Terms of Reference


NETmundial initiative terms of reference


  1. The NETmundial meeting held in São Paulo, Brazil, in April 2014, provided a reference for governments, private sector, civil society, technical community and academia from around the world to address Internet governance challenges. Its concluding document, the NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement (“Statement”), recognized that the Internet is a global resource which should be managed in the public interest. It also reaffirmed the importance of human rights to the Internet and provided a set of Internet governance Principles, as well as a Roadmap for the future evolution and improvement of the existing Internet governance framework, ensuring the full involvement of all stakeholders.

  2. The NETmundial Initiative (“Initiative”) recognizes the NETmundial Internet governance process Principles: democratic, multistakeholder, open, participative, consensus-driven, transparent, accountable, inclusive and equitable, distributed, collaborative, and enabling of meaningful participation.

  3. The Initiative seeks to carry forward the cooperative spirit of São Paulo by enabling opportunities for collaboration and cooperation between all stakeholders.

II. Mission statement

  1. The mission of the Initiative is to provide a platform that helps catalyze practical cooperation between all stakeholders in order to address Internet issues and advance the implementation of the NETmundial Principles ("Principles") and Roadmap ("Roadmap").

III. rationale & committment​

  1. The Initiative is inspired by the Statement, which identified a need for the global Internet community to further develop the Internet governance ecosystem to produce operational solutions for current and future Internet issues.
  2. In particular, the Initiative commits to operate in a multistakeholder, open, transparent and inclusive manner, as a part of the Internet governance ecosystem. 
  3. The Initiative also commits to pay particular attention to facilitate capacity development and financing as key requirements to ensure that diverse stakeholders have an opportunity for more than nominal participation, but in fact gain the know-how and the resources for effective participation. Capacity building is important to support the emergence of true multistakeholder communities, especially in those regions where the participation of some stakeholder groups needs to be further strengthened.

IV. Scope of activities 

The Initiative will seek to complement and support the work of existing Internet governance dialogue and normative processes and institutions, notably the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). 

The Initiative is not a policy-making body. 

The Initiative will: 

  1. Promote the application, evaluation, and implementation of the Principles and encourage community reporting efforts.
  2. Serve as an impartial clearinghouse for the collection and dissemination of information about Internet governance issues and sources of relevant expertise, solutions, resources and training.

  3. Provide a platform on which diverse actors can present projects, solicit partners and establish collaborative relationships.

  4. Enable sustained, open, inclusive, equitable and collaborative processes for communities to share knowledge and expertise, leading to best practices, suggestions, innovation and solutions to address challenges identified by the community.

  5. Facilitate participation in the Internet governance ecosystem, particularly by stakeholders from the developing world, and advance multistakeholder processes at the global, regional and national levels. 

  6. Assist developing-country communities, governments and underserved stakeholders by enabling capacity development efforts and in networking with relevant organizations and processes in order to address gaps in policy development.

Note: These Terms of Reference were adopted by the Inaugural Coordination Council on 30 June 2015 in São Paulo, Brazil. 

Diverse, global participation is a necessary component that embodies the NETmundial spirit and the multistakeholder, bottom-up approach endorsed as the way forward in improving the existing Internet governance framework. The global Internet community is invited to contribute proposals or ideas for distributed Internet governance. Contribute here.