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No. 149 Finding ways to build confidence in stakeholder legitimacy

Samantha Dickinson

Lingua Synaptica

1. Primary Contact Information

Ms. Samantha Dickinson

Organizational Affiliation: Lingua Synaptica

2. Secondary Contact Information

Mr. Jovan Kurbalija

Organizational Affiliation: DiploFoundation

3. Workshop Format. Please click here for a description of available Workshop Session Formats.

Break-out group discussions

4. Panel format background paper

No background paper provided

5. Duration of proposed session

90 minutes

6. Title

Finding ways to build confidence in stakeholder legitimacy

7. Description of workshop

Legitimacy of multistakeholder IG processes and outcomes are inextricably linked with participants’ legitimacy and accountability. Critics of multistakeholder IG point to lack of clarity over who participates and what institution/organization/entity they represent. They see incongruity when individual stakeholders offer personal opinions alongside representatives of organized collections of individuals, representatives of entities/interest groups, and government representatives who see themselves as responsible for meeting the needs of millions of citizens.

While supporters of multistakeholder IG believe the openness of IG processes is one of its core strengths, for critics, this openness can enable “bad actors” and others to “capture” or distort what should be consensus-based decision-making process. The result is that critics of multistakeholderism, and marginalized voices in IG processes, have less confidence in IG processes to contribute, as part of the WSIS and SDG frameworks, to achieving inclusive and sustainable growth.

Many multistakeholder IG processes have rudimentary ways to prioritize views of representatives of groups over individuals. e.g.:

- CSTD’s working groups asked stakeholder groups to nominate a limited number of representatives
- ICANN’s Cross-Community Working Groups prioritize representatives of ICANN constituencies (“members”) over individuals (“observers/participants”).

However, there are other ways stakeholders can achieve disproportionate influence, including:

- Informal sources of power (expertise, seniority/age, ubiquitous presence)
- Misrepresenting the size and decision-making processes of a group a stakeholder asserts to represent

This workshop will build on the Multistakeholder BPF and stakeholder legitimacy and accountability work in other sectors to identify and manage challenges in IG stakeholder legitimacy.

8. Tags

Tag1: Multistakeholder Cooperation

Tag2: Inclusiveness

9. Name, stakeholder group, and organizational affiliation of workshop proposal co-organizer(s)

Samantha Dickinson, Technical community, Lingua Synaptica
Jovan Kurbalija, Civil Society, DiploFoundation

10. Has the proposer, or any of the co-organizers, organized an IGF workshop before?


The link to the workshop report


11. Description of the plan to facilitate discussion amongst speakers, audience members and remote participants

1. A background paper will be produced before IGF, summarizing previous work on stakeholder legitimacy and containing a list of questions for participants to consider
2. Before the IGF, a publicly editable document will be published using an online collaborative text editor for preliminary comments to be posted by IGF participants or anyone else with an interest in the topic.
3. Based on input received before IGF, the key questions of interest will be split into separate publicly editable documents.
4. The speakers listed in the workshop proposals will actually be facilitators for the breakout groups, encouraging participants to consider the questions and answer based on personal experiences as well from theoretical and practice-based frameworks.
5. During the workshop, participants of each breakout group will be encouraged to nominate a representative to type notes directly into the relevant publicly editable document. Remote participants can interact directly with the text document to submit their ideas and ask questions. (Use of personal webcasting tools such as Periscope will be tried, as a way of enabling online participants to engage in the smaller breakout groups, but this is experimental and may not work)
6. Towards the end of the workshop, each breakout group will present their document to the rest of the participants.
7. The documents will remain open until the end of IGF to enable participants to continue to add their thoughts and ideas.
8. The separate documents will form the basis of the workshop report, with the full archive made available as support material.

12. Proposed Speakers

Horejsova, Tereza
Dammak, Rafik
Badii, Farzaneh
Lazanski, Dominique

Speakers provisionally confirmed:

Badii, Farzaneh
Dammak, Rafik
Horejsova, Tereza

13. Reasons for Speakers and/or description of how stakeholder views will be represented

NOTE: There will be no speakers in the workshop as it will consist of small breakout groups. Instead, the "speaker" list contains the list of facilitators for the workshop.

The facilitators of the small breakout groups have been chosen for their in experience in:

- Facilitating group discussions
- Facing challenges of stakeholder legitimacy in different contexts (Lazanski as a representative of GSMA members; Dammak and Badii as individuals with affiliations with multiple stakeholder groups depending on the process; Horejsova from her experience working with diplomats in Geneva)

In the lead-up to the IGF, participants from different stakeholder groups and geographic regions who may have a particular interest in the topic will be identified by the workshop organizers and requested to participate - either in person during the workshop, or by adding their thoughts to the online editable documents.

During the workshop itself, stakeholders from different groups will be encouraged to distribute themselves across the smaller groups, to ensure there is diversity of views available for consideration by all breakout group members.

14. Name of in-person Moderator(s)

Farzaneh Badii, Rafik Dammak, Tereza Horejsova, Dominique Lazanski

15. Name of Remote Moderator(s)

Samantha Dickinson

16. Name of Rapporteur(s)

Samantha Dickinson

17. Description of the proposer's plans for remote participation

Please see the response to question 11 above, which explains how online participation will be utilized before, during and after the workshop.

18. Based on which Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

No information provided

19. Background paper

No additional background paper provided

20. Agenda

1. Introductions

All participants in room to introduce themselves and explain why the workshop interested them and what they hope to take away from the workshop.

2. Setting the scene and review any comments received online prior to workshop[1]

Quick summary of main concepts in discussion paper on stakeholder legitimacy.

3. Based on the issues outlined in the discussion paper and that have received interest online prior to the workshop, workshop participants to decide which (maximum of four) issue areas related to stakeholder legitimacy are of most interest to workshop participants.

4. Smaller groups discuss the issues, led by the facilitators [2]

5. Reconvene as a group to present and small group discussions.

6. Wrap up, including encouraging participants to review and add to summary of discussions to be posted online after the workshop.


[1] Links to the discussion paper and online collaborative text documents will be available at http://linguasynaptica.com/stakeholder-legitimacy)

[2] Because of the difficulty in using the official single online participation room made available to each workshop room (one audio and video source for the room means online participants could only follow a single group), each facilitator will ask group members to take turns adding notes to the online document for that group so that remote participants can follow the discussion in realtime and also add their own comments. Use of personal webcasting tools such as Periscope will be tried, as a way of enabling online participants to engage in the smaller breakout groups, but this is experimental and may not work.

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