Open Consultations 24 February 2009 Transcript
Internet Governance Forum
24 February 2009
Note: The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Open Consultations of the IGF on 24 Feb in Geneva. 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.
[ Gavel ]
>>CHAIR DESAI: Can people settle down.
Thank you very much for the useful discussion yesterday, reviewing (inaudible) look at our evaluation.
Before I begin, happy birthday, Karen.
[ Applause ]
>>CHAIR DESAI: Let me perhaps, in the beginning, just say a word or two on what I think we ought to do, our aim for this meeting should be.
The consultation as well as the MAG.
On this issue of the evaluation.
I think, at this stage, we don't have to come to, get into a detailed debate on our views about the IGF, because there will be time for that. We will have a meeting in May. We will have a meeting in September, and we will of course have a meeting in Sharm El Sheikh.
But I think it's very important that we start talking and coming up with some ideas on the modalities for the evaluation. How should we do this evaluation?
The instructions from Tunis are clear. It requires consultations.
The Secretary-General has been charged with doing the evaluation, but it also says that he should consult with stakeholders.
How do we give meaning to this phrase, "consult"?
Is there another phrase used? What is the exact phrase?
Yes, "We ask the U.N. Secretary-General to examine the desirability of the continuation of the forum in formal consultation with forum participants within five years of its creation and to make recommendations to the U.N. membership in this regard."
So essentially the mandate that the Secretary-General has is in some ways a rather straightforward one. Should the forum continue? Should it not continue?
But the practical situation is does it also require some assessment of how it should continue? It can be just a yes or no.
And it does say formal consultations with the forum participants.
So we need to give some meaning to that phrase.
And the second thing is, after all, to answer the question should the forum continue or not, one has to work back at some prior questions which lead up to this.
What are those prior questions before you come to that -- to this particular question, should the forum continue or not.
That's the second thing that I think we need to discuss.
So in that sense, our purpose at this February meeting is essentially methodological rather than fully substantive.
There will be opportunities subsequently for stakeholders, individually as well as collectively, to formulate their views, present them. And the advantage of having this discussion now is at least all the stakeholders will know that these are the sets of prior questions which will be asked before we come to the question of should the forum continue or not.
So everybody is, in a sense, asking the same set of questions to themselves or to their constituents. Each stakeholder group.
This is what I wanted to say to start off with, but to get us moving, I was going to request Markus to say a few words because he has given much more thought to this than any one of us has.
So I would request him to just set us off on this debate.
>>SECRETARY KUMMER: Yes, thank you, Nitin. As you said, the starting point is, of course, the mandate as set out in the Tunis Agenda.
The mandate is clear as to the responsibility, it gives it to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and it's very open as regards the modalities.
When starting my function with the IGF Secretariat, I thought from the beginning this will be an uncomfortable situation for the Secretariat to be in if you have to prepare a report on yourself. Whatever you say about yourself will be criticized and shot down. Whenever you say anything positive people would say, yes, he would.
So I thought as a starting point it would be very good to have an external assessment of the forum, of how it works. And then, as the situation developed, you will recall that Singapore delegate, Valerie D'Costa, was very active in the last phase of the WSIS, she was a member of the MAG, and then she took on the InfoDev program which is based at the World Bank.
And InfoDev has the ambition to be considered as a center of excellence in terms of evaluation of projects related to ICT 4D. And InfoDev made the offer to do such an evaluation from the outside on our behalf, which was a very generous offer, as they would have sent their experts to Hyderabad to interview people and so on. And the estimate would have been worth, as an in-kind contribution about $200,000 U.S.
However, when we presented this last September, there was not unanimous support for such an outside evaluation, and some held the view that it would be better to do that in our traditional way; that is, asking for input for contribution, summarizing the input in a synthesis paper which will be a rolling document, revisited and so on.
So these were two opposing approaches.
One thing that is clear, and there I have consulted also with U.N. headquarters, is the timetable. And we have shared this before, and let me recap the timetable.
The mandate says the discussion, the informal consultation, all this has to take place within five years, and the general conclusion was the decision should be taken at the end of the five years.
So the formal consultations as called for by paragraph 76 will then have to take place at the fourth meeting of the IGF in Sharm El Sheikh.
Now, however we do this in Sharm El Sheikh, it seems obvious that it needs to be prepared, that we need to have a preparatory process; that Sharm El Sheikh should not be a procedural meeting, should not be an inward-looking meeting, and we had discussions with our Egyptian hosts, and they share this view that these formal consultations should not take center stage.
They will be an important part of the Sharm El Sheikh meeting, but they will just be a part and there will be other substantive agenda items on the agenda of Sharm El Sheikh.
So, basically, the decision -- or the question we have to look at is how to prepare these consultations and what are the questions we should look at.
When presenting the offer from InfoDev, we already looked at the set of questions, and if you allow me, I will maybe recap these questions. Now, of course, I have to wait till my computer wakes up again.
So we had them make a list of broad questions: To what extent has the IGF adhered to the substantive mandate set out in the Tunis Agenda?
To what extent has the IGF complied with WSIS principles?
What has the impact of the IGF been in direct terms for Internet governance?
And what has the impact of the IGF been in indirect terms for Internet governance?
What has the impact been, most particularly on developing countries?
What were various stakeholders' expectations for establishing the IGF based on the WSIS outcomes?
To what extent have these expectations been met?
How effective are IGF processes in addressing the tasks set out for it, including the functioning of the MAG, Secretariat, and open consultations?
How could these be improved?
What is the most appropriate funding model for the IGF to fulfill the expectations of its stakeholders?
Has the environment within which the IGF is set changed since the initiation of the IGF?
To what extent, if any, is this due to the IGF existence?
How does this change effect the IGF and its possible continuation?
Is it desirable to continue the IGF past its original five-year mandate in the view of its stakeholders?
And why? Why not?
If the continuation of the forum is recommended, should it be continued in its present form?
If changes are needed, what changes should be made?
Now, this is a list of questions. I'm sure it's not exhaustive, but it may be helpful to kick off the discussion.
To look at the reactions we received on our questionnaire, clearly the situation seemed to be the same. There are some who think that the internal process would not be appropriate, whereas others think an external process would not be appropriate.
In many ways, this recalls a bit the WSIS history for the WSIS veterans among you. There were several attempts to present documents from the outside, and they had always been rejected in the WSIS history. Documents were always elaborated from the central body of the summit in a plenary mode.
So this may be one way to proceed, also, in this context. But I think I can stop here.
>>SECRETARY KUMMER: Thank you.
Syria? Ambassador from Syria.
>>SYRIA: Thank you, Chairman.
Chairman, it was a wise advice to start the debate today, talk as a representative of a state. And I think it was also a wise decision not to go by the external auditing, as we call it, or evaluation, Chairman, because it's true, the people who are better to evaluate themselves are the IGF people. We are not talking about Secretariat. We are talking that the participants to the IGF.
In my understanding as an administration, the output of the WSIS were twofolds. The IGF, which we think it was doing its mandate properly until this moment, and we hope that by the successful meeting in Egypt, and we are sure of that, Chairman, because we know our colleagues in Egypt. They have organized many, many events in the past and we have been always delighted to be in Egypt and to follow their preparation and so on. So it's wise now that this issue will be discussed in Egypt.
However, Chairman, we think that there was a role on enhanced cooperation by the member states limited to the state members, because this is affecting their -- especially when we talk about the Internet governance.
So Chairman, we will encourage you to go on the way by calling upon the IGF to prepare a contribution, Chairman, in their final meeting in the fifth round, in Lithuania.
And we hope the timing will allow that this could go to the general-secretariat of the United Nations prior to December when they finalize their meetings in 2010, Chairman.
However, the enhanced cooperation activities, based on decisions taken by certain member states by about 93 member states in WTSA in Johannesburg, South Africa, and then the council of the ITU are debating that issue again. ITU is a partner in the WSIS implementation, UNESCO is a partner. I think all those partners should contribute to the evaluation, Chairman, and propose means and ways how these next, because the objective -- millenium objective is '15, WSIS objective is '15, Chairman, 2015.
Now, with the crisis, I think the IGF is more needed than before.
So let us have this, and we encourage you to go along the way.
The questions we have seen today are not -- I mean, the kick-off questions, maybe the Chairman can finalize this list of questions to be answered or identify those who is supposed to collaborate, either indirectly or directly with the IGF in the evaluation, Chairman.
And we think that the right way, -- and we don't think InfoDev would be the right place, but let them do whatever they like to do. They are involved. But I don't think we could come, especially now with the crisis, Chairman, which affect everything, we should not forget that. And I hope in Sharm El Sheikh, something about this crisis could also be debated by the IGF and its repercussion on the work of the IGF.
And thank you very much, and good luck, too. And I would like to encourage you, Chairman, to put your personal views. You are Secretariat, but you have been doing the job for years, so you should not be afraid of putting the pros and the cons from your point of view, also.
