MCIR Workshop 178: Institutional Choice in Global Internet Governance
Sixth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum
27 -30 September 2011
United Nations Office in Naiorbi, Nairobi, Kenya
September 29, 2011 - 14:30PM
The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Sixth Meeting of the IGF, in Nairobi, Kenya. 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: Good afternoon everyone. We're going to get started, despite hopefully more people wandering in later. It's after lunch and we are competing with a number of other good workshops, as well as the main session on security openness and privacy, which is an issue.
I'm William Drake from the University of Zurich and this is the workshop on institutional choice and Global Internet Governance.
Let me give you a bit of background as to what we're talking about here, and why I think it's useful in the context of the IGF. There is, if you're interested, a background paper that I submitted per the MAG's requirements that is linked off of the IGF Web site, which you can download, which goes through kind of the introductory points that I'm about to make in a little bit more systematic way.
Essentially, when I talk about institutional choice, I'm interested in raising a discussion about the following: Very often when we talk about the relative merits of different types of approaches, like whether something should -- in particular, whether governance activity should be done on a multi-lateral intergovernmental basis versus a multi-stakeholder basis, the arguments tend to be made along purely political lines. Some players have preferences based on which kind of space they think they would be able to assert more authority over outcomes in, and so on.
But there are larger questions about institutional choice, about the choice between different mechanisms, about what is most functionally effective as an institutional framework for addressing particular types of problems.
And in fact we have more choices than simply the two that I just mentioned. Let me give you background as to the thinking, then, about this.
When we talk about Internet Governance and Global Internet Governance mechanisms, there are a lot of different ways to sort of map them to sort of organise and categorize them, et cetera. And you've probably seen in a number of workshops and in some of the literature that has been generated in the course of the IGF and WSIS processes various kinds of proposals for how to do that. But probably the most widely used sort of basis for mapping and organising these kinds of alternative models is based on participation. Who gets to participate in the decision-making processes.
And if you look at it from this standpoint, you can say that Internet Governance arrangements at the global level are arrived at basically through three kinds of broad paths. One is the negotiation of shared frameworks. This can be done intergovernmentally, through multi-lateral or mini lateral, that is to say small numbers. Arrangements that project order that reach beyond their membership.
It can be done by private sector industry code and so on a transnational basis, so-called self governance.
It can be done through co-government, between governments and the private sector typically.
Or it can be done on a multi-stakeholder basis, which may mean full multi-stakeholder cooperation, peer-to-peer, everybody working as equals, as in cases such like ICANN, the IETF, et cetera, or it may mean as in intergovernmental processes, input by stakeholders into the decision-making processes of governments.
Another kind of route towards achieving Global Internet Governance is through the establishment of shared frameworks, either by powerful governments or power firms that have market power and are essentially able to, through their own action, project ordering out into the global system that becomes more or less defacto, applicable to or even binding upon other actors.
There is, I would argue, a third category, coordinating convergence of independent actions in which different types of state or firms, without having necessarily negotiated a shared framework, more or less adopt parallel types of policies and practices that in the aggregate essentially give the same kind of level of order to a space in the Internet sphere that you would have had through the adoption of a formal harmonization agreement. That is probably less common, although I would suspect going forward we will see more of that.
Some people would add to this that you can have bottom-up social conventions, like customary law and so on as another path.
As we think about the different models of participation, there is obviously the question of who is at the table and who has the authority to participate in making decisions, but there are more ways in which giving arrangements vary beyond this. They vary in terms of the types of collective action problems to which they respond. Whether managing a common pool resource and providing public goods; or being designed to address a collective bad, something which the international community wishes to avoid; or deploying something for shared capabilities and so on.
A third one which I'll mention is simply their institutional attributes. If we were to map Global Internet Governance frameworks purely in terms of who participates, it wouldn't tell you much about the character of governance arrangements. And indeed when you look at some of the mappings that people have done, they are essentially listings. They are listings of -- there is this and that and that. But they don't tell you such thing as how strong are the agreements. How effective are they? What functions do they perform? What are their decision-making procedures, which can vary across governance arrangements. How broad is the scope of issues that are covered?
All these different types of institutional dimensions are all part of how you would characterize or describe, if somebody were to ask you what does this governance framework look like, these are attributes that really would define collectively how one might describe a governance framework.
Now, these kind of questions are of relevance not only to the existing frameworks that we have on the ground today, for critical Internet resources in particular, such as names and number, the root server system, technical standardization, routing, interconnection, security, but those things that pertain to the use of the Internet for information, communication and commerce, such as intellectual property, digital trade, electronic commerce, information security, privacy protection and so on.
The same issues are also relevant to some of the current proposals for reformed or new Global Internet Governance arrangements, such as the proposals for enhanced cooperation on critical Internet resources, such as the IBSA proposal from India, Brazil and South Africa that has been the topic of much discussion during this meeting.
The European Commission's discussion papers about increasing the role of the governments and Government Advisory Committee in ICANN.
Some of the proposals that were made about the IANA contract, the international assigned names authority contract, which is being reviewed now by the U.S. Government.
Some of the debates about jurisdiction over firms and transactions that are involving the DNS, the Clouds, and search engines, et cetera, that essentially go beyond national legal jurisdictions.
The Council of Europe's recent initiatives about cross-border harm, the governance in the Internet themes, the debate on ITUs to cover the Internet.
A whole range of issues are being discussed now with an eye towards perhaps reforming or establishing new types of frameworks. And so when we look at those, we want to evaluate them in a principled way that is not just political but is also functional. We want to be able to ask some serious questions about what are the relative merits of the different tools that are in our toolbox? Under what circumstances would you want to have this kind of model versus that kind of model if you're trying to devise an optimal functionally efficient approach?
So that's the kind of framework that we want to pursue in this workshop is to think about the questions of institutional design and institutional choice in a sort more open and less, I think, emotional and political way, and more based on how do we assess the properties of international institutions in different forums that are available.
We have a panel of people who were involved in these questions for a long time. We have Fiona Alexander, Associate Administrator and head of the Office for International Affairs at the International Telecommunications Information Administration from the Department of commerce, here from DC.
We have Jeanette Hofmann, research fellow at the Social Science Research Centre in Berlin and a long time stalwart of the IGF process.
To my right, another such person, Anriette Esterhuysen, the Executive Director of the Association for Progressive Communications, one of the largest society networks involved in this space.
And we have over on my left here, Raul Echeberria, the Executive Director of NACNIC, the international address registry for Latin America and the Caribbean. He is based in Uruguay.
We were hoping to have Tulika Pandey from the Department of Information Technology, and Alice Munyua, who is the Chair of the IGF, but it appears that they have been detained, because neither are here.
We have also as our wonderful remote moderator and rapporteur, because this is a feeder workshop for tomorrow's main session on critical Internet resource, Olga Cavalli. She is back there. The Director of The South School on Internet Governance from Buenos Aires. So that's the people that we have here.
And what we will do in the following is not to have a series of canned presentations and speeches, but rather to have I hope a more interactive dialog around a set of questions, fairly broad gauged questions, that I think allows us to take these questions in a number of different directions, which are listed in the concept paper, the background paper.
So that is what we're doing. And so with that background, let me begin then.
Again we are thinking about the relative merits of these different types of institutional forums, which I argue constitute a toolbox of choices that we have to work with in designing government solutions to existing or new problems. And in looking at those, one of the ones that is obviously the most subject of debate at this meeting and all IGF's meeting is the question of multi-lateral intergovernmental types of approaches, whether treaty based or based on soft law, recommendations, and so on.
