On the outside, looking in: real-world solutions to effective participation in ICANN, IGF and ITU

30 September 2011 - A Workshop on Critical Internet Resources in Nairobi, Kenya

Agenda

Description:
It is neither easy nor simple to follow or effectively participate in the organizations that manage the Internet’s resources. This session will look at what the barriers are, what efforts are being made to remove them, and how everyone from civil society to governments to business, in both developed and developing countries, can improve their participation in key Internet organizations.

Approach:
The panelists have participated in key Internet organizations at the highest levels, and often been advocates for greater participation by others.

The session will start with a rundown of common themes and issues that prevent or discourage effective participation, drawing in particular from a recent independent report into ICANN's accountability and transparency.

Questions will then be taken from in the room and online and put to the panelists for responses and insights. We hope to elicit a wide range of views from business, government and civil society from both developed and developing countries, with extensive participation and interaction encouraged from attendees.

Issues to be tackled include:
• How to find information and follow current topics
• What barriers exist, and how to get around them
• Cultural, financial and societal biases, and how to tackle them
• Making the most of the systems currently in place

 

 

Workshop Report, Internet Governance Forum 2011, Nairobi



Workshop #70: On the Outside, Looking In: Real-World Solutions to Effective Participation in ICANN, IGF and ITU




Moderator:
Kieren McCarthy, CEO of .Nxt

Remote moderator:
Emily Taylor, Consultant for .Nxt, IGF MAG Member


Panelists:

    • Sebastien Bachollet, Founding CEO of BBS International Consulting, ICANN Board Public Participation Committee Member, ISOC France Board Member

 

    • Richard Beaird, Senior Deputy Coordinator, International Communications and Information Policy, US Department of State

 

    • Maarten Botterman, Chairman of PIR

 

    • Chris Disspain, CEO of auDA, ICANN Board Member, Member of ICANN's Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT), IGF MAG Member

 

    • Ann-Rachel Inné, Manager of Regional Relations for Africa, ICANN

 

  • Jeanette Hofmann, Senior Researcher at Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), IGF MAG Member



Organized by: .Nxt




Executive summary



The workshop looked at what it takes to follow or effectively participate in the organizations that manage the Internet's resources, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The panel and audience members discussed:

    • accessing information about what is going on

 

    • understanding each organization's function

 

    • how these organizations can attract participants, and

 

  • how participants can influence decisions made within these organizations



There was a general acknowledgement of the difficulties associated with accessing information from all three organizations. "With both IGF and ICANN, it's quite difficult if you are not in the right mailing list at the right time, [or] if you don't look at the right page on the right website at the right time," said Sebastien Bachollet, a member of the ICANN Board and on its Public Participation Committee. "You don't know what is happening. For the moment, there is no good solution for that." Chris Disspain, CEO of auDA, an ICANN Board member and a member of ICANN's Accountability and Transparency Review Team, considers it "impossible to follow the ITU unless [you] happen to be a sector member."

Panelists ran through a number of ideas for making information more accessible, but they also stressed that would-be participants need to take on a certain amount of personal responsibility for staying informed. "You can't expect to be spoon-fed this stuff," said Disspain. "It's intensely complicated and, because there are so many interconnecting threads, to try to put it into simple, easy-to-understand language is hard." ICANN's Manager of Regional Relations for Africa, Ann-Rachel Inné, explained that, "to participate, you absolutely have to do your homework." You need to understand the subject, the organization and the people involved before you can expect to get anything out of your participation.

ICANN, IGF and ITU, each with their own mandates and cultures, need to make information and participation more accessible in order to "broaden their participation in a way that reflects the reality of the Internet world in which we participate," in the words of Richard Beaird, US State Department Senior Deputy Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy. Jeanette Hoffman, senior researcher at Social Science Research Center Berlin and an IGF MAG member, believes that the IGF, for one, derives its legitimacy from its low barriers for entry. "That we don't exclude people in unnecessary ways, so [as] to be open to new participants, is for me an important criteria that makes a process or space like the IGF legitimate." Hoffman does not believe that the IGF can be representative in a democratic sense - that is impossible - but it should be open.

Panelists proposed both regional chapters and online participation as ways of further opening the doors of these organizations. PIR Chairman Sebastien Botterman considers it "inevitable that online participation increases. Either via listening in and even being able to ask questions, or via polls and things like that. Admittedly, today we are still very happy if 2,000 people around the world participate in a poll. How many people are in the world?" Panelists also argued, however, that full and effective participation requires attendance of meetings and interaction with the other players.

