MAG Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference for the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG)

Individual Member Responsibilities and Group Procedures1  


Since its inception, the work of the MAG has been consistent with the mandate set out in the Tunis Agenda. The group has acted as a de-facto bureau to steer the IGF process, ensuring multistakeholder participation, and preparing the annual IGF meetings. Other specific main functions of the MAG include (in an individual capacity and as a group) setting the agenda for the annual IGF meeting; overall program development and support and outreach to the broader global Internet governance community. In the Report of the Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum2  it was stressed that clear terms of reference should be in place for the MAG

Candidates for MAG membership should possess the following qualifications and competencies: 

• Willingness to commit to work on a voluntary basis and follow through;

• Proven ability to work as a team member;

• Active participation in the ongoing IGF process;

• Extensive linkages within one's own stakeholder group and, if possible, to other stakeholder groups;

• Experience and expertise in Internet governance issues or a willingness to learn (in line with the capacity building initiatives).


Individual Member Responsibilities 

Once selected as a member of the MAG, individuals are expected to actively stay engaged in the group’s work throughout the year, not only during the annual forums and bi or tri-annual MAG meetings. Consistent efforts should be made to ensure that the group is working to improve the IGF process through consistent outreach and stakeholder engagement activities. The MAG in its work will also be guided by the recommendations of the Working Groups on Improvements to the IGF and will make all efforts to improve the IGF along the recommended lines. Specifically, each MAG member is expected to carry out the following tasks throughout the year: 

• Attend up to three MAG meetings per year; if physical presence at the meetings is not possible, every effort should be made to participate remotely.

• Participate actively in the annual IGF meeting;

• Participate in inter-sessional work; including the ongoing online discussions and virtual   meetings of the MAG;

• Engage in outreach activities to the wider community, including national and regional IGF initiatives and bring other networks into the MAG discussions and planning, 

• Bring in comments from the community to the MAG discussions;

• Explain recommendations and decisions made by the MAG to the respective stakeholder communities;

• Make use of social networks to publicize IGF related activities, posting on organisational websites, etc. (such as calls for input, summary records of MAG call and meetings etc.)

• Actively explore new fundraising opportunities for contributions to the IGF trust fund, bringing new ideas to the attention to the IGF Secretariat and DPADM/DESA;

• Liaise with external bodies including national and regional IGF initiatives (pursuant to IGF mandate 72(c));

• Identify emerging Internet governance issues and other areas in need of discussion, research or recommendation;

• Prepare or approve, as necessary, balanced briefing materials on issues to be addressed by the IGF;


Group Procedures and Responsibilities 

MAG meetings have traditionally been held under the  ‘Chatham House rule’3  and have followed pre-approved agendas prepared by the Secretariat together with the MAG itself prior to each meeting. This practice will continue moving forward. Most MAG meetings have been open to observation and participation by interested outside stakeholders. The MAG will decide prior to each meeting whether to open or close each meeting, and can also hold private sessions amidst an otherwise public meeting if they choose to do so. When making decisions, a rough consensus will be sought making sure that each member has an equal say. 

The MAG will continue to physically meet officially twice to three times a year between the annual meetings and will hold virtual MAG meetings. The MAG holds an official meeting during the annual IGF meeting. Ongoing discussions and planning will continue to take place online with virtual meetings as the situation warrants. 

The primary working tasks of the group are as follows:

• Develop the detailed programme for the annual IGF meetings, including the identification of the main themes and sub-themes of the meetings taking into account inputs of relevant Internet governance stakeholders;

• Select workshops;

• Define how best to plan and organise the meetings;

• Organise main sessions and where necessary participate in dedicated thematic working groups;

• Establish linkages between workshops and main sessions;

• Facilitate the organisation of workshops;

• Coordinate panels and supporting panellists, moderators and speakers at the annual meeting;

• Liaise with their respective communities


Duration of term

It is the prerogative of the United Nations Secretary-General to select MAG members.

MAG members are appointed for a term of one year. Generally, this term is automatically renewable for two more consecutive years, contingent on a yearly evaluation of their engagement in MAG activities. 

The MAG is rotated by at least one-third each year, in order to enhance diversity and bring in new viewpoints.

Exceptionally, MAG members can serve for a longer period of time (on re-nomination) if there is a lack of candidates fitting the desired criteria. 



 1 Draft based on past practices of MAG and previous discussions of MAG and other stakeholders (as of February 2014), as well as the recommendations of the Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum.


 When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.