[governance] IGF financing

Bertrand de La Chapelle bdelachapelle at gmail.com
Tue Jun 12 09:53:25 EDT 2007

Hi Dan,

You wrote :

"One plausible way to minimize this undue influence is for funding to be
broadly sourced.  So, Bertrand, if your idea of MS funding is that no one
funder should have significant influence over policy, then everyone shares
the same goals and the disagreement is about practical mechanics and

Thanks for the remarks. You are right. Who can believe this is not what I
intended ? It should go without saying that funding should not have
influence on policy : that's the goal. My question is precisely how. And in
my mind, "broadly sourced" is precisely could precisely be a reason for

Comments explaining what should not be done are OK (except when they are
mis-representing what other people really mean). But my question is : what
are the different concrete proposals on the table ? Still waiting to see
any. Apologies for trying to ask questions that deserve attention ;-) and
for my - barely successful attempts - at maintaining a type of interaction
that remains constructive.



On 6/11/07, Dan Krimm <dan at musicunbound.com> wrote:
> Just one more comment from the outside observer, from a policy
> perspective.
> Seems to me that Milton and Parminder both are suspicious of the influence
> of funding on policy, as anyone with minimal political consciousness
> should
> be.
> One plausible way to minimize this undue influence is for funding to be
> broadly sourced.  So, Bertrand, if your idea of MS funding is that no one
> funder should have significant influence over policy, then everyone shares
> the same goals and the disagreement is about practical mechanics and
> structures.
> If there is private funding, it should probably be structurally capped to
> constrain potential influence of policy by any one player.  Also, getting
> funding from an aggregate body such as the UN may additionally dilute the
> influence of any individual member of the aggregate on the funded
> policy-making process.
> This reminds me a bit of the "Chinese Wall" that traditionally used to
> inhere in commercial publications like magazines and newspapers, but which
> is increasingly under fire in the present era.  There is intense pressure
> on editorial departments to adhere to constraints demanded by large
> advertisers, through the "publishing" departments (i.e., marketing and ad
> sales) of these publications.  The editors have been progressively losing
> this battle over time, and when you get someone like Rupert Murdoch trying
> to buy the Wall Street Journal, it causes all sorts of alarm, and justly
> so.
> In public governance, the influence of money in elections, lobbying, and
> "Iron Triangles" (narrow quid-pro-quos by special interests, legislators
> and regulators) is similar and incontrovertible.  So, the bottom line
> seems
> to be:
> * How can we set up a Chinese Wall between money and policy?
> Perfection is not an option, so the more nuanced question is:
> * How can we structurally minimize the influence of money on policy?
> If multi-stakeholder funding raises alarms, it must be because those
> structures have not insulated policy from money in the past.  So, if one
> wants to proceed with something along those lines:
> * What explicit institutional structures/processes can be put in place to
> improve the insulation of policy from money?
> But all this still does not address Parminder's concern that those without
> resources to contribute to funding will tend not to get representation of
> their policy interests.  Who speaks for the mute?  Or, more formally:
> * How can the policy-making process be structured to address *all*
> stakeholder interests, even when some stakeholders do not have the
> resources to participate actively?
> Bertrand, if you can answer these questions more precisely, then perhaps
> you will find more positive response to your ideas, or at least more
> willingness to work within your framework to find solutions to these
> questions.  At the very least, if you make it quite clear that these goals
> of separating money from policy-making are your top priority (and that you
> are not necessarily "married" to any particular approach to achieving
> these
> goals -- if you try to choose your structural tool before you have
> examined
> the details of all the structural options, then that is logically backward
> in the policy formulation process), then you might be more able to proceed
> with less distraction from concerns arising from vague under-specification
> of structural details.
> Hope this is helpful,
> Dan
> PS -- I am not under the illusion that the answers to these questions are
> easy to determine.  But, they are crucial to determine if we are to build
> a
> just society.
> At this point, from my outside vantage, it seems that the structural
> options may not have been fully fleshed out, and it may be worth
> considering them all.  It may be that they all need additional conceptual
> development in order to best address the problem of insulating policy from
> money, and after that is completed they should be compared as to how well
> they would be expected to satisfy these goals.  Maybe there are additional
> considerations that need to be traded off.  In the end, choose the best
> solution at hand.  But if you are presenting multi-stakeholder (whatever
> that really is in detail, I'm not sure I know) as the only structural
> option to examine at all, then you are calling the winner before the race.
> You should have the race first.
> At 6:44 PM +0200 6/11/07, Bertrand de La Chapelle wrote:
> >Wow, interesting.
> >
> >Should I consider myself not cautious or clever enough :-) for daring to
> >utter an idea like : "a multi-stakeholder forum could/should be financed
> >in a multi-stakeholder way ?" And remember I indicated with appropriate
> >rules of transparency.
> >
> >I'm afraid your reply is not of the same tune as my modest contribution
> >and the tonality is a bit harsh, as if I were suggesting something
> >horrendous. I respect your position, as usual, but as I suppose you are
> >speaking in a personal capacity and not as coordinator, maybe we should
> >let people discuss it. That's the purpose of this list, isn't it ?
> >
> >I am not sure this question can simply be brushed aside by your answer.
> >And I'm not sure we understand the same thing when we speak of
