[IRP] IRP Coalition Statement to Open Consultation for IGF 2010

M I Franklin cos02mf
Fri Jan 15 19:00:56 EET 2010

Dear IGF

Please find attached the IRP Dynamic Coalition's contribution to the IGF 
Open Consultation. The text is pasted below into this email as well.

Kind regards
Marianne Franklin, on behalf of the IRP DC

Open Consultation IGF 2010


The comments below from the Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic 
Coalition are our contribution to the Open Consultations for IGF 2010. 
Under each of the four themes below we take stock of IGF 2009 by offering 
practical suggestions for the format and planning of IGF 2010.

1)      Emerging Key themes: A wide range of stakeholders in the plenary 
sessions reaffirmed the importance of upholding human rights in the 
internet age. However these sentiments tended to be expressed in general 
rather than specific terms.
	a.      The challenge for this coming year is to focus on how upholding 
human rights can be achieved in practice; what roles different stakeholders 
can or should play in this regard, and how these play out more specifically 
in different Internet governance issue-areas.
	b.      With this in mind we would like to see not only workshops but also 
main sessions that look more closely at what a 'human rights agenda', or 
'development agenda for Internet Governance' might actually look like. 
Whilst openness and diversity continue to be important issues, we think 
this year is the moment to broach more specific questions or policy 
dilemmas within these broader themes
	c.      The coalition is ready and willing to contribute to organizing and 
facilitating main sessions along these human rights related themes.

2)      General Organization: Generally speaking coalition members found 
the meeting to be well organized, with signs of continued progress in all 
aspects. Coalition members who were participating in, or who organized 
workshops would like to commend the organizers for their good work in this 
regard, particularly given the relatively limited budget and resources 
available to the IGF. Our members note the following aspects that need 
particular attention this year:
	a.      Discussions, especially in plenary sessions, tended to become 
diverted into the issue of whether the IGF should continue, and if so, how. 
This is a key issue, however we think it is important to avoid it 
dominating discussion in both main sessions and workshops this year.
	b.      Continuity between the main session themes and those covered in 
the workshops could be strengthened. Creating clearer links in the program, 
e.g. by cross-referencing session/workshop themes and titles, is one way to 
create more coherence in the program before the meeting. During and after 
the meeting, we would like to see formal feedback put in place and 
integrated into the stocktaking; from organizers and/or moderators of both 
main sessions and workshops.
	c.      Main sessions based around 'classic' themes of openness, diversity 
and such like need to be supplemented and reinvigorated by including new 
themes onto the program. The need for continuity and depth in ongoing 
themes need to be balanced by new ideas and themes, for this is a 
fast-moving area.
	d.      Some panels in main sessions were overloaded with panelists. This 
always means less time for a wider plenary discussion. We realize that 
larger panels allow for a greater diversity in some cases. However we would 
urge moderators of larger sessions to ensure that there is enough time for 
discussion and that when discussion takes place it is dynamic and inclusive 
of panelists and other participants. It is important that contributors from 
the floor as well as remote participants get enough time to have their say 
and be adequately responded to by others.
	e.      In light of the above we would also like to see more innovative 
panel formats encouraged even more; e.g. town-hall meeting formats, 
brainstorming, other sorts of small-group and interactive forms of 
discussion. Formal panels have their place but good work is also done in 
small groups/break-out sessions as well.
	f.      Rather than having main sessions largely based around broad 
themes, we think this year is the moment to broach more specific questions 
or policy dilemmas. These can be proposed in advance with an eye to opening 
up the discussion about specific solutions before the actual session.

3)      Remote Participation: On the whole the facilities for remote 
participation seemed to work well. However, there are some specific issues 
that we think need particular attention this year to ensure more diverse 
and robust debate.
	a.       Workshop organizers were not given enough support in good time 
nor enough information on how to use the technology provided. When 
technical hitches occurred there was not enough technical support on hand 
so many moderators found themselves in the role of do-it-yourself 
technicians. This causes delays, frustration and a loss of focus. More 
information in advance from the IGF in liaison with the Vilnius venue 
organization would be useful, but also during the event. Given the 
importance of enabling remote participation but also having it run 
smoothly, the need for more dedicated staff in this respect is 
	b.      We would also suggest, in line with suggestions from the Remote 
Participation Working Group (RPWG), that Workshops include both a moderator 
on-the-ground and an online moderator in their planning. Someone needs to 
monitor remote participation, in partnership with the workshop moderator, 
in order to streamline, filter and facilitate remote participation in the 
proceedings; e.g. by gathering text-based comments, setting up a queue for 
spoken interventions, or having remote participants be given the floor en 
bloc if this is more practicable. We would also urge all moderators be made 
more aware of how remote participants are often doing this at difficult 
times of the day - or night; e.g. time-lags require careful attention be 
paid to not interrupting through better timing of responses or requests.
	c.      The above points underscore our support for proposals to organize 
adequate guidelines as well as a brief training session/module/virtual tour 
for all moderators before the IGF meeting. During the meeting is not the 
time to experiment.

4)      General Participation: Increasing diversity in terms of cultural, 
regional, and linguistic representation remains a core issue for a number 
of dynamic coalitions. Our comments and suggestions about continuing to 
improve remote participation technically and organizationally relate to 
these concerns. There is still a need to
	a.      set up more coherent - vertical and lateral - links between 
discussions and themes from national, regional and international IGFs, 
during the meetings as well as in their respective output. At present the 
public record is piecemeal, not easily accessible, and inadequately 
hyperlinked. We recognize that this is something requiring dedicated time 
and human resources so we urge the IGF to put aside the necessary resources 
for this task.
	b.      Find more ways to open up the meetings to lay-participants. By 
this we mean that preparatory consultations, main sessions, and specialized 
workshops need to be more accessible to 'everyday internet users', any 
interested communities or groups from areas where the Internet is either 
less extensive or with other communication priorities.

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