[IRPCoalition] Multistakeholderism/ Was Time-sensitive: 24 hour sign on period for ITU Plenipot joint recommendations

Salanieta T. Tamanikaiwaimaro salanieta.tamanikaiwaimaro at gmail.com
Sat Oct 25 13:24:51 EEST 2014

Dear All,

Sometime ago (many months ago) on the IGC there was some discussion on the
list about MSism. Here is a draft synthesis of what people were saying at
the time that really should go on the IGC etherpad for comment and further
discussion. I tried synthesising it but it needs a group of volunteers to
comb through IGC archives and help piece together the different views etc.

It is pointless to go on a debate that leads to nowehere except of course
where people can accept that there are diverse views and position but
resolve to agree to disagree etc.

Synthesis of Discussions on the IGC on Multistakeholderism

These are interesting times in the context of enhanced cooperation between
various stakeholders within the Information Society. The following is a
synthesis of perspectives gleaned from the dialogue on the Civil Society
Internet Governance Caucus (IGC) list.

What does "Multistakeholder" mean?

Multistakeholder is a governance structure that brings diverse stakeholders
together to cooperate and participate in the dialogue, decision making, and
implementation of solutions to common problems or goals[1].

What is Multistakeholderism?

Multistakeholderism is a framework and means of engagement; it is not a
means of legitimization[2]. Legitimization comes from people, from work
with and among people[3]. Multistakeholder processes could and should
enhance democracy by increasing opportunities for effective participation
by those most directly impacted by decisions and particularly those at the
grassroots who so often are voiceless in these processes[4]. It should
enhance democracy by ensuring that decisions made are reflective of and
responsive to local concerns and to the broadest range of those who must
bear the consequences[5]. It should enhance democracy by making democratic
processes more flexible and responsive, able to adjust to changing contexts
circumstances, technologies, and impact populations[6].

In the context of Internet Governance, there exists a diverse set of
stakeholders that each have their respective framework which describes how
subscribers are to engage. There is no doubt a wide range of foras,
organisations, committees or groups where some form of "Multistakeholder"
governance is practiced whether various modes of vehicles including but not
limited to that of a Trust, Corporation, Organisation, Intergovernmental
Forum, an International Organisation or an ad hoc community.

Multistakeholderism on an Organizational Level

This can be seen within an organizational level, for example, organisations
such as Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)[7] has
its Bylaws[8] which sets out its mission and core values and describes the
various constituencies within ICANN.

Each constituency within ICANN has specific framework governing how each
stakeholder conducts its affairs.

There are many other organisations within the Information Society that have
some form of Multistakeholder engagement and these organisations have
guidelines that help to act as a framework for relations.

Multistakeholderism in Working Groups and Committees

This can also be seen with regard to Working Groups, take for example the
Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation.

The United Nations General Assembly, at its 67th session, adopted Resolution
67/195 on Information and communication technologies for development[9]. This
Resolution invited the Chair of the United Nations Commission on Science
and Technology for Development (UN CSTD)[10], to establish a working group
on enhanced cooperation to examine the mandate of the World Summit on the
Information Society regarding enhanced cooperation as contained in the
Tunis Agenda.

The Tunis Agenda[11] pivots on focusing on financial mechanisms for
bridging the digital divide, on Internet governance and related issues, as
well as on implementation and follow-up of the Geneva and Tunis decisions.

The GA RES 67/195 requested the Chair of the UN CSTD to "ensure that the
working group on enhanced cooperation has balanced representation between
Governments from the five regional groups of the Commission and invites
other stakeholders, namely the private sector, civil society, technical and
academic communities, and intergovernmental and international

Challenges of Multistakeholderism: Issues within Civil Society

In 2004, Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus (IGC) participated in a
Civil Society Meeting in Berlin and identified principles and examined
issues affecting Civil Society[12]. The meeting comprised of a
representative from the ICANN At Large Advisory Committee[13], Humanistiche
Union[14], Internet Governance Caucus Coordinator[15], the UN Non-
Governmental Liaison Service[16], and African Civil Society for the
Information Society[17] and Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship
with the United Nations[18].

Principles that were identified in the 2004 meeting included:

·   Legitimacy;

·   Representation;

·   Transparency; and

·   Accountability.

Issues of legitimacy, representation, transparency and accountability
continue to surface over the years on a global, regional and national scale
(Anja Kovacs & Nnenna Nwakanma).

Navigating Through the Maze

Just as context differs, whether it is for an organisation or a committee,
it is important to acknowledge that context differs whether these are
organisations or intergovernmental organisations that are subject to
diverse rules and procedures. The United Nations for instance is bound by
the Resolutions of its members as per the General Assembly and can only act
when mandated.

ICANN on the other hand is bound by its Bylaws and its Affirmation of

Similarly, the Working Groups are bound by their respective mandates
whether these are in the form of formal documentation such as organizing
instruments or where these are loosely organized in an ad hoc fashion.

Whatever, the context, one thing is certain, bringing a diverse group of
people poses significant challenges to building consensus and bridging
relationships particularly when there are diverse if not polarized
perspectives and strong views from various stakeholders.

Purpose Precedes Method

To this end, a practical means of dealing with diversity is to clearly
establish the purpose from the outset (David Allen). After this is
established, it is useful to develop the methods where the purpose(s) can
be fulfilled (David Allen and Parminder).

Given that the nature of Multistakeholder engagement implies the inclusion
of civil society, private sector and the public sector, it follows that
each categorization has unique concerns and characteristics that relate to
its identity.

Often the disenfranchisement, turf wars or propaganda is motivated by fears
and it is important that these fears are addressed. Part of establishing
purpose means to create a safe environment where genuine collaboration can

Multistakeholderism is not a replacement (David Allen) and does not take
away from each component or part. Rather it is the sum of all parts.

Multistakeholderism is not a policy making forum as this is reserved for
democratic contexts (David Allen).

Multistakeholderism is a means of moving towards greater engagement and
enhanced cooperation among diverse stakeholders (Michael Gurstein).


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multistakeholder_Governance_Model

[2] Statement by Anita Gurumurthy, Executive Director, IT for Change at the
closing ceremony of WSIS plus 10 review held by UNESCO from 25th to 27th
February, 2013

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multistakeholder_Governance_Model

[4] ibid

[5] ibid

[6] ibid

[7] A Californian Non Profit Public-Benefit Corporation

[8] http://www.icann.org/en/about/governance/bylaws

[9] http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ares67d195_en.pdf

[10] Ambassador Miguel Palomino de la Gala is the current Chair of the UN

[11] http://www.itu.int/wsis/docs2/tunis/off/6rev1.html

[12] Meeting Record on Working Methods of Civil Society (20th November
2004), Berlin, Germany

[13] Vittorio Bertola

[14] Dr Christoph Bruch

[15] Jeanette Hoffman

[16] Ramin Kaweh

[17] Nnenna Nwakanma

[18] Rik Panganiban

On Sat, Oct 25, 2014 at 3:30 AM, michael gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com>

> It is interesting to see that those who are amongst the most vocal and
> public advocates for MSism are also those who refuse to actually indicate
> what they mean by MSism.
> M
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