This is normal, Chairman. It does not mean that if you say, "The IGF was good," that people will criticize you. You have your personal feeling and you should reflect that reality.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Other contributions?
Yes, El Salvador.
>>EL SALVADOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
When you began this session and spoke of evaluations and which were the previous questions that needed answering, in order to reply, to be able to answer whether it's worth continuing with the IGF, the question that came to mind was what is the value of the IGF? What's its added value?
What exists today that didn't exist before the IGF?
And of course this question is also captured in the questions that were put to us by Markus Kummer.
Now, the challenge is to create the link between the discussions and the ideas of the IGF and the results from other fora.
That, for me, is the main challenge: How to make the link between the ideas that all those who come to the forum bring to it, and those that came from an idea in the forum.
And it also relates to what was debated yesterday that when a subject has reached maturity and needs to move on to the action stage, how we move on from that. That's part of the same question.
So in order to evaluate the forum, we need to find a way of relating what happens outside the forum with what takes place within it.
A clue could be the identification of players, as the previous speaker said, that whether the evaluation needs to be internal or external, the participants of the forum can make their recommendations to the Secretary-General. But, as the mandate says, it is the evaluation of the Secretary-General.
So once more, we face a responsibility that has been mandated to the Secretary-General. He can decide whether it's internal, external or both. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
And if we, the states, give this responsibility to the Secretary-General, he has the capacity to make that.
That doesn't mean that the participant of the forum can't recommend different methodologies, because each has advantages and disadvantages.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Czech Republic.
>>EUROPEAN UNION: Thank you, Chairman.
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union.
Regarding the future of the IGF, it is not without a reason that the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society asked the U.N. Secretary-General to examine the desirability of the continuation of the forum in formal consultations or consultation with forum participants. Hence, the E.U. believes that the review process should be as inclusive as the IGF itself and give all stakeholders the opportunity to participate.
All actors should be encouraged to contribute their own analysis of the achievements of the IGF and the ways and means to improve its functioning.
The E.U. is confident that the IGF Secretariat would then be able to produce a synthesis and analysis of the inputs received during the review process.
Previous analysis by the IGF Secretariat have demonstrated that it is capable of reporting back none the whole range of views in a balanced way, including those voices that are more critical vis-a-vis the IGF.
While the review is a very important step for the IGF, looking forward to the fourth meeting of the IGF later this year, we underline that the IGF review should not dominate the Sharm El Sheikh meeting to the detriment of substantive issues.
Last but not least, the E.U. would like to express its gratitude to the government of Egypt for hosting this year's IGF meeting. We wish the fourth IGF in Sharm El Sheikh all success.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Ayesha Hassan from ICC and (saying name) Eurolinc.
>>ICC: Thank you, Chairman. Thank you also for having Markus Kummer remind us of some of the questions that had been developed in September.
On behalf of ICC/BASIS and its membership from business and business associations around the world and across sectors, I wanted to provide a few of our initial thoughts and a first contribution about the benefits and opportunities that the IGF provides as a way to help to elaborate those questions as we go forward.
From our perspective, the IGF has initiated substantive discussions on key elements of Internet governance that have fostered the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet. The new session formats used at the IGF in Hyderabad were another step towards building greater human and institutional capacity on these issues, and the policy approaches and choices that impact them.
So as we look forward to building the questions that should be a part of the review process, part of what we should be doing is looking at the objectives of the review process and shaping that process to facilitate a broad range of input from all stakeholders.
The IGF in India also built on the experiences of Rio and Athens, bringing many organizations engaged in Internet-related activities together that dealt with the -- that deal with cross-cutting international public policy issues such as the OECD, ITU, UNESCO, IETF, ICANN, ISOC, and many others.
And it increased awareness about their work programs and activities.
The status of discussions on many issues, and, for instance, it highlighted issues on the horizon for many of these organizations individually.
We believed that the IGF in India once again brought together several intergovernmental organizations and other Internet-related organizations to exchange on issues that they work on through the open forums, workshops, and main sessions.
Business was very pleased with the increased emphasis on the exchange of best practices and the discussions about policy choices and challenges, and how they have been dealt with by different countries and stakeholders. And we believe that the IGF in Egypt can build on this effort and bring a wider range of scientific, academic, and technical communities from the region around the world.
Again, as we look at the questions that would hopefully be raised through the months ahead, we would be pleased to have the questions facilitate input from stakeholders on these kinds of benefits and opportunities and how they think the IGF can be improved.
For instance, the access discussions have been a productive example of bringing experience and options to stakeholders to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world, with a focus on the governance aspects of these issues.
This is part of the mandate of the IGF, and we look to the mandate of the IGF as also being a good source for elaborating the questions that would be useful through this review process.
Another element of the mandate of the IGF, we have seen several examples of individuals and organizations who are involved in other organizations and came to an IGF and are now involved in the IGF, and vice versa. Examples of people who have connected at the IGF or learned about how they can participate in other organizations' work of interest to them who are now participating actively in those activities.
Likewise, we have seen relationships formed between national governments, business, and other stakeholders from countries meeting at the IGF and forging new communication.
This is an important value-add for all, and these examples come from both developing as well as developed countries.
In the emerging issues session, we see another element of the IGF mandate fulfilled, which have been excellent opportunities to highlight the policy issues and challenges on the horizon. These sessions have been complemented by issues raised in workshops and main sessions and other dialogues on several topics.
And then in 2008, we saw the launch of several new national and regional Internet governance related initiatives and IGF awareness-raising events. We have applauded these initiatives and believe that they will serve to strengthen the involvement of local sources of knowledge and expertise in Internet governance issues at national, regional, and international level. This is hands-on capacity building or development, as my colleague from Diplo has underscored, and an excellent way of bringing developing countries' interests into the global discussion.
We believe that more efforts to support the participation of local experts at the national, regional and international level should be a topic of further discussion, and this would ensure that this trend can continue on a positive and productive track.
We also saw that at the IGF in India, we built on the discussions on critical Internet resources which had begun in Rio and several workshops and forums also contributed to the exchange on these issues.
This year, there were important discussions on key security and privacy issues, and raised awareness about what many organizations are doing on these matters.
The issues of use and abuse of the Internet and concerns of everyday users will continue to be matters that the IGF can play a real role in facilitating exchange of information, best practices, challenges, policy options, and emerging issues in this area.
We look to another element of the IGF's mandate, and we see that the real-time transcripts of the sessions, the chairman's report along with substantive inputs and synthesis papers, have been excellent substantive records of the discussions and proceedings.
By going through these elements, I hope I have contributed on behalf of ICC/BASIS some of the areas where we see the questions can be elaborated as we move this review process forward.
The review process itself and we'll provide those as we go through the discussion this morning.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Ian Peter -- oh, Ginger.
>>REMOTE PARTICIPATION GROUP:
>>IGC: Thank you very much. I am speaking on behalf of the Internet Governance Caucus. I would like to read a consensus statement on the list, and then later today, Ian will give more input and reaction to the discussion.
The Internet Governance Caucus submits that as mentioned in the Tunis Agenda the process of review should be centered on consultations with forum IGF participants. These consultations should be both formal and informal, but it will also be necessary to go beyond IGF participants to reach out to other interested stakeholders who, for different reasons, may not attend the IGF meetings.
The process of consultations should especially keep in mind constituencies that have lesser participation in IG issues at present, such as constituencies in developing countries, including those of civil society.
Other interested groups with lower participation in IG issues, like women, ethnic minorities and disability groups, should also be specifically approached.
The IGC believes that a structured analysis of the performance of the IGF, accompanied by a suitable methodology for consultation, analysis, and stakeholder input is important to the credibility and the usefulness of the IGF review.
We suggest that either the MAG or a specially appointed representative multistakeholder group be tasked with overseeing the process and making recommendations based on this analysis.
In order to demonstrate that the analysis is both objective and transparent, it should be conducted by a body or bodies that are independent from the IGF and its active stakeholders, including the United Nations.
The process should be open and transparent.
It is not advisable to rely solely on a pro bono evaluation by any agency that offers it. The selected experts should have adequate expertise in the matter of global public policy and policy institution.
In view of the geopolitical significance of IG, it may be useful to have a reputed public-policy institution in the global south do the evaluation partnership with one such institution from the north.
There should be adequate balancing of perspectives, including global north-south perspectives, and partnerships are a good way to ensure it.
Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Thank you. Eurolinc?
>>EUROLINC: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I won't be as exhaustive as the other speakers who have preceded me but I would like to talk about an essential point.
I was struck by what was said yesterday with regards the progress made by IGF since its creation. At the same time it seems to me that there is a fundamental element that is missing, and this is -- it is with regard to this that the analysis should be made.
So we can see quite clearly the maturity and the progress, and we can see clearly that certain governments, either on an individual basis or on a regional basis can see the merits of IGF. But I don't think that the response that's expected from us is that we should continue as we are or we just stop. I think that what is essential and vital is to replace the IGF's activity within the defined context that was defined by the Tunis Agenda.
