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MAG Chair activities

MAG chair blog

The MAG Chair posts activity updates from a personal perspective. The latest blog post is:

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MAG chair activities during 2021

Summary of online discussions convened by the MAG chair

The IGF and linguistic diversity: challenges and achievements and possible next steps 

Wednesday, 28 October 2020 13:00-15:00 UTC 

Key points made during the discussion

  • The anglo-centrism of IGF processes and discussions can cause non-native speakers to feel marginalised and send a message that undermines the legitimacy of non-english voices. It is suggested the IGF implements the use of all 6 languages of the United Nations as a minimum starting point for future practice.
  • Concerns were expressed about the underrepresentation of minority and endangered languages on the internet and at the IGF, posing a risk of their further deterioration in the future. 
  • Machine translation should not be relied upon as the sole tool for promoting linguistic diversity, as its quality is still not equal to that of human translation.
  • Language teachers and language institutes are good resources from the national and regional levels which should be used in the promotion of linguistic diversity at the IGF. 
  • Suggestions for the MAG to enable IGF sessions being held in organisers language of choice.

Proposals for the future (summarised by Chair) 

  1. Focus on the local, regional and national levels as areas of high linguistic diversity where discussions can take place in local languages and concentrate on relevant issues in the community, as well on global issues, approached from a local or regional perspective. The IGF should aim to convey globally both local perspectives on global issues and issues that tend to be local in nature. 
  2. Human capacity (interpreters and translators) is a critical investment for promoting linguistic diversity, and should be implemented alongside machine enabled translation. Care must be taken, however, that one initiative does not come at the expense of the other. Instead the limits of each method must be recognised and addressed. 
  3. Investment in machine translation needs to be evaluated and implemented with clear goals, in contexts suited for its use.
  4. Linguistic diversity must be affirmed and communicated as a key part of the culture of respect within the IGF’s practice as it strives, not simply to be diverse, but to represent the global community. 
  5. There is no ‘one size fits’ all solution. It is a continuous process focused on inclusion in decision making and growing participation, which requires multiple solutions at multiple levels. 

Contributors 

  • John Klensin 
  • Kwaku Antwi
  • Anriette Esterhuysen 
  • Nebojsa Regoje
  • Mary Uduma
  • Satish Babu 
  • Judith Hellestein 
  • Adama Jallow 
  • Roberto Gaetano 
  • Susan Sanders 
  • Chrystiane Roy 
  • Deirdre Williams 

 

The IGF as a platform for capacity building 

Tuesday, 27 October 2020, 13:00-15:00 UTC 

Key points

  • First, participants reviewed plans to further capacity-building efforts in the broader digital cooperation environment. 
  • Second, the discussion explored the IGF’s contributions to capacity building and how these may be further developed as it evolves. 

Broader digital cooperation environment 

  • Robert Opp and Doreen Bogdan-Martin outlined the Digital Capacity Building Roundtable’s work plan comprising five core functions:  (EC.2021)
  1. Map existing digital capacity development initiatives and observe their fragmentation. 
  2. Launch a multi-stakeholder network (MSN) to connect actors across sectors.
  3. Develop a “clearing-house function” to match unmet supply and demand. 
  4. The launch of the ITU and UNDP Joint Facility, offering digital capacity development services to governments and other entities. 
  5. Strengthen capacity development at the country and ground-levels through the creation of a “Digital Service Corps”, powered by UN volunteers.
  • The IGF is included within the MSN and clearing-house function. 

