The Indian proposal for improvements to IGF outcomes

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The Indian proposal for improvements to IGF outcomes
User: terminus
Date: 2/4/2011 2:52 am
Views: 6186
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I haven't been able to find this elsewhere on the Web, so here is a transcribed version of the document that India recently circulated to the CSTD's Working Group on Improvements to the IGF. Although none of the recommendations are new, they are measured, sensible and progressive - and the Working Group's failure means that this blog post may be the last we hear of them.

Proposed Improvements to IGF Outcomes, in Keeping with the UN General Assembly Mandate

1. MAG identifies key policy questions: At the start of the annual IGF cycle, the preparatory body (MAG) selects a set of 3-4 key questions (not just broad issues, but clear, specific questions) for consideration at the IGF every year. These questions should reflect the most important policy concerns at the global level in the area of Internet Governance. This selection should be based on wide and inclusive consultations with different stakeholders, including those who may not be able to attend these consultations in person, but are recognised as key actors and interested parties in the area of Internet governance. This selection should also take into account internet-related key policy issues currently being dealt with in various intergovernmental organisations and should specifically focus on how global Internet governance affects development.

2. MAG establishes Working Groups around the key questions: Around each such key policy question, issue-based working groups (WGs) should be formed. These WGs should have MAG members plus external experts where necessary, while maintaining overall balance in terms of various forms of diversity, with special consideration for developing country participation, both governmental and non-governmental.

3. Working Groups develop background material on the theme: The issue-based WGs will work during the preparatory process to develop the theme with regard to the assigned key policy question; develop appropriate background material (including commissioning out work to experts if required); prepare the format of the corresponding plenary sessions; undertake the selection and review of the feeder workshops, etc.

4. Feeder Workshops followed by ‘Round Table’ discussions: IGF participants will be encouraged and helped to hold workshops on various themes linked to the chosen key policy questions. These workshops will be called feeder workshops. These Workshops will examine various aspects of the issue and provide an opportunity to present diverse views and engage in a substantive dialogue. Members of the WG will try to attend as many of the feeder workshops as possible. After the feeder workshops, they will help organise discussions in a ‘Round Table’ format, involving workshop organizers and other key IGF attendees, to further shape perspectives around the 'key question' and look at seeking convergences, as well as capturing the diversity of views.

5. Inter-Sessional Thematic meetings: Where appropriate and possible, inter-sessional thematic meetings or thematic IGFs may be held on the policy issues identified for the IGF’s consideration in order to facilitate dialogue and identify possible outcomes.

6. IGF Plenary: The convergences and alternate views from the Round Table discussion and Thematic Meetings (if held) will be presented to the IGF plenary for a structured discussion with as wide a participation as possible. (Alternatively, the policy round table format may be tried out after the plenary discussion, depending on how best coherent outcomes from the IGF can be shaped.)

7. IGF Reports on specific questions: Based on the discussions in the IGF, the WGs produce a document on the concerned 'key policy question', which can be called as an 'IGF report on such and such issue'. Such a report will present areas of convergence and distil issues where there are divergent views, to a concrete set of policy options. The WGs should endeavour to present coherent policy options, even if there is more than one (as the WGIG report did with regard to oversight models).

8. The vast amount of information and the wide array of views that may have been generated around the year-long process of focussing on a specific policy question can be captured in a background paper, or a set of background documents and annexed with the WGs reports on specific policy questions. This would ensure that the rich deliberations and exchange of views are not lost by the international community. (This practice was also adopted by the WGIG).

9. IGF Reports transmitted to CSTD: Since CSTD has been tasked to oversee the WSIS/IGF process in the UN system, these outcome documents, or IGF reports, will then be sent to the CSTD, ECOSOC and the UN General Assembly. The UN General Assembly may forward them, as appropriate, to the concerned global/ international and other institutions involved with Internet related policy making. (In the interests of time and efficiency, the IGF could also simultaneously forward its reports directly to relevant intergovernmental and other international organisations and/or request the ECOSOC to transmit them to relevant bodies, without waiting for the UN General Assembly to do so).

10.    Feedback loop and Interface with other relevant bodies: The organisations and bodies receiving the IGF Reports should be requested to provide their feedback and report on developments that year on the relevant Internet Governance issue, to the next IGF. A session in the annual IGF should be dedicated to the consideration of such reports from other relevant bodies. This would enable the IGF to familiarize itself with other ongoing international processes in the area of Internet Governance. It would also enable it to interface with relevant bodies, as mandated by para 72 (c) of the Tunis Agenda and facilitate discourse between bodies dealing with different cross-cutting international public policies relating to the Internet, as mandated by para 72 (b) of the Tunis Agenda.

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