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The following is the output of the real‑time captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey, meetings.  Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.  It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.  



>> WILLIAM DRAKE:  We will begin in about two minutes.  We are just trying to corral two of the speakers, who are downstairs in the coffee area and probably don't know where the room is, since nobody else does.

Good afternoon, everyone.  My name is William Drake and I teach at the university of Zurich.  I'm the chair of the Noncommercial Users Constituency in ICANN.  The Noncommercial Users Constituency is a coalition of 350 Civil Society actors involved in ICANN policy issues, with people from 90‑something countries around the world, and they are the organiser of this workshop.  This is the second of two workshops we have done at this IGF.

Yesterday we had one on ICANN globalization and the affirmation commitments.  This session is about institutionalizing the clearinghouse function.  That may get the award for the most obscure title of any IGF workshop.  It's probably the least intuitively obvious to people who might just randomly be scanning the schedule.  But for people who have been involved in the global Internet Governance dialogues for some time, it's actually a topic that has been floating around at various levels of attention for quite some time.

If you go back a decade even to the early days when we were talking about creating an Internet Governance Forum, there was discussion about whether or not there shouldn't be built into the Forum a means to help to gather knowledge and information inputs about different Internet Governance issues, aggregate them, format them into a way that could be dealt with more effectively, and serve them to users so as to help improve policy decision‑making around Internet Governance.

That idea did not really take off much as a topic.  But now in the past year or so, it had a lot of new life breathed into it.  The recent high level panel on Internet Governance and global cooperation made some recommendations about the need to create so‑called issue to mapping mechanisms that would effectively do the kind of activity that we are talking about. 

At the same time, the European Commission has undertaken a project and conducted a feasibility study on what it calls a global Internet policy observatory which would be a sort of automated technology‑based approach to fulfilling the same kinds of functions.

The fundamental idea behind all of these different types of ideas, and these proposals, and there are other versions of this as well, is that what we need in the global ecosystem is a more effective way to be able to aggregate and disseminate information, that there essentially is unnecessary friction in the system from the standpoint of users, particularly developing country governments and other nondominant stakeholders who might struggle with dealing with the great cornucopia of information that is out there with regard to global Internet Governance issues and institutions.

Finding your way through the thicket of all the information that is available from so many different blogs and Web sites and institutions and so on and so forth can be very difficult.

So that if, for example, a policymaker in a developing country wants to try to address an issue such as interconnection charging, or spam or security, where it isn't entirely obvious what single international institution has a responsibility for managing that issue, and so it's not clear where you would pull together information from, there would be a means to try to assist by pulling together information on demand to help them gather the information, and essentially formulate the kinds of relationships that would be required to form a sort of policy network that would support their efforts.

So this idea has been, as I say, around.  And the question has been becoming now, okay, if we want to take this forward, if we want to get serious with it, how would we do it?  What does it entail?  Where would we do it?

So that is what this panel seeks to look at.  We are going to try to unpack the questions of, what is the clearinghouse function?  What are the elements that would make sense to be part of that, and where might we want to locate a project or even something larger, a programme or something, in the international system.  Would we want to simply try to build on the existing mechanisms we already have out there and strengthen them?  Would we want to create, put this into a intergovernmental organisation as some governments might prefer?  Would we want to put, create a new multistakeholder mechanism or programme of some sort?  Would we want to put it in the IGF?  Would we want to have an independent multistakeholder process that cooperates in some manner with the IGF?

These are the kinds of things we want to think about together in this workshop.  In order to take up these questions, we have a very good panel of people who have been thinking about these issues for a long time.

We have, moving from my far right, towards me, Tarek Kamel, senior advisor to the President at ICANN on issues of governmental engagement.  He is also the former Minister of Communication in Egypt.  He has been thinking about these issues in the context of the high level panel and the NETMundial initiative, which also addressed this question, and so on.

Next to him, we have Megan Richards, the principal advisor in DG Communication Networks, Content and Technology, connect of the European Commission.

Next we have Markus Kummer, senior Vice President of the Internet Society and soon to become a member of the Board of Directors of ICANN.

Finally, directly next to me, Lea Kaspar, programme manager at Global Partners Digital in the UK, who has been working on this issue and a number of related issues which she will mention later on.  We had a couple of other people who were supposed to be on the programme who have not managed to find their way here.  But if they do locate this hidden room, we hope to have them up to the podium and they will speak as well.

I should point out also by way of background that Lea and I did write a paper about this topic which is included in a digital book that was released on Day Zero at the NETMundial Day Zero event, and that is available, linked off the IGF Web site, if anybody wants to read more.

Now, so we will begin with Tarek, and unfortunately he will have to leave early, because alas, the ICANN Open Forum has been scheduled at the same time.

So he has to be in two places at the same time.  We have agreed to have him speak first, and we will take a few questions for him if there are any.  And then we will let him go and then proceed with the rest of the panel.

I'll stop there, and turn to Tarek.

>> TAREK KAMEL: Thank you very much.  Very good afternoon, everybody.  Thank you for inviting me to this panel.  It's a very interesting topic.

Yes, in this hidden room, where nobody knows exactly where it is, and that is probably not a lack of interest in the topic, but maybe people didn't find it or it's Thursday afternoon or there are other competing events or whatever.

Anyhow, the idea of a clearinghouse, and we all know how David was part definitely of the leading the efforts, WSIS and phase 1 and phase 2 and Markus and Nigel, and we have all been living that issue of the need of a clearinghouse.

At that time it was said to start with a dial‑up platform, which is IGF, and take it forward and see where it will evolve.  In the last couple of years, the idea of clearinghouse started to become more and more heated in the discussions, in the global discussion, and I would say, claim that the real need comes from the developing countries.

Simply, because the issues became complicated, our internal, global internal governments issues became more and more meshed, the roles of our organisations, even my own organisation, became more and more comprehensive, specifically after the gTLD programme was, all its implications.  As such the IETF definitely has a growing role as well.  The RIR, the organisations are definitely maturing.  The IQ is playing its role in broadband connectivity as such.  And the technical layer is working, but there are other issues on different higher layers, like spam, as you have mentioned, pornography, security, cyber‑security on all different layers, and many other global Internet issues, where a poor minister in the developing world in Africa that has pressure from his President or from his Prime Minister as such because of cyber‑security issues given all the attention or because of spam or because he wants to develop it further, and is not able just with a couple of staff members that he has and a couple of resources that he has.  He needs to follow up this whole spectrum of Internet Governance issues that are going worldwide. 

