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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    WSIS From Geneva
    posted by Mueller on Wednesday February 16 2005, @07:17AM

    I am in Geneva, at the open consultations of the Working Group on Internet Governance. Prepcom 2 of WSIS proper starts tomorrow.

    In the consultations, civil society participants have been very successful in getting their issues heard and taken seriously by the assembly. Too early to tell what the outcome will be. For those who are not here, it is difficult to appreciate the importance of the "multistakeholder" approach. At this meeting, civil society actors literally have an equal voice in discussion with governments. This is not the norm among international organizations. For ICANNWatchers, the best metaphor of what these meetings would be like without the atypical approach to public participation in evidence here is to imagine an ICANN meeting at which there is no open mic before the board, you are not allowed to attend any of the GNSO, ASO, ccNSO and GAC meetings. (Oh, wait, we can't attend GAC meetings already....)

    Anyway, the WSIS Civil Society Internet Governance caucus developed the following statement, which was read to the Working Group and about 200 representatives of government, business and civil society at Wednesday's open consultation meeting in Geneva.

    Statement on behalf of the Internet Governance Caucus: 1. The Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus would like to express its support for the Working Group on Internet Governance's multi stakeholder approach. We believe that legitimate and successful Internet Governance can only be achieved if all concerned or affected groups have an opportunity to influence the outcome of governance processes. We want to stress that there is a fundamental difference between multilateral and multi stakeholder processes.

    It should be remembered at all times that the WSIS declaration of principles states that Internet governance decision making should be pursued on a multi-stakeholder basis reflecting the full participation or civil society. The governments that agreed to this new international norm should now take positive steps to ensure its full implementation.

    As a first step, conformity with this norm should be carefully assessed with respect to existing arrangements at intergovernmental level, like the ITU, OECD and WIPO, private sector arrangements like ICANN, and to any new emerging mechanisms.

    2. The Internet Governance caucus proposes that the WGIG places greater emphasis on basic principles such as human rights, freedom of expression, openness and innovation. The caucus believes that two outcomes of the WGIG that will add significant value are: - an understanding of how governance mechanisms can further these basic principles, and, - an elaboration of the concept of democratic internet governance in the context of the interplay between local and global decision-making.

    3. We would like to point out that the extent of participation from the developing parts of the world in the various Internet governance mechanisms is still far from sufficient. This is especially true for civil society actors. We would like to suggest that the WGIG make appropriate recommendation to ensure the effective participation of ALL stakeholder groups from developing countries.

    4. We think it is important for WGIG members to recognize the diversity of processes and mechanisms involved in Internet governance, including: -
    decisions by individual users - private agreements
    - national policies, and,
    - international and transnational bodies.

    These correspond to a diversity of perspectives on what issue areas are important in Internet governance. The caucus would recommend that all relevant issues of importance to stakeholder groups should be addressed by the working group. Unresolved controversies should be documented in papers and statements and not used as a basis to omit particular issues.

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    · Also by Mueller
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