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>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is George Sadowsky. I'm your moderator for the Exploring the Dimensions of Multistakeholderism. We're delighted this is a topic of interest. It's a topic of interest to the panel and also multistakeholderism has been a focal point of this entire of the whole IGF, whether it's in the words of some people in an earlier panel whether we are on the verge of going beyond it and going to post‑multistakeholderism, which is a concept which seems to resonate with a fair number of people. I'm joined by three panelists that are awake.
>> This is an overstatement.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: One panelist who is in Nigeria, I think, but he's at the end of an Internet connection somewhere, and one panelist who is, due to lack of sleep, is not here yet. And I hope will be here in order to provide some remarks.
This is a typically formatted IGF panel. We will have some opening statements by the panelists. We'll then open the floor to the audience. Since there are so few of you, I'm hoping we can make ‑‑ since you're obviously interested because you have come, I hope we can start a fairly lively discussion. There are a lot of things about this topic which are somewhat contentious, and certainly capable of generating different views from people who consider it.
What is multistakeholderism? It's obviously an organizational structure that many people believe feel no one fixed model for the multiplicity of possible approaches. And there are many existing organizations that are either governed by multistakeholderism approaches or whose governance comes sufficiently close to be an object for interest of study.
It has multiple dimensions. I would argue that to be more precise we should define the multistakeholder model, and that's the universe we'll be exploring today, and regard, for example, organizations who are employing the multistakeholder model and not employing the multistakeholder model. That's very, very general, and I understand that if it's just problems and issues, permit the best exploitation of this approach. We'll look at the issues. I'm not an expert. Multistakeholderism is one aspect of the possibility ‑‑ one aspect of the issue of governance. How does any ‑‑ how does any group of individuals decide to self‑organize in order to show representation and have all voices heard etc., etc.? And there are many different solutions to that.
So some questions: How are stakeholder groups decided upon? How many should there be? How are their claims to legitimate interest adjudicated? Are there tests that test the competence of the adequacy of stakeholder groups? How does voting interact with multistakeholder organizations? How does one avoid the tyranny of the majority?
Are there sets of circumstances that lead to an apparent need to rebalance the stakeholder groups in terms of number, composition and interest? What are the dynamics of how stakeholder groups evolve? And how can this be done in a way that's accepted by the organization before the change is made?
All of these things are ‑‑ have not yet, I think, been explored because the notion of multistakeholder, at least based on the use of the term, is fairly new. And we don't have enough experience, although maybe, I could be wrong, these are my personal views and not the views of experts in this field.
So this is what we'll be talking about. I'm going to give the floor to the panelists in some order, which I wrote down and I don't have yet. What's the order? You're first? Okay. And I'm going to ask the panelists to introduce themselves with ‑‑ and to restrict the introduction in the spirit of Twitter to 140 characters. And then go on and provide an initial set of views which we can use as a basis 40s discussion.
So first, Rinalia Rahim.
>> RINALIA RAHIM: I don't know if I can restrict myself to 140 characters. I'm from Malaysia. I'm a member of the ICANN. I used to lead a global multistakeholder network and it was called global knowledge partnership. It gave me an insight into multistakeholderism and gave me a curiosity of what would make a multistakeholder entity be viable and sustainable and robust and deliver the value that it's supposed to deliver.
I asked to go first because I'd like to provide a certain context for the discussion today. And I'd like to go slightly higher than the questions that George posed, because I think it's quite difficult to compare multistakeholder entities. You need to draw concrete cases. In order to do that, you have to have the overview. So I'd like to share with you some of the insights that relate to this overview by flagging some of the things that I found interesting.
First, on the multistakeholder approach, George said it's fairly new. It's also not that new. The approach gained legitimacy after the end of the cold war. Some multistakeholder entities, such as the international union for the conservation of nature emerged before the Cold War in 1948. Numerous multistakeholder entities emerged since then. I'll give you some examples so you know why the use of multistakeholder approach has been in the world in terms of sustainable management of natural resources, by the field of anticorruption, in the field of human rights by the Fair Labor Association, Water Management by the Global Water Partnership, microcredit summit campaign, ICT for development for the global knowledge partnership, Internet Governance Forum and Critical Internet Resource Management by ICANN. Those are some examples.
In terms of the range of activities that multistakeholder entities gauge in, there is also a range. Some of them focus on advocacy and learning, such as IGF and GKP. Others focus on standard, the policy making, world conditions on DAM, the ISO, or the global reporting initiative. Others focus on certification, like the Forest Council, mobilizing financing, such as the Global Alliance for Vaccine or the disaster relief after the 2004 tsunami, such as the UNESCO partnership for education and others to provide coordination support such as Global Water Partnership. In the field of public administration, they look at collaborative networks that provide goods and services to citizens and the public.