If you add to that also the UN General Assembly and WSIS follow‑up, and I live that, it becomes quite complicated for the developing world to have the resources, to have the team, to have the people, to have the know‑how to follow this.

Whenever they are exposed to a problem, the question is where to go.  Fine.  They come to the IGF.  It is definitely a useful platform.  It is growing in its role, in its effectiveness.  We are 3,000 people this year.  There is a diversity of participation and topics.

But it's once a year.  There are regional IGFs that focus more on the regional issues, and not necessarily coming up with final concrete recommendations.

I see this year definitely better steps at the IGF to try to include best practices as examples, and as showcases and so, but to some extent and to some players it's not enough, especially as it's only once a year.  And it has a very little number of supporting staff, not able to absorb all that pressure that would come from the developing world if it plays this role.

So, the idea is also an idea of mandate, whether the IGF will get such a mandate from the UN to play a role of a clearinghouse.  That is another question, and that I don't have an answer to.  The answer is that the member states, and the community as well, in addition to the issue of funding.

So with the high level panel, with the NETMundial, it was clearly reflected as well and during the NETMundial discussion that the need from the developing countries point of view is increasing.  We want to knock a door or that would refer us to a place that give us an answer, not necessarily if that is the answer by itself, but tell us, okay, this problem go to ICANN, this problem go to ISOC, it is the best practice.

Here is where you could find a solution to your issue related to security in this or that layer.  Here is a working group that is working hardly on solving this issue.  You can join them and be part of that solution.

Here we can send you some experts from a neighboring country and show you how best things would happen.  I know it's easy to say but not easy to implement, because from one point of view, we are talking here about something that would be very lean.  The ecosystem has to continue to be distributed.  We have to rely on the roles of the different organisations as is.  We don't want to expand the mandate of any of the organisations.

We don't want centralization of the IG ecosystem by any means as well.  We don't want to create a superstructure as well by any means from the organisation.

So that is the difficult balance that needs to be seen.  It has to have enough funding, but lean, not too wide.  It should not be a superstructure.  It should be international and globally accepted by the community.  It should have the mandate and empowered to do that, and it should not be restrictive, definitely, to address only certain issues and help.

Who should, is there a need from my perspective, and as I said even during NETMundial this came into the recommendations, one way or the other, and at the high level panel there is the need in order to respond to the need of the developing countries.  Otherwise they will go elsewhere to find solutions.

We all know where the "elsewhere" is.  We don't necessarily, all the elsewhere with a multilateral solution, so it is better that we handheld the idea, slowly but surely.  I'm not saying rush it.  But handheld the idea, and let it go as such and try to give our experience and fill our responsibility as a community that has really developed this successful multistakeholder system, distributed system over the last 20 years in order to address this issue.

We cannot neglect the need and tell them no, there is no need and neglect the need and overlook it.  This would be dangerous, because that level of development is simply not like it is here in Europe and western Europe and in the U.S.

And also, I have mentioned the risks that are affiliated that we don't want to have.  That is my perspective.  It needs further dialogue as such at the IGF, at NETMundial initiative, at different other global fora, and until the community really has crystallized the best way how to approach it, and how to continue to empower existing organisation, but also to fill the vacuum that is a little bit starting to grow.

So I will stop here and take any comments or any questions.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you very much, Tarek.  I think that is a good initial framing.  Good, we have a question.  Alex, can we get the mic to him, please?  Please introduce yourself for the remote participants.

>> AUDIENCE: Alexander, Harvard Kennedy School.  You have been talking about a clearinghouse for about five, six years now, in different formats, not necessarily Internet Governance Forum, but other formats.  We talked about FTPF for cyber, in the EU there was a W.H.O. for cyber, ICAO for cyber, all these interesting proposals.  Do you think any of them are useful for IGF as a clearinghouse?

>> TAREK KAMEL: Any input is really appreciated.  But it's clear now from our dialogue within the last couple of years, was in the Internet global governance community, with the developing countries very specifically, that the complexity of the system is becoming complex for some countries, for many countries, not only the governments, but also the communities and the civil societies.  I'm not talking about the funding as such to come to meetings, but to get through and to have the right resources to get through the existing ecosystem to understand it, to have the right overview and the right spectrum and to connect the right people in the country with the right institutions.

This is becoming an issue for many developing countries.  The reaction that happens is one of, either they distance themselves or they disengage themselves, and we see that sometimes at our own organisation at ICANN or other organisations as well.  Or they go and knock other doors ‑‑ I'm not going to mention organisation per name ‑‑ and try to look for the solution there, which is a multilateral solution in that case.  They don't find it, but they try to find it there or create it there.

So let's think in a very relaxed way, how to evolve our successful multistakeholder system in order to address this issue.  The IGF has one step forward with the best practices this year, and definitely that is, yes, but they look for more from the developing countries point of view.  They want to be handheld to some extent, and they definitely want to be helped within the ecosystem.

But as I said, it's a balance between benefits and risks as well that I have mentioned, if we go down this path.  Thank you.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: The woman in the front here.

>> AUDIENCE: Hi, I'm Tricia, researcher at the Institute for European Studies.  The Institute for European Studies happen to be one of the two research centres that was involved in the feasibility study for the European Commission on the global Internet policy observatory.

My question is, and came forward strongly for us in this feasibility study, is that you have to find a location that is the least contested, that is the most neutral possible.  Do you believe that the IGF is that least contested Forum?

>> TAREK KAMEL: IGF definitely accepted worldwide and globally and has its legitimacy.  But let's not forget it needs a mandate, needs a mandate from the member states and UN General Assembly.  We can ask for it, post for it, but it is not at the end as a community that close the room and provide this mandate to take, to extend the mandate to do this or that.

So I don't have a direct answer as such.

How far the UN is giving flexibility in the future to the IGF in order to expand its mandate, I don't have the question.  The last ten years has proven they have been given flexibility.  I mean, Markus is here, in the constellation of the agenda, and having us as a multistakeholder community put our ideas forward and our discussions forward.

