[At-Large] Fwd: [Internet Policy] Fwd: [WG-Strategy] Seeking roll back of the IGF Leadership Panel

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Fri Nov 26 07:21:27 UTC 2021

Sorry, Siva, i confused your email with that from Suresh .. responding
to too many emails on the subject :) .. But the views stand otherwise 
-- also the poser to those who seem agreeing with both Evan's and
Wolfgang's views on the subject.. parminder

On 26/11/21 12:41 pm, parminder wrote:
> -------- Forwarded Message --------
> Subject: 	Re: [Internet Policy] Fwd: [WG-Strategy] [At-Large] Seeking
> roll back of the IGF Leadership Panel
> Date: 	Fri, 26 Nov 2021 12:39:33 +0530
> From: 	parminder <parminder.js at gmail.com>
> To: 	sivasubramanian muthusamy <6.internet at gmail.com>
> CC: 	internetpolicy at elists.isoc.org <internetpolicy at elists.isoc.org>
> On 26/11/21 11:44 am, sivasubramanian muthusamy wrote:
>> On Fri, Nov 26, 2021 at 10:57 AM parminder via InternetPolicy
>> <internetpolicy at elists.isoc.org
>> <mailto:internetpolicy at elists.isoc.org>> wrote:
>>     Contrary to Evan's view, Wolfgang considers the IGF to be
>>     extremely successful, and it is in this path of its spectacular
>>     evolutionary success that the Leadership Panel (LP) is placed as
>>     a kind of necessary and very useful development .. 
>> The view that IGF is removed from World's reality and the criticisms
>> such as it is nothing more than a Talk shop --- all this comes from a
>> general difficulty in measuring the immeasurable. It appeared to be a
>> talk shop (Parminder is definitely among those who talked, wasn't
>> he?), no decisions were made, no recommendations were formally made,
>> but hasn't the IGF worked in ways we can't measure? How would anyone
>> measure IGF's influence on Internet Policy? Because the effect of the
>> IGF is not quantifiable, it is not quite unfair to comment in such
>> adverse terms. IGF is indeed on a path of evolution, it is
>> spectacular in its evolution because in such a short time as 15
>> years, the IGF has seated stakeholders inside the room where Policy
>> used to be framed only on the basis of what Governments understood
>> (or misunderstood).
> Very well, you have a right to these views.
> I may just only remind you that to Evan's email where he called the
> IGF as a bubble removed from the society, an elitist talk shop, and
> having only created entropy in these last 15 years (that was almost
> all he said in the email about the IGF) ...
> you responded yesterday on the At-Large elist in the following manner,
> and I quote
>         > Dear all,
>         >
>         > I am by and large in agreement with Evan.
> ENDs
> In this part of the email, I was just asking you - and others like you
> who seemed to be agreeing to both sides --  to make up your mind one
> way or the other .. Please stop confusing people. That would really
> raise the quality of the debate.... parminder
>> If the past 15 years have given the IGF a frame, the leadership panel
>> will breathe life into the IGF.
>>     Not just the past, but the two also fundamentally disagree on
>>     there future expectations from the LP... Evan thinks that the LP
>>     will somehow magically address and solve pressing digital policy
>>     issues, about solving which he (like me) is very eager. Wolfgang
>>     is clear that the LP is "not the "new Internet policy makers",
>>     they function like a "post office", bringing the messages from
>>     the multistakeholder IGF to the intergovernmental negotiation
>>     table and vice versa".
>>     Since whatever little support the LP has focuses on this
>>     "messages" and "post office" and "bridge' function, and it is
>>     also the crux of Wolfgang's argument, let me focus on it.
>>     It should be noted that UN SG wants a star cast for the LP, and
>>     calls for only CEO and deputy CEO levels to apply... 
>>     These are big-ego people very fond of expressing and touting
>>     their views...
>>  How is this characterization made here? 
