Date: 8/11/2012 10:44 am
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So the big news from the Baku IGF is that the United States will, after all, be supporting the creation of a CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation, as the quid pro quo
for India and Brazil dropping their wacky proposals to the ITU's WCIT for the revision of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). (Well OK, that last part is just scuttlebutt rather than news, but it is doubtless true - it explains, for one thing, how puzzlingly bad India's proposal to WCIT was: it was all just a gambit after all.) Politics, eh?
So India will be presenting a motion to the Sixty-seventh session
of the United Nations General Assembly, and the CSTD will set the wheels in motion at its December intersessional meeting. The working group may even meet as soon as the annual meeting next May, particularly if it is just a renewal of the mandate of the existing Working Group on Improvements to the IGF, rather than being a brand new group.
The US delegates explained in a meeting with the Best Bits participants today that they are trying to find a home for a more multi-stakeholder approach to global public policy development (by which they mean more so than the ITU), and the CSTD is seen to have a "more formal tempo" than the IGF for Enhanced Cooperation discussions.
Since even India has now disavowed the CIRP, one has to wonder exactly what the Enhanced Cooperation Working Group might come up with. My favoured option would have been to bring the process within the IGF, but the US reiterated today that they don't want to see the IGF turn into a negotiating forum, so what does that leave us with? Nobody is quite sure.
Anyway, it's big news because it means that Enhanced Cooperation is back on the table again. I'm in two minds about it, because it take the pressure back off the IGF MAG (which otherwise would have been the last best hope for Enhanced Cooperation), and of course there is no guarantee that the Working Group now won't be blocked by another country (Saudi Arabia or Russia, maybe), but in any case, I was glad to discover today that reports of the death of Enhanced Cooperation had been greatly exaggerated after all.