One dimension of multistakeholderism is to look at the institutionalization of that entity. In a complex environment it will best exploit its environment. Simple, later it becomes more complex. The level of institutionalization in multistakeholder entities increases over time and generally leads to a loss of flexibility.
Also, in terms of the legal structure of these multistakeholder entities, it tends to vary from company limited by guarantee to not‑for‑profit foundation to international organizations. These are boundaries that sort of govern in the way they behave.
Stakeholders are essentially those who should participate or those who are impacted. The classical range of stakeholders include governments, business, civil society, and international organizations. The range of actors in these multistakeholder initiatives can be any combination of actors, minimum two or more. They can be classified as multistakeholder, although in the Internet field they insist that it should be the three plus the technical community. Some multistakeholder entities add outside the classically defined range of actors.
Typically they are organizations or organized groups. Some multistakeholder entities recognize individuals while others do not. Then there are the gaps about those who are unrepresented and who would represent them and how would the multistakeholder entities actually factor for that. That's also one consideration of multistakeholderism.
Another aspect or dimension is the convener. Who is the convener or the initiator? Depending on context, it could be any one of those actors. In some context the government is a natural or most influential actor. In other context it could be the private sector, or even international organization. It's contextual. It is the most influence in that area.
In terms of what principle drives participation, it depends on orientation. Some focus or argue participation on grounds of democracy, where multistakeholderism is an end. The other orientation is a problem‑solving orientation where multistakeholderism is a means and participants are those with interests or stakes, knowledge, resources.
Based on my scan of multistakeholderism initiatives, I think they are practical and problem‑solving oriented. They tend to have membership criteria. With this membership criteria comes entitlement, rights, privileges, voting, and access to certain information.
Having membership criteria does not mean that activities or resources are not open to some members. It's just special privileges given to members of that community.
In terms of equality of actors, we have the president of ICANN said multistakeholder whatever. I don't think all accuracy or stakeholders are equal. There's evidence to show they are not equal.
For example, let's look at governments. Governments are not always included in multistakeholder initiatives or giving voting rights. The first cluster, where they sit back and think this is an important initiative, the initiative is providing value. So we will support it and we will fund it, such as the ethical trading initiative, global reporting initiative. Then a second cluster where government actors, funders and members means they support it financially but also engaging in dialogues. They are both funders, members, and board members where they have voting rights. That's the World Water Council, the Global Knowledge Partnership, Microcredit Summit Campaign, Global Alliance of Vaccines, and maybe a lot more.
Business entities may also be excluded depending on the nature of the issue area. For example, in the international union for conservation of nature, they have three categories of membership: the government ones, intergovernmental entities, and then a third category called affiliates, which is the others such as business entities. The first has voting rights; the last one does not. They do have speaking rights. They can speak and participate but they cannot vote. Again, the voting issue, it depends on the issue area and what you want to achieve and what you want to deliver.
Am I okay on time? Okay.
People also talk about multistakeholderism will require equal participation in all stages of policy development. I actually ‑‑ scholars have actually looked at public policy and see it's not necessarily overall inclusive. It's broadest at the agenda setting where everyone's participation is encouraged. That's where you need to understand what the issues are, define the problem, and set certain priorities.
Then you move into policy formulation where you try to generate options. That requires more specialized knowledge. It's most narrow because in certain structures decision‑making is delegated through representation. But then after that, there is also implementation where certain stakeholders need to collaborate to implement so the range of actors increase beyond decision‑making. And then in monitoring evaluation, that's the most neglected part. Not a lot of people look at that. That's the part that brings the learning from the policy implementation back into the next cycle of policy development.
I'll just stop there, because I can bring in the other things later. Thank you. George.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: Thank you very much.
>> SAMANTHA DICKENSON: Hi, I'm Sam Dickenson, I'm an Internet Governance writer. I identify with the technical community, but I actually have a theater background, so I am very "people" focused. As a theorist outside this Internet Governance world, what often happens is that we think that the Internet is unique; that we have to reinvent the wheel. But actually, a lot of these ideas have been tried, not worked. That's what I'll be talking about today.
To begin with, the concept of stakeholderism in the business world and corporate responsibility. It's slightly different because it's about businesses ultimately wanting to make money. But I'm seeing connections, because in many of the Internet Governance sectors there are secretariats, and they kind of perform the same sort of function as a business. They want certain outcomes. They want IP addresses to work well. They want domain names to work well. So they are trying to manage stakeholders, just as a business would incorporate social responsibility initiatives.
