[IRP] IRP IGF notes
Fri Oct 1 14:04:08 EEST 2010
Apologies for my silence over the last week or so - as Dixie mentioned, I've been away with no access to email. Thanks for the comments on my notes. I just wanted to quickly respond to some of the points that have been made....
1) The Charter as a political process
I fully agree that what we're doing is inherently and necessarily political. When I mentioned that an "expert group" can help us guard against "political/corporate/other influence", it was, as Meryem suggested, in response to concerns I heard during our discussions in Vilnius about "lobbying" influence on the text.
2) The issue of "translating" standards
>From the outset of this project, there's been broad agreement that we are defining what existing human rights standards mean in the context of the internet. We discussed this in our conference calls, and during the coalition meeting in Geneva in September 2009. It was largely a strategic decision, as Meryem mentioned. However, there's still work to be done on our language in the Charter, and how we frame the issues. We should discuss this over the course of this year, particularly relating to how we frame access issues (that discussion has already begun).
3) The consultation process
Those of us who met in the canteen for our internal meeting towards the end of the IGF discussed what the consultation process would look like. I'm sorry that not everyone could attend that meeting, and obviously the exact nature of the process moving forwards is still up for discussion. As I mentioned in my notes, I got a sense from our discussions that it might be good to aim for a kind of 2-track process:
a) Consultation with human rights institutions and "experts" (human rights, technology, etc). The primary purpose of these is to make sure that the Charter is of as high quality as possible. We don't want it to contain inaccuracies or inconsistencies, and we want it to build on existing work as much as possible. I don't see this as excluding any groups at this stage. I think it's vital that we include international institutions like Council of Europe and Unesco (and we're already talking to them about how to do this). But frontline grassroots human rights organisations are also key. We need to build up a list of groups that we want to include in this consultation, and then we can see what will be feasible and how we can do it.
b) Wider consultation with individuals and communities. The purpose of this is both to enhance ownership and outreach, and also to gain ideas for improvements to the text. We'll need to build an online platform for this, and all coalition members can outreach through their networks.
We'll need to define what this will all look like in practice, and how it will work. For both tracks, we won't be able to incorporate all comments or keep everyone happy....at the end of the day, it's up to us as a coalition to make the final judgeemnt on what to include and what not to include. We need to think carefully about how to make those decisions, and how to incorporate comments and improve the text. I think we will need somekind of steering group to make that happen (let's drop the term "expert group"!). I'll try and draft a proposal for all of this next week, but if anyone wants to take the lead with that in the meantime, please do volunteer. Obviosuly, if you have thoughts or comments, please do discuss on the list. Once we have a draft plan, let's have a conference call to discuss.
4) Objectives of the Charter
Meryem suggested adding that the Charter is an advocacy tool for NGOs and activists. I fully agree. I meant for that to be encompassed in the objectives I drafted, but realise that it doesn't really come out clearly. Let's add it as a fourth objective. Does the following look ok?
- To provide a platform for dialogue and collaboration between different stakeholders.
- To provide an authoritative document that can influence policy making and norms.
- To provide an information resource for different groups, with a focus on policy makers.
- To provide an advocacy tool for human rights defenders and activists.
We haven't really had this discussion properly. We had some discussion in our September 2009 meeting, and some felt that certain organisations might find it difficult to endorse. But I agree that that doesn't necessarily mean that we shouldn't invite endorsements...we just need to work out what kinds of endorsements we'll be able to get, and if they will add or detract from the document given its objectives. I suggest that we focus on improving the Charter before we make a decision on this, but also include this issue in our consultation process. What do you think?
I'll leave it there for now. As always, thoughts, comments, ideas are always welcome (and needed!). Looking forward to continued discussion.
Please remember our immediate deadline of OCTOBER 10th for comments about *serious* concerns about the current text (e.g. inconsistencies, mistakes, misleading wording). Dixie will then work with our current "experts" on version1.1, and we can then move forth with our consultation!
All the best,
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