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Internet Governance 17 November 2009

Multistakeholderism at the IGF – Assessing Impact on Participation

Just the gist of this session – basically reviewing inclusive participation at the IGF. The introduction, conveyed by Parmindeer Jeet Singh of IT for Change, mentioned open model of the IGF, the real impact of participation, and how this experience can be improved.

Talking in general here about  participation per se, the procedural and substantive participation covered the IGF”s inclusive participation principles that actually resulted in diverse participation from developing countries and an increased voice in annual forums. The strategic involvement of participants showed obvious results and by looking at the results (which will be mentioned a bit in the next paragraph) we can look back on how inclusive participation can be improved. By participation,  we can make positive discrimination, how best to prioritize, proactively identify that there are several sectors involved.  From what I gathered, everything is still a working progress but what we want is to present initial trends.

A study was presented about  the different variables used to assess substantive participation. It seems like participants from the IGF Brazil and IGF Egypt were profiled. The indicator used for participation and dialogue is the analysis of and calculating volume of texts spoken by delegates. The study basically showed how representation from developed countries was still higher. There were higher representation in the NGO sector (whether ICT or non-ICT), specifically from the academic community, which in part shows intellectual engagement by developed countries.

Karen Banks of APC (Association of Progressive Communication) spoke about providing civil society with the tools, information and the  capacities they need to participate in the decision making process that will affect their lives. According to Ms. Banks, one point to focus is to see the IGF more as a “process” if we are to increase participation in constituencies and groups. People should be provided with capacities to start in order to begin discussions in their own countries, as well as to begin building a mutilstakeholder culture in their country.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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