[WG-Strategy] [At-Large] Seeking roll back of the IGF Leadership Panel

sivasubramanian muthusamy 6.internet at gmail.com
Wed Nov 24 14:54:12 EST 2021


Thank you Wolfgang.  To emphasize in your own words, what I most agree with:

It makes the IGF stronger, more visible on the international scene and will
open the door for a more enhanced bottom up cooperation among all
stakeholders in global Internet policy making.  It is an IGF+. Members of
the new Panel will act as ambassadors between the discussion and
decision-making layers...

In addition I believe that the Leadership panel should also offer insights
and lead by an enabling and supportive style, to make what is difficult
possible.

Sivasubramanian M



On Thu, Nov 25, 2021 at 1:18 AM Wolfgang Kleinwächter via At-Large <
at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I disagree with the letter, signed by Parminder and Milton. I do not share
> their arguments. I believe, that Parminders and Miltons proposal, to "urge
> civil society and technical community, to refrain from sending any
> nominations for the IGF Leadership Panel" is very counterproductive,
> undermines the future role of the IGF and weakens civil society engagement
> in Internet related public policy making at the global level.
>
> The IGF is indeed a unique experiment in the UN system. Its key purpose is
> to broaden the participatory base of digital policy making. Since 2006 it
> has enabled a broad variety of voices to be heard, including those voices
> otherwise marginalized.It was (and is) a kitchen to cook new ideas.
> Discussion without barriers. Bottom Up. This was the intention. It has
> worked, but it did have also its limits.
>
> As a member of the UN Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG), which
> proposed the establishment of the IGF in 2005, I think we were very right
> to create the IGF as a "discussion plattform" (forum function) without any
> decision making capacity. The fear was, that if the IGF becomes a
> negotiation body, this will kill free and frank discussions. And indeed,
> the informal nature of the IGF did open "mouths and minds" of all
> stakeholders.
>
> I was also a member of the UNCSTD IGF Improvement Working Group (2012). In
> this group we agreed that the IGF should continue as a discussion platform,
> but needs more tangible outputs.
>
> The outcome of the IGF are its (sometimes controversial) "messages". There
> are no "IGF positions": some stakeholders say so, others say so. It is a
> bottom up process. And this is good for a discussion platform.,
>
> However, the digital world has moved forward in the last 17 years.
> Internet Governance isn´t anymore a "technical issue with political
> implications", it is a "political issue with a technical component". For
> many Internet related public policy issues new bodies have been created
> outside the WSIS process and dislinked from the IGF. In the 2020s, there
> are more than a dozen global negotiation bodies where issues like
> cybersecurity, digital economy, sustainable development or human rights in
> the digital age are disucssed. Those issues are on the agenda of the IGF
> since its beginning. But the reality is, that the policy makers in the new
> negotiation bodies, which are primarily intergovernmental bodies, are in
> many cases not informed about the IGF discussions. They even have very
> often no clue what was discussed at the IGF. There is neither a formal nor
> an informal linkage between the "discussion layer" (the multistakeholder
> IGF) and the the "decision making layer" (new intergovernmental negotiation
> bodies).
>
> There is a need to bring the expertise, knowledge and ideas from the
> multistakeholder IGF to the intergovernmental negotiation table. And the
> IGF will benefit, if the diplomats report back - formally or informally -
> to the IGF sessions. The idea of the Multistakeholder Leadership Panel
> (MLP) is driven by this idea to build bridges.
>
> The proposal for the Multistakeholder IGF Leadership Panel is the result
> of a years long multistakeholder discussion process, where all pros and
> cons of such a new unit were critically evaluated and considered by many
> different groups, including many civil society organisations. It was
> inspired by the UNCSTD work. It started with the UNSG High Level Panel on
> Digital Cooperation (2018). It was developed by the Option Paper 5A&B
> (2019) and further specified in the UNSG Roadmap (2020).
>
> Risks, which were articulated in various statements of civil society
> organisations, that a new unit will emerge outside the IGF and could lead
> to a competitive situation, duplication or overlapping of functions, with
> the potential to weaken the IGF, has been heard by the UNSG. My
> understanding of the multistakeholder leadership panel - with its very
> limited mandate - is, that it is part of the general IGF structure and
> rooted in the (broader) MAG. It is like an executive committee for the MAG
> and will make the work of the whole MAG more efficent and effective.  It
> makes the IGF stronger, more visible on the international scene and will
> open the door for a more enhanced bottom up cooperation among all
> stakeholders in global Internet policy making.  It is an IGF+. Members of
> the new Panel will act as ambassadors between the discussion and
> decision-making layers. They are not the "new Internet policy makers", they
> function like a "post office", bringing the messages from the
> multistakeholder IGF to the intergovernmental negotiation table and vice
> versa.
>
> This is a unique opportunity for civil society. And civil society
> organisations, in particular from the Global South, should make use of it.
> Strong civil society representation in the multistakeholder leadership
> panel will contribute to build a human centric information society, based
> on the Civil Society WSIS Declaration (2003), the Tunis Agenda (2005) and
> the Multistakeholder NetMundial Statement (2014). And it will pave the way
> for a strong civil society voice in the process towards a "Global Digital
> Compact" (2023).
>
> Best wishes
>
> Wolfgang
>
> Below are links to our "multistakeholder statement" for the Option Paper
> 5A&B (2020) and the outcome from a multistakeholder expert seminar (2021)
> where a lot of civil society organisations where represented.
>
>
> https://circleid.com/posts/20210304-framing-the-internet-governance-debate-long-road-to-wsis-2025
>
>
> https://circleid.com/posts/20200426-cross-pollination-in-cyberspace-internet-governance-spaghetti-ball
>
>
>
> parminder via At-Large <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org> hat am
> 24.11.2021 16:12 geschrieben:
>
>
> Dear All,
>
> Please find enclosed a letter addressed to the UN Secretary General
> appealing to him to roll back the decision for an IGF Leadership Panel.
>
> The letter is co-signed by Dr Milton Mueller, on behalf  of the Internet
> Governance Project, Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public
> Policy, and Parmider Jeet Singh, for IT for Change, and the Just Net
> Coalition.
>
> It is cc-ed to representatives of civil society and technical community
> groups requesting them to refrain from sending nominations for the IGF
> Leadership Panel, and thus legitimizing it.
>
> The letter argues how the IGF Leadership Panel militates against the basic
> idea, objectives and structure of the IGF, and will weaken it.
>
> Best, parminder
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