> >multi-stakeholder financing. In particular, you did not mention the
> >distinction I was making between "automatic resources" and "ad hoc
> >resources". Do you think that a foundation providing transparent
> financing
> >to a Dynamic Coalition would be bad ?
> >
> >Anyway, I'd be happy to learn what your own preference would be, what
> >concrete solution you favor : just governments ? or just the UN ? or just
> >some international organizations ? The key question is, again : what is
> >the appropriate financing structure for the IGF in order to guarantee
> >regularity of resources and independence from lobbies and pressure groups
> >? Can we address this issue calmly, with the attention it deserves ?
> >
> >In any case, using words like "what recently happened at IGF would be
> >scandalous. In some countries it will veer towards criminal" was not
> >necessary to make your point. Especially in a response to that post.
> >Unless you imply - without saying - that those words are applicable to
> >what I mentionned or you hope I might be encouraged to shut up by fear of
> >being accused of the above. In such a case, I sincerely hope we can avoid
> >this on this list. There are enough important issues that need to be
> >discussed in a mature manner, and I am merely, as usual, trying to
> provide
> >some constructive input.
> >
> >Best as ever
> >
> >Bertrand
> >
> >
> >On 6/11/07, Parminder
> ><<mailto:parminder at itforchange.net>parminder at itforchange.net > wrote:
> >
> >No Bertrand, Multistakeholder financing is a very bad idea. And, an even
> >worse principle. When we speak MS, I am often afraid this idea is lurking
> >somewhere. But most people are cautious/ clever enough not to mention it
> >expressly. In fact, that's the big difference between how things,
> >less-than-ideally, may actually be, and when we openly start articulating
> >such things as acceptable principles.
> >
> >
> >
> >When Milton said, it is simple - those who fund IGF will push their
> >agenda, and so those others who want their agenda pushed should step up
> >their contribution - I responded that however practical it be, this looks
> >like a principle which will take us to not good outcomes at all - for CS
> >and for public interest. For instance, I want my agenda pushed, what
> >should I do. I don't have money to contribute. And I cant go to my
> >government (per Milton's advise) because my government doesn't share my
> >agenda. And he called it moral posturing, I hope you don't come back in
> >the same vein. For me and many in public interest advocacy it is an
> >important principle, and I cant let such formulations pass by..
> >
> >
> >
> >It if fine for private parties to finance public functions and bodies
> >where there is a plurality - like a foundation funding a university
> >program or an NGO. It is also fine to extend part financing, under
> certain
> >conditions, to core public bodies which are monopolistic (states, UN
> >bodies etc)  in their constituency and mandate, but then the proportion
> of
> >private funding needs to be adequately low for any one interest group (as
> >well as in total proportion to public funds) , and it should be governed
> >with strict rules of propriety etc. Under such rules what recently
> >happened at IGF would be scandalous. In some countries it will veer
> >towards criminal.
> >
> >
> >
> >Many in the CS (outside the typical IG/IS groups) who are sometimes
> >suspicious of the term multistakeholder feel so because they known such
> >bodies can easily show tendencies to move towards 'privatised
> governance'.
> >We may be realizing their worst fears.
> >
> >
> >
> >Parminder
> >
> >
> >
> >________________________________________________
> >
> >Parminder Jeet Singh
> >
> >IT for Change, Bangalore
> >
> >Bridging Development Realities and Technological Possibilities
> >
> >Tel: (+91-80) 2665 4134, 2653 6890
> >
> >Fax: (+91-80) 4146 1055
> >
> ><http://www.itforchange.net/> www.ITforChange.net
> >
> >
> >From: Bertrand de La Chapelle
> >[mailto:<mailto:bdelachapelle at gmail.com>bdelachapelle at gmail.com]
> >Sent: Monday, June 11, 2007 7:37 PM
> >To: <mailto:governance at lists.cpsr.org>governance at lists.cpsr.org; Norbert
> >Bollow
> >Subject: [governance] IGF financing
> >
> >
> >
> >Dear all,
> >
> >Following the various post, including Norbert's one below, I'd like to
> >insert two general comments in the discussion :
> >
> >First, as the IGF is an innovative experiment in multi-stakeholder
> >governance, it would make sense that its funding be multi-stakeholder as
> >well, wouldn't it ? Proportions can be discussed, given the variable
> >contributory capacities, but the principle would make sense, IMHO.
> >
> >Second, a combination of "automatic resources" for regular activities,
> >including the annual event and some secretariat functions, and "had hoc
> >resources" could also be envisaged, provided the later are transparent.
> In
> >particular, there is no reason to prevent some actors from getting good
> >visibility when they support some useful activity, such as funding for
> >participation of developing countries participants or supporting the
> >activities of a dynamic coalition.
> >
> >Best
> >
> >Bertrand
> >
> >On 6/11/07, Norbert Bollow <<mailto:nb at bollow.ch>nb at bollow.ch> wrote:
> >
> >Milton Mueller <<mailto:mueller at syr.edu>mueller at syr.edu> wrote:
> >
> >> a) vested interests can be expected to use financial support as
> leverage
> >> over the activities of the IGF
> >>
> >> b) we need to find a way to institutionalize support for IGF that
> >> minimizes this problem (we will never eliminate it)
> >
> >Would it be an improvement if the IGF process was funded out of
> >the U.N. budget?
> >
> >If yes, what would be the process for trying to achieve that?
> >
> >What would be the chances of success for this?
> >
> >Greetings,
> >Norbert.
> >
> >
> >--
> >Norbert Bollow
> ><<mailto:nb at bollow.ch>nb at bollow.ch>                    <http://Norbert.ch
> >
> >http://Norbert.ch
> >President of the Swiss Internet User Group
> >SIUG  <http://SIUG.ch>http://SIUG.ch
> >
> >
> >--
Bertrand de La Chapelle

Tel : +33 (0)6 11 88 33 32

"Le plus beau métier des hommes, c'est d'unir les hommes" Antoine de Saint
("there is no better mission for humans than uniting humans")
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