[IRP] Problem of abject poverty and hunger (was Re: Call notes...)

michael gurstein gurstein
Thu Aug 11 19:27:33 EEST 2011

I won't be (financially) able to attend in Nairobi but I think that the IRP
(and the overall IGC) should take the opportunity to make the connection
between Internet governance, Internet Rights and Principles, economic and
social development and Internet practice on the ground (including in
response to emergency relief issues and practices in Kenya and the region
and longer term developmental initiatives).

My thought is that the best intervention that can be made is to raise and
pursue the issue of the connection between all of thsese within the context
of the IGF including vigourously making these connections in all appropriate

Developing and circulating an appropriate sign-on statement concerning these
matters would seem to me to be the most potentially useful form that our
interest and commitment could take and I would be prepared to spend a bit of
time with others formulating such a statement if that was the will of this

Best to all,


Michael Gurstein, Ph.D.
Director: Centre for Community Informatics Research, Development and
Training (CCIRDT)
Vancouver, CANADA

Now blogging at http://gurstein.wordpress.com/
Tweating at @michaelgurstein


-----Original Message-----
From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
[mailto:irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of
Tapani Tarvainen
Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2011 2:46 AM
To: irp at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
Subject: Re: [IRP] Problem of abject poverty and hunger (was Re: Call

On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 10:36:06AM +0200, Norbert Bollow (nb at bollow.ch)

> Tapani Tarvainen <tapani.tarvainen at effi.org> wrote:
> > I thought this list was about Internet Rights and Principles, where
> > development agenda of any kind is not primary at all, certainly not 
> > more so than many other IG issues.
> Hmm... I would argue that internet rights and principles are not
> important in and of themselves in some ideological way, but they're 
> important because of their importance for fundamental human rights and 
> needs.

Of course, I agree with that 100%.

But "development" has a rather different meaning or at
least connotation in this context, it is not equivalent
with human rights and their improvement, even though
there is overlap.

> We cannot engage with every specific local and temporary situation, as
> it's impossible to achieve anything unless there is focus on 
> something, and this coalition has chosen to focus on the "big picture" 
> aspect of rights and principles.

Well, rights and especially principles kind of are the big picture. Also,
the group (as its name implies) is concerned with _Internet_ rights and
principles, not all human rights &c.

> That is good. But in our focus on this, I believe we still need to be
> informed by actually engaging, in some genuine way, with the important 
> problems that internet rights and principles can contribute to 
> solving.

Agreed, again. But they can't necessarily contribute to all important
problems - Internet is not directly involved in every crisis, even if it can
be used as a tool in them, and all practical applications of the Internet do
not have specific relevance to rights and principles.

We should keep our focus narrow enough to keep the work manageable. If we
move from evaluating the rights and principles, considering their
applicability and relevance &c, to actually doing everything where they
matter, we'll have all the worlds problems in our hands, and the group could
be renamed "do everything good -group".

> ICT can potentially be used to make some of those who are rich and
> powerful today even more rich and powerful, while exploiting everyone 
> else and increasing poverty and hunger as a side effect. On the other 
> hand, ICT can also potentially be used to empower those who today live 
> in unacceptable conditions to truly satisfactory economic and 
> spiritual development. How can humanity choose the latter path of 
> development over the former? By means of wisely choosing and 
> establishing the right Internet Rights and Principles!

Yes. We should indeed analyze our rights and principles in
that light, all the way down to recommending courses of action in various
practical situations, but actually engaging in them should be left to other
organizations, which hopefully will adopt our work as their principles (and
indeed which may be composed of partly same people as this group).

Tapani Tarvainen _______________________________________________
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