Moderator Kieren McCarthy, CEO of .Nxt, pushed panelists for instructions on how to influence decisions, with examples. Beaird warned, first, that at ITU you can get yourself heard, but you cannot get your own way. "Consensus decision-making satisfies no one. It's just the least worst option, normally." Consistent and informed involvement is key to becoming influential. That said, the launch of the IDN fast track was driven by passionate speakers at an APTLD meeting in Dubai, says Disspain.

Steve delBianco of NetChoice describes participation in the Internet organizations as a process of staying informed of threats and opportunities for your interests and developing assets and allies to help you both in staying informed and in responding. To respond "you have to propose a workshop, seek a panel slot, get research published, show up, be there to answer critiques. Or step into the opportunity to advance your agenda. And none of us can do it alone."

Conclusions and further comments:

Full summary



It is neither easy nor simple to follow or effectively participate in the organizations that manage the Internet's resources. This session looked at:

    • What the barriers are

    • What efforts are being made to remove them, and

  • How everyone can improve their participation in key Internet organizations


The panelists have participated in ICANN, IGF and ITU at the highest levels, and have often been advocates for greater participation by others.

The goal of the session was to elicit a wide range of views from business, government and civil society, from both developed and developing countries.

Issues tackled by panelists and attendees include:

  • How to find information and follow current topics

  • What barriers exist, and how to get around them

  • Cultural, financial and societal biases, and how to tackle them

  • Making the most of the systems currently in place

  • Being an advocate for improvement


An online survey conducted in the weeks leading up to the workshop elicited 10 responses and provided some useful insights and questions. Survey results appear at the end.

What follows is a summary of the workshop, broken down by broad issue.




Following these organizations



Moderator Kieren McCarthy, CEO of .Nxt, introduced the workshop as an opportunity to talk about pragmatic ways to participate in ICANN, IGF and ITU.

Participation requires, first, that you are able to follow what is going on. Sebastien Bachollet, a member of the ICANN Board and its Public Participation Committee, said that it took him two or three years to start to understand the ICANN ten years ago. "With both IGF and ICANN, it's quite difficult if you are not in the right mailing list at the right time, [or] if you don't look at the right page on the right website at the right time. You don't know what is happening. For the moment, there is no good solution for that."

Even "in the part of the ICANN At-Large where everything is supposed to be on the wiki - even with the search engine, there are things [that are] inaccessible." While it may not be easy to follow ICANN, Chris Disspain, the CEO of auDA, an ICANN Board member and a member of ICANN's Accountability and Transparency Review Team, finds "it's impossible to follow the ITU unless [you] happen to be a sector member."

Senior Researcher at Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) Jeanette Hoffman expressed concern about how IGF debates are shared with the rest of the world. "So far what we have achieved within the IGF doesn't travel really well to people who don't participate. Most people simply don't get what is so good about the IGF. So thinking about improving our representation of discussions makes a lot of sense." IGF data is underused, "not only because our website isn't really good, but also because people might not even want to read transcripts or things like that. So, what we need to talk about is how we can better summarize or illustrate the debates we have here so they are accessible for non-participants who might be interested in certain elements of the discussions or certain topics."

An organization like ICANN should be transparent, said Chris Disspain. "But it's not enough just to put stuff up on a website. Give people a choice of ways to follow and answer questions. Because the bottom line is if you want to find something out and you can't figure out where it is on the website, there should be someone you can ask that will tell you."

Online, there is "a lot, a lot, a lot left to do," said Sebastien Bachollet. He asked Kieren McCarthy and .Nxt to continue producings documents at the beginning of ICANN meetings to help orient people.

ICANN's Manager of Regional Relations for Africa Ann-Rachel Inné noted that, in order to make sure that attendees get access to the information and discussions of interest to them at meetings, the ITU divides into sectors, while ICANN divides into Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs). She wondered, then, who distributes the information given out to people: ICANN, or the SOs, or the people themselves? Could it be organized differently? Inné has noticed that some in the community see the need for "two-pagers to describe something like the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) - this is what it is and this is what you can get out of it - and to differentiate among the ITU, ICANN and IGF. These documents also need to be translated into different languages," she insisted.

