[bestbits] Fwd: Civil society letter to UN DESA on transparency and accountability of IGF Retreat

Jeremy Malcolm jmalcolm at eff.org
Wed Jul 13 20:45:40 EDT 2016

This response has just been received  to our joint letter on transparency and accountability of the IGF Retreat. 

Jeremy Malcolm
Senior Global Policy Analyst
Electronic Frontier Foundation
jmalcolm at eff.org

Tel: 415.436.9333 ext 161

:: Defending Your Rights in the Digital World ::

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Wai Min Kwok <kwok at un.org>
> Date: 13 July 2016 at 5:23:34 PM GMT-7
> To: jmalcolm at eff.org
> Cc: Chengetai MASANGO <CMASANGO at unog.ch>, Brian Clarke GUTTERMAN <BGUTTERMAN at unog.ch>, "Lynn St.Amour" <Lynn at Internet-Matters.org>, Deniz Susar <susar at un.org>
> Subject: Re: Fwd: Civil society letter to UN DESA on transparency and accountability of IGF Retreat
> Dear Jeremy, 
> Thank you for your letter of 30 June 2016.  
> First and foremost, please rest assured, as reaffirmed by USG Wu on behalf of the SG, that the UN commitment to the open, transparent, democratic and multi-stakeholder character of the IGF remains firm.  The retreat is just start of an ongoing process aimed at improving the working modalities of the IGF, as called for in WSIS+10.   
> Indeed, the retreat will be informed and guided by the WSIS+10 resolution that renewed the mandate of the IGF as stated in the Tunis Agenda, and the report of the Working Group on Improvements to the IGF of  the Commission on Science and Technology for Development. A set of relevant background documentation as well as the proposed agenda of the retreat are made available online for public access: 
> (Refer to http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/2016-06-23-15-15-52/background-documentation; http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/igf-retreat-2016-agenda). The UN Secretariat has also requested a call for inputs and all contributions are made available online (Refer to http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/igf-retreat-written-inputs) 
> The retreat is envisaged as a strategic dialogue and it is hoped that it will further strengthen the IGF, leading to enhanced and accelerated progress on implementing improvements to the IGF, taking into account the report of the Working Group. It is expected that there will be further suggestions for improvements that will need to be reviewed broadly by all Stakeholder groups following the retreat.  Specifically, any idea or suggestion coming out of the retreat will be shared with the broader IGF community for further comment/consultation. Daily summaries will be made available as soon as they are available. Remote participation, however, will not be possible due to the retreat brainstorming modality and on-site logistics. (Refer to http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/igf-retreat-faqs) 
> The modalities for considering and taking forward any idea or suggestion coming out of the retreat will be subsequently considered by the global IGF community itself, following various work streams of the IGF community including the IGF's Multistakeholder Advisory Group. 
> Once again, we thank you and look forward to your continued participation and contribution to the IGF. 
> Best regards,
> Wai Min 
> Wai Min KWOK 
> Division for Public Administration and Development Management | Department of Economic and Social Affairs 
> United Nations | Office DC2-1750 | kwok at un.org | +1 (917) 367 3026 | publicadministration.un.org
> From: Jeremy Malcolm <jmalcolm at eff.org> 
> Subject: Civil society letter to UN DESA on transparency and accountability of IGF Retreat 
> Date: June 30, 2016 at 11:57:45 PM GMT+2 
> To: igfretreat at intgovforum.org, IGF <igf at unog.ch> 
> Dear organizers,
> In light of the scheduled “Retreat on Advancing the 10-Year Mandate of the Internet Governance Forum” to be held in New York from 14-16 July 2016, we would like to note that the theme is of interest to all parties in the IGF community. As such, we kindly request that remote participation facilities be made available to widen participation in this event, and that more information be provided on the expected modalities for implementation of the meeting’s outcomes and the lines of accountability for such implementation.
> The Tunis Agenda states in paragraph 73, “The Internet Governance Forum, in its working and function, will be multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic and transparent.” To the extent that UN DESA has custodianship of this unique multi-stakeholder institution, it is incumbent upon it to uphold these values, and this extends to the transparency and accountability of meetings such as the IGF retreat and of the implementation of the recommendations of such meetings. 
> The IGF has been working since its inception to be open, transparent, and fully accessible to all stakeholders through the live streaming of all its sessions and its planning meetings. It also offered remote participants the possibility to intervene, collecting inputs from the widest possible range of stakeholders. It is also valuable to mention that platforms for remote participation have been made available in meetings with limited membership, such as the 2013/2014 CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation (WGEC).
> As the purpose of the retreat is to show “progress on working modalities and the participation of relevant stakeholders from developing countries”, remote participation constitutes the very essence of a participatory working modality and broadens the chance for under-represented communities to engage in the IGF’s mandate.
> Apart from the need for transparency of the working sessions of the retreat itself, it is also important to ensure clarity around the bigger picture of how this event will impact the evolution of the IGF, and by what means. We therefore ask for clarification of to whom the retreat’s recommendations will be addressed or directed, who will have the authority and responsibility to implement these recommendations, and to whom they will they be accountable in doing so.
> We trust that the organizers will find these to be reasonable requests that will contribute to the public legitimacy of the outcomes of this meeting by all stakeholders, and we look forward to receiving your reply on these points in advance of the retreat next month.
> Endorsed by:
> Baltic Internet Policy Initiative, Belarus
> University of Zurich, Switzerland
> IT for Change, India
> Eurolinc, France
> v5n4e8, Canada
> SFLC.in, India
> Electronic Frontier Foundation, USA
> Renata Aquino Ribeiro, Brazil
> Nadira Al Araj, Palestine
> Timothy McGinnis, United States
> Louis Pouzin, France
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