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 Saturday, 04 March 2006

According to a press release from the UN, the UN Secretary-General has decided to establish a small Secretariat in Geneva to assist in the convening of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).  The Secretary-General was asked by the World Summit on the Information Society, held in Tunis in November, to convene such a Forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue.

Nitin Desai, the Secretary-Generalís Special Adviser for the Summit, held open consultations on 16 and 17 February in Geneva aimed at reaching a common understanding on how the Forum should function.  Those discussions produced a consensus that the IGF should have a strong development orientation.  It was also felt that the Forum should be open and inclusive, and allow for the participation of all interested stakeholders with proven expertise and experience in Internet-related matters.

The Secretariat will be headed by Markus Kummer, who has been the Executive Coordinator of the Secretariat of the Working Group on Internet Governance, which was established by the Secretary-General at the request of the first phase of the Summit, in Geneva in 2003.  The first meeting of the Forum is expected to take place later this year in Athens, Greece from October 30 - November 2 2006.

On a separate issue, the Secretary-General has also decided to ask Mr. Desai to consult informally on how to start a process aimed at enhancing cooperation on international public policy issues related to the Internet.  The Summit had requested the Secretary-General to start such a process in paragraphs 69-71 of the WSIS Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.