Answers to the CSTD Questionnaire on improvements to the IGF, 19 November 2010

1. What do you consider the most important achievements of the first five IGF meetings?

IGF created the space for dialogue by all stakeholders in an open, inclusive manner. These emergence and development of the multistakeholder principle and practice are perhaps the biggest contribution IGF has achieved so far. It helped many participants to understand the issues of their interest, as well as to understand how other actors understand, act and accept their issues. Emergence of Regional and National IGF with multistakeholder approach is another achievement.

2. How satisfied are you with the delivery of the results of discussions at the IGF and the impact they have had on developments in national, regional or international Internet governance?

IGF has made a reasonable advancement of the understanding of the issues. Yet, at national, regional and international levels, we have mixed assessment for the impact it brought.

3. Which, if any, new mechanisms would you propose to improve the impact of the IGF discussions, in particular as regards the interaction between the IGF and other stakeholders? Please specify the kind of mechanism (e.g. reporting, exchanges, recommendations, concrete advice, etc.) and the stakeholders (e.g. intergovernmental bodies, other fora dealing with Internet Governance, etc.).

a) One mechanism we can suggest is to come up with some form of recommendations or messages where all stakeholders have [rough] consensus. They will not be binding, but could still function as model, reference or common framework. Working process towards achieving the consensus will create better and deeper understandings amongst different stakeholders.

b) The Secretariat and MAG should be strongly encouraged to directly foster discussion and debate of difficult issues in main sessions, instead of avoiding them.

4. In your view, what important new issues or themes concerning Internet governance have emerged or become important since the Tunis phase of the Summit, which deserve more attention in the next five years?

IGC feels that attention to the development agenda, issues concerning the marginalized groups or actors, have yet gained sufficient level of work at IGF and its outcome. These may not be the “new” issues, but we strongly feel they are very important.

Besides them, emergence of new technologies, tools and services, such as cloud computing; user-generated, SNS and online sharing services such as wiki, YouTube, Ustream, twitter and Facebook; DPI and behavioral targeting advertisements; wide deployment of mobile services including smart phones and tablet computers pose all kind of new challenges for governance.

5. What do you think should be the priority themes and areas of work of the IGF during the next five years?

Followings will be the areas of themes and works that have priorities we think.

a) Enhancing multi-stakeholder framework within IGF.
b) Promote capacity building for developmental agenda of governance
c) Balancing the interests – to empower those of marginalized and under-developed in all organizations and fora dealing with Internet governance – such as ICANN, W3C, IETF, RIRs, ITU, WIPO, CoE, OECD, UNCTAD/CSTD and United Nations itself.

6. How can the capacity of those groups that are not yet well represented at the IGF be improved? In particular, what could be done to improve the capacity of representatives from developing countries?

a) Establish special funding mechanism by IGF itself to help actors from developing countries to continuously engage in IGF and related organizations and meetings. Fellowship works carried out by DiploFoundation, DotAsia Organisation, Interne Society and other institutions offer good reference for this, but they should be expanded in larger scale. Targeting youth groups or younger generation in profession will have, in the long run, effective impact.

b) Providing technical training to policy makers and policy training to engineers will also help close the gap(s) within the under-represented and also even well-represented.

7. How do you think more awareness of Internet governance issues and the IGF process can be raised amongst groups whose lives are affected by Internet governance but who are not yet part of the IGF process?

a) Giving more weight to regional and national IGF meetings, making more direct “links” to the main IGF meeting will help outreach to those who have not yet involved in IGF process. Securing the same level of working framework of IGF, such as multi-stakeholder composition and inclusion of civil society groups (where such practice is relatively new or scarce) should be maintained.

b) Ensuring a plurality of civil society voices be heard in Internet governance processes will also be effective in reaching out to those yet to participate.

c) Online meetings are most effective when provision is made for participation both synchronously (ie. in real time) and asynchronously. The remote hubs and moderators at the Vilnius IGF made good progress towards this direction. Using such tools as blogs, Twitter, mailing lists, Facebook and so on over an extended period may also increase the awareness.

d) Organizing some sessions completely online will create “level playing field” among all participants, and may also demonstrate the effectiveness of these tools/technologies, and may also improve the quality of services in turn.

e) Increase linguistic diversity. Using UN major languages other than English at certain meetings and occasions as main working language (translated into other UN languages) will increase the outreach to non-English speaking population of the globe and will give more sense of ownership. Currently, English is the only default working language, but we think it does not have to be so.

