Carl Bildt, Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, will chair a new Global Commission on Internet Governance, launched by The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).
Announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, the Global Commission is a two-year initiative that will produce a comprehensive stand on the future of multi-stakeholder Internet governance.
“In most countries, increased attention is being given to all the issues of net freedom, net security and net governance. And they are, in my view, closely related to each other. The rapid evolution of the net has been made possible by the open and flexible model by which it has evolved and been governed. But increasingly this is coming under attack,” says Carl Bildt. “And this is happening as issues of net freedom, net security and net surveillance are increasingly debated. Net freedom is as fundamental as freedom of information and freedom of speech in our societies.”
The commission will include about 25 members drawn from various fields and from around the world, including policy and government, academia and civil society.
The Global Commission on Internet Governance will encourage globally inclusive public discussions and debates on the future of Internet governance through a public consultation platform, and through other institutional, media, and academic channels. It will create and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance that can act as a rallying point for states that are striving for a continued free and open Internet.
The commission will focus on four key themes:
- Enhancing governance legitimacy;
- Stimulating innovation;
- Ensuring human rights online;
- Avoiding systemic risks.
“The work of this vitally important undertaking will be supported by a highly innovative research program at both CIGI and Chatham House as well as widespread stakeholder consultations with civil society and the private sector. The Commission’s work is also intended to build on a number of important strategic dialogues that are already underway and to feed into ongoing policy discussions at the global level,” says Fen Osler Hampson, Director of the Global Security & Politics Program at CIGI.
“The issue of Internet governance is set to become one of the most pressing global public policy issues of our time. The Commission will work to develop ideas and propose a policy framework that enhances the legitimacy of Internet governance whilst preserving innovation. Chatham House is honoured to partner with Foreign Minister Bildt and CIGI in the Global Commission on Internet Governance,” says Dr Robin Niblett, Director of Chatham House.
Members of the commission currently include the following, with full biographies available at www.ourinternet.org:
- Carl Bildt, Chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance
- Gordon Smith, Deputy Chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance
- Dominic Barton
- Pablo Bello
- Dae-Whan Chang
- Moez Chatchouk
- Michael Chertoff
- Anriette Esterhuysen
- Hartmut Glaser
- Dorothy Gordon
- Dame Wendy Hall
- Fen Osler Hampson
- Melissa Hathaway
- Patricia Lewis
- Mathias Müller von Blumencron
- Beth Simone Noveck
- Joseph S. Nye
- Sir David Omand
- Nii Quaynor
- Latha Reddy
- Marietje Schaake
- Tobby Simon
- Michael Spence
- Paul Twomey
- Pindar Wong
“For many people, Internet governance sounds technical and esoteric, but the reality is that the issues are ‘high politics’ and of consequences to all users of the Internet, present and future,” says CIGI Distinguished Fellow Gordon Smith, who is deputy chair of the new commission.
“Internet governance is too important to be left just to governments. The Internet is a fundamental part of the global economy and how we manage its future will be decisive in facilitating development for all. Finding a way through the issues of access, privacy, security, protection and surveillance requires in-depth consideration and the wisdom that the Global Commission will provide,” says Dr Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security Department, Chatham House.
Among those supporting the commission’s work will be CIGI Senior Fellow Laura DeNardis, who will act as its Director of Research. Additional commission members will be confirmed over time.