By Lillian Nalwoga
The Sixth Annual IGF Meeting will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 27-30 September 2011 at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON). With the main theme of ‘Internet as a catalyst for change: access, development, freedoms and innovation’, it is hoped that the IGF will strengthen the Internet governance debate in East Africa.
Prior to the global forum, East African countries will once again – this time in the Rwandan capital Kigali – convene to deliberate internet governance issues pertinent to the region.
The East African-Internet Governance Forum (EA-IGF) was first convened in 2008 with participation from four East African countries (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda). The forum aims at creating a Community of Practice that will build a sustaining foundation for meaningful participation of East African stakeholders in Internet public policy debates at the national, regional and international level.
The EA-IGF model allows for the informed participation, contribution and engagement of community members through the sharing of experiences and skills, solving common problems and challenges, the creation of new knowledge and increasing local capacity and talent in Internet Governance issues. The EAIGF follows a bottom-up multi-stakeholder approach, which begins at the national level with mailing list discussions in the five East African countries moderated by national animators, followed by national face-to-face IGFs. The national IGFs then form the building block for the regional East African IGF.
CIPESA in collaboration with the Ugandan Ministry of ICT, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), I-Network Uganda and the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) hosted the 3rd East African Internet Governance Forum (EA-IGF) in 2010. The forum focused on “Strengthening East Africa’s Critical Internet Resources”.
The 2010 EA-IGF called for multi-stakeholder participation by redefining the term ‘internet governance’ and also recommended the formation of a working group to develop strategies that will strengthen ccTLDs in the region in light of competition for gTLDs.
More about the EAIGF: http://eaigf.or.ke/eaigf/eaigf.html