20 September 2005 – All Over the Place (pretty much the whole day)

After
blogging till pretty late last night, woke up a wee bit late this morning
=/ M
anaged to catch the tail-end of the
Sub-Committee A plenary session, which discussed about internet governance
issues. Some info: according to the WSIS Orientation Kit, handily prepared an
d distributed by NGLS (United Nations Non-Governmental Liason
Service) and CONGO (Conference of NGOs
in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations) at this event, “the Tunis
Phase will review the implementation of the Geneva Action Plan and set new (and
more detailed) targets for the period 2005-2015. It will also deal with the
unfinished business of the first phase, Internet Governance and the question of
Financing Mechanisms.”






PrepCom-2 that
happened earlier this year from 17 to 25 February (also in
Geneva) focussed on the financing
mechanisms, which is why this time around the emphasis is more towards internet
governance. This’ll take up half of PrepCom-3’s working time, with other issues
like the Political Chapeau, operations and implementation mechanisms taking up
the rest of the time. The Working Group on
Internet Governance
’s (formed after WSIS Phase I to work on this issue and
consists of 40 members from civil society, government and the private sector)
handed in their report
only in June 2005, so this is really the first time it is going to be discussed
face to face. Governments, regions and various other stakeholders and caucuses
have submitted their comments
to the report, and today’s session (or what I caught of it) was a series of
statements about internet governance.






This
confused me somewhat, since I thought the comments have already been submitted.
Thankfully, Abi (Jagun, who is a new roommate, doing a research on decision
making by delegates from developing countries in the WSIS process – and
evidently more clued in than me) clarified some of it to me over dinner. This
was apparently an opportunity for governments to articulate their position on
internet governance especially on issues that they diferred with the regional
stand. So I listened to the various countries’ priorities on internet
governance, what it means, which needs it should meet, its scope and how the
internet governance model should look like.






Internet
governence is a tricky issue, and particularly contentious since the four
models suggested by the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) Report each
has its own problems and reflects different stakeholder’s.. well, stake on the
issue. The
Singapore delegate went as far as to
say that discussions about the proposed models would be premature at this
stage, and instead, to agree on public policy issues as a first step.






Despite
disagreements, there are a few magic words that are chanted over and over again
in this event: “multi-lateral”, multi-stakeholder”, “transparent” and
“inclusive/democratic”. Whether this be principles or frameworks. In fact,
these words that stirred some hope when I first heard them are now verging on
meaninglessness from repetition overdrive. You know when you say a word over
and over again, like ‘transferable’ (‘transferable’, ‘transferable’, ‘transferable’…),
it starts to make little sense? Feels a little like that to me. The WGIG and
WSIS process is especially commended for its principled stand of transparency
and multi-stakeholderism (is there such a word?).






Basically,
the internet is a common good, meaning it belongs to the world and not to one
particular government or entity. Although at the moment, the infrastructure of
the web like allocation of Internet
Protocol (IP) addresses
, administration of root server system and top level domain names are
in the main, controlled by ICANN
(Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which in turn, is under
U.S’s (purportedly non-interventionist) oversight. But internet governance is a
lot more than just numbers and names, which is one of the things WGIG was set
up to do – come up with an answer to “what does
internet governance mean then?” According to their report:






Internet governance is the development and
application by Governments, the private sector and civil society, in their
respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making
procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet”




So
it’s naming who gets to bake this multi-layered cake (at this point, everyone
who’s going to have to eat it or feed someone with it – States, businesses,
communities…), how it’s going to be baked, and using which common elements of
multiple recipes (okay.. so the flour of internet stability and security is
essential?  how about the egg of freedom
of expression? who needs to go for baking classes?)








So
where does gender feature in this? Next post…



jac smk

Responses to this post

=D<br />anyone else have recipes to share? your very own method for putting gender into IT!
Posted on 09/23/2005 - 13:36 | Reply
jac, the baking lessons is the perfecft metaphor to the add women and stir practice -- so to continue the recipe .....<br />we add 2 tablespoons of gender baking powder to let the cake rise and be fluffy. but we really have to careful about adding just the right amount because as every woman who has failed in baking knows, too little makes for a very hard cake that is tough to chew and too much will most likely result in a bitter taste .... especially not suited to men's palates
Posted on 09/22/2005 - 23:26 | Reply

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