Multistakeholder Internet Public Policy Dialogue: Lessons Learned and Best Practices Examples of Local to Global Policy Dialogue International Institute for Sustainable Development

29 September 2011 - A Workshop on Internet Governance for Development in Nairobi, Kenya


In the past five years, Internet public policy dialogue has taken various forms, shapes and approaches, and have been implemented at various levels and in various regions of the world. National fora has been seen as a positive outcome of the global process resulting in an increased number of dialogue spaces, especially in developing countries. The quality of discussion however is called to question as it is reflected in the outcomes of public policy dialogue at levels other than global. The workshop sets out to discuss some of these issues and especially some of the valuable lessons learned from global to local internet public policy dialogue processes, based on research conducted at all levels of the IGF (global, continental, regional and national), tools and methodology used for effective public policy dialogue, and how these can influence the way in which future internet policy dialogue is designed and implemented.



A brief substantive summary and the main events that were raised:
Two ways of examining the relationship between global and local policy approaches: a) the expansion of the global IGF in its current structure to national and regional areas, and the linkages such as feeder events through which they make issues visible at the global event; b) the complex nature of the interface between internet governance and other public policy domains; the continuum of internet issues in areas where the internet has made transformative changes like intellectual property, security, education, health; with technical and standards bodies, and other stakeholders.

The different gradation of interventions in internet governance. Laws and regulations on one side, and social norms on the other.

Conclusions and further comments:
There may be need to mainstream internet governance into broader governance issues from an early stage.

National and regional processes are calling for the institutionalization of the forum. This has potential impact to the broad multistakeholder and button up approach that has been assumed hitherto.

The regional meetings gather more support and participation than the global ones, indicative of the fewer numbers of participants to the global event compared to those that attend the regional meeting. The regional meetings are more important than the global ones.

Internet public policy decisions need to be based on evidence and principles.

The quality of the multistakeholder model in each country is largely dependent on the level and strength of these various multistakeholder groups.

Evidence is important in the shaping of national policy. Research is one way of generating evidence. Consent is also important, of those for whom the decisions that are made at these levels would affect.