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Whom do I contact if I want to raise my Internet Governance concern?

IG is a highly complex policy space with hundreds of actors addressing more than 50 different policy issues in a wide range of forums. Few actors, if any, have a complete grasp of its full complexity. This challenge has triggered many small and developing countries to request a one-stop shop for voicing their concerns. The design of this one-stop shop is key: Should it be a new international Internet organisation, a global multistakeholder IG clearing house,  a distributed governance system, or...?

The online discussion builds on the second preparatory webinar for the Geneva Internet Conference. The discussion on the first theme - How to overcome IG policy silos at national and global levels - is taking place here. Stay engaged with us as we make our way towards the Geneva Internet Conference.

Although Internet Freedom
Although Internet Freedom represents progress in Tunisia.The Internet is an essentially private environment and therefore demands greater accountability from the private sector. There is no goverance mechanismes  that  prioritize strategic IG governance over the buisness market or unprofessional government deficient bureaucratic policies to the respect of  human rights, cyber-security or privacy. In Tunisia, these objections shall be briefly reviewed the private sector should implement a reliable power supply to operate the computers, a well-functioning telephone network to transmit data, foreign currency to import the technology, and computer-literate personnel are all prerequisites for the successful use of IT. Such infrastructural elements remain inadequate in many African countries. For instance, the number of telephones per 1,000 people ranges between 12 and 50, depending on the country, and many of the lines that do exist are out of order much of the time. The Internet, are inherently democratic, provide the public and individuals with access to information and sources and enable all to participate actively in the communication process. States to impose excessive regulations on the use these technologies, and again, particularly the Internet, on the grounds that control, regulation, and denial of access are necessary to preserve the moral fabric and cultural identities of societies which is paternalistic. These regulations presume to protect people from themselves and, as such, are inherently incompatible with the principles of the worth and dignity of each individual. Internet connectivity is of special significance to civil society in the Arab world. Computer networks greatly facilitate small group participation at all levels within groups, between groups, and between groups and their constituencies thus helping to strengthen the organizations of civil society.  Many NGOs working on IG related issues like cyber-security have embraced the Internet as a means of exchanging, collecting, and disseminating information quickly and cheaply. Groups and organizations in the MENA region are no exception. The use of ICTs and computer-mediated communication (CMC), most notably the Internet, as effective tools in the hands of organizations of civil society in order to advance both local and global agendas, has proven itself in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine and Yemen ( MENA region in general ) also in China and South East Asia and among global organizations of civil society such as human rights groups and ecologically oriented organizations. This potential empowerment of civil society organizations exists in the MENA region as well, providing the possibility to shatter the existing corporatist paradigms that are so prevalent in the region, and which stifle the growth of more democratic organizations of civil society. By lowering organizational costs, overcoming political, geographical and temporal boundaries by allowing the organizations to work behind the scenes mobilizing local and international support for democratic agendas, far from the prying eyes of the state, the Internet has the ability to unleash the full potential of civil society in the MENA region.
I agree that perhaps a

I agree that perhaps a clearing house may be useful in the IG space. However i think it may be helpful to also determine what role the clearing house will be performing and whether it will be doing this in a manner different from what is already being experienced. By clearing house, i will see the AFIGF as a possible clearing house for the national IGF while global IGF being a possible clearning house for all other regional IGF. The issue however is that there has really not been a well coordinated approach in all these. The un-cordinated approach has then given justification to other initiatives to be setup which in IMO seem to infact make it even more difficult to have a coordinated approach to deveoping IG policy issues.

I do not think always we must

I do not think always we must think about creating platforms to be heard. It means always reinvent the wheel.

I think IGF is already a model that began to prove itself. IGF is a framework that brings together the multi-stakeholders to exchange and discuss the evolution of the Internet, its development, problems posed by the development of the internet.

There is now a global IGF, IGF continentals, regional IGFs, national IGFs.

These IGFs held each year but most importantly, in my opinion, is to strenghten national IGF.

I have to agree with Baudouin

I have to agree with Baudouin on the IGF being already a good model. It has legitimacy, and a solid foundation. It has become a process in itself with the establishment of national and regional IGFs.

