IGF 2015 Guidelines for Workshop Proposals

The IGF strives to be an open and inclusive forum, bringing all stakeholders together to exchange information and share best practices on public policy issues relating to Internet governance. The IGF meeting is organized following an open, bottom-up, multistakeholder process. The meeting programme features different types of Sessions: Main Sessions, Best Practice Forums, Dynamic Coalitions, Open Forums, and Workshops. Any individual or organisation can propose a Workshop for the IGF event, except for members of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) who evaluate these proposals.

The IGF Secretariat receives a large number of workshop proposals each year from individuals and organisations around the world. The MAG evaluates these proposals. Any given proposal may be accepted by the MAG, declined, or the MAG may ask one workshop proposer to collaborate and merge with another workshop proposer if both proposals cover the same material.

After submitting your proposal, please check the List of Published Workshop Proposals to verify that your proposal has been received.

For questions regarding this processs, please contact Eleonora Mazzucchi at [email protected], or +41(0)229171653

Contents of Workshop Proposal

All proposals must contain the following information:

•    The contact details of the workshop organizers;

•    The workshop format. There are SEVEN formats to choose from: Break-out Group Discussions, Debate, Roundtable, Birds of a Feather, Flash Session, Panel and “Other”;

•    If submitting a workshop proposal in the Panel format, a background paper;

•    The duration of the workshop – 30, 60 or 90 minutes. Different formats have different durations. Please consult the format outlines here;

•    The IGF 2015 subtheme(s) under which proposal falls under: "Cybersecurity and Trust; Internet Economy; Inclusiveness and Diversity; Openness; Enhancing Multistakeholder Cooperation; Internet and Human Rights; Critical Internet Resources; Emerging Issues"

•    The title of workshop;

•    A concise description of the workshop (maximum 250 words), including a specific statement of the Internet Governance problem/question/challenged to be addressed;

•    A list of speakers, participating individuals and organisations, or a description of how stakeholder perspectives will be represented (Note: the proposal should indicate whether each participant is “confirmed”, “invited” or “proposed”);

•    A list of institutional co-organizers;

•    The names of moderator(s) online moderator(s) and rapporteur(s);

•    Links to reports from previous workshops;

•    A list of up to 5 subject matter tags related to the workshop;

•    A description of how remote participation will be facilitated,

The template of the workshop proposal submission form is available here: IGF 2015 Workshop Proposal Submission Form [template].


About remote participation

A remote participant is a participant who follows the workshop session online, whether by using the WebEx platform provided by the IGF or a different platform (e.g. Twitter). Workshops should be designed in an inclusive format that supports participation of remote participants on an equal basis with in situ participants. Organisers should consider monitoring Twitter feeds/comments in the discussion, and not only allow for, but encourage remote participants to intervene.

Workshop  proposals must include the name of a remote moderator. The remote moderator must be an integral part of the panel, technical inclined, and work closely with the panel organiser and moderator with a clear strategy to include remote participants. The remote moderator is a critical part of the panel, not part of the tech support team.  The Remote Participation WG will assist with guidelines and training of remote moderators, but cannot provide remote moderators, since this is part of the workshop organisation. Remote moderators are required to attend a session of remote participation training before the IGF.

About the descriptive paragraph

This part of the proposal should contain a statement of the Internet Governance problem/question/challenged to be addressed during the workshop, as well as an overview of the agenda and the session format. Proposers should also explain the room set-up and how it will assist participation in light of the proposed format. Please review the available formats here.

About the rapporteur

This year, all workshop Sessions must be attended by a rapporteur. The purpose of the rapporteur is to produce a summary report of the workshop session. The Terms of Reference for rapporteurs will be announced. Reports must be submitted to the IGF Secretariat no later than two weeks following the IGF event. If a report is not submitted, then the workshop proposer will not be allowed to submit a workshop proposal for the IGF2016.

Workshop Proposal Selection Process

To ensure that the final result is a manageable number of high quality workshops, the MAG will closely assess all proposals according to the process outlined below.

The selection process will take place in three stages.

1.    Initial Screening: Workshop proposals will be accepted from 9 March until 30 March. Proposals will not be accepted after this date. After this period, the IGF Secretariat will conduct an initial screening of proposals and those which do not satisfy the minimum criteria will be declined.

2.    Evaluation Process: MAG members will evaluate individual proposals prior to the next MAG meeting (20-22 May), based on the criteria below.

3.    Discussion, Identification of Merger Candidates, and Finalization: Final selection of workshop proposals and identification of “merger” candidates will occur during the in-person MAG meeting in May. The overall programme will then be finalized.

Stage 1: Initial Screening by IGF Secretariat

All proposals must contain the information outlined above, and meet the minimum criteria listed below. Proposals that do not objectively satisfy minimum criteria will be declined.

•    MAG members may not themselves submit workshop proposals, but their institutions may do so.

