New Global Commission on Internet Governance Announced in Davos

From a Chatham House news release:

Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 22 January 2014

Carl Bildt, Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, will chair a new Global Commission on Internet Governance, launched by The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).

Announced today at the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, the Global Commission is a two-year initiative that will produce a comprehensive stand on the future of multi-stakeholder Internet governance. (emphasis added)

The commission will include about 25 members drawn from various fields and from around the world, including policy and government, academia and civil society.  Currently included are, among others: Carl Bildt, Chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance; Gordon Smith, Deputy Chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance; Michael Chertoff; and  Melissa Hathaway.  A full list including biographies is available at the Commission’s website of

That website argues that “[t]he current mechanism of Internet governance, colloquially called the ‘multi-stakeholder’ model, is under threat.” In response:

The Global Commission on Internet Governance will encourage globally inclusive public discussions and debates on the future of Internet governance through a public consultation platform, and through other institutional, media, and academic channels. It will create and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance that can act as a rallying point for states that are striving for a continued free and open Internet.

It appears that the commission will be committed to a multi-stakeholderism model of governance, defined in their FAQ as: “Multi-stakeholder governance means governance involving more than one of the four categories of participants: firms, states, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society (including technical experts acting in their individual capacities). It typically utilizes relatively non-hierarchical procedural rules. Rather than hard law and regulatory enforcement, governance is accomplished by means of voluntary compliance with technical standards, codes of conduct, and industry best practices.”

Dr. Robin Niblett, Director of Chatham House, stated:

The issue of Internet governance is set to become one of the most pressing global public policy issues of our time. The Commission will work to develop ideas and propose a policy framework that enhances the legitimacy of Internet governance whilst preserving innovation.

Readers and students of this post’s author will recall long-standing skepticism about the legitimacy of multi-stakeholder governance, so it is interesting to note Dr. Niblett’s focus on that issue.  [Full disclosure: the author is a member of Chatham House.]

Dr. Patricia Lewis, also of Chatham House, stated: “Internet governance is too important to be left just to governments.”

The new Commission is a joint venture of The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).”

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2 Responses to “New Global Commission on Internet Governance Announced in Davos”

  1. […] Centre for International Governance and the Royal Institute of International Affairs have established the Global Commission on Internet Governance. Its aim is to produce a comprehensive stand on […]

  2. […] We noted in January of 2014 that Chatham House, the international famous UK think-tank, had assembled a Global Commission on Internet Governance.  On April 14, 2015, the Commission released a statement entitled: “Toward a Social Compact for Digital Privacy and Security.”  From the Chatham House website: […]

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