[bestbits] Fwd: Re: [IRPCoalition] OECD - what is going on? and what do you need to know?

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Sun Jan 31 10:13:32 EST 2016

Dear Tamir

A happy 2016 to you as well, and thanks for your engagement with this
important issue.
Sorry for delay in coming back. Was preoccupied...

On Thursday 28 January 2016 09:52 PM, Tamir Israel wrote:
> Dear Parminder,
> If I recall, objections to the 2011 multi-lateral, inter-state
> Internet governance body actually arose from the fact that the
> proposal did /not/ follow the OECD model.

I did some background work towards developing the 2011 CIRP proposal ,
and it was quite independent, and in the open. IT for Change gave a
to 2010 UNDESA consultation on enhanced cooperation, and then did a
background paper <http://www.itforchange.net/ibsa_RiodeJaneiro_Sep2011>
for IBSA meeting in Rio de Janeiro (both are public documents), which
sought a UN Body on Internet policies taking from the OECD model. This
OECD model was specifically discussed in both these papers. The mandate
was very similar to that of OECD Committees, including the Committee on
Digital Policies (except on one, significant point to be discussed
later). The stakeholder consultation process of CIRP was exactly taken
from the OECD model, plus a very important additional element that "IGF
will provide inputs to the CIRP" (OECD having no such system and thus
being deficient to that extent in its multistakeholder content)

See the mandate of OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy here
and that of its predecessor CICCP here
. These committees were always supposed to make policy, develop policy
frameworks, and coordinate policies of their members. Policy development
is the central objective of OECD, and this is written upfront on its
Internet economy page <http://www.oecd.org/internet/ieconomy/> 'The OECD
focuses on the development of better policies..."

When OECD inter gov agreements and treaties are developed, like they
exist in areas of tax avoidance, anti-bribery, and so on, the respective
committees facilitate such agreement/ treaty development process.

UN CIRP, as per India's proposal in 2011, was supposed to basically be
doing all this work. And, as can seen from a reading of the proposal,
with the same multistakeholder model, only reinforcement through
formation of an organic linkage with the IGF and inviting its inputs.
So, I will like to ask you, how has India's CIRP proposal become a
multilateral, inter-state, IG body, while OECD's CDEP is a
multistakeholder, harmless body? That was my original question.

Now, if you want to  focus all your argument against UN CIRPs on just
one of its mandate, which was of oversight over ICANN, lets discuss it.

Firstly, when IT for Change proposed a OECD like model we suggested just
policy development like OECD does and not ICANN oversight for this
body.... But I can see that when India was making a proposal to the UN,
it had to keep in mind one of the most contested global IG issue, of the
US's unilateral oversight over ICANN, and the express mandate of the
WSIS that"all governments should have an equal role and responsibility
for international Internet governance and for ensuring the stability,
security and continuity of the Internet" (para 68), which directly
speaks to equal oversight role over ICANN, if there has to be one. Now,
India did not have time to make an elaborate separate proposal for
oversight transition, and put that role under the proposed new Committee
for Internet Related Policies. In doing so, it picked up the language
from 2 Models of IG architecture put forward by the (multistakeholder)
Working Group on IG <http://www.wgig.org/docs/WGIGREPORT.pdf> .

Further, do note that the India proposal as read out in the UN clearly

"for the establishment of an open­ended working group under
the Commission on Science and Technology for Development for drawing up the detailed terms of reference for
CIRP, with a view to actualizing it within the next 18 months. We are open to the views and suggestions of
Member States, and stand ready to work with other delegations to carry forward this proposal, and thus seek to
fill the serious gap in the implementation of the Tunis Agenda, by providing substance and content to the concept
of Enhanced Co­operation enshrined in the Tunis Agenda"

So, everyone was open for suggestions. One should have just said, remove
the oversight role from this committee and the rest is ok... Within a
few months, at the next CSTD meeting, India again said, tell us what
issues you have with our proposal and lets discuss them. No response.
Then in another few months, on its own, in its submission to the CSTD WG
on Enhanced Cooperation, India separated the issue and proposed
mechanism for general Internet related public policy development (as
OECD does) and the oversight role, on which they asked for a separate
discussion and possible mechanism.

But their proposal remained as much of a taboo as before, to Northern
government and big business, but also to the tech community and most of
the civil society... And this is the hypocrisy that I point to.
> The OECD model is to produce non-binding soft law in a
> multi-stakeholder context.

