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

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Sat Nov 27 04:36:24 UTC 2021

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: 	Re: [Internet Policy] Seeking roll back of the IGF Leadership
Date: 	Sat, 27 Nov 2021 10:02:55 +0530
From: 	parminder <parminder.js at gmail.com>
To: 	cdel at firsthand.net
CC: 	internetpolicy at elists.isoc.org

On 25/11/21 7:56 pm, Christian de Larrinaga wrote:
> does anyone have a handy link to the UN decision and process? 

The UN decision is described here
but the process is not provided. The IGF MAG/ sect was asked to do a
public consultation on what should be done. An overwhelming number of
responses did not want the kind of structure that has now been set up,
the IGF Leadership Panel (LP(, .. See here the responses to the
And here a summary

And here is the ISOC's response
<https://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/93a-public-responses> which is
especially clear it does not want any such structure. To quote it:
"However, as we have indicated in previous contributions to the UN HLPDC
process, ISOC is not convinced that a new higher-level body of
representatives needs to be established."

> If this is a "firm" decision it goes  against  advice from what seemed
> a strong consensus I noted at the UK IGF steering team and I expect
> other many other groups.

Indeed, just yesterday a nomination process for the proposed LP set up
by some civil society groups (my group boycotted it) collapsed due to
lack of interest from civil society people and groups.

What does all this say... I*t is clear that the LP decision is NOT
supported by an overwhelming majority of civil society and technical
community groups and people.*

The question then is, for a decision that will be so important to the
future of the (much loved) IGF, and global digital governance, *why cant
civil society and technical community and ISOC just write to the UN SG
that they are dismayed about the LP decision, and that it goes against
what came out of the 'public consultations'* , and that the decision be
rolled back. *The least they can do is to not participate in the
nomination process - -thus denying the LP any legitimacy ... This is how
stakeholder and people's democratic power is exercised from below.*

This is simply and exactly what Milton's and my letter does, which has
been put to such intense criticism and questioning here... I do not
understand; are we to just accept and go along with every decision of
the UN SG about the IGF and global digital gov architecture, without
even protesting and questioning it. *What is the point of doing a public
consultation when the powers-that-be were to then go against the
outcomes of the consultation*, and do as they wish.

This is what I mean when I say that the civil society and technical
community, which, in their democratic and policy influencing role, are
tasked to 'speak to power' have unfortunately become status quo ist, and
meek. People seem more worried about their own location within 'the
system', and their prospects in it, rather looking out for the interests
of the public, and their constituencies, and representing and voicing them.

We appeal to civil society people/ groups, tech community people/ groups
including the ISOC to not associate with the nomination process, which
gives legitimacy to the UN SG's decision to make a LP, which is
inappropriate both in substance and process.

If YOU remain silent and say nothing now, and just go along, you lose
your stakeholder/ representative power, and will be handed down more
such decisions. Your constituents and the public, as well as history,
will judge you very poorly for it. In this manner, it is YOU who
*weakens multistakeholder participation and power by being cowed down*.


PS: All this talk of 'what is the alternative' is very distractive... We
have a clear problem here, and our discussions are around that clear
problem. An invitation to open up all the deep contestations on how
global digital governance should actually be going forward would achieve
just one purpose here --  cloud and bury this specific issue that we
face right now.

Having said that, I have never been amiss on giving alternatives.. I
give full bodied ones almost every six months on these elists, and have
been doing it for years.. Sure, I'd do it again. But cant allow that
(legitimately) expansive, complicated and often divisive discussion to
bury this important specific thing we face now. So pl give your views on
this thing, rather than raise all kinds of distractions.

> On Wed 24 Nov 2021 at 14:34, parminder via InternetPolicy
> <internetpolicy at elists.isoc.org> wrote:
>> 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
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