The drive for the creation of the Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Internet Governance Forum was led by Lacnic, NUPEF, and APC. The goal of the Forum was to help identify relevant and priority topics for Latin America and the Caribbean to be considered and discussed at the Third Internet Governance Forum which took place in Hyderabad, India, in December, 2008.
A complementary goal was to promote the regional community’s participation in those debates, thus bringing discussions closer to the region.
The first three LACIGF meetings were organized following the same model, seeking to improve the quality and horizontal nature of the discussions as well as to increase participation. A key element in achieving this goal has been –and continues to be– the Financial Assistance Program, which guarantees that a large number of regional stakeholders are able to obtain the financial support they need to attend the meeting.
The first edition of the Regional Preparatory Meeting took place in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 2008. After this first event came Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2009 and Quito, Ecuador, in 2010. It is worth noting that during this period there was a strong commitment to involving regional stakeholders in the process, both those who were part of their own interest groups as well as Governments and the Private Sector.
The fourth meeting, which took place in 2011 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, introduced several innovations both in terms of its organizers (which now included the Internet Society’s regional bureau) as well asin terms of how the agenda was set. With the aim of strengthening the openness of the process, the meeting’s agenda was built through an open consultation with the regional community which helped identify different visions, points of view, sub-topics and priorities for the Latin American and Caribbean debate. The fourth edition’s agenda was thus created following a “bottom-up” process, with hundreds of contributions coming from theregional community and a program structure with no lecturers and in which all those present could participate on an equal footing.
The 2011 edition also included the participation of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) as the meeting’s local host. The local host’s responsibilities include interacting with the organizers while taking care of all logistical aspects and promoting the local community’s participation. As the local host of the 2011 LACIGF, the CTU contributed its convening power and leadershipwithin the Caribbean community
The 5th LACIGF meeting, held in 2012 in Bogota, Colombia, continued with these transformations and achieved record remote and on-site participation levels as well as record levels of stakeholder involvement. In addition, the agenda was set considering 147 individual contributions presented by the community. For the first time, government agency and private sector representatives were invited to participate in the Program Committee and the venue was selected through an open call for proposals, as a result of which Colnodo and .CO Internet were chosen as local hosts.
The forum has continued to evolve for each meeting and the event has become a forum for dialogue unprecedented around the world. It now includes a multistakeholder Program Committee and each interest group defines its own representatives. In addition, in 2011 LACIGF created a program for supporting the participation of regional community representatives (3-6) at the Internet Governance Forum.