taxonomy: 40 issues, 7 baskets

MapDiplo’s classification of Internet governance groups the main 40+ issues into the following seven categories, or ‘baskets’: Infrastructure and Standardisation, Security, Human Rights, Legal, Economic, Development, and Socio-cultural. Although this categorisation was needed for the purposes of classifying the policy areas into broad areas, many of the digital policy areas interact with other areas in different clusters.

This taxonomy was first developed in 1997 by Dr Jovan Kurbalija, and then introduced in the book An Introduction to Internet Governance (now in its sixth edition). It was later adopted in Diplo’s Internet governance courses. The taxonomy is under regular development to account for emerging trends and new developments in this vibrant process. Today, it is used as the underlying structure for the GIP Digital Watch observatory, a comprehensive Internet governance and digital policy observatory. It has also been adopted in the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development’s report on Mapping of international Internet public policy issues, and in the GIPO initiative sponsored by the European Commission.

Explore each basket on the GIP Digital Watch observatory.

GIP Digital Watch observatory

GIP Digital Watch observatoryThe GIP Digital Watch observatory, an initiative of the Geneva Internet Platform (operated by DiploFoundation) in partnership with the Internet Society, is a comprehensive Internet governance and digital policy observatory. The platform – at – provides a neutral one-stop shop for live developments, overviews and explanatory texts, events, resources, and other content related to Internet governance and digital policy. It draws from the strengths of its partners’ assets: the resources DiploFoundation has developed over the last 15 years, the Geneva Internet Platform’s international reach, and the Internet Society’s network of Chapters that will help shape localised content.

The observatory:

  • maintains a comprehensive live summary of the latest developments in digital policy;
  • provides an overview of issues, actors and ongoing process;
  • maintains a live calendar of upcoming and past events;
  • provides access to the latest research and data on Internet policy.
  • is enriched by quantitative research (e.g. data-mining of open data, topic profiling).

Monthly IG briefings

Hub imageThe monthly Geneva Internet Platform briefings provide a ‘zoomed-out’ update of the major global digital policies and Internet governance developments. Every month, the briefings round-up the developments of the previous weeks, and discuss their impact on other areas and on future developments. The briefings are held every last Tuesday of the month. Participants can join in Geneva, or online, from one of the GIP local hubs. Follow the links on our calendar of Internet governance events to participate in the next briefing. Learn more about the briefings and access the archive of recordings, digests and other resources.

GIP hubs provide a great opportunity to meet others working in Internet governance. We encourage you to establish a GIP hub in your local community to enable you to follow the global digital developments and to have sustainable discussions with others from your local community. The GIP can provide organisational and promotional support. If you are interested in establishing a local hub, let us know.

The GIP briefings are organised by the Geneva Internet Platform (operated by DiploFoundation) as part of the GIP Digital Watch initiative. The briefings complement the GIP Digital Watch observatory and the monthly Geneva Digital Watch newsletter.

Digital Watch newsletter

DW newsletterThe Geneva Digital Watch newsletter is a monthly newsletter, published by the Geneva Internet Platform/DiploFoundation, which includes a round-up of developments for each month, interviews with prominent Internet governance experts, features and articles on various digital policy areas, and a just-for-fun section. Read or download the latest version of the newsletter.

The newsletter was created by the GIP and DiploFoundation in 2015 with the aim of providing digital policy practitioners a regular round-up of global developments, and analysis on the most topical issues of the month. Updates on Geneva events and upcoming global events aim to help practitioners keep track of the events that are likely to have an impact on digital policy in one way or another. These aims are achieved by analysing and providing context to the large amount of developments that take place every month. The newsletter is in line with the GIP and Diplo’s mission to build capacity among stakeholders, especially those who are unrepresented or have limited resources.

The newsletter is published every last day of the month, and complements the GIP Digital Watch observatory and the monthly GIP briefings on Internet governance. We invite you to subscribe to the GIP News mailing list to receive notifications about new issues of the newsletter, and to get in touch if you are interested in developing a regional version.


