[IGFmaglist] PROPOSAL FOR IGF FUNDING MECHANISM WORKING GROUP

Wisdom Donkor wisdom.dk at gmail.com
Tue May 17 15:34:11 EDT 2016


*Dear  Chair, Members*



I believe the time has come for everyone to get on board the visions and
missions of IGF. A lot has being achieve in the past few years and a lot
more need to be done considering the WSIS, Tunis and the United Nations
vision 2030 agenda. Looking at the scope, objectives and the 10 years
mandate period of IGF, I think, there is the need to increase the funding
base of IGF with the aim of expanding its activities to achieving its
targeted goals.



Connecting the next billion, Universal access, capacity building, Regional
and National IGF Initiative and other initiatives of IGF might need a
sustainable funding mechanism to keep IGF away from financial stress. I am
by this proposing a funding mechanism working group to work out funding
modalities for IGF. I am looking at a broader picture where funds can be
made available to qualified people who will like to participate in IGF
activities, most especially the youth and for that matter women in society.
With this, I am looking at two levels of funding:

1.     IGF activity Funds

2.     National IGF Project Implementation Funds



*1.     **IGF activities funding*

This funding will go into the funding of IGF activities such: IGF
Fellowship program, Connecting the next billion, capacity building, Funding
Regional and National IGF Initiative programs etc.

 *2.     **National IGF Project Implementation Fund*

This funding mechanism will be at governmental level where government will
have to sign onto a treaty to enable access to the fund. I believe this in
itself will attract government and to a large extent will help governments
curtail some of the bottle neck issues retarding the growth of internet at
national levels most specifically in the developing countries.



I believe governments in its obligations have its priorities and budget
limits to what can be achieved within a time frame. Governments might agree
to the course of internet governance but might be slow in implementation as
a result of lack funding.



One such funding avenue is the World Bank Financial Intermediary Funds
(FIFs) this is a financial arrangements that typically leverage a variety
of public and private resources in support of international initiatives,
enabling the international community to provide a direct and coordinated
response to global priorities. Most FIFs have supported global programs
often focused on the provision of global public goods, including ICT
infrastructure, human rights, responses to climate change, and food
security etc. FIFs often involve innovative financing and governance
arrangements as well as flexible designs which enable funds to be raised
from multiple sources, both sovereign and private. FIF structures are
customized, depending on the needs of the partnership and agreements with
the World Bank.

The World Bank FIFs Trusteeship does not involve overseeing or supervising
the use of funds. This is the role of other implementing agencies that
receive funding and are responsible for project or program implementation.
Transfers are generally made by the Trustee to external agencies (e.g.
United Nations agencies or Multilateral Development Banks) for the
implementation of activities. In the case of FIFs whose governing bodies
have the legal and other required capacities to take on responsibility for
the use of funds, the Bank transfers funds received from donors directly to
multiple third party entities, usually in recipient countries, based on
instructions from and on behalf of the governing body.

The Banks portfolio consists of various types of trust funds, which have
different roles globally and in the Bank Group’s activities. As of June 30,
2011, the Bank Group held $29.1 billion of funds in trust. Of this amount,
$10.4 billion corresponded to trust funds managed by the International Bank
for Reconstruction and Development/International Development Association
(IBRD/IDA), $18.0 billion to the Financial Intermediary Funds, and $0.7
billion to trust funds managed by the International Finance Corporation.

The Bank operational teams spread across the globe provide downstream
technical assistance to build local capacity for implementation. In cases
where the Bank has been selected as an implementing agency by the FIF
governing body, resources may be received by Bank operational units for the
implementation of activities through the trust funds. These roles are
managed by different Bank vice-presidencies.



A typical example is the open government data movement championed by the
World Bank at country level and have achieved several successors globally
all as a result of funding that compel government to be committed.



One key concentrated area when it comes to the developing countries is
internet infrastructure, universal Access and economic and social
empowerment*.*

This notion is somewhat hard to be define and one of the important tasks
for governance would be to clarify between several competing definitions.
Outstanding issues include whether universal access should cover:

·        access for every citizen on an individual or household basis, or
for communities (e.g., villages and small towns) to ensure that all
citizens are within reach of an access point;

·        access only to basic telephony (i.e., narrow-band), or access also
to value-added services like the Internet and broadband; and

·        access only to infrastructure, or also to content, services and
applications.



In addition, any adequate definition of universal access must also address
the following questions:

·        *How to define “universal”?* Universal access is frequently taken
to mean access across geographic areas, but it could equally refer to
access across all gender, income, or age groups. In addition, the term is
frequently used almost synonymously with the digital divide, to refer to
the need for equitable access between rich and poor countries.

·        *Should universal access include support services?* Access to
content or infrastructure is not very useful if users are unable to make
use of that access due to the fact that they are illiterate or uneducated.
For this reason, it is sometimes argued that universal access policies must
include a range of socio-economic support services.



Each of these components, or a combination of them, is generally widely
held to be desirable. However, the realization of universal access is
complicated by the fact that there usually exist significant economic
disincentives to connect traditionally underserved populations. For
example, network providers argue that connecting geographically remote
customers is financially unremunerative, and that the required investments
to do so would make their businesses unsustainable. For this reason, one of
the key governance decisions that must be made in any attempt to provide
universal access is whether that goal should be left to market forces
alone, or whether the State should provide some form of financial support
to providers.


When (as is frequently the case) States decide to provide some form of
public subsidy, then it is essential to determine the appropriate funding
mechanism. (Universal service funds), which allocate money to providers
that connect underserved areas, are one possible mechanism. A more recent
innovation has been the use of least cost-subsidy auctions, in which
providers bid for a contract to connect underserved areas; the provider
requiring the lowest subsidy is awarded the contract.



In addition to funding the governance of universal access also encompasses
a range of other topics. For instance, definitions of universal access need
to be regularly updated to reflect technological developments  recently,
some observers have suggested that universal service obligations
(traditionally imposed only on fixed-line telecommunications providers),
should also be imposed on cellular phone companies, and possibly even on
ISPs. Interconnection arrangements, rights-of-way, and licensing policies
are other matters that are relevant to universal access. The range of
issues suggests the complexity of an adequate governance structure but it
also suggests the importance of such a structure.



This is my personal opinion and will be glad if members can discuss this
further.


In this regard, I hope this proposal of the *IGF funding Mechanism Working
Group* can be considered.



Sorry for my long text and typos.



Kind regards
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