This is simple misuse of language, driven by partisan hegemonic
constructs, that people nilly willy fall prey to.... I have linked to
OECD documents above... See the mandates and activities of UN bodies,
like UNESCO <http://en.unesco.org/about-us/introducing-unesco>, WHO
<http://www.who.int/about/en/>, UNDP
<http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/operations/about_us.html>, and
if you are going for a committee (which is *not* the dominant mode of UN
working, it mostly functions through separate bodies as listed) then
maybe you can see this one
<http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/copuos/index.html> ....  Most of
these do more or less exactly the same stuff as OECD committees do...
How often have you seen hard law coming out of the UN . And then OECD
also produces binding agreements... What and how is what OECD does
'soft' and what UN does 'hard'... There is no IMHO basis for your
statement and claim.

As for for your phrase 'in a multistakeholder context' (referring to
OECD), that is key to my question. How do call the proposed UN CIRP be
not multistakeholder and the working of OECD committees
multistakeholder??? I am sure you would have read the CIRP proposal, but
if you havent it is again here
and has exactly the same stakeholder consultation mechanism as OECD's CDEP.

It is just not you who in your in your opening line of this email
denounced the proposed CIRP as multilateral inter-state body, and are
calling the OECD model as multilateral, when, I repeat it for the
hundredth time, both have, by design, the same stakeholder participaiton
model. Almost everyone does.... An ISOC/ tech community rep recently
called the OECD process as "multistakeholderism at work" (
http://www.internetac.org/archives/category/contributions ). Such
adulatory references, calling the OECD process, multistakeholder, are
commonplace....  But the same people call a proposal form developing
countries with the same stakeholder participation model as multilateral,
inter gov, and so on...I think this is extremely unfair. And a great
example of hegemonic discourse at work, extremely efficiently.

> On digital issues, civil society has direct input into that
> policy-making process, and this has been the case since the Seoul
> Ministerial in 2009 

I am on OECD's CS advisory group's elist and fully know how such
inputting takes place, and how much of it gets accepcted... But in any
case, as mentioned, exactly the same process was proposed for the UN
CIRP, including UN funded meetings of advisory groups preceding the
inter gov council meetings, as happens with OECD.

> (the recent formulation of the Committee on Digital Economy which you
> refer to was a change in name only, nothing changed functionally with
> respect to the nature or scope of digital issues undertaken or civil
> society's role therein).

I know that formulation of CEDP was a change in name only, but proposals
were invited " to improve its working methods" (
  )  while changing its name in 2014.  What I want to know is whether
any civil society group asked for change in this Committees stakeholder
consultation processes to making it 'really multistakeholder', if the
current procedures are not considered so (which is the only excuse to
decry UN CIRP proposal). I know that nothing like this happened. Why?

> The key to the OECD is that it generates lots of policy reports or, at
> most, soft law instruments 

As said, it makes as much policy as UN bodies do.. Using language in
such a partisan manner is IMHO not quite correct. It is simply the
hegemonic construction which powerful forces work to make and sustain.

> -- nothing binding comes out of it. In this context, it's useful for
> civil society to engage with other stakeholders to attempt to resolve
> policy issues. We definitely do not have the final say on these
> policies, nor do we have a veto on par with state parties.

Exactly the same model was suggested for UN CIRP...

> But the OECD operates on a multi-stakeholder principle, 

If it does, that UN CIRP was also a multistakeholder proposal, of being
exactly the same stakeholder participation design.

> meaning they will keep working until views of all member states and of
> the four stakeholder groups (which include, as relevant: the business
> community, the technical community, a trade union community and on
> telecommunications and digital issues, civil society). To date there
> has been only one single occasion where a policy document was adopted
> by the OECD over the sustained objections of civil society.

That was the single most important document produced by the committee
"Principles for Internet policy making"... On others issues too I know,
they listen but the inter gov committee finally decides. And I am sure
that much has been written in OECD policy docs that does not pass full
civil society muster.... You are over-blowing the camaraderie.  And if
there  is indeed some kind of a 'temporary and limited congruence' of
libertarian civil society and tech community with the Northern countries
on Internet issues, that has a different basis, and is essentially
temporary and limited. Such congruence often takes place between civil
society and developing country views in most global social, economic and
cultural polity issues. Lets not get into that discussion. 9But if you
want to, I am happy to )..
> Even that policy documents, though, have no binding effect on anyone.
> In practice, many, many OECD policies remain largely unimplemented by
> OECD member states. They tend to form more of a reference or normative
> statement that is at most useful as one single input into domestic
> policy-making processes (I note incidentally that I do a lot of
> national policy development and that in my experience most OECD
> policies tend to be more useful to civil society than to other
> segments of society, for whatever that's worth).

