[governance] update on NMI
Chris Prince Udochukwu Njoku
udochukwu.njoku at unn.edu.ng
Fri Jul 3 07:22:06 EDT 2015
This report is impressive. If Chinese interpretations of English terms
used here to communicate China's positions are actually what the terms mean
in English, I think the meeting is pointing to a fruitful direction.
When we read the communiqué document, we'll get to know the "lot of
internal obsessive detail". I agree we can discuss them here.
Ian, why was there the "fairly messy process hastily arranged"? Are we to
suspect that the installation of the co-chairs was a mastermind toward any
Chris Prince Udochukwu Njoku (PhD)
University of Nigeria
On Jul 3, 2015 12:30 AM, "Ian Peter" <ian.peter at ianpeter.com> wrote:
> This is an update and some personal reflections on the NetMundial
> Initiative, which held its first full Coordination Council meeting on
> June 30 in Sao Paulo. As posted recently by Marilia, the communique
> document can be found at
> and summarises most of the discussions. So below are some more personal
> Please feel free to copy to other lists.
> The meeting was held in the same room as the original NetMundial
> conference which many of us attended (but partitioned to create a smaller
> room). In addition to the Council members, seats were available for
> observers as well as remote participation. The meeting was hosted and very
> well organised by CGI.br
> One feature of the meeting was the speeches by 2 high profile Chinese
> delegates attending for the first time (Lu Wei, Chinese Minister for
> Cyberspace, and Jack Ma, head of Alibaba). I would imagine transcripts as
> well as other documents will be available soon at www.netmundial .org, but
> some memories are
> Lu Wei definitely mentioned support for multistakeholderism, but China
> watchers might also want to check the transcript or recording for nuances
> of meaning here – he also mentioned sovereignty of course. This seems to a
> change of some sort for China to mention support for multistakeholderism,
> but I would imagine their interpretation of what this means might be
> somewhere within the wide range of interpretations already existing. But
> what I do read into this is an acknowledgement by China that it will work
> with the rest of the world in addressing internet issues. As always, the
> devil will be in the detail.
> Lu Wei ( and Jack Ma if my memory serves me correctly) used the phrase
> of the internet being “for the development of humankind” This particular
> phrase had a history dating back to the early 1980s and the Macbride Report
> of UNESCO (Many Voices One World) referring to pre-Internet new media – out
> of which the NWICO debates emerged. I was personally pleased to hear the
> phrase used in this context.
> There was an interesting discussion on human rights and internet
> governance between Lu Wei and Eileen Donahoe and Anriette Esterhuysen.
> Jack Ma gave a very interesting speech as well, referring to development
> and engagement of youth in particular.
> It appears that both China and Jack Ma on behalf of Alibaba have indicated
> strong support at this stage for the initiative.
> Fadi Chehade in his opening remarks produced some interesting diagrammatic
> interpretations of the state of internet governance – these are also
> available from www.netmundial.org. He also mentioned the role of Edward
> Snowden as a catalyst for the original NMI conference in Sao Paulo –
> remarks which I later took on board a little more extensively to thank
> Edward Snowden for his contribution and to note that, although there have
> since been a few small measures here and there to improve the pervasive
> nature of mass surveillance, there was still a lot of improvement needed in
> this area.
> The meeting adopted a few procedural documents – including strong support
> for consensus decision making. It also, through a fairly messy process
> hastily arranged, put in place 5 co-chairs – Jack Ma, Fadi Chehade,
> Virgilio Almeida, Eileen Donahoe, and Marilia Maciel.
> There was a lot of internal obsessive detail which we could discuss if
> people want to, but basically the intiative is still pretty new and raw and
> learning from its mistakes. Much of the meeting was devoted to internal
> There were also some pretty interesting side discussions – I (and others
> as well) deliberately raised the internet.org issue, particularly to
> feel out policy makers from industry and governments. While there were
> divided opinions, there were certainly a lot of people who hadn’t thought
> about it yet who need to, and some surprisingly strong opposition to the
> initiative from some industry players. I think the discussions were
> valuable, with some people having very scant knowledge of the issues which
> are being raised and likely to look into them further.
> Otherwise – my general impression is that NMI is getting some structure,
> and maybe some extra avenues of financial support as well . The terms of
> the inaugural council will run out in June 2016, and it is hard to know
> what will happen after that, if anything. The loss of product champion Fadi
> Chehade is likely to be a factor as well.
> That’s my initial reactions. I realise that many within civil society have
> strong (and in many cases appropriate) reservations about this initiative.
> But at the same time, I am glad that as these discussions continue civil
> society does have some presence in the discussions and the capacity to
> influence events via those who are participating.
> Ian Peter
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