Inné and Chris Disspain agreed that people should expect to invest some time and energy in following these organizations. "You can't expect to be spoon-fed this stuff," said Disspain. "It's intensely complicated and because there are so many interconnecting threads, to try to put it into simple, easy-to-understand [language] is hard." Ann-Rachel Inné explained that "to participate, you absolutely have to do your homework - you can't be thinking you will participate in something when you really don't know the subject and you don't know the subject matter and you don't know how the organization functions. Unless you know the entities and people you are working with, you can't really get something out of it."




Understanding ICANN, IGF and ITU



To begin engaging with one of these organizations, it is important to understand its purpose and culture. US State Department Senior Deputy Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy Richard Beaird began by profiling the ITU.

"The ITU is a union. You join it. You pay. You pay to participate. That's the first point. Second point is it's part of the United Nations - and adheres to the fundamental charters of the United Nations - so there are founding documents and there are rules for participation. That cannot be changed."

The ITU's original purpose was to serve as "the global forum where spectrum is allocated and managed through regulation - there is no other mechanism that is currently [able] to exercise that function and, as we see broadband deployment increasingly tied to wireless access, that activity will become increasingly important from the point of view of establishing essentially global access to the Internet through spectrum-based services."

The ITU also shares responsibilities with other organizations as "a major contributor to global connectivity and harmonization of standards" and in development, finding "ways to effectively capacity-build, transfer technology and training [and] then build out infrastructure." The organizations that manage the Internet's resources are not alternatives to one another, said Beaird; they exist "in an ecosystem of organizations reflecting the diversity that is now the reality of the Internet environment." They all evolve and they all influence one another.

Executive Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy at ARIN Cathy Handley talked about the tremendous changes underway at both the ITU and ICANN. Both are at a crossroads. Chris Disspain responded: "ICANN has actually bought a house at that crossroads and is living there permanently, I believe." But Jeanette Hoffman recalled how the ITU evolved from a purely intergovernmental organization to make the case that rules can be changed over time.

Remote Moderator Emily Taylor, strategic consultant for .Nxt and IGF MAG member, mentioned that, in the online questionnaire distributed in advance of this meeting, people were asked which of the three organizations made participation easiest. The IGF won out - and by a large margin - thanks to its open format, consultations, transparency and active online participation. This was not a quantitative survey, but what Taylor took away from it was the idea that this may be a part of the IGF's role: to orient people to the "arcane processes of the ITU or ICANN."

Ann-Rachel Inné was glad to hear of the positive reviews of participation in the IGF and talked about the importance of the IGF as a place where people can "come just to be listed to. They are here, they can be with people, they can say what they believe in without being judged and this is as good for governments as it is for civil society or [the] private sector or academia."

Chris Disspain described how the IGF, as a body that does not make decisions, serves members of ICANN and the ITU. "Everybody feels relatively safe, because we all know by the end of the day we will have learned some stuff and we'll all have gotten to know one another better and it will be incredibly valuable when we go back to wherever it is we go back to, but we haven't got to spend our time worrying about the fact there will be some sort of decision coming out of this at the end."

Cathy Handley challenged the panelists on how they would get their three organizations to work together more symbiotically, and how they would measure their success in doing so.

Chris Disspain located the tension more between the two decision-making bodies, ICANN and the ITU. PIR Chairman Maarten Botterman expressed concern that unnecessary in-fighting within these two organizations diffuses energy and discourages participation from outsiders. He, too, asked what could be done to put a stop to it.

Ann-Rachel Inné also took up Handley's call for symbiosis. The three organizations, according to Inné, "are all addressing the same people, trying to get the same people's attention. We [have] got to also think, at some point, [these people] are tired of having all of us crying for [participation]. So, how do we make sure that [people] stay around in each forum and participate and make really the enlightened decisions we all need to progress? Really, for me, it's cooperation, cooperation, cooperation."




Improving participation and defining success



ICANN, IGF and ITU share the challenge of trying to "broaden their participation in a way that reflects the reality of the Internet world in which we participate," according to Richard Beaird.

Jeanette Hoffman believes that the IGF, for one, derives its legitimacy from the way it approaches participation. "What makes the IGF legitimate? We tend to think about political legitimacy in terms of criteria we have developed for national [democratic] representation. I think that simply does not apply to transnational processes. We cannot be representative, we are not a body that makes binding decisions where it's important that you are representative in what you are doing."

What the IGF can do is have low barriers for entry. "That we don't exclude people in unnecessary ways, so [as] to be open to new participants, is, for me, an important criteria that makes a process or space like the IGF legitimate, but to be representative is not possible. I don't think we should expect that."