What must be done to formulate our proposals is to reread carefully Article 68, 69, and 70. We must give the IGF all its capacity to prepare public policy on an international level that states must make decisions on.
The Internet is doubtless the most globalized phenomenon of our current era, and the agreement between the government -- between governments requires a different type of agreement. We need to evaluate the functioning of the IGF within this part of its mandate, which is to contribute to make governments better placed to prepare international public policy that meets the concerns that we feel are very important on security of the Internet, on usage of the Internet, et cetera.
It seems to me that this is the main direction we need to take, so that the IGF is seen within the general mandate of the Tunis Agenda, and that we need to look at once more. Thank you.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Thank you. George Papadatos and then Martin Boyle.
>>GEORGE PAPADATOS: Thank you, chair. I want to point out what I considered a gray area in this evaluation process, in particular with the procedure in the U.N., and let me be a little more specific.
It seems to me that there are two scenarios. The one is, we decide to go on with the status quo and recommendation is very simple, we continue the IGF in its present form or in your words, we decide to tweak the IGF and we have heard a wealth of information as to how it can be done. Salvador and others, there are plenty of ideas around.
So probably all these small changes should be reflected in the report.
Now, the report will go to the science and technology committee, it will go to ECOSOC with those recommendations. Somewhere along the line, there's going to be -- somebody's going to come up with a decision. The decision will end up in the General Assembly. And say it is passed by consensus.
Well, how will the Secretary-General decide, then, if the General Assembly has already decided? So what's the role of the Secretary-General in this? I see a little bit of a difference here. Either the General Assembly decides and the Secretary-General has to implement a resolution, or the Secretary-General decides in accordance? This is an area where I would like -- I don't know whether Markus can specify that, because I think it is -- it is important to know who is making, ultimately, the decision. Thank you.
>>CHAIR DESAI: I think it is important that this be clarified. Markus, if you could.
>>SECRETARY KUMMER: Yes. And my apologies. Maybe I wasn't -- should have developed that a little bit more in my introduction.
The mandate asks the Secretary-General to consult and on the basis of these consultations make recommendations to member states.
So the mandate is clear on who does what. The Secretary-General consults, and based on this, makes recommendations and these recommendations will be part of the 2010 report of the Secretary-General on WSIS follow-up.
Now, in theory, the Secretary-General could make recommendations, could also present options for the continuation to member states. But my feeling is that this might not be particularly helpful.
I think one clear recommendation might be easier to deal with by member states. But these recommendations will be published as part of the report of the Secretary-General, which is usually published, I think, in March or April as an input into the deliberations of the committee on science and technology for development. The meeting of the CSTD will be in May 2011, in May next year, and it will be -- the CSTD that will prepare the decision by member states. The report of the CSTD, with the resolution passed by the CSTD, will then go on to ECOSOC. ECOSOC will revisit this and ECOSOC will then pass it on to the General Assembly, and the General Assembly will decide based on the recommendations put forward by the various bodies. But the final decision is with the GA at its session in 2011, and then the decision -- as the decisions were in WSIS -- needs to be analyzed what they actually mean in practical terms. And as you rightly pointed out, they will need to be implemented again by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
What does it mean in organizational terms, in terms of support of the process and whatever.
Also, the budget. The General Assembly in its wisdom may decide it's part of the regular budget to the IGF process -- which I doubt, especially in the present financial climate -- so it may be decided to continue as before on a voluntary basis or the General Assembly may decide to scrap it, and that's, in a sense, the easiest decision to implement, then there will be no new meeting.
But the process, as such, is fairly clear in terms of who does what up to December 2011, and then we have to see what comes out of the GA decision.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Can you just clarify. December 20 -- December 2010.
>>SECRETARY KUMMER: Sorry. I'm getting confused now myself.
>>CHAIR DESAI: We are in 2009 now.
>>SECRETARY KUMMER: We're in 2009, so it's 2010, yes.
>>CHAIR DESAI: 2010. So it's in December 2010.
>>SECRETARY KUMMER: It's December 2010.
>>CHAIR DESAI: We have to take a decision before the five years.
>>SECRETARY KUMMER: Exactly. And then what will happen in 2011 is either there is a new meeting of the next cycle or we wind down the process in 2011. But the decision is 2010.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Yeah. So our time line is, from Sharm El Sheikh we go and essentially by March of next year, that's a year from now, the Secretary-General has to place his recommendations before the member states. Roughly a year from now. A little more than a year. About 14 months from now. He has to place his recommendations before the member states. Martin?
>>MARTIN BOYLE: Thank you, Chairman. I think we need to start by understanding and recognizing that the Internet Governance Forum is an incredibly complex program, and that that is not actually a very surprising thing. That we have never before had such global medium enabling so much and impacting the lives of our citizens so fundamentally as we do with the Internet.
So in looking to the review, we need to keep this challenge highly visible in our terms of reference.
I personally would welcome an external evaluation that looked at how the IGF has gone, in moving us from compartmentalized dialogue to building understanding and informed dialogue on issues of serious concern to citizens.
I think that there is a good story to tell, but whether it is an internal or an external evaluation, we need to do a good job, to show independence and honesty but also to show how we have responded to the challenge of WSIS. And I will repeat my reference to ISOC's comment yesterday about the importance of identifying outputs from the IGF as being a good basis for any evaluation.
That said, our evaluation also needs to be realistic. While it would be good to show how the IGF had transformed the world into utopia, solved the issues that have never been resolved in physical space, we do need to have this element of realism.
Secondly, while the great thing about the IGF is the opportunity for exchange, the measure of success is in being able to talk to people you haven't been talking to before and whether this new exchange brought new ideas. And we need to know how to measure this particular aspect of the IGF's work.
Thirdly, we need to understand, in spite of the opportunity that's been there, if and why people have stayed outside. Was it simply to prove that WSIS was wrong? Was it just that they did not believe what could be done? Or was it that we failed, as the engaged stakeholders, to engage with them?
So let us ask those who took part whether they learned something, engaged with someone who could help make a difference. Let us ask those who were not in the room why, after the commitment to the World Summit, they didn't engage. And let's learn from the answers, all of us, who we might make the future IGFs even more successful in helping to contribute to the benefits that we can draw from the Internet for the development of the world. Thank you, Chairman.
>>CHAIR DESAI: [Speaker is off microphone].
>>ANDREA SAKS: Thank you very much. I don't think your mic works very well just to let you.
>>CHAIR DESAI: I'm just not switching it on.
>>ANDREA SAKS: Oh, you are being naughty.
Anyway, just for those of you who didn't hear that, I am the coordinator of the dynamic coalition on accessibility and disability, and I've been listening. I was pleased to hear one speaker actually mention disability, and I would like to elaborate on that and a couple of other issues that come to mind. And one of them is deliverables.
The dynamic coalition on accessibility and disability actually did the first deliverable. It's tangible. It is a declaration on accessibility and disability for the IGF, and I want to elaborate on what the other gentleman has just said about other people participating. And in this declaration that we did -- and I think deliverables are the only way that the IGF is really going to be able to produce an actual outcome in the sense of what we want to do with the Internet and what -- how we want to advise member states.
I'm only going to highlight a couple of these things because I don't see it on the Web in IGF. It's on the Web in the ITU. But I think this -- all these things I'm going to mention do, in fact, apply across the board to just about everything, from multilingualism to people in developing countries, accessibility can be interpreted that way as well as for people or persons with disabilities.
We have the United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities so we're working directly with that. We have that -- noted that the WSIS declaration of principles for building the Information Society recognizes persons with disabilities. Those are the first two items of this declaration, the first deliverable that has come into the IGF and we're proud of that.
I want to go back to three other points which are having other people participate who don't manage to get to the meetings.
Remote participation is extremely important and can be designed within the IGF structure to include captioning and Webcasting and I'm always happy when I come to the IGF meetings because they're captioned. But the Webcasts can be reproduced with captioning for later digestion for other individuals, and should be posted, because this is valuable information of what happened, not just written reports but actual visual information for people who actually can engage and see what actually happened.
That needs to be done.
We also want -- welcome the opportunity to become the experts and we're having -- we're getting more members all the time about how people with persons with disabilities participate in the actual meetings. We did do a report on the problems that we had in Rio. There will be a further report on what were the successes and what were the failings in the meeting in India and there was a lot of improvement, I'll have to say. And we also wanted to propose, in our declaration -- and I'm going to bring this up now, because I think the MAG has to decide. We wanted to have the MAG appoint a representative from the dynamic coalition on accessibility and disability to be able to attend the meetings and advise on this particular capacity of accessibility and disability and participation of those people who either can or cannot attend. We do urge the Secretariat to work with the host countries, and we would like to work with the host countries in making all meetings be totally accessible, but then I go back to the main thing, the deliverables.
