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IGF 2018 EVOLUTION OF INTERNET GOVERNANCE

Report: 

IGF 2018 Report
Evolution of Internet Governance, NRIs perspectives on the multistakeholder approach

 

- Session Type (Workshop, Open Forum, etc.): Round table

- Title: IGF 2018 NRI Main Session: Evolution of Internet Governance, NRIs perspectives on the multistakeholder approach

- Date & Time: Tuesday, 13 November, 2018 - 11:40 to 13:00

- Organizer(s): 111 recognized NRIs in IGF 2018 cycle

- Chair/Moderator: Benedicto Fonseca, Ambassador of Brazil; and Anja Gengo, NRIs Focal Point
- Rapporteur/Notetaker: Dustin Phillipis, IGF-USA and ICWiki​

- List of speakers and their institutional affiliations (Indicate male/female/ transgender male/ transgender female/gender variant/prefer not to answer):

  1. Argentina IGF, Ms. Carolina Aguerre,
  2. Armenia IGF, Ms. Lianna Galstyan,
  3. Asia-Pacific IGF, Ms. Yannis Li,
  4. Brazil IGF, Mr. Flavio Wagner,
  5. Chad IGF, Mr. Abdeldjalil Bachar Bong,
  6. China IGF, Ms. Tian Lou,
  7. Colombia IGF, Mr. Julian Casasbuenas,
  8. EuroDIG, Ms. Sandra Hoferichter,
  9. French IGF, Mr. Lucien Castex,
  10. IGF Africa, Mr. Makane Faye,
  11. IGF-USA, Ms. Marilyn Cade, and
  12. Italy IGF, Mr. Francesco Pirro,
  13. Japan IGF, Mr. Keisuke Kamimura,
  14. Nigeria IGF, Ms. Mary Uduma
  15. Portugal IGF, Ms. Ana Neves,
  16. Russia IGF, Mr. Leonid Levin
  17. SEEDIG, Ms. Sonia Hering,
  18. Spain IGF, Ms. Zoraida Frias,
  19. UK IGF, Mr. Nick Wenban Smith
  20. Ukraine IGF, Mr. Vitaliy Moroz,

- Theme (as listed here): Evolution of Internet governance

- Subtheme (as listed here): Multistakeholder approach

- Please state no more than three (3) key messages of the discussion.

This session addressed four pre-agreed policy questions:

  1. Examples from the NRIs on how the application of the multistakeholder model to discussing the Internet governance pertaining matters, contributed to development of Internet governance. Is there an impact on policies from the Internet Governance Forum initiatives?
  2. Examples from the NRIs on how the application of the multistakeholder model to discussing the Internet governance pertaining matters, contributed to development of Internet governance. Is there an impact on policies from the Internet Governance Forum initiatives?
  3. How can we improve the implementation of the multistakeholder model on the national and regional levels?
  4. Multistakeholder model on a global level: current status and recommendations for improvements

- Please elaborate on the discussion held, specifically on areas of agreement and divergence.

The panelists brought bottom up inputs from their national and regional perspectives, especially the following as per the session policy questions:

  1. Examples from the NRIs on how the application of the multistakeholder model to discussing the Internet governance pertaining matters, contributed to development of Internet governance. Is there an impact on policies from the Internet Governance Forum initiatives?
    Key Messages based on inputs from: Brazil IGF, Nigeria IGF and UK IGF:
    While the NRIs each take a different approach to influencing policy, there are some commonalities. Some NRIs aims to influence policy directly, while others aim to facilitate multistakeholder discussions alongside governments without any direct policy objective. Despite these differences they all share the objective of elevating the voice of all stakeholders. Additionally, they provide an example of the multistakeholder model that extends beyond the confines of the IGF and the NRIs​
     
  2. What are the challenges we face while engineering/developing and implementing the multistakeholder model for discussing the Internet governance pertaining matters?
    Key messages based on inputs from IGF of: Asia-Pacific, Colombia, Italy, Japan, Portugal and Chad.
    Resourcing NRI initiatives was a common challenge, with funding most commonly mentioned in addition to premises in which to hold meetings and events. Difficulties with engagement and participation were also referenced multiple times, ranging from low youth participation to a lack of government engagement. The multistakeholder model struggles for relevance in some parts of the world where history and culture mean that expectations are that problems are solved in a more hierarchical manner. Linked to these problems were the lack of awareness or relevance of the IGF in many parts of the world whether at a global level or NRI level. Tools and platforms to bring in much better participation, and to explain the activities of NRIs for their respective communities are needed. Also expressed as a challenge were that some topics, particularly of a technical nature, are difficult to explore within the constraints of the multistakeholder model in that they need specific expertise which does not readily participate, either for reasons of time or patience, with the multistakeholder processes. Finally, some participants described how the terminology of ‘internet governance’ was itself a barrier in that it did not necessarily translate in a meaningful way into other languages, perhaps because of the similarity of the words ‘governance’ and ‘government’.

