[governance] Future of IGF

Jeremy Malcolm jeremy at ciroap.org
Tue Dec 1 04:01:36 EST 2009

On 28/11/2009, at 10:04 PM, Parminder wrote:

> After some very muted response to the 'enhanced cooperation' debate  
> - which is the WSIS designated space for such public policy  
> development - CS now once again seems content to see the whole IGF  
> review issue from a status quo-ist lens - 'somehow block an ITU take  
> over'  (we have, in very early parts of our statement, spoken  
> strongly against making any such move). In such a reactive stance,  
> any openness towards seeking genuine structural reform in the IGF  
> for the purpose of achieving the real purpose of the IGF seems  
> largely absent.

Yes, I was disappointed with the blandness of the IGC statement which  
was basically status-quoism: we support the continuation of the IGF,  
we support multi-stakeholderism (and it should be deepened and  
enlarged, but no suggestion of what this means), we underline the  
importance of human rights, and we support the continuation of the  
Secretariat in its present form.  Well, its present form is really  
pretty lousy in a lot of ways, so I disagree with that - and  
otherwise, the statement might as well have said that we support apple  
pie and kittens.

> We also think that MAG has to take on more substantial role/ power,  
> of  distilling from the work of committed issue-based working groups  
> as well proceedings of the wider IGF, and come out with non-binging  
> advices and recommendations, or at least meaningful compilation of  
> plausible views and options on important IG issues. The WGIG  
> model ,which for some unknown reasons (the hegemony of dominant  
> discourse, of course) has become untouchable, gives us good leads of  
> what can be achieved if a mutlistakeholder group is given a definite  
> task, where some kind of outcomes just have to be produced in a time  
> bound manner. Why should that model not be used for important IG  
> issues within the IGF framework?

This should have been in the IGC statement.

> Anyway, the burden of the argument here is that a model of  
> structural changes to the IGF is what is most required urgently.  
> Much of the negotiations in the next few months will take place  
> around that. Does the IGC want to hammer out a concrete proposal on  
> this, and its members try to advocate it with other actors? If we  
> plan to do it, we need to do it in the next month or so. I propose  
> that the co-coordinators take up this responsibility in the coming  
> weeks.

I agree.  I have, of course, written a great deal on this (the book  
that came out of my PhD thesis is now available under Creative Commons  
at http://press.terminus.net.au/igfbook, and for a more digestible  
precis see last year's paper that the IGP put out at http://www.internetgovernance.org/pdf/MalcolmIGFReview.pdf) 
.  I will be happy to collaborate on developing proposals for  
structural reform of the IGF, under the leadership of the coordinators.

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