Current role of the IGF 

  • At present, the IGF furthers capacity building efforts by leveraging its strength as a networked space and pursuing the mandate to “contribute to capacity-building for internet governance in developing countries, drawing fully on local sources of knowledge and expertise.” (Tunis Agenda, 2005) 
  • Following the outputs from the IGF one-stop-shop approach, Internet Governance Observatory (2012) and IGF Retreat (2016), a consultant (Anriette Esterhuysen, prior to assuming the role of MAG chair) produced the IGF capacity development framework with guiding considerations.
  • The framework, developed in 2019 and published in early 2020, would be supported through five core pillars: 
  1. Providing access to information about Internet governance capacity development.
  2. Mentoring.
  3. Supported participation.
  4. Learning events linked to the IGF process and its intersessional activities.
  5. Internships and professional exchanges. 
  • These are complemented with guiding considerations: 
    • Transparency and recognition of national/regional expertise.
    • Capacity building as a continuous, evolving process. 
    • Adoption of a multidisciplinary approach extending outside the formal internet governance sector. 
    • Participation oriented, reflecting the needs of underrepresented communities.
    • Connecting institutional capacity development to capacity building of individuals.
    • Enabling internet insiders and outsiders to learn from each other.
  • This framework leverages the following strengths of the IGF to contribute to capacity building efforts in the wider ecosystem: 
    • Diverse network of participants 
    • Pooling and sharing of information 
    • Network and partnership building capacity 
    • Unique identity as non-aligned multi-stakeholder process/space
    • Legitimacy bolstering link to UN + intergovernmental initiatives - SDGs
  • Representatives of the Schools of Internet Governance (SIGs) network acknowledged the role of the Dynamic Coalition established to link them together and suggested further efforts on collecting curricula online in one location, for all members to draw from and contribute to.  
  • Representatives of the YouthIGF community expressed the need for pathways of growth and development, to further integrate the YIGF community into the broader IGF network. 

Summary of discussion 

  • Capacity building is broad, highly varied and context-dependent. Thus, the approach of scaling-up locally tailored solutions is not feasible and may erode the efficacy of this bottom-up practice being implemented by the local community.  
  • For this reason, the IGF aims to integrate capacity building practices within the existing structures of larger stakeholders in the internet governance ecosystem, including its own.
  • The IGF is best placed to play this role in capacity building by emphasising and fine-tuning its strengths as a networked space.

Proposals for the future 

  • The implementation of the frameworks outlined in the discussion. 
  • The creation of core principles for capacity building. These must be resilient and adaptable to the internet’s ever-evolving nature, with the flexibility to accompany the rapid developments in technology. 
  • The identification of a clear map of capacity building initiatives within the landscape of stakeholder groups, beginning with an in-depth global analysis within the Internet Governance community. 
  • Promote the integration of digital skills training programmes in all governments and civil services. 
  • Promote the integration of digital literacy programmes into lifelong education. 
  • Encourage the development of dialogues between developing countries through discussion on shared experiences. 
  • Focus on capacity building through the solution of shared problems across communities, directed towards a desired outcome. 
  • Further inclusion of YouthIGF members in the IGF intersessionals and new initiatives, including visible paths of progress for individuals and potential impact of their outputs.

Contributors 

  • Ben Wallis
  • Robert Opp 
  • Doreen Bogdan-Martin 
  • Yu Ping Chan
  • Gustavo Paiva 
  • Tereza Horejsova 
  • Wai Min Kwok
  • Anriette Esterhuysen 
  • Avri Doria 
  • Lily Edinam Botsyoe
  • Elisabeth Schauermann 
  • Marco Obiso 
  • Deirdre Williams 
  • Shreedepp Rayamajhi
  • Daniel Kalemi 

References 

Perspectives on IGF outcomes and outputs: Representation, legitimacy and follow-up in multistakeholder policy processes

Wednesday 21 October 2020, 13:00-15:00 UTC

Key discussion points 

  • The dissemination of outputs and outcomes, from the global IGF community and annual forum, should be tailored and directed to the relevant audiences. National and regional initiatives (NRIs) may act as open lines of communication to relay relevant outputs back to their communities, while informing the global community of local perspectives and experiences. 
  • Enhancing the visibility of the IGF with targeted publicity campaigns will strengthen legitimacy, trust and participation from stakeholders in the private sector and government. 
  • A pragmatic approach was suggested to circumvent existing resource constraints. The IGF Secretariat could advertise the success of the IGF with a timeline of notable achievements, tracing its evolution through archived output documents. 
  • Concise and coordinated pre-meeting guides, and synthesizing output documents will provide a clear baseline agenda. This would encourage stakeholder confidence and trust, and facilitate the production of more concrete outcomes. 
  • The differences in group sizes and topics of discussion at meetings must be transparent and acknowledged in the output process. This will address the ambiguity of factors affecting output documents, particularly since the lack of defined IGF membership renders team sizes invisible. 
  • The successful dissemination and reception of IGF outputs may be measured by tracking policy proposals at the regional and national levels, and comparing these against IGF recommendations. 
  • Focus on a transition from passive outreach (website) to active outreach.
  • Timea Suto proposes a four-step plan of identifying, gathering and marketing the existing outcomes and outputs of the IGF to the target audience. 
  • The IGF is an evolving organism within the internet governance ecosystem. For it to maintain the ability to transform and be transformed by this environment, it must allow for its process of disseminating outputs to adapt to changes in the ecosystem. 

