A Banner Year for Caribbean Internet Governance? Yep!

2016 will mark a historic year for the Caribbean in the area of Internet Infrastructure Development and Governance. Why would I say that? Well let’s take a look at a snippet of the calendar of events carded to occur across the region this year:
Caribbean Stakeholders’ Meeting II: Cyber Security and Cybercrime in St Lucia March 16th to 18th
ARIN Policy Development Forum in Jamaica April 17th to 20th
Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) Regional Gathering in Jamaica April 20th to 22nd
LACNIC Policy Development Forum in Cuba May 2nd to 6th
Caribbean Peering and Internet Forum June 8th to 9th

That’s a lot of events covering areas from Cyber Security, Internet Policy Development, Critical Internet Infrastructure Management and Peering and this is just the first half of the year! Both ARIN and LACNIC who are Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) are having meetings. CaribNOG, a regional technical community, is having a gathering to discuss technical issues.

The question that arises is what does all this mean? Who are these organisations? What do they really do and why are these groupings of people gathering?

All of these events are gatherings to discuss various streams under the umbrella term of Internet Governance.

What really is Internet Governance?

Internet Governance is a broad term used in many different contexts, applying to activities as diverse as coordination of technical standards, operation of critical infrastructure, development, regulation, and legislation, among others.

Internet governance is not restricted to the activities of governments. It covers the development and application of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programs that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.
This comprehensive definition allows for us to understand that each one of these regional gatherings is critical. Each and every one addresses concerns that impact not only the specific stakeholders that are present in the meetings but the wider internet ecosystem. And most importantly from a development perspective, all of these events provide opportunities for us within the region to build capacity in internet governance.

In Part 2, I’ll delve a little deeper look into what happens at these meetings like the Internet Registries’ meetings where policies are discussed or technical sessions at CaribNOG. We’ll also understand what is peering and why the peering forum is a major step in the development of the regional internet ecosystem.