Every single thing is true of UN bodies as well... Please do read in
detail the mandates and working of the UN bodies that I referenced and
others (like UNCTAD), which I am sure you have been reading about.
> My understanding of the proposed 2011 UN governance body at the time
> (and please correct me if I'm wrong) was wholly different.

I hope my above references corrects it.....
> It was to be based on a command and control model. 

It was 80 percent OECD's Internet policy like body, and 20 percent had
the problematic oversight role, which (1) pursuant to Tunis Agenda
references India needed to put somewhere in its proposal, (2) India was
always ready to discuss it, and (3) in less than a year after the
initial proposal, in its proposal to WG on Enhanced Cooperation, India
split the proposal to separate the oversight mechanism issue... However,
the attitude to, and name calling vis a vis, its proposal for a Un
platform to develop Internet related policies, and similar proposals by
groups like mine, did not move an inch... It was the same diabolical
multilateral,, inter gov, proposal, out to control the Internet...

This is simply a pro rich country and anti developing country view,
which does not behove the global civil society.

> It envisioned something similar to ICANN (which, unlike the OECD,
> directly implements its policies by its control of the root, etc), but
> with governments at the helm as opposed to the stakeholder model. 

Oversight of ICANN has been completely distinct from ICANN proper since
the WSIS, the WGIG report and the Tunis Agenda... It is outrageous to
suggest that CIRP proposal aimed to replace ICANN. And even if there is
a hurry to misunderstand and mis-characterise proposals from developing
country (given their under-capacity to defend them), it is easy to see
that the wording on 'oversight' in the Indiam proposal came from the
WGIG report, where the distinctions between oversight and actual ICANN
operations was clearly made, over much diligent discussions in an
entirely multi-stakeholder fashion.
> Indeed, one element of the proposal would have been to place ICANN
> (and perhaps some of the other technical communities) under the
> control of the new UN governance body. This is very different from the
> OECD soft policy-development process.

Yes, you mean the 'oversight element', which issue has been discussed in
detail above, and to repeat, was removed by subsequent Indian proposals.

I  am happy to discuss this further, and provide an further information
or clarification that you might require.

And sorry for the long email..... I wanted to remove what has become a
deep rooted confusion, (to the extent I can :) )...

