[bestbits] [governance] Multistakeholder Roles and Responsibilities

Joana Varon joana at varonferraz.com
Thu Jan 31 17:37:47 EST 2013

Dear all,

I think some people of the governance list felt off from this thread
because people that replied were not in both lists, if so, please, refer to
the exchange of mensages bellow.

Basically, some of us are willing to draft to communications to ITU: 1)
adaptation of the best bits statement (on the content of WTPF documents),
2) follow-up on the letter to the SG during WCIT (on process/barriers faced
by civil society).

With that in mind, Deborah Brown and I have drafted the following text for
the item 2 (follow-up letter to SG). (Is it right that CDT is working on
the first draft for number 1?)

We hope that the draft bellow is useful and if you think so, could you
please add comments until Monday?

As Jeremy have mentioned, let us try to ask for special dispensation to
contribute and try to submit both letters (or just this one) with CS
signatures during next week meeting. Would those attending next week's IEG
meeting (Matthew, Avri?) support this letter and agree to deliver it in

Hope it helps!

Kind regards,


Joana Varon Ferraz
Centro de Tecnologia e Sociedade (CTS-FGV)


31 January, 2012

Open letter to ITU in ref. World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF-13)
preparation process

Dear Secretary General Touré,

Recalling Tunis Agenda (Paragraph 35, in particular) we, the undersigned
members of civil society, write to urge International Telecommunication
Union (ITU) to honor previous commitments expressed by the Secretary
General in order to recognize the importance of ensuring meaningful and
sustainable civil society participation in the preparatory process
undertaken for the World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF).

The few civil society representatives who were in Dubai attending WCIT
welcomed the opportunity to meet with you. On that occasion, we shared with
you the concerns expressed in a
gained the support of over 60 members of civil society globally. At
that time, main issues were: the lack of any official standing to the
public comments solicited prior to WCIT at the ITU’s invitation; the lack
of access to and transparency of working groups, particularly the working
groups of Committee 5; and the absence of mechanisms to encourage
independent civil society participation. We welcome that you included the
public comments in an information note to members of the ITU, where you
have recognized<http://files.wcitleaks.org/public/S12-WCIT12-INF-0005!!MSW-E.pdf>the
*benefits from a greater civil society engagement at ITU” and have *committed
“*to take stock” and provide your membership with “some important
recommendations” in line with the issue that civil society representatives
raised. *

Yet, as preparations are underway for the WTPF, civil society finds itself
facing familiar barriers to participation:

1) There is no formal mechanism for civil society to independently make
contributions to the preparatory process. We recognize that you have on a
number of occasions encouraged member states to form multistakeholder
delegations, but as representatives of civil society has expressed to you
previously, civil society participation in national delegations cannot
substitute for engagement with independent members of civil society. We
request the  opportunity to submit comments on the SG’s report and Member
State opinions, similar to the Public Views and Opinions page for the WCIT,
but with the guarantee that these opinions will be entered into the formal
record.  We recognize that the deadline for contributions was 1 February
2013, but given these barriers.

2) There are significant barriers to entry for meaningful participation in
the May 2013 WTPF meeting. While we welcome that there is a formal process
to apply to attend as a “public attendant”, there is no indication that
civil society representatives who attend will have speaking rights at the
meeting.  As previously expressed in the Best Bits
statement,<http://bestbits.igf-online.net/statement/>we call for the
ITU to create spaces during WTPF for civil society to
express their views, as was done during the WSIS process. We also request
that the WTPF be live streamed to allow for civil society and members of
the public to follow remotely.

Additionally the vetting process is opaque, with no public guidelines for
who is accepted as a public attendant. We call for the ITU to provide
guidance on how the applications admitted.

[ 3) While some members of civil society have been invited to participate
in the Informal Experts Group (IEG), this notice came too late in the
process-- just a few weeks before the IEG’s final meeting-- for most
individuals to find the resources to travel to Geneva. Furthermore,
participation in the final IEG meeting is not sufficient for meaningful
participation in the WTPF process. We regret that this opportunity was not
communicated earlier and more publicly, and call for civil society to be
included earlier in the process in future ITU meetings.]



1) When was the IEG opened to civil society participation? Was it just that
we didn’t know to ask? [We have heard that the USG had sent a letter to the
IEG Chair to request CS participation, waiting to hear back if that
happened and when.]

2) Do members of the IEG have speaking rights at the WTPF May meeting? i.e.
if civil society is on the IEG, then do they have the right to speak at the

3) Is it possible to participate meaningfully in the IEG without attending
in person, i.e. remote participation, contributions over email, etc.