So I guess the first question is: As we look at the governance topography that we have today, the range of institutions that we have both for underlying Internet infrastructure and for use of the Internet, I wonder what are the prospects for really going forward in a multi-lateral way?
Multi-lateralism was the underlying glue of the postwar world order. It's the basis of the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary System and so on. And it's based not only on sort of multiple players all being together, but on certain core principles of nondiscrimination and essentially a form of diffuse reciprocity in which all players are essentially able to expect a certain amount of mutual obligation from each other.
And we have established multi-lateral frameworks for things like digital trade, trade and services, and intellectual property. But people are proposing loss of new approaches, new multi-lateral models, and I wonder if we see that as an efficacious approach in the current context where it seems now things have gotten much more complex. The range of stakeholders involved is more diverse, the interests of the players is much more diverse. In that context, what are the benefits of a multi-lateral intergovernmental approach? What are the prospects? Do we see that as a realistic and logical approach to the kind of emerging Internet issues that we have today?
I wonder if I could open that up to the floor and see if any of our speakers have some thoughts about the current state or prospects of multi-lateralism with respect to these issues.
Bertrand, since you are here and we lost Tulika and Alice because they are busy, I would invite you at any time to offer your thoughts as well. Bertrand de La Chapelle from the ICANN board and also a loquacious thinker on institutional forums in Global Internet Governance.
So I throw it open to the floor. Multi-lateralism. Where are we now? What are the prospects? Do we see it as offering a good solid base for going forward with new issues?
Anyone? Somebody what to start?
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I'll jump in. You asked lots of questions, and I think the challenging thing about questions around institutional arrangements is that there are more questions than there are answers. But I'll just throw in something on -- in relation to your question.
I think there is a space for a multi-lateral decision-making process. And I'll just mention, for example, by Human Rights. Human Rights violations on the Internet, I think, could and should be addressed by the existing established mechanisms that exist at the national levels. And then at regional levels. And at the global, at the global levels. So I think that the complexity of Internet Governance is that it governs so much. And it governs what happens online and off line and how they interrelate with one another.
But I think definitely there is an example. Because when you look at human rights and how human rights frameworks and treaties work, it states that I hold accountable by existing agreed international frameworks to protect the rights of individuals. And I think that is a very important accountability. We want to be able to hold States accountable. And therefore there do need to be some multi-lateral frameworks where they make those agreements. I think how you engage with them and how you influence them and to act in the public interest and fulfill that accountability to protecting the rights of individuals then requires a more nuanced thinking about how you engage with a multi-lateral system in a multi-stakeholder manner.
Does that qualify as an answer?
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: It does. But it leads to a follow-up. If you hold up human rights as a primary example where multi-lateralism is a vital future in the Internet Governance, to what extent would you say the international human rights regime of today is actually effective in shaping and playing a central role in Internet Governance? I mean, can we say that this is a strong and effective mechanism?
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I think it's not. But I think we haven't started using it. And I think -- I mean, I think we need to explore that and try and make it work, and then we can say whether it works or not.
>> RAUL ECHEBERRIA: The first comment is that it's too early to say if the Human RIghts Council is something that will be successful, because it's very new. But it is interesting, taking this example, to realise that it took almost 60 years in the international community to set up and to implement the Human RIghts Council, since it was included. This council, it is included in the Declaration of Human -- of Universal Human Rights. So it took 60 years.
This is one of the problems that I see when people speak about creating new bodies or or multi-lateral arrangements, that it is -- it takes a long time to get an agreement for creating a new area. Even if we think it's not the case, but even if we consider the possibility that it's possible to get an agreement, the implementation of those bow, it takes a long time after that.
So probably we will -- so I think it's not an option. From the point of view, practical point of view, it's not an option, independently of the philosophy that we can continue talking about. But I'm against that idea.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Okay. So the speed of action is a fundamental constraint vis-a-vis the Internet for multi-lateralism.
>> JEANETTE HOFMANN: While I agree with Anriette Esterhuysen that in theory intergovernmental is supposed to be more responsible from private, I would say from a Civil Society point of view, they imply long chains of legitimacy for those affected by such agreements. It's never clear who said what and who agreed on what for what reasons, and there is also very little room for influencing such procedures.
So, they are not very accountable when it comes to the process of agreeing on such frameworks. And for that reason, considering how difficult it is to enforce such agreements, I'm not sure that it's something that I would recommend when we think about global problems we want to solve in common.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: In the larger world of global governance, there is much discussion about a so-called Democratic deficit in the existing multi-lateral frameworks. The notion that essentially the level of steps between the citizen and the actual frameworks are so -- the chain is so far that there is not any --
>> JEANETTE HOFMANN: That's what I meant to say. Thank you, Bill.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: So the Democratic deficit applied into the Internet space is broader. You've got a user community, a global polity of citizens who are more active and engaged and concerned, and yet possibly not listened to in such a context.
>> JEANETTE HOFMANN: Yes. Most likely, yes.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Okay. Yes, Fiona?
>> FIONA ALEXANDER: So I think the ideas of multi-lateral institutions as an institution going away is not going to happen any time soon. Things don't tend to end. But the idea of how you handle Internet issues, what we have been doing in the United States for a long time -- and I can speak to what we're doing domestically -- we are not saying there is not a role for government. But it's more of a convener, really. And what we're doing domestically on privacy, we suggest that we have baseline privacy legislation, then have multi-stakeholder codes of conduct. And then the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, would then enforce that once companies subscribe. So, domestically, our position in the US is that purely governmental solutions are not the best way to deal with Internet policy. So that lends to our international position, which is that we just have concerns about, as is well-known, about dealing with the issues strictly in a multi-lateral framework.
It's slow, it's bureaucratic, you know, other folks are not involved. Honestly, by the time governments figure out what we are going to do and agree, it's two years later and the technology moved on. So I'm not sure that the institutions are structured and, well, as your point is making, can keep up with what's happening.
>> RAUL ECHEBERRIA: Yes. Besides what I said before about the possibility of setting up a global multi-lateral arrangement, I think that is -- there is other -- I have a strong sentiment with this concept. Because it -- it could mean to accent that we need a single mechanism for Internet Governance. And I think there is not a single model for Internet Governance. Internet Governance is composed by different mechanisms that are very different among themselves.
The interests of different stakeholder groups in each Internet Governance mechanism is different. For example, I think that Civil Society and IETF, while they could have some interest, probably are different in the interests that they have in ICANN or the RIRs. So we don't have to think -- I think that we have waited many times, a lot of time. I say "we" not for myself, but "We" in general, trying to discover the wheel again. And to -- to look for what is the best way for -- what is the best model for a Global Internet Governance. And I think that the answer is that we don't need that. What we need is to look for what are the basic ways for participation of the different stakeholder groups in the different Internet Governance mechanisms, respecting the special characteristics of each of them.
>> JEANETTE HOFMANN: Perhaps the strict distinction between multi-lateral or intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder arrangements is a bit misleading to begin with.
You mentioned actors and perhaps WTO as an example. As we all know, there was heavy lobbying going into these agreements. So it's rather a matter of selective participation. Who actually is involved in the negotiation of such agreements and how can that be not only made more transparent, but also open to views that are not as powerful. But trying to find out what is the best arrangements might not take into account that there are always multiple stakeholders involved in the negotiation of agreements.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I think prior to WSIS and the IGF, for me and in my experience, multi-stakeholder participation or stakeholder participation was based on bringing interest groups, people who are affected. So if you are developing housing policy, you bring in homeless communities and their organisations. And you are bringing in the housing industry, the construction industry, to the table. Because they are the people that need to be there, and your policymakers. And I think that this -- I have repeated this so many times, but no one seems to grasp it in the IGF context, that stakeholders, not simply governments, business, and Civil Society, they are human beings who are impacted by policies. And I thank you for raising that.
