Jeremy Malcolm Jeremy at Malcolm.id.au
Sun Apr 27 20:49:28 UTC 2014

On 27 Apr 2014, at 9:04 am, karklinsj at gmail.com wrote:

> I would like to comment on your “…it is time to IGF MAG to through off its self imposed limitations ….”
> Agreeing that IGF needs to find a way to demonstrate more tangible outcome of its work, I doubt that NetMundial experience will be applied in 2014/2015 editions. There are several reasons for that:
> NetMundial was focused on 2 issues - IGF is broad ranging discussion
> Purpose/aim of both meetings were different
> Drafting of the Final statement started well in advance of NetMundial
> NetMundial had far more resources in terms of Secretarial support (HL Committee, Bureau)

The final point is a valid one.  I seriously question the others.

First, to call "Internet principles" and "roadmap for future evolution of Internet governance" as being "two issues" seems a bit odd.  Indeed within these "two issues" it is hard to think of which of the IGF's topics weren't covered in some way at NETmundial.  Conversely, there is no reason why the IGF should not focus its topics of discussion much more narrowly, rather than trying to cover everything each year; and indeed this suggestion has been made many times.

For example, the CSTD Working Group on IGF Improvements recommended that the IGF could be improved by offering (by implication, a limited set of) "tangible policy questions" that could be considered at each meeting.  But the way in which this was implemented was just ridiculous.  A notice was posted on the IGF's website ahead of the Bali meeting calling for suggestions on policy questions to be covered.  Then all 49 of the suggestions that were received were simply passed on to session organisers with a note saying "IGF discussions should include them as time permits"!  Some time I ago tweeted my opinion that this had been "So tragically mishandled you have to wonder if it was deliberate so the MAG could tell the #CSTD, 'hey your stupid suggestion didn't work'."

As for the purpose/aim of the meetings being different, the IGF's purpose includes the mandate to "identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendations", notwithstanding that this has never been attempted due to resistance by certain stakeholders.  But with ISOC's reversal this year about the IGF delivering non-binding recommendations, this can be revisited.

Likewise with "	Drafting of the Final statement started well in advance of NetMundial".  In this case "well in advance" was less than the period that exists between IGFs.  Admittedly we may be hard pressed to do the same thing for the Turkey IGF (unless it is postponed until after ITU Plenipot, which some have proposed), but for the Brazil IGF, there is no such obstacle.  There is now much firmer support (including, as mentioned above, from ISOC in a reversal of their previous position) for an intersessional work programme for the IGF involving dedicated working groups.

So I fully agree with Avri's suggestions that it is time for the IGF to finally embrace change.

Jeremy Malcolm PhD LLB (Hons) B Com
Internet lawyer, ICT policy advocate, geek
host -t NAPTR|awk -F! '{print $3}'

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