North African Internet Governance Forum (NAIGF)
Charter (February 2021)
The North Africa Internet Governance Forum (NAIGF) came as responding to Paragraphs 72 and 80 of the WISIS Tunis Agenda as regional multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on prevailing and emerging issues on Internet governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability, and development of the Internet.
The North African IGF was created at the initiative of the Internet community in Tunisia. Its founding assembly took place in Hammamet (Tunisia) on 17 September 2012.
The North African IGF:
1. Reaffirms principles, values and commitments made in Tunis Agenda for The Information Society.
2. Recalls United National - General Assembly Resolution A/70/L.1 (the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development)
3. Reaffirms the principles enunciated in the Geneva phase of the WSIS, in December 2003, that the Internet has evolved into a global facility available to the public and its governance should constitute a core issue of the Information Society agenda. The international management of the Internet should be multilateral, transparent and democratic, with the full involvement of governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations. It should ensure an equitable distribution of resources, facilitate access for all and ensure a stable and secure functioning of the Internet, taking into account multilingualism.
4. Acknowledges that the Internet, a central element of the infrastructure of the Information Society, has evolved from a research and academic facility into a global facility available to the public.
5. Recognizes that Internet governance, carried out according to the Geneva principles, is an essential element for a people-centered, inclusive, development-oriented and non-discriminatory Information Society. Furthermore, we commit ourselves to the stability and security of the Internet as a global facility and to ensuring the requisite legitimacy of its governance, based on the full participation of all stakeholders, from both developed and developing countries, within their respective roles and responsibilities.
Chapter (1) Objectives and Principles
Article (1): Main objectives of the NAIGF
The NAIGF aims at providing a platform for an inclusive multi-stakeholder discussion on issues pertinent to the Internet in the region of North Africa. Specifically:
· Addressing the hot topics related to Internet as well as any new trend in the Internet technology.
· Increasing awareness and building capacity on Internet Governance for North African users.
· Ensuring that the concerns of North Africa are taken into account in the whole IGF process.
· Ensuring a multi-stakeholder representation of all parts of the community
· Ensuring that all North African countries are part of the Internet Governance process.
Article (2): Fundamental principles
1. Openness –The North African IGF shall be open to every citizen of the 7 North African countries interested in the Internet.
2. Multi-stakeholderism - All stakeholders: Governments, Private sector and Civil Society, shall actively participate in the NAIGF on an equal footing.
3. Diversity - The NAIGF, shall strive to maintain a large diversity (Cultural, language, geographical, gender, etc.) in its operations.
4. Transparency –All operations of the NAIGF shall be transparent.
Chapter (2) NAIGF Bodies and Structures
Article (3): Membership
All citizens of the seven North African Countries interested in the Internet issues are de facto members of North African IGF. The seven North African countries being Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia.
Article (4): The Forum
The North African Internet Governance forum is an annual gathering of all its members as defined in Article (3) of this charter to debate any issue related to the Internet and its governance. It shall be convened face to face every year in one of the countries of North Africa. In case of financial shortages, outbreak of a pandemic globally and/or global travel restrictions, it may be held virtually using one of the online platforms for virtual meetings.
The format, the content, the program, and all the aspects of each Forum is defined by the Multi-Stakeholder Administrative Group (MAG) defined in Article (6) of this Charter.
Article (5): General Assembly
The General assembly (GA) of the NAIGF shall be held every year on the sidelines of the Forum, or whenever necessary.
The GA is open to all citizens of the Seven North African Countries interested in the Internet issues from all stakeholders (Governments, Private sector, Civil Society, …)
The General Assembly shall undertake the following tasks:
· Address any issue related to the operation of the NAIGF such as the review of this Charter or any other structural issue.
· Select the MAG members from the list of candidates as ranked by the NomCom in order of preference.
Article (6): Multi-Stakeholder Administrative Group (MAG)
The NAIGF Multi-Stakeholder Administrative Group (MAG) shall be composed of 14 to 21 members selected by the Nominating Committee (NomCom) defined in Article (8) of this Charter among candidates from the 7 North African Countries and approved for a 2 years’ term by the General Assembly.
The MAG shall develop an annual work plan of the NAIGF activities. They shall do everything necessary to implement it.
The main mission of the MAG is to prepare and to hold the NAIGF annual forum in an inclusive manner, ensuring the diversity of participation (gender, geography, stakeholder, etc.).