So the touch was very light from the UN, better to say.  But when it comes to a clearinghouse question, that really addresses these issues and direct them and routes them, and there is also the question, if there is a new issue that doesn't have a home, who will propose where it should be handled; in an existing organisation?  Create a new organisation?  Innovation is not stopping, and bringing always new challenges, as such.  Until now we were able to route really the issues to some extent to existing organisations.  But it might be in two, three, five years a issue that is popping up that none of the existing organisations is handling.

That is another question, who has the authority to say this should be handled here or there and the legitimacy and acceptance from the international community.  It is not an easy question as such, and as I mentioned the risk, and I mentioned that we don't want centralization, don't want superstructures in a distributed ecosystem.  But also we need to address the need.  We cannot neglect it, because otherwise they will go and find solution, try to find solutions elsewhere.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you.  Are there any further questions?  Yes, okay, please.  There are plenty of time for questions for the other panelists.  Don't worry.  One more for you, Tarek.  Then we will let you go to the ICANN Public Forum.

>> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much.  I'll be very quick.  I were from AfriNIC.  To say that IGF is, has not enough flesh on its bones, that there is an improvement, we talk about best practices.  But there are some things to do.

What do you think about trying to merge the two exercises that are on one hand the IGF and on the other hand the WSIS+10 exercise?  I mean that in terms of development, for instance, ICT for development, most of the questions are handled within the framework of the WSIS, and it seems like such really discussed within the IGF.  And maybe it could give some flesh.

>> TAREK KAMEL: The real organisation that are occurring Internet Governance from an operational point of view are the distributed ecosystem, IETF, ISOC, ICANN and as well as RIRs and ccTLDs.  It is outside the UN.  IGF is an excellent discussion platform and has provided us ‑‑ WSIS on development arena has been doing a great job in the last ten years when it comes to the question, using ICT for development, for health and education and e‑governments and as such.

But let me also tell you that we were disappointed when we saw that the resolution of the UN General Assembly of the follow‑up of the WSIS next year, at least as it looks until now, UN General Assembly, this is regressive to what we have seen in 2003 and 2005.  And many people are here in the room.  So the definition of, we will do multilateral or intergovernmental, high level meeting and will call the stakeholders when we need them, is a little bit alarming as such.  Maybe from now on until next year, we will be able to change that a bit, maybe, as a community.

But it is definitely something that we were not happy about, because we thought that we will go a step forward concerning, and sitting in the room, I'm talking in the room, so the real solution and real work is being done outside the two organisations that you have mentioned or the two processes that you have mentioned.

We need to bring this community in to discuss how really they want to help in creating this solution.  The idea of Dynamic Coalition within the IGF, but more on an ongoing basis, could be an issue to address that.  But who will manage also, who will fund, who will create, who will decide, who will supervise, many questions that I don't have answers to.

The message is that this is the issue, shouldn't be neglected because the developing countries will be disappointed if we neglect it and say there is no issue.  But we shouldn't also overblow it, and we should talk very calmly and let the discussion evolve until we are able to come up with something that is real and not a superstructure, and something that will really involve the various players, keep the richer of the distributed multistakeholder ecosystem, but also does not neglect. 

I don't have the answer.  I'm reflecting what I hear from my fellow developing countries, and I live that in my own country, that you need the whole team of expertise that in order to address the different issues and follow up and be capable, to follow up, and that is not affordable from a resource point of view in many African and Latin‑American as well as Asian countries.

Thank you.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Okay, thank you very much, Tarek.  I know you have to be on stage at the ICANN Global Forum, which unfortunately I'm getting Skype messages from my colleagues saying everybody from ICANN is at the Global Forum.  Thank you, no worries.

There is a lot of things that happens when ICANN people come to the IGF; they go to ICANN parts of the IGF.

But anyway, c'est la vie.  Thanks, Tarek.  I want to note also that one of our other speakers joined us and that is Alice Munyua, representative of the African Union Commission on the ICANN Governing Committee.  We will turn to her later as well.

Next we will talk more drilling down about the concept of clearinghouse before we circle back to where we might work on it with Lea Kaspar.

>> LEA KASPAR: Thank you, Bill.  Thank you for organising this panel.

First I want to say why I think this project is valuable, and why I got interested in it really briefly.  Then I will talk a little about potential elements that could be involved in a project that would be developing clearinghouse function.

Quickly, as most of my work in the last two years has been engaging various Internet Governance processes together with partners, mostly Civil Society from the global south, and this has included Dubai but also MPP process as part of the WSIS+10 review and working clearinghouse cooperation, one thing that came across in participating in these processes when we are talking about Internet Governance, the issues that are actually being discussed in these foras go way beyond Internet Governance, where the discussions and disagreements include issues like freedom of expression, universality of human rights, gender equality.

So thinking that we are going to solve these issues in a marginal working group of the CSTD I think is not feasible.  And when you look at how these debates have evolved and the lack of consensus in the working group in other places, it is really clear that this is much broader and much bigger than Internet Governance.

However, what has happened in some of these places in particular, the working group on in‑house corporation is there is something pragmatic and practical we can do to improve the current system.  One of the things that happened in WCAG was in order to facilitate decision‑making and consensus and discussion on in‑house cooperation, the members said let's first see what issues are important, which mechanisms are relevant to see where these discussions are taking place, in order to even think about what the status is and what the gaps are.

In the end, the group couldn't find consensus, and this mapping turned out to be the one valuable thing that came out of the group.

Being engaged in that process, talking to other people who are also interested and have found Bill and others who have been thinking about this for a number of years, and we decided to see what can be, what we could do to promote this idea and actually take this forward and drill down a little more about what this would entail, and where, how it could be taken forward in these discussions.

Then NETMundial happened, and I think we have a good solid basis to actually take this project forward.  So the piece that Bill mentioned that we coauthored was a useful way of starting to drill down a little more, what it is that we are actually talking about, and if you look at the NETMundial outcome document and what would be entailed in the clearinghouse function, I think there are two main elements.  One is the performing the wholistic and ongoing monitoring and analysis of Governments, issues, policies and institutions, but at the same time, organising and disseminating this information to facilitate better decision‑making.