All this valuable information, what will happen to it? It's important that it's recorded. It's important that it's accessible to all of us for future consultations. And also as a learning process. So in a sense, we're all disabled if we don't have access to this valuable information because many, many of the different workshops had people dealing with the rights of disabled people, with people with different disability issues, not just the dynamic coalition, and not just the ITU.
I really feel that we need to do more deliverables and that the dynamic coalitions need to produce some kind of information that actually can be reproduced and distributed. That's all I have to say on that with the emphasis on, of course, accessibility and disability. Thank you for your time.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Thank you. And I'm sure, you know, Egypt will be very much -- very interested in talking to you about accessibility issues and they're sitting right behind you and I would strongly encourage you to talk to them and make sure that there is full accessibility for people who are otherwise abled at Sharm El Sheikh.
I have ETNO, then Mr. Muguet from ENSTA, then Syria, and then ICC.
>>ETNO: Thank you, Chair, and good morning to all. I speak on behalf of ETNO, and we would like to make the following comments and we would like to start by saying that we recognize that the IG has, will, and must continue to promote the dialogue on Internet Governance as well as the understanding of all the complex issues behind. We believe that the success of the IGF relies on the multistakeholder on an equal footing approach and on the non-decisive nature of the IGF which must be maintained.
The three IGFs so far have provided an open and inclusive space for true multistakeholder policy dialogue. This new approach is both an experiment for U.N. and a unique experience for participants where we all come together to discuss and promote a variety of important policy issues, certainly something you don't see often, worth extending to or inspiring other organizations or bodies. Coming now to the more specific comments that you asked us on the IGF review process, we would like to put forward the following:
Paragraph 76 of the Tunis Agenda clearly speaks about the desirability of the continuation of the forum and the U.N. Secretary-General must examine this aspect in formal consultation with forum participants so he can make recommendations to the U.N. membership in this regard. I think this is clear. Besides the formal consultation, Paragraph 76 does not specify how the review process will take place, so it is open whether this should be done in the form of internal evaluation only, external only, or both.
Let's remain to this, because the rest of the process is rather complicated. And by the way, ETNO agrees with the timetable presented by the IGF Secretariat last year, and we see the formal consultation ending with a specific session on the last day of the Sharm El Sheikh meeting devoted to the review.
That session can lead us to informed conclusions, not to be confused with decisions. But before that session, we have a long way to go, and we need evaluation to help us confirm what we have in mind. Coming back to the desirability issue, it is the stakeholders that will express a preference whether or not IGF is to continue. Any evaluation itself should not be considered as "the" decisive factor but another tool available to help us identify or recognize what we have covered thus far and what we have achieved, what we can do for the remaining period of the IGF, and what is expected until 2010, what were the positive elements of the IGF and what needs to be improved, so we can establish a common ground before we take any action.
ETNO is of the opinion that the combination of internal and external evaluation under certain conditions could be the way forward, and to be more specific, as regards internal evaluation, we envision it starting by a call by the IGF Secretariat for written contributions soon after this consultation.
These contributions can be free -- meaning anyone can write whatever he or she thinks about the review of the IGF -- or replying to a structured questionnaire that the MAG will prepare and the IGF Secretariat will publish, or a combination of free and structured questionnaire.
A synthesis paper can then be prepared for the September open consultation. In all cases, self-evaluation contributions should be able to be submitted until one month before the fourth IGF.
During the May and September open consultations, interviews can take place based on a structured questionnaire which has simple questions, easy to be processed. If interviews for various reasons -- mainly economic -- cannot take place, participants may be asked to fill in the questionnaire in writing and the IGF Secretariat can collect it.
The replies can then be processed by the IGF Secretariat, and the preliminary results can be presented in the September consultation while the final ones in Egypt, possibly taking into account some replies from participants there.
All replies should have a minimum set of required answers, such as name of the respondent, affiliation of the respondent, information about participation in the IGF, et cetera, to qualify correctly the representativeness of inputs. Obviously these personal details must be treated in the proper manner, respecting data privacy requirements. Interviews can be carried by an external evaluation, should there be one. In any case, it would be important that when any assessment is reviewed, due weighting must be given to the volume of responses received from each stakeholder group in order to ensure no single group dominates the process.
As regards external evaluation, ETNO believes it may be needed as self-evaluation may not be enough. Many stakeholders do not participate in the IGF or participate periodically because they do not want to or because they want but they can't. External evaluation could improve or correct representativeness issues and cover the gap for those who did not participate in all IGFs and can see things with a fresh eye without prejudice or bias.
But before we conclude that we need external evaluation, we need to agree on the working methods of the external evaluator. That means how the external evaluation is going to approach the work. And most importantly, the resources needed.
If evaluation requires significant money, even if there is an offer to cover that money, we need to take into account the principle of proportionality. Additionally, any offer, even if it is completely free, should not be accepted if we haven't agreed about the expected benefits, the objectives, as well as the working methods, and if the external evaluation is not in a position to be neutral.
For these reasons, relevant information must become publicly available before the second open consultation in May. Then we can decide whether there will be an external evaluator, and if yes, the external evaluator must be able to start the work immediately, so the preliminary results can be presented in the September consultation and the final results before the Sharm El Sheikh meeting.
By all means, whichever way we decide to go regarding evaluation, great attention must be given that proper balance of stakeholders is considered. Also, that there's proper balance of organizations versus individuals and proper balance of old versus new participants.
Thank you, chair.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Thank you.
>>FRANCIS MUGUET: Yes. I am the IGF focal point of the linguistic diversity dynamic coalition and chair, co-chair, webmasters of various WSIS working groups that are still active to various extents. I'm speaking in my personal capacity.
I'm going to be brutally honest in my assessment and then propose a pragmatic solution.
While being supported by the majority of its participants, the IGF process is nevertheless in a difficult position, because its usefulness is criticized from two parties. From one side, there are stakeholders that are more in favor of an intergovernmental process because they feel that there is a lack of output, in particular in terms of recommendations. On the other side, there are stakeholders who perceive the IGF as an annoyance that could best be avoided and would be glad to revert to the old ways before the WSIS. Both sides could, from outside the IGF process, at the CSTD level, at the ECOSOC level, impose an external review.
Now, let's go to -- let's see the Article 76 of the Tunis Agenda. There is a need of formal consultation with forum participants. I agree with Markus Kummer that normally all review processes are performed by people that are not stakeholders directly involved in the activity under review. Even an internal review means usually a review by people in the same organization with no outsiders, but not by the very people involved in the activity. Whatever the type of review, it is unavoidable that the extent to which each point of the mandate is going to be precisely assessed. It is clear also that the review report is going to be the basis of the recommendations of the U.N. Secretary-General which is going to be sent, along with the review report, to the U.N. General Assembly, which is going to have the final say.
Let us examine briefly the Tunis Agenda and assess the progress that has been made.
Many points have been fulfilled, but concerning 78, Article 78, "Establish an effective, cost-effective bureau to support the IGF," but not fulfilled, no bureau has been established.
Concerning the IGF mandate, "Advise all stakeholders in proposing ways and means to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world," in fact, this point has not been fulfilled because there is no advisory document in the name of IGF or from the IGF on this topic.
"Identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendations." This point has not been fulfilled.
"Promote and assess on an ongoing basis the embodiment of WSIS principles in Internet Governance processes." It has not been fulfilled also. There has been no assessment of this. Publishing its proceeding could be partially fulfilled but there is no transcript proceedings in the scientific sense.
Personally, I see the unfulfillment of this article of the mandate is linked to the lack of the establishment of a bureau. Since there is no bureau, no rules of procedure can be determined so that documents, statements, recommendations can be produced in the name of the IGF.
It appeared for me for a long time as a stalemate without solution. But at the end of the Hyderabad meeting, I envisioned a way that could offer a pragmatic compromise with the help of the dynamic coalitions, a completely unexpected concept that arise during the IGF, and I'm developing further this idea now.
Concerning articles -- the article "Identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public," it could be considered that the creation of the dynamic coalition on some issue pertains to the task of identifying emerging issues. "Emerging," that means that emerge from the debate to be differentiated from emergent issues meaning new novel topics.
By facilitating the creation of dynamic coalitions recognized by the Secretariat and listed on the IGF Web site, it can be said the IGF has fulfilled its mandate in identifying emerging issues. The dynamic coalitions are effectively bringing the issues to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, so this could work.
Now, "and, where appropriate, make recommendations." Following this line of reasoning, it is the dynamic coalitions that are making recommendations. The set of dynamic coalition recommendations may be regrouped in one document entitled "Recommendation at the IGF."
The "at" is put in bold instead of "of" to make it clear that it is the recommendations made by the IGF entities that have been recognized by the IGF as dealing with emerging issues. The recommendation "at" the IGF does not have to be in agreement with one another depending on each dynamic coalition approach.
In addition, the MAG could have a session dedicated to the agreement of dynamic coalitions and this session can be called "Bureau Session" since in some sense they are dealing with procedural issues that may lead to recommendation at the IGF.
