High-Level Panel Organizes to Address Future of Internet Governance

Monday, November 18, 2013

A diverse global group of stakeholders from government, civil society, the private sector, the technical community and international organizations has formed a Panel on the Future of Global Internet Cooperation. The Panel’s first meeting is scheduled for December 12 – 13 in London.

Focusing on the pressing issue of Internet governance, and committed to a multistakeholder approach, the Panel plans to release a high-level report in early 2014 for public comment. The report will include principles for global Internet cooperation, proposed frameworks for such cooperation and a roadmap for future Internet governance challenges.

Recognizing the importance of the initiative, President Toomas Ilves of Estonia has agreed to serve as the group’s Chairman. President Ilves is a longtime public supporter of an open, secure and accessible Internet. Vint Cerf, often cited as one of the founders of the Internet, will serve as a vice-chair of the Panel.

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, was an early catalyst for the Panel and recognized the need for a globally diverse group to independently address broad, complex issues. It will organize the secretariat and provide logistical support for the Panel. ICANN cited growing pressures to address issues outside its sphere of responsibility as a motivating factor in forming a high-level panel.

In the coming year, several key events will address Internet governance topics, including the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, and a recently announced conference to be hosted by Brazil in Spring 2014. The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands will also be a substantive partner in the work of the Panel and host a meeting at the historic Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage, California in early 2014.

“Sunnylands was established by Walter and Leonore Annenberg to serve global leaders in the quest to advance international understanding and serve the public good,” said Geoffrey Cowan, president of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and former dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. “We look forward to working closely with ICANN, the World Economic Forum, and the leaders and members of this important panel as they seek to develop ideas designed to strengthen international cooperation and address the future of Internet governance.”