One of the ways that businesses deal with stakeholders is try to figure out who is the stakeholder? You know, is everyone a stakeholder? Is it just the shareholders? Is it our customers? Is it civil society? So there are matrixes that they can use to evaluate who should we be included in any particular process. So some of the issues they will look at are things like who is most affected by what we do? In this case I'm thinking things like the regional Internet registrar industries. In the past they've often been described as very multistakeholder. They are very open. It's probably truer to say that they're open and transparent than the multistakeholder. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
When you look at something like IP addresses, who is affected? Actually, it's not everyone. They don't affect civil society groups who are interested in human rights. So they may not want to participate. The issue with governance and IP addresses, there is certainly definite issues like IP markets where it may be from, I don't think most governments will care it will be affected.
The other issue that businesses in corporate and social responsibility look at is who has expertise in this area? So here I'm thinking of things like academia. Academia may not be directly affected, but they have expertise.
Who has power within the Internet Governance world? Governments may have power; large businesses may have power. Who is interested? There may be journalists who are interested in issues. So these are the sorts of issues that businesses look at when they're trying to manage their stakeholders. They are possibly things we can consider a bit more.
The concept of multi‑equal stakeholders doesn't always work. In some cases we may have to adapt it to distant situations; that you are looking for who is the most appropriate. You may allow and encourage everyone to participate, but if you were looking at a particular issue and you realize that this has major implications for civil rights, you may have to go out and encourage that sector to participate.
Within the business context, they use those questions to figure out how much they need to engage with different stakeholders. So there are limits to how much we can use corporate responsibility.
One of the other issues that's different between the business community and what's happening in Internet Governance is, well, guess what? It's more political in this area. If you look at how governments work, when they go to something like the ITU, they are acting strategically. They want specific outcomes.
What's happening in the Internet Governance world is there is an attempt to try to reach consensus, to understand. It's saying that instead of trying to achieve strategic goals, what you do is through community and try and understand other people's positions, and that through understanding you will be able to reach shared goals. You look at something like ITU; there was once again a big division between the developed ‑‑ I'm being very black and white here ‑‑ in the developed and in the WCIT who signs and who doesn't sign. A lot was understanding what people wanted. At IGF, people are able to talk freely about their ideas. And I think that is helping discussions in other venues. I think the WTPS stuff wouldn't have happened as successfully as it had if there hadn't been more connections made between stakeholders at venues like this. I'm sorry to be so theoretical here, but I think it helps.
There was a really interesting workshop on Day Zero where one of the academics described. I had never heard this before, but it's fantastic. The concept is that human beings can only maintain so many relationships. And it's somewhere between 100 and 200, on average 150. That means you can maintain 100 contacts. You may have a thousand Facebook friends, but in reality you probably only communicate regularly and know about 150 of those. And it means that if more people come into your life, old friends drop off. When you went to school, you had certain friends, but when you grew up you left them behind and moved on. That has great implications for Internet Governance, because there's 3,000 people at this conference. If you can only keep connections with 150 people, what does that mean?
As more and more people connect to the Internet, we are adding more people, but we have limitations as humans. We can only make connections to a certain number. That's where networks become very valuable and the concept of stakeholders groups because you use those connections to have second‑ and third‑level connections. And that's where the dynamics that you can interact with greater numbers. But one of the side effects of networks is that the more connected a network is, the more value it has.
So if you are a less‑connected network, less‑connected stakeholder, from a developing country with very few funds, you haven't been to many of these meetings, you haven't made lots of contacts, you have less social capital that you can use to have an influence in the process. So that is something that we need to remain aware of, that if you are one of the people that come to these meetings, if you've been to six or seven of these, you'll have a high level of social capital and a high level of influence in Internet Governance discussions.
But what do you do about those people that have come from a developing country who are from civil society who have a fellowship here? That's great that they're here, but they have low levels of social capital. How do you make sure that their input into the process is valued equally?
I want to give ICANN as an example of dynamic stakeholders group formation. I can start it off when organizations start off. There is simplicity. As things get more complex, as more issues emerge, complexity results in the structure of organizations. So you look at ICANN. When it first began, it had a domain name, both gTLD and the ccTLD's. Then we've got other issues to those generics and they split off, leaving the generics to become the gTLD. They have a bunch of different constituency. What's happening right now and interesting to keep an eye on, with the new detail problem, there are a lot of closed generics, not domain names that you can get, it's .Coca‑Cola. Only Coca‑Cola will have anything under Coca‑Cola. So those organizations are thinking of creating a stakeholder group within the ICANN communication community.
Now, the GNSO now has a lot of constituencies. It will be interesting to see how another group interacts. Are we going to see this in the Internet Governance arena in the next couple of years how the questions that we're looking at actually play out? So I'll just suggest we look at that.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: Thanks very much, Samantha. Next we have Peter Major.
