[governance] [bestbits] FW: GCCS Speech

Michael Gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Sat Apr 18 12:16:08 EDT 2015

Good question David and if it is as you say then of course, the hosts can invite whomever they want and structure outcomes however they want and wish to pay for… But my strong impression from the various communications I’ve received and seen was that the status of the conference (and of the Outcome document) was meant to be rather something more than what you indicate.


But yes, it would be good to have that clarified.




From: David Sullivan [mailto:dsullivan at globalnetworkinitiative.org] 
Sent: April 18, 2015 8:50 AM
To: Michael Gurstein
Cc: governance at lists.igcaucus.org; &lt,bestbits at lists.bestbits.net&gt,
Subject: Re: [bestbits] FW: [governance] GCCS Speech


I did not attend the GCCS, but my impression from other international conferences is that a Chairman's Statement, no matter how much consultation took place with stakeholders before or during the conference, is ultimately a statement by the Chair (in this case the Govt of the Netherlands) and no one else. It can attempt to convey consensus views, but no one else is signing up to the statement or making any commitments around it. 


So this statement has very different status than the NetMundial Outcome document, which was developed through a multi-stakeholder process, or for example the Tallinn Agenda on freedom online, which was endorsed by the multilateral govts in the Freedom Online Coalition. 


Please correct me if I am wrong! 


On Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 3:06 PM, Michael Gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com <mailto:gurstein at gmail.com> > wrote:

Thanks for raising this issue Deidre but I’d like to broaden the discussion a bit and ask what is the actual or presumed “status” of the meeting and of its outcomes. 

The fact that it was convened by the Dutch government, that it was the fourth in a series, that many governments attended and that the meeting issued a final statement which is widely noted (and seems to be issued with the expectation that it will have some status more significant than an ordinary trade or sectoral meeting) suggests that the expectation is that the meeting has some sort of quasi-official status.  That it is in fact, meant to be one those increasing number of unofficial/official meetings of the form of the NetMundial; i.e. not quite on the level of the clearly “official” WSIS+10 but having a normative and quasi-official status rather more than say TED talks or an ordinary Internet technical convening.

And clearly the activities of the designated CS interlocutor(s) has been such as to give the appearance of something with some broader on-going significance as for example, by circulating the draft Outcome Document for comment and input. 

So I think that we can assume that the GCCS is meant to be one of those increasing stable of multistakeholder global Internet Governance unicorns whose intention is to replace more formal and “democratically constituted” global Internet Governance assemblies.  

 Why this matters of course, is because the clear intention is that this conference (and more importantly its’ “Chairman's Statement”) is meant to have a similar status to the NetMundial Outcome document i.e. something that is widely quoted, referred to and meant to have the form of some sort of soft international statement of guiding principles, deriving it’s legitimacy directly from the fact of its multistakeholder origination and authentication through the multistakeholder plenaries etc. of the meeting itself.

The question of course is what legitimacy does this conference have on its own terms as a “multistakeholder” process and thus what significance or legitimacy can its outcome statement have beyond being a statement by certain individuals selected on the basis of non-transparent critieria, with no accountability to anyone other than the funders, and thus presumably selected and designed to reinforce and ratify already existing positions as determined by the conference organizers.

The process of facilitating Civil Society participation completely lacked transparency and accountability to any agency outside of the organizational and decision making processes of the conference itself presumably under the direct supervision of the sponsoring governmental bodies.

The facilitation of CS participation through control over travel funding and the holding of the editorial pen in CS contributions would appear to have been directed by the representative or representatives of organizations which get their primary funding from one or another of the main governmental sponsors of these meetings. 

The Advisory Board, presumably selected on the advice of this individual or individuals is notably not broadly representative of CS in the Internet Governance space for example, not including any of those who either individually or organizationally refused agreement to the UNESCO “Connecting the Dots” Outcome Document which deliberately chose to reject a commitment to “democratic governance of the Internet” in favour of a non-defined “multistakeholder governance of the Internet”; nor including any representatives from the Just Net Coalition whose proposal for an Internet Social Forum <http://www.internetsocialforum.net/>  has just received wide acceptance and support in the context of the recently held World Social Forum <https://fsm2015.org/en> .

Further there would appear to have been no objection on the part of the CS Advisory Group to the failure of the conference to address the escalating issues of Social and Economic Justice through and by the Internet evidently accepting the bland generalities of a concern for “access” as an adequate substitute <https://gurstein.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/why-im-giving-up-on-the-digital-divide/> . 

Also, there appears from the proposed conference outcome document to have been no discussion on the relationship between “security” and “social justice”. Why for example, is the discussion concerning “cyber security” only framed in military or police enforcement terms rather than as is broadly seen as appropriate in global civil society, recognizing that economic and social security for all provide the only realistic long term solution to the current cyber (and other) security threats. 

In other contexts ensuring that these issues were included in the discussion would be the natural role for CS participation.

Again we have an example of a purportedly “multistakeholder” process which by its very nature is biased and which lacks any of the formal processes of transparency and accountability out of which the legitimacy of any governance process must be built.




From: governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org <mailto:governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org>  [mailto:governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org] On Behalf Of Deirdre Williams
Sent: April 16, 2015 1:11 PM
To: Internet Governance; Nnenna Nwakanma; Jean-Christophe NOTHIAS I The Global Journal
Subject: Re: [governance] GCCS Speech


Dear Colleagues,

In my imagination I have created an origin myth for the IGC.

Way back at the beginning I see a group of people who all recognise their differences and their diversity but who, at the same time, all identify themselves as belonging to civil society. I see them recognising the potential weakening effect of those differences to the presentation of a common approach, and therefore the desirability of a “civil society” space for objective discussion and negotiation of the differences and the diversity towards what common position may be possible.

I wasn’t there. Those who were can debunk the myth as necessary.

Within the context of this imaginary myth:

Last year Nnenna spoke at the Netmundial meeting in Sao Paolo. Many of us were very enthusiastic about that speech. Daniel Pimienta suggested that we might work on distilling it into a set of principles that, as civil society, we could support. But we moved on to other things.

This morning Nnenna made another speech. Jean-Christophe has stated what he disliked/disapproved of/disagreed with about the speech. Other people offered uncritical praise for what she had said. But we should not be “uncritical” with our praise. It would be good to see some constructive discussion of what she had to say.

Best wishes



On 16 April 2015 at 07:06, Jean-Christophe NOTHIAS I The Global Journal <jc.nothias at theglobaljournal.net <mailto:jc.nothias at theglobaljournal.net> > wrote:

Hi Nnenna from the Internet,



“The fundamental cure for poverty is not money but knowledge" Sir William Arthur Lewis, Nobel Prize Economics, 1979

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