[governance] IGF Financing

Milton Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Tue Jun 12 09:44:16 EDT 2007

>>> nb at bollow.ch 6/11/2007 9:42 AM >>>
>Would it be an improvement if the IGF process was funded 
>out of the U.N. budget?

probably not. That would make it totally beholden to the nation-state
system. See this URL for a good factsheet on the travails of UN

This quotation is noteworthy: 

"Table 1 illustrates that the major
contributors [US, Japan, UK, Germany, NL] 
pay much more than their mandatory,
assessed contributions. This discrepancy occurs
because countries dedicate voluntary contributions
to those UN funds and programs that deem them
most promising and compatible with their own
agenda. By earmarking contributions, countries can
increase their leverage and pursue political influence
on UN activities."


"For 2006, only 40 member states have
paid their dues entirely and on time. As a result of
the financial impasse, the Secretary-General often
has to cross-borrow money..."

IGF would be a tiny drip in the faucet of UN money, but by the same
token there are probably 1,000 other such tiny drips that would like to
be part of the automatic, assessed budget. Getting recognized as such
would require....political support from the major powers.

I need to think about it more carefully, but Bertrand's idea of MS
financing seems to me to have merit. Not on a project by project basis,
as that would obviously make the agenda the plaything of governmental
and corporate interests, but let's say that the regular budget was
divided into quotas per "stakeholder" group, e.g. 30% from govts, 30%
from PS, 20% from CS, and 20% from the international organizations
within its purview (ICANN, UNESCO, ITU, WIPO, etc.). Maybe this requires
some kind of "membership" in which participants get certified as
belonging to some sector and once so recognized, assume some kind of
honorary obligation to meet those quotas.

Another idea is some kind of an independent "tax" or fee on some facet
of internet activity. The most successful and prosperous international
orgs (ICANN, WIPO) are based on these. (Hmmm, should we call it the "bit
tax?" No, maybe not.) E.g., a certain percentage of the proceeds of gTLD
auctions held by ICANN are handed over to the IGF, a certain percentage
of IP address fees.... People will just love this idea, just as they
currently love paying taxes for other things. 

Well, I enjoy this talk of financing, it's a good dose of reality and a
great corrective to those who think words can by themselves transform
global political and economic realities. In making financial
commitments, people will think hard about what value the IGF actually
delivers, and that is a healthy thing, in my opinion. 
You received this message as a subscriber on the list:
     governance at lists.cpsr.org
To be removed from the list, send any message to:
     governance-unsubscribe at lists.cpsr.org

For all list information and functions, see:

More information about the Governance mailing list