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Author Topic: Discussion on the draft programme/schedule for the Hyderabad meeting  (Read 49266 times)
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« on: March 05, 2008, 03:07:12 PM »

This discussion thread has been opened to allow for comments and suggestions on the draft  programme and schedule for the Hyderabad meeting as contained in the summary report of the MAG meeting on 27-28 February 2008.
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2008, 02:43:35 PM »

Do we have a rough idea on times specifically --
what time things will begin on December 3 ?
and what time they will end on December 6?

I also wanted to know when registration to the conference would open and also when registration for the hotels would be open?

I am trying to figure out flights and the days needed for flight time.


Dora Maria

Jeremy Malcolm
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2008, 01:22:08 PM »

The draft programme for the Hyderabad meeting incorporates a number of incremental improvements to the programmes for the Athens and Rio meetings which take into account some of the concerns and suggestions that civil society and other stakeholders have long expressed.  However whilst this movement is in the right direction, the rate of progress remains too slow in light of the fact that at the mid-term of its initial five year mandate, the IGF remains incapable of fulfilling each of the roles that the Tunis Agenda sets out for it.

To begin with, it is laudable that the Secretariat has joined the majority of stakeholders in recognising the need to refresh the now-stale and ineffective main sessions for the next meeting.  To this end the new draft programme suggests that more "specific issues" be the focus of the main sessions in Hyderabad.  However, this alone will not redress the problems of relevance that attended the plenary sessions in Athens and Rio.  Most important is not how specific the issues under discussion are, but whether those issues bear on the governance of the Internet rather than simply its use.

For example, to discuss the quality of peer produced content (to select at random a topic chosen for last year's plenary meeting), whilst interesting and a suitable topic for a conference on the sociology of the Internet, does not touch on the IGF's mandate and it inevitably achieves little.  Instead, to continue the example, discussion should be directed as to how (if at all) peer production should be governed and in what respects - that is, through norms (perhaps codified in a voluntary code of conduct), laws (subject to the observance of human rights standards), or some other mechanism.

A second proposed reform, responding (though not expressly) to a suggestion from civil society stakeholders such as IT For Change, is for certain workshops to be held on topics defined by the MAG and linked to main sessions, rather than being left entirely at large for ground-up development.  These workshops would not be held to conflict with main sessions, to facilitate the attendance of all interested stakeholders.  The overload of events will be further reduced through a moratorium of meetings during the lunchbreak or after 6pm.

These suggestions as to scheduling represent an advance over previous meetings, but do not go far enough.  It should be that workshops and main sessions are held on different days altogether, so that none of them conflict with each other.  This is common practice elsewhere in the Internet community, for example in the annual APRICOT conference (http://www.apricot.net/), at which workshops precede the main conference days.  This would foster a greater sense of purpose and community amongst IGF participants than the fragmented programmes of Athens and Rio made possible.

An additional change foreshadowed in the draft programme is that event organisers would be required to present a report on their events, failing which they would be disqualified from holding similar events in the following year.  This is a sensible suggestion, but does not sufficiently redress the lack of control that the IGF at large exercises over the activities of those acting under its auspices, and in particular its de-facto working groups, the dynamic coalitions.

Specifically, it has long been contended by the author and others from civil society, and has more recently been acknowledged by the MAG also, that criteria should be developed in open consultation with all IGF stakeholders by which dynamic coalitions (and, if relevant, other working groups that may form under the IGF) to be accredited for their compliance with basic norms of democratic and multi-stakeholder procedure.  Why has this widely-accepted deficit still not yet been addressed?

A fourth reform that has been put forward in the draft programme is that further efforts should be made to enable remote participation.  This, again, is a reform for which the author and many other stakeholders have long been calling.  It is regrettable, then, that there has been no sign of any progress towards its implementation ahead of the Hyderabad meeting, or at least that any such progress that may have been made has taken place behind closed doors.

It is insufficient for the Secretariat simply to rely upon the decentralised action of stakeholders to make good the deficit in mechanisms for remote participation on a voluntary and unfunded basis.  If real progress towards a better experience for remote participants is to be achieved, it will need to be actively facilitated and funded by the Secretariat in open consultation with stakeholder groups working in this area.  Although the Secretariat's funding is limited, if comparable priority were accorded to online engagement as is accorded to the annual meeting, the IGF's facilities for remote participation could be second to none.

Finally, on the proposed new themes for the plenary sessions - Universalisation of the Internet and Managing the Internet, I also have some concerns.  Taking the first of these to begin with, although development objectives are important, these are also those themes that have the greatest potential for overlap with the other follow-up mechanisms from WSIS, and also tend to raise questions of governance of the Internet only very incidentally.  Consequently, I question whether they merit over a full day of time on the Hyderabad programme to the exclusion of other governance topics.

