[Wg-mwp] Comments on WG-MWP work and proposal on IGF outputs

Lynn St.Amour st.amour at bluewin.ch
Thu Nov 9 13:27:42 EST 2017

Dear Timea, colleagues,

I will give you my thoughts and at the same time note that this is a bottom-up process (as is the IGF itself), and as Chair I facilitate the discussion.  The WG drives it, so we need to hear from WG members.

Please see below for specific comments.

> On Nov 6, 2017, at 12:08 PM, SUTO Timea <Timea.SUTO at iccwbo.org> wrote:
> Dear Lynn and colleagues,
> I am writing to share the feedback of ICC BASIS members on the work of the WG-MWP so far and the proposals we have been discussing. My apologies for getting back to you late and thank you again for your understanding and flexibility in allowing us to consult more broadly about this to improve our work.
> About the mandate of the group
> During the previous mandate, in pursuit of improvements to the IGF,  a number of offshoot of activities from the global IGF event have emerged (such as BPFs, DCs, NRIs, CENB). As these have come about in a more organic fashion and are in many cases competing for similar resources, the Working Group on Multi-year strategic workplan for the IGF -- at this early stage of a new mandate -- presents an opportunity for the community to consider the IGF event and these component parts with more of a strategic and longer term perspective. This MAG working group has a unique opportunity to provide a common framework and coherent work plan covering expected major areas of work for the IGF as well as for all intersessional activities, and including support requirements/expectations.

With respect to the “opportunity” comment above, I believe this is what the WG is doing.  The IGF Programme Component Document is the baseline for these discussions, and provides the common framework from which improvements can be made.  The BPFs, CENB, and DCs have had significant MAG direction, engagement or input and this should continue.   In addition, the MAG charters the BPFs and CENB, and reviewed the DCs “terms".    Given where we are in the year, I would like to propose the WG focus on recommendations to the incoming MAG for multi-year topics for BPFs, DCs and CENB, as well as any areas we or “they” see for improvement.  This should be done with the current leaders/members of those efforts and I am going to call for WG members to come forward and drive this.   The NRIs are a separate, and more complex and nuanced discussion.  We need to think through - with them, and the NRI Focal Point - how we can work on these areas collaboratively.   

And of course we need to ensure clarity on the other aspects of the annual IGF program as well.  That is also part of the work on the IGF Programme Component Document.

> Concurrently the Working Group to support evaluation and implementation of improvements to the IGF (WG-IMP), MAG members and the community have an opportunity to evaluate and assess progress from efforts such as the CSTD Working Group on IGF improvements and its recommendations  along with other improvement proposals such as the IGF retreat and its reflections.

Work here has been progressing in several ways and the WG-IMP is helpful.  At the same time, work has been underway for years to advance the recommendations.  We should all continue doing all we can to address them.  This does not have to be sequential.  These efforts advance through bottom-up/community processes facilitated by the MAG and the IGF Secretariat.  
>  On the proposal for advancing IGF outputs
> In our opinion, it is premature to ask the WG-MWP to work on the proposal put forward. We view it as rather a possible solution offered in response to some of the recommendations currently being evaluated by WG-IMP that call for more “tangible outcomes”.  In our understanding, discussions on this proposal are out of place in that it would add new work items  and detract from the important work the WG-MWP should address as a priority – notably contributing to the strategic deployment of existing activities.

This could happen in parallel. As is true with all largely volunteer processes, and particularly true of community (or bottom-up processes) there is always an element of leveraging where the interest is.  This often means several work streams in parallel.   I will echo the words of another WG member from our last call "that this is a small drafting team effort to see whether or not there *might* be something substantive we could bring forward to the WG”.  A small group to do some initial brainstorming if you will.  It is not a heavy resource call on the WG.  Many of your - quite valid - comments would be more appropriately addressed after that initial brainstorming.

>  For this reason we suggest the proposal should rather  be discussed sequentially following the assessment of the WG-IMP and considered in view of all other proposals and recommendations already made to improve the IGF by exploring “tangible outcomes”.  

I think many (if not all) proposals and recommendations are being considered - and by many.  IGF efforts are largely distributed, and I believe the WG-IMP is taking more of a performance review approach to their work.

> Discussing this proposal in WG-MWP not only overlaps with the work of WG-IMP, but also circumvents the mandate and work of WG-IMP and creates a scenario where this particular proposal is leapfrogging others already made in the past years through open and collaborative channels.

Certainly we do not want to duplicate or overlap the work of the WG-IMP and we are all making efforts not to.  Two of their three co-chairs are members of this WG and it would be helpful to hear their perspective.

>  On the areas of focus of the WG-MWP
> The WG-MWP, as we understand it, was created to respond to arising concerns over the future of the IGF, its funding, staffing and financial sustainability as well as the working methods and accountability processes of the different IGF work streams. Thus we believe the main focus of this WG should be to:
> •                    establish clear and accountable work processes and stable and predictable mandate of authorization for the various intersessional work-streams;
> •                    create a strategic multi-year work program for the IGF and intersessional activities;
> •                    consider ways to raise profile of the IGF and strengthen the participation of underrepresented groups and regions and enhance the credibility of IGF work streams by addressing their balance and ensuring representation of regions and stakeholders;
> •                    consider ways to broaden the pool of funding resources and establish adequate long term funding to provide the IGF Secretariat with sufficient resources to prioritize IGF topics of relevance to the community, and ensure adequate documentation of policy discussions.
> Keeping in mind these focus areas, the WG-MWP should start its work by considering the chain of action and accountability of all IGF activities and consider how these can be woven into a common action plan with defined processes and responsibilities and frameworks for decision-making. This can be done based on the document prepared by the IGF Secretariat listing all IGF activities.

I believe this work is underway per my comments above, and at the same time probably not as fast as anyone would like.  Nor, with the same set of priorities.

The MAG - by design - is more of a programme committee not a management body.  Perhaps the better way to think about our broader activities is that we are more like orchestra conductors - trying to get everyone playing together cohesively.  We need to tap into strengths and interests and try to find the best possible intersection of the larger priorities and those interests.  And therein lies the fun and challenges of largely volunteer multi-stakeholder community processes.

> Once this common action plan is completed, careful consideration should be given to assess the needed resources for its implementation (financial resources, staffing, expertise, etc.).
> Then, the working group should focus on making recommendations on fundraising activities to cover the resources needed and consider the feasibility of the activities taking into consideration their return on the required input and investment in the allocated timeframe.
> Thank you for the opportunity to provide these comments. I look forward to our next discussion.

Timea, thank you.  And, thank you to all the ICC BASIS members for the input and comments.   In order for us to advance the work of the WG, we need to hear from more members, so …over to all of you……


> Kind regards,
> Timea
> --
> Timea Suto 
> Project Coordinator
> Commission on the Digital Economy / BASIS
> International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
> 33-43 Avenue President Wilson, 75016 Paris, France
> +33 (0) 1 49 53 33 89  | timea.suto at iccwbo.org | www.iccwbo.org
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