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What is Internet Governance?

Over the past years, the Internet has played a major role in the growth and prosperity of our society in areas of trade, education, health, governmental services, or simply for entertainment. As of the year 2012, access to the Internet is recognised as a basic human right which enables individuals to "exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression" as stipulated by the United Nation Human Right Council.

To ensure sustainable growth of a stable, secure and robust Internet, it is vital that Governments, Civil and Technical societies along with all other stakeholders engage in dialogues and forums regarding the Internet, it's development and related issues on how the Internet should be managed. This is what Internet governance is about.

In line with the above objective, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was held in two phases. The first one took place in Geneva hosted by the Government of Switzerland from 10 to 12 December 2003, and the second one took place in Tunis hosted by the Government of Tunisia, from 16 to 18 November 2005. [more on WSIS].

One of the outcomes of the last meeting provided a definition of Internet Governance as follows: '' Internet governance is 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 2005)

 IG issues broadly cover:

  • Open access to governance processes;
  • Network security and stability;
  • Responsible management of critical Internet resources.

There are several organisations involved in the governance of the Internet globally and addressing the above issues. AFRINIC collaborates closely with these global organisations, amongst others, namely:

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