And I am not advocating for the establishment of a multi-lateral body. But I think multi-lateral frameworks in the traditional sense exist. And they have value particularly for small countries or poorer countries or developing countries who don't have voices in many of these decision-making, this complex array of institutions that William Drake outlined for us. It's not that they actively are excluded or not allowed to come, but for various reasons they don't have a voice. They do have a voice or they feel they have a voice in the UN system.
And you can critique that and say that, you know, that none of that has any real impact or any value. But for those governments, that is important and they have to make choices about where they channel resources into in terms of international relations, and that is usually one of the choices.
Sadly some of them are also channeling resources into actors, which is worrying. So I think what I'm advocating is let's use them, let's work with them where they exist. And, in fact, I think if they -- if we don't factor them into our ecology of Internet Governance institutions, you could actually run into potential problems.
But I want to ask another question around that and that is what is the best way of all these complex institutional arrangements interacting with one another? That is one thing. So it would be good to hear responses from that.
And I want to talk about multi-stakeholder processes. I think that becomes very important and I mean multi-stakeholder in the business Civil Society government sense but also in the sense of who is really affected?
I think we need that anyway. We need that whether we're using the multi-lateral system or not. But if we have that, if we have strong open discussions at a national level, it's going to enrich both the informal arrangements as well as the multi-lateral.
So just to give you an example, something like the IETF, for example, very few developing country governments are able to participate effectively. But if I take my country, South Africa, for example, we have some really like sharp developers and engineers and people who do follow the Internet Governance Forum. So can't we at a national level find a way of bringing them into the discussion so they can carry on in the IETF at sort of their geeky level, but come in and share and listen. So that is one thing that I think we can explore more.
And the issue of accountability and transparency and participation which Raul was mentioning and you as well. I think that is an important area for us to invest in. That's why the Council of Europe is working on that. I think whatever form of governance affects the Internet, being able to check it, to measure it and critique it and assess its impact becomes very important. But it also becomes costly.
>> BILL DRAKE: I want to return later to the question of how they interact. I asked a question about that. It's on the agenda and also the transparency bit.
I want to return to something Raul said. One of the dominant discourses -- welcome. One of the dominant discourses about multi-lateralism throughout the WSIS process that we heard and which has been kind of reinvigorated again with the IBSA proposal that says that there would be a single new body that would integrate and oversee all technical and policymaking processes related to the Internet, was this kind of notion of one size fits all centralization and so on.
And obviously given the distributed topography of functions and institutions, that's not very logical. But I wonder about something else. And this is the notion many people have put forward, the argument that okay, you probably couldn't have a multi-lateral framework that went into detail and managed effectively all those areas. But you could have a framework of general principles. A framework convention. This idea has floated around again and again of broad principles that would somehow inform all these other activities.
One of the questions I wonder about with that is since one of the core aspects of multi-lateralism always has been this notion that not just that there are many participants, but that there is a commitment to diffuse distribution of benefits, a diffuse reciprocity, where everybody's kinds of views are being mutually accommodated.
Could you have in the case of the Internet such an agreement on high level principles, when the differences among major States are so strong, even at the level of principles? This is what I'm just wondering about, if anybody has any thoughts on that. Jeanette apparently does.
>> JEANETTE HOFMANN: I think one should not reinvent the wheel here. For example, in the UK, you had for a while this fashion about principle based regulation. And it completely blew apart during the financial crisis. Principle based regulation was the idea that private Sector and governments formed some form of consensus and this would allow the financial sector to self regulate to some degree and the governments to add light touch regulation. Sort of basically leave them alone as long as nothing bad happened. It simply didn't work.
So I think it sounds nice with this framework of principles, but one needs to ask what we do expect from that. One could say that a framework that is accepted by all stakeholders could, as the economists would say, lower transaction costs. But that would mean it does in fact regulate something, these principles.
But I'm not really sure what it would achieve.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: That's more or less the question I asked yesterday on principles.
I want to welcome to the table Alice Munyua, the Chair of the Kenyan Internet Governance Steering Committee and our host from the Kenyan government. Whenever you want to jump in, we are doing free form discussion around the background paper that I sent, which I can hand to you if you don't have it handy. The questions are on there. So we're talking about multi-lateralism and its future in this context. Fiona?
>> FIONA ALEXANDER: So the question was -- it wasn't multi-multi-stakeholder principles, it was multi-lateral. It was the idea of 192 governments or a subset of that getting together and agreeing at a high level principles on the issues. I think as we have seen over the last 10 or 12 years, it's really, really challenging. I think that the last time that effectively happened was the WSIS process, and we came up with both the Tunis and the Geneva documents. And even what we're debating again today, what does some of that actually mean?
So I think -- I don't know. It potentially may be sometime in the future. As a person that sits in some of the negotiations, as some of the others in the room have done, I don't see how you'd get government, 192, 193, a new country, to agree even at the top level on some of the issues. I'm not optimistic that that would happen, actually.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: People are already raising their hands and that's fine. We're a small enough group and I'm willing to make this interactive, so I'll give preference to the people on the panel when they raise their hand on a topic. But if there are people in the audience who want to get in urgently on something, I'll invite you to do so. And please give your name and be consist.
Raul, on this point, do you have something?
>> RAUL ECHEBERRIA: Yes. When we discussed about the arrangements -- sorry for my voice -- it's because the source of the discussions, when we discussed about multi-lateral arrangements, is the participation of governments. Because the rest of the people here don't, in fact, don't need the creation of another organisation like this one, like what we are looking at.
So I think that is the problem with this discussion is that I think that the government -- to think that the governments will be participating more in the near future in different Internet government matters, and this is because the Internet is passing all over the world and this is something that we have to accept.
The point is that the governments have to participate as a multi-stakeholder. And that's because the Internet has developed in this fashion. And since 2003 and 2005, we have concentrated the principles that is the framework that you mentioned before. The framework exists, those principles that were agreed to in 2005.
And so this is because I said, see, if we think that the government should be involved in different Internet Governance mechanisms as one multi-stakeholder, so their participation would be effective in different ways in different mechanisms, and so we don't need to think about a global mechanism.
Considering that we could need -- some governments could need multi-lateral arrangements to strengthen the participation of the governments, it could be the same, that accepting that something that we discussed very much during the work that we had -- and I'm sure you remember because we had an interesting discussion. Some people in that group claim that the governments are the only representatives of the interests of the people and I opposed very strongly to that concept.
Because it could mean -- so who is the -- I remember that I had some discussion with the representative of the Government of South Africa. So I asked of her. So what does it mean that the Government of Leclaric was the only representative of the people of South Africa or the current one?
So now we have been seeing many changes in the Middle East and some Arab countries. And it makes us challenge this concept that the government is the only legitimate representative of the interests of the people. I think the development of the Information Society have more options to decide how people want -- how each of us elect to be represented.
And so I think that is -- this is the -- because I don't think that we should find a way to give a special power to the governments, but we have to work very much and give the governments all the possibilities of participating, all the Internet Governance mechanisms, as another stakeholder. This is very important.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you, Raul.
