[governance] [bestbits] Taking place next week: Asian Regional Consultation on the WSIS+10 Review - remote participation available

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Wed Sep 2 04:01:20 EDT 2015

Hi Anja

There were two levels of issues that I had raised. First (which I call
as category 1) is simple, direct, objective and fully-self contained,
public interest information about what is supposed to be a public
interest activity. I have covered this aspect in the email I sent just now.

The second (category 2) is connected, but a slightly lower level issue
because it involves judgements, and judgements about judgements, about
who was invited, who was funded, who was informed in time enough to
consider participating, and so on....( In fact, this part is also
greatly helped by a full declaration of the decision process, the group
involved in making the judgements, and so on, which basic info is part
of category 1 above.)

I do not want to mix issues of category 1 and 2, so that the clarity of
category 1 issues, and the basic and objective imperatives involved, may
not get diluted. So please provide meseparatelythe fully objective
information under category 1 sought in my earlier email  .

Meanwhile, this email will deal with some admittedly judgemental issues
that are involved, which while being not fully objective are still a
worthy subject of public debate. Please see inline....

On Tuesday 01 September 2015 11:52 PM, Anja Kovacs wrote:
> Hi Parminder,
> I have not discussed this with my co-organisers, but as the person who
> first came up with this idea and also the one to send the message to
> which you responded, I am happy to provide some answers.
> Perhaps first a note on what we are trying to do here. As we all know,
> the modalities explicitly made the Review a government-led process.
> Also, details on the way in which the informal consultations with
> other stakeholders would be facilitated remained extremely scanty even
> eight months before the review was supposed to take place. Even when
> the Review process was formally announced, it wasn't clear to what
> extent inputs from stakeholders other than governments would be taken
> into account. This meeting is an attempt to be proactive in that
> situation, trying to amplify voices from our region to make sure that
> concerns from this region actually find resonance in New York -
> something that, seeing how far removed we are from there, isn't
> guaranteed at all.

Sure... I note the term /'amplify voices/' and the neutrality of the
platform which is thus suggested.... Hope you note it too, and your
responses are informed with this fact . (The conference website
<http://www.wsis10.asia/index.php> carries this blurb "Amplifying Asian
Voices in the WSIS + 10 Process" - which raises the important public
interest question about who determines and filters what are 'Asian Voices')

> The organisations that are co-organising this meeting are
> organisations that all got enthused by this prospect, and were willing
> to put part of their organisational budgets, of their staff's time and
> minds, or of all of these up to make this event happen.

Who funded what - especially in terms of actual money.... Lets not
generalise clear and objective issues and questions. What you refuse to
answer, you should just say so.

> No funding was secured specifically for this meeting (though I tried).
> What this meant is that the funding pool was limited, and difficult
> decisions indeed did have to be made.

Who made the decisions, what was the process... This being after all an
"Asia Regional Consultation" whereby the outputs of it will also carry
that label.

> What we aimed for was to have a balanced representation across Asia's
> sub-regions as well as a group that could address a mix of issues from
> a range of perspectives.

'Balanced representation'.... and 'mix of issues from a range of
perspectives'  :) . You must be joking.... One cant just write anything,
just because it sounds good and is of a general nature.... Can you show
how is it balanced and admits a range of perspective, about which more

> A direct engagement with the WSIS+10 Review process over the past two
> years was definitely seen as a plus, but not a must.

Sure. Then maybe engagement with WSIS for 12 years would be a big plus
plus plus ... but it did not seem to count here among a 'range of
perspectives' and 'balanced views'..... You need to justify with facts
all the good and general things you are writing here if we are to have a
meaningful dialogue and not just confuse people.

> As is bound to happen in such circumstances, there are indeed people
> who would be able to offer valuable inputs to the meeting but who we
> were not able to offer funding.

Just wanted to understand the 'process'.. Who was actually making the

> Luckily, some of those are able to self-fund their attendance.