What’s next?

Diplo has been providing online and blended courses, policy research, policy immersion and community support in Internet governance and digital policy for many years. Learn more about our philosophy and approach. We also invite you to engage in IG discussions, join us for training, research, and other activities, and meet other professionals working in IG:

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Training and courses


Data Tour | 12 Tours to Navigate Digital Geneva

24 Jun 21 - 24 Jun 21

Online, Switzerland

#MeetingTomorrow: Digital Geneva 2040

07 Dec 20 - 07 Dec 20


Launch of the Geneva Digital Atlas

30 Nov 20 - 30 Nov 20


Digital Security and Economic Recovery

26 Nov 20 - 26 Nov 20


Launch: Digital Watch weekly digest

28 Sep 20 - 28 Sep 20


Launch: New Digital Watch observatory

14 Sep 20 - 14 Sep 20


7th EAPTC: Technology and peacekeeping

16 Apr 19 - 18 Apr 19


Business-Policy Roundtable

02 Apr 19 25 Mar 19 -

Public International Law Day 2018

27 Nov 18 -


The Battle for the Global Internet

27 Sep 18 -

United States

Invest in Cybersecurity workshop

05 Jun 18 -


Diplo & GIP at RightsCon Toronto 2018

16 May 18 - 18 May 18


Geneva Internet L@w Summer School 2018

18 Jun 18 - 29 Jun 18


Joint Civil Society Meeting 2017

16 Dec 17 -


Half-day course: Cybersecurity in Practice

01 Dec 17 - 07 Dec 17


Governing the Future of the Internet

25 Sep 17 -

United States

October Online Courses

07 Oct 19 08 Oct 18 09 Oct 17 -


Balkan School on Internet Governance 2017

21 Aug 17 - 25 Aug 17

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Diplo at Cyber Week 2017

25 Jun 17 - 29 Jun 17


Diplo & GIP at WSIS Forum 2017

12 Jun 17 - 16 Jun 17


MAPPING Second General Assembly

31 Oct 16 - 02 Nov 16

Czech Republic

Diplo at IGMENA Summit

30 Sep 16 - 02 Oct 16


ISOC – GIP Digital Watch Webinar

09 Feb 16 -


Cybersecurity: a Strategic View

15 Jan 15 -


Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015

16 Apr 15 - 17 Apr 15


Cybersecurity Winter School

01 Dec 14 - 05 Dec 14


PRAU Roundtable on Cyber Security

23 Sep 14 -

South Africa

Diplo @ African Internet/ICT Week

04 Dec 13 - 06 Dec 13


Arab Internet Governance Consultations

05 Mar 13 -

United Arab Emirates

Training Workshop in Internet Governance and Diplomacy

27 Jun 12 - 28 Jun 12

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Advanced courses in Internet governance

11 Jun 12 - 03 Aug 12


ICANN43 Costa Rica

10 Mar 12 - 17 Mar 12

Costa Rica

IG Workshop at IDLELO 5 Abuja, Nigeria

22 Mar 12 - 24 Mar 12


EuroDIG meeting takes place in Belgrade

30 May 11 - 31 May 11


EuroDIG kicks off in Belgrade

30 May 11 - 31 May 11


ICT policy and IG workshop in Addis Ababa

06 Apr 11 - 08 Apr 11


ICT policy and IG workshop in Pretoria

12 Apr 11 - 14 Apr 11

South Africa

Workshop on Internet Governance

12 Nov 10 - 13 Nov 10

Trinidad and Tobago

Workshops on Internet Governance

25 Aug 10 - 02 Sep 10


EuroDIG 2009

14 Sep 09 - 15 Sep 09




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Global Inviolability of the Internet Root Zone (Briefing Paper #1)

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The EU’s New Commission: Digital Policy in the Limelight (Briefing Paper #13)

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Searching for Meaningful Human Control. The April 2018 Meeting on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (Briefing Paper #10)

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