>>     These are just not the people who act as message carriers and
>>     post office - an archetypical description of bureaucracy's
>>     function, enough of which exists and links between the IGF and
>>     decision making bodies. (If you want you can work on improving
>>     that part which is what meets the role and objective description
>>     you provide for the LP. Not a group of CEOs.). Therefore there is
>>     a fundamental, and in my view, fatal, dis-junction between the HR
>>     description and institutional objectives sought. May you please
>>     explain this.
>>      I would invite you to expound your views with clear practical
>>     examples. To help that, lets take that a LP has been set up with
>>     an hypothetical membership of the ministers of France and
>>     Indonesia, a Senior VP of Microsoft and CEO of TCS (Indian
>>     software major), and CEOs of ISOC and APNIC, and ok let me not
>>     speculate on civil society leaders chosen (but believe me, their
>>     egos can be bigger than those of industry CEOs).
>> That is an over-simplified example.  
>>     Lets say one of these IGF Leaders is at an important global
>>     meeting, and is introduced as such , as being a part of IGF's
>>     Leadership Group/ Panel. Wolfgang, please try to give us some
>>     concrete examples of what s/he might do, in nature of a "post
>>     office" and carrier of messages from the IGF, and back...
>>     Would s/he hand over and describe, say the outcome document of an
>>     IGF's Best Practices Forum... Lets take the example of the BPF on
>>     data and new technologies ... I dont see a minister or an
>>     industry CEO (or ISOC CEO) setting aside her/ his views on such a
>>     globally hot topic like data, and share some lame as well as
>>     politically controversial views from this BFP's outcome paper
>>     <https://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/filedepot_download/9655/2393>.
>>     But I am happy to hear from you your description of what would
>>     likely happen in such a scenario, which is the embodiment of your
>>     main argument in favour of LP. And if the LP person is just to
>>     hand over the outcome paper to the meeting or read its summary
>>     (which s/he cannot do other than in a selective manner, given
>>     her/ his inevitable own strong views on data etc), why is this
>>     function not much better done by the bureaucracy, which does it
>>     best (and knows where to stop). So if you may, just add 2-3 more
>>     people to the IGF sect or the UNDESA's IGF desk ...
>>     But sure, Wolfgang, pl you illuminate us how such a thing will
>>     actually fold out -- using a hypothetical as above, or another of
>>     your own ... Speaking in abstract in terms of messages and post
>>     offices and bridges means nothing .. We are at a serious fork in
>>     the evolution of institutions of digital governance. So, please
>>     lets get real.
>>     Currently, the MAG Chair at a global meeting limits herself to
>>     describing the process functions and the greatness of the IGF ..
>>     Show us a picture of IGF leaders getting 'substantive' in their
>>     outside communication, and I'd show what is fatally wrong with
>>     the LP idea.
>>     Let us know how a groups of Leaders will actually perform the
>>     function you lay out, and why that function is not better
>>     performed by strengthening the bucreaucracy link between IGF and
>>     others, it being to my mind an archetypical bureacracy function.
>> It is just the opposite of a design of bureaucracy.
>>     parminder
>>     On 26/11/21 9:46 am, parminder wrote:
>>>     I have views on both Wolfgang's and Evan's responses to our
>>>     letter, and their position vis a vis the new IGF Leadership Panel.
>>>     What however completely passes me is how anyone can agree with
>>>     both Evan's and Wolfgang's positions, as some have some...
>>>     Unless, of offense, but one is just desperate to somehow agree
>>>     with whatever is happening, and looks difficult to change.
>>>     Evan's and Wolfgang's positions come from fundamentally opposed
>>>     premises, and have fundamentally different expectations from the
>>>     Leadership Panel. In fact there positions like in two opposite
>>>     extremes from mine, or in other words mine is actually somewhere
>>>     in the middle. I therefore find it difficult to in the same
>>>     email argue against the two positions.
>>>     Meanwhile, I'd request those supporting both positions to help
>>>     me understand how both can be right. Thanks.
