IGFWatch news

IGFWatch news


Secret civil society business
By terminus - 29/9/2011 - 1 Replies As the last post illustrated well, not everything that happens at the IGF happens out in the open. Even civil society, sometimes, meets behind closed doors - though the doors in question are generally those policymakers, rarely our own. So over the last three days, civil society representatives have had private audiences with the EU, the US and the UN on issues of mutual concern.

Stratifying the IGF
By terminus - 28/9/2011 A delegate arriving at the IGF expects that no matter what stakeholder group they come from, and no matter their wealth, power or prestige, they will be treated as an equal. They expect to be able to attend any session, and sit next to diplomats or tycoons if they wish. Until this year, that is. This year, the IGF delegate will notice some delegates with an extra badge around their necks, and overhear snatches of conversation about a "high level ministerial meeting". They will be presented with a wall of photos of smiling national delegations shaking hands with the heads of telecommunications and media companies. During the opening ceremony they will hear how useful and productive had been the meeting to which they were not invited. Profuse thanks will be given to the ITU for co-hosting it. Welcome to IGF 2011, humble delegate. You are now a second class IGF citizen.

Making enemies at the IGF? That controversial part of my paper
By terminus - 27/9/2011 Steve DelBianco has attacked me on CircleID for "damning the same private sector motivations that produced the most democratizing technologies the world has ever known." He claims that I have "accused the business and technical community of 'complicity' in blocking" my alleged agenda "to get the IGF to oppose legal or technical protections for copyrighted content."

Where to develop Internet policy: ITU, G8, OECD or an empowered IGF?
By terminus - 23/9/2011 The United States is careful with the image that it presents to its citizens and the rest of the world about its support for the multi-stakeholder governance model for Internet governance. In a 2011 strategy document on cyberspace policy it expressed full enthusiasm for that model, and has revealed its reservations only indirectly, for example through its attempt to prematurely terminate the work of the CSTD Working Group, and its retention of unilateral oversight of ICANN through a permanent Affirmation of Commitments following the expiry of its earlier Joint Project Agreement.

A history of enhanced cooperation, part 2
By terminus - 22/9/2011 Outside of the official consultations, a number of governments have been promoting a narrow intergovernmental model of enhanced cooperation. At the July 2011 meeting of ECOSOC, the grouping of India, Brasil and South Africa — IBSA — called for an intergovernmental mechanism for enhanced cooperation, separate from but complementary to the IGF. Further detail was presented at a subsequent Seminar on Global Internet Governance in September, at which the governmental members called for a new UN body to “be tasked to develop and establish international public policies with a view to ensuring coordination and coherence in cross-cutting Internet-related global issues,” and to “integrate and oversee the bodies responsible for technical and operational functioning of the Internet.”

A history of enhanced cooperation, part 1
By terminus - 21/9/2011 The IGF was not the only institutional reform to the Internet governance regime that was approved at WSIS, though it was the best-formed. Also agreed was the need for “enhanced cooperation in the future, to enable governments, on an equal footing, to carry out their roles and responsibilities, in international public policy issues pertaining to the Internet,” but without neglecting to “involve all stakeholders in their respective roles” and “be responsive to innovation.” Intentionally, this formulation was capable of differing interpretations, with those supportive of the status quo preferring to think in terms of loose and voluntary cooperative arrangements between existing institutions, whilst those favouring reform looked forward to a new overarching policy development framework that would be more inclusive of hitherto excluded stakeholders.

A history of IGF improvements, part 2
By terminus - 20/9/2011 A further sign of the weakening of commitment to a multi-stakeholder process for Internet governance, by governments in particular, came at a December extraordinary meeting of the CSTD, which resolved to establish the Working Group on Improvements to the IGF that ECOSOC had called for as a government-only group. This came as a surprise to many, as apart from apparently diverging from ECOSOC’s directive that the working group be “open and inclusive,” it also departed from earlier indications made during an open meeting held by the CSTD at the Vilnius IGF meeting that the group would be an open, multi-stakeholder taskforce on the model of the WGIG.

A history of IGF improvements, part 1
By terminus - 7/9/2011 The recent decline of multi-stakeholderism is exemplified by the case of its poster child, the IGF. Whilst established as a multi-stakeholder body, the capacity of its stakeholders to actually influence policy development processes has been circumscribed by the very narrow interpretation of its mandate made by its Secretariat and by the most powerful voices within its Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG). Opportunities to address this deficiency, such as by placing conditions on the renewal of the IGF’s mandate for a second term, or once that had been decided, to recommend how it should improve its format, functions and operations during that second term, have also been systematically withdrawn from multi-stakeholder bodies and processes, and reserved to those that favour governments. This series of posts will recount and provide some background to these events.

The Indian proposal for improvements to IGF outcomes
By terminus - 2/4/2011 I haven't been able to find this elsewhere on the Web, so here is a transcribed version of the document that India recently circulated to the CSTD's Working Group on Improvements to the IGF. Although none of the recommendations are new, they are measured, sensible and progressive - and the Working Group's failure means that this blog post may be the last we hear of them.

On the outcome of the CSTD's working group on improvements to the IGF
By wolfgang - 28/3/2011 I am not surprised about the outcome. It was crystal clear after the Montreux meeting, that it will be impossible to reach a reasonable result within the given time frame. The whole planning and executing of the launch and the work of this UNCSTD WG raises a lot of question.

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