>> PETER MAJOR: You don't mind if I stand up? So I'm Peter Major. I'm the vice chairman of development of the United Nations and I am the chairman of the working group and I used to be the chairman of the other working group on improvements to the IGF. Just listening to the presentations here, I get frightened. I didn't realize that I was doing something so complicated and so complex. Probably I'm a bit too naïve.
Most seriously, let me start on the kind of personal remark. The first IGF I attended was in 2008 and probably it was the first time I got exposed to what is called multistakeholder approach. I just loved it. I was still with the ITU at that time, and I came here and I just realized that people from all different stakeholders which is talking to each other and exchanging ideas, discussions, and it was fascinating.
Then I joined the Commission of Science and Technology For Development and participated in one of the intercessional meetings in 2010 when the first working group on the improvements of the IGF was created. You don't really want to know the debates and the fights we had. It was awful. It was really awful. I was really thinking that eventually people would start fighting physically.
Well, it didn't happen. Finally there was some formula which was agreed on that working group was formed from the different stakeholders. Naturally our governments were represented, the majority of about 20 governments in addition to the original organizers. There were five representatives of the other stakeholders' groups all together. The group was created as a group of 43 members.
I thought that the worst was over. As I told you, I'm a bit naïve. The worst wasn't over. We had the first meetings, the first meetings outside of Geneva. If I may qualify it, it was even worse than the creation of the working group. It was mutually mistrust. We spent, I think, about one day discussing the agenda, what we are going to discuss. And that was the moment when the people were really about to fight. I felt that after the first meeting we can't have a worse one.
Well, it was the second one that was even worse. People just didn't listen to each other. And so it was a complete chaotic ending of the whole meeting. I was a member at that time of the Hungary delegation. It was the time when the chair said, "I can have it no more." So he resigned and I took over. Probably he did the worst part of the job, because he led the foundation and people got so tired of the whole thing. It can't get worse; so let's do something.
Then from the third meeting we really started building up some trust. And I think this is one of the aspects, if not the most important part, when you are working in the multistakeholder environment to have trust. The counterpart says what he means and he means what he says. So little by little, from the third meeting on, we tried to relax and started working, because the working group is about to produce something. So we were committed to have some recommendations for the improvement of the IGF, which is, in fact, not a very difficult thing, because everybody agreed that IGF was working fairly well, or to some very well.
Anyway, so after three more meetings, we managed to have the output and people were just happy. And they were treated on an equal footing in spite of the original nomination that's members of the groups were only code members when they came from the governments and other stakeholders were invitees. I decided not to make any difference between the members of the working group. So I called them participants and that was it. Everybody was happy with that naming. So that was the first working group.
The second one it was very easy. We created the second one in the very same way, and it wasn't even questioned that it was be a multistakeholder working group. It was made on the model of the first one, the same distribution of the members and we had our first meeting last may in a relatively reduced environment and we managed to do it in seven days, which some of the things you may be aware of. We are going to have our next meeting just after the IGF in the beginning of November. And I hope that we can work in the same relaxed way to produce some recommendations.
So in a nutshell, yes, I realize that theoretically it is a very challenging and very complex thing. When I go back, I will do my homework and start thinking about the theoretical background. Frankly speaking, when you are on the field and you are doing it, you don't really have time to think about the theoretical background. And you have to improvise a lot. So I think I stop here. I'm ready to take your questions.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: Thank you very much, Peter. Very interesting dynamics. We'll now here from Jimson Olufuwe, who is a remote participant. Could we get him on the line? Jimson? This is your turn. He's not there. If I could ask you to monitor if he reappears. He'll go on to the next speaker and we'll take him out of order. Then in that case the microphone goes to bill Drake.
>> JIMSON OLUFUWE: Hello? Can you hear me? Hello? Hello?
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: Jimson, we can hear you, but barely. Could you shout and talk very nicely and get next to the microphone?
>> JIMSON OLUFUWE: My name is Jimson Olufuwe. I'm actually in Nigeria. (Inaudible).
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: Jimson, it's not working. Jimson, it's not working. Jimson ‑‑ Jimson, it's not working. Jimson, this is not working. Hold on. You're coming through, but there are multiple, multiple echoes. I think we're bouncing this signal off the moon several times. So try ‑‑ Mr. Technical Moderator, what can we do about this?
Let's break the connection and try to establish it again, because it's just not working now. We can hear parts of the conversation, you not enough. And the echo does interfere. I suggest we go on to Bill Drake and we try again after Bill is finished.
>> BILL DRAKE: Thank you. I'm sorry I was late. I was doing multistakeholderism which made it difficult to be here to talk about it. This has been one of those IGF's where most of the interesting activity is taking place not in the workshops or main sessions, but rather in the hallways and side meetings. And so we're having urgent back and forth meetings of stakeholders trying to figure out their positions on some matters, including, of course, the whole Brazil ICANN conference process. And it's just been a little bit crazy. So my apologies for showing up late.
