The island of powdery white-sand beaches, lush green mountains, and sheltered, yacht-filled harbours, Tortola, the British Virgin Island’s largest and capital island, will host the world’s oldest Internet forum – the 13th Caribbean Internet Governance Forum (CIGF). The event will take place from 21st to 23rd August 2017, at the Government’s Training Division, Bettito Frett Building, Wickham’s Cay 1 in Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
Arising from the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process (2003-2005) , Internet governance is defined as the “development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.”
In 2005, the CTU with the support of the CARICOM Secretariat established the Caribbean Internet Governance Forum (CIGF), the first of its kind in the world. The CIGF is an annual multi-stakeholder forum that brings together Caribbean Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) stakeholders with the intention of harmonising positions and recommendations on technology, content, policy, cybersecurity, privacy and other matters related to the Internet. In addition, since 2014, in order to enhance implementation of the work of the CIGF, the CTU has been spearheading its thrust for individual countries to establish their own multi-stakeholder national IG forum to advance the Caribbean Internet Governance agenda in each country.
The 13th CIGF will feature a technical college and facilitate open discussion on current IG matters of regional importance such as, net neutrality, privacy and security. The Forum will review progress, strategies and approaches for building and strengthening national multi-stakeholder structures to enhance IG capacity, expertise and action in the Caribbean. In addition, the CIGF will build awareness on opportunities for Caribbean growth through the Internet economy and build local capacity in IG to enable, maintain and strengthen effective Caribbean participation and representation at the global IG fora.
Nigel Cassimire, Telecommunications Specialist and coordinator noted that the theme of this year’s event, Building Caribbean Capacity in Internet Governance, seeks to enhance the Caribbean’s influence in IG globally. “The Caribbean needs to make its mark in the evolution of policies and systems that can enable the digital economy, and for this reason, we need to develop Caribbean expertise in IG.” He further mentioned that, “through the hosting of these events, there has been an increase in Caribbean participation in these Forums and processes around the world.”
Mr. Anthony Mc Master, Vice Chairman of the CTU and Permanent Secretary Ministry for Communications and Works, BVI, on the importance of hosting the 13th CIGF, stated “The 13th Caribbean Internet Governance Forum is important to the advancement of the Territory and the region’s Information and Communications Technologies infrastructure, as it brings together leading decision makers and technical experts in a wide range of internet and technology related topics, which facilitates the best practice and focused approach to the development of policies and world class standards.”
The forum is open to all ICT stakeholders including Government policy makers, regulators, public and private sector organisations, telecommunications operators, Internet service providers, academic institutions, and civil society Internet users.