So, in thinking, I like thinking in terms, of things in terms of projects, what is the outcome, how would you take it forward, and usually how project management starts is you look at what the needs are.

I think that would be the first step in thinking about what the elements of this function and thinking about how you perform this would be, is looking at what needs and what is the demand to make sure that the project is useful.  This I think, one interesting thing is that in software development and in other sectors, there is something called agile management.

This is including the users and their demands and making sure that as they change, you can change and tweak the project, so even if you fail, it's not a big deal, because there are possibilities of moving it forward.

I think a big problem, big bureaucracies, that they see at the beginning, you set a goal, and for the next three years, and you go forward with it without thinking, maybe the demand has changed.  Maybe we are not really addressing the issues that are most pressing.  I read an article about why that was the reason why the Obama‑care, healthcare Web site and the whole system failed, because it wasn't an agile system of seeing what the needs are and how, like even if you fail at a certain part of the project, you can tweak and develop and reorganize.

That is the first thing.  So let's look at what the actual needs are.  I think Tarek mentioned looking at what the needs are from developing countries, and how this could be a useful project for them.  And Bill mentioned at the beginning, if you have a decision‑maker in an African country who wants to deal effectively with spam, what they will need to know is, where is this issue being discussed?  What are the existing mechanisms to address it?  What are the knowledge networks that we could tap into, to actually deal with this problem?

Once that's, once we tackle the needs, and see what we are actually trying to do, I think the first big thing, and this is something that was discussed yesterday in a workshop about existing mechanisms or existing initiatives to map what is happening in this field, and that is defining the scope.

Internet Governance can be seen in a broad or narrow way, and without deciding what, how large a project is, and that is the first thing we can do, and we talked about taxonomies and classification.  I've been told that taxonomy is not a word that we should be using because of semantics, but I think that thinking about what is included in Internet Governance, what are the Internet related public policies that fall under here, and then that is the first step to then look at where this is being discussed, what the status of this mechanism is and what the potential gaps are and how to address them.

This isn't, so once we kind of have an overview, what it is that we are looking at, there will be the next natural step, is how to populate this husk, this taxonomy or classification, and what information, what data is out there on these issues and mechanisms and processes.

And without going into a lot of details, there are a lot of initiatives in other fields that Internet Governance can learn from.  And it's quite surprising actually, being in the Internet field, that we are not making the full use of open data and initiatives to like what the Open Knowledge Foundation is doing and a number of other organisations that have used existing knowledge, is to improve decision‑making.

So I think that's, that will be another thing to look at there, as part of that kind of identifying what the data is.  You also need to gather it and verify it.  But I think that going into further detail is useful at this point.

Another, the next element I think that would need to be included in the clearinghouse function is in contrast with this gathering of bulk information and monitoring what is already out there, and where the discussions are taking place, is an analysis of trends, that could be useful to see how things are progressing, which direction things are going, and using from descriptive statistics, to benchmarking.

Now, the one thing to mention here, and what could be problematic is the fact that in an absence of a definition of understanding of principles that apply to Internet Governance, it would be quite difficult to assess gaps, and assess status.

One way of going about it is perhaps seeing how different principles, let's say, transparency, inclusiveness, openness apply to specific elements of Internet Governance, or that are encompassed in what the scope decides that should be involved in this project.

You might want to think about that transparency might apply differently in the field of Child Online Protection compared to cyber‑security.  But that is something that would need to be discussed with the community, I think.

I think now going further into details, one last thing to think about is how you disseminate it to make sure it's user friendly, how this data is actually feeding into policy processes.  I think I'll stop there.

One last thing, and this is thinking about what the GIPO European Commission project has mentioned, there is this emphasis on automation.  I think one important element to look at in thinking about this is the human element and how much you would need actual expertise in different issues to help facilitate these processes to be linked together and to actually feed into decision‑making.

I think I'll stop there.  Thanks, Bill.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you very much, Lea.  Megan, so we know for future reference are we talking Gipo or Jipo?  How do we say your acronym?  People always confuse me, some people say why‑sys.  And I always say wis‑is, WSIS.  In any event, we turn to you next, Megan Richards from the European Commission to talk about the GIPO, whatever it may be.

>> MEGAN RICHARDS: Thank you very much.  First of all, thanks very much for inviting us.  This is a very good opportunity to talk about this proposal that is coming from European Commission.  Especially in the context of this particular IGF, you remember on the Day Zero we had a discussion about capacity‑building for economic development.

One of the things that we think is particularly important in Europe, and it's of course important for the rest of the world too, even more important in some areas, is the importance of the Internet as an engine of growth and economic development.

And the advantage of the access to the Internet, even by, I call it a girl in a garage or boy in a bedroom, a kid with just access to the Internet is so powerful and so useful, and also providing access to information, etcetera.

So we are of course particularly interested and keen on continuing the good solid strong Internet and making it available to everyone.

As those of you who know who have attended many IGF and other Internet Governance related fora, it's extremely difficult to know where all the information is.  There is a mountain of information.  It is constantly being developed and coming out, and our concern is particularly with respect to a proper full multistakeholder approach to make sure that the weakest elements or the least accessible, that the people with the least access to information will also be able to see what is going on, know what Internet Governance is all about and be able to have a contribution and have an idea.

This is not just in the least developing countries, and of course the developing countries are a very important factor, but also amongst many other stakeholders who are otherwise disenfranchised or not participating or the weakest possible stakeholders.  That is one element.

The other that is linked very much with that is the very nature of the Internet itself.  Vint Cerf talks about it being a network of network.  Mr. Sharma talked about the different levels and layers of Internet Governance and its importance.  There are different issues and aspects.  There are something for everyone.

That is why bringing all the information together in one relatively easily accessible source is such an important factor.  That is why European Government ‑‑ European Government, good heavens, that is a faux pas.  The European Commission decided to put some money towards a feasibility study to look at what is called the Global Internet Policy Observatory.  The idea as some of you mentioned is to have not just access to the information, but to have an automated creation of new information and new references and the ability to generate this automatically.  So it is not just a static Web site or platform that constantly has to be updated and addressed and managed by people, but something that is a bit more active.

You have mentioned, from the Institute for European Studies that you worked on the feasibility study.  We have now completed a feasibility study.  It is possible to do it.  On the basis of that feasibility study, we have now published a call for tenders to see and to choose someone to actually set it up.