But then they at least need to know about the event, which I first heard
about exactly 10 days before the meeting from your email below -- this
even when we were in conversation over another issue, in fact a meeting
my organisation is organising in Delhi on the 5th of Sept to which we
invited you, but you said you cannot come, even at that stage not
revealing why you could not - which I now gather was  bec you had this
Asia Consultation meeting on the 5th. Anja, the meeting plans and dates
were clearly kept under wraps till the very last minute - so I do not
understand this 'self funding' business either.... Other than it being
another link in the long chain of general, good sounding, statements,
which are not very well founded on facts, and thus do not contribute to
a serious and useful discussion. Maybe some people could have self
funded (although I could not have)  if they knew about this meeting...
But the problem is that a so called 'Asia Regional Consultation' of a UN
process is being held even without sufficient notice to people (all of
10 days)...

> In addition, we tried to alleviate the restrictions imposed by the
> limited funding by deciding to provide remote participation, so as to
> allow all those interested in participating to do so. The full
> modalities of how this will work is something that we are still
> working out: as this is intended to be a working meeting, ensuring
> that remote participation is substantive is not a given. We are doing
> our very best to try and pull off successfully what I think is a first
> in our region for a meeting of this kind.

I am not sure what you mean by first of this kind.... The original WSIS
process had publicly funded regional review meetings, in both its phases...

> Your claim that nobody from the Just Net Coalition has been invited is
> of course not correct. One organisation was on our shortlist from day
> one. Another is attending on its own force, and we are very happy that
> they, as well as others, have been able to draw on their own resources
> to attend this event and contribute to its success.

But perhaps you could have put the info on the Just Net Coalition elist,
so that all would know, also also engaged with other JNC members
especially those who were most active in WSIS + 10 engagement including
developing JNC's statement towards it. That reminds me - the resource
page of your proposed 'Consultation', which carry a number of
contributions to the WSIS + 10 process of NGOs and even of non-NGOs,
chose to specifically censor the contribution of Just Net Coalition.
This says a lot to your commitment to 'balanced views' and 'range of

(Well, very interestingly, I now see that JNC's contribution has been
added now after I wrote the email yesterday, but /it wasnt there till
yesterday/, and I did take the enclosed print out which shows that it
wasnt . Anja, another specific question, is it not true that the JNC
contribution was not there on your list of contributions page till
yesterday?  )
> On APRCEM, thanks for the heads-up. I am glad to hear that they are
> now intending to work on issues related to science and technology as well,

They have worked in this area for quite some time..

> and that they are even engaging with the Internet Social Forum
> initiative on this. Though I am on an email list that is dedicated to
> discussing the Internet Social Forum, I don't seem to be able to
> locate that information there. Do please feel free to pass on the
> message about this event to them though. If any representative of
> APRCEM would be interested in attending, either in person or remotely,
> they are very welcome to do so, as are you.

Dont you think this is very late for meeting in 3 days! But again, the
real issues here are structural ones around civil society processes and
transparency/ accountability, and not about individuals...

> Hope this clarifies.

My apologies, but it doesnt.