Proposals for the future 

  • Redirect focus from outcomes to the adaptability of IGF processes. Endeavour to improve the IGF’s ability to fulfill its role as a catalyst for engagement between stakeholders, at the top and grassroot levels, by providing a space for open and dynamic discussions. 
  • Establish a map of the IGF’s development and accomplishments since its inception. In particular, document the forum’s success in facilitating partnerships that now constitute an important part of the Internet Governance ecosystem.  

Contributors 

  • Anriette Esterhuysen 
  • Wai Min Kwok 
  • Fiona Alexander 
  • Paul Charlton 
  • Samantha Dickinson 
  • Raul Echeberria 
  • Marcus Kummer
  • Jason Munyan
  • Timea Suto 
  • Wout de Natris 
  • Raquel Gatto 
  • Bertrand De La Chapelle
  • Joyce Chen 
  • Flavio Wagner
  • William Drake

References 

  • The 2016 IGF retreat ideas and suggestions. 
  • The 2014 NETmundial  Multistakeholder Statement - ' Improvements can be implemented including creative ways of providing outcomes/recommendations and the analysis of policy options’ 
  • The 2012 CSTD Working Group on Improvements to the IGF - ‘the prep process of each IGF should formulate a set of policy Qs… the results of the debate on these Qs… should be stated in the outcome documentation… The outcome documentation should inc. messages that map out converging and diverging opinions on given Qs’ 
  • The 2005 Tunis Agenda ’s mandate for the IGF - ‘identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and where appropriate, make recommendations’ 

 

Frameworks for addressing emerging Internet issues in the context of cooperation in ‎policy design

Tuesday 20 October 2020 13:00-15:00 UTC 

Key discussion points 

  • Existing and new frameworks ‎for addressing emerging Internet issues can have an impact on how policies are designed. 
  • This is significant because, although it is not a monolith, the Internet requires defining factors so that stakeholders may analyse its evolution and preserve its fundamental bases. Similar to an ecosystem, the healthy and detrimental developments of the Internet can then be identified and differentiated. 
  • A promising approach observes the properties which characterise the Internet, including the benefits they generate, and assembles them into a framework for addressing emerging Internet issues.  
  • Important efforts in this approach were presented and discussed during this meeting. The similarities found between the established frameworks have set out guiding principles that co-create a more permanent definition of the Internet network.
  • A non-exhaustive summary of the principles suggested include: 
    • Interoperability 
    • Accessible 
    • Decentralised management
    • General Purpose Network 
    • Collaborative - supporting innovation without permission 
  • The misunderstanding of these principles by policy-makers has emphasised the issue of silos in decision-making processes, since well-intended but harmful outputs are produced. 
  • For example, policies aimed at the top of the Internet architecture stack have had a stunting impact on the lower-level processes of innovation and development. 
  • The need for broader collaboration and digital skills training would lead to more considerate and cooperative policy design.
  • Each framework emphasises the complex nature of this problem, as a difficult balance exists between meeting the needs of all parties touching the internet and respecting the constructs we have built. 

Proposals for the future 

  • Reach an agreement on the set of guiding principles that will be established. 
  • The essential nature of the Internet must be preserved as it evolves. This core of defining values will act as markers against which decision-makers can compare new developments. 
  • Consider who could be responsible for this work and how they would be motivated is a topic for future discussions.  
  • Set a basic requirement for essential technical skills and knowledge, in order to bridge the gap between the technical and policy-making community and facilitate cooperation. The ability to speak and understand Internet Protocol (IP) is a basic need for a network to interconnect. 
  • Redirect focus from predictions for the future, towards a better understanding of the key drivers of the internet. 
  • Recognise the need for complex solutions to complex problems, particularly to preserve the principles and avoid further fragmentation of the Internet. 
  • Maintain an awareness of the multi-disciplinary forces influencing policy and regulation, such as geopolitical trends. Associated with this, regionalising patterns of privacy and security are emerging between like-minded countries with similar designs of application.  

