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RIPE NCC Tackles Importance of Internet Governance and its Impact on the Economy

RIPE NCC Tackles Importance of Internet Governance and its Impact on the Economy

The RIPE NCC newly organised a special webinar on Internet governance and its influence on the economy. The RIPE NCC offered the free virtual session to the Internet population as part of its move to increase knowledge about Internet governance – a topic that is showing to be important and timely as the COVID-19 pandemic highlights even further how crucial the Internet has become to our communities, economies and public and individual lives.

The RIPE NCC is an autonomous, not-for-profit membership organisation that supports Internet support and development through professional coordination in the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia. The webinar was led by the RIPE NCC’s Gergana Petrova, External Relations Officer, and Chafic Chaya, Regional Communications Manager – Middle East. 

Petrova explained the principles of the Internet and how it has grown over the years, as well as the necessity to regulate the Internet and the associated efforts in doing so. She additional urged that five different stakeholder groups – technical community, academic, governments/international organisations, civil societies, and the private sector – should work together to reach a common solution. The idea of self-regulation is no longer an alternative as the Internet has become so much bigger and more important than it was at its beginning.

The discussion raised three important points concerning policymaking: the development of an open, interconnected Internet; encouragement of an accommodating, multistakeholder approach in strategy development processes; and ensuring transparency, fair means and accountability. Besides, the webinar also recognised the current difficulties in Internet governance, such as insufficient human and financial resources and the complexity of the Internet, which makes it tough to place it under one single supervisory authority.

“This virtual course looks to increase awareness about the significance of Internet governance and the value of the technical community getting involved in the conversations taking place,” Petrova said. “In a world that frequently blames the Internet for the polarization of society, the corrosion of democracy and the commodification of personal data, but also looks to it as an enabling technology that, for example, lets us work from home while in a pandemic, we should figure out a way to develop the current multistakeholder model to fit this ever-changing scene and ever-increasing strength to perform better.” 

Chaya also performed a study on the connection between the multistakeholder Internet governance design and a country’s economic growth. He explained that the Internet helps increase productivity and contributes to business growth; however, he advised that good governance is important for such development.

Chaya explained that non-governmental stakeholders play an important role in Internet governance, particularly in areas requiring specialised expertise that the government lacks. He explained that the Internet rates a central role in countries’ development and competitiveness strategies.

“Governments can lead the way. But including technical areas and all Internet stakeholders in the policymaking process will ensure that governments develop technically sound policies that support communities and economic growth,” Chaya said. “Everyone has a part to play.”