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What if we all governed the Internet? Advancing multistakeholder participation in Internet governance

What if we all governed the Internet? Advancing multistakeholder participation in Internet governance

What if we all governed the Internet? Advancing multistakeholder participation in Internet governance
Anri van der Spuy
2017, 112 pages
ISBN 978-92-3-100243-4

"What if all governed the Internet — PDF document, 2278Kb

In the Internet’s relatively short history, its governance has become somewhat synonymous with multistakeholder participatory mechanisms and approaches. It is these that have enabled the Internet to develop in relative autonomy from any single power centre or category of actors with an interest in capturing the network for exclusive benefit. But while some may take multistakeholder participation in Internet governance for granted as being inherent to the way in which the Internet was designed, the Internet is very different today than it was when it was created. As the Internet has become increasingly central to societies and economies, more stakeholders like governments have started jostling for greater involvement in Internet governance challenges. Some of the ways in which the Internet ecosystem has traditionally been governed now face strain; risking not only the benefits associated with such approaches, but also the universality, openness, and freedom of the Internet. The notion of multistakeholder participation in Internet governance is therefore not only in need of a realistic assessment, but it must adapt to meet new challenges as the Internet becomes more central to knowledge societies. Failure to address some of these challenges could have negative consequences for the future of the Internet and its ability to support sustainable development. To strengthen UNESCO’s role in the field, this Study therefore provides the results of a comprehensive investigation of the evolution of multistakeholder participation in Internet governance in theory and in practice.

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