[governance] IGF workshop approval criteria

Jeanette Hofmann jeanette at wzb.eu
Sat Jun 16 17:34:31 EDT 2007

William Drake wrote:
> Hi Jeanette,
> On 6/16/07 5:43 PM, "Jeanette Hofmann" <jeanette at wzb.eu> wrote:
>> Hi Bill, I agree with Adam here. We both advocated multi-stakeholderism
>> as a selection criteria already last year. The fact that we did not get
> I of course am not aware of what has been advocated by whom in mAG or why,
> but that's not an argument.
>> more applications as available slots for Athens doesn't mean that the
>> selection criteria as such doesn't count.
> The fact remains that it wasn't applied last year and there's been no public
> notification until Adam's message yesterday that things will be different
> this year.

It would have been applied last year if we have had more proposals.
>> The Internet Governance Project co-organized a workshop with UNESCO last
>> year. It is possible to cooperate with IOs even if its not always easy.
> UNESCO's remit is precisely on freedom of expression so Milton was able to
> get them on board, 

Actually it was me who organized the cooperation.

but one happy alignment of interests hardly illustrates a
> generalizable principle.  

It was much less easy than that. I am fully aware of the complications 
we run into when we try to put multi-stakeholder into practice. Still I 
believe it is important that we learn how to handle these matters.

Does it logically follow that Parminder could get
> ICANN to support a ws on core resources as global public goods, 

I am not sure ICANN is the only potential partner for such a topic but I 
am pretty sure ICANN would attend the workshop if Parminder would 
organize it.

that I could
> get the ITU to co-sponsor a ws on NGN's potential impact on net neutrality,
> and so on? 

I feel tempted to point out basic truths: the simple reason why we 
advocate the multi-stakeholder approach is that many issues cannot be 
solved without boundary crossing cooperation involving multiple actors. 
The IGF is a space to facilitate this kind of exercise. There are plenty 
  of venues for discussions we want to have among ourselves...

  I already went through this last year when I was talked out of
> submitting a proposal on implementation of the WSIS principles 

That is different. And I certainly didn't talk you out of anything - I 
wouldn't. I am not censuring topics, I want the multi stakeholder 
approach to evolve.

on the
> grounds that no governments, industry or IOs on or off the mAG would want
> such a ws to happen (you'd think I was proposing a ws on implementation of
> Comintern principles, rather than something repeatedly endorsed by 174
> governments et al).
>> I very much believe in this model of multi-stakeholder cooperation also
>> or even especially on the level of _organizing_ discourse. I would
> Meaning that the only acceptable discourse in the IGF is that on which
> everyone agrees? 