>>>     Evan considers the IGF to a bubble removed from world's reality,
>>>     something which has entirely failed. It is so dead or nearly so,
>>>     that Even is happy if it can be given a last squeeze, everything
>>>     being otherwise so dismal, that something good may come out.. He
>>>     himself says he is not sure, and I am paraphrasing, if his
>>>     medicine is worse than the cure. He just thinks that the IGF is
>>>     all talk, ineffective, etc, and anything outcome- oriented is
>>>     better than that. He seems to have applied no mind to what that
>>>     outcome- oriented would be, how it would work, and what kind of
>>>     outcomes can be expected (obviously, not all outcomes are
>>>     describable.) I consider it kind of desperate kind of view,
>>>     which, my apologies, but does not deserve any serious
>>>     consideration among people who concern themselves with long term
>>>     nature and implications of governance institutions. It is quite
>>>     like, and as desperate as, crying out, all this bloody liberal
>>>     democracy just doesn't work, bring in a good dictator inside, we
>>>     would at least see some action!
>>>     This is despite that I normally have quite respected Evan's
>>>     views, agree with him that the IGF has become an insiders
>>>     bubble, and had a disease needing cure, etc. He is completely
>>>     wrong that in indicated that we as letter writers have any
>>>     intention to perpetuate the status quo, live off it, etc, which
>>>     I think he need to know more about how much we fight the status
>>>     quo every day, including the IGFs. He is also wrong that no
>>>     alternatives are offered; we so regularly offer them, and we
>>>     were also one of the most active members of the CSTD WG on IGF
>>>     improvements.
>>>     To sum; I take Evan's critique to be of an outsider, who has
>>>     rightly seem a lot of problems with the IGF, but not been
>>>     invested enough, nor thought through the new Leadership Panel's
>>>     nature and likely implications, whereby his statement of the
>>>     problem is fine, but accepting the Leadership Panel as a
>>>     solution to try out way off .. Since he himself says he isnt
>>>     sure if the sure is better than the disease, I think he confirms
>>>     my summing of his position. I read it as genuine expression of
>>>     desperation with the current IGF, which I considerably share,
>>>     and nothing more -- nothing that can really be taken serious
>>>     about the actual discussion here, about the new Leadership Panel ..
>>>     parminder
>>>     On 25/11/21 5:37 pm, Winthrop Yu via InternetPolicy wrote:
>>>>     Not that i disagree with what Wolfgang is saying here, but i am
>>>>     more fully in accord with the comments on this by Evan and
>>>>     Roberto on the At-Large list. (We have a forked discussion.)
>>>>     WYn
>>>>     On 25 Nov 2021 7:18 pm, Carlos Afonso via InternetPolicy wrote:
>>>>>     Careful and relevant considerations by Wolfgang.
>>>>>     A lot is still on the discussion table regarding how this HL
>>>>>     will work and relate to the overall IGF community. One option
>>>>>     is to discard it, another is to keep it and make sure we
>>>>>     participate in the process from the beginning.
>>>>>     []s fraternos
>>>>>     --c.a.
>>>>>     On 24/11/2021 16:47, Wolfgang Kleinwächter wrote:
>>>>>>     Hi,
>>>>>>     I disagree with the letter, signed by Parminder and Milton. I
>>>>>>     do not share their arguments. I believe, that Parminders and
>>>>>>     Miltons proposal, to "urge civil society and technical
>>>>>>     community, to refrain from sending any nominations for the
>>>>>>     IGF Leadership Panel" is very counterproductive, undermines
>>>>>>     the future role of the IGF and weakens civil society
>>>>>>     engagement in Internet related public policy making at the
>>>>>>     global level.
>>>>>>     The IGF is indeed a unique experiment in the UN system. Its
>>>>>>     key purpose is to broaden the participatory base of digital
>>>>>>     policy making. Since 2006 it has enabled a broad variety of
>>>>>>     voices to be heard, including those voices otherwise
>>>>>>     marginalized.It was (and is) a kitchen to cook new ideas.