 

  1. How can we improve the implementation of the multistakeholder model on the national and regional levels?
    Key messages based on inputs from: Argentina IGF, Armenia IGF, China IGF, French IGF, Spain IGF, SEEDIG, Ukraine IGF.
    Despite all of the successes of the NRIs as a whole, there was a common thread on opportunities for improvement. These can generally be categorized into four themes. First, there is a need to find models for financial sustainably. There are numerous suggestions for these solution, but there is a fundamental understanding that funding is essential to the work of NRIs. Second, there were numerous ideas about how to improve the appeal of Internet Governance, including ideas including thinking about new terminology, branding and broadening the scope of emerging technology topics such as  AI, blockchain, and autonomous vehicles. Third, there is a need to improve engagement, to bring in voices that have not traditionally been involved in the Internet governance space. There were two elements mentioned concerning this: capacity development and outreach. Schools on Internet governance and road shows were both mentioned as means to increase engagement. Lastly, there was a call to enhance the coordination among the NRIs, especially at a regional level, sharing best practices and coordinating the timing of their events.

 

  1. Multistakeholder model on a global level: current status and recommendations for improvements
    Key messages based on inputs from IGFs of:  Africa, EuroDIG, USA and Russia.
    A lot of general support and warmth for the multistakeholder model was expressed. With the Internet being unique in both its transnational nature and rapid evolution, there was a need for new structures and ways of discussion which are more inclusive than a purely governmental process. However, there was also broad recognition that in order to stay relevant, or even survive, the multistakeholder model needs to evolve, and quickly. The interrelationship between the UN structures and the IGF is one aspect of that, but more could be done to highlight and promote examples of successes and to highlight its relevance in concrete terms. Better continuity ‘bridging’ from year to year was felt to be desirable, together with reporting of more directed and specific policy recommendations. Although it is still very fresh there was interest in the recent suggestions made by the French government for the evolution of the IGF.

 

- Please describe any policy recommendations or suggestions regarding the way forward/potential next steps.

This session recommended the multistakeholder approach as effective in discussion the Internet governance matters. Through examples, it showcased that the implementation of the IGF model can lead to policy change.

However, developing processes based on the IGF core principles and procedures requires resources that are often one of the biggest problems in various communities. These are associated with funding, to stakeholder engagement and archiving meaningful broad participation within community.

It was recommended to bring the process closer to the community by adjusting the terminology to be understandable to broad stakeholder spectrum, branding the process itself, broadening the agendas with special focus on new impactful technologies.

Capacity development of community is critical and growing number of schools on Internet governance is shown to be effective for bringing the IG(F) concept to local communities and integrating it.

Having firm IGF processes on national and regional levels means firmer and more relevant process on a global level. The global IGF process need to adjust to become more effective and come up with concrete recommendation.

 

- What ideas surfaced in the discussion with respect to how the IGF ecosystem might make progress on this issue?

The IGF is seen as a unique carrier of the multistakeholder discussion and engagement process for Internet governance under the auspices of the UN. It has to improve its working modalities to show concretely the effectiveness of the implementation of the multistakeholder process.
Global IGF is only strong as its principles are accepted and integrated on local levels. This is why the IGF processes on national and regional levels are of critical importance for a stronger and long term sustainable global IGF process. Finally, the global IGF has to continue to improve, and produce concrete recommendation for public Internet policy. The recommendation of the President Macron made during the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 IGF should be considered.

- Please estimate the total number of participants: 300-400

- Please estimate the total number of women and gender-variant individuals present: 150-200

- To what extent did the session discuss gender issues, and if to any extent, what was the discussion? Session did underline the importance of stakeholder engagement in the multistakeholder process, and achieving full inclusive process of everyone.

- Session outputs and other relevant links (URLs): Not applicable.

Session Time: 
Tuesday, 13 November, 2018 - 11:30 to 12:50
Room: 
Salle I (Main)

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) 229 173 678