[WG-Strategy] This Wednesday - 16 Years of IGF Evolution and Strengthening – Taking Stock and Looking Forward

Anriette Esterhuysen anriette at apc.org
Mon Nov 15 12:02:01 EST 2021

Dear all

As we move closer to celebrating the IGF's 15th anniversary, please do
join this IGF2021 Preparatory and Engagement Phase session on Wednesday,
17 November, at 13h00 UTC


Looking forward to lively and useful discussion.


*16 Years of IGF Evolution and Strengthening – Taking Stock and Looking

Wednesday, 17th November, 2021 (15:00 SAST) - Wednesday, 17th November,
2021 (16:30 SAST)

/Facilitated by MAG Chair in collaboration with the MAG Working Group on
IGF Strategy and Strengthening/

Interactive moderated panel that will look back and take stock of how
the IGF has evolved and what its key achievements have been; reflect on
the current and future internet governance ecosystem and the IGF’s role
in this ecosystem, particularly in the context of ‘digital cooperation’
and the UN-Secretary General’s proposed ‘global digital compact’. The
panel will consider the role the IGF has and can play in inclusive
internet governance, both through the further development of the
multistakeholder approach and through closer engagement with
multilateral processes. Finally the session will consider what is meant
by the idea of a “stronger, more focused and impactful IGF” and propose
specific steps to be taken to establish a stronger, more strategic IGF
that operates on the basis of a multi-year plan working to the goal of
the idea of an “IGF plus” with the institutional capacity, leadership
and oversight needed to see it through the renewal of its mandate in
2025 and beyond.

Process: The meeting will divided into roughly three parts with
panelists speaking @ 20 minutes in each, with the remaining time
reserved for open discussion with all participants.  

Moderators: Anriette Esterhuysen, MAG chair and William Drake, Columbia
University, former MAG and WGIG member

Rapporteurs:  Giacomo Mazzone, past MAG member and member, MAG
WG-strategy, Roman Chukov and Amrita Choudhury (MAG WG-strategy co-chairs)


Part I: Past/Origins 

 1. Markus Kummer – IGF Support Association,  WGIG and past IGF
    Executive Coordinator and interim MAG chair - CONFIRMED
 2. Wolfgang Kleinwächter – WGIG and EuroSSIG - CONFIRMED
 3. Christine Arida - Strategic Planning Sector Head at National
    Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) of Egypt a past host
    country of the IGF - CONFIRMED

PART II – Present dynamics

 4. Fiona Alexander – past MAG member and previously with the NTIA and
    member of MAG WG strategy - CONFIRMED
 5. Flavio Wagner - past MAG member and member of MAG WG-strategy -
 6. Parminder Jeet Singh, IT For Change (cs) - CONFIRMED 
 7. Esteve Sanz, Head of Sector EC - member of MAG WG-strategy (gov) -

Part III: Futures/Options

 8. Yu Ping Chan, Office of the UN SG’s Envoy on Technology - CONFIRMED
 9. Concettina Cassa - past MAG member and co-chair WG-strategy (Gov) -
10. Mark Carvell - EuroDIG Member and former UK government policy
    advisers and MAG member. Member of MAG WG-strategy - CONFIRMED

Questions and topics to be addressed 

Part I: Past/Origins  

1. Over the years there have been various expressions of frustration
with the IGF supposedly being just a “talk shop” that does not take
binding decisions.  But this is an essential part of the IGF’s DNA, as
it is what governments and stakeholders at the 2005 Tunis WSIS summit
thought was needed and what they could agree to.  To set the stage for
our discussion, please reflect on the considerations and processes that
shaped the fundamental features of the IGF’s design and made it what it
has become today.

2.  The IGF Mandate approved by the 2005 Tunis WSIS summit included
provisions stating that the IGF should “Promote and assess, on an
ongoing basis, the embodiment of WSIS principles in Internet Governance
processes;” and “Identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention
of the relevant bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate,
make recommendations.”  To what extent has the IGF pursued these
objectives?  What has been achieved or not regarding these functions,
and why?

3.  The global Internet governance agenda has evolved significantly over
the past sixteen years, with many of the issues and political dynamics
that animated early IGFs drifting from center stage while new ones came
to the fore.  What have been the key shifts in substantive focus and
institutional dynamics over the course of the IGF’s history to date?

Part II – Present dynamics

1.  Name one positive change or achievement that you feel can be
attributed to the IGF. Is there anything significant that might have
turned out differently if we had not had the IGF?

2. Has the IGF altered the global discourse or debate in any significant
ways? How much does such discourse and soft norms matter, relative to
negotiated formal agreements?

3.  The IGF has spawned new collaborative processes that work on an
intersessional basis and then feed into the meetings, e.g. the policy
networks, the NRIs, the DCs and the BPFs.  Have these efforts yielded
any important results? What could be done to increase their salience?
What roles could they play going forward as the landscape of Internet
governance and digital cooperation continues to evolve?

4.  How has the multistakeholder approach worked in the IGF? Is it
continuing to develop conceptually and practically, or has it stagnated?
If it has, what can be done to renew it?

Part III: Futures/Options

1.  There have been various calls, including from high-level government
figures, for the IGF to produce more tangible outcomes.  What forms
could these take? What would be needed for the international community
to agree to such a process and outcome?

2.  With regard to the United Nations’ Roadmap and Common Agenda, what
roles and value-added do you see for the IGF?  Do you see a specific
role of the IGF with regard to the proposed Global Digital Compact?

3.  What is your view of the terms of reference for the new Leadership
Panel (formerly referred to as the MHLB)? How can we make this a useful
grouping?  What about the MAG, do its terms of reference and functioning
need to change? 

4. Proposals have been made for the IGF Secretariat and MAG to work
collaboratively on a multi-year plan. Do you think this is feasible? How
would you go about developing and implementing such a plan?

5.  Name one aspect of how the IGF operates that you would change, and
one aspect you would like to retain.

Anriette Esterhuysen - anriette at apc.org//anriette at gmail.com
Chair, United Nations Internet Governance Forum Multistakeholder Advisory Group

Senior advisor global and regional internet governance
Association for Progressive Communications
www.apc.org // afrisig.org

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