I had a long -- I had a menu of ten questions I wanted to get through. We are still on the first one, but it's an interesting one. We will talk for another ten minutes about multi-lateralism, and then we will move on to a few other things.
I wanted to say I wonder how the government people on this panel feel about government as another stakeholder. That is a new and interesting concept. Anybody else on the panel have a quick one on this point? Otherwise I'll go to the audience. Yes.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I agree with you completely, Raul, that I think governments make claims and legitimate representation of citizens which are rarely true. Sometimes it's true. It depends onthe process. So I agree with you.
But I think at the same time in a way it becomes more complicated. If as a citizen you want to hold someone accountable for, let's say, the violation of your rights, who do you go to? You know, I think in the Internet environment we actually go to multiple actors, so the issue of accountability, we don't talk about it enough in Internet Governance. And I think the accountability arrangements are very unclear. They actually are fairly clear in relation to governments. They might not always work, but there is an accountability relationship that is established.
So I think when governments make that claim, remember it's also because they believe that they can be held accountable. In practice it's more complex than that, but I don't think we can ignore the accountability link.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: If I can just get -- I wanted to get a couple people from the audience who raised their hands. Is that okay?
So we have Willie, Juan and Olga. Do we have anyone remote? Just introduce yourselves. And if you can be brief and concise, then we will move on to the next topic.
>> WILLIE CURRY: Willy Curry from the South African Regulator. I just wanted to make a comment on this issue around principles of frameworks and the IBSA recommendations. And I think that what I think needs to be seen apart from the future or of the particular proposal coming out of the IBSA, and that is an attempt to voice or engage in issues for Internet Governance probably for the first time. And what I think needs to be recognized within that is that perhaps it was unfortunate to pick the hot button, structural issue, as opposed to saying what are the principles which three significant developing country democracies think are important with regard to Internet Governance? And perhaps that can be recuperated and developed. Because my perception of the South African government is there is no one in the government who has any idea of what Internet Governance is, at a substantial level.
So that means that you then get a situation where the posture that is taken by the South African government is purely one of international relations, and therefore it will fit into whatever is going on in the international sphere, what the interests are with regard to South Africa and the strategic geopolitical level, but nothing to do with the substance of what is good or bad and what should be, in terms of our own institution, be advocated in the international sphere.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Which is part of what happens in a multi-lateral setting.
Before I come to you ,Juan, I'm told that we have somebody from the South African government who is raising their hand.
Your name is Jimson --
>> Maybe I'm falling into the trap and showing how technologically challenged I am.
I just want to make a few very brief points. This is a very interesting discussion, and I think there are a lot of possibilities. I think this is a debate that is not really going to go away any time soon. Because speaking as a government, we have many challenges on these issues related to Internet Governance.
So it's not easy for us. But we also recognize that the debates and the environment, it does throw open new possibilities, given some of the criticisms that are raised about the multi-lateral system.
But I wanted to make a couple points in terms of how we as developing countries see the multi-lateral system. I'll start with Raul's comments with the clerk and the apartheid regime that once was the way that everybody saw South Africa. South Africa was this really oppressive system that we had in our country.
And we should also remember that the people in South Africa fought very hard to make sure that government was not seen as legitimate. The apartheid regime was not seen as a legitimate voice of the people of South Africa at all. So I don't think that particular point was valid. But I've been taking aboard a lot of things you said, and you made interesting comments. But I just wanted to clarify that one point.
In terms of the multi-lateral system, for yours as a developing country, it gives us a chance. It's a rules-based system where all countries are treated equally. It's slow and long-winded and governments by themselves also by definition are not perfect and democracy is not perfect. It's the best way we have of being able to hold governments accountable. But none of the systems are perfect because you're dealing with a lot of issues and you're trying to manage a lot of conflicting interests, and trying to come up with a solution which is -- which accommodates everybody as best you can through the lowest common denominator. So for us the multi-lateral system has that importance. And we can talk about it being slow and all the faults. It's not an easy solution.
Taking the time to implement the multi-lateral agreements, it's a slow process and it does take long. But we can look back at the different instruments that were made over the years and see this is a sign of human progress, I think. And for us, when we talk about the Internet, it is such an important and powerful phenomenon and it's made such a huge dramatic change on everybody's life and it's still going to continue to do that. Because when we reflect on that, we must remember that most people are not yet part of the Internet. Most people still in the world do not have access to it.
So, I think for us, these are some of the important things that have to be addressed. But we recognize that there are possibilities of improving the international system. And the possibility of improving decision-making processes and having better models. All of those things, fine, we would be open to those. We would be very interested to -- we are very interested to hear the debates and perspectives that people have put forward.
We are only one small country. We're not a big country. So we don't have the power to do anything.
One last thing just on the point of multi-lateralism or agreements of that kind, whether you have new institutions or existing ones, or whatever, I think, would be that you can only agree to what you agree. So what is not agreed, you can't really address.
So there is always the possibility of just agreeing to general principles and general things through multi-lateral agreements that are cause for common concern.
Those are some of the points that I wanted to make. I'm enjoying the debate, so thank you very much.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: In asking these questions, I'm a fully committed multi-lateralist. And it's true. And I totally understand that from the perspective of developing countries in particular, how deeply felt the sense is that this is the space within one gets a voice. The question is simply what -- in the context of the Internet, where do we see that kind of model being applicable? That's where I'm trying to go with this.
Jeanette is ready to burst, then we will go to Juan from the Cuban government. Very quickly.
>> JEANETTE HOFMANN: I was just wanting to ask, isn't this every country, one vote, a principle that exists on paper but in practice it's undermined all the time? Think of trips, for example. What role did developing countries really have in the shaping of that agreement?
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: That's called minimum lateralism within multi-lateralism. And that's the reality.
>> JUAN FERNANDEZ: Juan Fernandez from the Government of Cuba. But can you allow me to speak in my capacity of not of government, but as a university professor? And the same capacity that I was a member of WGIG, in the same place where I met all of you and we began this discussion some years ago? So if you allow me, I'm going to address the subject of this whole workshop, being which institutional framework is more suitable or adequate, regarding, very important, regarding Internet Governance.
For that, I will begin with the topic of Internet Governance. Because as Raul said and -- it's very a -- it's a very complex system. Like, for instance, to put the analogy, because this is one of the subjects that I teach at the University, you know, it's science, technology and society. The innovation systems in the countries, there have been many models. But the number of actors and participants in the innovation process is so complex that the -- the up-to-date model, it's called ecosystems, innovation ecosystems.
For example, the author that is the official institutions in the United States are using the concept of innovation ecosystems, because that recognizes the multiplicity of factors and processes that sometimes is impossible to really get the links, but any tweak or change in one part can have a consult. So that matter of a biological ecosystem is translated to this system.
Sometimes this word has been used, I think it was mentioned today the word ecosystem, when Anriette Esterhuysen talked. But we have to be conscious that that selection of ecosystem, it's really -- it's a reflection of the complexity of the system. Because as Raul said, the Internet governance is not carried out in one institution or two or three in multiplicity right now, but maybe in the future with new technologies. Digital television and other devices, maybe it will go to space. It will continue growing.
So to repeat and to summarize my view in these discussions of what institutional framework is suitable for Internet governance? If you put an A and said multi-lateral agreement; B, mini lateral; C, multi-stakeholder... you know what the answer is? All of the above.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Yes. Thank you. Absolutely. And it's in that context then I'm asking about the one piece. But yes, we are recognizing all of them. Bertrand?