Contributors 

  • Anriette Esterhuysen 
  • Laura DeNardis 
  • David Clarke 
  • Leslie Daigle 
  • Konstantinos Titus 
  • Robert Morgus
  • Andre Roachevski 
  • Justin Sherman 

References 

 

Participation and inclusion from 2006 to 2019: achievements and challenges 

Wednesday, 14 October 2020, 13:30-15:30 UTC 

Key discussion points 

  •  Assessing participation is essential for the IGF’s confident evolution and improvement of its practices, particularly ahead of the WSIS assessment in five years.
  • Many governments, particularly of underrepresented developing countries, face financial resource constraints forcing them to prioritise decision-making fora over fora for dialogue and debate, including the IGF.
  • However, the COVID-19 pandemic has created the opportunity for IGF participation to expand in these countries, as improvements in remote participation converge with the global recognition of the importance of ICT technologies in the 21st Century.
  • The report presented by the team from Research ICT Africa found multiple inconsistencies in the data sets provided by the Secretariat and DSS. 
  • As a first of this kind, this report concludes with recommendations for future research in participation with the expectation of regular, more consistent analyses on participation in the future of the IGF. 
  • Improving data granularity within stakeholder groups is necessary for accurate data gathering and processing methods. This will enable the continuity of research analyses on participation at the IGF.
  • Online/ remote participation has been considered secondary to physical participation throughout the IGF annual meetings, however this perception should be reversed moving forward. 
  • Remote IGFs, such as the UK IGF, reported higher quality events and participation as a result of the exclusively online location. 
  • In the future, the remote format could present a solution to the long lasting issues of limited resources and participation from underrepresented participants, despite its limitations. 
  • The IGF should be discussed as a network which extends beyond the annual event, including intersessional activities and initiatives. Crucially, NRIs must be included as central contributors in discussions, and not regarded as a satellite initiative to be added into considerations. 
  • NRIs are the main interface for many stakeholders since they are available to a broader range of participants. 
  • The criticism of IGF stakeholders constructing a predominantly insider community is reflected in the overwhelming majority of government and private sector representatives coming from the supply side of the economy. 
  • The absence of participants from the demand side, in every stakeholder group, homogenises discussions with shared visions for the future, mutual agreements and a certain level of technical knowledge.
  • There is a need for more expertise from the sectors most affected by the Internet, such as industries affected by climate change. 

Proposals for the future 

  • Disaggregate data gathered from stakeholders and further stratify stakeholder communities to highlight variations within them, improving data granularity. 
  • A standardised, consistent approach must be established in order to frame this data gathering in the future. 
  • Within participation, scope, quality and stakeholders are key areas of analysis or understanding where efforts for improvements must be directed. 
  • Within scope, the relations of power between stakeholders, both at the group and individual level, the seniority of the attending representatives and the factors which are most relevant to them, must be explored and documented. 
  • The quality of participation includes, the type of activity from participants and how meaningful it is, the gains they perceive are to be made, or not made, through attendance and participation.
  • In addition to quantitatively analysing attendance, qualitative analysis should be carried out concurrently, measuring: 
    • The activity of participants 
    • The meaningfulness of participation 
    • The gains perceived to be made or not through participation  
  • Anticipate the move towards remote participation as the primary form of participation, with physical presence as secondary. 

Contributors 

  • Flavio Wagner
  • Anriette Esterhuysen
  • Anri Van Der Spuy 
  • Pablo Aguera Reneses 
  • Chengetai Masango 
  • Jason Muyan 
  • Nadia Tjahja
  • Nicolas Fiumarelli
  • Raquel Gatto 
  • Roberto Zambrana 
  • Anja Gengo 
  • David Souter
  • Noha Abdel Baky 
  • Christian Nzhie 
  • Susan Sanders 
  • Antony Chigaazira 
  • Carlos Alfonso

IGF+ and a new multistakeholder high-level body (MHLB) 

Wednesday, 30 September 2020, 13:00-15:00 UTC  

Key discussion points 

  • As the IGF reaches the halfway point of its extended mandate granted at the WSIS, changes are needed for the forum to adapt to the new environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and expand its own role, beyond the annual meeting.
  • Drawing on the Paragraph 93 of the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and the “Options for the Future of Digital Cooperation” paper, participants reached a consensus on the areas of priority: 
    • Greater visibility at the higher levels of the private sector and government stakeholder groups.
    • Stronger leadership within the IGF.
    • Concretise IGF policy recommendations and bridge the gap between these outputs and the relevant decision-makers. 
  • The Roadmap supports and stands to preserve the IGF’s unique multistakeholder, multidisciplinary and multi-layered nature. 
  • In order to avoid stagnation, the IGF must ‘change in order to remain the same’ hence the preference of an ambitious evolution to a revolution
  • The options paper outlined recommendations for the next steps in the IGF’s evolution, including the creation of a Multistakeholder High-Level Body (MHLB) or development of an IGF Plus as potential models for the future of the forum.  
  • The MHLB would be responsible for facilitating dialogue between the IGF, UN and respective modalities and attracting more committed high-level participants. 
  • The recommended structure, role and position of the new IGF body was outlined in the following models: 