And the idea as I said is to make sure that this works and is available to everyone, all stakeholders.  Now, where it would be placed and where it would operate is always a question that comes up.

That is not at all clear.  That is something that would be proposed, I suppose, in the context of this procurement tender.  The IGF is certainly one possibility.  We will have to look to see exactly where to put it.  And what we would like to see too is support for this action, not necessarily financial support, but moral, physical and other support, because we don't want to reinvent the wheel.

We don't want to start something that someone else has already done a lot of work on.  The idea is really to make it easier for policymakers or stakeholders, for everyone involved in Internet Governance to have better access, see what is going on. 

And I think that this could also be a particularly useful tool in helping national IGFs and regional IGFs to connect amongst themselves, make sure that they exchange information, that they know what is going on, and before they come to the annual IGF, so that then they would come forward with perhaps clearer positions on issues that they have identified, best practices, and then bring it all together; because for the moment, those of you who participate in national or regional IGFs probably know there is a lot of interest, there is a lot of activity, but they are again rather silo'd, in the sense that they do a lot of interesting work on the spot, but that is not necessarily exchanged with other groups.

So this kind of observatory would help them also post information and provide new and different information all together.  So that's the idea.  We are all hoping that it will help in its small way to expand and improve the way Internet Governance is managed.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: That is very helpful.  Can you clarify, because when I read the report, and maybe later we can pull you in on this too, what the balance between sort of automation of the functions and human intervention and expertise is in the way this is envisioned?  Because I wasn't clear on that as well.

I mean it's a very interesting set of software tools, as I understand.  But what I didn't understand is exactly how much they, whether you see that as just a set of software tools that can be put anywhere, or would it be actually something that involves more human engagement?

>> MEGAN RICHARDS: It probably needs some human intervention at some point.  But the design and the idea was that it would be more or less automated.  But you have seen the feasibility study.  You probably know more about the details, mechanical details.  I don't know all the details.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: We can come back to this later.

Fantastic.  Let's turn next to somebody who is thinking about how information and knowledge circulate in the multistakeholder and ING environment for some time, and that would be Markus, who has been party to many conversations about this kind of thing over the past decade.  Do you have any thoughts about this?

>> MARKUS KUMMER: Yes, thank you.  It is obviously an idea that is in the air, that people feel all the Internet Governance landscape is rather confusing.  And it is, admittedly.

It reflects the distributed nature of the Internet.  It's a distributed architecture.  So the information is also distributed, and governments in particular have tendency to seek for a centralized point of entry into the information they want.

And in the traditional world of governance, there is always an intergovernmental organisation that is the natural partner for governments to deal with any given issue.  Health, you go to the World Health Organization.  Trade, you go to the World Trade Organisation.

Internet, there is no world Internet organisation.  And also, obviously the issues we deal with are cross‑cutting.

They range, a broader range of issues, so it will not make sense to set up a world Internet organisation.

Now, there is an old saying also in the intergovernmental world, there is always different organisations are dealing than with similar issues and obviously there is a need for coordination.  I heard a old UN hand say everybody is in favor of coordination, but nobody wants to be coordinated.

Clearinghouse reminds me a little bit of that.  It is sort of something everybody would be seemingly in favor of having such a clearinghouse, but nobody wants to be cleared.  Who will fulfill the function then?  And the colleague from the European Research Centre, you mentioned the importance of credibility and legitimacy.

And that again reminds me of the old days of WSIS, which was then the South African delegate who repeatedly made the point that during the apartheid years they looked to the UN as a beacon of hope, because the UN has the legitimacy of the international community.

And this is I think an argument we have to take seriously.  And that is why I always made the argument, it's IGF is a kind of in‑between place.  It has the legitimacy of the UN, because it is loosely attached to the UN.  The mandate was given to the Secretary‑General of the UN, but not the EUN, it's not the UN body as such.

And at the same time, it has the openness that allows all stakeholders to participate, and that gives it credibility among the stakeholders, because I think there is a checks and balance and there is a reality check.

We have seen repeatedly in intergovernmental meetings that there is no reality check, and where folks at the WCIT meeting in Dubai that said now they turned off the gravity switch, when gravity did not apply anymore, some Government representatives made statements that were maybe logical from their point of view, that they did not have, they did not make sense from a technological point of view.

So, that is why I think the Internet community has a slight nervousness when we talk about moving into intergovernmental world, and Tarek made this point, even with the IGF, and I was happy to learn that that is still an option for the GIPO now we say?  (chuckles)  We had already preliminary talks last year with colleagues from the commission, and we did make the point then as Internet Society, what mightn't you go to the IGF with that project.

I think your colleagues then have shown a certain reluctance because there were, shall we put it, in diplomatic terms, they were concerned about UN bureaucracies.  That would be kind of a kiss of death to the project.

But again, the IGF has the beauty of having a certain flexibility, because it is not directly attached to the UN.  So I would strongly urge to explore the possibility of in one way or another linking the project to the IGF, because the IGF, as Bill rightly said when we first discussed this, was supposed to be the annual watering hole for everybody to go to.

Now, we all know that not having the resources necessary to fulfill all these functions, it has not been able to live up to some of the expectation.  But it has shown that at least the potential is there, and if the funding is there, the IGF would provide a legitimate home for fulfilling these functions.

Also, Tarek mentioned, yes, we have pushed to again revisit and strengthen best practices, and yes, they see they will be slightly short of what we had hoped for, because time was too short, whatever.

But I think it is an important step forward.  Lea, you mentioned spam as an example.  Spam is precisely one of the issues these best practice forums looked at.  There was a process leading to the meeting.  It wasn't just a meeting, and the process is not over.  The process will continue after the meeting.  The same, we have Dynamic Coalitions, but again due to various reasons, we never properly institutionalized them and found a way of having a community buy‑in into work of enthusiasts.

Maybe there were several Dynamic Coalitions that actually did create work.  And I will go immediately afterwards to a workshop, there is a Dynamic Coalition for accessibility for people with disabilities.  They have done great works, great work on an important subject.  But they have not had much community buy‑in.  They have not succeeded also to promote it to the broader IGF community.

