Governments and international organizations are beginning to weigh in for the consultation exercise on the WGIG conducted by Swiss diplomat Markus Kummer in Geneva next week. Four governments - the USA, Canada, Japan, and Norway - have filed comments. A key debate concerns the composition of the WGIG - how big should it be and how many of its members should be from governments, how many from the private business sector, and how many from civil society?
[Editor's note: corrected text inside]
Canada supports a small WGIG, asking for only 15-20 members. Its intervention says nothing about how many of them should be governmental. Japan wants a WGIG with 40 members. Half of them would be composed of representatives of national governments, leaving international organizations, intergovernmental organizations, civil society and business to divide up the rest. [Editors note: Japanese diplomats have corrected this misreading of their comment. Japan intends for the 'government' part of the WGIG to include intergovernmental organizations as wellĘ.] Japan would also like to see an "Advisory Committee" attached to the largish working group. Norway calls for "balancing" efficiency and representativeness (gee, thanks) but offers no number.
The WSIS Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus, on the other hand, offers a breath of fresh air. It proposes a smaller WGIG, with 20-30 members, but the members would be equally divided among civil society, private business, and governments. Most deliciously, it calls for intergovernmental organizations and international organizations to be relegated to observer status - which makes sense, since the WGIG will be debating and discussing those organizations' role.
Japan believes that management of addresses and domains should remain in the private sector. Norway, on the other hand, openly considers disbanding ICANN, and distributing its functions among the GAC, WIPO and the ITU. Norway calls for beefing up GAC's budget and says that it can no longer be relegated to a "mere counseling role." Oh boy.
The USA says nothing about the size or scope of the WGIG, but sets forth some bland principles (pro-competition, private sector leadership, keep networks secure, a chicken in every pot, etc.).
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