[bestbits] [governance] Second WGEC meeting26-27 January 2017, Geneva

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Mon Jan 30 12:21:57 EST 2017

In the first meeting of the WGEC, in Sept 2016, the group simply came up
with two questions, one was about what are the high level
characteristics of "enhanced cooperation" and second asking what kind of
recommendations the group can come up with. The second meeting last week
looked into the responses and discussed them.

The responses about the kind of recommendations that WGEC can come up
with ranged from (1) seeking a new UN based mechanism/ body for
developing Internet related public policies, to (2) hinting on some
looser coordination mechanisms among many agencies that deal with some
Internet related public policies issues, to (3) arguing that all that is
needed is to develop some required qualities, like transparency,
accountability, etc for bodies which already do various kinds of policy
work in this area.

Hopefully, as argued in my previous email, if we can indeed pull
ourselves out of many age old confusions and inappropriate conflations
in this area, this above takes us to the core of the issue. I understand
that there a few possible positions different actors can take on this
matter, but one should if possible commit to one or the other, and come
out with clear institutional mechanism corresponding to that position
(unless of course none is intended, which should be clearly stated). We
have spent too much time in this morass, and going forward with greater
clarity and responsibility would be highly desirable. We owe it to the
world, which is being deeply impacted by the Internet phenomenon, which
keep raising important and urgent public policy issues that beg to be

I see the following possible positions in this matter.

1. No international Internet related public policies are required.

2. Even if they are required, different global bodies are already
dealing with then adequately. In this regard either nothing more needs
to be done, or, the WGEC can simply develop a series of desirable
qualities or characteristics that all such institution/ processes must
posses. Those holding such a view should, at this stage, come up with a
precise method or mechanism they will like to follow to ensure that
existing mechanisms/ processes do show such desired qualities, or at
least how to persuade them to move in such a direction.

3. What is needed is some kind of a relatively loose coordination
mechanism among the existing bodies etc dealing with Internet related
international public policies. Those with such a view should come up
with the precise mechanism that they have in mind for such coordination
-- how does it work, where is it located, and so on.

4. A new committed institutional mechanism - in form of a new body/
agency - is needed for international internet-related public policies.
Those with this view should give clear and precise proposals in this
regard, where would such body be located, would it be a new one or a
modified existing one, what would be its processes of taking in public
inputs/ advices etc, what would be its relationship with the IGF, and so on.

What I am tying to stress is that we need to be clear that this stage
about what kind of global IG institutional architecture we want to see,
especially in terms of international public policy processes, and come
up with clear and precise institutional recommendations in this regard,
with all the needed details.

The above are some general categories with regard to possible positions
on EC (enhanced cooperation). But we have seen some more specific
proposals, or more appropriately hints or outlines of them. I would
encourage those who have mentioned them to detail out what exactly is
that they have in mind, how would it work etc. for instance, many have
said here that an EC mechanism could be an extension of, under the
umbrella of, or laterally conjoined with, the IGF process, taking place
along with it. It will be useful to make a fully develop proposal ut of
it, complete with the essential details. Some others hinted on the
possibility of an EC mechanism under the Commission on Science and
Technology for Development (CSTD). Similar elaboration would be useful
in this case. Those who want a whole new relatively independent
mechanism should similarly detail it out, as for instance my
organisation has been doing for quite some time now. We again submitted
it <http://unctad.org/meetings/en/Contribution/WGEC2016_m2_c15_en.pdf>
to the WGEC in response to the questionnaire.