I happened to walk in during Sam's very interesting discussion of theory. As an old professor who used to teach all these other things, it was heartening to hear those things and it took me back all those things I did in graduate school doing wasn't completely irrelevant. So that's good, but then again I'm not sure how. I was happy on the Dunbar number.
I thought maybe I would actually address the points that he thought were of interest to talk about. I'll offer a few thoughts in the way of Q&A to follow up on these points.
He asks, for example, how are stakeholders groups decided upon? How many there should be? How are their claims to legitimacy adjudicated? Are there tests to confirm the adequacy and composition of groups? How do you avoid a tyranny of the majority? And so on. These are interesting questions.
I have to say in my experience ‑‑ sorry, I need some water, and it was not an easy transition.
My feeling is, unfortunately, the longer I've been at this and I was involved in, I guess what we now call society organizations or NGO's, back from the United States where I originally come from ‑‑ I live in Switzerland now ‑‑ we use the term public interest groups to refer to groups that were doing social advocacy around communications policy. We imagined that we were promoting the public interest or how we understood it.
One of the things I've learned in the 20‑something years since then is the extent to which a lot of these group’s boundaries and definitions ultimately seemed rather arbitrary. There's usually a baseline that brings people together into particular clusters, but then once that baseline is established, the boundaries proceed to get more obscure, particularly as stakeholder groups grow.
For example, we had a workshop yesterday that George organized in the technical community. The technical community at one point said it could be the technology.
We have a wonderful echo going on. Oh, and it repeats. And we have a wonderful echo going on. And we have a wonderful echo going on, and it repeats. It's like a mash up.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: That was very nice.
>> BILL DRAKE: I could've just stopped my remarks there and let them cycle for a while. My message really sunk in. Okay. I bet the transcript is very interesting at this point.
Where was I? Oh, so technical community. When it started out, you could say was people who actually did code, did engineering and so on, but then, for example, the technical community became institutionalized within ISOC and anybody could join ISOC. So lots of people who are not engineers or computer coders joined ISOC. Then we had the creation of ICANN. ICANN is a multistakeholder body. So society and business people come into there who don't do code or whatever. Everybody that is associated with ICANN gets referred to as the technical community and so on. Pretty soon the terms start to become rather elastic and be used in ways that suit the objectives of particular speakers, depending on what the immediate goal is.
Society is the most elastic of all and is highly fragmented in different tribes for reasons that make almost no sense. Dunbar's law. How is that people who have shared interests, let's say you all start out from the perspective of being concerned with consumer protection, can splinter into smaller subgroups, and then begin to focus not so much on the things that bind them together, but all the differences? It's a fascinating process. I see this all the time. The fantasizing of small businesses until they become big causes, and you get people who just then have a great deal of difficulty collaborating, even though in reality they agree on 85%, that 15% is so damn important to them, no compromise can be found; therefore, they have to have separate groupings and separate funding if they're in ICANN and everything else.
And so we have, for example, in ICANN environment a ridiculous situation of having multiple constituency of the GNSO that speak for the same type of organizations. We have, in addition to that, the whole at‑large structure, which includes a lot of the same kind of people, and indeed many of the members of the constituency in the GNSO are also in the at‑large restrict users.
You wear different hats, join different tribes, depending on which process you want to affiliate with and so on. There's tribalism in the business world. Again, where you could say everybody starts off where are the private, the private sector have a different interest. The people who think that business is united in a singular view are always the people who have no interaction with business. If I talked to some Marxist academias, and believe me they still do, or society people that are here with us in Bali, they'll say, "Oh, business," like it's one big category.
Everyone has sat through GNSO and watched registrars and everything else and ISP's go at each other and the differences they have because there's really money on the table and really financial consequences to the differences in positions they're advocating. Again, there is a shared level of agreement, 80 percent they favor freer markets, less onerous regulation, not too top‑down governmental. But when it gets down to particular points, neutrality or details of trademark protection or whatever it may be, their differences are just as profound as anybody else's.
So you've got all these highly fragmentary issues and we refer to them as if they're solid coherent bodies. Multistakeholderism is simply a matter of interfacing between them. But it's not so's. Somebody facetiously offered a definition. I said it was a definition of multistakeholderism the other day, but I think it works. Disorganization on an equal footing. I think that's ‑‑ that captures multistakeholderism pretty well.
You've got a great deal of fragmentation. Then what happens? And this comes to George's question about how do you avoid the tyranny of the majority? I turn it around. How do you avoid the tyranny of the minority? What ends up happening all the time in these groups is that you get what would call a K group, a core group that would always willing to pay the cost of sustaining cooperation within the group by doing the extra work to keep it going, etc. And they're the most committed, the most hardcore, the most fervent believers and so on, and their conceptions of what it is tend to predominate and take over.