>> BERTRAND de La CHAPELLE: I think when we are talking about multi-lateralism, we are taking about many flavors. There are many international organisations based on the concept of intergovernmental cooperation that are functioning in different ways. The internal structure is associating governments in different ways. The weighted voting in the IMF or in the brethren woods World Bank is different than the weight functions in the ILO or the weight functions in other places.
Likewise, that I repeated often, I don't believe there is a multi-stakeholder model. I think there is a multi-stakeholder approach and principles that have many modes of implementation.
Beyond that, it comes out nonetheless that the main mental shift that we are making is basically about two funding principles. The funding principles of the intergovernmental multi-lateral system is the notion that it is a Society of Nation States, that the governments are the only international actors interacting in this respect, and that -- that they indeed have a monopoly of representation of their citizens in those discussions.
That is the fundamental element. And as we said before, we're reaching a point whereon many issues that are growing and growing, we originally admit of the accountability change between the citizens and the representative in the new system.
The second principle that is underlying the multi-stake approach is a radical principle when you formulate it clearly. The right of any individual to participate in the appropriate manner in the governance processes dealing with the issues that he has taken.
This is an incredibly powerful principle and formulation. Now that doesn't mean, as has been said so far, that it is one model replacing the others.
I think one of the outcrops of this discussion that could be very useful to socialize is that it is a combination of tools. Institutions are tools to accomplish a certain goal.
And in particular when we talk about Internet Governance, like any governance system, be it national or multi-lateral, be that multi-stakeholder, there are five stages. One is agenda setting and issue framing.
The second one is the drafting of whatever possible arrangement between those who are discussing.
The third one is the moment where there is a validation by a superior entity that gives force to the document that has been drafted.
And then the implementation phase and enforcement and monitoring.
The multi-lateral system is basically transposing what you have at the national level, which is all those five stages exclusively by dedicated representatives to do that. In that case, exclusively governmental relatives. The evidence that the multi-stakeholder approach brings is that there is a sort of arc on the five stages that means that in the first stages there is a very broad involvement of all the stakeholders, so that the agenda setting is very inclusive. When you get into the drafting by definition, the most committed -- provided that the balance is respected -- will be participating. And you may have even smaller working groups in an interactive manner.
When it comes to validation, it may come that in certain cases something that has been elaborated by multi-stakeholder processes is validated by a few governments, maybe only one Government.
The process that ICANN is involved in now with the IANA contract, it's a broad consultation. In the end it's validation by one government, whether we like it or not, it's one element. But when we get to implementation and enforcement, again we open this scope.
In the multi-stakeholder approach, the respective roles of the different governments depends on the stage of the discussion and the value and the issue.
And the final thing I want to say is this: When we talk about the ecosystem, we're actually talking about a whole range of actors. It can be companies, it can be governments, it can be international organisations. Each of those organisations have, as I sometimes explain, their own personal governance framework, their constitutions, their bylaws or treaty or arrangement.
The challenge that we have, and I think this is where we're going, is that we want to build a global governance system that is distributed and is actually being built the same way the Internet is being built; IE, enabling heterogeneous structures to interoperate.
The ICTPOO, the IP protocol, has enabled hundreds of thousands of heterogeneous networks to interoperate without changing their own structure into a global network. Likewise, the protocol has enabled billions of machinations. You have to find the principle and the multi-stakeholder protocols that will enable hundreds, thousands of different heterogeneous governance frameworks, IE stakeholder groups or stakeholder entities, to interact, to produce through those stages and various processes an interoperable global system that is distributed and that functions without asking them to change, but just by asking them to abide by your protocol of interaction.
Sorry, last point to our South African colleague, because I think it's very, very important. I do understand and I've been a representative of the French government. What governments feel in the multi-stakeholder framework of the UN and other international organisations is the power to resist something that is imposed on them. However, if you are sincere, you know that it gives very little power to proactively do something. So you have the power to block and resist, but very little power to function correctly.
I believe, I may be wrong or I may be proven wrong, I think that expanding the multi-stakeholder approach and opening it up and having governments in their different instances to actively participate is re-empowering them. It's giving them the capacity to influence. Even a very small country with a good representative that knows what he is talking about can have a tremendous impact. Usually they have the capacity to object, but not to drive.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you. You went far into multi-stakeholders, and I'm trying to finish multi-lateral. But that's fine. There are close synergies in terms of the questions here.
And again emphasizing -- we recognize that there is an ecosystem, and a distributed architecture. We're asking which tools for the box seem most appropriate for which types of problems. And multi-lateral is certainly a place for all and is valued by everybody.
Before I turn to the last person, I think, Des, did you have something on this? Introduce yourself.
>> Des Afilias. I could build on just what John was referring to and add a comment. I think it's probably useful to mention that the Nation States but also outside the Nation States, I think citizens usually see the UN model as the king of the multi-lateral model. And I think that's why the Internet Governance Forum is power. There is an expectation to be attached to something that seems very powerful. But what we have seen is the cost of the group action has changed, and that therefore what we're seeing is that people who are not happy with the national regulations and bills that relate to the Internet actually come to the International Governance Forum as a multi-stakeholder convenient view, where they can issue and voice issues that they cannot do effectively in the multi-lateral system.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Alice, do you have anything? Do you want to jump in? If not, no worries, since you came late.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Sorry I came late to the discussion. We had to do so many issues. But perhaps on this issue, and actually to agree with Desiree in my experience in working this meeting, you can clearly see the importance that is for the high level forum. It's at that perception that it's at that multi-lateral level. But at the same time I'm coming from a government that seems to be -- having accepted the multi-stakeholder approach, even though I tend to think that from where I'm sitting, I'm not really sure how to implement that in terms of policing and regulation. It's part of our new constitution now. And you know we're making it mandatory for any policy or regulatory process to involve all the stakeholder groups that are, you know, or from that -- that -- involved in that I can issue, especially when it comes to Internet Governance.
But now I will cut across all policy related policies. And that's one of the things we are facing, in terms of how to define it. I still don't believe that we have it fully and don't think that we -- I also think it's quite a challenge to institutionalize it at the moment, taking into account that this material factor is involved in how we view government and how government views itself in terms of its role.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Interesting that the Internet should be the model of the larger policymaking requirement. And telling. That's what we would hope for.
I want to do two other options in the toolbox that we have got. What I'm hearing from people is that we all have a strong historical affection to the multi-lateral system and what it has done for the world, et cetera. But in the particular case of the Internet, people are having a hard time identifying particular places where a multi-lateral structure would be efficacious.
Let me ask you this question. Is it possible that governments would rely on more mini-lateral solutions, regional or bilateral solutions, because multilateralism is getting too difficult to implement and sustain? If that would be the case, what are the costs and benefits in such a shift towards nonglobal global governance. The G8, OECD, other plural or regional bodies are effectively adopted if they are becoming structures that are accepting rules and practices that are projected out into the international sphere that others have to adopt. And if those who don't participate in the processes, that looks tremendously nondemocratic and is an unsatisfactory approach. But from the standpoint of the green things, people may make the argument that collaboration in the like-minded is the most efficacious. More and more unilateralism is going on.
So where do the people see the role of mini-lateral approaches? Raul?
>> RAUL ECHEBERRIA: Thank you. If you give me one minute I want to clarify something to the colleague from South Africa. I think that is more or less -- maybe I didn't express myself very well. But what I said is exactly the same that I wanted to say. That for a government, not necessarily is the government the shipping mate. I probably didn't use well my word. But this is exactly what you said. So that is not a point of disagreement.
