Details are starting to emerge about the Brazilian meeting on Internet Governance scheduled to take place in Sao Paulo this coming April, and they make it clear that the Brazilian host is in firm control and that governments and UN-affiliated International Governmental organizations will make up half the participants – with all the other business, technical, academic and civil society stakeholders sharing the other half. That seems pretty unbalanced for a meeting that has been characterized by some as focused on reinforcing support for the multistakeholder model (MSM) in general and ICANN in particular.
In a December 21st post placed on the e-mail discussion list maintained by http://1net.org/, Carlos A. Afonso provided this summary of a meeting held the day before by the Brazilian Organizing Group (we’re providing the entire text of the e-mail, and add some comment and analysis after it):
This is my quick summary of yesterday’s meeting of the local organizing
group (LOG) for the BR meeting. This summary is basically oriented to
civil society but may be useful to all stakeholders. Covers basically
the structure of the committees and includes some other useful info.
I do hope it answers several of the many questions we are receiving.
1. Co-chairs of the BR Meeting
This is a no-brainer: the BR Meeting will be chaired by Virgilio Almeida
(current chair of CGI.br, and member of Brazil’s Ministry of Science,
Technology and Innovation), and Fadi Chehadé.
2. High Level Multistakeholder Committee
The HLMC will be responsible for overseeing the political articulations
and for encouraging the participation of the international community.
It will be composed of government representatives of 12 countries
(precise list still being established by the BR government) plus 12
non-govs, and two representatives of UN agencies to be chosen by the
UNSG. The 12 non-govs include four of each non-gov stakeholder (civil
society, academia/techies, private sector). All of the non-gov, non-UN
stakeholders’ names will be brought to the LOG by 1Net. So the HLC will
be composed of 26 people.
The HLMC will have four co-chairs, keeping the multistakeholder balance.
One of the co-chairs will be Brazil’s Minister of Communications Paulo
So civil society needs to indicate to 1Net Steering Committee four
high-level reps as soon as possible.
3. Executive Multistakeholder Committee
The EMC will be responsible for organizing the event, including the
discussion and implementation of the agenda, and the selection of the
participants and the various stakeholders’ proposals. The crucial part
of the preparation process resides here, in close coordination with the
Logistics Committee, so people selected for the EMC ought to make
themselves readily available for this challenge.
The LOG has already selected the eight Brazilian members of the EMC.
There will be four co-chairs as well, and names already appointed are
Demi Getschko (CEO of NIC.br) and Raúl Echeberría (to be confirmed, CEO
of LACNIC). A representative of an international agency will be
appointed as well (by the coordinating body of the UN agencies) to
Like the HLMC, non-gov, non-UN members of the EMC will be brought to the
LOG by 1Net.
For the EMC civil society needs to indicate to 1Net Steering Committee
two names as soon as possible.
4. Logistics and Organizational Committee
The LOC will be co-chaired by Hartmut Glaser, executive secretary of
CGI.br with proven expertise in coordinating the organization of
national and international events. Another co-chair will be indicated by
5. Government Advisory Committee
This is in the hands of the BR government who acts as a facilitator and
coordinator. Two co-chairs will be indicated. This committee will be
open to any government who wishes to act in an advisory capacity.
NIC.br will cover about 50% of the meeting’s overall costs. The balance
will be share by international participants/sponsors. Contributions from
ICANN and ISOC are expected.
The meeting is to be held at Hotel Transamérica, in São Paulo, fairly
close to NIC.br headquarters (see attached map). The basic distribution
of participants is envisioned approximately as:
450 from govs
500-550 from non-gov, non-UN stakeholders
50 IGOs/UN reps
Inviting participants, or receiving and approving participation
requests, is one of the tasks of the EMC.
8. Expected outcomes as success indicators
– Official launching of a review process of the global IG frameworks/models;
– Development of a set of universally acceptable core of principles for
– Tentative draft of a global IG model.
My personal comment: these ambitious outcomes of course involve a lot of
preparatory process work, especially by the Executive Committee. This is
why we need to conclude the nominations asap in order to start the real
work towards the meeting.
Our comments and analysis, keyed to the e-mail’s numbered points:
ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade made the initial request to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to hold the meeting, and is now co-chair of it. So he and ICANN are now doubly invested in it and have a large ownership stake in its outcome.
Governments and UN agencies will dominate the HLMC, holding 14 of its 26 seats. 1Net will forward the names of the dozen non-governmental participants through a yet-to-be-determined process. Brazil will hold one of the HLMC’s four co-chair posts; how the other three will be filled is not yet clear.
While the post does not indicate the total membership of the EMC, it indeed appears to control the “crucial part of the preparation process” – and Brazil is making all the key calls on its membership and structure. Brazilians will hold eight EMC seats and one of the four co-chair seats with another being held by the Executive Director of LACNIC.
The LOG will be co-chaired by another Brazilian, who also serves as Treasurer of LACNIC (http://lacnic.net/en/sobre-lacnic/directorio.html).
It is unclear what the precise functions of this GAC (different than ICANN’s GAC) will be, but Brazil will facilitate and coordinate its activities so it exercises the ultimate control.
