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The 2005 World Summit on the Information Society's Tunis Agenda mandated that the UN Secretary-General create the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) as a multi-stakeholder venue to discuss public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance. The IGF's broad membership and emphasis on information exchange enable it to serve as a uniquely important forum for foreign governments, the private sector, civil society organizations, and individuals to engage in open discussion without being preoccupied with advocating a particular policy outcome.

Although the annual meetings do not directly result in standards, recommendations, or binding agreements, the IGF serves as a platform for dialogue that can prepare decisions that are taken by organizations and institutions that have the ability to do so.

The forum has been held in

  • Athens, Greece in 2006
  • Rio de Janiero in 2007
  • Hyderabad in 2008
  • Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in 2009
  • Vilnius in 2010
  • Nairobi in 2011, and
  • Baku in 2012.