I think there is room for what you say mini-lateral agreements. In fact, we are seeing that -- discovering some governments are looking for agreements with the governments of countries that they think are similar to them. Sometimes they are -- because they have proximity but other times because of the size of the country or the economy of the culture. Many different reasons.
So, I see room for this kind of agreements. I don't think that they would be the most important pieces in the -- in the global -- in the total of the Internet Governance mechanism. But I think that, yes, the short answer is yes, there is room for that.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Room where? Give an example?
>> RAUL ECHEBERRIA: I think that, for example, in security. There is the European Convention for Security has been an example. And many countries from outside of Europe are signing and endorsing this agreement. So this is an example. This is something that exists. We cannot ignore.
Maybe even in those mini-lateral agreements, or a group of contrast elements, I think that could be important if we introduce them with the stakeholder concept. Because the other components of the society have a right to participate.
But it is -- it is a matter of fact that this kind of mechanism exists, and they have a place in the system.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Okay. Others, Fiona and then Andrea.
>> FIONA ALEXANDER: I feel like there is a false choice between multi-lateralism and multi-stakeholderism.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: I'm not saying that's a choice.
>> FIONA ALEXANDER: There is a flow that comes through and people say that's not what I'm saying. Even in the concept of a multi-stakeholder model, there is a role for government. And in the context of ICANN, you have a governmental advisory committee. It's not multi-lateral. There is a treaty, but it's a collective action of governments. Alice is the one here that participants most recently. So the idea that mini-lateralism, it's the same kind. The OECD discussion and principle, while in the framework of the OECD, there are multiple stakeholders involved. And it's natural for people with simpler problems or constructs for the Americas to get together, because we have existing constitutions and have conversations. But the idea that somehow because you have a discussion in a multi-lateral or mini-lateral framework, I feel like there is a false choice that we're making.
The choice really is, is it multi-lateral or is it no government? Is it industry self-regulation versus complete government? And what we've involved to is the merging of the two.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: There is a difference of governments involved, between multi and mini-lateral.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I think that's well put and the principles of participation and transparency should apply equally to these different forms of government. At the same time, I think mini-lateral processes, there are risks. And I think one of the risks limited transparency. And another risk is that you could have a mini-lateral agreement -- and I'm sorry to harp on that, but it's one that we feel strongly about, where governments -- developing country governments who haven't had a multi-stakeholder process around that issue end up making an agreement, sometimes I think quite, you know, unintentionally, that could have very negative impacts for access to knowledge, for example.
And their citizens have not been part of that process. I think in the multi-lateral, I know that WIPO is a hell of a hard place for anybody that works there, but at least the implications are debated out in the open. Even if decisions made are not favorable to how Civil Society perceives the interest, we know about them and can engage them.
So those are the risks.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: But one of the dynamics there I should add is that when WIPO becomes too frustrating for the dominant powers because they are not getting what they wanted, then things do move into smaller groups where they are able to make it work. And we see this pattern again and again. As well, when the WTO process stops moving forward, your government is making mini-lateral deals all the time. And the process of the mini-lateral deal becomes a bargaining chip within the framework by compelling people saying that unless you come along with what we want, we will cut a deal without you.
>> FIONA ALEXANDER: Again we are talking about sort of history and sort of -- let's talk about the ITU. We prepared for the ITU meeting, we prepare as regional groups. This is how the UN system works. When you get together as stakeholder groups, you have LACNIC, BARON, this is not specific to governmental structures that you have regional consultations or regional coordination.
>> JEANETTE HOFMANN: I think one other perhaps unintended side effect of intergovernmental arrangement, generally, is that they form a sort of hub around which Civil Society networks are emerging. The whole WSIS process, that was so good in terms of creating a society network that cares about all sorts of aspects of Information Society. So that might be good aspects to it.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: I want to bring in Muriela from the audience. Please say who you are.
>> Hi. I just keep wondering that sometimes we seem to be more compliant with lack of multi-stakeholderisms on this mini-lateral agreements than what we are. We are more demanding on the global level, is what I mean, than we are on these mini-lateral agreements. And that's a double standard and I don't think it really makes sense.
You asked about the consequence of mini-lateral agreements, and I think that we are seeing these consequences. Actor is a good example, but it's an example that for us is a bit in the future. But with cyber security, the Budapest Convention, it's a good example. Brazil, the Budapest Convention has served as a model to a Brazilian wall that has been discussed with no participation from Civil Society and it was a Draconian law. Many people agree with that, but many society organisations have problems with it. And we don't think that a Convention that has not been negotiated and which we have not participated should serve as a standard. This is the consequences of mini-lateral agreement. Whether you want it or not, the attraction of the EOCD or United States is too big.
If you do a free trade agreement with another country, you insert these clauses, then how can a smaller or developing country be against it? So that is a different level of power. But I do see a place for plural lateral and mini-lateral arrangements, if they are multi-stakeholder, which is to try to coordinate positions and bring the actors closer, for them to be able to discuss things on the global level already with some degree of coordination, some degree of being on the same page. I think it may facilitate discussions on the global level.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: In the case you give, it's a kind of policy laundering in a way, isn't it, that you get -- something that the Brazilian government might have wanted to adopt domestically, but they have a Council of Europe thing that they can use as the basis for it.
Olga, did you have something?
>> OLGA CAVALLI: Thank you very much. I would like to agree with Bertrand. Of course he said it in a very, very nice way. He is a very good speaker and he explains things in a nice way.
But I do agree with what you said and with many of the things that were said. Being an advisor of the Government of my country for ten years, I think that the biggest challenge is the national coordination. Anriette Esterhuysen said something important, sometimes things are signed and agreed without -- making bad consequences. And sometimes people that were involved in that moment didn't know that. They have not the information at that moment in hand to do a good decision.
And I can tell you that the big, big challenge is to do a transparent and good national coordination. Because if you have that, then that country can go with the tools in hand to do the right decision for the country.
And that is extremely challenging because of all the people involved and in politics and also diplomats. That's why I tried to train diplomats in technology. I created in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the career of diplomacy, technology professorship, because I think they have to know and understand. And I think this is a very complicated challenge, because people change their roles and when government changes, you don't find the same people. So for Civil Society and for other stakeholders who are not government, that is the challenge in coordinating with the Government.
That's my comment from my experience in my country, being a multi-stakeholder person.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: By the way, there were no questions from the remote I assume?
>> OLGA CAVALLI: No.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: I want to turn to one more question before we run out of time. Desiree, were you waving?
>> What is the last part?
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: I want to talk about the affirmation and commitments as a model.
>> DESIREE: When talking about multi-lateral and other institutions before we go to ICANN and other institutions, I think Anriette may have mentioned lack of transparency. But also I wanted to mention a lack of participation in some institutional arrangements, and looking at some of the UN agencies like ITU, where it's not possible to participate as Civil Society, for example, as an academic.
And I think we all see a problem with that, and the problems seem to be washed away by saying go talk to your government and they will include you on the list. And this is not the open participation in developing Internet standards, that is currently acceptable. So that is the comment that I had.
>> BERTRAND de La CHAPELLE: Thanks for raising the topic of mini-lateralism. We need not equality multilateralism with universality. Some are regional and some are focused on the topic.
The second point is when we talk about mini-lateralism, we need to make a distinction between things that are negotiated in one of those existing not universal organisations, like OECD or regional, and things that are ad hoc on an issue topic set up for that purpose.
