[governance] Enhanced Cooperation

Carlos Afonso ca at rits.org.br
Wed Jan 10 13:56:35 EST 2007

Hi Michael,

michael_leibrandt at web.de wrote:
> hi there,
> just in case some people knowing me find it frightening to see my name popping
> up at a civil society list: after nine years of service as the german gac rep,
> i left the ict directorate of the federal economics ministry with the beginning
> of 2007. though still in the administration, i’m  professionally now dealing
> with issues lightyears away from internet governance. due to the fact that my
> personal envolvement in ict issues goes back at least three decades, i will
> contribute to the discussion with my very personal observations on internet
> governance as a private internet user. no longer beeing bound by instructions
> and the golden rules of diplomatic language, please don’t be surprised if i
> will be more outspoken than i was on earlier occasions.  

No big deal, Herr Leibrand -- our good fellow de la Chapelle has
rightfully travelled the opposite path, and we have had no problem with
it (to the contrary). You are quite welcome.

> having said that, i have a serious problem to follow the ongoing discussion on
> enhanced cooperation. from my point of view, there is absolutely no need to
> read the aweful last-minute language from tunis over and over again like a law
> student or a religious believer. actually, things are pretty easy: the only
> valuable starting point is the spirit of the outcome as seen by those who
> finally agreed to the wording. is there anybody who really believes that after
> two years of (very) difficult intergovernmental negotiations the only intention
> was to say that existing constituencies should improve the way they
> communicate? in fact, the core outcome is that – besides the igf as discussion
> forum – there are two seperate ec streams: a) looking at the weak role of
> governments in a mainly industry-driven internet governance environment, the
> first idea is to upgrade governments to equal players in existing
> multistakeholder fora (the icann issue), and b) looking at infrastructure
> issues beyond the icann mandate, quite a number of governments ask for a fair
> global power distribution (the oversight issue). so: we have the government vs
> government ec (68 ta), and we have the governments vs others ec (69 ta). baring
> this concept in mind, the tunis language becomes much more readable. 

Refreshing view, Michael. In a way, leading discussants here are
old-timers from the WSIS process which need, from time to time, a "freio
de arrumação"[*] -- shaking up ourselves to return our feet to the
quickly changing reality.

> now the second part: the multistakeholder concept. again, i think that’s easy
> to answer, at least by accepting political reality. 69 ta can only be done in a
> full multistakeholder setting. but 68 ta – by intention talking about
> consultation, not participation - is such a delicate political challenge, that
> it would be naive to expect openness and transparancy at all stages of the
> process. imagine that the present or another usg would start thinking about a
> new oversight modell for the root zone (e. g. the famous root zone council
> model): is it realistic to believe that civil society reps would be invited to
> the initial rounds of negotiations? is it realistic to believe that even all
> governments would be invited? i don’t think so. what does this mean for the
> proposed letter to nitin: well, it’s an important signal and should be sent
> out, because he has a role to play regarding 68. but don’t expect an answer
> that gives you the full picture…

Please insert into your picture the obvious fact that most countries are
far from the representative democracy's mis-en-scene of the two major
300-million-people + 13-trillion-dollars economies (the US and the EU).
These exercises land differently in each socio-political scenario, and
result in different reactions and alignments (such as the apparently odd
like-minded country group during the WSIS process). Keep one thing in
mind: Nitin is an Indian, but he is obliged by profession to express
himself as a Geneva+NY UN environment rep (and he does so in a
brilliantl way) -- a language so generic that it leaves out most of the
240+ countries as far as real practical outcomes affecting their local
peoples are concerned.

> is 68 ta against the multistakeholder approach? talking about sitting at the
> negotiation table, yes. talking about participating in the discussion, no.
> participation shouldn’t be the core issue, ideas should. there is a desperate
> need – not at least on the governmental side - for good ideas regarding future
> governance settings; proposals coming from business and civil society would
> therefore be well received. and secondly: there is not only the global level.
> at least in democracies there are ways to influence the position of national
> and regional governments.
> one final comment: i don’t find it helpful to follow an either/or approach
> regarding the question of „what is public policy“. simply because it depends on
> the individual case. new gtld: .car or .holiday don’t have a lot of public
> policy implications, .xxx or .berlin really have. „who is“: regarding the
> primary use of the data (=technical stability of the net) – only to a minor
> extent, regarding the secondary use of „who is“ data (=copyright infringement
> etc) – yes (and actually compelety outside the clearly limited icann mandate!).

I am not qualified to discuss amongst the mainstream flock the details
of these gTLD letter combinations, since I have been defending that
there is already abundant off-the-shelf network technology to handle
infinite gTLD domains without disturbing the Internet routing systems.
But the huge business construed around making sure gTLDs are excreted
from the ICANN system in a very homeopatic way precludes this gTLD issue
from becoming what should be obvious -- its appropriation by the commons
and its ceasing to be a registry-registrar money-making activity.

Welcome again!


Carlos A. Afonso
diretor de planejamento
Rits - Rede de Informações para o Terceiro Setor
Projeto Sacix - Apoio técnico a iniciativas de inclusão digital
com software livre, mantido pela Rits em colaboração com o
Coletivo Digital. Para mais informações:
www.sacix.org.br   www.rits.org.br   www.coletivodigital.org.br

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