So I think that there is still an awful lot of potential to build on existing work and to enhance existing work.  But yes, it does need funding.  But setting up also the consideration, setting up alternatives needs a lot of initial investment to get the alternatives started; whereas here, you have something that is in place, that year after year generates a lot of energy.  We have more than 2,000 participants.  2,200, I hear, badges have been issued.  That is a lot of people.

And over the years, they increase steadily, and also fairly balanced representation.  Yes, there could be more governments.  But I hear that more than 80 governments were here, which is not bad, and participants from the close to 150 countries.

So we do have a very solid basis to build on.  And at the same time, I think the IGF is sufficiently weak and neutral that it should not frighten anybody.  It would not be the coordinator that takes over, that it would rather be the platform that people can come with their information.  There is plenty of that around.  But there is clearly a need to make it more visible, more palatable, more digestible, and also making more attractive, in terms of content.

And the argument Tarek made about the need for developing countries to have this place to go to I think is a very valid argument that we need to take seriously.

Thank you.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you very much, Markus.  The challenge always remains to bring more developing countries into the IGF process, and make them feel like this is a place to come.

But it certainly has ‑‑

>> MARKUS KUMMER: Maybe a tricky situation; if the product is more attractive, that will also spread the word.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: That is very much the concept for those of us who think it ought to be connected to IGF.  Alice, very happy you are here.  Share any thoughts you have on this concept.

>> ALICE MUNYUA: Thank you very much, Bill.  I don't have that much to say, apart from to really agree with the need for having a clearinghouse, especially coming from a developing country, and especially looking at this newly margin issues relating to the Internet where we can't find places to find what we would call, what I think Markus referred to, credible and legitimate information.

I think you have to look back to how the Africa region, for example, conducted itself during the WCIT meeting, and how we organised.  We normally, I work with the African Union Commission, and how, the way we organise or try to find information or to inform governments of, that then contribute to these processes, is you would have the sub regional level, you would have the regional, intergovernmental regional organisations, SATIC, East African community, eco ops.  And the way they conduct this meeting is to first call out for experts, invite experts, people they consider experts on a certain issue, have those meetings, and then take the resolutions or the recommendations from those experts at the ministerial level, to the ministerial summit.  Then heads of state, you develop an African position.

For Internet related issues, it's been the African Telecommunications Union, and they have been getting all their information from the ITU, which is the most obvious place.  And especially because of issues to do with Africa, we are still dealing with very traditional telecommunication issues.

You could see quite clearly with the way we are representing our issues, we are based on telecommunications, old telecommunication model.  Even our approach towards cyber‑security was from that perspective.

So, and we don't really have a place yet where most of our governments can go to.  You are right about having African governments in the IGF has been one of the areas that has the biggest weakness.

I think we only had one minister attending this IGF from Nigeria, and other, the others that have been sent to these meetings are from organisations, foreign affairs, just to come and observe, but not taking it that seriously, not that seriously.

If you were to develop a clearinghouse, I think the issues of credibility, legitimacy would be very important, because African governments and even the private sector are used to going to intergovernmental organisations that they believe produce this so‑called credible information.

We mentioned the IGF, and there is a way, for example, when we started our own national IGF, regional IGF, we started with that idea in mind.  For example, we would identify an issue, and one very recent one was identifying the issue of intermediary liability, and beginning to notice that the Government was actually beginning to go towards creating policies that were going to impact on freedom of information.

What the Kenya IGF did was to conduct a research on intermediary liability and create a draft policy that was presented to the Government as a formal case information you could use to create a policy framework.

That also happened to the cyber‑security framework that we are currently working on.  It also happened with the African union cyber‑security convention that has just been adopted.  It has a lot of flaws, yes, we agree.  But the obvious place for the African Union Commission to have gone to was European Commission level, or to the American Government and gather information from there.

If there was that, if there was a so‑called clearinghouse where that kind of information would be made available, it would be a very important one.

Where it would be posted again is a big question, again because the IGF is not taken that seriously by governments, and that is simply because we are not participating, and the reasons why they are not participating are various.  We have covered that for so many years.

Yesterday the Minister from Nigeria actually did mention that she doesn't believe that the reasons we don't participate are financial.  The reasons we don't participate as Government is because I think we get to think that the IGF lacks a certain level of credibility, because there are no resolutions being made.

She was mentioning the fact that there are no credible documents that have been used.  That is why this clearinghouse would be very important.  That could be useful in policymaking at the national level.

I would support, I would really support a multistakeholder model, not sure about the IGF for the Africa region, but multistakeholder that would host this initiative, that would probably have, I don't want to use the word credibility again, but that would provide, that could be for governments to be able to believe that they are getting information that they could use to make decisions.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: That was really helpful, actually, because I think, two things that you emphasized are very directly pertinent here.

Actually, we have sort of downplayed, I think, the first point, that you raised, using the example of WCIT because you want to present the argument for doing this in a somewhat neutral way.

But really, you can think about it, a clearinghouse kind of model also provides the possibility to give actors more diverse, access to more diverse sources of information, where in cases where they might otherwise turn to information that's being selected from a narrow or particular perspectives.

And particularly in the case of the WCIT, I think we saw a complete lack of mutual understanding between many of the governments who are getting their information from talking to other governments in the context of the ITU, and what information the Secretariat was packaging and giving them about what is going on, and then the kinds of views that were being expressed by people who are plugged into the sort of more open global multistakeholder debate about what does this mean, how might it affect the Internet, and reading the blogs and the think tanks and research institutes that were putting out different kinds of views, and companies that were providing inputs that you wouldn't necessarily hear directly through the ITU and so on.

In a way, there was a knowledge gap or an informational gap that underlied the perception gap and the, hence, the hardened positions.  And perhaps in a way, one thing that this kind of function could do is level the playing field a little bit by giving everyone access to more diverse sorts of information, with some framing that would allow them to make better assessments of respective arguments, and both arguments entirely legitimate.  And the question becomes, you have to work out a mechanism for deciding how you process between them, and make sense of them.

The other point of view, the credibility, when it comes to knowledge and information, the sources, where it comes from, and what the intentions, real or perceived, of the entities that are presenting it, packaging it, transmitting it, are going to be really crucial.

