Structure

The Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) is a partnership of governments who abide by the principle that “human rights apply online as they do offline”, and are committed to working together to support and protect Internet freedoms worldwide. The FOC was established at the inaugural Freedom Online Conference in The Hague in 2011. Today, the Coalition has 30 members, spanning from Africa to Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East

Coalition Chair

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Coalition Chair

Day to day political coordination of the Coalition rests in the hands of the Coalition Chair. The current Chair of the Coalition is Ghana. The Chair of the Coalition rotates among member states on an annual basis. The chair provides diplomatic support and coordinates the overall FOC activities and meetings alongside the international conferences. Past chairs have also hosted the annual FO Conferences in The Hague, Nairobi, Tunis Tallinn, Ulaanbaatar and San Jose.

Friends of the Chair

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Friends of the Chair

The Chair is assisted by the Friends of the Chair, a group of FOC members currently comprising Canada, Costa Rica, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the USA. The group provides support to the current chair to assist with the diplomatic work and the preparation of the annual FO Conference and ensure continuity from year to year.

Diplomatic Networks

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Diplomatic Networks

As Internet freedom becomes increasingly interlinked with other international policy discussions, so does the need for coordinated action to support it. The Coalition aims to facilitate diplomatic coordination in forums where online freedoms are being discussed. At the moment, there are active networks of FOC representatives in Paris, Geneva, New York and Vienna. These are complemented by ad hoc coordination around particular meetings taking place elsewhere. The Networks are coordinated by local FOC representatives and serve as an opportunity to coordinate viewpoints, share relevant information, and discuss strategies to advance an open Internet in each context.

Advisory Network

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Advisory Network

The FOC Advisory Network is intended to serve as a key mechanism for the Coalition to engage regularly with non-governmental Internet stakeholders. It is envisaged as a platform for multistakeholder dialogue which, independently of FOC members, provides advice to FOC governments on the work of the FOC, organizes multistakeholder collaboration around FOC activities, and explores possibilities for cooperation to advance human rights online. You can find the FOC-AN’s Terms of Reference here. You can find out more about the FOC-AN here.

Ad Hoc Working Groups

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Ad Hoc Working Groups

The Friends of the Chair may establish a subordinate entity, such as a working group, at any time by publishing its mandate and a call for participation on the FOC website. In 2013, the Coalition established issue-specific working groups that continued dialogue in-between formal FOC meetings. These multistakeholder working groups for 15-20 members worked towards practical outcomes on key issues of concern to Internet freedom and human rights. The mandate of these groups came to an end in May 2017.

Support Unit

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Support Unit

The FOC Support Unit is a neutral, third party secretariat that provides administrative, substantive and coordination assistance to the Coalition and its members. It maintains and strengthens the Coalition’s structure, processes and institutional capacity to support diplomatic coordination, multistakeholder engagement, and the smooth running of the FOC’s programmatic work. It also acts as the main point of contact for anyone wishing to know more about the work of the Coalition. Currently, this function is held by Global Partners Digital, a social purpose company based in London.