Pretty soon you end up with these big stakeholders groups that say they're for X, but when you actually look at how their decision‑making processes are work, it's four or five people who talk the most on the list serve or show up in all the meetings or whatever it may be who are the most insistent and unwilling to bend or reconsider their position and end up defining what the group does.
A lot of other people either it's not worth the hassle to be challenging, just float and say let it go, or they drift away for a while and they drift back and comes in and comes out, etc.
So we end up then with multistakeholderism process where we are seeking to do something, as Peter says, very knew, very important, very different from a traditional intergovernmental model. I think more inherently democratic in some important respects, at least with respect to participating democracy. In most situations, it’s a complete mess.
It's fine when you're doing something relatively nonconsequential, like planning the IGF program. If you're in the MAG, like I am, and you have to sit around with colleagues and fight over the composition of a main session and which person should be the business speaker and whether you need business speaker for nothing, the industrialized world and the parallel world the fact there's a government person, so we have to have equity, because there must be strict numbers, etc. You spend your time fighting over little things like that. They're not too terribly consequential. Eventually you can work out some consensus and then you declare multistakeholder works.
Guess what? Try looking at real multistakeholder processes where people are involved in decision‑making that's consequential. Chuck Gomes was here and he attended on how civil society is represented in the GNSO council. It didn't quite do everything I hoped it would do, but I think it did drive home the point, if nothing else, that when it actually comes to trying to practice multistakeholderism in a decision‑making environment, where bargains have to be made, where votes have to be traded, where concessions have to be offered from one side to the other side to make a deal stick, where the trading of concessions happens not only on just an individual issue, but across multiple issues and multiple time frames.
It starts to look, number one, more and more like the way governments work, sadly to say. But number two, you realize that the geometry of organize multistakeholderism and making it actually effective is unbelievably complex. In the GNSO of ICANN, where we nominally make policy pertaining to generic top level domains -- I say nominally, because that's more of a GAC and a board decision. But what happens there is often you have these totally fluid kinds of alignments where people are exchanging concessions and the alignments are change constantly. So on one vote I'm the chair of the noncommercial users constituency. On one vote we find ourselves aligning with the registry or the intellectual property interests, but the next one we're voting with the intelligent property interests against the registries. It's all our ideal of what's supposed to be in the collective interest.
Of course, this means as well that maintaining stable trust‑based relationships is very difficult, because the whole notion of building up social capital presumes a certain amount of iterative concessions, getting to know each other, the shadow of the future, establish a reputation as a cooperative partner and your partner knows that in the future you'll do what you say because you did in the past. So they can trust you, even in situations of ambiguity and so on.
But it's very difficult to build up social capital when you're constantly forced to change your alignments. One minute you're voting with somebody and the next minute you're not.
So trust doesn't get institutionalized where multistakeholderism has to do decision‑making. I think I've talked more than enough. My point is to say that this ain't easy. There's a lot of happy talk about multistakeholderism. And the multistakeholderism model as if it were a singular thing that we should all genuflect to. It's extraordinarily complex, unduly device I have, and often dysfunctional, stumble for, pick your metaphor, and maintain a system of Internet Governance through this approach that is better than the alternative. It's quite remarkable when you think about it.
Maybe it speaks to how bad the alternatives really are. If you could do something this poorly and have it be superior, you're in quite a business.
Anyway, I'll stop there.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: Well, I think tangentially you've helped to explain the total dysfunction of the U.S. Congress.
Apparently we have a possibility of getting back to Jimson in Nigeria; is that correct? How are we doing? So you're going to read the text from Jimson. That's the best we can do. We'll do it.
>> JIMSON OLUFUWE: My name is Jimson Olufuwe, Africa Information and Communication Technology Alliance. I was formerly the president of the Information Technology Industry Association of Nigeria in 2007 and 2011 and vice chair of Africa Information Technology and Service Alliance 2010 until 2012. Like Peter Major, my first IGF was in 2008 and I lost the process that takes into account my opinion.
By the way, Peter, handled WG on IGF improvement very professionally. I had the privilege of serving in the United Nation Commission for Science and Technology, CSTD, for development working group on IGF improvement 2011 until 2012.
Most recently I was appointed as one of the five global business representative into the UNCSTD. Peter is still doing a great job as chair in the WG. I'm very pleased that I could not be there, yet physically what matters is stakeholders' participation in IG is to ensure the stakeholders' voice are heard.
In this regard I would like to thank the host government and all concerns for rising up to the occasion to make IGF 2013 a reality. There is three keywords here. First is exploring. Second is dimension, and third is multistakeholder.
