[discuss] [bestbits] Re: Draft statement on making IGF permanent

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Tue Sep 2 17:03:00 UTC 2014

A minor correction...

George, neither the UN ICT Task Force, nor the GAID " spent millions of
dollars"... neither of them had any money of their own (nor any sort of
significant contributory budget--Sarbuland to the best of my knowledge
continued to receive his salary through his previous appointment elsewhere
in the Secretariat for example)... Lack of independent funding was one among
a huge number of other problems, and not to say that if they had had any
money it would have been well and usefully spent...  but I completely agree
with you on the other part of your statement "by virtue of their existence,
they have pre-empted the center of discussion and have thereby prevented the
possible emergence of more innovative and useful."  

I think these comments should be balanced however, by noting that the (quite
limited) contribution of the UNDP, UNESCO and other of the specialized
agencies to ICT4D were for the most quite useful, reasonably well managed
and not particularly wasteful of their or anyone's money.


-----Original Message-----
From: bestbits-request at lists.bestbits.net
[mailto:bestbits-request at lists.bestbits.net] On Behalf Of George Sadowsky
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2014 8:54 AM
To: Nick Ashton-Hart
Cc: manning bill; 1Net List; Erika Mann; Best Bits
Subject: Re: [bestbits] [discuss] Re: Draft statement on making IGF

[cross-posted to BestBits list due to commonality of discussion]

I agree with Nick.  In fact, this is a strong reason not to ask for
permanence for the IGF, but rather to resort to Christian De Larrinaga's
earlier suggestion.  Once something is permanent in the UN System, it will
remain there as the individuals employed by it begin to assert increasingly
strong vested interests in its continuation.  To repeat Christian's

> I will only add to my last comment that I don't understand the diplomatic
or institutional implications of calling for "permanent" mandate rather than
a "continuing or open-ended mandate".     
> I expect the point behind this proposal is not to enshrine IGF as a
forever fixture on the world but to prolong and enhance the IGF at the UN.
That seems laudable. 
> From a purely semantic perspective I prefer the term "continuing" or "open
ended" to "permanent".  The formation of the IGF Support Association it is
timely to ask the UN to continue its mandate now. So I thank those who have
taken the initiative to write this. 

Furthermore, if you look at the UN's record on the development side of
computing and networking, it's not good.  The last two efforts, the
committee headed by the nice Russian guy Sergei from 2000-2004, and GAID
from 2005-2008 headed by Sarbuland Khan, have done virtually nothing to
assist in ICT for Development.  Worse, they have spent millions of dollars,
and worst of all, by virtue of their existence, they have pre-empted the
center of discussion and have thereby prevented the possible emergence of
more innovative and useful.  I would not expect any permanent role for the
IGF within the UN to produce any better results.


On Sep 2, 2014, at 11:38 AM, Nick Ashton-Hart
<nashton at internet-ecosystem.org> wrote:

> Standing bodies - and even institutions - in the UN system rarely ever get
abolished, even when they are clearly overtaken by events. 
> Just for information.
> On 2 Sep 2014, at 11:30, manning bill <bmanning at isi.edu> wrote:
>> it is rare to find a human structure that is “permanent”, so perhaps, in
this case, the term is more a term of art, to deal with the UN.
>> I can see a possible future in which the IGF has been overcome by 
>> events - in which case, having a permanent, but useless structure becomes
an artifact where zero real work gets done.
>> /bill
>> PO Box 12317
>> Marina del Rey, CA 90295
>> 310.322.8102
>> On 2September2014Tuesday, at 9:24, Jeanette Hofmann <jeanette at wzb.eu>
>>> One of the ideas of the statement is to decouple the issues of
improvement and evolution from the renewal of the mandate. The IGF will
always be in need of evolution.
>>> jeanette
>>> Am 02.09.14 17:13, schrieb manning bill:
>>>> permanent implies that no further evolution/change is
>>>> Is the IGF truly the apex of Internet development?
>>>> /bill
>>>> PO Box 12317
>>>> Marina del Rey, CA 90295
>>>> 310.322.8102
>>>> On 2September2014Tuesday, at 8:03, Stephanie Perrin
<stephanie.perrin at mail.utoronto.ca> wrote:
>>>>> Warning: This message has had one or more attachments removed
(UTF-8272565%25.dat). Please read the "ISI-4-43-8-Attachment-Warning.txt"
attachment(s) for more information.
>>>>> Please find attached a new, greatly revised text of the draft 
>>>>> statement on making the IGF permanent.  We have sought advice on 
>>>>> various aspects of the document and made the required revisions.  
>>>>> Please send your comments, as we hope to proceed with a letter and 
>>>>> formal approval process tomorrow.  The document is also loaded on 
>>>>> the pad at https://etherpad.mozilla.org/LQO468JD1K
>>>>> Kind regards,
>>>>> Stephanie Perrin and Jeannette Hofmann.
>>>>> On 2014-09-02, 2:34, Jeanette Hofmann wrote:
>>>>>> Hi all,
>>>>>> (sorry, cross-posting still necessary since not everyone is on 
>>>>>> each of these lists)
>>>>>> Thanks to those who commented, here is a quick update of comments
received so far:
>>>>>> 1. Substance: Ryn and otherers made the important point that projects
in the UN environment are by definition temporary. If we ask the Generaly
Assembly to make the IGF a permanent entity, such a request could imply a
change of status that we did not mean to ask for.
>>>>>> This does not necessarily mean we should drop the whole statement but
that we have to be careful about its language and that we need to get advise
from the diplomats @ IGF.
>>>>>> 2. Title: People find it awkward. Others say it should address the UN
General Assembly.
>>>>>> Again others want a subtitle that would frame it as a statement 
>>>>>> from the IGF stakeholders (meaning: we practically produce 
>>>>>> outcomes even if we cannot formally agree whether or not we want 
>>>>>> the IGF to produce outcomes)
>>>>>> 3. Text: too long, should be shortened but also incude other 
>>>>>> aspects such as those that Avri mentioned: funding, successes of 
>>>>>> the IGF
>>>>>> 4. Language: should be softer to comply with UN style
>>>>>> 5. End: too ubrupt, could be more passionate
>>>>>> 6. Operational: Deadline for comments should be Wednesday night, IGF
local time, so that we have enough time on Thursday to get support for it.
>>>>>> Statement should be read in the closing session?
>>>>>> I am grateful for all suggestions on how to proceed from here. We are
inventing the drafting process while I am writing this.
>>>>>> jeanette
>>>>>> Am 02.09.14 07:00, schrieb Avri Doria:
>>>>>>> (removed cross posting)
>>>>>>> Hi,
>>>>>>> I agree that the letter makes a good case and is a good start.
>>>>>>> I think we need to add a few elements, while working on keeping 
>>>>>>> the text relatively brief
>>>>>>> I think the letter needs to include some information about the 
>>>>>>> development of a sustainable funding model and that this 
>>>>>>> requires the ability to do longer range planning.  I have added some
text to that end.
>>>>>>> I think it is also important to add a bit about the successes of 
>>>>>>> the IGF, perhaps including some of the information that is being 
>>>>>>> collected on the IGF's effect on the Internet ecosystem in its the
first 9 years.
>>>>>>> As the IGF has been collecting this material, perhaps some 
>>>>>>> examples can be lifted from that effort/report.  I am not aware 
>>>>>>> of the progress being made on that report and whether it is
available at this point.
>>>>>>> Thanks to Stephanie and Jeanette for the start that was made.
>>>>>>> avri
>>>>>>> On 01-Sep-14 16:49, "Kleinwächter, Wolfgang" wrote:
>>>>>>>> This is a rasonable text. Probably it can be shorten a little bit.
I support it.
>>>>>>>> wolfgang
>>>>>>>> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
>>>>>>>> Von: governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org im Auftrag von 
>>>>>>>> Jeanette Hofmann
>>>>>>>> Gesendet: Mo 01.09.2014 16:46
>>>>>>>> An: discuss at 1net.org; Best Bits; governance at lists.igcaucus.org
>>>>>>>> Betreff: [governance] Draft statement on making IGF permanent
>>>>>>>> Hi all,
>>>>>>>> Stephanie Perrin and I have drafted a statement that asks the 
>>>>>>>> UN Secretary to consider renewing the mandate of the IGF on a
permanent basis.
>>>>>>>> About 90% of the text are quotes from UN documents referring to 
>>>>>>>> the IGF and from the NetMundial Statement.
>>>>>>>> Our draft is intended to reflect the views of all stakeholders 
>>>>>>>> and perhaps get a broad endorsement at the end of the IGF.
>>>>>>>> Right now, it is just a draft. Changes are welcome.
>>>>>>>> We have set up a pad for editing:
>>>>>>>> https://etherpad.mozilla.org/LQO468JD1K
>>>>>>>> For convenience we also paste the text into this email below.
>>>>>>>> The goal is to complete the editing before the end of the IGF.
>>>>>>>> Stephanie and Jeanette
>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>> discuss mailing list
>>>>>>> discuss at 1net.org
>>>>>>> http://1net-mail.1net.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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