The successful organization of the Internet Governance Forum is a priority for the Greek government and the subject has reached the highest levels in the ministries of Transport & Communications and Foreign Affairs.
The main steps taken so far towards the preparation of the IGF are the following:
-The Minister of Transport & Communications, Mr. Michalis Liapis, has set up a Steering Committee to tackle the various tasks required for the organization of the IGF’ s inaugural meeting. Its membership comes from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Transport & Communications, as well as the academic and business world. It is designed as a lean and agile unit, which will interface with the UN New York, Geneva, Brussels and other relevant entities.
- A website (www.igfgreece2006.gr) has already been created specifically for the Athens meeting. Its primary function will be to keep everyone informed of developments pertaining to organizational arrangements, give periodic updates and assessments of the state of play and in general ensure a smooth, predictable and successful meeting in Athens in 2006.
- A representative from the Foreign Ministry attended the ICANN meetings in Vancouver (2005) where he briefed both the ICANN board and GAC on the state of preparations of the IGF inaugural meeting.
- The same representative was dispatched to UN Headquarters in New York as a special envoy to brief the DSG Ms. Louise Frechette on preparations in Greece and to discuss possible courses of action regarding the IGF as pronounced in the “Tunis Agenda”.
-Recently a delegation comprised of members of the “Steering Committee” was dispatched to Geneva and Paris for the purpose of holding consultations regarding the state of preparations and to explore possible dates for the inaugural meeting of the IGF. More specifically, the delegation met with ICC–CCBI in Paris, with the Group of “77”, the Eastern Group, the SG of ITU Mr. Yoshio Utsumi and several other entities including the representative of the Secretary General Mr. Kumer. After examination of scheduled dates of relevant international meetings such as ICANN, ITU etc and upon consulting with professional concerns in Athens, taking into account possible conflicts with the other similar meetings such as those of ITU and ICANN and mindful of religious and other international constraints we concluded that October 24,25 and 26 are the best available dates which do not present a conflict for the organisation of the IGF meeting in Athens.
-On July 17-20 2006 a United Nations planning mission visited Athens and had detailed and fruitful discussions with Greek officials on organizational issues. The inaugural meeting of the IGF will take place in Vouliagmeni, an area by the sea, half an hour from the center of Athens. The venue will be the 5 star hotel Divani Apollon Palace. Various hotels have been block booked at government rates for all participants to the Forum.
-Recently H.E. the Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Kofi Annan extended invitations to all stakeholders and relevant parties to participate at the inaugural meeting of the IGF. By making use of the World Wide Web he invited all stakeholders: governments, the private sector and civil society, including the academic and technical communities, to attend the first meeting of the IGF in Athens. The overall theme of the meeting will be "Internet Governance for Development". The agenda will be structured along the following broad themes.
- Openness - Freedom of expression, free flow of information, ideas and knowledge
- Security - Creating trust and confidence through collaboration
- Diversity - Promoting multilingualism and local content
- Access - Internet Connectivity: Policy and Cost
The meeting will be open for all WSIS accredited entities. Other institutions and persons with proven expertise and experience in matters related to Internet governance may also apply to attend.
The Greek Government and the Steering Committee are determined to make a success out of it!
“The WSIS was not an end but a beginning”
Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary General of ITU and of the WSIS Summit