Now, "advise all stakeholders in proposing ways and means to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world." It may be fulfilled in the same way, by asking dynamic coalitions to produce an advisory document on this topic, and similarly, the set of advices of each dynamic coalition could be regrouped in a document called "Advices at the IGF Concerning Ways and Means to Accelerate the Availability and Affordability of the Internet in the Developing World." And similarly, to promote and assess on an ongoing basis the embodiment of the WSIS principles may be fulfilled by asking dynamic coalition to produce promotion assessment document for this topic.
And similarly, the set of documents of each dynamic coalition could be regrouped in one general document called "Assessment at the IGF Concerning the Embodiment of WSIS Principles in Internet Governance Process."
In this way, the IGF could be considered as having fulfilled its entire mandate.
The IGF process has not lived up to the expectations of many, but not also to the fears of many. Its role is crucial and the IGF must be continued.
Now considering the consultations process, since the dynamic coalition are playing a formal role in the IGF, then it is normal that the formal consultation with forum participants could be conducted possibly partially through the dynamic coalitions. In this way, we have a legal and political coherence both for the implementation of the mandate and the consultations. Thank you.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Syria? And then ICC, and after that, I have Ian Peter from the Governance Caucus, then Heather Creech of IISD.
>>SYRIA: I have forgotten -- I am so sorry, I have forgotten that I could speak in Arabic. I apologize once again.
And after the explanations that were provided by the Ambassador in regards to the programs, in regards to the programs, we need to agree at the time of the Sharm El Sheikh meeting on the procedure of the evaluation.
We need to agree on the procedure of the evaluation of the fourth meeting, and I am not about to ask that the whole tone of the fourth meeting would be affected by the process of evaluation, but we need to set the right tone for the fourth meeting to the participants. So the participants could give their ample opinions. And we should underscore that this is the last meeting before the May of next year, because the report should be produced.
And the report should be submitted to the U.N. Secretary-General, after the fourth meeting.
We are talking about the U.N. Secretary-General. We're talking about the report being submitted to the General Assembly.
And it puts certain obligations on us. We need to set the right tone. We need to set the right tone at the fourth meeting at Sharm El Sheikh.
This is such an important topic.
This forum should do its self-evaluation. All the external evaluation should be welcome as well. But we should undertake internal evaluation.
The forum should do the necessary -- should undertake the necessary steps so that the evaluation report would be submitted to the Secretary-General.
I would like to thank our friends from Egypt who have convened an Arabic meeting before the conduct of a meeting in Sharm El Sheikh so that we could come to an agreement on the united Arabic front.
And we're talking about the meeting after the first phase in Geneva, before the second phase in Sharm El Sheikh.
This is a regional meeting that has set the tone and has done the preparations.
We would like to thank the Egyptian administration and the Ministry of Communications of Egypt which will enable an Arabic group to convene their regional meeting, and we could present our united Arabic opinion at such an Arabic regional meeting.
We do sincerely hope -- We do not have the right to make any decisions, but we would like to encourage the regional group, whether it's an Asian based or an African group or another Arabic group or another regional group, to present their regional group. We're talking about the regional groups that should be able to provide their opinion on such an important subject.
And I thank everyone for their attention. I apologize that I have taken the floor twice.
Thank you so much for your kind attention.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Ambassador, this is not -- Please take the floor as often as you need. The intention is to try to get people's views properly. So nobody should feel constrained in participating at all.
So I really welcome your suggestions, and I think your reference to the regional meetings is very important.
I have IAN Peter from the IGC is going to talk about the common foot fingerprint, and then Heather Creech from IISD, and then George Papadatos then Honduras -- sorry, sorry. Before IGC, I had ICC, then Ian Peter of IGC, and then Heather Creech.
>>ICC/BASIS: Thank you, Mr. Chair, for ICC/BASIS to come back to the microphone. I would like to build on the comments of my colleague, Ms. Hassan but speak specifically to the IGF review process.
We had extensive discussions within the ICC/BASIS on the consultation and review process, specifically regarding the desirability of the continuation of the IGF.
We believe that the combination of the open consultation process, that of today, that of the meetings in May and September, as well as a call for public contributions, and a dedicated session on the topic -- on this topic in Egypt will offer a comprehensive and very inclusive way to solicit the input from all stakeholders on this question, both of the IGF's progress and for areas of improvement.
As Mr. Kisrawi noted in his earlier intervention, we also believe the most comprehensive and useful approach will be done by those with the direct knowledge of the IGF process. Both those with history, with WSIS history, but also those who are new to the process. So a combination.
We also agree with comments that efforts should be made to solicit input from all stakeholders, to ensure that the contributions are from a broad range. And those inputs can be in writing or in person.
With respect to the dedicated session in Egypt, we believe that there should be a three-hour session devoted to this topic where there is no overlap or conflict with other activities, whether they be workshops or other sessions. This will again allow for the type of dedicated approach that we think is necessary to encourage the full range of participants to contribute.
But we also don't think it needs to be or should be limited to those in the room. I think there were comments made on that respect earlier.
There should be methods to ensure remote participation, online participation, and as previously noted, the public consultations, those contributions should be brought to that meeting.
We can explore other methods to ensure that the full range of stakeholders have a means to contribute to this process.
We also think one aspect of the review that will take place throughout this year could ask questions about how the participants learned about the IGF and the opportunity to participate.
Perhaps that would shed some insight and light on how we might improve outreach and visibility of the IGF, which I think addresses some of the comments raised about why aren't some people participating.
And with that, I thank you, Mr. Chair.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Ian Peter.
>>IAN PETER: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I wonder if it will help this discussion forward if we could make a distinction between two words, one is "analysis" and another is "evaluation." And these are both aspects of what might happen in a review.
And I've heard a lot of talk about whether the evaluation should be internal or external, but we haven't talked much about analysis.
I understand the fears of an external evaluation. And I should have mentioned at the beginning, I am speaking in a personal capacity here.
I understand the fears of an external evaluation, that somebody will tell us what to do and we haven't gone through a good multistakeholder, if you like, review or an internal evaluation.
So I'm actually in favor of an internal evaluation.
However, for that to be credible, I believe it has to be informed. And I think it needs to be informed by some structured analysis.
Let me give some examples of the sort of analysis that I think would be useful.
I'm not sure how much we know about the demographics of people who attend these meetings, the annual meetings. For instance, amongst government people, I know we have some elected representatives, I know we have some foreign affairs specialists. I have met cybercrime investigators and I have met telecommunications regulators. Vastly different areas of government.
Is the feeling of satisfaction with IGF different in some groups to others? Are some groups getting something out of it? Do the elected representatives think it's fabulous and the cybercrime people think not very good?
We don't know, and I'd really like to see that sort of analysis.
Again, let's get some analysis of the private sector, who is attending from the private sector. I see a lot of I.T. companies. Is the manufacturing sector here? Is the financial sector here?
These sort of questions I think we have very little information of.
And again, within civil society, what sort of groups are coming and what sort of groups are not.
And this sort of structured analysis I think will help us to what I believe is the big question going forward, which is not will the IGF continue but the how will the IGF continue. And that, I think, needs some structured information.
Again, in the area of public policy, it would be -- if we look wider at the mandate, there seems to be two clear areas of interest. One is around public policy and another around capacity building. The people who come here interested in capacity building, is their feeling of satisfaction different than the people who are interested in public policy.
These sort of questions I think would help us a lot.
In terms of the major issues that we look at, in open Internet, diversity, access and so on. Is there different sort of feelings around -- feelings of satisfaction around dealing with these issues amongst the constituency?
So for all of these reasons, I don't think the capability to get that sort of information exists within internally within the Secretariat, and it does require some specific expertise, and I believe a specific methodology.
So I would definitely suggest an external analysis with the external analysis reporting in some way either to MAG or to a multistakeholder group within IGF, whichever would be the most important.
Another reason I think you should go down this track is certainly I think the credibility of any advice coming from the Secretariat towards the Secretary-General as to what should happen should be based on solid fact rather than just the opinions of the people who love coming to the meetings.
So I would certainly suggest that a structured analysis, conducted externally, accompanied by an internal evaluation of the results would give the sort of result.
And I'd just raise that for consideration by all parties, because I think if we start to separate the terms "analysis" and "evaluation" in our thinking, we might find that we are actually very close to being on the same page.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Neuro and psycho-analytic theory, analysis is never thought of as either internal or external.
The analysis which is to be successful in the end is always internal, but, but what concept they have, it's an interesting one, is the self stepping outside the self.
The self observing itself but outside itself.
Think of it that way.
And the role. External agent is to help the self step outside the self.
And in that sense -- Sorry to confuse the issue, but the distinction between -- what you should probably avoid is transference, which is you transfer all your resentments to the external evaluator who is trying to get this done.
So let me move on.
Heather Creech of IISD and then George Papadatos, then Honduras, and then France.
