SV: [governance] barriers (was Re: Action...)

Kicki Nordström kino at
Mon Jan 15 12:56:10 EST 2007

Dear Norbert,

I can not more than agree with you and my hope is still with IGF and hope this list could form a statement on this issue, as I have earlier proposed.


Kicki Nordström
World Blind Union (WBU)
Immediate Past  President
Chair, WBU Working Group on UN Issues
c/o SRF 
122 88 Enskede
Tel: +46 (0)8 399 000
Fax: +46 (0)8 725 99 20
Cell: +46 (0)70 766 18 19
E-mail: kino at

-----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
Från: Norbert Bollow [mailto:nb at] 
Skickat: den 15 januari 2007 13:52
Till: governance at
Ämne: [governance] barriers (was Re: Action...)

l.d.misek-falkoff <ldmisekfalkoff at> wrote:

> people are developing all over the world and at all times.  Ever will 
> it be so.  There is a concept of a critical average or base line, and 
> we must be *very* attentive to countries, regions, and localities 
> where very large numbers of persons face barriers, and of all sorts.

This is very true - such countries, regions, and localities are likely to get caught in a poverty trap unless action is taken from outside these disadvantaged areas to make sure that at least some genuine opportunities for sustainable economic success are made available to people living in those areas.

I strongly agree with Linda's exhortation to be "*very* attentive".

It seems to me that very often the attention that is given is very one-sided on providing some tangible and intangible assets that are helpful for overcoming barriers and for having opportunities.  For example education, internet access, capacity building for all kinds of governance, etc.  All this is very good and valuable and needed.

But I feel that very often not enough attention is paid to reducing the economic mechanisms through which many of these barriers come into being in the first place.  Some of these barriers are even created intentionally by powerful companies, and the governments of the countries where these companies pay their taxes make compliance with these barriers a condition of "free trade agreements" and the like.

> Often, however, right around us there is great need and where there is 
> need there is duty.  And  splendorous opportunity as well.

In this area I'd like to make a somewhat stronger statement:  In the field of internet governance we have duties which go beyond reacting to "great needs".  We also have a duty to be proactive.  For example, as far as I know, all the significant technological barriers which hinder people with disabilities from fully participating in the information society could have been avoided by proactively evaluating proposed changes to the technology landscape concerning the likely impact on people with disabilities, and making appropriate adjustments.

If the IGF fails to result in a strong realization of the importance of such proactive consideration of the needs of people with disabilities and countries with poor infrastructure conditions and weak educational systems (the so-called "third world" countries), then the IGF has in my opinion totally gone astray and become a series of conferences without any significant long-term relevance.  I am currently somewhat pessimistic in regard to the chances of the IGF being able to avoid this fate.

Consequently, because I don't see much reason to hope that something viable with long-term relevance will come out of the IGF, I'll focus my attention on trying to create an entity which can be influential in internet governance in a reasonable (proactive as well as reactive) way.  This "entity" will be an open business alliance (of mainly European information tenchnology businesses) called the "Internet Freedom Governance Initiative".  There are a few more details at .


Norbert Bollow <nb at>          
President of the Swiss Internet User Group SIUG ____________________________________________________________
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