Lesotho Internet Governance Forum (LesIGF) was established in 2021 by the Internet Society Lesotho Chapter (ISOC Lesotho) and the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology in collaboration with the Lesotho Communication Authority(LCA). The first meeting was held in August 2021 in Maseru Lesotho. LesIGF-2021 being the very first meeting for the country, the theme was Internet Governance for Development. Its main purpose is to provide an inclusive multistakeholder platform for the Lesotho community to discuss Internet Governance issues. It adheres to the principles of the African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF), which, in keeping with the United Nations (UN) Internet Governance Forum (IGF), strives to:

  • Be open: All entities, organisations and participating individuals that are IG stakeholders shall be free to join the LesIGF through the LesIGF Secretariat.
  • Multi-stakeholder: The active and democratic participation of a diverse range of stakeholders, including women and youth, shall be promoted.
  • Transparent: Stakeholders shall be open in their communication, decisions, and implementation of LesIGF-related activities.
  • Accountable: Mechanisms for checks and balances, as well as for the review and redress of actions related to the LesIGF shall exist.
  • Remote participation - The LesIGF shall make optimum use of the Internet to increase the number of participants in all its activities.

LesIGF Main objectives are:

  • Raise awareness about the importance of Internet governance issues and promote understanding among the general public, policymakers, and other stakeholders.
  • Facilitate an open and inclusive dialogue among various stakeholders, including government representatives, civil society, the private sector, the technical community, and academia, to discuss internet-related policy issues.
  • Contribute to the development of informed and inclusive internet-related policies that take into account the diverse perspectives and needs of different stakeholders.
  • Enhance the understanding and capacity of participants on Internet governance issues, technology trends, and related policy matters.
  • Facilitate multi-stakeholder participation by Lesotho representatives at continental and global Internet Governance platforms.
  • Contribute to the strengthening of multi-stakeholder engagement on Internet Governance in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU).
  • Discuss and address emerging issues in the digital space, such as cybersecurity, privacy, digital inclusion, and the impact of new technologies on society.
  • Advocate for policies and initiatives that promote universal and affordable access to the Internet, as well as the inclusion of marginalized or underserved communities.

The Mandate of the Annual LesIGF is to:

  • Discuss public policy issues related to key elements of IG to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability, and development of the Internet in Lesotho.
  • Facilitate the exchange of information and best practices and make full use of the expertise of the academic, media, human rights and free expression, legal, public, and information and communication technology (ICT) sectors.
  • Make recommendations on how to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in Lesotho.
  • Identify, highlight and discuss emerging IG issues with stakeholders and the general public, and where appropriate, make recommendations.
  • Build the capacity of stakeholders on IG, fully drawing on local, continental and
    international sources of knowledge and expertise.
  • Facilitate solutions and consensus-building on IG issues that are of particular concern to end-users.
  • Share and publish its proceedings.

Membership in the LesIGF is open to all relevant stakeholder groups, representatives, and individuals from government, civil society, academia, media, finance, climate change, agriculture, and the ICT sector. Members serve in their capacity but are expected to have extensive linkages with their respective stakeholder groups. The activities of LesIGF are coordinated by a National IGF Committee. The Interim Working Group consists of members from the following stakeholder groups: government, private sector, civil society, technical community, media, and people with disabilities.