1. Establish a precise topic
The topics that are addressed at the annual IGF conferences depend on the submitted proposals. Among the core questions submitted by many participants, there have been three subject-spanning main topics.
If you wish to submit a workshop for IGF 2019, you can base it around these main topics:
- “Inclusion”: Issues of access and equal participation in digitalisation and its participatory shaping
- “Data Governance”: The technical, legal and organisational aspects of the handling and exchange of data
- “Security, Safety, Stability & Resilience”: Matters of data protection, data security and the protection of people, resources and infrastructure in the digital age.
Examples of how these main topics issues can be linked to specific questions have been published by the IGF Secretariat.
Many issues of internet governance are not limited to technical aspects, but concern political and sociodemographic issues. This is why they are closely linked to the global development targets adopted by the international community in the context of Agenda 2030. The IGF Secretariat has also published explanations that allow for individual emphasis.
2. Think outside of your comfort zone
The IGF is a global platform which thrives on the diversity of its participants. This diversity is also key to the selection of the workshops. For example, a workshop that only brings together participants from Germany for a purely national issue would have no chance.
Design a workshop with a central idea that encompasses a variety of perspectives, stakeholders and global regions. It is also important to have a balanced gender representation among contributors. The IGF Secretariat website provides assistance in the form of a list of potential speakers (“resource persons”) compiled by volunteers that can be expanded upon.
Participants from developing and emerging markets have the option of applying for travel cost assistance from the IGF Secretariat.
3. Form thematic alliances
To increase diversity within the workshop and prevent duplication, you can cooperate with co-organisers. There are already jointly maintained lists and working documents from interested individuals, organisations and businesses on a range of specific conceptual topics.
Sign up to the lists if you see a need and get in touch with the listed contact partners for further information.
4. Select a suitable workshop format
Workshops at the IGF do not necessarily need to adhere to traditional conference formats such as panel discussions. The more interaction, the better. Examples of alternatives include discussions in several working groups (“Break-out Group Discussions”), spontaneous exchanges about a shared topic (“Birds of a Feather”), debates or roundtable discussions. Depending on the format, a workshop length of 30, 60 or 90 minutes may be suitable.
5. Take note of time limits and formalities
Proposals for workshops can be submitted by 14 April 2019, 23:59 UTC (deadline extended). Use the electronic form on the IGF Secretariat website for this purpose. All workshop participants will require a user account on this page, including the organisers and speakers. Each workshop proposal must name at least three contributors who have confirmed their interest in participating.
6. Do not hesitate to submit a workshop
The IGF follows the basic principle of involving as many people who are interested from anywhere in the world in an open process as possible. Submissions from new IGF participants and from young people are expressly encouraged and are likely to receive preferential treatment.
The advisory committee of the United Nations, the Multistakeholder Advisory Group, reviews the submitted proposals and awards points based on specific criteria. For instance, it considers the diversity of the workshop contributors, whether the proposal submissions are topically relevant and well-conceived, and whether the selected format is suitable for the proposal.
The advisory committee discusses the workshop selection and makes suggestions where necessary to combine similar submissions or improve proposal submissions. The conference programme is expected to be published in August 2019.