>>>>>>     Discussion without barriers. Bottom Up. This was the
>>>>>>     intention. It has worked, but it did have also its limits.
>>>>>>     As a member of the UN Working Group on Internet Governance
>>>>>>     (WGIG), which proposed the establishment of the IGF in 2005,
>>>>>>     I think we were very right to create the IGF as a "discussion
>>>>>>     plattform" (forum function) without any decision making
>>>>>>     capacity. The fear was, that if the IGF becomes a negotiation
>>>>>>     body, this will kill free and frank discussions. And indeed,
>>>>>>     the informal nature of the IGF did open "mouths and minds" of
>>>>>>     all stakeholders.
>>>>>>     I was also a member of the UNCSTD IGF Improvement Working
>>>>>>     Group (2012). In this group we agreed that the IGF should
>>>>>>     continue as a discussion platform, but needs more tangible
>>>>>>     outputs.
>>>>>>     The outcome of the IGF are its (sometimes controversial)
>>>>>>     "messages". There are no "IGF positions": some stakeholders
>>>>>>     say so, others say so. It is a bottom up process. And this is
>>>>>>     good for a discussion platform.,
>>>>>>     However, the digital world has moved forward in the last 17
>>>>>>     years. Internet Governance isn´t anymore a "technical issue
>>>>>>     with political implications", it is a "political issue with a
>>>>>>     technical component". For many Internet related public policy
>>>>>>     issues new bodies have been created outside the WSIS process
>>>>>>     and dislinked from the IGF. In the 2020s, there are more than
>>>>>>     a dozen global negotiation bodies where issues like
>>>>>>     cybersecurity, digital economy, sustainable development or
>>>>>>     human rights in the digital age are disucssed. Those issues
>>>>>>     are on the agenda of the IGF since its beginning. But the
>>>>>>     reality is, that the policy makers in the new negotiation
>>>>>>     bodies, which are primarily intergovernmental bodies, are in
>>>>>>     many cases not informed about the IGF discussions. They even
>>>>>>     have very often no clue what was discussed at the IGF. There
>>>>>>     is neither a formal nor an informal linkage between the
>>>>>>     "discussion layer" (the multistakeholder IGF) and the the
>>>>>>     "decision making layer" (new intergovernmental negotiation
>>>>>>     bodies).
>>>>>>     There is a need to bring the expertise, knowledge and ideas
>>>>>>     from the multistakeholder IGF to the intergovernmental
>>>>>>     negotiation table. And the IGF will benefit, if the diplomats
>>>>>>     report back - formally or informally - to the IGF sessions.
>>>>>>     The idea of the Multistakeholder Leadership Panel (MLP) is
>>>>>>     driven by this idea to build bridges.
>>>>>>     The proposal for the Multistakeholder IGF Leadership Panel is
>>>>>>     the result of a years long multistakeholder discussion
>>>>>>     process, where all pros and cons of such a new unit were
>>>>>>     critically evaluated and considered by many different groups,
>>>>>>     including many civil society organisations. It was inspired
>>>>>>     by the UNCSTD work. It started with the UNSG High Level Panel
>>>>>>     on Digital Cooperation (2018). It was developed by the Option
>>>>>>     Paper 5A&B (2019) and further specified in the UNSG Roadmap
>>>>>>     (2020).
