IGF 2010 Workshop Report

 
 126
 
 Remote participation in the IGF and in regional internet governance meetings
 
 Marília Maciel
 
 

Moderator: Virginia Paque - DiploFoundation and Remote Participation Working Group) 1) The use of online tools in international politics as a way to increase information and participation Lee Hibbard – CoE/EuroDig Nermine El Saadany - Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT - Egypt) Jovan Kurbalija - DiploFoundation 2) Increasing inclusiveness on remote participation Bernard Sadaka - Computer and Communication Engineer. DiploFoundation Associate Rafik Dammak - Research Student at the Interdisciplinary Information Studies, University of Tokyo Bani Lara - ISOC PH and coordinator of the Philippine remote hub 3) The interplay with related processes Anriette Esterhuysen – APC Edmon Chung - vice-chair of the ISOC Chapter in Hong Kong Remote Moderator: Raquel Gatto (Remote Participation Working Group)

 

This workshop was co-organized by the Remote Participation Working Group, DiploFoundation and the Council of Europe (CoE). The workshop aimed to discuss the concept, good practices and the implementation of remote participation in internet governance processes. The discussion was organized under three axes: (i) The role of remote participation in multilevel IG processes (ii) Increasing inclusiveness on remote participation and (iii) The interplay with related processes.

 

The Remote participation Working Group: info@igfremote.info Vladimir Radunovic - DiploFoundation (vladar@diplomacy.edu) Lee Hibbard - EuroDIG (Lee.HIBBARD@coe.int)

 

In the beginning of the session, the moderator, Ginger Paque, made some initial remarks. She mentioned that remote participation is more than discussing about tools and platforms. It is an issue related to development, capacity building and access. It was also noticed that we are moving from remote observation to remote participation in the IGF and that we are starting to explore and integrate several forms of remote participation, such as social reporting and continued online discussions. After these remarks, the floor was opened for the speakers and other attendants. General comments: • Remote participation can have a lasting transformative effect on global governance. It allows us to enhance diversity and inclusion. But for that potential to be fully fulfilled, capacity building and a change in attitude from the global governance institutions themselves are necessary • Remote participation should be encouraged for very practical reasons: a) it opens the policy process to more people and therefore the IGF benefits from expertise that would otherwise be disconnected from the policy process; b) it increases legitimacy of global policy-making and a sense of “ownership” of the process • The use of the expression “remote participation” was criticized, as “remote” implies “distance” and “less importance”. The expression “enhanced participation” could be used instead Evaluation of remote participation: • Remote participation was a very successful experience in EuroDig and this was due to preparation. Intensive preparation before the meeting is the key • Remote participants should have more impact on agenda-setting and policy-shaping. They don’t often feel that they are actually shaping the topics for discussion. Integration of channels and “networked participation”: • The platform for remote participation can be used to keep people who are present in the IGF connected to all sessions at the same time and aware of what is taking place in all of them. It is not only useful to remote participants • This year there was strong combination of formal and informal remote participation. In WebEx there was the more formal type and the informal one was on social media. There is challenge to make people aware of both • What we call “remote participation” really is “networked participation”, as those present in the meeting are engaged of formal and informal remote participation and take advantage of both. This backchannel conversation affects what is being said in the meeting

 

Suggestions for improvement of remote participation: • Some of the IGF proceedings should take place mainly online, such as preparatory meetings (open consultations, MAG meetings) • Some sessions during the IGF should take place totally remotely. Remote participation allows topics to be discussed from active participants from all over the world. The session would report back its discussions to the main session. • To address the problem of lack of influence of remote participants on discussion-shaping, there should be remote preparatory meetings. Organizers would collect and harvest the ideas and discussions from remote hubs and make sure that they are driven into the preparation of the physical meeting • Also to address the same problem (lack of influence), there should be channels for remote participation available throughout the year, platforms through which one can send contributions • To deal with future difficulties and limitations of remote participation (ex: impossibility to provide meaningful remote participation if there are too many people connected to one particular session) it could be useful to identify which sessions are strategic; ex: in which sessions development issues are being discussed. Efforts should be concentrated on maximising participation in those sessions. • To build a lasting relationship of mutual assistance and exchange of e...