In light of the scheduled “Retreat on Advancing the 10-Year Mandate of the Internet Governance Forum” to be held in New York from 14-16 July 2016, we would like to note that the theme is of interest to all parties in the IGF community. As such, we kindly request that remote participation facilities be made available to widen participation in this event, and that more information be provided on the expected modalities for implementation of the meeting’s outcomes and the lines of accountability for such implementation.
The Tunis Agenda states in paragraph 73, “The Internet Governance Forum, in its working and function, will be multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic and transparent.” To the extent that UN DESA has custodianship of this unique multi-stakeholder institution, it is incumbent upon it to uphold these values, and this extends to the transparency and accountability of meetings such as the IGF retreat and of the implementation of the recommendations of such meetings.
The IGF has been working since its inception to be open, transparent, and fully accessible to all stakeholders through the live streaming of all its sessions and its planning meetings. It also offered remote participants the possibility to intervene, collecting inputs from the widest possible range of stakeholders. It is also valuable to mention that platforms for remote participation have been made available in meetings with limited membership, such as the 2013/2014 CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation (WGEC).
As the purpose of the retreat is to show “progress on working modalities and the participation of relevant stakeholders from developing countries”, remote participation constitutes the very essence of a participatory working modality and broadens the chance for under-represented communities to engage in the IGF’s mandate.
Apart from the need for transparency of the working sessions of the retreat itself, it is also important to ensure clarity around the bigger picture of how this event will impact the evolution of the IGF, and by what means. We therefore ask for clarification of to whom the retreat’s recommendations will be addressed or directed, who will have the authority and responsibility to implement these recommendations, and to whom they will they be accountable in doing so.
We trust that the organizers will find these to be reasonable requests that will contribute to the public legitimacy of the outcomes of this meeting by all stakeholders, and we look forward to receiving your reply on these points in advance of the retreat next month. The undersigned participants of civil society groups [emailpetition id=”36″] [signaturelist id=”36″]