[governance] Next IGF consultations

Norbert Bollow nb at bollow.ch
Tue Jan 9 19:13:49 EST 2007

Kicki Nordström <kino at iris.se> wrote:

> > May I propose we at least prepare a statement on ICT marginalised 
> > groups like persons with disabilities, in particular those with 
> > information and communication  disabilities. There are means for 
> > providing information and communication, but it is often so expensive 
> > that it is not reachable for many and exclude almost everyone in 
> > developing countries! Taking this into account and combined that fact 
> > with the newly adopted UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with 
> > Disabilities, which you are very aware of I know, it would serve two 
> > purposes. 1. To put a focus on those most marginalised in ICT of all 
> > persons 2. To highlight States responsibilities of the commitments in 
> > the convention, which address ICT clearly!

This proposal has my wholehearted support.

Vittorio Bertola <vb at bertola.eu.org> commented:

> While I share your point of view, I remind that the Feb 13 meeting is 
> mostly on process, not on substance - so I would keep our statement 
> focused on the matters of process that will be discussed there. However, 
> the discussion on which themes should be addressed at the IGF 2007 is 
> likely to come up, and on that point, if the caucus agrees, we might 
> want to suggest disabilities as one of them.

The Feb 13 meeting is on "taking stock and the way forward".  It says
on http://intgovforum.org/ "All stakeholders are invited to send us
their comments and views on the Athens meeting and make suggestions
with regard to the preparation of the meeting in Rio de Janeiro."

My comment and views on the Athens meeting are very much along the
lines that the Athens IGF has successfully demonstrated that genuine
multistakeholder communication is possible, but that in order to
achieve genuine long-term benefits, future IGF meetings must be much
more clearly-focused on a small number of relatively narrow topic
areas where governments very clearly have a responsibility to take
action.  These IGF meetings would then attract civil society
organisations which are able to inform about the needs of various
groups of people and about their views about principles that should be
respected by governments when taking action in these topic areas.
Likewise, industry organisations would inform about the contributions
that they can make to getting these needs met and about the kind of
market environment that can lead to these needs being met better.

I think that Kicki's suggestion is really spot-on.  It's a very good
example of a topic area where an IGF meeting could actually contribute
significantly to some worthwhile progress.  And it's a topic area
which is currently "hot": It would be a shame if it were to happen
that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities does
not achieve its full potential benefit because we fail to follow up on
it properly.  I think in addition to this topic, the Rio Janeiro IGF
meeting should have two more topics, I'd suggest open standards for
data formats and "open access" via the internet to scientific


Norbert Bollow <nb at bollow.ch>                    http://Norbert.ch
President of the Swiss Internet User Group SIUG  http://SIUG.ch
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