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Internet Governance 23 November 2013

A Wrap up of Internet Governance Discussions at the ICANN 48 in Buenos Aires

Markus Kummer
By Markus KummerFormer Senior Vice President

Discussions on Internet Governance dominated much of the discussion at the Buenos Aires ICANN meeting. Three main tracks emerged from the discussions. Given that many of the activities announced at ICANN are new, I tried to contextualize these initiatives and understand how they fit within the wider Internet Governance discussions and how we use these new tools to enhance, strengthen and encourage the multistakeholder dialogue. I sorted issues into three main “tracks”, and below are details of each:

TRACK 1 – Global Multistakeholder Meeting on Internet Governance, also known as the Brazil Meeting on Internet Governance

Date: 23-24 April 2014
Location: Sao Paolo, Brazil
Organization:

  • Hosted by Brazil, other governments invited
  • Coordinated by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br)
  • Four committees will help convene and organize
  • Stakeholder participation in the Committees will be channelled through the 1Net.org platform;
  • Inputs into the meeting should be ready by 1 March.

More information to come, here, at the Internet Society blog.

TRACK 2 – /1net – A global dialogue on Internet Governance
  • Placeholder site launched—improved site under development
  • Purpose and role are still evolving,
  • Ongoing discussions on Steering Committee composition and role

Potential purposes:

  1. community-based initiative to discuss Internet problems
  2. way of connecting problems and potential solutions,
  3. engaging those not yet engaged
  4. stimulate grassroots campaigns
  5. feeder to IGF’s (global, regional and national)

Read more about 1Net: http://www.1net.org

TRACK 3 – Panel on the Future of Global Internet Cooperation

Purpose: Engage in collective dialogue on critical Internet governance issues.

Outcome: A high-level report in early 2014 (January?) for public comment to include principles for global Internet cooperation, proposed frameworks for such cooperation and a roadmap for future Internet governance challenges.

Result: Input to conference in Brazil

Internet community participation: Mitchell Baker, Vint Cerf, Fadi Chehadé, Olaf Kolkman, Lynn St.Amour, others: https://www.internetsociety.org/blog/2013/11/global-panel-address-future-internet-governance

Overlaying the above “tracks”, there are many discussions on-going with respect to next steps/the future of Internet Governance. One key question is the role of governments in Internet governance arrangements. A complaint often heard by governments is that they don’t know their way around in the distributed Internet ecosystem and they think that nobody is dealing with public policy issues such as spam or cybersecurity. To address this, there have been calls for building a new framework for evolved Internet Governance arrangements.

While the Internet Society holds the view that the current distributed system is sufficiently dynamic to cope with emerging problems, we understand that others believed that there may be a need for something new, be it an institution or mechanism. Virtually all agreed it was important to evolve the current system and to thoroughly review all possible options.

The options range from continued evolution (largely along the trajectories we see today – WSIS/Tunis Agenda, Enhanced Cooperation, re-vitalized/strengthened IGF, current institutions, increased outreach) to a new framework/institution/clearing house/help-line(s).

This discussion is now taking place in many fora, including the burgeoning discussion on /1net, the new Panel on the Future of Global Internet Cooperation, the Brazil meeting and, of course in many other policy (e.g. IGF) and intergovernmental organizations (e.g. ITU).

The day after the ICANN meeting concluded, the ISOC Board of Trustees had a meeting with the ICANN Board for a joint discussion. There was broad agreement that alignment and cooperation between the two organizations is crucial as we move forward. The two Boards agreed to set up a joint working group to focus on two or three areas of cooperation. This could include documenting activities on the ground, capacity building and defining shared principles and values.

We believe that the work we are currently doing with the “Collaborative Stewardship Framework” will respond meaningfully to many of the questions on roles and stakeholders, while generally informing on the multiplicity of issues and solution paths. All this should lead to a more informed dialogue and, in the end, a better response to Internet challenges.

The Internet Society is committed to contributing constructively to our coming discussions and looks forward to the Brazil meeting.

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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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