>>IISD: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Within the U.N. system, there is a U.N. evaluation group, and members of that group have worked for many years now with the OECD Development Assistance Committee evaluation group to set some general guidelines for assessment of many kinds of development-related activities.
These criteria are well established and familiar to all of us, I'm sure. Relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, outcomes and sustainability.
I mention this because there may be some expectation within the U.N. that an assessment of the IGF would follow similar guidelines and standards.
I am mindful of APC's comments yesterday that experienced policy professionals found the IGF process in Hyderabad difficult to enter into.
We want to make sure the evaluation of the IGF is as clear to as wide an audience as possible.
Using frameworks and language that well established is an important step in the transparency of the IGF outside of the IGF.
Whether the review is conducted by an external evaluation team or not, I would encourage the seeking of external help to design the assessment framework.
If an external team is chosen after the design period, after the design is done, then we should retain real involvement with and oversight of the evaluation process. I think one of the challenges when you go with an external group is that you lose control of the team.
And so in part, doing an external evaluation still requires real interaction with the evaluation team.
The key in all of this, of course, is what are the indicators of performance and achievement. I have seen and heard a lot of open-ended questions put on the table, but what are the indicators that we have achieved what we thought we were going to achieve.
And there are three simple questions I would like to put on the table as part of that.
What would we have expected to see by this point in time in the maturation of the IGF?
What would we like to have seen and what would have exceeded our expectations?
>>CHAIR DESAI: Thank you.
>>GEORGE PAPADATOS: Thank you, Chair.
Just about every idea, proposal or recommendation regarding evaluation and the future of IGF ends up with the phrase, well, the IGF Secretariat should do that or the other. And I would like to point out an area that nobody has spoken about, and that is the budget.
I cannot see how the IGF Secretariat can work with a budget that's not predictable. I know that Markus does not complain, but he runs a very lean machine that should be the envy of other departments in the U.N.
But on the other hand, we have to look at this in the MAG as to -- because we do have a low paradox. There have been three governments that put huge lump sums of money to organize three four-day meetings for the IGF. Yet there has been very little forthcoming contributions to support the Secretariat. And it seems to me that if it is -- if the future IGF is to accomplish more, there's definitely demands on the Secretariat. Regarding papers, regarding organizing meetings and all that.
And at one point I think that we should have a discussion of -- or probably a donor's meeting, an open one to see where we are and what will be needed. I think this is definitely an element that should go into our calculus for the future of IGF.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Honduras, and then France.
>>HONDURAS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My delegation would like to repeat what we already said yesterday. I think it was summed up yesterday. But I would like to highlight it more specifically.
I think that to improve the participation by all, Honduras, as the regional coordinator of GRULAC, believes that the forum Secretariat should send out the convocations to permanent missions here in Geneva with good anticipation for forthcoming meetings.
As we can see that there are few governmental representatives here at this meeting. And let me please say that this regional coordination sent a circular to all the permanent missions of GRULAC here in Geneva informing them about this meeting.
If we hadn't done that, many of them wouldn't even have been aware that this meeting was taking place.
So we call on the Secretariat to take note of this request, and in this way there would be a ambulance and equal participation. And it would help with participation and the consultation process.
I would also like to put on the table the importance of receiving the documents, and documents wherever possible in the United Nations working languages.
And I'd like to highlight whether we could have documents in Spanish before the meetings that will take place in Egypt.
I think this is something that's very important, to have a wider openness and rich discussions at those meetings.
>>CHAIR DESAI: France.
After that, I have China and AT&T.
>>FRANCE: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Actually, I agree with the comment you made. We should probably not oppose so much external and internal, because I don't think it has ever been envisaged to do something that is so external that we would completely outsource the responsibility of doing an evaluation to a single, completely nonconnected entity that would basically disempower the participants.
At the same time, we have never envisaged, I think, something that would be so internal that only the Secretariat or even the Secretariat plus the MAG would be doing the review on behalf of everybody else.
So it is not so much a discussion of whether it is external or internal. As Syria so very rightly said, nobody better than the participants themselves can give their feedback on whether they would like the things to continue.
And at the same time, as we said in the European Union statement, it is important that the process is inclusive and allows all stakeholders willing to contribute to give their thoughts on how it can be improved and how it should move forward.
And so I would support the initials comments that Markus was making. And particularly, the current list of questions that he was making is a very interesting guide for stimulating thoughts.
It could be a sort of common basis for all the different participants to provide contributions in written form and guide our discussions in May without preventing, of course, any actor from making open-ended comments outside of whatever list is circulated.
But the interesting point is that -- and I think, once again, our Syrian colleague was alluding to that -- from this role material, all the contributions that will be produced, any entity, any organization outside of the give, per se, participating or nonparticipating, favorable or nonfavorable, could make its own analysis and say, "We heard this." "We heard that." "We believe this should be emphasized," and send their own synthesis and contributions.
So I think the point we have to probably steer away from is the notion of a single external evaluation that would be commissioned. I think this is bringing more problems than anything.
But the fact that a lot of actors could even launch endeavors to provide their own analysis on one angle or the other, just like Ian was saying, maybe there will be a group of academics that will devote themselves to a statistical analysis of participation. There will be others that will devote their attention to reaching out to special constituencies and saying do you accept, did you participate, what are your problems?
And it is this nexus of contributions that will bring the most value, rather than one single thing.
And in this context, I would make a link that might be useful, which is to think about leveraging the national and regional IGF meetings that are going to take place one way or the other this year, to discuss this question and to provide some input as well in the perspective of both the May and September meetings and the Sharm El Sheikh meeting.
So all of this is very much in line with what you were mentioning in terms of this self-awareness and self-evaluation. I like the image, and it's a very telling perspective.
>>CHAIR DESAI: I have China.
>>CHINA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Today, we are talking about the IGF and its future. We're talking about the destiny, the fate of our forum. And I think this is a very important subject.
The Chinese delegation has listened with a great deal of attention to the opinions of the various delegations. Currently, with regards to this subject, we would like to express our opinion.
Firstly, how are we going to examine the future of the IGF?
According to Article 72 of the Tunis Agenda, Article 76 of the Tunis Agenda, the review work is the task of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
In addition, we would need to have official consultations with the participants of the IGF. This is work carried out by the Secretary-General of the United Nations with the participation -- with the participants of the forum in order to arrive at recommendations for the member states of the United Nations.
Currently, in accordance with this article, how are we going to proceed with this work? Is it going to be mainly an external or an internal review?
I think that this will also be a decision for the Secretary-General.
Currently, I ask myself if the Secretary-General has given the mandate to the IGF to carry out this work.
If the answer is negative, then this work belongs to the Secretary-General and not to the Secretariat of the IGF.
Of course, the IGF meetings can provide our opinions on this subject. The other organizations, including the ITU, InfoDev, can also give their own opinions on this subject.
That's why I would like to insist on this point. This work comes from the work of the Secretary-General, and in addition, the decision to continue with the IGF work or not also depends on the decision of the Secretary-General.
Secondly, even if currently the Secretary-General hasn't mandated the IGF Secretary-General to carry out this work, what we could do now is that the IGF meetings could contribute to this process. That is to say, during the IGF meetings, we could discuss among ourselves whether we should continue with the IGF work. So Mr. Dashon [phonetic spelling] also spoke about internal consultation with regards to this matter. I would like to give, first of all, the opinions of the Chinese delegation.
In accordance with Article 72 of the Tunis Agenda, the IGF has 12 responsibilities or functions, of which the most important is the management of public policy with regards to the Internet and, in particular, the management of Internet resources. So why, in 2005, did we take the decision to continue with discussions and not to take -- make a decision? That is because at the time, during the 2005 meetings, the various parties did not share the same opinion on the important issues. That is why we decided to take five years to allow various parties to discuss in depth all types of subjects in order to have in-depth exchanges.
So why did we decide on five years? This is because the process of an exchange of opinions cannot be endless. It is an outcome of a compromise of the various parties with regards to the 2006 Tunis Agenda.
We think that currently, the exchanges are very important. During this process, we can discover problems. Since last year's meeting with regards to the management of IGF resources, we were able to see that the problem of the DPA was very important. So as we see that the IGF doesn't have the right to make the decision, it cannot decide on this vital subject.
Currently, we can see quite clearly that the IGF is now four years old. Despite this, the unilateral control of key Internet resources continues to exist. The Internet, as a public resource for the entire world, is nevertheless controlled within the hands of the government of just one country. The IGF has already had debates on this subject, but we need action to advance within this area to move on to the next stage. Since W6, the opinion of the Chinese government has not changed. Interpreter apologizes. It's WSIS. That means the mechanism for the IGF dialogue cannot continue in the same way. So we are calling -- we are launching an appeal. The Secretary-General of the United Nations must, five years on from the creation of the IGF, reflect on an intergovernmental negotiation process with regards to the management of key Internet resources.
