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

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Mon Jan 30 12:41:29 EST 2017

Sorry, forgot to mention that although it appears that there is no
further opportunity for formal public inputs into the process, civil
society members of WGEC should be happy to take to the WGEC all specific
institutional models that people may want to propose, individually, on
an organisation's behalf, or as groups or coalitions. The next WGEC
meeting in May 2017 will be discussing specific recommendations of this
kind, possible stacked in a few categories.

I proposed 4 categories in my below email. But the secretariat put the
specific recommendations related inputs that were received in 7
categories as below, which would most likely be the way the discussions
in the Sept meeting will proceed.








Among the above, 1, 4 and 6 correspond to categories 2, 3 and 4 that I
suggested below, which I think are the really important ones.


On Monday 30 January 2017 10:51 PM, parminder wrote:
> 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 addressed.
> 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.
> parminder
> 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
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