Brazil will be covering half of the meeting’s costs. ICANN will be contributing toward the other half . We would hope and expect that it will advise the ICANN community of what that amount will be and how it was determined. In fact, there is sufficient time to propose a funding level and then put that out for comment to ICANN’s stakeholders before a final decision is made. After all, those funds are largely derived from registrant fees.
Total meeting participation will be 1,100 to 1,150, with 100 of those spots reserved for journalists (who presumably will be observing and reporting, not taking part in meeting discussions). Governments will be allotted 450, and the UN and its affiliated IGOs another 50. All non-gov
ernmental participants will share the other 500-550 slots. Now of course governments are not monolithic in their views, nor are any of the private sector stakeholder groups. But it’s hard to ignore that fact that Brazil has allotted half the participation for a meeting that ostensibly is aimed at reinforce the private-sector dominated multistakeholder model to government representatives, many of them from governments that would prefer to abolish ICANN and hand its functions to the UN-affiliated International telecommunications Union (ITU). It’s also consequential that the UN and its affiliated IGOs could be a critical swing bloc – and that the UN has just coordinated a massive inflow of comment letters to ICANN protesting the GNSO Council’s unanimously adopted resolution of the treatment of IGO acronyms at new gTLDs. As we asked in our recent post on that development (http://internetcommerce.org/UNvsGNSO), “in an approaching year when the debate between the choice of a multistakeholder versus a multilateral model of Internet governance will take center stage at the spring Sao Paulo meeting and the fall ITU session, how will the ICANN Board balance considerations of defending the unanimous multistakeholder position of the GNSO Council versus the need to garner multilateral support for ICANN itself?” The answer to that question now appears even more consequential.
It is disturbing that, in advance of the actual meeting, “expected outcomes as success indicators” are being proposed — and that they encompass a global review of Internet governance (IG) frameworks and models; developing “a set of universally acceptable core of principles for
global IG” (universally acceptable? that seems awfully ambitious); and a “tentative draft of a global IG model”. These metrics seem to preclude an outcome that simply accepts the current IG model, of which ICANN is a central feature — with perhaps some modest proposals for tweaks and fixes.
Summing up, it seems clear that Brazil is making the key decisions, that governments will make up half the stakeholders/participants, and that significant alterations of IG could be the output product of this meeting. Which makes it even more important that other stakeholders get their act together, and quickly. As best as we understand the process for selecting non-government participants, 1Net will constitute a Steering Committee which will receive requests or recommendations for participants, although it’s not at all clear what role it will play in making final selections.
Constituting that overall Steering Committee is proving to be a controversy in itself. The business sector, through a process we are not fully acquainted with (other than, so far as we know, no one from the domain investment community was consulted or considered), has submitted these names:
1. Aparna Sridhar, Telecom Policy Counsel, Google
2. David Fares, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, 21st Century Fox
3. Marilyn Cade, President, ICT Strategies mCade
4. Sarah Wynn-Williams, Manager, Global Public Policy, Facebook
5. Paul Mitchell, Senior Director, Technology Policy, Microsoft Corporation
That brought immediate criticism from Professor Milton Mueller through an e-mail stating:
I must say to my colleagues in the business community, I could not imagine a worse blunder than to stack all 5 positions on a Coordinating committee concerned with global Internet governance with 5 Americans or representatives of American corporations.
Considering that US pre-eminence, either through the IANA contract or via NSA surveillance, is both a precipitant and a topic of the meeting, this selection of representatives reaches a level of transnational tone-deafness that is truly staggering. Do you have any idea what message you are sending to the rest of us? Really, now, the ICC BASIS was unable to come up with a _single_ small business, not a single Indian or Chinese or Korean or European or African entrepreneur? Heck, do they even _have_ businesses in those places? 😉
If I were 1net, I would send this list back to with two words: get real.
That comment elicited this further personal response from Olivier MJ Cripin-Leblond, the Chairman of ICANN’s At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC):
Well caught, Milton.
I am actually *disturbed* by the naivety with which this is all being set-up. This line-up is the *best* way to have the multi-stakeholder model ridiculed & shot down — as in, the “multi-stakeholder model” is nothing but window dressing for US multi-nationals to keep their control over the Internet. It might not be what I believe, but that’s definitely an easy shot!
(my own views)
There also may be concerns within the IP community that trademark rights holders are not sufficiently represented by the business selections, and that they have no other avenue toward high-level participation. Likewise, concerns have been raised that ICANN’s contracted parties, registries and registrars, don’t fit within any of the existing categories and may be precluded in the same way.
As for civil society, its selections are:
1. Joana Varon
2. Rafik Dammak
3. Anriette Esterhuysen
4. Vladimir Radunovik
5. Anja Kovacs
So far, the only concern raised about those selections is that they may fail to provide sufficient voice to the EU.
The technical community has requested additional time to make their selections – and the academics have yet to be heard from.
All in all, things seem rather unsettled and unfocused on the non-government side in regard to a meeting that’s just four months away and is supposed to set the course for Internet Governance in the 21st century.
Rather than having the final word on the situation, we’ll defer to Ian Peter, who posted this eloquent summation on December 20th:
Well dear fellow multistakeholders,
Here is the state of play as we enter the holiday period.
Business community chooses the biggest and richest without thought for balance.
Technical community needs more time to get the job done.
Academic community works hard on deciding what an academic is.
Civil society implodes.
All sounds like business as usual to me (but maybe my cynicism will wear off by morning).
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