This is why having it in a place that has credibility, has a neutral player, is not being one of the advocates for a particular kind of solution, is really really important.

I think that both points you made were really actually central to thinking about how we might do this.

Thank you all very much for this.  This was interesting.  Yes, let's go to the floor now.  I see several hands.  Is there a roaming mic?  Is there a microphone somewhere?  Could you take it to Pranesh in the back to start and then we will come to Thomas.  Is it on?

>> AUDIENCE: Good afternoon.  This is Pranesh Prakash for Centre for Internet and Society.

I wanted to raise a question, make a comment about the issue of legitimacy.  It seems to me a bit of a chicken and egg problem, because until governments come to a space and actually make use of the space like the IGF, it is not going to get legitimacy.

But without that legitimacy, governments aren't going to come.  So one possible way of cutting this nut would be for certain governments who strongly believe in a multistakeholder model, who strongly believe that a discussion Forum such as that, that the IGF could provide, should inform Internet Governance decisions, in places as widespread as the World Intellectual Property Organization, bilateral free trade agreements which have clauses on Internet intermediary liability, and the world of institutions where Internet Governance related questions get raised.

So if a few friendly governments start taking it very seriously, not just in terms of sending large forces here to the IGF, but also showing how the discussions here at the IGF are actually making a difference back home in the discussions that are taking place back home and in the kinds of debates that they are having in various UN bodies, etcetera, then that might actually start to make a change.

I was just wondering how, if there are any other ways that we can actually get out of this seeming chicken and egg problem.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you very much.  That goes both to the larger issue of Government engagement in the IGF and I suppose the specific question of whether this function within the IGF would attract users.

Why don't we take a couple questions, and then we will come back to the audience and do a blowback through the audience in response to several.  Thomas.

>> AUDIENCE: Yes, thank you.  Hello to everybody.  It's a pity that there are not more people in the room.  Maybe it's because it also took us time to find it.  It is hidden.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: It is the hidden room.

>> AUDIENCE: My name is Thomas Schneider.  I work for the Swiss Government.

I wanted to give you a comment in the sense that I think this idea is an extremely good one, extremely needed one.  And you know that especially with those who initiated the European, the thinking on GIPO, the team around Andrea, we had close contacts with them, because we have had a similar idea in Switzerland that we wanted to provide some help for orientation in particular, also for developing countries.

And we started a project.  It is probably less technically sophisticated than what the EU plans.  We focused, it's called a Geneva Internet platform.  It has three pillars.  One is physical training courses and events in Geneva, targeted for diplomatic missions in particular, small and developing countries, but not only then it's accompanied by webinars.  There is a Web site which is running that has a calendar.  It has a glossary of institutions.  It has some information about other resources.

But it's of course something that is like a first step.  It is a modular tool that can be expanded, and we would like to expand it.  And it's clear for us that we wouldn't be able to do such a big scientific thing, that for instance what the GIPO is discussing in their feasibility study, and at the same time, we think that we should actually put all our resources and energies together to do something together.

I don't know whether there were discussions between the people that are trying to put forward GIPO and Diplo who is operating our platform.  But maybe we have to sit together and look bilaterally how we can boost this, because we think we have some complementary elements in all the initiatives that would actually make them stronger together.

When you talk about legitimacy for governments and so on, we also think that we should at least have some connection to the IGF.  Whatever institutional form that has is another issue that can be discussed.

We deliberately decided to put the label of Swiss initiative of the Swiss Government on our initiative to make clear that we try and provide for a neutral facilitator role, as we have some experience on such a thing, in the hope that this would give some credibility to our initiative; also that it is based in Geneva with a tradition of Geneva playing a role as facilitator.

And if we can put all the elements together with all our initiatives, and have serious thinking about how we can actually get the best out of everything, somehow together, somehow linked to the IGF, somehow being as inclusive as possible in particular with regard to how to get, earn the trust of developing country actors, governments, but not only governments, I think we should really do everything, try everything to do that, and get something done by the next year, by the discussion when the IGF is going to be renewed, and we talk about strengthening the IGF, because to provide the fundamental, substantive fundamental where you find substantial discussions on a quality level would actually help the IGF, because with the resources it has now, it can organise a yearly event, but it is not able to do the whole mapping and whatever you talked about around it.

If we somehow find a structure to support the IGF with this, I think it would be really a win/win situation for everybody.  I'll stop here.  Thank you.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you very much, Thomas.  Are there any other questions?  Tricia?  The woman in the back?  Are you playing with your hair or are you raising your hand?  (chuckles).

Playing with her hair.

The gentleman in the front.  Okay.  Go ahead.

>> AUDIENCE: To respond to the question that you had about GIPO, and the aspect of automation versus, I would say, human intervention, so just a couple of points.

What we tried to raise is this tension that there is indeed, but that underlying human intervention is inevitable, or human involvement is inevitable when you are setting up such a platform.  You are making choices in the type of technologies you are using.  You are making choices in the type of resources that you are using, and all of that is going to give it flavor.

Where you locate it, that choice, what kind of governance structure you have, the type of people that are involved, so no matter how neutral you try to make it, which I don't think is possible, it's going to have some kind of element of human intervention.

So even if it's only in stages of setting it up, in building the database, and verifying your resources, making sure that all of it makes sense, there is human intervention.

But I would say if you really want to add value to the platform, say for instance by having an element of best practices or trend analysis, then you probably need more people involved.

I think it's a trade‑off between the costs that you then have, the cost of how many people you involve, and therefore, the continuity of this over a long term, versus the agility of it, how well you are able to respond to the users of your platform, and the relevance that it has therefore.

I'd say there are advantages and disadvantages of involving more or less people.  Our suggestion was that you could start it small, but that it would certainly be useful to start it small in terms of the people involved, but also the functioning.

One of the suggestions that we had was that if you have big names, if you have experts in your different kind of committees, whether that is your technical committees, whether that's a Steering Committee, or if you want to go to the stage of having an editorial committee, that could actually give you the buy‑in that is necessary for the platform.

How are you going to build it up?  Another suggestion that we had was that perhaps, something that you can't have right from the get‑go, is to have user input, to have some type of rating content, so that you are actually trying to get people involved and that it's not just information sharing, but also that you are having it as a platform that can happen more.  But that is all a matter of whether this is the future direction that the European Commission would like to go to with this platform.