Best regards
> All the best (and happy 2016 !),
> Tamir
> On 1/28/2016 8:59 AM, parminder wrote:
>> On Thursday 28 January 2016 06:48 PM, Lea Kaspar wrote:
>>> Hi Parminder, the assumption of the contradiction seem like a non
>>> sequitur. Why would interest to engage in a process like the OECD
>>> have to imply a normative endorsement of the status quo? Working
>>> with the system that we've currently got can go hand in hand with
>>> efforts to make the system as a whole better. Not to mention the
>>> value of damage control.
>> Yes Lea, that can be... But does there exist any plan of the engaged
>> civil society to tell the forthcoming OECD Ministerial that the model
>> of Internet policy making that they employ is really a
>> inter-governmental (pluri or multi lateral) one and not
>> multistakeholder one, and as such not really acceptable to civil
>> society, even though we may be working with you per force. And also
>> ask these governments how they brazenly run such a inter-gov policy
>> system when they criticise any similar effort by UN as being
>> distastefully inter-gov and multi-lateral, and say pious things like
>> that Internet is just not the kind of thing to be governed in an
>> inter-gov manner. Are we ready to make such a statement at the
>> Ministrial, while, ok, accepting your logic, not stopping to engage
>> with OECD's policy processes, in a 'damage control' way, as you put it?
>> All these civil society actors and groups were around in 2011 when
>> they shouted down India's Internet policy mechanism proposal which
>> was deliberately shaped exactly on the OECD's model as being
>> inter-gov and multilateral, and thus unthinkably bad, representing
>> the worst things that any human mind could ever come up with...
>> In fact, it is just 2-3 years ago that OECD's Committee on Digital
>> Economy was formed, morphed from the earlier committee on computers,
>> communication and information policy -- this happened much after the
>> civil society's raucous denouncement of India's UN proposal.... Did,
>> at that point when this committee was being formed, civil society
>> tell OECD  that Internet cannot be governed in an inter gov manner,
>> and when they are forming this new committee thy should make it
>> genuinely multistakeholder.... No, no one spoke a word.... I am ready
>> to be told that I am wrong. To repeat, not one word was said, much
>> less a statement made.  it was not that civil society asked for it,
>> and they were refused, whereby I may accept what you are saying...
>> They never uttered a single word.... Such is its pusillanimity in
>> front of the powerful, while the real job of civil society is to
>> challenge the most powerful.
>> And now, in preparation for the forthcoming Ministerial, when in the
>> civil society advisory group to OECD's committee, an odd voice
>> recently spoke about whether OECD's process is multistakeholder
>> enough, the general consensus was, leave that aside, lets focus on
>> substantive issues!!
>> When we are in a discussion about the global policy stage, suddenly
>> no one can even think of any important enough non ICANN-y
>> Internet-related public policy issues at all - we have spent years
>> wondering whether any or enough of such  issues even exist. It is a
>> real joke!.. Just shift the scene, we are at the OECD, and such
>> policy issues roll out like no ones business - work in the Internet
>> age, sharing economy, economics of data, algorithmic economy, policy
>> implications of internet of things, big data and social profiling
>> ........... The list is unending. Civil society itself actively keeps
>> suggesting new policy areas and engaging with them.
>> People like Nick Ashton will actively argue at global forums like
>> this, that no, there is no need to have a separate Internet or
>> digital policies related body, and all such areas can very well be
>> dealt by policy bodies looking at respective impacted domains (work,
>> education, governance, etc) ... But no one tells OECD's Digital
>> Economy Policy Committee that it is superfluous when OECD has about
>> 50 other committees dealing with every possible area, where, by  that
>> logic , specific issues of Internet impact could have been adequately
>> dealt with.
>> Lea, you really see nothing contradictory or amiss here!?
>> parminder
>>> Warm wishes,
>>> Lea
>>> On Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 1:13 PM, parminder
>>> <parminder at itforchange.net <mailto:parminder at itforchange.net>> wrote:
>>>     On Thursday 28 January 2016 06:32 PM, Carlos Afonso wrote:
>>>>     Grande Parm,
>>>>     "Global IG civil society" as a monolithic bloc? Could you elaborate?
>>>     Dear Carlos,
>>>     Nice to hear from you!
>>>     I should  not have generalised. My apologies. But the civil
>>>     society section that engages with OECD's Internet policy
>>>     processes is really a pretty big part of the civil society
>>>     groups dominant in the global IG space. So, my question may be
>>>     taken just as being addressed to this quite big civil society
>>>     section, vis a vis their apparently contradictory stand when
>>>     they are at the OECD (the club of the rich countries) vis a vis
>>>     when they are at the UN (a grouping of all countries) .
>>>     best regards, parminder
>>>>     fraternal regards
>>>>     --c.a.
>>>>     On 1/28/16 10:00, parminder wrote:
>>>>>     Thanks Carolina for compiling this information.
>>>>>     As global IG civil society preparesin full enthusiasm to participate in
>>>>>     the OECD ministerial on digital economy policy, I would ask what has
>>>>>     become my pet question...
>>>>>     Why would you not support the same model of Internet policy making if
>>>>>     all governments instead of just the 34 richest ones are involved, if the
>>>>>     stakeholder participation processes remain exactly the same as with this
>>>>>     OECD process? (And that would include your native country, Brazil.)
>>>>>     I cant make it simpler.
>>>>>     Can all this enthusiasm notbe considered a pro rich countries approach?
>>>>>     Not something that behoves global civil society, which is supposed to be
>>>>>     on the side of the weaker and marginalised, groups and people.
>>>>>     parminder
>>>>>     On Thursday 28 January 2016 07:18 AM, Carolina Rossini wrote:
>>>>>>     Hi all.
>>>>>>     Today, we - at PK- have published a couple of short texts about what
>>>>>>     is going on in preparation for the OECD Ministerial Meeting. The
>>>>>>     Ministerial will take place in Cancun in June 2016.
>>>>>>     We've also included information on how to participate. The most
>>>>>>     important step is to become a member of CSISAC, the civil society
>>>>>>     coalition that channels the participation and concerns of CS in the
>>>>>>     OECD.
>>>>>>     Best, Carol
>>>>>>     ·     OECD Sets the Scene for Future Decades of ICT Policy Development
>>>>>>     https://www.publicknowledge.org/news-blog/blogs/oecd-sets-the-scene-for-future-decades-of-ict-policy-development
>>>>>>     ·      Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
>>>>>>     https://www.publicknowledge.org/organization-for-economic-co-operation-and-development
>>>>>>     ·      OECD Ministerial Meetings
>>>>>>     https://www.publicknowledge.org/oecd-ministerial-meetings
>>>>>     ____________________________________________________________
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