NGO-Coalition’s view on WSIS – Week 1 report

At the government level, they decided to work in two subcommittees, A for dealing with governance and the WGIG report, B for dealing with implementation and follow up as well as the political chapeau. Civil society decided to mirror that situation and has created two subcommittees within its Content and Themes group, A headed by Jeannette Hoffman and Adam Peake and B by Bertrand de la Chapelle.

The major topics being debated are thus:

In subcommittee A : Several governments tried to lengthen procedure and gain time (China vs USA, to simplify). The final document is to have 4 parts.
°Introduction : mandate and working definition of IG. USA objected to the working definition of WGIG (others are equally valid, to be discussed).
°Stakeholders : roles and responsibilities ; coordination
°public policy issues relevant to internet : infrastructure management, government oversight function, use of internet (data privacy, consumer rights, IPR)
°development : interconnection costs ; capacity-building

There is a split on the future of ICANN on the one hand, and on policy debates on the other hand. It seems the ICANN issue may be dealt outside this Summit and separatly… the UNICT taskforce has been dissolved and governements are looking for an UN agency to make sure of a follow pu mechanism….

For civil society, there are two hard issues that have been debated most of the first week: What should the structure of the proposed “ forum “ be ? what coordination and oversight issues should emerge? how to reach agreement on them even among us ?

In subcommittee B : the discussion at first was mainly about the statement and the preferences on architecture for follow up mechanism : paragraphs 10, 11, 12 13 are the most contentious as they deal with the architecture for multistakeholder partnership. Two documents are being examined, with different architectures, one with a complex international architecture (the GFC text, version 6), one with a loose national architecture (the revised version of final august draft, to which civil society had little if no time to respond).

Civil Society decided to foster debate on building blocks coming from either text of the president (GFC) and final August draft. Our statements compiled all our input to these documents, paragraph by paragraph (and have been circulated in CS plenary list), so as to provide our participation in the multistakeholder partnership vision !! Governments eventually incorporated elements from the two texts, aiming at a final compilation for a clean and smoothed out text.

For civil society the idea is to reach a compromise between a top down and a bottom up process: it seemed important to have some coordinating mechanism at UN level, without having to position ourselves in the fights between ITU, ECOSOC, UNDP… but also to preserve a bottom up mechanism for the thematic initiatives and the policy issues. The drafting group has been elaborating texts in that direction all through the week.

At the end of week 1: the governementns are advancing fast, eliminating as much substance as possible. There is no real debate and no real tension, especially as there is no leader to support the process anymore, after ITU was slapped… the tacit consensus at the government level is to do as little as possible for implementation and not to go into anything concrete for coordination body. The final event of week 1 was the decision to start week 2 even faster, and to prevent the presence of civil society and business in the drafting committees.

The education family : It participated in both committees and had its regular sessions to propose drafts. I presented the compiled position of civil society in subcommittee B on paragraphs 4, 5, 6 and 7. We drafted joint statements with the youth caucus and the African caucus for Subcommittee A that were read by representatives of these caucuses on our behalf. All these statements have been circulated on the plenary list but I add them for your consideration in the attachments. As a result of this lobbying effort, there has been a paragraph added in the final government document establishing clearly that the academic and research community is fully part of the stakeholders…
We also finalized our 8 recommendations and established the necessity of having a list of all side-events related to education in Tunis, with possibly a final session there that would sum up most of the input … those of you on the list who are planning an event, please let us know, so as to make sure we have maximum audience and participation in Tunis, in a coordinated manner. More next week. Divina Frau-Meigs.

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