The ITU is also discussing how it can go about broadening participation. "They simply don't come to any agreement," remarked Hoffman, "which is unfortunate, but we can hope that over the next decade or so, the ITU is able to open itself to other stakeholder groups."

Participation from experts is vital. Hoffman feels the lack of participation from network operators. "It would be really good if ISPs, for example, would attend these meetings, because if you want to discuss issues like, say, net neutrality, you need the [perspective of the] people who do traffic management on a daily basis in order to understand how they look at things and how we can come to agreements with them. There are lots of groups still missing."

Some organizations - like ISPs - might not be able to afford to send people to participate, or might not see the point of participation, "but that is a completely different issue than, say, [the issue of] marginalized groups or young people or people from poor countries."

Chris Disspain asked what success would look like in respect to participation. "Take ICANN as an example, do we mean anyone can come? If that's what we mean, we have already succeeded. Do we mean, anyone can come as long as someone pays for them? That's a completely different problem. Do we mean, anyone can come and can in the space of one ICANN meeting pick up enough two-sided laminated bits of paper so they can walk away and come back at the next ICANN meeting fully understanding everything that there is to understand? Because if that's what we mean, that's a whole different game. We need to get really clear about what we think success looks like."

Sebastien Bachollet is of the opinion that there is too much focus on the number of participants and not enough focus on the outcomes of participation. The number of participants is a good measurement to make, but it is not a measurement of success. Success should be defined by output, thinks Bachollet.

Ann-Rachel Inné knows a lot of organizations and NGOs that participate not by attending meetings, but by educating people. Does this form of participation get counted? In looking at impact, Inné suggested, "there is a lot of that that we don't know here."

Maarten Botterman looks to a variety of organizations to see what practices have been successful in reaching out to participants. He suggested exploring the possibility of releasing impact studies, which "should reflect what inputs the commission used in coming to their decision." Impact studies, he contended, are a way of acknowledging and encouraging participation: "People tend to be more motivated to participate if it's clear what the impact of their actions can be."

In terms of global participation, Botterman is impressed by the Internet Society (ISOC), which "managed to set up these regional chapters - some more active than others, but new chapters come online every day and actively organize meetings themselves on the issues. They do have a common newsletter and they are on the ball in many aspects."

Kieren McCarthy mentioned that the IGF, too, may be going regional. There are significant advantages to regionalism, which allows people to discuss topics in their own language, in their own country. But, do regional chapters make an impact at the top of the organization?

Panelists also discussed virtual participation. Richard Beaird believes that to fully participate in these organizations -- "and it will be true of every organization," said Beaird - you cannot do it virtually. "You have got to be there and you have to know the participants."

Maarten Botterman, however, thinks it's important not to be too dismissive of online participation. He considers stimulated and sponsored participation important, but argued that they do not suffice. You cannot expect everyone who wants to have a say to be able to show up. It is crucial, Botterman thinks, to continue to use online forums to reach out to more people. It is also important to review the rules for participation. Rules vary in their clarity and applicability to current conditions. "It's inevitable that online participation increases. Either via listening in and even being able to ask questions, or via polls and things like that. Admittedly, today we are still very happy if 2,000 people around the world participate in a poll - How many people are in the world?"

Sebastien Bachollet agrees with Beaird that virtual participation cannot be real, full participation, which is why Bachollet supports the ambassador program. Maria Casey, an ISOC ambassador, talked about her experience as part of a youth forum sponsored by the ITU and wondered why such programs were difficult to find, why there were not more young people attending this meeting and whether their input would be welcomed. "The ITU's youth forum needs to be given so much more focus."

Chris Disspain said that, actually, "a number of ccTLDs run youth programs. There are six or seven 16-year-olds here from Nominet who were brought along to learn. ICANN runs a fellowship program for people to come to meetings and get sponsored. This stuff is out there." It's back to the issue of being able to access needed information.

Emily Taylor observed, "a lot of the youth programs, IGF summer school as well, have had a lasting impact because the people who do get hooked on it then stay in this space and filter through into various organizations. And so there's a real long-term benefit." Kieren McCarthy recalled a conversation he had had with then-chair Vint Cerf when he was at ICANN: "I had a long conversation with Vint and I was going on about all these plans and he said, 'look, there's only a very small group of people who will ever want to make policy and the key is to find those people, not to find and bring in everyone', which I think is a fair point."

