BEST BITS SESSION 1
Multi-Stakeholder Processes: some definitions and principles
Defining Multi-stakeholder: “model”(MSM) “multistakeholder’ism” and/or “processes”
- Multi-stakeholderism is a form of achieving participatory democratic Internet governance, and does not conflict with it.
- It is an iterative process that is transparent and documents consensus and dissensions, and
- Multi-stakeholder”ism” is not appropriate as it elevates this concept to an ideology.
- The term is difficult and conceptually complex and hard to translate and as part of broadening participation, civil society has a responsibility to simplify/explain the language including easy availability of information to all stakeholders
- There are not fixed stakeholders: it is a fluid notion
MSM should lead to real participation taking into account that there is no decision making outcomes. There is a need to move from consultation to policy development.
There is a right of all individuals and entities to participate in governance processes on issues they have a stake in. However, consultation is not enough: openness and transparency is needed throughout the process,
As civil society we need to be open to ensure participation and ensure that we have capacity building sessions
MS participation should strive towards as broad participation as possible (this means not just allowing participation, but enabling it through resources etc.)
Participation should mean a meaningful voice in any decision-making (with a broad understanding of what constitutes decision-making, i.e. to include agenda-setting etc.)
MS participation requires concrete processes – rules of engagement which are clear and known by all; and a high degree of transparency, for example, policy choices made should be explained and justified, also from public interest viewpoint
MS participation must involve different stakeholder groups – all participants have legitimacy and accountability responsibilities to the process, and to the stakeholders that they represent or come from.
- Accountability and Transparency
As civil society we should ensure accountability and transparency of all parties involved
As stakeholders we need common understanding of concepts/ shared meaning
-Transparency of processes, information used in decision-making
-Responsibility of participants in MS processes, to be informed and necessary skills and respect diverse viewpoints
- Changing power imbalances
Avoid power blocks that prevent discussion of some issues. Ensure a level playing field for civil society.
- Procedural Fairness
Modalities of the process must be announced publicly well in advance
Diversity of inputs taken into consideration ensuring full deliberation
Diversity of viewpoints and interests represented including women
Important to look at barriers to participation; civil society should get its own house in order in this regard before insisting on this principle more broadly
From the Best Bits list “multi-stakeholderism”implies or requires:
- agreement of all participantsto work to collective goal or common purpose
- openness and inclusiveness in seeking input/views from all interested parties
- documents and materials made freely available on line to all parties
- clear, equitable processes for developing outcomes which provide considereation of all inputs/views
- respect for all participants involved
The recent African IGF pre-event statement was also offered as a reference.
Discussion on the future of the IGF and IGF principles
On the IGF context now:
1) Main benefit we personally get from participating in the IGF is meeting new interesting people; as the IGF is evolved we’d rather experience more of this, certainly not less, especially for those new to internet governance
2) IGF as a discussion forum is more sustainable than as a decision- or even recommendation-making body; discussion, understanding other viewpoints is more useful than achieving consensus
1. We need to recognise the relationship of national IGFs/ Regional IGFs with the global IGF. Global IGF feeding national/ regional IGFs and vice versa.
2. We should work on a set of indicators of issues; stakeholder mapping. Who is involved? What are the issues?
3. The Global IGF while not a decision making body can make reccommendations and/ statements and key strategic issue is: should we focus all our energy on making the IGF as perfect as it should be despite it being a space that doesn’t make decisions – or shall we use more of our energy to engage with forums where decisions are made.
Recommendations from groups
- Consider to transform MS principles into concrete criteria to rank the “level” of openness for multistakeholder participation in each process/forum and to issue some kind of Best Bits assessments on these.
- Followups needed documenting how much each group influenced outcome to help in forming strategic and coordinated approach among civil society efforts. more realistic understanding of where/how to engage and to concentrate efforts?
- Indicate ways for improving existing institutions and processes
- Help articulate what we want from new processes, like the Brazil 2014 meeting
- Evaluate how effectively the recommendations of the WG on IGF Improvements are implemented (including in regard to dynamic coalitions). CS should be more coordinated and strategic in this area.
- Explore the idea that before Internet governance decision making, maybe it should be required to have an IGF process first
- IGF should try to agree on principles, not on too detailed thing like legal frameworks
- IGF should have some means of assessing progress of multistakeholder processes on various levels, online scorecard or something, reporting back
This report is based on the original version of the pad at http://igcaucus.org:9001/p/bb-ms, which may have changed since then.