Internet Governance 7 December 2014

Update on the NETmundial Initiative

By Kathryn BrownFormer President / CEO

I thought I would give you a brief update on stakeholder conversations and developments since the Board issued its statement two and a half weeks ago on the NETmundial Initiative and a sense of what we have learned.

ISOC has been in constant contact with the community, listening to concerns and working toward a constructive way forward.  Our own multistakeholder community has been incredibly useful and insightful with respect to diverse sensitivities. Both before and after the Board’s Statement, you have guided our work.

In the last few weeks we have engaged in constructive discussions with We have had the opportunity to explain our position and discuss alternatives to address not only our concerns, but also broader concerns of other stakeholder groups.  We and have been open and frank in this dialogue; we are pleased to see that many of the issues discussed between our organizations are addressed in the, “Further clarifications on the NETmundial Initiative for discussions in the MAG.” These clarifications are helpful in describing CGI’s intentions with respect to its objectives and its support of the IGF.

While the CGI “Further Clarification” brings more clarity to the discussions and is a positive step forward, it is fair to say that issues, including the need for the NMI Council, its selection, financial transparency and long-term objectives and goals, remain.

Indeed, other important stakeholders in the Internet Governance dialogue have raised significant concerns about the NMI. The IAB has concluded that “no coordination council is needed now.” And, there seems to be a growing consensus that the proposed mapping and other crowdsourcing efforts, should they go forward, should be managed through a bottom-up process. The IAB statement is very helpful in this regard. 

We appreciate that our friends from Brazil have been trying to respond to community concerns. We agree that it is crucial that we move forward together and with partners to make the 2015 Brazil IGF a success. I hope we can build a consensus on how diverse interests, including those of the CGI, can work together to make room for everyone at the table.

Building bottom-up governance processes is one of our highest priorities with respect to governing ourselves on the Internet. The 2014 Sao Paulo Declaration called on the community to join forces, and strive to develop bottom-up needs-based policy solutions, through multistakeholder IGF dialogues. We need to carry through on that promise.

Last week, significant progress was made by the IGF MAG on a Best Practices Report and the need for work between meetings. In addition, the Internet Society, this week, has made a $100,000 contribution to the Internet Governance Forum Support Association. (This is in addition to the $100,000 contribution we made directly to the IGF Secretariat earlier in 2014). We believe that a robust effort is needed to fund the activities of local and regional IGF activities. We are highly supportive of advancing a global, decentralized organization of bottom-up dialogues — the goals of which are community building, issue identification and the development of best practices. We are anxious to understand how the NMI effort will strengthen this emerging bottom-up movement.

As anticipated, a meeting organized by the Board Chairs of ISOC and ICANN, together with the Chairs of the IETF and IAB, is scheduled for December 17. Fadi and I will attend.  We see this as an opportunity to explore our different views on NMI and to improve the coordination between our respective organizations.

Thank you, again, for your input and ongoing support for an open, inclusive Internet.

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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