Taking stock and the way forward
stakeholders are invited to send us their comments and views on the
Athens meeting and make suggestions with regard to the preparation of
the meeting in Rio de Janeiro. You may wish to address topics such as
the preparatory process, the logistics of the meeting as well as its
format and content. In order to facilitate the assessment of the
feed-back we suggest that you fill in the Web based for and put your
comments in the following broad categories.
What worked well?
The symbol of
the location of the first IGF in Athens, cradle of the
round of talks after the opening ceremony was unusually frank.
atmosphere created the possibility of informal exchange of
government provided gorgeous buffets, as well as diners.
What worked less well?
Political issues :
of H.E George Papadatos, WSIS Rapporteur, who proposed the idea of the
first IGF in Athens, and who was very well acquainted with Civil
Society, broke the continuity of the WSIS process, as far as Civil
Society was concerned, It prevented the Greek government to play a
major political role in the IGF organization.. Greece plays only the
role of an event organizer.
IGF process and the IGF event in Athens were not enough held and
organize with a faithful spirit to the WSIS texts that were never
strongly recalled to the participants. The organization of
the IGF meeting was not articulated along the very precise points of
the IGF mandate.
sense, it can be felt that the current IGF process is betraying its
mandate determined by the WSIS.
it must be recalled that according to the WSIS texts :
UN Secretary-General should also:
an effective and cost-efficient bureau to support the IGF, ensuring
A bureau has
not been yet established so far, only a secretariat, which is
diplomatically completely different. It is not up to the existing
secretariat to decide whether a bureau should be established and how it
should be done. It is up to the United Nation members to press the new
UN Secretary General to fulfill this WSIS decision, as expeditiously as
important point of the mandate of the IGF has been deliberately brought
off the spotlight.
72.We ask the
UN Secretary-General, in an open and inclusive process, to convene, by
the second quarter of 2006, a meeting of the new forum for
multi-stakeholder policy dialogue called the Internet Governance Forum
(IGF). The mandate of the Forum is to:
emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and
the general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendations.
efforts were made to identify emerging issues during the IGF, and the name
of last session was a misnomer. The last IGF session was a
most welcome effort to involve young people, but it was not a session
targeted at identifying emerging issues as mentioned in the IGF
mandate. For the record, so that it could be taken officially
into account by the MAG, I intervened in this last session
and mentionned those issues. It was suprising that the speakers of the
sessions were not aware of the WSIS texts and of the IGF mandate.
replied to me that currently the IGF cannot make recommendations,
because no rules of procedures have been determined towards that goal. It is rather
clear that the very reason that a bureau is mentioned in the WSIS
texts, and not an office, is that precisely it is the task of a bureau
to determine and to deal with procedural issues.
of Dynamical Coalitions seem to have caught the IGF secretariat off
guard, and in fact, after Athens, the IGF secretariat did not
make any serious effort to organize, recognize, and empower the
Network and web site issues.
The IGF web
site was locked, allegedly because of a security bug that could not
fixed during the entire conference, preventing many workshop organizers
to update the IGF site with their workshop schedule.
network, entirely based, even for the cybercafé, on wireless
technology was overloaded and erratic. No computers at the
cybercafé were running Free Software operating system, not
because of the incapacity of the technicians, but because it was not
indicated in the specifications of their services, by the IGF
The WIKI of
the IGF where participants were invited, after the IGF meeting in
Athens, to submit proposal of Dynamic Coalitions never worked properly,
the proposals of Dynamic Coalition ( eg the Linguistic Diversity
coalition ) on the WIKI were never taken into account, and finally the
WIKI was closed recently without notice.
was ill-chosen, in a luxurious palace with exorbitant prices. I was
informed that for some diplomats of small european countries,
that the price was above their regulations and have to ask special
bad feelings among some governmental delegates from developing
countries, who were witnessing that some members of Civil Society could
afford to stay at the Divani Appollon palace, when they could not.
For most part
of the Civil Society, it was a real obstacle, creating yet another
There was no
easy public transportations from the Divani Appollon palace.
Suggestions for improvement in view of the second IGF meeting?
Political issues :
It is hoped
that the host country would take a stronger political role as a
facilitator between all stakeholders, and that the same well trained
diplomatic team that participated to the WSIS process would oversee the
organization of the next IGF, taking into account the WSIS best
It is hoped
that the next IGF meeting would be better articulated along the precise
points of its mandate, and in particular that a specific session would
deal with the identification of emerging issues, meanwhile that United
Nations members would take the opportunity to make a formal request to
the new secretary general to form Bureau for the IGF.
should be multistakeholder with a broad and inclusive membership.
MAG, which is not mentioned in the WSIS texts, should not be considered
as as the basis of the Bureau, because, at least, as far as Civil
Society is concerned, Civil Society members of the MAG have
not been selected towards this purpose.
the outputs of the overall IGF process, in particular, the IGF meetings
and of the dynamical coalitions, it was proposed in Athens that those
outputs be formatted along a very effective process familiar to all
internet architects :: RFC ( Requests for Comments
It would be
indeed a fitting diplomatic innovation to adopt this format to deal
with internet governance.
process was also proposed independently by the representative of
Indonesia, during the IGF in Athens.
it is suggested that willing governments involved in the next IGF
meetings and any other willing government,
alongside civil society and the business sector, should
implement a web platform to manage those RFCs, that would be
called RFC IS4D Information Society for Development ( name
suggested by Eurolinc).
themes of the IGF meeting in Athens overlapped with many of
the themes of the actions lines as coordinated by ECOSOC, and
implemented by various organizations such ITU, UNESCO, UNDP, etc... it
would be appropriate that the organizer of the next IGF meeting
should invite the representatives of ECOSOC, ITU, UNESCO,
UNDP, etc.. to make report and held workshops at the next IGF meeting,
and should organize a satellite Forum after the IGF meeting on topics
of the Geneva plan of action and of the Tunis agenda.
enhanced cooperation, nothing prevent the United Nation members to
suggest to the new UN Secretary-General, to use the IGF forum as a cost
effective tool to convene all stakeholders and to catalyze the enhanced
cooperation, that has not started yet,
It is hoped
that the local Civil Society would be better involved than it was the
case in Athens.
conference center should be a public conference center, and not within
It should be
conveniently located nearby affordable hotels and easily reachable with
with Athens, it is suggested that all computers in the
Cybercafé be running GNU/Linux operating system in the next
workshops lacked translation in Athens, because of the cost. It is
suggested that local volunteer students be called upon to help Civil
Society workshops for translation purposes.
travel costs to fly to Brazil,are going to constitute an obstacle for
many usual WSIS Civil Society participants, as well as new
participants. It is suggested that Brazil should provide some financial
assistance, and should partner with the European Union that has
promised to provide financial assistance through the channel of the
WSIS Civil Society Bureau.
synthesis paper, which gave an overview of all contributions received
and which was translated in all UN languages, meet a real need? Should
a similar paper be prepared prior to the next meeting?
There is a
crucial need of a synthesis paper, the problem is that the content of
the specific synthesis paper for Athens was not enough targeted at the
real problems of Internet Governance,. It did not reported, in a fair
fashion, critical opinions and therefore was of little
practical use, and in fact it was never used as a reference in any
discussion, so far I know in Athens.