[discuss] IGF -- the right space for discussions about IG

Jeremy Malcolm jeremy at ciroap.org
Thu Jan 30 03:21:25 UTC 2014

On 29/01/14 23:10, Marilyn Cade wrote:
> So, as an IGF supporter, what can we do to address how the IGF can
> strenthen and support IG understanding, awareness, engagement,
> effectiveness?
> I am committed to what the WSIS Heads of State proposed:  IGF.
> And to how we strengthen, evolve, and enhance IGF.

Do you consider that you have changed your position on this?  In the
past you have been one of those opposing the evolution of the IGF,
insisting that it shouldn't change or extend its mandate beyond what you
have described as "facilitating dialogue and understanding", whilst
downplaying elements of the existing mandate like "making
recommendations, where appropriate".  You resisted a proposal to
formalise and strengthen the linkage of dynamic coalitions to the IGF,
and quashed the idea of having a "speed dialogues" for the Rio meeting
or "debates" for the Hyderabad meeting.  Such resistance to change by
various stakeholders was seen by others as limiting the IGF's potential.

There is nothing wrong with changing position now, because there may
have been reasons for the business community to be reticent in the IGF's
early years, and conversely there are very good reasons to be more
confident (indeed, insistent) about changes now, as indeed the technical
community has woken up to with its Montevideo Statement.  It is indeed a
very good thing that previous reluctance of the private sector and
technical communities to embrace the IGF's evolution beyond the talking
shop model is now softening, and I am hopeful that with the expiration
(at last!) of the terms of all 2006-era MAG members, we may see some
long-awaited changes finally taking root.

So in a nutshell, do you now agree that the IGF should (with appropriate
reforms) become a venue where non-binding, high-level policy principles
on Internet governance issues could be adopted by multi-stakeholder
consensus as recommendations, to guide the decentralised governance
mechanisms of governments, intergovernmental organisations, the private
sector, the technical community and user communities?


*Dr Jeremy Malcolm
Senior Policy Officer
Consumers International | the global campaigning voice for consumers*
Office for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East
Lot 5-1 Wisma WIM, 7 Jalan Abang Haji Openg, TTDI, 60000 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: +60 3 7726 1599

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