Some of those mini-lateral efforts as was mentioned in the OECD or in the Council of Europe may be regional or only portionally global. But some have introductions of participation of multi-stakeholder consultations.
So, again, there is no national contradiction between mini-lateral or nonuniversal frameworks and multi-stakeholder. Of course, the more there is a multi-stakeholder involvement, the better.
But the point that I want to make that is the most important, that has not been mentioned, is that especially when you have an IDOP process that is not open for whatever reason, or even if it's in a structure that is open, it's essential to take into account the impact that this regime can have on actors who are not participating. This is one of the fundamental elements of the multi-stakeholder approach and principle is that if you have a stake in something that others are discussing, you have to have a knowledge of what is being discussed. It can be through different means. But it's a very important principle. Any mini-lateral system that is transparent, open and multi-stakeholder, and deals with only one person in a specific group, it's fine.
If it is closed, completely ad hoc, and noninteracting and having an impact on others, it's a delegate.
And, finally, regarding Marilia, there are cases when indeed there is a replication capacity to be used as a model for something that has been negotiated among a small group of actors for their use with the capacity to replicate. Sometimes it's for the better and sometimes it can be misused.
But the big thing is that because universality, in all organisations that are universal, you have to remember that universality is a result. No international organisation has ever, I mean ever, been created as a universal organisation. All international organisations, including the UN, ITU, all of them were initially only among some and then they accepted. And the problem that we're stuck with is because we have the rule of consensus, one country, one vote, any universal organisation is now stuck in being obligated to have a dual consensus just to put anything on the agenda, and things are much smaller. And this is why people are going to other spaces.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: I want to turn to the last question before we are out of time. Before I do, I can't let go of a possibility, since Desiree is here and raised that question about the ITU, one of my pet peeves has been that many of the governments that have been the most firm voices in favor of multi-stakeholderism in the context of ICANN, the IGF and so on have not necessarily displayed the same approach towards multi-lateral institutions.
In the ITU, Switzerland and Argentina tried to have a process for reviewing ITU processes and creating greater openness to Civil Society. And I'm afraid to say my government and other industrialized democracy governments were not exactly strong supporters of this initiative, which basically didn't go anywhere.
And I just wonder if Fiona could tell us why in the view -- not speaking formally for the U.S. Government, but her personally in her understanding, why it might be that multi-stakeholderism would be great in the context of ICANN and IGF, but not acceptable even at the level of observers in the ITU.
>> FIANO ALEXANDER: I think there is a risk, and Bertrand and I were talking about this earlier at lunch. This multi-stakeholder model or governance applies, or approach, applies to every institution. In IGF, it might be offensive to say multi-stakeholder. It doesn't mean that everyone gets involved.
In the context of the ITU, I have to go back in my memory and remember this particular set of conversations, which is probably five or six years ago. But I do think there is a real risk of saying when you take every institution and make it multi-stakeholder, because then you lead yourself to saying let's make everything multi-stakeholder, let's have one institution. That's against what you want. The Internet is diversified. You want multiple places to deal with different things.
This idea that you'll take the UN and the ITU and all facets of it and make it multi-stakeholder is a problem for us.
Again, what we're talking about in the context of ICANN and some of the Internet issues, and one of the reasons that we don't want to deal with some of these in the idea of ITU, because it doesn't meet these characteristics. It's not where we have been. I don't see that changing soon. But the idea that the nation state is going away is not happening. The idea that multi-lateral institutions is going away is not happening. But what we have been talking about is making sure that on the Internet issues in particular, we have the multi-stakeholder approaches, where everyone can participate and that includes governments, and that's been a challenge for ICANN over the last seven or eight years and the last year and a half a real crux of the discussions.
This has gotten better. But it's been tortured and painful. Alice and others can speak to that more than I can. But this point, this never answers Bill's question sufficiently, which is why he always asks it.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Indeed, if the premise is that allowing observers to participate in some ITU activities would risk making the ITU become the Uber Alice organisation doesn't seem plausible.
>> FIONA ALEXANDER: The rules of procedure in the ITU do allow for observers. So you can do it in a couple different ways. You can do it in your delegation, Desiree was told to do it, obviously, and she doesn't want to do it. Or you can participate, and that happened, because the RIRs were invited and joined in some cases. So there are mechanisms within the ITU, but they are not sufficient for what you want.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Because they don't give us rights. They leave it up to the Chair to decide: Do I want to invite somebody? And they leave it up to the head of the delegation to decide: Is this person worth having around? Which in the American case usually means no, if you're not business.
>> FIONA ALEXANDER: I can't speak to that particular issue, either. But, again, ultimately it's a multi-lateral institution not a multi-stakeholder.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: I want to ask one last question. Do people want to hang out for another five minutes or so or should I cut it? I think it's an interesting enough discussion. I just wanted to ask one other kind of approach that I think is interesting is -- and it's common increasingly at the national, the regional level, is bilateral co-governance between governments and private sector.
Now, in the international context, you have a lot of criticism and we will hear some tomorrow in the CIR main session of those pieces of the Internet governance arrangements where essentially the U.S. Has a special authority.
And so unilateralism is a very sensitive thing. Another alternative to that, though, is a sort of bilateral co-regulatory thing in which other views are given much greater space, input, and authority. And an interesting model in that context, I think, and something that Fiona was very closely involved with, is the affirmation of inputs. I don't want to talk about ICANN, but I want to talk about the model, as an example.
Instead of doing treaties, regulations with fixed rules, where some external authority says this is what is permissible and this is what is not permissible, the affirmation of commitment says the parties involved in this process are making a mutual obligation to each other, that we should abide by certain behavioral standards. We shall observe those standards collectively and review them and assess whether everybody is behaving in accordance with them. And if we find that that is not being done effectively, then we will recommend further actions and so on.
And I wonder, the affirmation was clearly written for ICANN for particular purposes, but that kind of a model, which is like a MOU, it's an alternative to treaties and things like that. But it's a potentially interesting one if tethered to an ultimate authority in a bilateral context.
So my question is, is that kind of co-regulatory structure with broader participation, with that kind of commitment being made, potentially of interest in any of your arenas beyond ICANN's internal management?
And Juan has been waiting to talk. So I ask Juan and then you and you.
>> JUAN: Thank you, Chairman. I want just, before -- I want to talk about what we were talking about before, but I will tell you that what you're asking, I could include it in that multiplicity of models that could be useful, you know, even treaty, you know, like the treaties of the sea or the space or whatever.
But when I was talking about the multiplicity of government arrangements for the Internet Governance ecosystem, there are two ways of putting it. One way that I put it is this multiplicity. The other way is that the way Bertrand puts it, or Fiona, it's a flexible system based in multi-stakeholderism. In which case for each case the role of the stakeholders can vary, even go to zero in some cases. It's a way of putting that. This is the same way -- it's an alternative view of what I'm saying. It's multiplicity of arrangement.
But then the question is: Which arrangement is best for each of the parts of the ecosystem? In some other areas of governance, this has been chosen by tradition, sometimes by history. But Internet, it's rather new.
So, I will finish by saying something that, for instance, a very bright architect in Cuba, a method that he uses that can be used here. This architect, he designs campuses in which you have several buildings with lawn between them. But, he always has a problem that if you put a path, you know, a paved path between the buildings, sometimes people don't use the paved path. They walk other places in the grass and then doing the things where the grass dies.
So after that happened to him once, and then what he is doing, he makes the building but he doesn't put any paved ways. And he waits a couple of months, and sees how the people move from one building to another, and then he builds the paved ways.