8. How, if at all, do you think that the IGF process (including the format of the meeting, the preparatory process, the development of the agenda, etc.) needs to change to meet changing circumstances and priorities?

As we replied to the MAG questionnaire, the organizing work of IGF primarily by MAG should be improved. More outcome oriented direction might improve the quality and value of IGF, but this should be carefully exercised so as not to lose the open and free spirit of IGF which contributed a great deal.

9. Do you have any other comments?

We request strongly to keep the Multi-stakeholder approach in all the organizing works of the IGF, including MAG, Consultations and CSTD working groups, attention to the balance of all stakeholders. For that, IGC would like to emphasize the importance of keeping the secretariat function and working methodology achieved through the past five years that have been the key to the success of IGF to date.

We strongly request that the new MAG/secretariat should keep the open and inclusive approach. IGF should promote the participation from all stakeholders from all different parts of the world, especially from developing parts, pay sufficient attention to achieve gender balance, involve youth, and not to give special privileges to any particular group or stakeholders.

IGF should also give equal weight to all stakeholders when making decisions – we mean to governments, civil society, private sector, and technical and academic communities.
Again, we want to emphasize the importance of keeping all meetings and the works open and transparent – full use of webcast and other online tools in IGF meeting as well as all consultation meetings and MAG meetings are essential.

We also request that IGF should ensure its independence from the influence of financial donors in open, transparent manner.

For the composition of the new MAG, we request to foster:

  • Transparency on the elections or selections of its members
  • More proactive role on producing the summary of the IGF. We believe it should not rest to the responsibility of the chair alone, same goes true on identifying the main points discussed.

MAG should also map the points of divergence among stakeholders and finally, if possible, we expect the new MAG to help identify points of consensus in IGF discussions.

2nd Intervention, made ad hoc

1. What do you consider the most important achievements of the first five IGF meetings?

I would like to request to include all the regional and national IGF initiatives in this synthesis document as input to the consultation process which are not recorded too well yet.

This year, for example, the first attempt of Asia Pacific Regional IGF was organized with the Hong Kong people’s strong initiative including MAG members, but also with a wide range of AP IGF community people involved in the organizing of the event. There were some shortages, for example not sufficient out-reach, resources etc, but overall it made a good impact.

Inspired by that, Japanese Internet community and like-minded people also hosted a preliminary meeting in the end of October as a side event to APEC Tel Min meeting in Okinawa, and we agreed to form IGF Japan as not one-shot event, but also an ongoing place for dialogue of national and regional public policy issues, that relates also to the global public issues.

This is but just one example – we see more emergence of IGFs globally, with the multi-stakeholder open and inclusive process or approach, spreading, or infecting policy makers, industry, and among us, the Civil society and NGOs working in the field.

2. How satisfied are you with the delivery of the results of discussions at the IGF and the impact they have had on developments in national, regional or international Internet governance?

Additionally, since the questionnaire did not ask this directly – it is somewhere in between Q2 and Q3, I would like to mention the following and seek for your support as an formal input to the CSTD consultation. That is the question of what should be preserved and enhanced from the IGF works so far. In addition to what should be improved or added, as new mechanisms.

I think that the success and achievements of innovative implementation of multi-stakeholder works of IGF in the traditional UN context which are not really easy I am sure, were very much driven by the Chair, Mr. Nitin Desai and also the secretariat team, headed by Mr. Markus Kummer. I think no one disagrees with this.

We feel this should also be included in the report not for any diplomatic reasons per se, for certain practical reasons as well. In view of coming new Chair and Executive Secretariat as Nitin and Marks already indicated their retirement from IGF works, we like to identify elements of IGF to be carried on by the new team. Extensive use of online tools, webcast, audio and visual, transcripts, other tools for remote participation, are all important parts of IGF. Today, for example, we do not have remote participation, webcast which we had thought it’s there. Seating arrangements, registration practices are also all part of implementation for multi-stakeholder.

I am sure that the new secretariat will be given opportunity to receive briefings from the existing team members before they leave so that all the experiences and skills will not be lost and we start over from scratch.

As the language of the questionnaire, and also that of text of UN GA Resolution on IGF do not quite include the accomplishment of Nitin, Markus and his team, I think it is more than appropriate to recognize these.

7. How do you think more awareness of Internet governance issues and the IGF process can be raised amongst groups whose lives are affected by Internet governance but who are not yet part of the IGF process?

Remote participation already practiced should also be applied to the coming CSTD consultation meetings on IGF and also on EC.

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