Option A - IGF Plus

Support 

  • MAG Working Group on IGF Strategy and Strengthening supports this model and suggests a gradual implementation in the transition.
  • The creation of the policy incubator, cooperation accelerator, observatory and help desk structures will target the current weaknesses of the IGF, strengthening cooperation, synergetic ties and outputs. 

Concerns 

  • Requires a clear understanding of and agreement on the roles and procedures of other fora existing in the Internet Governance environment, to avoid duplication and collapse existing silos. 

Option B - Distributed Co-Governance Model (CoGov) 

Support 

  • A horizontal approach, creating the MHLB as a separate but equal body alongside the IGF MAG, with no hierarchical structure.
  • Restricted to a maximum of 25 members. 
  • Expected to act as a bridge-building body between expert discussions, research processes and decision-making institutions.

Concerns

  • Exclusive nature raises concerns about the development of an elitist and corporate identity, misaligned with IGF principles. 
  • Separateness of the MHLB suggests it will not be accountable to the IGF community.
  • The absence of collaboration with the MAG may further weaken leadership in the IGF and potentially undermine the Forum’s achievements thus far. 
  • Ambiguity surrounding the selection process, such as the mack of definition for a ‘high-level’ member may leave it vulnerable to capture. 
  • Duplication of IGF functions. 
  • The pressure on resources as it would be funded by the IGF trust fund. 

Suggestions 

  • The MHLB may sit within the MAG to provide a more cohesive and strong structure.

Proposals for the future 

  • The IGF must remain relevant and impactful during this process of evolution. 
  • Prioritise the uniting factor in the future model and avoid any divisions which diverge from the multi-stakeholder endeavour.
  • Focus on bridging gaps by progressivey building on common ground. 
  • Forward movement in the evolution of the IGF should not be delayed, yet requires a rough consensus.  

Contributors 

  • Anriette Esterhuysen 
  • Jovan Kurbajila 
  • Rudolf Grid
  • Jason Munyan
  • Yu Ping Chan 
  • Concettina Cassa 
  • Jorge Cancio 
  • Paul Blaker 

References 

  • Paragraph 93 of the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. 
  • Options for the Future of Digital Cooperation” : Paper developed by the office of the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General and the governments of Germany and the United Arab Emirates (in their capacity as co-champions of recommendation 5A/B in the UN SG's High-level panel on digital cooperation's report).
  • MAG Strategy Working Group response  to the options paper. 