We think that only in this way will we be able to promote a multilateral, democratic, transparent process with regards to the management of the public resources of the Internet and truly achieve the mandate and the responsibilities of the IGF which were mandated by WSIS at Tunis.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
>>CHAIR DESAI: AT&T.
>>AT&T: Thank you, chair.
AT&T strongly supports the continuation of the IGF, and we believe it serves a unique purpose in providing a forum for multistakeholder engagement on Internet policy issues. I would like to make a few brief comments about the substance of the review process rather than the process itself which has been discussed this morning.
As we talked about yesterday, the IGF is having a broader impact beyond the annual meeting, and therefore it's important that the review process seek to capture the external developments that are resulting from the IGF process.
This should include things like the dynamic coalitions and the emergence of the national and regional IGF meetings.
In addition, the review process should address the growth and development of the IGF that has occurred. This should include the evolution of the policy discussion, the introduction of new issues into the process, and the changes to the format that have been implemented for each successive IGF meeting.
So as with the Internet itself, the true strength of the IGF is its flexibility and the bottom-up process that allows it to be flexible and adaptive.
So therefore, the review process should be a reflection of this as well. And while the broader impacts of the IGF may be difficult to quantify, I believe that this broader perspective is important to the review process, and we all think about the important and unique role of the IGF. Thank you.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Thank you. With your permission, I'd like to take in a couple of remote -- do we do -- or do you want to do it after?
Okay. Then Chile and then Brazil and then we'll hear the remote participant.
>>CHILE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to go deeper into an idea that was put forward earlier in this room, and that is with regard to the need to incorporate within this evaluation process an analysis of the profile of the participants in previous IGF meetings.
This is not just important to know how many people participated and who they were, whether they were government representatives, civil society representatives, but it will also give us the profile of who was not present, of those who, for various reasons, cannot participate in IGF and who should be included within this dialogue. And possibly to analyze and do some self-criticism or not, based on this. In real times, I think this information is included in the registration documents for each meeting, so perhaps the idea could be looked at that the previous hosts could collaborate with the processing of this information. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Thank you. Brazil?
>>BRAZIL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me say at the outset that we fully support the intervention made by Honduras on behalf of GRULAC. Mr. Chairman, on the procedure of evaluation, on the modalities of the evaluation, it seems that two portions have been proposed: Either internal or external.
I understand that that an internal evaluation means an evaluation to be made by the IGF multistakeholder participants themselves. However, I confess that I have difficulties in understanding the notion of an external evaluation. And in this regard, I would ask the -- your help and the help of my colleagues here. I say so because at least for me, I don't see how a group of experts could carry out an evaluation in a more effective manner than the IGF participants themselves. Further to that, we have to recall that the evaluation to be produced by the IGF will only be a contributory or preliminary one, as the final evaluation will have to be presented by the U.N. Secretary-General.
And now moving from the (CHECK) portions or the modalities of the evaluation to the question of the content of the evaluation, it should be also reasonable to say that we should take the opportunity of the evaluation to discuss beyond the question of the survival of the forum. That the forum should survive, I think that this is a -- this is the object of consensus, but we should take the opportunity to ask ourselves other questions regarding how the forum can be empowered or how the forum can be strengthened through larger participation or through the beginning of the elaboration of guideline or best practice on areas of growing consensus.
So that's the -- that's Brazil's proposal, and let's go -- let's have the courage to go beyond the issue of survival. Maybe you can take that for granted and go ahead. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR DESAI: There's a friend of mine who is a filmmaker and he worked a lot with Robert Bresson, the famous French film director. When he made his first film, he took it to Robert Bresson and showed it to Robert Bresson and wanted Robert Bresson's comments on that film so Robert Bresson sat through the entire film, watched the entire film, got up, and gave a one-word comment. He just said "Continue, eh?" and walked out. So maybe that's what we'll end up with, you know, just "continue, eh?" and it will be up to us to decide how we continue, you see. So are we ready with the externals? Yes.
>>SECRETARY KUMMER: We have one faithful remote participant, David Allen, who is the coprincipal of the collaboration for communication policy research. He sent in a comment yesterday but it wasn't read out then and he sent a mail again and I think now it's just an appropriate time to read out the comment.
And he starts his comment by saying, "Remote participation matters if you are where I am. That is, remote."
I'll read it in full.
"The chair in his conclusion this morning" -- he wrote it yesterday -- "brought up the output of the IGF. Later this afternoon, a form of this output long sought by some began to come into focus: Recommendations that might issue from the IGF.
While those recommendations were subsequently constrained to output that would simply try to mobilize others, this is a key evolution in this entity called IGF. In support of this, there is also emerging a classification of issues into the place of the dimension of con- -- on the dimension of consensus as against this agreement or even earlier than this agreement needs research. This, of course, acknowledges the natural human task, namely to sort out inevitable differences in view.
Whether IGF may usefully continue beyond its initial five years most likely turns on whether the IGF can indeed move further into the modes that facilitate the sorting of differences, ultimately to the gelling of consensus. Among others to do this, IGF must foster more continuity in its activities. Human beings reach consensus only by being able to stay at it, not meet just for a few days and then go their way.
Remote participation has a key part in this, a topic for a later comment.
Thank you. David Allen."
>>CHAIR DESAI: Thank you. Raúl.
>>RAUL ECHEBERRIA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just something along the same lines that's already been commented by the representatives of France and Chile. I recall that last year, some members of the Advisory Group proposed that if the data on participation was made available at the IGF meeting, many of us could contribute to the analysis. In fact, I don't think it's necessary to just carry out one piece of analysis. If the data was available, we could carry out different analyses. Different people could collaborate from different perspectives.
I think to carry out an in-depth statistical analysis would require funds which the Secretariat probably hasn't got available, but I think it's something that could be carried out by others. So I will repeat that proposal, which is a proposal and an offer at the same time. Thank you.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Okay. Let me try and -- I think basically, first, it's now I hope reasonably clear that the responsibility for the report on the evaluation rests with the Secretary-General. I may incidentally clarify that the Secretary-General has been consulted and, you know, we have consulted with New York, as Markus made clear yesterday itself, and they do think it would be valuable for this process to give its views. It is other people who have the responsibility in New York for handling this.
In addition to being your chair, I also have another hat, which is I'm the special advisor to the Secretary-General on Internet Governance, so I can perhaps speak in that capacity and say this would be a valuable exercise, what is being undertaken here, even though the final responsibility will rest there in New York with the Secretary-General and that -- those elements and their staff who are involved in this directly. So let us leave that as a given. I think also I hope it's now reasonably clear what the time line and the schedule is, that we hope at the end of this meeting to have greater clarity on what are the questions, et cetera, which should be posed, and an understanding on how we reach out to stakeholders, governments, industry, civil society, the Internet community, et cetera, which we -- and so I think all of that is -- has come out reasonably well.
I think we've had a discussion on the whole internal/external issue. Perhaps the way to get around this issue is to say whatever we do, there must be a certain element of objectivity in what we do. The objectivity, one -- one element in the objectivity is what several people alluded to: A better analysis of information -- data that we have. Chile mentioned and several others mentioned who attended the IGF, how many people have participated, what's the variety, what is the regional representation, what was the representation of countries, how many countries have participated, from industry, which are the industry people who have come, and so on.
So what are the nature of the -- what is the nature of the participation, and that can be done with the analysis of the participants' list that we have, to the extent to which the participants' list has that information. And I think this is readily available.
I think that other elements that we should also bring in, in terms of objectivity, people have been writing about the IGF that have been comments both positive as well as critical. We should try and mobilize those comments and so on, so that, yes, we are looking at the criticisms that have been made also of the IGF. In that sense, the key requirement is objectivity, not necessarily internal or external. And that is roughly what I meant by saying, you know, the self stepping outside the self, if you like, is the best evaluator that you can get because only -- only -- in some ways, only the participants really know what the issues and the problems are.
There's been a great deal of discussion on -- which has actually gotten into the issue of an evaluation itself, and one basic theme which comes across in this is something which tries to see what has been the actual impact of the IGF in terms of -- somebody called it deliverables, somebody called it outputs from the IGF or outputs at the IGF. Somebody described it as what has come out in the form of the work of the dynamic coalitions, but a feeling that one element in the evaluation of the value of the IGF has to be some understanding -- not just that we had a nice meeting, everybody came, we had a nice chat, but some assessment of what difference did that make at the ground level.
I suspect that this is something that can be done in a reasonably credible fashion. The whole question that has been raised about why do we do just limit the consultation to people who can come to meetings, do we reach out to others, how do we reach out to others, should it through stakeholder groups, inviting the stakeholder groups to be more active. Take governments, for instance. There was a reference to the regional meetings, which there are many regional meetings of governments which will be held on this. Maybe those could be requested to contribute their views on how they see the IGF and what they see as the issues which need to be tackled.