Therefore, the MAG shall
· Choose the Venue of the annual Forum
o In the 60 days following the closure of the annual Forum, the MAG assisted by the secretariat launches a call for hosting the upcoming annual forum according to the selection criteria for hosting a NAIGF.
o In case there is more than one candidate satisfying the selection criteria to host the Forum, the choice should go to the country that hosted the minimum number of NAIGFs.
· Choose the Dates of the annual Forum
o As soon as the host country is known, the MAG defines with the host the dates of the Forum
· Announce the dates and venue of the annual Forum at least 3 months prior to the starting date of the Forum.
· Define the content of the annual Forum
· Define the format and structure of the annual forum, as well as its agenda
· Undertake Capacity building activities through all Seven countries of the region, in particular organizing North Africa School on Internet governance (NASIG)
· Reach out to the Internet community in North Africa Countries to make them participate in the NAIGF.
· Promote the annual NAIGF forum and work to seek sponsors who can help with fund raising.
· Report to the Internet community in North Africa all activities of the NAIGF
· Select and appoint the members of the Nominating Committee among the candidates who volunteer for this committee.
Article (7): NAIGF MAG Chair
The NAIGF MAG Chair is the official representative of the NAIGF. He is selected by the renewed MAG among its members during their 1st meeting. The Vice Chair-person is also selected during the same meeting according to the same process.
The MAG Chair is responsible-inter alia- of:
o Managing all the NAIGF affaires.
o Convening the Annual North African IG Forum.
o Convening the MAG teleconferences or face to face meetings
o Chairing all the meetings and the teleconferences of the MAG
o Managing the NAIGF finances.
o Forming specific committees from the MAG members to undertake specific tasks.
o Undertaking a fund raising necessary for the organization of the annual NAIGF Forum and any other intersessional activity
o For any task, The MAG Chair can delegate whom he finds appropriate from the MAG members to replace him.
The MAG Vice Chair shall assist the Chair in all his tasks. He/she replaces him/her when absent or having any temporary or permanent impediment.
Article (8): Nominating Committee (NomCom)
The NomCom is an independent committee tasked to rank the candidates for the NAIGF Multi-Stakeholder Administrative Group (MAG) membership in order of preference.
It is composed of 3 or 5 volunteers appointed among nominees (including self-nominees) by the sitting MAG for a single selection round.
Article (9): Secretariat
The NAIGF Secretariat shall be composed of 2 persons from the staff of the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) that is hosting the NAIGF Secretariat.
The secretariat shall have the following tasks:
· Provide administrative, logistical and organizational support to the NAIGF;
· Promote the NAIGF activities;
· Organize the NAIGF meetings under MAG Guidance; and
· Develop and maintain the active NAIGF e-mail lists and website to provide updated NAIGF related information to the MAG members and the whole North African Internet community.
Chapter (3) Forum Management
Article (10): Multi-Stakeholder Administrative Group (MAG)
Assuming the total number of the sitting MAG members is more than 14
1. The MAG members are renewed by half to ensure continuity.
2. Three months before the termination of the sitting MAG term, a secret lottery is conducted among the members, to determine the names of the members who shall not run and nominate themselves as members of the upcoming MAG.
3. Names of members subjected to the process of half renewal system shall be communicated to NAIGF Secretary and NomCom.
The application of Article 10 shall be suspended if the total number of the sitting MAG members is less than 15.
Article (11): Conditions for MAG Membership
Each MAG member must:
· Be citizen of and live in one of the 7 North African Countries mentioned here above.
· Have the necessary expertise in the Internet Governance eco-system and the related policy issues.
· Have participated in at least one of the Internet Governance Forums at the National, Sub-regional, regional or global level.
· Not be a member of, or candidate to the Nominating committee of the considered selection round.
The MAG members are all volunteers and should belong to one of multi-stakeholder groups, with due consideration of the Geographic, Gender and stakeholder diversity as much as possible.
Article (12): Selection of the NAIGF MAG New Members
With Full consideration of Article (3) of this Charter, the selection of the new MAG Members shall be done as follows:
· With Consideration of Article (10) of this charter, the number of new members must be such as the whole number of the new MAG members be between 14 and 21 with the most diversity as described in Article (6) of this Charter, and with no more than 3 members per country.