NRIs and YIGF initiatives: Challenges, achievements and possible next steps 

Tuesday 29 September 2020, 13:00-15:00 UTC

Key discussion points

  • NRIs comprise a unique part of the IGF community as entirely organic and independently constructed networks at the national and regional, meeting the need for a community to congregate . They are the key to the IGF’s sustainable impact.  
  • The various disconnections between these initiatives and the global IGF community are exacerbated by new MAG members failing to participate in their own NRIs and regarding them distantly as a resource of tool. 
  • The organic nature of NRIs must be respected through the prioritisation of their bottom-up processes, avoiding the tendency to guide and advise them. 
  • Outsourcing surveys and other data-gathering tasks to NRIs can further burden their significant workload. 
  • It is suggested the MAG provides support through an active listening and observational approach, before supporting NRIs to produce organic activities that are suited to their respective communities. 
  • The NRI network is growing exponentially, currently standing at 90 national IGFs, 19 regional and sub-regional IGFs and 22 Youth IGFS, with new ones constantly being recognised. 
  • A recognisable strength of NRIs is the freedom from constraints of being a global event. 
  • NRIs provide a service beyond employees and the location of data reposits - they constitute a rich fabric woven from the cultural aspects, incentives for participation and the stakes of each participant.
  • The multitude of changes occurring with each annual IGF cycle (structure, location, topics, memberships) impede the ability of NRIs to collaborate and connect on relevant issues. 
  • African NRIs face a particularly complex stratification in their network structure. They must feed output messages both from the IGF to their own communities, and from these back through to the continental level for the African IGF, the global representative. 
  • Stronger support from the UN offices in their regions would greatly strengthen the legitimacy of NRIs and aid them in gaining recognition from government representatives.
  • Mentions of conflict between other Internet governance initiatives and the national IGFs, including fabricated ties to the IGF as a strategy for gaining funding from stakeholders, highlight the recurring issue of IGF membership ambiguity. 
  • Concretising the statute of NRIs with clear validation from the Secretariat may resolve this issue, the necessity for adequate due-diligence on the processes reported by NRIs must first be gathered. 
  • Efforts must be made to include critical sectors, particularly private, agriculture and healthcare, into the conversations in African countries because this will produce tangible results through outputs. 
  • Further digital capacity building initiatives are needed alongside the meetings in order to build communication channels with governments and key sectors. 
  • The absence of a communal space, outside borders for NRIs to congregate makes collaboration difficult because one party must relocate, although the regional level is recognised as the natural place for productive exchanges. 
  • Each NRI has its own history, hence no one-size-fits-all approach should be forced. 
  • National governments vary broadly in their involvement with NRIs, therefore the initiative coordinators must be trusted in the support they seek and the Secretariat must be mindful not to give NRIs to the government. 
  • Concerns were expressed about the exclusion of NRIs from the high-level parliamentary track, further widening the gap between representatives at the global IGF and communities back home. 

Future proposals 

  • Official recognition from the Secretariat will strengthen national IGFs with the ability to secure more resources and become more visible. This is expected to have positive spillover effects for regional and sub-regional initiatives.  
  • Introduce de-briefing sessions for each initiative following the annual IGF meeting, as a practice for reflection, documentation and strategising the next steps. This will also facilitate cross-collaboration within the NRI network, outside of annual meetings. 
  • NRIs should dedicate a portion of their time (perhaps 20%) to building ties with other initiatives in order to collaborate and share practices. 
  • Building and strengthening the interconnectedness of the NRIs network is the main focus for the future. The network created and supported by Anja Gengo should be developed into a platform where NRI can congregate, giving them a space of their own. 
  • NRIs could volunteer to implement practices being considered for the global IGF, acting as sandbox trials. As a bi-directional experiment, the global IGF could trial successful NRI practices through short-term implementation. 
    • This suggestion was extended to the new structures recommended in the High-Level Panel’s report on digital cooperation. NRIs could voluntarily trial the policy incubator, corporation accelerator, observatory and/or helpdesk, reporting the successes and failures of these as ‘lessons learned’. 
  • A survey could be distributed to find out the problems arising within national IGFs. 

Contributors 

  • Anriette Esterhuysen
  • Anja Gengo
  • Wisdom Kondor
  • Marilyn Cade 
  • Mary Uduma
  • Melinda Clem
  • Sandra Hoferichter
  • Flavio Wagner 
  • Abdeldjalil Bachar Bong
  • Roberto Zambrana

References 

  • Output document from : Consultations run across the National, Regional, Sub-Regional and Youth IGF Initiatives (NRIs) on the Report of the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation/Recommendation 5 A/B/ IGF Plus Model

 

IGF intersessional work now and in the future: Best Practice Forums and Dynamic Coalitions 

Wednesday 23 September 2020, 12:00-13:45 UTC

Key discussion points 

  • Since their inception at the first annual IGF in 2006, Dynamic Coalitions (DCs) have developed into autonomous, bottom-up modalities marked by an openness to new participants. 
  • In contrast, Best Practice Forums (BPFs) work under the guidance of the MAG with the support of IGF Secretariat’s support. 

DCs

  • DCs vary widely in format and approach, they may collaborate with other initiatives on a shared focus-area, target a specific audience or address a particular theme with relevant background organisations. 
  • The regularity of meetings varies depending on the DC
  • As small, dynamic groups with narrow foci, they make suitable entry points for new participants beginning their journey at the IGF.  
  • Recent developments include more concrete guidelines for their work, outlining the methods for producing outputs and requirements for becoming part of the DC main session. 
  • In line with the HLPF report on Digital Cooperation, Dynamic Coalitions are exactly suited to the proposed structure of a policy incubator and may direct future efforts towards filling this role.

