Wolfgang Kleinwachter, a professor of Internet policy and regulation at the University of Aarhus in Denmark a co-founder of the Internet Governance Caucus and longtime Internet governance scholar and civil society leader, said the dialogue among various stakeholders is key, and it took a long time to gain the right for members of civil society to participate in a full role in multistakeholder Internet governance.
Tracy Hackshaw, chief solution architect in the government of Trinidad & Tobago’s ICT Company, discussed concerns of developing nations. He shared specific details about the successes and failures in his part of the world, using his country as a primary example. He said access issues have not been solved in remote locations such as the islands around Trinidad & Tobago, but the WSIS process and other global governance efforts are raising the need for connectivity.
Carlos Afonso, a member of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee and longtime leader in IGF and ICANN, said the multistakeholder process “is a very important success even with all its imperfections.” But he noted that some countries that were active at the start of the WSIS process have not been present in the IGF in recent years, listing Bolivia and “several other countries.” He said people should question why this is happening.
David Souter, managing director at ICT Development Associates, said that as the Internet has become central to society, economics, politics and culture the Internet community and mainstream governments have struggled to find a relationship.
“The Internet is in a continual state of flux and its development is unpredictable, so its governance arrangements need to be responsive to the changes that are taking place within the Internet and its development and its impact,” he said. “We need a more thoughtful approach for accommodation between the Internet world and government. The interface between the two seems to be more crucial than the identity of either.”
Catherine Trautman, a member of the European Parliament representing European Socialists, said the work toward multistakeholder governance is a positive step of WSIS and the IGF process. She expressed concerns over the question of enhanced cooperation, noting that civil society is perhaps not getting its due recognition.
“Civilian society could show the contribution they make,” she said. “This is essential in this evolution and the decision on continuation of IGF.” She said the process is in a state of flux as the United Nations General Assembly is expected to take a vote soon about the possible extension of IGF that could be a positive or a negative influence on the processes set in motion through WSIS and IGF.