Best, parminder
> Regards,
> Anja
> On 31 August 2015 at 18:47, parminder <parminder at itforchange.net
> <mailto:parminder at itforchange.net>> wrote:
>     Dear organisers of the *Asian Regional Consultation on the WIS+10
>     Review,
>     *With your permission I have some questions to ask you. I know
>     this is a treacherous territory, given an extra ordinary (and
>     completely inappropriate) sensitivity to being asked questions by
>     some groups, but my apologies, I cannot but ask them in pursuance
>     of my public interest work, however distasteful it may be even for
>     me to get into this thing....
>     This is being called a 'consultation' and further an 'Asian
>     Regional' consultation, on what is a global governance process,
>     and so some questions arise in my mind:
>     (1) who is funding this 'consultation'
>     (2) on what criteria participants were determined, and invitations
>     sent, and by whom - were all concerned people invited (that, in my
>     view, would be a consultation)
>     (3) On what criteria funding for participation was provided, and
>     by whom, and who decided it..
>     Thanks for answering these public interest questions...
>     I may declare that my interest got evoked from the knowledge that
>     no member of the Just Net Coalition has been invited... IT for
>     Change is among very few groups in Asia Pacific which has been
>     engaged with the WSIS process from the start, and very thoroughly
>     engaged. Further, there is in fact an Asia Pacific Regional CSO
>     Engagement Mechanism <http://www.asiapacificrcem.org/>, which
>     describes itself as
>         "APRCEM is a civil society platform aimed to enable stronger
>         cross constituency coordination and ensure that voices of all
>         sub-regions of Asia Pacific are heard in intergovernmental
>         processes in regional and global level. The platform is
>         initiated, owned and driven by the CSOs, and has been set up
>         under the auspices of UN-ESCAP and seeks to engage with UN
>         agencies and Member States on the Post-2015 as well as other
>         development related issues/processes. "
>     In fact the APRCEM also has an Science and Technology Constituency
>     which works as an active network (of which IT for Change is a
>     member) which has begun to work closely with the Just Net
>     Coalition (many JNC members also being its members) and the
>     Internet Social Forum initiatives, which shows its interest in
>     Internet issues... As far as I know no member of this network, or
>     the network as a whole, has been involved in this so-called "Asia
>     Regional Consultation' which being on a UN process this group
>     would be natural constituency... All of which makes me wonder, and
>     so my questions..
>     parminder
>     On Wednesday 26 August 2015 08:21 PM, Anja Kovacs wrote:
>>     Dear all,
>>     The Internet Democracy Project, Bytes for All, APNIC, the
>>     Association for Progressive Communications, ISOC, Global Partners
>>     Digital and ICT Watch are together organising an *Asian Regional
>>     Consultation on the WIS+10 Review* from 3 to 5 September in
>>     Pattaya, Thailand.
>>     The Asian Regional Consultation on the WSIS+10 Review will bring
>>     together experts from different backgrounds and from around the
>>     Asian region who are concerned about issues concerning ICTs,
>>     sustainable development, human rights and Internet governance, to
>>     ask: *what are the issues that our governments need to squarely
>>     address in the process of the review?
>>     *
>>     The meeting is timed so as to be able for the group to comment on
>>     the non-paper that will have been released by the co-facilitators
>>     of the review process in late August (inputs into that paper can
>>     be made by all stakeholders and are due on 31 July).The group
>>     will take stock of the extent to which priorities for the Asian
>>     region have been reflected in the non-paper, and will work
>>     together on formulating a joint comment on the non-paper
>>     (comments on the non-paper will be due in mid-September, and will
>>     be drawn on by the co-facilitators to formulate a zero-draft).
>>     The group will also look forward to consider which further inputs
>>     could be made or actions could be taken strategically to ensure
>>     that priorities from the Asian region are fully taken onto board
>>     in the final WSIS+10 Review outcome documents. If there are other
>>     processes the group believes this work could usefully feed into,
>>     these might be taken into consideration as well.
>>     *The meeting is conceived as a highly interactive working meeting
>>     that is geared towards producing a joint submission to the next
>>     input round on the Review outcome document. *Participants will be
>>     drawn from all non-government stakeholder groups, and will have a
>>     wide and rich variety of backgrounds, both in terms of
>>     professional expertise and geographical location. What unites
>>     all, however, is a shared commitment to a free and open Internet
>>     and to the use of technology to benefit the development and human
>>     rights of all in our region.
>>     *We're very happy to let you know that remote participation will
>>     be available. *For more information on remote participation and
>>     the event in general, please see the event website
>>     <http://www.wsis10.asia/>. Or follow us on Twitter @WSISAsia #wsis10.
>>     We look forward to your inputs into this event. Do please let me
>>     know if you have any comments or questions.
>>     Warm regards,
>>     Anja
>>     -- 
>>     Dr. Anja Kovacs
>>     The Internet Democracy Project
>>     +91 9899028053 | @anjakovacs
>>     www.internetdemocracy.in <http://www.internetdemocracy.in/>
>>     ____________________________________________________________
>>     You received this message as a subscriber on the list:
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>     ____________________________________________________________
>     You received this message as a subscriber on the list:
>          bestbits at lists.bestbits.net <mailto:bestbits at lists.bestbits.net>.
>     To unsubscribe or change your settings, visit:
>          http://lists.bestbits.net/wws/info/bestbits
> -- 
> Dr. Anja Kovacs
> The Internet Democracy Project
> +91 9899028053 | @anjakovacs
> www.internetdemocracy.in <http://www.internetdemocracy.in/>
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