At the same time, I believe it is premature to discuss a model, without first having a clear idea of the functions the clearinghouse should have. If the functions are 'aimed to assist players – especially governments and stakeholders from developing countries', then the needs of developing countries should be the starting point.

Harmony with rich interplay

Harmony with rich interplay can only be feasible when we have orderliness and controls.

Ordeliness can only exist when all are aware and understand the technology/science behind.

Control puts harmony in place.

Who then is to control (government, civil society,academics,business or technical)?

Passive/active approach

To what extent is the desire for a clearing house in IG pushed by the developing countries themselves (because of their limited capacities, them asking for a one-stop-shop) and to what extent is this motivated by the other side, wanting to create such a function?

Passive/active approach - resources foster dynamic activity

Thanks, Tereza, that's not only a great question, but it triggered better understanding of the clearinghouse concept in my mind. The clearinghouse menu, with the guidance of experts will help us all, from developed and undeveloped countries. In this case, I think the impetus comes from related needs: a need to find the information we need, a need to organise the resources available into a coherent, useable source, and a need to share the information we want others to have, as well as others. I think the usefulness of the clearinghouse is evident. But it is a huge undertaking. How could this be done? 

Good points, Ginger. To my

Good points, Ginger. To my understanding, Clearinghouse function (or “one stop shop” or “lighthouse” or whatever we title it) should assist IG policy-making especially on national levels by guiding the decision-makers and policy-shapers (especially of developing countries) through a “vast (dark?) forest” of thematic and process challenges and best practices. Instead of providing a solution, it should help these parties to find relevant data and success stories/best practices on specific topics of interests, find the way to participate in fora and international/regional discussions of relevance, find the appropriate capacity building and networking mechanisms, follow trends and policy and diplomatic developments in the area of interests, etc.

To that end, I agree with you that an analogy to a “restaurant”, where parties (governments and policy-shapers) order the “tastes” of their desired national meal (national policy), and the waiters (Clearinghouse function mechanism) provide suggestions on intergradient based on the consultation with the Chefs (WTO, ICANN, ITU, NETmundial, IGF...), may become slightly passive: at the end, in the restaurant the Chefs would prepare such a meal; in reality, we want them to only suggest a receipt, while parties would mix (and even obtain) the necessary ingredients on their own – the national policies should be “cooked” on the local level, even if with some “foreign exotic spices”.

There, the orchestra is also a good analogy – as long as we ask the conductor on how to listen to a trumpet, how to get bit more of a piano sound, and – ultimately – to help us with composing our own tune. Nevertheless, the conductor should again just help us understand the music better and liaise with various musicians to enable us make our tune. In this analogy, however, we should be cautious not to observe a conductor (Clearinghouse mechanism) as a coordinator of all the instruments (WTO, UNESCO, IGF, NETmundial, ICANN) but only as a mean to help us reach them in an easier way through a single “gateway”.

Clearinghouse shouldn’t mess up with existing IG processes (lead or coordinate) - but rather become an additional layer which enables all of us to make the best out of all.

I found the webinar on this

I found the webinar on this topic to be very interesting http://giplatform.org/events/webinar-whom-do-i-contact-if-i-want-raise-m.... I was intrigued by the idea of an IG restaurant, which I first read about in a blog post by Jovan Kurbalija http://www.diplomacy.edu/blog/welcome-ig-restaurant. However, I realised during the webinar that I (and probably many involved in IG) don't want to be a customer, requesting my dishes from the waiter, who conveys my order to the chef. I want to be a chef. I want to be more involved.

I also ask: who designs the menu? Who coordinates the kitchen? I don't want to sit back and eat what I am served.

I proposed another analogy: an orchestra. The entire orchestra containing the musicians, with smaller groups of brass, strings, woodwinds (the topics, like cybersecurity and human rights), who have their own melodies and strategies. Smaller groups of trios and quintets can work on intersecting topics with their different instruments, and individuals practice on their own as well. The problem: who designs the programme? What pieces will we play--we pretty much have to  work together, or we risk playing different pieces at the same time, and ending up with a cacophony of clashing sound, rather than a beautiful harmony with a rich interplay of themes.

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The Geneva Internet Platform is an initiative of the Swiss authorities

 

Members of the Steering Committee are FDFA, OFCOM, Canton of Geneva, ETH-Zürich, and the University of Geneva

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