[governance] On Funding and Incorporation

Michael Gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Sun Dec 13 12:52:49 EST 2009

I'm not exactly sure what Bertrand means by "civil society" actors but it
seems to me that there is already significant focus on "individuals" as
participants in IG processes by for example Diplo and the IGF.  What seems
to me to be lacking and something that should be of concern to the IGC both
in the context of the IGF and elsewhere is lack of significant participation
(or even organizational development) on the part of a wider range of
Internet related civil society organizations particularly those with a more
grassroots and practitioner base and orientation although this seem to be
starting to develop through the regional IGFs.
We need go no further than our television screens or online news services to
see the significance of grassroots civil society currently in Copenhagen.
There were similar manifestations around the Beijing Women's conference and
very significant grassroots civil society coaltions in areas such as the
International Land Coaliton www.landcoaliton.org 
Focussing rather less on identifying individuals to bring into this rather
rarefied fold and rather more on linking with and enabling groups with a
broader range of practical on the ground Internet related concerns might be
a useful exercise all round.
Mike Gurstein

-----Original Message-----
From: Bertrand de La Chapelle [mailto:bdelachapelle at gmail.com]   
Sent: Sunday, December 13, 2009 6:26 AM
To: governance at lists.cpsr.org
Subject: [governance] On Funding and Incorporation

Dear all,

just two cents on the topics in the title recently raised on the list. 

1) on funding 

Irrespective of possible sources, amounts, structures, procedures, etc...
there is a function that the IGC has some legitimacy to undertake (whether
it is called a "project" or not) : facilitating the participation of civil
society actors from developing countries in Internet Governance Processes.
It can take the form of supporting/organizing remote hubs and participatory
tools, supporting the emergence of local (national and regional) IGFs, or
even selecting and funding the physical participation of individuals in the
global IGF. All this is already done to a certain level. Soliciting funding
from Foundations to develop such activities (provided there is clear
procedures, transparency, etc...) would be very valuable. 

In addition, this would require defining selection criteria and procedures
that would be fair, transparent, as well as geographically and gender
balanced, which is not an easy task. But any solution that the IGC would
come up with could be an important contribution. Everybody is trying to find
a proper answer to this question, including well intentioned governments :
apart from elections and NomComs, what are the possible modalities to form
multi-stakeholder groups (like the MAG or any thematic working group) ? The
IGC has been instrumental in dreaming the Forum; can it now contribute to
developing some of its working methods ?

2) On incorporation

As I think I have mentioned a few years ago on this list when the same
discussion had emerged, the challenge is : what are the possibilities to
create a structure directly at the international level ? Today, any
association must be based in one country and then develop its activities in
other countries by setting up subsidiaries, etc... Could there be a way to
establish something directly at the global level ? 

We have heard that Switzerland has created a new status for international
non-for profit organizations that would do just that, ie : allowing the
creation of an international organization that is not inter-governmental. I
do not need to highlight on this list that efficient exploration of this
question is of a certain value in the discussion on the future legal status
of ICANN. 

As long as no solution is available to create non-profit organizations
directly at the global level, we are all stuck with the alternative of
either an entity based in one country (and then why this one rather than
another one ?) or an international organization in the traditional sense
(that requires a treaty between states). 


For all the reasons above, and even if for a large part the debate is a
rehashed one, those two issues have an importance that goes beyond the IGC
itself. Do not hesitate to address them, the contribution can be greater
than you think.


Bertrand (in a personal capacity of course)

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 greater mission for humans than uniting humans")

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