Here is a brief report of the 2015 Best Bits meeting in João Pessoa:
- Policy slam and introductions Participants introduced themselves and briefly explained the issues that they are working on, to enable informal connections and collaborations to be made.
- Criteria of meaningful stakeholder inclusion in Internet governance Two papers on the topic of the delicate balance between multi-stakeholder processes and democratic legitimacy was presented, and there was a general agreement that interested Best Bits members could form a working group to promote a series of proposed criteria to differentiate between multi-stakeholder processes that are inclusive and democratic, from those that are not.
- WSIS+10 update This session explained the importance of the WSIS+10 process, as the highest level process in which Interent governance principles are being expressed. There was some discussion about the level of ambition in the output document, and the means by which civil society can still participate. Interested participants were invited to a longer session that was to be held on the following day as an IGF pre-event.
- Overview of active global venues discussing Internet public policy issues Following an introductory overview with a mapping of Internet governance institutions, a series of informative presentations were given that zoomed in on a number of these key institutions. These included Internet native institutions such as ICANN, IETF and ISOC, UN bodies such as the General Assembly, CSTD, Human Rights Council and ITU, other intergovernmental bodies such as the Freedom Online Coalition and London Process, and specialised bodies such as WIPO, the WTO and trade negotiations such as TTP, TTIP and TISA.
- Catalyzing reform of trade negotiation processes The next session which followed on from these presentations, although cut short for lack of time, was to have been an exercise that would utilize our shared knowledge about various institutions in the Internet governance regime to identify possible strategies for reclaiming Internet-related policy issues from the closed, secretive trade agreements in which those issues have recently been being decided. This exercise will be continued online.
- Best Bits way forward The results of a survey of Best Bits participants was presented and discussed. There was a clear consensus that Best Bits did continue to have value, although it was identified that having a large steering committee had not been helpful and was not presently sustainable. There was agreement to have a smaller group of volunteer coordinators that could be more action-oriented. One of its main responsibilities would be to organise the annual meeting based on 2-3 targets per meeting, perhaps decided by vote of participants. The existing steering committee was asked to take responsibility for proposing a suitable group of volunteer coordinators going forward.