[governance] Saving the IGF

Vittorio Bertola vb at bertola.eu
Sun Jun 10 10:30:52 EDT 2007


I think that we are focusing on the wrong issue. I would never have 
forwarded that message "as is" as it was done, but the Chatham House 
rules that have been adopted by the IGF AG only prohibit naming the 
speaker - they do not prohibit making public what is being said. So, 
while the netiquette and the AG rules have been broken when the author 
of the message was explicitly named, no rule was broken in letting us 
know that this kind of discussion was going on in the AG.

Actually, if I may, I think that a discussion of this magnitude and 
importance going on in the AG should have prompted its civil society 
members to raise it immediately on this list and/or the CS plenary. I do 
not think that they omitted doing so on purpose, but IMHO we have to be 
more committed to building effective channels of communications between 
our representatives in the AG and the broader set of civil society 
participants, especially as the IGF might adopt more formalized 
representative structures.

Anyway, the real point is that there is a risk of the IGF breaking up 
under two opposite pressures, one by the countries willing to discuss 
Internet resources and pushing for formal recommendations to be made, 
and the other from the "Internet community" group rejecting any idea of 
formal recommendations and threatening to walk off the forum, cut funds etc.

We in civil society were the main proposers of the IGF, and so I think 
that it is up to us to try to save the IGF from these threats, and try 
to bridge the two positions. Personally, I am doing what I can to 
encourage the "Internet community" people to be less afraid and more 
understanding, and to stay in the process. Perhaps those of us who have 
contacts with some of the governments on the other side, such as Brazil, 
China, Russia and India, could try to encourage them to be willing to 
compromise as well.

IMHO, the Internet is the party that has more to lose from wrecking the 
only current attempt at an open and global process to discuss its 
future. We always tried to represent the hope for a better future, and 
protect the Internet from any specific interest group. Under this light, 
I couldn't care less about the bureaucracy of the AG rules - I think 
that we should focus on how to save the IGF.

vb.                   Vittorio Bertola - vb [a] bertola.eu   <--------
-------->  finally with a new website at http://bertola.eu/  <--------
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