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

Tamir Israel tisrael at cippic.ca
Thu Jan 28 11:22:51 EST 2016

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.

The OECD model is to produce non-binding soft law in a multi-stakeholder
context. 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 (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).

The key to the OECD is that it generates lots of policy reports or, at
most, soft law instruments -- 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.
But the OECD operates on a multi-stakeholder principle, 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.

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).

My understanding of the proposed 2011 UN governance body at the time
(and please correct me if I'm wrong) was wholly different. It was to be
based on a command and control model. 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. 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.

All the best (and happy 2016 !),

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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