Exploring the horizontal, size or scope of the multistakeholder model, basically on the scope we can say that there are five stakeholder groups in the multistakeholder. They are government, business, civil society, technical community, and the academia.
The question asks first, are they on flipping on the IG multistakeholder? Is it required to expand the Internet? And the first of NSA, can there really be a balance of role on IG? Or has the bridge collapsed? How democratic transference and accountable are the stakeholders themselves in their Internet process within business itself to extend our stakeholders carried along as we have the large business organization that could revert to higher policy, staff, to medium and small business that cannot afford to carry such quality staff but could pull interest in an association or an alliance like Africa?
It is no longer up to multistakeholderism as a management principle. It's a game changer in Internet Governance. It has helped in the gigantic gains recorded on Internet expansion and acceptance in recent years. More than a third of the world population on the Internet, by extension, multistakeholder organization is increasingly permitting global management discourse.
As we experience this evolution to what extent can be this. As we experience this evolution can this balance be a major equation. Balancing the stakeholders in the face of increasing government assertive control is critical. Can anyone predict the end result of this evolution?
The end of the text. I'm sorry for misspelling.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: Jimson, thank you very much. If you can hear us, I'm delighted that we were at least able to get your statement, if not talk to you directly.
So here we are. We have five really thought provoking and very different presentations about a variety of issues related to multistakeholderism. We've gone a lot longer with speakers than the normal IGF panel. On the other hand, the quality and the interest, I think, in the subject really has rewarded us by letting the speakers speak for a fairly long time.
Now, we have about 20‑25 minutes left. There are at least two people in the audience who probably have very firm opinions about some of the things that may have been said. There may be six or seven of you. I just don't know all of you. Let's first give you a chance to say whatever you want to say, responding to speakers, raising points that you think are relevant, and perhaps stressing, although given Bill's comment about the fetishes. So I have two gentlemen here.
>> IAN FISH: This is my third. I started in Nairobi. I was beginning to think there was some sort of lure of increasing cynicism. I usually don't go to the multistakeholderism. I was delighted by what Bill said because ‑‑ and the conclusion that it reflected a lot of what I found.
The thing that occurred to me over three years is the self‑selection. The panels that I have seen have been the same people saying roughly the same things with slight differences, either advances or retreats, depending over the three years. So there's that problem that I think comes into it.
The second major problem I noticed is that it's fairly obvious. I mean your point about business and business being very differentiated. I come across that in other fields in the past. But the problem that I see is things like SME's. Now, I think that the IGF makes a wonderful effort to bring in SME's from the place where they are. There are always lots of them there. There are lots of them in Nigeria, lots in Azerbaijan and lots here as well. That is fantastic, and they then listen to them when they ask questions in the panels. But in both Nigeria and here, but in Nairobi and here, I've noticed a tendency to ask another question and go to that one, and it has happened here, because the questions were not quite in the way that the panelists or the moderator was expecting the session to go. I've seen that as a problem.
That's really all I want to stay. I do reiterate that I, like you, I love this way of working because you get to see and hear and talk to people that you wouldn't otherwise normally. I come from a technical stroke civil society background.
>> Kathy Handley Aaron. Earlier this week I was in some workshop and there was a discussion about multistakeholderism. Go figure? And one of the panelists made a comment that I've been thinking about since then. Multistakeholderism has taken on ‑‑ almost been elevated to that of a religion. It has become a value, not a practice. And with most values, people are ‑‑ you're either in or you're out. There's no in between and I'd be curious for the panelist's view on that.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: Who would like to respond to that?
>> PETER MAJOR: Thank you for this question, and that was kind of confirmed by the strong theoretical background which probably I don't have. I just do it. And this is my philosophy. You do it. But still you can believe in it.
>> I didn't actually put it the right way. Do you think some of the ‑‑ I didn't actually put it the right way. Do you think some of the ‑‑ okay. Do you think that has affected ‑‑ do you think that has affected really getting our arms around and making multistakeholderism work better? And making multistakeholderism ‑‑ that was profound.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: What can we do? All right. Sorry. Peter, were you able ‑‑ how are we going to do this?
>> SAMANTHA DICKENSON: I'll start with the theoretical one. I'll answer with some theory. There is an interesting article. It dates back a while ago. There was an experiment back just after World War II where they got 24 boys that were of equal backgrounds, equal academic performance, nothing that you could really tell anything apart. They took them to a camp and said they were in a youth camp. But what they were actually doing was split them into two groups. There was no difference between the two groups. They just split them. The mere fact they split them into two groups meant that those two groups started forming their own identities in opposition to the other one. And I think that's what's kind of been happening with this multistakeholder versus intergovernmental situation.
