Spain IGF

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NRI founding stories and development

What is the story of the founding of your NRI? What were its inspiration, its objectives?

Established in 2007, the Spain Internet Governance Forum is an open, decentralised space for the debate of public policy issues that promotes the sustainability and solidness of the internet. It is inspired by the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) established by the United Nations Secretary General in 2006. The Spain IGF tries to develop Spanish public policies and governance according to our culture and identity and within agreed conventions and international agreements. This forum is coordinated by Dr. Jorge Pérez Martínez and provides a platform to encourage discussion among different stakeholders (civil society, government, social organisations, private sector, academia and technical community) and is meant to give voice to the Spanish society in international fora in the field of internet governance. The Spain IGF Advisory Group consists of different members representing each of the stakeholder groups.

How did it develop and what difficulties did you experience along the way?

Despite having been established in 2008, we have not developed a formal structure yet. We have a kick-off meeting every year, where the sponsors decide if they want to continue to support the project. Although our four main sponsors have always remained over all these years, they have no formal commitment to do so over the mid-term, but their support is renewed on a yearly basis.

How do you imagine your NRI and its activities in the future?

The IGF Spain has the following goals for the coming years:

  • Continue to be a multistakeholder platform to discuss relevant topics for the future internet

  • Improve the activity on social media and the Spain IGF website to increase engagement

  • Take part in the national and international events

  • Publish regular newsletters

  • Report on the forums and events in which we take part.

NRI internal governance and initiatives

Who are the people involved in your NRI and how do they contribute to it?

The Spain IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group consists of members from different stakeholder groups, such as the government, private sector, civil society, technical community and academia. They contribute mainly to organise the annual event proposing the workshops and sessions and finding panellists.

The Technical Office or Secretariat has played a fundamental role in the development of the IGF Spain, with all the responsibility of it assumed by Dr Jorge Pérez Martínez. In the beginning, the goal was to develop activities of research and dissemination of the learnings about “internet governance”.

Nowadays we can differentiate several objectives for the technical office: 

  • Broadening internet governance debate and participation

  • Coordinating the activities that the Multistakeholder Advisory Group develops

  • Representing the Spain IGF in and outside the country.

The Board of Directors was created in 2012 to establish the general objectives of the forum and to make sure that they are achieved. The members are mainly the sponsors, the coordinator and the person in charge of the technical office. In addition to the Multistakeholder Advisory Group and the Secretariat, the Spain IGF is open to the collaboration of other individuals that may make relevant contributions. Anyone is invited to join any working group.

Have you experienced difficulties in ensuring all stakeholder groups participate fully and more or less equally?

We have usually more difficulties in getting civil society involved, and particularly the youth.

Do you measure gender balance in your NRI? Did you undertake measures to encourage gender balance?

We do not. But it is worth noting that on the Board of Directors there is only one man (the coordinator) out of six people.

How was your last forum organised, what were the topics chosen and the outcomes of discussion? How was it financed?

Since 2008 the Spain IGF has celebrated the Spain IGF Annual Meeting, with the proposals explained above and growing year by year. Last year the sixth Spain IGF Annual Meeting took place in Madrid, on 13 and 14 October.

Eight roundtables, one conference and an open forum took place and were focused on discussing the following issues:

  • European view on internet governance

  • Internet of Things and Smart Cities: Who owns the data from the sensors

  • Openness and innovation in the mobile internet

  • Fintech and Blockchain: Disintermediation of financial services

  • Consequences of robotisation and informative personalisation

  • Technology in the school environment: Use in class and at recess

  • Artificial intelligence and big data in new personalised services: Implications for the job market

  • Law and jurisdiction applicable in a global internet: The difficult coexistence of national laws in a globalised world

  • Cybersecurity and encryption: Who encrypts and decrypts communications? Relationship with business models and consequences for privacy and crime investigation

  • Open Forum – From IANA to ICANN: A new form of global governance.

The event had considerable remote participation and over 150 experts of the ICT sector took part representing the different stakeholders. The advisory group who took part was formed by participants divided in different stakeholder groups: academia, technical community, government, private sector and civil society. Forum funding comes from the contributions for sponsorship from Fundación Telefónica, Fundación Vodafone, Orange and Google and from the in-kind contribution of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and

Are there controversial topics that have been difficult in your NRI and if so, why?

Not particularly.

Perspectives on the role of NRIs in internet governance

What is your take about the role of your NRI in internet governance processes, at the level of your country, region and globally?

Our main goal is to encourage the discussion of current issues related to internet development in order to develop proposals to improve the governance framework. Our mission is to boost the debate in Spain, upholding the points of the different stakeholders and contributing to the bottom-up process in the global internet governance.

How do you perceive your role and position towards other NRIs, the IGF and the IGF Secretariat?

We think a global approach to transnational issues is very important considering the internet’s global nature. Discussions have to be held on both national and international perspectives in order to obtain a complete analysis of the current issues related to internet governance.