The Tunis Agenda envisaged convening the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) as a multi-stakeholder platform to discuss public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance. To understand more about the processes related to hosting of the event SFLC.IN filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 requesting for the Host Country agreement and details regarding the expenditure of the third annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum that was held at Hyderabad from 3rd to 6th December, 2008.
We received a response dated March 28, 2014 from the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY) providing the requested information. The documents revealed the following facts:
The Meeting was hosted by the Government of India (represented by the Department of Information Technology) at a total expenditure of Rs. 5,40,15,197. Of this, Rs. 2,32,71,000 ($ 517,128) was paid to the UN as reimbursement of actual additional costs incurred by the UN towards holding the Meeting in India rather than Geneva, where the IGF is headquartered. This includes costs of travel and staff entitlements of UN officials assigned to plan/attend the Meeting, as well as the costs of shipping any necessary equipment and supplies. Of the remaining amount:-
- Rs. 35,00,000 was paid to the National Internet Exchange towards meeting Daily Subsistence Allowance and Terminal Expenses of 50 members including UN officials
- Rs. 2,72,44,197 was paid to M/s Cyberabad Convention Centre Pvt. Ltd. as booking charges for the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, and hotel accommodation for UN Staff and organizing team.
As per the Host Country Agreement entered into between the UN and the Government of India, the UN was responsible for invitation and selection of international participants, planning/running of the Meeting and preparation of appropriate documentation, substantive support before, during and after the meeting, and the official IGF website. The Government on the other hand, was responsible for:
- Venue, facilities and technical requirements for the meeting
- Providing local counterpart staff to assist with the planning and preparations for the Meeting
- Office supplies and equipment for UN staff
- Providing support to UN participants and officials in securing hotel accommodation
- Other necessary logistic and organizational services as requested by the UN
- Administrative arrangements, and costs relating to issuance of airline tickets and DSA for officials of the UN Secretariat
- Host Country website