· Under the guidance of the NAIGF Chair, the NAIGF Secretariat opens a call for MAG member candidates within 3 months prior to the termination of the sitting MAG term.
· The call for candidates remains open for 30 days
· At the closure of the call for candidates, the NomCom proceeds to the evaluation of the candidates as per the criteria that set forth in Article (11) of this charter, and ranks them accordingly.
· The NomCom submits to the general assembly the list of candidates ranked in order of preference.
Article (13): Term of Chairman and Vice chairman
1. The respective terms of the Chair and the Vice Chair are of Non-renewable 2 years. They cannot be nominated (Self-nomination or nomination by other MAG members) for a second consecutive term.
2. With full consideration of item (1) of this article, the Chairperson or the Vice-Chairperson can be nominated again for the same position after a pause of at least (one) completed term of MAG following the completion of their term.
3. The Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson shall not be citizens of same country.
4. When possible, the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson would be from different gender and different affiliation.
Article (14): NAIGF Nominating Committee (NomCom)
1. The NomCom is an independent committee responsible for ranking the candidates for the NAIGF Multi-Stakeholder Administrative Group (MAG) membership in order of preference.
2. It is composed of 3 or 5 volunteers appointed among nominees (including self-nominees) by the sitting MAG for a single selection round.
3. As soon as the General Assembly approves the selected new members of the MAG, the NomCom is dissolved and wouldn’t have any further role.
4. Members of the NomCom can be selected for no more than two consecutive selection rounds.
Article (15): Conditions of NomCom Membership
Each member of the NomCom must:
· Be citizen of one of the seven North African countries.
· Have the necessary knowledge of the Internet Governance issues.
· Not be a member of the MAG or candidate to MAG membership,
· Be recognized as neutral, honest and transparent person
Article (16): Selection procedures of the NomCom Members
· Under the guidance of the NAIGF Chair, the NAIGF Secretariat opens a call for candidates for the NomCom membership within 6 months prior to the termination of the sitting MAG term.
· The call for candidates remains open for 30 days.
· At the closure of the call for candidates, the sitting MAG proceeds to the evaluation of the candidates as per the criteria that set forth in article 15 of this charter, and ranks them accordingly.
· The MAG selects the top (3 or 5) among the ranked candidates to form the new NomCom.
Article (17): Secretariat
1. The role of the NAIGF secretariat is to support the NAIGF and its Multi-Stakeholder Administrative Group (MAG) in organizing the annual Forum and all the inter-sessional activities. It shall undertake all the logistical aspects, keep the files, write the reports, and organize the teleconferences and meetings.
2. The Tunisian Government offered to host the NAIGF Secretariat and appointed the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) for this task. All Seven countries of the region have a right to request hosting the Secretariat of NAIGF.
3. By 2/3 majority, the MAG can propose to the General Assembly to change the hosting party of the Secretariat within the North African countries when necessary. The final decision is taken by NAIGF general assembly by 2/3 majority.
Article(18): Voting System
1. All Procedural matters that need collective MAG's decisions, shall be adopted and approved according to the simple majority vote system of MAG members (50% of MAG members +1).
2. All Objective matters that need collective MAG decisions, shall be adopted and approved according to the two-thirds majority vote system of the MAG members.
Chapter (4): Charter Review
Article (19): Periodic review
1. This charter shall be subject to inclusive review process each four years by MAG members.
2. First review process for current charter will be during 2024.
Article (20): Specific review
1. The charter could be subject to review before the specified period mentioned in item (1) in case of extreme necessity upon request submitted to Chairperson and endorsed by at least five MAG members.
2. The request of specific review should include the name of members who suggested the review, the reasons of request, the article (s) to be reviewed and required amendment whether by addition, deletion or modification.
3. Under any circumstance, request of charter review before specified period in item (1) shall not include the entire charter.
Article (21): Review Process
1. Full and partial review of the charter shall be approved by two third of MAG member and submitted for final approval by the general assembly.
2. In purpose of charter review, the MAG chairperson shall form a review committee, composed from 3 or 5 of MAG members, tasked to review the charter entirely or partially. It is up to the committee members to determine the method of their work.
3. The MAG chairperson shall determine a specific period for the review committee to achieve its work; under any circumstances, the period shall not exceed 3 months from the date of its formation.
Chapter (5): Effect of the Charter
This charter enters into effect as soon as it is adopted by the General Assembly.