Ann-Rachel Inné echoed the call to help youth get inside meetings, and to help others who are tripped up by the financial barriers to participation. "How do you make sure that people are financially covered to be able to make it? Civil society keeps crying that they can't go to all these places. How do you make sure they are there and their voices are heard? It's not enough to have their voices online."




Influencing end results



If you are one of that very small group of people who is interested in making policy, how do you go about doing it? "[W]hat do you actually do to get your hands dirty?" asked Kieren McCarthy. "How do you actually get involved? What are the most effective methods by which you can get involved, put in your input and try to influence things?"

At ICANN, he noted, despite public comment periods, physical meetings, mailing lists, public forums, etcetera, decisions are made and participants say they're not sure they had any impact.

Richard Beaird clarified, first, that participants never come out of the process thinking,'I got my own way.' Consensus means never getting your own way. "Consensus decision making satisfies no one. It's just the least worst option, normally." You can get heard on mailing lists and in public forums. You can go to a meeting with a single issue, say your piece and leave. But, "if you want to influence the whole game, rather than just be a single-issue person, you have to get involved in everything and you can't just push one particular thing the whole time."

Kieren McCarthy asked whether passionate diatribes that are a frequent part of Internet organizations' participation are taken into account, or whether people need to earn their way in, spending a long time on mailing lists and helping people come to consensus, in order to have an influence.

Chris Disspain agreed that influence is generally earned, but then recounted the launch of the IDN fast track, which was "in Dubai at an APTLD meeting and started because, for 20 minutes, we sat on a panel while being completely overwhelmed by the passion of the people in that room saying 'no, we have to have this now, you do not understand! We have to have this now. It's not good enough for you to say to us our policy development process takes five years. That's not good enough.' And we went out to the coffee break, and effectively designed the fast track on the back of an envelope, and then figured out how to make it happen. If you want - influence, care about something and deliver that [message] rather than just come for the purposes of hearing your own voice and manipulating the process."

Then Kieren McCarthy asked Beaird about a recent fight within the ITU over whether to acknowledge Internet organizations. "It went on for days and people were banging their heads against the table. But then, finally, an agreement was reached. Something happened and the United States was a key part of that, was pushing quite hard. What happened? How do you influence that process? How do people influence you to influence that process?"

The US has a delegation and that delegation reflects a variety of interests, said Richard Beaird. "As we prepare for meetings, we try to reach out to the widest possible interests we can to get a position. Cathy Handley and others were appropriately insistent that we give recognition to this community and that became a US position." The US articulated this position, and stuck with it, "and, by the magic of international consensus, something comes out at the end." It was in the closing moments of the conference that a compromise was reached. "How do compromises get reached in international fora? It's from practice. Everyone has a rational interest in ensuring success - you need to take into account all interests in order for a compromise to be reached and the ITU has been remarkably successful over the years in doing that."

Steve delBianco from NetChoice jumped in to provide an answer to the question posed frequently during the workshop. "What are your resources and methods for staying informed about threats and opportunities, and then being effective at protecting or advancing your interests?" He answered the question with respect to the IGF: "It does do an annual evaluation of how the Internet in the real world is doing at meeting values like the Tunis Agenda, equality, openness, economic development. And those evaluations are both threats and opportunities to the interests near and dear to every person in this room. Either a threat because you're about to get criticized which could lead to further regulation, or an opportunity."

It is a challenge to keep track of when there might be a workshop proposed or a panelist speaking that is critical of your activities, interests or industry, so it is important to stay informed, and this requires assets and allies. So does an effective reaction. "How do you react when you learn about a potential threat? You have to propose a workshop, seek a panel slot, get research published, show up, be there to answer critiques. Or step into the opportunity to advance your agenda. And none of us can do it alone. The answer is you need assets and allies - it takes a mix, a village to respond to opportunities and threats at IGF."

Sebastien Bachollet reminded everyone of the importance of regional meetings, insisting that what is really required is that you mobilize the community. "I think that is the core issue here. In whatever way [they] participate - whether they make it to meetings themselves, or inform people that inform people - take the RIR meetings locally." That is how to make yourself effective.

Mohammid Borjan from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that, in this workshop's search for real-world solutions, "a good answer for that would be an effective and active role in the WSIS review [of the Tunis Agenda]," in which Egypt is an active participant.

