The IGF annual meeting includes several types of sessions, depending on their. Overall, the Forum aims at creating interactive dialogues with formats that fit everyone needs.
Known also as Day 0 events, these sessions take place on the day before the IGF official programme begins. Requesters are granted the space to hold the events if their content is IG-relevant and appropriate. Taking into consideration the regional and stakeholder balance, as well as the relevance for the Internet governance, space for these sessions is allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis and requested durations are granted based on availability. The organizers understand that on this ‘unofficial’ day they may not have the same support - in terms of remote participation and webcasting - as sessions in the regular programme.
- Workshops (WS)
Proposals for IGF workshops are publicly solicited then evaluated and selected by the MAG over a roughly three-month period. Once selected, the Secretariat conducts any needed follow-up with the workshop organizers and maintains the communication with them. Both before and after selection, MAG members are encouraged to provide organizers with substantive support. Workshops can make up anywhere between two thirds to three quarters of the IGF programme.
- Open Forums (OF)
These are sessions organised by governments, treaty-based international organizations, and global organizations with international scope and presence, with operations across regions, dealing with Internet governance-related issues. Open Forums should focus on a government or organization’s Internet governance-pertinent activities during the past year and allow sufficient time for questions and discussions.
- Best Practice Forum sessions (BPF)
As part of the IGF's intersessional work, BPFs offer substantive ways for the IGF community to produce more concrete outcomes. They carry their work in an open and consultative manner throughout the year and discuss the final output document at a dedicated session during the IGF's annual meeting.
- Dynamic Coalition sessions (DC)
DCs are also part of the IGF's intersessional work. Throughout the year, DC multistakeholder organizing teams work with communities in an open and consultative way on addressing policy aspects of their DC's core substantive focus. Each DC hosts a session at the IGF annual meeting to inform about and discuss further the work done so far on a particular matter. Collectively, all DCs co-organize the main session on a topic of mutual interest.
- National, Regional, Youth Collaborative Sessions (NRIs)
These are collaborative sessions organized by groups of NRIs around particular themes, with formats based on workshops and similar organizational criteria (e.g. multistakeholder and diversity). These session's topics, as well as the entire planning process, is done in a bottom-up manner by the involved NRIs. Collectively, all NRIs co-organize the main session on a topic of mutual interest.
- Main Sessions
Main sessions are intended to recognize broad and current IG issues of importance. They are held in the largest possible room in IGF venues, usually with interpretation, with the understanding that the issues under discussion are relevant to all participants. Because of this, and their generally longer duration, they also have the potential to attract high-level speakers. The main sessions are determined by the MAG, usually at one of the early face-to-face meetings, with teams of MAG facilitators working on each session. The sessions are different from traditional ‘plenary sessions’ as other sessions are taking place simultaneously.
- Opening / Closing ceremonial sessions (including Open Mic) and High-Level Leaders Track sessions
Since their inception, annual IGFs have had formal relationships with the countries hosting them through UN “host country agreements”. As part of this, ceremonies at the beginning and end of the meeting are used not only to officially ‘open’ and ‘close’ the programme, but also to give the hosting governments a platform to welcome participants and play a role in coordinating the interventions of high-level government speakers, who use the visibility of the ceremonies to address their IG-related agendas. According to the host country’s preference, a high-level/ministerial side meeting or pre-meeting can also be organized. In addition, the closing proceedings have included an ‘open mic’ segment for participants.
- Newcomers Track / IGF Orientational session
The Track aims to help participants attending the IGF annual meeting to understand the overall strcuture of the programme and how to orient themselves. It is especially focused on the first-time participants to help to understand the IGF processes and to foster the integration of all new-coming stakeholders into the IGF community. Its focus is to make the meeting participant's first IGF experience as productive and welcoming as possible. In addition, this Track can expand to include specific sessions for meaningful engagement of youth.
- Introductory and Concluding sessions
The Introductory Sessions “set the scene” for each of the IGF main themes during the meeting. Specifically, the Introductory Sessions cover the theme’s narrative, explore different subthematic areas, preview different types of sessions (Workshops, Open Forums, Best Practice Forums, Dynamic Coalitions, NRI Collaborative Sessions and Main Sessions) under the theme, and feature a scene-setting speaker. The session provides attendees the opportunity to connect with attendees who are engaged in similar work and have similar interests. The Concluding Sessions bring together discussions in the various sessions of a particular thematic track. The aim of the concluding sessions is not to negotiate a single message or solution on a given topic, but rather to provide a concise summary, a menu or road map of suggestions raised by the community during the week.