On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 2:37 PM, Joana Varonferraz <joana at varonferraz.com>wrote:

> Let's do it, Mathew.
> Are you already coordinating with CDT to adapt best bits statement?
> I'm between meetings but I can start a draft of the follow up on the
> letter to SG. Deborah, from Access, might help. Anyone who has a little
> time to help is more then welcome. We will start it in about 2 hours.
> Lets try to have both drafts by the end of the day and try not to be so
> creative, just departuring from the points and views of previous consensus,
> as these letters will be just follow ups from previous "achievements",
> right?
> Best
> Joana
> --- ~ --- ~ --- ~
> Joana Varon Ferraz
> Researcher
> Centro de Tecnologia e Sociedade (CTS/FGV)
> www.freenetfilm.org
> On 31/01/2013, at 09:52, Gene Kimmelman <genekimmelman at gmail.com> wrote:
> I agree also on this approach
> -------- Original message --------
> From: matthew shears <mshears at cdt.org>
> Date:
> To: bestbits at lists.igcaucus.org,Jeremy Malcolm <jeremy at ciroap.org>,
> joana at varonferraz.com
> Subject: Re: [bestbits] [governance] Multistakeholder Roles and
> Responsibilities
> I agree with Joana and Jeremy - there are two communications we should do
> pretty quickly:
> 1) take the Best Bits WCIT statement and adapt it - or at least the first
> part on transparency and access, etc. - to the WTPF.  I personally don't
> see the participation challenges for civil society being much less than
> they were at the WCIT - which is ironic because the WTPF is not a
> treaty-making conference - and the IEG is not adequate by any means (I am
> on the IEG and will be attending next week).  I'm sure CDT would be happy
> to take a first cut at this text.
> 2) follow-up on the letter to the SG and the meeting we had in Dubai in
> which participation in the WTPF was discussed.
> If there is agreement on text on 1 above I can raise points from it or
> read it in the IEG meeting next week for Best Bits.
> While I understand the Brazilian telecoms regulator's view there are a
> number of points in the SG's 4th report that refer to multistakeholderism
> in Internet governance issues and there are two opinions submitted so far
> that take positions I believe are contrary to civil society's interests in
> terms of stakeholder participation and enhanced cooperation.   I think
> civil society messaging on these issues is as important for the WTPF as it
> was for the WCIT.
> And finally, who on this list is going to the UNESCO WSIS/IGF meeting at
> the end of February?  Thought it might be good to have a gathering during
> that week to compare notes on WSIS+10/IGF and discuss WTPF?
> Best
> Matthew
> On 31/01/2013 09:01, Jeremy Malcolm wrote:
> On 31/01/13 05:15, Joana Varon wrote:
> Sorry for the late reply after the sympathy some have expressed on
> drafting a letter highlighting the promises of Dr Touré at the WCIT SC
> meeting. I was approaching the Brazilian government for support on our
> demand for space and participation of civil society organizations on ITU
> processes.
> Though showing solidarity with the cause, Brazilian government (or our
> telecom regulatory agency responsible for representing the country at ITU)
> has signaled that WTPF is not the proper sphere to submit extensive
> contribution regarding CS participation, the plenipotentiary would be so.
> So, as far as I know, Brazil will submit a contribution to WTPF only
> generally speaking about openness and transparency, but not presenting a
> particular proposal for change in the mechanisms for civil society
> participation.
>  In that sense, they have also addressed the existence of Informal
> Experts Group for WTPF, highlighting that:
> ...
> Well, this is surely not satisfactory, so, with that in mind, I wonder if
> we should go for that joined CS letter focusing on WTPF and stressing
> previous commitments from the Secretary General, do we still have time? Or,
> for the ones how are more aware of UN bodies internal procedures, do we
> have to wait the loooong time for the plenipot? What could we grasp right
> now?
> (I'm quoting almost your whole message because I intend on forwarding my
> reply to the wcit12 list too, as an almost identical discussion is going on
> there.)
> The deadline for comments on the Secretary General's report is tomorrow,
> so we may be hard pressed to do anything by then!  Having said that, we
> could ask for special dispensation to contribute a belated submission, as
> was granted for the Best Bits statement to WCIT.
> Personally I am unlikely to have time to take the lead on a letter but I
> am supportive of the idea and would have comments to give on a draft if say
> you or Emma from CDT were to send some draft text.  The IGC has not
> successfully done a statement for a while, and Best Bits is in transition
> (watch this space), so probably it would probably not be under either of
> those umbrellas, but rather a generic civil society letter to which groups
> could sign on.
> I agree that the invitation to participate in the IEG is no substitute,
> though for those who can, good on them.  Avri said she is on the group and
> there is CDT, but unless you count ISOC (I don't), there is no other civil
> society that I know of.  Doubtless largely due to the lack of funding, as
> always (that's why I won't be there).
> --
> *Dr Jeremy Malcolm
> Senior Policy Officer
> Consumers International | the global campaigning voice for consumers*
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