And it underlies all of the important questions that you have been raising so far.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Great.  Thank you very much.  We have time for two quick more questions.  Then we will circle back to the panel, and then we will be at 4:00.

Actually, the gentleman over here had his hand first.

>> AUDIENCE: Thank you.  I'm Joe from a university in the Netherlands, but I'm speaking in my capacity as coordinator of the mapping project.

This is more of a comment by way of information, rather than a question.  A number of people in the room might be interested to know that about four months, six months before European Commission announced the GIPO initiative, the European Commission actually funded the mapping project to form a new role.  One of the things we have is an observatory on the Internet which has many of the same functions.  You might want to see if that can complement some of the initiatives that you are discussing here.

I believe you have my details already from Valentine and we can take the discussion off.  Thank you.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you very much.  Yes, I'm aware of that.  We will come back to that.  It is in fact possible to envision multiple different types of platforms collaborating and playing different roles.  Rafik, for last question.

>> AUDIENCE: Just a comment.  Because I heard about the work, as a software engineer ‑‑ I'm Rafik Dammak.  As a software engineer, I advise to not really use agileness concept from another, because it has a different meaning, and just to be careful to not use it, because it can create more confusion.

Also ‑‑

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: I'm sorry, could you clarify?  What has a different meaning?

>> AUDIENCE: The agileness, because you talked about agile, so just be careful about it.  So also, I'm not sure if you are talking kind of technical solution, as an engineer I am, a clearinghouse should definitely not be kind of a technical solution, but what kind of mechanism or process you are thinking that from now in the five, ten or 15 years that we can try to map between an issue and the virtual role, what you are envisioning.  I don't think you addressed ‑‑ expert, but what do you think of the mechanism or process that should be set up to help, not just for the near future, but after five years and beyond.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Let's swing back to our panel and see who would like to pick up on which of these questions?  We will start with Lea.

>> LEA KASPAR: Thanks.  I'd like to reinforce a couple things.  Thank you, everyone, for your comments.

As we were doing this research on the clearinghouse as part of the IPO book, eBook, one thing that I looked at was experiences from other fields.

We specifically looked at climate change.  It was interesting to see that climate change is ten years ahead of the Internet Governance at least, right, in terms of thinking about how to improve policy solutions.

Over the last ten years, they had a number of platforms that try to map different policy developments in the climate change sector, where the best practices are, and there are a number of things there that we can learn from.

One, and a number of people mentioned there are a number of existing initiatives, and platforms that are doing similar but very, varied things.  And from our perspective, the more the merrier.  We need to try these things out, see what works, what doesn't.

Some things will work out.  Some things won't.  I think that is perfectly fine.  We are at a starting point to see how these things apply to the sector.

That, I think, I'll just stop there.  Thanks.

>> MARKUS KUMMER: It is definite interest, the discussion shows this.  But one thing, there seem to be various initiatives around, and I think we may also ask ourselves the question, do we need a single initiative, or do we need a network of initiatives?

But certainly, it is important that we all work together on this.  And I think kind of network initiative, we have the Swiss GIP, and we have the Commission's GIPO.  They are already talking to each other.  I think there is not necessarily a need for a single solution, as long as we have similar initiatives that point in the right direction.

My apologies.  I have to rush to another workshop.

>> WILLIAM DRAKE: No problems, Markus.  Go ahead.  Alice?  Anything?

I will just add my closing, if neither of you do, to respond to a couple of these things.

I don't think that the conversation we have been having about, this is not that there would be one that would subsume or replace the others.

It is entirely understandable, there are many various kinds of initiatives out there that help to circulate knowledge, information and sharing, collaboration and so on.  Obviously, no single initiative would somehow replace these others.

Whether simply strengthening the ones we already have would be sufficient is the question we asked.  And our concern was that maybe that did not lead to enough of a coordinated integrated function, so that adding a component to the matrix could help to catalyze and support the others as well.

So that was sort of the thinking.  But that we certainly are not suggesting one over all others, or that other existing observatories or programmes like the Geneva Internet Platform or anything like that would in any way be replaced or anything like this.

One other point I think I wanted to make, because I think we didn't really address Pranesh's legitimacy question, I think it is true that having key Governments or other users take a lead in embracing something is a good way to start to build credibility and support for initiatives like this, leaving aside the IGF question, which I don't think we can solve here.

If we are talking about how to get trust and buy‑in, in an effort to do something with regard to the clearinghouse function, if you get a few key players, for example, involved in the discussion that is going on in the context of what used to be called the NETMundial initiative, it is now becoming something else, and other governments have been involved there, if you get a few key players that are willing to demo, lead the way, try it and so on, demonstrate the value of it and then talk to other partners that they have and say, this is proven useful for me in the following way, that might be a way to begin to build a little bit of a dynamic there, where there is more trust.

But it is a challenge, obviously.  Something that's placed in a nonneutral environment, or a preceding nonneutral environment, like something that is actually run by a business association, probably would not entice a lot of developing country governments.

On the other hand, there is no real proposal to do that.

There is thinking now about perhaps creating something of a multistakeholder character, and the question is whether that would be tied to the IGF in some manner, but yet still institutionally independent.

This is a question to be I think considered going forward.

So all we are trying to do at this panel, and with the paper that Lea and I did, is simply to try to start to stimulate the focused conversation around this topic, because as people have said at the beginning of this session, this idea has been sort of in the land, but on the back burner in various ways for some years now.

Now we are actually reaching a point which is perhaps not dissimilar to the point we were ten years ago, when we were thinking about creating the IGF, where people are starting to say, what else do we need out there in the institutional ecosystem to help provide the kinds of functionalities that all governments and other actors need?

So, it's new thinking that people are trying to engage in.  We are simply trying to help push along that process and see if there is anything there.

I forgot to ask, Stefanie, there are no questions from the remote participants?  So that is fine.  We have reached 4:00.  I think we will end here.  Thank you all very much for attending, in the missing lost room after lunch, and during many other events as well.

We look forward to seeing you and continuing this discussion in various contexts going forward.  Thank you.


(end of session at 4:03)



This is the output of the real‑time captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey, meetings.  Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.  It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.