(Hyderabad, 3 - 6 December 2008)
At the second part of the World Summit on the Information Society (Tunis, 2005), the Council of Europe initiated discussions with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) on public participation in internet governance. The three entities have held joint workshops around this theme at both the Rio de Janeiro (2007) and Hyderabad (2008) meetings of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF); in both cases drawing particular attention to the Aarhus Convention as a potential starting point for thinking about the principles and instruments that might apply. A “Best Practice Forum” on Public participation in Internet governance: emerging issues, good practices and proposed solutions, held during the Rio IGF, enabled participants to explore the possibility of a mechanism that would enable Internet governance institutions to “commit themselves in their activities to transparency, public participation and access to information.”
During the Rio IGF a number of speakers expressed their support for the objectives of the initiative and there was considerable informal interest in the relevance of the Aarhus Convention both within the Best Practice Forum and beyond. More recently, during the February 2008 IGF consultation meeting in Geneva, the desirability of further work on this theme was emphasised by, among others, UNDESA and the Government of Switzerland. The latter urged that “in every forum and organisation [in Internet governance], there should be structures that allow the people, the citizens, the users to make them[selves] heard,” recommended further consideration of the application of the WSIS principles, and explicitly welcomed the UNECE/CoE/APC initiative.
An open stakeholder workshop held in Geneva on 23 May 2008, on “Concept and Possible Scope of a Code of Good Practice on Participation, Access to Information and Transparency in Internet Governance”. A discussion paper commissioned by the Council of Europe was presented and discussed. At the third IGF in Hyderabad (3-6 December 2008), a workshop (No 26) was organised on this theme.
. “Internet - a critical resource for all” (L’internet, une ressource cruciale pour tous– Document presented by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to the Internet Governance Forum
. Statement by the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe ( (recorded on 1st December 2008) for the Opening of the UN Internet Governance Forum
.Report from workshop 26.
. Discussion Paper for Workshop 26 : “Towards a code of good practice on public participation in Internet governance – Building on the principles of WSIS and the Aarhus Convention” – presented at stakeholder workshop (Geneva, 23 May 2008) on “Concept and Possible Scope of a Code of Good Practice on Participation, Access to Information and Transparency in Internet Governance”.