No, it doesn't mean that. Not at all.
  To me, that's a repressive perversion of
> multistakeholderism, precisely the opposite of the opening up I thought we
> were working for.  Maybe the IGF should use a smiley face as its logo.
>> therefore also first drop workshop proposals that are not
>> multi-stakeholder in case there are more than slots available.
> Good to know, thanks.
> If the principle is to be elevated to an absolute requirement this year, I
> do hope it will be applied equally to all proposals from all stakeholders.
> On 6/16/07 5:41 PM, "karen banks" <karenb at gn.apc.org> wrote:
>> and one thing that still isn't clear to me - are we talking about a criteria
>> that there must be *multiple stakeholders* (ie, more than one) or *all
>> stakeholders* which would include specifically, CSOs, government, business and
>> international organsiations?
> We're following the underspecified rules that were largely ignored both by
> proposers and the mAG last year.  Simple inferential process, Karen.
> Cheers,
> Bill
>> William Drake wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> Since Adam sent the below to the list after a series of private exchanges
>>> between us on the same, I'd like to give my view, with which he disagrees.
>>> Snipping..
>>> On 6/15/07 10:38 AM, "Adam Peake" <ajp at glocom.ac.jp> wrote:
>>>> My guess is demand for workshops will be higher
>>>> this year -- IGF's better known and more will
>>>> Last year all workshop proposals were accepted.
>>>> If demand for workshops is greater than the
>>>> number of available slots --even after merging of
>>>> like themes-- then it will be necessary to reject
>>>> some.  I think demand may well exceed supply.
>>>> Most likely group to do this accepting/rejecting
>>>> is the advisory group. And I suspect the first
>>>> criteria for judging proposals will be if the
>>>> workshop has a real multistakeholder organizing
>>>> team behind it.  Proposals from the caucus will
>>>> be good, certainly would show broad civil society
>>>> support, but involving other stakeholders will be
>>>> essential. Regional diversity also positive.
>>>> Just my opinion.
>>> I believe it would a bit unfair and potentially problematic for many
>>> CS-initiated proposals if the mAG opts this year to strictly require that
>>> workshops truly have multistakeholder sponsorship in order to get approved,
>>> on the following grounds:
>>> 1.  Precedent.  Irrespective of what it said on the website, many workshops
>>> approved for Athens were not remotely multistakeholder in organization, in
>>> that they were sponsored by intra-species collaborations, single
>>> organizations (IOs, business, CS) or individuals.  Aside from Adam's message
>>> to this list yesterday, two weeks before the submission deadline, there has
>>> been no public indication from the secretariat or mAG that the nominal rule
>>> so clearly ignored last time will be enforced this time.  To me, that's in
>>> effect changing the game mid-stream with little notification, and people
>>> might understandably have been proceeding on the assumption they didn't have
>>> to worry too much about this.   Adam disagrees.
>>> 2.  Political Reality.  It would be nice to believe that all stakeholders
>>> support the IGF serving as an open forum in which, per WGIG, any stakeholder
>>> can raise any issue, and hence are prepared to support any workshop
>>> initiative that is on an important topic.  But as we have seen in many ways,
>>> most recently with the funding withdrawal threat, the actual support for
>>> free and open dialogue on any and all topics is rather variable.  Some
>>> stakeholders may view proposed topics through the lens of their strategic
>>> postures, even though it's only dialogue and not a negotiation.  One can
>>> readily imagine topics that CS groups might like to have discussed that
>>> would have a difficult time winning co-sponsorship from industry,
>>> technical/administrative groupings, or certain governments.  I for example
>>> might have problems getting support from such quarters for a session on a
>>> development agenda because it's misconstrued as necessarily implying the
>>> same sort of 'controversial and divisive' negotiations that happened with
>>> the WIPO DA (it doesn't).   The same might apply to resources as global
>>> commons, don't know.  Conversely, many CS groups might be reluctant to sign
>>> onto an industry workshop on the glories of telecom liberalization and
>>> privatization, the COE convention as a boon to civil liberties, or whatever.
>>> Moreover, international organizations and governments might have additional
>>> constraints in considering co-sponsorship requests, e.g. turf
>>> considerations, the need to stay within agreed mandates, fear of being
>>> associated with a 'controversial' topic even if they like it, reticence
>>> about signing onto something initiated by CS, and so on.  In sum, if now
>>> strictly applied, the rule would seem to favor anodyne topics and framings
>>> that all can support like capacity building or, for that matter,
>>> openness/diversity/security/access, over some tougher issues that really
>>> need to be worked through and that the IGF alone can provide space for.
>>> 3.  Sponsorship vs Dialogue.  To me, what really matters is the flavor of
>>> the dialogue, whether the speakers are MS and multi-perspective, not whether
>>> the formal sponsorship is.  I cannot see why the names at the top of a
>>> proposal are more important than the names of the panelists and the actual
>>> discussion that ensues.  And it it will be much easier to get government,
>>> IO, or industry people lined up as speakers than it is to get the same
>>> people to convince their minister, SG, or CEO to organizationally endorse a
>>> WS.
>>> Parminder would like CS mAG members to communicate his request for more time
>>> to the mAG and the secretariat (I'm agnostic on that---the deadline was
>>> announced some time ago).  I would request in parallel that they communicate
>>> this request that the MS requirement be construed more with regard to the
>>> speakers and actual dialogue rather than the sponsorship.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Bill
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> ***********************************************************
> William J. Drake  drake at hei.unige.ch
> Director, Project on the Information
>   Revolution and Global Governance/PSIO
>   Graduate Institute for International Studies
>   Geneva, Switzerland
> http://hei.unige.ch/psio/researchprojects/Drake.html
> ***********************************************************
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