What is the IGF?
The Internet Governance Forum, or IGF, is a forum formed under the auspices of the United Nations, to provide "a transparent, democratic, and multilateral process, with the participation of governments, private sector, civil society and international organisations, in their respective roles" for dialogue on Internet Governance policy.
The IGF was formed following an agreement known as the Tunis Agenda on the Information Society which was settled by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in November 2005. The WSIS in turn had been formed by the ITU and had previously met in Geneva in December 2003, when a Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) was formed to assist in clarifying certain issues ahead of the Tunis meeting.
The Tunis Agenda explicitly states that the IGF's work is to be "non-binding", and that it will involve a "multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic and transparent" process with "full involvement" of "all stakeholders involved in this process". Each year the IGF meets in a different world city, beginning with its first meeting in Athens in 2006. The IGF's first five-year mandate was extended in December 2010.
IGFWatch offers a perspective on the IGF's work from civil society, and critically examines the Tunis agenda's assertion that "Policy authority for Internet-related public policy issues is the sovereign right of States. They have rights and responsibilities for international Internet-related public policy issues".