Drama, intrigue, promise and danger at the Nairobi IGF
Date: 2/10/2011 1:49 am
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The last couple of IGF meetings have begun to feel a little stale. Nairobi changed all that. The sixth IGF meeting brought with it drama, intrigue, promise, and even a little danger. We will remember the IGF in Kenya for:
- The drama by which India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) found themselves in the spotlight amidst strong accusations from almost all other parties that their proposal for a new Internet governance institution was a blatant attack on multi-stakeholderism. Also displaying a flair for the dramatic, one civil society delegate fiercely slammed the human rights record of the 2012 IGF host Azerbaijan, as its delegates sat stony-faced in the front row.
- I was pulled into the intrigue of a plot to demonstrate against Azerbaijan in the United Nations compound, save for the fact that I knew nothing about this alleged plot and can find nobody else who did. China also kept the IGF's participants intrigued about its proposal with three other countries for an international code of conduct on information security, as its representatives sat silently in the face of direct questioning about that proposal.
- I found much promise in the willingness of the US and EU, known for their penchant for private meetings with well-heeled lobbyists, to afford the same opportunity to civil society during this meeting. The IBSA governments have also invited civil society to engage with them on their proposal. Also very promising is the likelihood of real IGF improvements on the horizon, with the United States now almost isolated, among governments at least, in opposing real reforms, and being taken to task for this by Andrea Glorioso of the European Commission.
- And the danger? What else, but the eagles that circled the delegates at lunch, swooping down on them for their food in a terrifying reenactment of an Alfred Hitchcock movie (or, if you prefer, a certain popular smartphone game.)