I think that here we should follow more or less this same model. We should see how Internet has been developed in some parts of the Internet, some models have worked well. In some parts the model needs some tweaking, that it can be what, as Bertrand said, define the roles of stakeholders. And I insist that sometimes this definition of roads can be zero, including for government and including for other stakeholders.
It was said before, there are some parts of the Internet Governance that for me I see that regardless of what we talk here, we always, government will have the last word. Like security aspects. Security aspect, government will always have, maybe not as an enforcer, but maybe not as a regulation, you know, and maybe private sector then will have to follow this guidance.
Maybe that is not a good example. But certainly you can find examples as the architect and see how the people move and then put the regulation on top.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: I think that's a wonderful parallel for a lot of the discussions we have, because I would say -- I'd argue that some of the proposals for changing Internet Governance are about let's use the traditional paved ways that we know, whether or not they are actually being used, right? And -- whereas the -- whereas you've got the other people saying no, let's see where the institutions and the processes lead us and then design mechanic niches to manage those.
So I was going to come to you, but I'll do Raul and Jeanette and Anriette Esterhuysen. So all the panelists, and then any other people from the audience, and Bertrand you go last, because you spoke.
>> RAUL ECHEBERRIA: Thank you. You asked about the affirmation of responsibility. And that is a good question. I think that it was a very innovative solution for finishing the relationship between the U.S. Government and ICANN. I think it was very creative.
And this is, of course, an example that could be used in other environments. The important thing is who exercised the oversight later in order to be sure that those responsibilities are being taken in another way or not.
So it would be good if we could speak, when speaking about oversight, we could speak about insight. The oversight exercised by the stakeholders. So, this is -- in this context, this model of the affirmation of responsibilities is very good. Once the affirmation, those conditions are in place, the contemporary is exercised by all the stakeholders. In fact, (inaudible) had a similar approach to define the relationship between the US government and ICANN in relation with the (inaudible).
I have to run to another workshop that started ten minutes ago. Coming back to the title of the workshop that it was institutional choice, my choice is that we have to ensure and work very much in order to ensure the participation of all stakeholders in the different Internet Governance mechanisms that have different models, and ended up looking for Global Internet Governance.
When I say different stakeholder, of course I'm including the government. The government has a very important role to play. And so all the Internet mechanic niches are open, the doors, to facilitate the participation of all of the stakeholders, including governments.
>> JEANETTE HOFMANN: When I prepared for the CIR session for Sharm El Sheikh, I had to learn this term by heart because for me it was radically meaningless. I couldn't remember if it was affirmation of commitment or commitment of affirmation because it meant zero to me. So I learned it.
Still, I would say there might be some merit to it to the degree that it reflects and codifies existing institutions and practices. Meaning there are certain rules that stakeholders have agreed upon, certain values, certain institutions and routines, and these affirmations can codify them. But, when it comes to sort of trying to modify behavior, I think that is just not a good instrument.
So if we want to modify behavior, we need other tools.
>> FIONA ALEXANDER: So, to that -- Raul left. And taking issue with how you phrase this bilateral co-governance, there are two parts to the affirmation of commitments. There is one which is sort of between the United States Department of Commerce and ICANN, affirming the commitments that we made in the past. But the important part of the Affirmation of Commitments is what ICANN agrees to do, which is to review and make sure it's executing its way.
So this concept that is bilateral co-governance is completely misleading in the way you framed the question.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Does the United States government have a role under this?
>> FIONA ALEXANDER: We are involved in the review teams and participating in other review teams, as are other members of the ICANN community, and ICANN committed to certain things and make sure that people who are not directly involved in the ICANN processes have a voice. And again there is no process that we have in place for any of of these issues or any institutions that is perfect.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: No. But you have a special role.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I think I agree. It's not a substitute for institutional reform, if institutional reform is really needed. But I think it's a useful mechanism. And I think it can be used in different types of ways and different types of contexts.
I think if you look at, for example, and maybe even more in partnership with the multi-lateral system as well, for example, impact assessment, there may be every Internet Governance institution that has made commitments to increasing affordable access, lower pricing, and increased access to infrastructure could have an affirmation of commitments amongst one another that they will, you know, measure practicing in a particular way and are willing to be held accountable for that progress.
Maybe the UN's partnership for measuring in the Information Society is kind of, you know, an instrument that can feed into that.
I think it also can be used as an, in the ICANN, one to ensure accountability and transparency and make common commitments to that. But there are other areas that could be used by the different types of institutions, such as planning, such as budgeting, and such as dealing with more equitable participation of developing countries or other groups that are currently, you know...
So in some ways I think perhaps the more specific and doable they are, the more -- and maybe not particularly long-term, and using them -- and I think the reviews, I think what is really good about them is that they create a very concrete framework for reviews to take place. And I think those reviews can then become very useful inputs into institutional reform that comes across as a solution to known problems, rather than institutional reform that seems to be imposed.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: We truly are out of time because people are starting to show up for the next workshop.
I want to ask quickly, Alice, if you have anything. If nothing, I'll go to John then we will close.
>> JOHN CURAN: John Curan. Regarding the affirmation of commitments, or more generically the model that is represented by that, I'm not sure I'd call it co-governance, but perhaps the attributes of that model that I guess are somewhat interesting and require a lot of thought for applicability are, one, it's first visible. It's a visible model. And that's very important. Others can see that. And that's unique, because it's something that you want to be able to know what that function is.
Additionally, it defines a very specific function. It's an oversight function. And I think that's valuable. There are some occasions where problems that are insolvable become solvable if you define just one task. By defining the task as an oversight task, and saying this provides a review and oversight role, it makes it more palatable to understand what the relationship is. It is not a complete authority relationship. It is only an oversight.
We actually have a similar thing with respect to the relationship between the RIRs and ICANN. ICANN provides an oversight role. And problems that would be potentially very difficult to resolve actually become a reasonable relationship when you define them between organisations with very specific duties and responsibilities.
And I guess so I would say the things I would take away is the fact that it is an open model. People can see it and in theory I believe others could enter into a similar agreement, that is a possibility.
Second, that it is a well-defined function. It's a class of agreement that potentially has other applicability if someone can find a place where it's useful.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: You may have birthed an entirely new form of cooperation without intending it, which is perhaps an interesting achievement.
A very quick closing benediction from Bertrand, then we will shut this session and get out of here.
>> BERTRAND de La CHAPELLE: I want to say that the affirmation of commitment is actually a quite successful attempt at solving the main challenge that we have to find instruments that are not treaties, that can be signed by stakeholders of a different nature. And that as a matter of fact, as an outcome, I make the connection between the statement of within their respective roles and within their commitments are actually defining the roles for a specific topic.
And I would support what Raul was saying. The value of those agreements is only when there is a built-in enforcement. That's all.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: When some of my international relations friends coming from political science say we have moved from the bipolar world of US/Soviet Union to the unipolar world to a multi-polar world, I say no. We moved to a heteropolar world. We moved to a world in which power is dispersed among major nongovernmental actors, transnational firms, processes and networks and so on as well. The affirmation of commitment's model, because it allows for signatories by different types of players, could be an interesting model for a heteropolar world of the Internet.
Obviously there is a lot more we could talk about, but we have run way over time. I hope people enjoyed the conversation and we will continue it -- I don't have ten minutes. It was supposed to have ended at 4. It's 2:30 to 4 and there is a break.
Everyone, thank you very much for participating. I hope you enjoyed it.
(End of session)
- Parent Category: IGF 2011