With time running out, Kieren McCarthy ended the workshop by acknowledging that two important issues still needed to be tackled: the ability to participate in native languages and the financial barrier to getting involved. "I suppose that will - be for another IGF," he concluded.





Online survey results



An online survey was run in the weeks leading up to the workshop. Ten responses were received; the results are given below.




Q: How do you find locating information on what is going on at Internet organizations?






Q: What barriers do you think there are to effective participation in ICANN, the ITU, the IGF, and other Internet organizations?































Hardest organization

 
ChoicesPercentage



ITU



80%



ICANN



20%





Why is that organization the hardest to participate in?

    • Need to be a member (expensive), opaque processes, hard to find relevant information

    • Nomenclature and acronyms

    • Complexity of documents

    • It has a process in place for civil society participation and it is not easy.

    • How could an Internet user participate in ITU?

    • Have no idea how to participate unless you are official of the government in the regulations area

  • No evidence of open process in the ITU as far as user interests are concerned.






























Easiest organization

 
ChoicesPercentage



IGF



70%



ICANN



30%


Why is it the easiest organization to participate in?



    • Open format, few meetings, no decision making role, equal voices

    • Consultation processes are transparent, remote participation is better.

    • Active on-line information and multiple opportunities for conference calls.

    • t is more open and easier than ICANN, although ICANN is very open it is not easy to follow what is being discussed if you are a newcomer

    • It's open, inclusive, non-decision making body.

    • One needs to be from the Industry or it requires a role in an AC / SO to participate in ICANN. ITU is closed.

  • Clear, concise, relevant topics





Tips/suggestions for improving participation



    • ICANN and IGF: I see the point of why to participate more effectively as Internet multistakeholder organizations. ITU: think the question is whether or not to participate, if there is no available option to be able to influence any outcome if you are not a gov rep.

    • Pay attention to Civil Society's relative limitations to participation, relative to Business or Government.

    • Use remote, talk to those involved to have some tips on what to read and what to pay attention to.

    • Standardisation of user interfaces for multiple on-line programs: Skype, Webex, etc. Tutorials, How-to sessions for new interfaces. The actual manipulation of the web interface for conference calls etc. greatly interferes with the communication.

    • I'm afraid I don't, except for improving remote participation as much as possible. It's not brilliant but is far better than no external participation at all. Also, fewer panels and more guided group discussions.

  • Like all things, being active in the organisation makes involvement easier, but (obviously) comes at the overhead of time commitment. Of the three, IGF has the lowest barrier to entry.



Barriers



    • Multistakeholder organizations also have an issue to define "representation": what each stakeholder represents?

    • ICANN issues an endless stream of RFCs - some of which the board ignore as it turns out (.xxx, for example). The nomenclature is impenetrable

    • Large documents difficult to read. Often they are not available in a timely fashion prior to a public comment period or ICANN meeting.

    • financial: it is expensive to travel to attend icann meetings. Institutional: ITU is rather closed. In ICANN, one would be lost without an affiliation to an AC or SO. Others: in some cases, one or more influential persons actually block participation of certain individuals in ICANN and possibly a section of staff may not be totally impartial when such things happen.

    • Majority of stakeholders of developing countries do not have sufficient human resources that are competent to follow and to get engaged in the global dialogue at IGF, ITU, and ICANN. There is a culture barrier as many people in developing countries are not used to engage in public debates such as those that take place at IGF and ICANN.

    • Insufficient numbers of civil society and other NGO or private participants are funded to participate in relevant meetings. Corporate participants expense their costs and set them against tax; they are thus funded indirectly by taxpayers. Governmental participants are funded directly by taxpayers. Civil society and private individual participants finance their participation from income. NGO and other not-for-profit participants set their costs against alternative beneficial activities of their organisations. Thus the whole participation regime of multi-stakeholder entities is unfairly skewed.

    • Can't afford to attend meetings unsupported and don't feel I can have an impact if I'm not physically there. Remote participation is only really effective for following what is going on, not for having an impact on outcomes.

  • Financial: ITU sector membership is very high and few organisations will draw sufficient benefit from membership to justify this. For many organisations, travel costs will be a significant barier to regular participation. Cultural: All three organisations have quite significant learning curves to be able to feel comfortable working in the environment. ITU as an Intergovermental organisation has a cultural barrier of "them and us" between government and non-government representatives. Institutional: ICANN documents in particular are hard to read (a lot of pseudo-legal and other jargon) and rarely provide any easy to digest summary.


• Being an advocate for improvement