Workshop Proposal 18


Date: 6 Aug 2014

Time: 10:30 – 12:00

Venue: Tapas 1

Remote Participation LInks: Video / Text / Adobe Connect

Workshop Title Multi-stakeholder Internet Governance: The Way Ahead
Thematic Area of Interest Enhanced Cooperation & the Multi-stakeholder model
Specific Issues of Discussions & Description Introduction:Today, multi-stakeholderism is the catchphrase in Internet governance. With the display of a multi-stakeholder model at NETmundial, controversies and opinions regarding the meaning, substance and benefits of multi-stakeholderism have deepened. As the recent meeting of the Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation of the United Nations Commission on Science, Technology and Development demonstrates, questions and concerns regarding meaning of multi-stakeholderism, thelegitimacy and desirability of its processes, and the successes and disappointments of its outcomes now dominate the discussion. At this juncture, clarity and consensus are imperative to determine the future of multi-stakeholderism in Internet governance.Roles and responsibilities of stakeholders:The debates surrounding stakeholder-roles in Internet governance began with ¶ 49 of the Geneva Declaration of Principles and ¶ 35 of the Tunis Agenda, which delineated clear roles and responsibilities. It created a ‘contributory’ multi-stakeholder model, where states held sovereign authority over public policy issues, while business and civil society were contributed to ‘important roles’ at the ‘technical and economic fields’ and the ‘community level’, respectively. At the same time, it set forth anagenda for enhanced cooperation.As the WGEC meeting (April 30-May 2, 2014) demonstrated, there is as yet no consensus on stakeholder-roles. Certain governments remain strongly opposed to equal roles of other stakeholders, emphasizing their lack of accountability and responsibility. Civil society is similarly splintered, with a majority opposing the Tunis Agenda delineation of stakeholder-roles, while others remain dubious of permitting the private sector an equal footing in public policy-making. Still others question the

wisdom of seeking a ‘fix’ when ‘nothing is broken’. In this session, we aim to interrogate the benefits and disadvantages of an ‘equal footing’ model, as opposed to a ‘contributory’ model.

Who are the stakeholders? Should a multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance grant all stakeholders ‘equal footing’? Should such ‘equal footing’ be relegated to issues other than substantive public policy-making? On the other hand, is a ‘contributory’ model safer? Are states better equipped to represent interests inclusively? How can governments and businesses best perform their role as trustees of the public interest of interest users?

In view of the formidable consolidation by the private sector at NETmundial, while civil society splintered on issues of intellectual property and intermediary liability, can a ‘participative model’ better prevent detrimental outcomes?

 

Multi-stakeholderism beyond NETmundial:

As important as the meaning of multi-stakeholderism is the process of its execution. The need to fashion safe and sustainable processes for multi-stakeholder participation was highlighted by the successes and failures of private sector and civil society at NETmundial. From the ICANN and IGF models to stakeholder coalitions, premeeting

coordination and governmental policy participation, this session shall expand on the quest for effective and beneficial stakeholder participation and representation in both the ‘equal footing’ and ‘contributory’ models, with a focus on enhancing developing country participation.

Particularly, lessons that Internet governance may draw from multi-stakeholder governance processes across areas shall be discussed. For instance, deliberative democracy, enterprise associations or unions (such as in the International Labour Organisation) may all be of value. Similarly, multi-stakeholder processes in environmental and corporate governance and the development sector may benefit Internet governance. In determining the value of these processes to Internet governance, public interest of users is an important consideration. The capability and

initiative of governments to implement an effective bottom-up model of Internet governance is equally important and will be considered.

Expected Format and Target Panel Members

Dr. Govind, CEO, National Internet Exchange of India

Ms. Mishi Choudhary, Executive Director, Software Freedom Law Centre, India

Dr. Anja Kovacs, Director, The Internet Democracy Project

Mr. Rajnesh Singh, Regional Bureau Director for Asia-Pacific, ISOC

Mr. Parminder Jeet Singh, Executive Director, IT for Change

Dr. Arvind Gupta, National Technology Head of BJP, India

Prof. PengHwa Ang, Singapore Internet Research Center, Singapore Nanyang Technology University

Workshop Organiser Geetha HariharanProgramme OfficerCentre for Internet & Society, IndiaPrasanth SugathanCounselSoftware Freedom Law Centre, India