[At-Large] Fwd: Calling for ISOC to not associate with the nomination process for IGF Leadership Panel

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Mon Nov 29 10:03:06 UTC 2021

IT for Change and Just Coalition sent the below email to ISOC's CEO
Andrew Sullivan urging him to

(1) protest UN SG's decision to set up a Leadership Panel, going against
the outcomes of UN SG's own public consultation on the subject,


(2) ensure that ISOC does not associate with the nomination process for
constituting the Leadership Panel, which ISOC had so strongly opposed
during the consultation .

We also remind him of the time when ISOC had successfully opposed
setting up a similar high level body for Internet Governance at the
World Economic Forum. ISOC's stand on an issue cannot merely depend on
the chance of success. Thee are larger matters of principles, and
safeguarding long term public interest in the area of global IG.

We further request members of different ISOC chapters who may be this
elist to share this email and the enclosed letters with their chapter
members, and consider the matter of technical community's stand on this


-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: 	Calling for ISOC to not associate with the nomination process
for IGF Leadership Panel
Date: 	Mon, 29 Nov 2021 13:35:02 +0530
From: 	parminder <parminder at itforchange.net>
To: 	Andrew Sullivan <sullivan at isoc.org>
CC: 	Constance Bommelaer <bommelaer at isoc.org>, Mark Carvell
<markhbcarvell at gmail.com>, Milton L Mueller <mueller at syr.edu>

Dear Andrew,

Please find enclosed a letter addressed to the UN Secretary General that
Milton Mueller's and my organization wrote recently seeking the rollback
of the decision to set up an IGF Leadership Panel (LP). The letter also
appeals to civil society and technical community groups to not associate
with nomination process for the LP. 

As you know, in the public consultations on the issue, most civil
society groups and technical community had opposed any such new high
level groups being formed outside the MAG.

 ISOC was clear in asserting

    "...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."

The official summary of the responses
to the public consultation on creation of a Multistakeholder High Level
Body (MHLB) itself says:

    "Broadly speaking, the option that seems to have received the most
    support is to create the MHLB within the MAG."

To put it in other words, creation of an MHLB outside the MAG did not
have much or enough support.

Soon after these public consultations, the UN Secretary General goes
right ahead and creates a MHLB outside the MAG, in the form of a IGF
Leadership Panel.

I do not see the point in doing a public consultation when one is not
going to go by its outcomes, and in any case impose one's will on the
public -- in this case in the form of IGF LP.

The announcement for establishing an LP has been received with great
dismay among civil society and technical community groups.

*A civil society nomination process, involving the main civil society
groups and networks most engaged with global IG processes, which was set
up with a clear declaration that it did not amount to an endorsement of
the LP, still collapsed after a few days because there was not enough
support from the community. *

Anyway, that is for the UN Secretary General to consider.

My appeal is to those who clearly opposed such a body during the
consultation, like ISOC did, to write to the UN SG, opposing ( on a
procedural count) his decision to ignore the outcomes of the public
consultation, and (on a substantive count) his decision to form the IGF
Leadership Panel.

In fully ignoring the views of the 'stakeholder community', the UN SG
has clearly gone against the basic tenets of multistakeholderism.
Whether ISOC stands for multistakeholderism or not depends on whether it
is ready to stand up and speak against such blatant violation of
multistakeholder principles and practice. Such a strong and
well-respected body cannot accept such things - with a fundamental
impact on the future of global IG ecosystem - just because they have now
been ordained by the powers-that-be. ISOC cannot allow itself to be
cowed down in such matters. The world is watching. 

The least that ISOC can do at this stage is to not enter into a process
of providing nominations for constituting the IGF LP. At least not do it
in the very first round of LP processes itself, just a few months after
it opposed the formation of such a body. This would compromise ISOC's
moral authority and practical strength with respect to global IG.

There is after all no point in making a clamor for multistakholderism if
the involved groups and people cannot speak up when the voice of
multi-stakeholder community is ignored,  and new structures of Internet
governance contrary to its majority view are imposed on it. It would be
an even bigger travesty if the community then meekly begins to almost
immediately participate in providing nominations for the very structures
(LP) they spoke against.

I do not know whether ISOC is sending nominations for the LP, but if it
is, we would like to appeal to you to not do so. Even if nominations
have already been sent, we appeal to you to withdraw them.

*This is a good time to be reminded of the stellar role ISOC played in a
somewhat similar situation when an attempt was made to put up a new IG
body at the World Economic Forum, as an extremely ill-advised follow-up
to the Net Mundial conference. ISOC had at that time stoutly opposed the
formation of any such new body, and it was considerably owing to ISOC's
opposition that the WEF based IG body eventually did not come to pass.
*I shudder to think where we would have been now with the anchor of
global IG being at the WEF. *

I will like ISOC to once again employ its moral leadership in the area
of global IG ecosystem, and refuse to accept the new IG body being
foisted upon us in the face of clearly expressed public opinion against it.

Happy to engage further on this issue.

Best regards,


IT for Change, and Just Net Coalition

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