BPFs

  • The report published by the BPF on BPFs was outlined and discussed.
  • The BPF on BPFs documented the lessons learned at BPFs between 2014 and 2019 .
  • It aimed to develop a systematised evaluation tool with proposals for metrics by which the MAG could assess BPF proposals and outcomes, as well as provide guidance for best practices organising and leading at the BPFs. 
  • In line with the adoption of a multi-year IGF approach, the report produced long-term objectives for IGF strengthening and short-term objectives for immediate implementation.
  • Emphasising this year’s effort on improving intersessional coordination and communication, BPFs have difficulty assessing the real impact and success of their work. 
  • Notably, BPFs are constrained by the 6 month timeframe in which all their work must be completed and cannot complete ambitious programmes in that time. 
  • The report observed that BPFs are more successful when their foci coincide with relevant policy discussions. 

NRIs

  • Anja Gengo presented the potential for strong intersessional synergies between NRIs and BPFs. 
  • NRIs supporting BPFs could share annual outputs as contributions, connect community experts with relevant BPF facilitators and inform local communities of the opportunities for participation in BPF work. 
  • BPFs supporting NRIs could lend their expertise to NRIs events through resource persons, promote relevant NRI outputs within their networks and explore the possibility for an interactive session module on their activities at NRI pre-events. 

Successes and areas for improvement 

  • Coordinators from the DC on Disability and Accessibility suggest this issue be embraced by the entire IGF community, rather than a sole DC. The IGF must shift from a reactive to proactive stance and address the inadequacies in support for this population, such as the lack of sign-language transcriptions at meetings.
  • Intersessional synergies can be strengthened with the integration of DCs and NRIs. 

Proposals for the future 

  • Intentionally select themes complimenting current and relevant policy discussions. 
  • Strengthen outcomes with topics connecting to the value streams of the wider ecosystem beyond the IGF, for example the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 
  • Submit an input to UNDESA detailing how the corporation accelerator and policy incubator structures could be modelled to complement the IGF Plus. 
  • BPFs to target their outreach with important organisations by establishing liaisons officers. 
  • Embrace the multi-year approach. Strengthening the processes and interconnectedness of the IGF community will facilitate finding long-term solutions to widely encountered issues and addressing these in a BPF or DC. 

Contributors 

  • Anriette Esterhuysen 
  • Carlos Alfonso 
  • Jutta Croll 
  • Wim Degezelle 
  • Luca Belli
  • Michael Oghia
  • Anja Gengo
  • Marcus Kummer 
  • Concettina Cassa 
  • Giacomo Mazzone 
  • Raquel Gatto
  • Sivasubramanian Muthusamy
  • Ben Wallis 

References 

 

 MAG chair activities during 2020

Online discussions convened by the MAG chair pre-IGF2020

IGF strategy and strengthening in 2020: A series of pre-IGF online discussions convened by the IGF MAG chair and the MAG Working Group on IGF Strategy and Strengthening during September and October 2020

The IGF's mandate was renewed for a further 10 years by the UN General Assembly in December ‎‎2015. The current year, 2020, marks the midway point of this extended mandate. In addition, the ‎recently released UN Secretary-General's Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and its support for a ‎strengthened and expanded IGF (the IGF+) presents the opportunity for ‎deeper engagement on the IGF's achievements and challenges and for exploring approaches for ‎addressing emerging Internet policy issues.‎

To reflect on the IGF's achievement of its mandate and contribute ‎to the discussion on the architecture for digital cooperation, the IGF MAG chair, in ‎collaboration with the IGF MAG Working Group on IGF Strengthening and Strategy, is convening ‎a series of online discussions during September and October 2020. ‎

The discussions are open to all and take place weekly, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from the second week of ‎September to the last week of October. Each discussion is 2 hours-long. Inputs are given by people who have been active in the digital cooperation discussion and in internet governance as leaders and conveners of Best Practice Forums, Dynamic Coalitions, National, Regional and Youth IGFs and in the global IGF.

Recordings of completed discussions are available online.

COMPLETED DISCUSSIONS – ACCESS THE RECORDINGS

The IGF and linguistic diversity: challenges and achievements and possible next steps - Wednesday, 28 October 2020 13:00-15:00 UTC -  

The IGF and capacity development - Tuesday, 27 October 2020, 13:00-15:00 UTC 

Participation and inclusion from 2006 to 2019: achievements and challenges - Wednesday, 14 October 2020, 13:30-15:30 UTC 

IGF intersessional work now and in the future: Best Practice Forums and Dynamic Coalitions (Code: MAG-Chair-2020)

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 411