[Governance] FYI: ITCG's submission regarding the creation and membership of the IGF Leadership Panel

George Sadowsky george.sadowsky at gmail.com
Tue Nov 30 13:41:01 EST 2021

On 27 November 2021, the Internet Technical Collaboration Group , or ITCG, (https://www.internetcollaboration.org <https://www.internetcollaboration.org/>) sent the message below to the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General   We reproduce the letter below, omitting the curriculum vitae of the candidates recommended.

The Internet Technical Collaboration Group, or ITCG (https://www.internetcollaboration.org <https://www.internetcollaboration.org/>) brings together the technical and policy expertise of individuals and organizations involved in the technical evolution and administration of specific Internet resources in a decentralized network approach to policy formulation for the Internet.

The ITCG is dedicated to sharing information within the technical community, and ensuring effective and appropriate technical representation in the formulation and implementation of multi-stakeholder Internet governance. Its technical contributors cooperate and coordinate to facilitate constructive contributions to Internet governance fora such as national and international Internet governance meetings.

The ITCG is not endorsed by any organization within the Internet ecosystem.  Members of the ITCG participate as individuals. Any output of the ITCG is the result of consensus amongst these individuals, and is not officially endorsed by their employers or any Internet technical organisation.  The views and opinions expressed in any output of the ITCG are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect official policies or positions of their respective institutions.


Office of the Secretary-General
The United Nations
New York, NY    USA

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

The Internet Technical Collaboration Group (ITCG) has noted the Call for Nominations to an IGF Leadership Panel, issued by the IGF Secretariat at the invitation of the UN Secretary-General on 8 November 2021. We also note the Terms of Reference for the IGF Leadership Panel published on the IGF website.  

As a group of individuals and organizations involved in the technical evolution and administration of specific Internet resources, the ITCG has regularly provided recommendations to the UN Secretary-General on nominations to the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (IGF-MAG) on behalf of the Internet technical community stakeholder group. We believe that this group plays a useful role, ensuring that the technical community can be represented by individuals with relevant expertise, trust, and the support of the global technical community. We feel that this model of ensuring effective representation extends to all multistakeholder structures within the IGF.

In making these nominations, however, the ITCG joins other stakeholder groups in expressing serious reservations about the formation process, timeline, and role of the proposed IGF Leadership Panel, as outlined in the Terms of Reference and the Call for Nominations.  With these serious reservations, detailed below, we provide the following nominations to the seats reserved for the Internet technical community stakeholder group on the proposed IGF Leadership Panel.  Their professional qualifications are attached below:

	•  Maria Häll
	•  Toomas Hendrik Ilves
	•  Nii Narku Quaynor

The ITCG has concluded that each of these individuals possess extensive, relevant experience and an understanding of the Internet's technical operations adequate to bring those perspectives to this panel and discuss them with others.  They would therefore be able to contribute significant value to the work of this panel and the quality of its conclusions.   The ITCG collectively supports these candidates without reservation. Pertinent biographical information in included below.

With regard to our reservations, we start by noting that  that various organisations and individuals in the global Internet technical community responded to the earlier call for comment regarding the formation of a multi-stakeholder high-level body (the ‘Consultation on Paragraph 93(a) of the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation’, held in March 2021: https://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/content/93a-questionnaire-template <https://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/content/93a-questionnaire-template>). The points made in the responses from organisations including APNIC, the RIPE NCC, the Internet Society and others clearly resonate with the concerns that we now have in relation to the proposed IGF Leadership Panel.  Our two key concerns are as follows:

1. We deplore that the the Terms of Reference for this IGF Leadership Panel have been produced with minimal multistakeholder community engagement. It is not evident that the engagement carried out earlier in 2021 has been incorporated in the final Terms of Reference. Strong concerns have been raised that the role of the Leadership Panel, particularly in relation to the MAG, and the way in which the Leadership Panel is expected to, “complement and support similar and ongoing efforts by the MAG.” 

A "Leadership Panel", by its name alone, is inconsistent with the multistakeholder approach of the IGF, and the current proposal has drawn strong criticism from all of the stakeholder groups of whom we are aware and whhave statements (or expressed opinions) on the matter.  A more inclusive, multistakeholder approach to defining this body may have helped to address this, and any process going forward must prioritise openness, transparency, and a commitment to the IGF's multistakeholder approach.

We would therefore strongly suggest that the formation process itself be now paused to allow for substantial community input and feedback during the upcoming IGF 2021. 

2. The process in relation to the formation of the Leadership Panel is very short, with less than a month to collect nominations. Numerous stakeholders groups have noted this lack of time, and it does not suggest a good-faith effort to find the most effective representatives of each stakeholder group. This is particularly important given that this proposal would inject a new and potentially highly influential function within the IGF ecosystem.

We welcome this opportunity to put  these concerns on record, and we ask that the Office of the Secretary-General now reflect on them and take steps to address them with stakeholders directly.

We trust that if the formation of the IGF Leadership Panel proceeds as outlined, due consideration will be given to the individuals nominated by the ITCG on behalf of the global Internet technical community, and there will be transparent communication regarding the final selection process.

Best regards,

George Sadowsky, Chair
The Internet Technical Collaboration Group (ITCG)

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