On Monday 30 January 2017 10:16 PM, parminder wrote:
> Hi All
> Let me share my views and assessment about the WG on Enhanced
> Cooperation, of which I was nominated by civil society to be a member.
> First of all, the central issue of what has been called as "enhanced
> cooperation" in Tunis Agenda is the need for developing international
> Internet related public policies. The central issue is not cooperation
> among whom - only governments, or across stakeholders' this is a
> secondary and a follow-up issue.
> What we therefore need to agree first is whether or not there is a
> need for developing international Internet-related public policies; in
> the same way that WHO does for health, UNESCO for education, UNEP for
> environment, UNDP for development, and so on.
> Do note that these UN agencies do not "control" the respective sectors
> worldwide, just because they are UN agencies tasked with dealing with
> these sectors internationally. I say this because the  bogie of
> "control" of the Internet gets raised immediately as one proposes a
> similar UN body for looking into international public policy aspects
> for the Internet. For instance, education is almost as sensitive a
> sector, politically and culturally, as the Internet, but UNESCO is
> universally acknowledged to have done very good and useful work
> internationally in this sector - especially for developing countries -
> without "controlling" education.
> Now, if we agree that international Internet related public policies
> indeed need to be developed -- then we can come to question of who
> should do so.
> Public policy is a specific political construct. Every policy is not
> public policy - for instance, technical policies as developed by
> technical bodies is not public policy unless they are so designated by
> an authorised public body.
> Public policies are definitionally developed by government, or those
> who represent people or groups of people -- however imperfect be the
> process of such representation.
>  The first para of the Wikipedia entry on "public policy" defines it as
>     "*Public policy* is the principled guide to action taken by the
>     administrative executive branches
>     <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_%28government%29> of the
>     state <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_%28polity%29> with
>     regard to a class of issues, in a manner consistent with law
>     <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law> and institutional customs
>     <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institution>."
> and the second para as;
>     "Other scholars define public policy as a system of "courses of
>     action, regulatory <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation>
>     measures, laws <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law>, and funding
>     <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funding> priorities concerning a
>     given topic promulgated by a governmental entity or its
>     representatives."
> I hope we do not mean to redefine what is public policy. To get to the
> core of this issue; corporations cannot sit with governments on an
> equal footing to make public policy, which is what many people
> actually advocate here. We need to make our position clear on this one
> central issue, as civil society actors associated with IG. It is time
> we come out clean on this, and leave obfuscations behind. If we can
> agree on this one issue I am sure we can agree on all.
> Participation in public policy making, as inputting, advising,
> developing its initial discourse (as with the IGF) is an entirely
> different matter. That comes AFTER there comes into existence a
> mechanism for public policy making. For instance, there would be
> absolutely no point in developing an extensive public consultation,
> inputting, policy discussions, etc around health policies in a country
> if there existed no actual mechanism for making any such policy.
> That is the situation at the global level on Internet issues. We have
> well-developed mechanism for public policy dialogue on Internet issues
> in the form of the IGF, but have no place to actually develop such
> public policies. This renders the policy dialogue space itself
> increasingly less and less useful, as has been happening with the IGF.
> It was the express intent of Tunis Agenda to create a multistakeholder
> policy dialogue space (the IGF) and a governmental policy making space
> (the proposed new mechanism for "enhanced cooperation") as two
> distinct but conjoined institutional mechanisms. Any mis-conception in
> this regard was cleared by subsequent UN resolutions that expressly
> said that the IGF and "enhanced cooperation" were distinct but
> complementing spaces. The intended institutional design could not be
> clearer -- although I do admit that exactly how governments should
> develop International Internet-related public policies remain a
> contested issue.
> But this contestation is made much worse by actors who - for whatever
> reasons - keep confusing and conflating (1) pre- public policy
> development processes of inputs, advice, dialogue, etc, and (2) actual
> public policy development processes (where, as said, one certainly can
> not have corporations sit on equal footing with govs to make public
> policy).
> One earnestly hopes that it is time that we get out of this confusion/
> conflation which has no basis in democratic political theory. Public
> policy has a specific political meaning and we cannot afford to use
> this term loosely. It is the very basis of democratic thinking, in
> that public policy can only be made by representatives of people, and
> groups of people. Corporations certainly have no vote here.
> On the other hand, everyone must be consulted, given a chance to input
> and participate in pre public policy dialogues, which happens at the IGF..
> If we indeed agree to come out of this very problematic confusion/
> conflation, we can then actually discuss what would be the best means
> to develop international Internet-related public policies, the real
> and in fact the only pertinent question under the "enhanced
> cooperation" related discussions. And this alone is the subject matter
> for the consideration of the WG on Enhanced Cooperation.
> Having given the needed background, I will describe what is happening
> at the WGEC in another email, in a short while.
> parminder
> On Monday 30 January 2017 09:07 PM, WANGARI KABIRU wrote:
>> Many thanks Anriette for the brief and the references are clarifying!
>> Be blessed.
>> Regards/Wangari
>> ---
>> Pray God Bless. 2013Wangari circa - "Being of the Light, We are
>> Restored Through Faith in Mind, Body and Spirit; We Manifest The
>> Kingdom of God on Earth".
>> On Monday, 30 January 2017, 16:16, Anriette Esterhuysen
>> <anriette at apc.org> wrote:
>> Dear Wangari
>> Apologies for delay in responding.
>> It is an interesting question, and it goes to the heart of the enhanced
>> cooperation debate, which in many ways is at the heart of the internet
>> governance debate that has been ongoing since 2003.
>> The term was first used in 2005 - and it means different things to
