WGEC

During the Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation (WGEC) meeting held in Geneva on 30 April – 2 May, there was a request that groups prepare opinions on the issues being discussed.  These were neither collected nor reported.  As an artifact of the work that went on at that meeting it is reproduced below.

The Opinion

This is the draft opinion of a group of Civil society participants, including WGEC members and observers, including  Avri Doria,  Anja Kovacs, Carlos A. Afonso,  Grace Githaiga, Joy Liddicoat,  Deborah Brown, …

Definitions

Enhanced Cooperation:

An ongoing multistakeholder and multilateral process where all stakeholders contribute according to their expertise and interests, to enable all other stakeholders to achieve full participation in order to improve and democratise the governance of the Internet at all levels.

Multistakeholder process:

A form of participatory democracy where any person, alone or as part of a group, can contribute fully.

Equal footing:

The recognition, enjoyment or exercise by all stakeholders, on the basis of equality and without discrimination, of the freedom to participate in multistakeholder processes. In Internet governance this is in line with stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities, which should be interpreted in a flexible manner with reference to the issue under discussion. As with UN representation by governments, where all are equal regardless of size or wealth, contributions should be judged on their quality, and not by the number of people that a representative may claim.

Possible outcome

There is support within civil society for establishing a multistakeholder mechanism, to promote the ongoing monitoring and analysis of Internet-governance developments, and the on-demand sharing of knowledge on policy issues, models and experiences that governments and stakeholders need to help them identify effective solutions. We view this as a first step, building on the work of the Correspondence Group of the Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation. There is also support within civil society for a second step of a multistakeholder coordination mechanism that would recommend the most appropriate venue or venues to develop further policy as required. This could be accomplished through existing institutions as appropriate.

This mechanism could be attached to an existing multistakeholder body such the IGF (per paragraph 72 b of the Tunis Agenda), to the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), or to any comparable consistent with the guiding principles as established in the NETmundial Multistakeholder statement.

The discussions of the WGEC take their origin from the Tunis Agenda. The Tunis Agenda was a remarkable document for its time, that resulted from government discussions at WSIS. The Tunis Agenda laid a basis for ongoing discussions. The Tunis Agenda’s great value was in giving an impetus to the development of the multistakeholder model in Internet governance. Over the intervening years, the variety of multistakeholder models have progressed beyond what could have been imagined in 2005, in line with technological evolution. Allowing the Tunis Agenda to remain a static document, as if it was written in stone, risks it becoming ever more irrelevant in today’s world; Instead, we recommend that it be treated as a living document, a solid foundation upon which we can build our understanding of the enhanced cooperation of all stakeholders in the area of Internet governance.

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Models for Participatory Democracy

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