•    The subject matter of the workshop proposal must be of direct relevance to Internet Governance;

•    Proposal must be complete and ready for consideration, with all fields of the proposal submission form completed;

•    Proposers who held a workshops at previous IGFs were required to have submitted a workshop report after the meeting. The proposer must provide a link to this workshop report in their new proposal for IGF2015. Proposals submitted by those who held workshops in the 2013 or 2014 IGF, but who failed to file a workshop report afterwards, will be declined;

•    No more than 3 proposals from any individual or institution will be accepted for consideration. 

MAG members will have the opportunity to review and discuss declined proposals.

The initial screening will be completed by: 13 April 2015, two weeks following the close of the Call for Proposals.

Stage 2: MAG Evaluation

Following the initial screening, the IGF Secretariat will circulate the workshop proposals to MAG members for individual evaluation. The MAG’s workshop evaluation process should be: fair, transparent, inclusive, practical, and efficient.

In evaluating workshop proposals, each MAG member will grade the proposal on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) based upon the following considerations:

1.    Is the proposal well thought-through and complete?

2.    Is the proposal relevant to Internet Governance?

3.    Does the proposal contain a list of proposed speakers, participating individuals and organisations, or a description of how different stakeholder perspectives will be represented across the participants?;

4.    Is this the first time this individual or organization has submitted a workshop proposal to the IGF? (first-time proposers are preffered over repeat proposers),

5.    Is the Workshop description consistent with the format listed (for example, if the format is Debate, then does the proposal describe how the debate will be set up, with timings, etc., indicated)?

6.    Is the proposal for a new format? (Break-out Group Discussions, Debates, Flash Sessions, Birds of a Feather, Roundtables and Other formats are encouraged over the Panel format),

7.    Is there diversity amongst the participants (gender, geography, stakeholder group, perspective)? (as a general matter, greater diversity is encouraged),

8.    Is there developing country participation? (as a general matter, developing country participation is encouraged),

9.    Does the description clearly specify the Internet Governance problem/question/challenged to be addressed during the workshop?

10.    Does the proposal include a well-considered plan for remote participation?

MAG members who do not have an expertise in a particular field are not obliged to rate a proposal. If a MAG member rates a proposal 3 or below, he or she must provide a reason for doing so, as feedback for the workshop proposers whose workshops are declined. Proposer names will not be given to MAG members when evaluating (anonymous), but indication will be provided if the proposer is from a developing country.

Upon receiving the MAG member scoring, with a target date of 3 May 2015, the Secretariat will prepare a synthesis of the evaluation for MAG members by 11 May 2015, in preparation for the in-person meeting on 20-22 May 2015. The total score for each proposal will be the mean average of the grades received by MAG members. Proposals will be rank ordered and accepted according to available space.

Stage 3: MAG discussion, identification of merger candidates, and finalization.

During the May meeting, MAG members will look at the results to ensure an overall balance of the themes/topics. It is possible that for certain proposals, which scored just below the threshold of space and availability, the MAG will discuss whether to ask the proposers to make improvements to overcome deficiencies. Proposers will then be contacted and asked to submit a revised proposal before 5 June 2015.

In some cases, the MAG will receive workshop proposals that propose the same issues, topics and format. Due to constraints in space, these similar workshops will be invited to collaborate and “merge” together. In this case, the workshop proposers will be contacted by the IGF Secretariat. In the event that the proposers decline to collaborate the workshop slot can be lost.

Following the merger process and other necessary arrangements, the IGF programme will then be finalized. 

Organizational principles:

•    When scheduling the overall meeting the IGF will strive to ensure that Workshops and other events dealing with topics that are addressed in the Main Sessions will not be scheduled at the same time.

•    To increase participation, the MAG has expressed a general preference for workshop formats that are not Panels. Therefore Break-out Group Discussions, Debates, BoFs, Roundtables, Flash Session and Other (new and innovative) formats will be preferred over Panel formats.

•    Workshop organizers are encouraged to bring new faces to their Workshops. In order to do so, they can consult with the resource persons list on the IGF website.

•    All Workshops will be Webcasted and will have real-time transcription. Organizers are encouraged to seamlessly include remote participants.

•    The rooms reserved for Workshops and all equipment, including a screen and a PC or laptop for projections and a projector (XGA/SVGA Data), will be available free of charge. Details related to the logistics will be made available in due course.

•    Interpretation in the UN six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish), as well as the host country language, is only provided free of charge for the Main Sessions. If Workshops would like to have interpretation for their Session, they would need to bear the cost. To have more information about arranging interpretation for your session, please contact the Secretariat at igf[at]unog.ch


All Workshops must include a rapporteur, who shall provide a summary report to the IGF Secretariat within two weeks of the IGF meeting. As indicated in Stage 1, above, workshop organizers failing to meet this deadline will not be allowed to hold an event at the following IGF meeting.