>> different people, and the text in the Tunis Agenda where it is first
>> references in a formal UN agreement, can also be interpreted in
>> different ways.
>> For the last decade it has been used as a political football.. in one of
>> those matches in which it is not clear if anyone actually scores any
>> goals. In fact, for some of the players, the objective of the match has
>> been to avoid anyone scoring any goals :)
>> This is a good recent piece by David Souter:
>> https://www.apc.org/en/blog/inside-information-society-enhanced-cooperation-en
>> I quote from it:
>> "‘Enhanced cooperation’, like the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), was
>> part of the compromise on the future of the Internet at WSIS in 2005.
>> Agreement could not be reached on the governance of critical Internet
>> resources, including the domain name system. ICANN (the Internet
>> Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), for some governments, was
>> little more than an adjunct of the United States. Some wanted the
>> Internet brought within the ambit of an intergovernmental (or
>> multilateral) agency such as the International Telecommunication Union
>> (ITU). Others were, as they remain, determined to keep the Internet free
>> from intergovernmental oversight. As well as dividing governments, this
>> was (and is) therefore a tussle between multilateral and
>> multistakeholder approaches to the Internet.
>> The term worked at the time because of its creative ambiguity: like many
>> UN outcomes it meant different things to different folks. But the
>> contests that it overlay were, and still are, unresolved. Several UN
>> initiatives and working groups have failed to reach consensus on it
>> since the Summit. Some governments (and civil society activists) claim
>> that nothing’s changed since WSIS: that governments, particularly
>> developing country governments, can’t play a substantive role in
>> Internet decisions because there is no proper intergovernmental forum.
>> Others suggest that diverse multistakeholder initiatives represent a lot
>> of ‘enhanced cooperation’ that’s already taking place."
>> So in response to your question, it is not a new thing that for several
>> governments, the meaning of enhanced cooperation is "cooperation between
>> governments". And the term 'equal footing' means that all governments
>> should have equal access and voice in these processes.
>> They generally quote paragraph 69 of the Tunis Agenda:
>> "69. We further recognize the need for enhanced cooperation in the
>> future, to enable governments, on an equal footing, to carry out their
>> roles and responsibilities, in international public policy issues
>> pertaining to the Internet, but not in the day-to-day technical and
>> operational matters, that do not impact on international public policy
>> issues."
>> And their position is that the IGF has nothing to do with this type of
>> cooperation.
>> Personally, I think this is misinterpreting the Tunis Agenda. If you
>> read the two previous paragraphs, 67 and 68, there is a clear reference
>> to the IGF (referred to in the Tunis Agenda as "the forum for
>> multi-stakeholder policy dialogue". I quote:
>> "67. We agree, inter alia, to invite the UN Secretary-General to convene
>> a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue.
>> 68. We recognize 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. We also
>> recognize the need for development of public policy by governments in
>> consultation with all stakeholders.
>> 69. We further recognize the need for enhanced cooperation in the
>> future, to enable governments, on an equal footing, to carry out their
>> roles and responsibilities, in international public policy issues
>> pertaining to the Internet, but not in the day-to-day technical and
>> operational matters, that do not impact on international public policy
>> issues."
>> My interpretation would be that these paragraphs talks about the forum,
>> about involvement of all stakeholders, and about the need for
>> governments to be able to play their role in international public policy.
>> These area all important and legitimate and they don't need to be
>> mutually exclusive.
>> But there are different views, and there was a General Assembly
>> resolution in 2011 or 2012 which stated that the IGF and enhanced
>> cooperation are two separate processes.
>> I do think governments have a legitimate point in saying that they need
>> a space where they can talk about 'cross cutting' internet-related
>> public policy issues. Specific issues are being addressed in places like
>> the Human Rights Council (for internet and human rights issues) or in
>> WIPO (for copyright related issues, for example).
>> And I also think that developing countries are not sufficiently
>> empowered or influential in most internet-related policy discussions.
>> I just don't believe that setting up a new intergovernmental mechanism
>> is the right solution to this problem. And it is one that is high risk
>> for civil society.
>> But others in the WGEC have different views.
>> Warm greetings and thanks for following the meeting!
>> Anriette
>> On 27/01/2017 19:38, WANGARI KABIRU wrote:
>> > Warm greetings Anriette,
>> >
>> > In the morning there was reference in the semblance that enhanced
>> > cooperation is a government area not for the IGF...MAG.
>> > Would you kindly shed light.
>> >
>> >
>> > The comments;
>> > -  that statistics in developing countries are a result of
>> tradeoffs and
>> > thus not (necessarily) reliable
>> > - how an entity is considered multi-stakeholder in one forum and in
>> > other spheres not viewed as such. Taking into account
>> > multi-stakholderism is a key tenet in Internet Governance
>> >
>> > Many thanks for the briefs.
>> >
>> > Be blessed.
>> >
>> > Regards/Wangari
>> > 
>> > ---
>> > Pray God Bless. 2013Wangari circa - "Being of the Light, We are
>> Restored
>> > Through Faith in Mind, Body and Spirit; We Manifest The Kingdom of God
>> > on Earth".
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> -- 
>> -----------------------------------------
>> Anriette Esterhuysen
>> Executive Director
>> Association for Progressive Communications
>> anriette at apc.org <mailto:anriette at apc.org>
>> www.apc.org
>> IM: ae_apc
>> ____________________________________________________________
>> You received this message as a subscriber on the list:
>>      bestbits at lists.bestbits.net.
>> To unsubscribe or change your settings, visit:
>>      http://lists.bestbits.net/wws/info/bestbits
> ____________________________________________________________
> You received this message as a subscriber on the list:
>      governance at lists.igcaucus.org
> To be removed from the list, visit:
>      http://www.igcaucus.org/unsubscribing
> For all other list information and functions, see:
>      http://lists.igcaucus.org/info/governance
> To edit your profile and to find the IGC's charter, see:
>      http://www.igcaucus.org/
> Translate this email: http://translate.google.com/translate_t

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.igcaucus.org/pipermail/bestbits/attachments/20170130/52a99e43/attachment.htm>

More information about the Bestbits mailing list