As for Managing the Internet, my only concern is that the alternative title for this stream of "Using the Internet" should not be further entertained.  The IGF is not a conference about the use of the Internet.  It is a multi-stakeholder public policy governance forum.  By having allowed the first two meetings to become symposia for the aimless discussion of issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet, much of its early potential has been wasted.  "Managing the Internet" more appropriately redirects the focus of the forum towards its principal purpose: that of Internet governance.

Beyond the minor vaunted reforms that have been described above, and which do deserve some credit, it is at the same time disappointing that a more radical rethinking of the basic format of conference-style plenary sessions accompanied by stakeholder-organised workshops has not been undertaken.  My previous submissions have explained in detail why little progress will be made towards the fuller achievement of the IGF's mandate while its main sessions are structured as a conference rather than as a deliberative forum.

Without repeating those submissions, it will be necessary for the IGF to embrace more deliberative forms of discussion, in which participants are assisted by trained facilitators to engage in intensive small-group discourse on discrete issues of Internet-related public policy.  Such processes of democratic deliberation should extend not only to the annual plenary meeting, but also to on-line fora, as well as supportive intersessional and regional activities.

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Vladimir Radunovic

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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2008, 11:10:57 AM »

Agreeing that more interactivity should be introduced to the IGF sessions, which was again expressed at the Open Consultations meeting by Mr. Nitin Desai yesterday, hereby I am presenting briefly some ideas on upgrading the interactivity of sessions of the IGF:

General comment:
- Plenary sessions with 1000+ people can not be fully interactive
- Therefore special care should be given to workshops and side event panels
- Finally, the opportunities of the online space and web2.0 tools should be used to maximum
- In all cases, youth representatives should be asked for suggestions for interactivity, as they are the masters of creative approaches
- The organisation of Village Square / Fair is a must, as this is the interaction hub

Plenary sessions:
- Taking some interventions by the audience/participants well in advance (even prior to IGF) to be integrated with the plenary debates
- Taking interventions from the audience in real-time with strictly limited time allotted (2 minutes) (as was the case for Critical Resources session in Rio which was moderated in an excellent way in terms of the questions)
- Considering email/chat interventions as well: either read by someone, alike with the Open Consultations, or even shown on a separate video beam so that both audience and the panellists can see (though that might also drag the attention from the discussion)
- Introducing debate-like parts of plenary sessions, with involvement of the audience: pros vs. cons, with listing both pros and cons online (shown on some beam) as they are identified from the debate by the moderator, but also as suggested by the audience (prior to or during the session, through chat/email or even piece of paper) to support the debate and assist the debaters
(debates could not only bring about important pros and cons on an issue, but can also be highly dynamic and engaging sort of session)

Workshops and sessions:
- Introducing models such as simulations within groups, role-play games (exactly - games: games are not only for kids!), and other
- Involving the youth in suggesting the formats and organising the sessions:
  . the youth representatives should be encouraged to suggest ideas for formats of sessions;
  . the organisers of the workshop/open forum/best practices sessions should be advices to use more interactive approach, and could be given the assistance of some chosen youngsters with idea and suggestions (and even facilitation and organisation on the spot), related to the topic and original idea of the organisers.
(non-conventional interactive approaches commonly introduced by youth have shown to be very productive also when performed by the elder participants; GK3 even in KL in December has brought up several examples; but also some sessions of the WSIS Tunis)
Online space
- The easiest way of the remote participation are Web2.0 tools, including forums, wikis, hypertext comments on proposed documents, etc.
- The Announcement space should be given online, allowing each player/organisation to present the achievements and plans within 700-1000 words
- A team of people should be in charge of planning and implementing the online discussion fora which would involve both the people present at the IGF and those accessing remotely
- The team would also be in charge of making digests or picking out the key inputs and idea introduced online and presenting at the IGF sessions (though the participants themselves will already be encouraged to use some idea during their performance)

Village Square / Fair
- Village or Fair (or whatever titled) should be well taken care of this year again: it was one of the most important segments throughout WSIS process; the contacts and networking resulted with countless cooperation and joint activities
- A space for the Announcements should be given to all the interested organisations, with allotting 10-15 minutes each to present their achievements and plans; whoever is interested might come by and listen (this was one of the well implemented idea of the GK3 even in KL)
- List of participants (people and organisations) should be available in advance on the web, with the option of uploading profile of organisation and of the delegates online (with photo) for each participating actor; the exact plan of the Village should be shown bit in advance as well. This would ease and speed up meeting among the actors, and would allow targeting potential partners prior to coming to IGF.

Best regards,

   Vladimir Radunovic

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