FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Inaugural Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum Underway
Over 60 Expert Speakers along with Participants from Over 20 Countries
Convene in the Roundtable Discussion to Chart Future of the Internet
Hong Kong, June 15 － The weeklong Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) is being held for the first time and had its grand opening today in Cyberport, Hong Kong. The global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is initiated by United Nations in 2006 as a global platform for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on prevailing and emerging issues on Internet governance so as to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of Internet.
Over 60 international experts are invited as speakers to spark discussions among registered participants coming from over 20 countries to discuss the future and possibilities of regional and global collaborations on Internet governance issues. Following the practice set by the UN IGF, industry experts, civil society, governments, as well as Internet users at large will gather in a multi-stakeholder balanced participation approach. Anyone is welcome to join the meeting for free at the venue in Cyberport or can participate in the discussion online through live video streaming and chat at the forum website http://webcast.rigf.asia/seed/. Topics include multilateral coordination to address cybercrime, the role of civil society in Internet governance, the criticalness of maintaining an open culture on the Internet, privacy and cyber-bullying, among other global Internet resource allocation policies.
Mr. Jeremy Godfrey, Government Chief Information Officer of the Hong Kong SAR opened the meeting, followed by welcome remarks by Mr. Markus Kummer, Executive Coordinator to the United Nations (UN) IGF Secretariat and Mr. Stephen Lau, Hong Kong’s representative to the UN IGF’s Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) and the Chairman of the Local Host Organizing Committee for this APrIGF. Chief executives from the three regional organizations overseeing critical Internet resources in Asia Pacific – Mr. Paul Wilson, Director General of APNIC (Asia Pacific Network Information Centre), which coordinates the allocation of IP addresses for the region; Ms. Zhang Jian, General Manager of APTLD (Asia Pacific Top-Level Domain Association), which is an assembly of the “country-code” Top-Level Domain authorities in Asia; and, Mr. Edmon Chung, Chief Executive Officer of DotAsia Organisation, which manages Asia’s global Top-Level Domain, “.Asia” – also gave opening speeches to set the scene for the intensive discussions in the next few days that would help shape the future of Internet governance and collaborations in the region.
Mr. Markus Kummer, Executive Coordinator to the IGF Secretariat, UN said, “I am excited that for the first time a regional IGF type meeting is held in the Asia-Pacific region. I believe this week’s forum would contribute to the coming global IGF to be held in September in Vilnius, Lithuania; and that the APrIGF could help continue forward the collaborative multi-stakeholder efforts in Internet governance in Asia Pacific.”
Mr. Jeremy Godfrey, Government Chief Information Officer, Hong Kong SAR wished the event a great success. “It is our honour to have the first APrIGF held in Hong Kong. This has fully illustrated Hong Kong’s position as a regional hub for IT development and its importance in the continuous advancement of Information Technology in Asia Pacific,” Mr. Godfrey said.
This week’s event consists of 3 parts:
- Youth IGF Camp (June 12-14) – Successfully held
- Asia Pacific Regional IGF Roundtable (June 14-16)
- Hong Kong IGF Conference (June 17-18)
The APrIGF Roundtable will bring together experts in the region and around the world from the civil society, private sector and public sector for an intensive discussion that should help shape the future of the IGF.
The Hong Kong IGF Conference aims to introduce to the various stakeholders in Hong Kong, in particular NGOs and youth, the status of internet governance and the global IGF.
The Youth IGF Camp is organized and led by young leaders in Hong Kong. During the 3-day (2 nights) camp, participants role-play to represent different stakeholders in the society and interact with international experts in the field to discuss different social topics concerning the Internet, including: Censorship; Privacy and Cyber-bullying; and the issues of the Digital Divide.
All 3 component events combine to become a platform for regional collaboration and, albeit organized independently of the global IGF, will report its discussion to the Global IGF to be held in September 14-17 in Vilnius, Lithuania. This adds to the significance of the APrIGF in that the ideas, recommendations and other outputs from the event will be used as inputs for the coming global IGF meeting.
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About Internet Governance Forum
According to Internet World Stats, with over 780 Million Internet users, Asia Pacific is already the region with the largest online population. Yet the penetration rate for Asia is only at around 20%, which signals continued rapid growth ahead.
Building on the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals, and the mandate given at the Second Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in 2005, the IGF (Internet Governance Forum) is a United Nations activity initiated in 2006 as a global platform for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on prevailing and emerging issues on Internet governance so as to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of Internet. The annual Forum was previously held in Greece (2006), Brazil (2007), India (2008), and Egypt (2009).
The Internet has become an integral part of people’s life. Despite the advantages, misuses and abuses lead to social problems, such as digital divide, Internet addiction, information safety, security, privacy and other evolving issues. These issues have no respect to national borders, and therefore require collaboration between countries and territories to address. The IGF approach is an open forum for knowledge sharing between stakeholders across borders, which in turn inform local policy development.