One person -- George did mention the issue of the financial basis for the IGF, which at the moment runs entirely on voluntary contributions. How reliable is this. Do we need something which gets into issues of predictability. References to the need for doing many of these things in terms of more precise criteria, measures, and so on.
So I think in many ways this discussion has helped, and many of the MAG members are sitting here and I'm sure they will also take in a great deal from all of this, and perhaps may be able to contribute further in the discussions we'll have tomorrow and the day after in the MAG. But this is important.
One further point that I wanted to stress is, I think there seems to be a general acceptance that we can't make the Sharm El Sheikh meeting just about this evaluation. It has to have a substantive agenda, based on the substantive issues which we have been tackling. We have to be realistic. Look, the people who come -- the 1,500 odd people who come to the IGF, only a small proportion are interested in the issues about the modalities of the IGF, the future of the IGF. Most of the people are coming there for the substantive issues that we discuss. Whether it's access, whether it is security, diversity, or whatever it is. Or openness.
The -- so we will have to design it in such a way that the -- there is space for it, and I state the message that it should be designed in such a way that it does not clash with other issues and we will certainly have to look at the structuring of the meeting to create that slot. Whether it should be at the end, whether it should be at the beginning, I think these are matters which the MAG will examine.
The -- there are many -- I mean, we've been taking notes, both of us, and we've certainly got many interesting thoughts and ideas which have come from this, but essentially my own sense is that what people are looking for is a review process which is objective, broad-based, and inclusive, and in a way let us try and get out of this debate about internal and external by focusing on what is it that we need to do in order to ensure a certain level of objectivity in looking at the data and information that is before us.
So let me take this as a first sort of attempt at a conclusion on this. Yes, from Syria.
>>SYRIA: I would like to thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am completely in agreement with everything that you have said, but there are two major points that you have not touched upon, and we would like for your meeting to touch upon the financing needs of the future IGF forum, and this question should be covered at length. We cannot leave things the way they are at this actual stage. We have to submit a proposal to this effect.
The second question, which is very important, which has been mentioned by the representatives of the Chinese delegation, and is the following:
At the time of the latest World Summit, we have agreed not to divvy such responsibilities that it is not capable of handling. It should take decisions in regards the recommendations, and present recommendations, and since the last four or five years, we are talking about a new discussion on the recommendations. As for the continuity, if we think that this forum has to continue, then we have to revisit the prerogatives and the mandate that has to be given to the IGF. And this is a very important subject. We cannot ignore it. And our dear esteemed colleague from China has reminded us of the importance of resubmitting the mandate, and it should be a result of a consensus. We have to revisit, after the four years since the inception, we have to revisit the recommendations and this is a question that should be taken seriously: What type of a continuity, what type of a new forum, what type of a shape, which questions on the governmental level or other level should be tested? We cannot stay neutral vis-a-vis this subject. We should delineate the list of questions. We should conduct the debate. And we would like to delineate the principal questions to be discussed at this plenipotentiary meeting. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Thank you. Do we need to meet in the afternoon?
>>SYRIA: Thank you, Chairman. I'll speak English.
(Off microphoe) ...the meeting but I think you could do it better than if you could group some consultation, individual consultation of your group for tomorrow and start the work seriously, because the timetable is too short, Chairman.
You don't have so much time. Be careful about that, because by the next IGF, you are supposed to have a complete view.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Well, as you know, Ambassador, discussions in the U.N. expand a contract to fill the time available.
[ Laughter ]
>>MARILYN CADE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Marilyn Cade and I speak as an individual.
I have actually not a comment about whether we should meet in the afternoon but a question to pose to you and the others for the upcoming consultation.
And so I will just now speak both for myself individually and for the global public policy committee of Tech America about an interest that we wish to see. And that is that there be a real separation and segregation between the planning for the IGF 2009 -- that is, time that is devoted to ensuring that planning process gets its full attention -- and any further work which we think should go forward at each of the upcoming consultations and in between on the review, be treated as a separate element of time.
With that in mind, I would ask, as we look ahead at May, and we look ahead at September, what are the thoughts that the Secretariat might have now about how to incorporate a separate amount of time, not competing with or interfering with or taking away from the importance of the public consultation on Sharm El Sheikh, what is the thinking about a specified period of time, if it's two hours or three hours, that is scheduled? Because for those of us who must schedule travel, we need to incorporate that into our thinking and planning.
>>CHAIR DESAI: The point Marilyn is making, in September, we will have open consultations on the planning for the Sharm El Sheikh meeting, which will have to go into issues about themes and all sorts of things. That in addition, that open consultation is also a consultation on the IGF evaluation. So how to calibrate and work that.
>>EGYPT: Thank you, Chairman, for giving us the chance to intervene also on this.
Let me first state that Egypt is also a strong supporter of the continuity of the IGF process. Egypt believes when reviewing the IGF process it is important to realize that the success of the IGF should not be measured only against its mandates. We should carefully examine the impact that the IGF has produced in the broad area of inclusion created by this process. Specifically, greater and diversified participation, both across the different regions as well as across the various stakeholder groups.
The IGF as it stands today provides an excellent opportunity for multistakeholder public-policy discussions on Internet governance and equally presents a perfect venue for capacity building.
Despite the fact that the IGF is not mandated to take decisions, it has managed over the course of the three meetings to gather all partners and act as a catalyst for more mature efforts and initiatives that will further enhance cooperation in the area of Internet governance.
We precisely, for instance, underline the experience of dynamic coalitions in that sense.
Whether we will go for external or an internal evaluation, we believe the evaluation process of the IGF should be developed with the full involvement of its stakeholders and the community members.
Finally, and as mentioned by others, by Markus and by Marilyn also, we believe that the IGF in Sharm El Sheikh should not be inward looking nor captured by the review process. We think a separate and specific session needs to be dedicated to a thorough discussion on the review and evaluation of the IGF, and in this sense we should make most benefit from the May and September consultations to make sure that the issue is crystallized before we arrive in Sharm El Sheikh.
>>SECRETARY KUMMER: Maybe I should start with an apology for having confused the whole discussion with the initiative to discuss an external evaluation or the possibility of an external evaluation based on the offer by InfoDev. But I think the discussion here was very helpful and set us back on track. And I think itch also welcome very much your call to maybe not make this distinction anymore.
And my reading of the situation now is that we will continue as we always do, we will issue a call for contributions. I think several delegates made that, that the answers can be either comments in whatever form they may take. They may also be -- there may be academics willing to make their own analysis of the situation.
Clearly, we, as a Secretariat, don't have the capacity to do this all, but we very much welcome, of course, external input. And we will summarize whatever we get, and we will also publish questions and we can also refine these questions based on the input. And we will produce a first paper summarizing whatever we get for the meeting in May.
Based on past experience, we found it difficult to fill these days we had at our disposal for consultations to discuss the program.
We had valuable discussions, but we did not have, on the whole, the six-hour slots we had the interpretation for. So I think we should be able to fit in a discussion of one hour, two hours on the ongoing process of how we should review the IGF. And I think, also, my friend from Brazil made very practical, down-to-earth proposals in the sense that we should not make it more complicated than it is.
Clearly, I think, in order to be taken seriously we have also to make some proposals that not may be the same as before, but we have to say where matters could be improved. And obviously the question of financing is fairly crucial.
I mean, some of the proposals made were very interesting, but I think George asked the question who would pay for them. We don't have the funds.
One of the reasons why we came up with a proposal to ask InfoDev was it was a self-financed proposal by InfoDev, which would not have cost us anything.
But elaborate evaluations, they cost some money. And also, they take some time, especially then if you discuss process and procedure in terms of terms of reference and so on.
So my taking of today's discussion is that we just invite for comments in whatever form they may take in a traditional open and inclusive manner, and we will aim to be as objective as possible in summarizing whatever we receive.
Would this be a fair way to move forward?
>>CHAIR DESAI: Yes.
>>ANDREA SAKS: I just have a small question. The dynamic coalition on accessibility and disability requested in its declaration that MAG actually appoint -- and this is to be assistive -- an observer to help with accessibility so it could become mainstream in the process of not only planning the next event but in making accessibility mainstream and perhaps designing -- making sure the Web sites are okay, making sure the applications are okay, making sure that the people who have disabilities are actually recognized in the forums to participate. That sort of thing.
And I wonder -- And later in your meetings, in your consultations, if you will consider that as a proposal from the dynamic coalition. Because I'm in the open meeting. I'm not invited to MAG.
So I have wanted to bring that up just at the end to bring that back to your front thinking.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Thank you. We will certainly put that before MAG.
>>SYRIA: Chairman, only to support this proposal from our hearts, because this is a very, very important issue, accessibility. It covers the whole issue. And of course knowing what this coalition is working also, they are working also on the accessibility for disabled.
So we support totally this proposal. I support, sorry, sorry. I used the word "we." I apologize.
>>CHAIR DESAI: Good. Time for you enjoy the sun in Geneva for this afternoon.
The sun is out. The weather is lovely. Go and enjoy the day instead of coming back here.