>>>>>>     Risks, which were articulated in various statements of civil
>>>>>>     society organisations, that a new unit will emerge outside
>>>>>>     the IGF and could lead to a competitive situation,
>>>>>>     duplication or overlapping of functions, with the potential
>>>>>>     to weaken the IGF, has been heard by the UNSG. My
>>>>>>     understanding of the multistakeholder leadership panel - with
>>>>>>     its very limited mandate - is, that it is part of the general
>>>>>>     IGF structure and rooted in the (broader) MAG. It is like an
>>>>>>     executive committee for the MAG and will make the work of the
>>>>>>     whole MAG more efficent and effective.  It makes the IGF
>>>>>>     stronger, more visible on the international scene and will
>>>>>>     open the door for a more enhanced bottom up cooperation among
>>>>>>     all stakeholders in global Internet policy making.  It is an
>>>>>>     IGF+. Members of the new Panel will act as ambassadors
>>>>>>     between the discussion and decision-making layers. They are
>>>>>>     not the "new Internet policy makers", they function like a
>>>>>>     "post office", bringing the messages from the
>>>>>>     multistakeholder IGF to the intergovernmental negotiation
>>>>>>     table and vice versa.
>>>>>>     This is a unique opportunity for civil society. And civil
>>>>>>     society organisations, in particular from the Global South,
>>>>>>     should make use of it. Strong civil society representation in
>>>>>>     the multistakeholder leadership panel will contribute to
>>>>>>     build a human centric information society, based on the Civil
>>>>>>     Society WSIS Declaration (2003), the Tunis Agenda (2005) and
>>>>>>     the Multistakeholder NetMundial Statement (2014). And it will
>>>>>>     pave the way for a strong civil society voice in the process
>>>>>>     towards a "Global Digital Compact" (2023).
>>>>>>     Best wishes
>>>>>>     Wolfgang
>>>>>>     Below are links to our "multistakeholder statement" for the
>>>>>>     Option Paper 5A&B (2020) and the outcome from a
>>>>>>     multistakeholder expert seminar (2021) where a lot of civil
>>>>>>     society organisations where represented.
>>>>>>     https://circleid.com/posts/20210304-framing-the-internet-governance-debate-long-road-to-wsis-2025
>>>>>>     <https://circleid.com/posts/20210304-framing-the-internet-governance-debate-long-road-to-wsis-2025>
>>>>>>     <https://circleid.com/posts/20210304-framing-the-internet-governance-debate-long-road-to-wsis-2025>
>>>>>>     <https://circleid.com/posts/20210304-framing-the-internet-governance-debate-long-road-to-wsis-2025>
>>>>>>     https://circleid.com/posts/20200426-cross-pollination-in-cyberspace-internet-governance-spaghetti-ball
>>>>>>     <https://circleid.com/posts/20200426-cross-pollination-in-cyberspace-internet-governance-spaghetti-ball>
>>>>>>     <https://circleid.com/posts/20200426-cross-pollination-in-cyberspace-internet-governance-spaghetti-ball>
>>>>>>     <https://circleid.com/posts/20200426-cross-pollination-in-cyberspace-internet-governance-spaghetti-ball>
>>>>>>>     parminder via At-Large <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
>>>>>>>     <mailto:at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org> hat am 24.11.2021
>>>>>>>     16:12 geschrieben:
>>>>>>>     Dear All,
>>>>>>>     Please find enclosed a letter addressed to the UN Secretary
>>>>>>>     General appealing to him to roll back the decision for an
>>>>>>>     IGF Leadership Panel.
>>>>>>>     The letter is co-signed by Dr Milton Mueller, on behalf  of
>>>>>>>     the Internet Governance Project, Georgia Institute of
>>>>>>>     Technology School of Public Policy, and Parmider Jeet Singh,
>>>>>>>     for IT for Change, and the Just Net Coalition.
>>>>>>>     It is cc-ed to representatives of civil society and
>>>>>>>     technical community groups requesting them to refrain from
>>>>>>>     sending nominations for the IGF Leadership Panel, and thus
>>>>>>>     legitimizing it.
>>>>>>>     The letter argues how the IGF Leadership Panel militates
>>>>>>>     against the basic idea, objectives and structure of the IGF,
>>>>>>>     and will weaken it.
>>>>>>>     Best, parminder
>>>>>>>     _______________________________________________ At-Large
>>>>>>>     mailing list At-Large at atlarge-lists.icann.org
>>>>>>>     <mailto:At-Large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
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