Introduction to Internet governance (“What is Internet governance and why should I care?”)

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Alias: Internet governance SEEduction

Session description

Internet governance (IG) has been 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” (Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, WSIS 2005). This definition dates back to 2005, and, since then, the number of regional and international entities and processes that focus on or deal with Internet governance issues has continuously increased. And so has the number of issues that fit under the general term of “Internet governance”. But there are still various stakeholders who are not currently involved in Internet governance processes, and this is in many instances due to a limited awareness and understanding of Internet governance. This is also the case in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area. While there is an increasing interest and participation of stakeholders from this region in European and global Internet governance debates and processes, this is still at a relatively low level compared to the participation of stakeholders from Western Europe, for example. And more efforts need to be made in order to reach out to these stakeholders, raise their interest and help them build the capacity to meaningfully participate in Internet governance.

In this context, the introductory session of the SEEDIG is aimed at promoting a better understanding of Internet governance among participants, through:

  • explaining the term “Internet governance” (definition of the term, why and how the term appeared, etc.);
  • explaining the key principles of Internet governance: multistakeholderism, openness, inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, etc.
  • giving brief overviews of several organisations and processes in the Internet governance ecosystem, such as: the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Society (ISOC), the Council of Europe.

Ample time will then be allocated to a dialogue among all participants in the session, around questions such as:

  • What does Internet governance mean for stakeholders in the region? How is the term perceived? How to ensure that, when translating the term into regional languages, the translation does not erroneously give the impression that Internet governance means “control of the Internet”, or that it is something concerning only governments or where only governments have a say?
  • Why is/is not Internet governance relevant for stakeholders in the region?
  • Why is it important for stakeholders in the region to get involved in regional and global IG processes and organisations? What are the main challenges and reasons preventing stakeholders in SEE to participate in regional and global IG processes and organisations? How to deal with these challenges? What motivates those who do get involved?


Internet governance, principles, processes, organisations, participation


Short introductions by key participants, followed by discussions among all participants.


  • Keynote speaker (introduction to Internet governance and the Internet Governance Forum): Markus Kummer, Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); Advisor to the Chair of the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG)
  • Key participants:
    • Frédéric Donck, Regional Bureau for Europe, Internet Society (ISOC)
    • Lee Hibbard, Council of Europe
    • Jean-Jacques Sahel, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names an Numbers (ICANN)
    • Tanel Tang, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Estonia
  • Moderator: Sorina Teleanu, Chamber of Deputies, Parliament of Romania
  • Remote moderator: Panagiotis Papaspiliopoulos, Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport & Networks, Greece
  • Rapporteur: Oksana Prykhodko, European Media Platform, Ukraine

Further reading


  1. Internet governance (IG) should be understood as a process of dialogue, collaboration and cooperation.
  2. IG is a collective effort of understanding the different interests and learning to work together for ensuring an open, global, reliable, trustworthy Internet.
  3. IG is a lot about principles: multistakeholderism, bottom-up, openness, inclusiveness, transparency, equal footing for all stakeholders.
  4. We must all learn to have a stake and to have a say, in order to be involved in Internet governance.
  5. We need to continue strengthening the linkages between the realities in South Eastern Europe and the international work on Internet governance.
  6. The way forward includes continuing awareness raising efforts, engaging actors in capacity building programmes, bringing IG to them in their own languages, building or consolidating local and regional platforms for discussions.

Video recording

The video recording of the session is available.