So what you've got is intergovernmental versus multistakeholder. Multistakeholderism is defining itself against intergovernmental rather than trying to find ways to improve it within the situations. You can see that in the U.S. government with the whole shut down thing. There's really not that much difference. But once you start putting a line between two groups differences start which can becoming concrete. It disperses that binary. In Australia we have a third small party. They don't get many votes, but they get enough votes to get into parliament, and the motto is keeping the bastards honest. It has people stopping seeing themselves as rivals and start communicating before.
>> PETER MAJOR: Well, I think in the context of multistakeholder approach you have to have relatively strict rules for the work of the group I'm talking about. You have to have an agenda. You have to have a respect for the mandate. If you have one, it's preferable to have a mandate, to focus on the issues, and focus on the decisions.
If you have this relatively strict rules, this fragmentation of the group within the stakeholders or among the stakeholders kind of diminishes. That's my experience. Basically if you treat all the members as I do in the group on an equal footing, then he it's even lowers the tension. Preferably that's what I found that can be extremely useful to move forward.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: There is a quote from Winston Churchill who said it: Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others. That's the one that might repurpose multistakeholderism is the worst form of making decisions except for all the others. That's identified a skepticism with a model being an object of worship. It started in the civil society discussions last weekend and it has permeated some of the workshops that have occurred. I think this is healthy. I think it indicates a maturation of the way in which we look at what we do or who we think we are, how we're organized. And I'm really pleased to see it. And in some sense that is why the notion of post‑multistakeholderism is appealing because it says there's something beyond this that we need to understand and perhaps migrate to in some way.
There's also been, I think, a not explicitly so much a sense of multistakeholderism as a means to an end. And I think we confuse them very often. If we think they are an end, then we ought to be discussing them in a political science context. If we think there are means, there are two things we ought to be doing. One, we ought to understand the tool, because it is a tool. The other is we got to spend more time on the end and look at the larger tool set to decide which of the tools are best equipped to help us solve our problems and reach our goals.
Chuck? You want to respond ‑‑ oh, Bill. I'm confused.
>> BILL DRAKE: Just on the point of the same people, you said you see the same people all the time. I can tell you on the MAG, it's actually quite difficult to do this, because it's hard to bring in new people. Particularly people from developing countries that we ‑‑ that somebody knows and can say yes on that event about such and such, you're talking about spam or whatever, I've got the perfect person, he or she fits in well, and I know they have the funding and they're coming to the meeting. Anytime we have that in the MAG, we go, "Whoa, fantastic," and we try to invite them.
This year you might have noticed there are a lot fewer MAG people on the main sessions. In fact, there are none. Those of us in civil society, we stayed out completely. I in the past have moderated the critical Internet resources session a couple of times, and we made a decision that we want to get new voices, new faces. So we weren't going to, even though the easy thing to do when you're trying to plan something, particularly under a difficult time frames and you're looking around and you're saying who could we find who can do this that we know will handle it? And the easy instinct is to say, oh, the colleague that I work with all the time. We know she's an expert on this, she can do it. We said no, we'll try to get new people in.
So that's what we did this time. But then even ‑‑ after having done that, it turned out that because with the delays with the approval of the finalization of the host country agreement and we didn't know if the meeting was really going to happen until rather late, the number of people canceled their travel plans, etc. We ended up having to pick from an expanded circle of subjects. We put on other people you've seen before.
I think the same kind of dynamic happens in workshops as well. So it is a challenge, because obviously what we want to happen in the IGF is to surface and bring to the fore new voices as much as possible. But who is going to fund their participation? Their participation going to be notified to us in a way that we would be able to do something with, how do we judge whether there's the expertise to put them on a main sourcing whatever. It all gets very complicated. It's unfortunate. Everybody is frustrated. Just so you know. Everybody involved in planning the IGF is frustrated with this aspect of it. We all would like it to be lots of new people, lots of new voices. And it's just really hard to make it happen.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: Two people haven't been heard. In the interest of having every voice heard, we start with Chuck and go to Manal.
>> CHUCK: Thanks, George. I want to start by thanking the panel. I think you shared a lot of things that are really worth thinking about. Before I get to the points I was gonna talk about, I want to react to a couple statements that were made. I'm puzzled by the post‑multistakeholderism thing, George. I hope we don't try to give up on the multistakeholderism model too quickly. Because I really believe there are some real value there. I don't think it's a goal in itself, but it's a means to achieving the goals that we do have. When we move away from that, I think we're heading in a danger zone. I understand, like Bill pointed out very well. It's very complex and we want the easier way. The multistakeholder way, like Bill said, is not the easy way.
Then one more comment, Samantha, you pointed out that sometimes the differences aren't that substantial. I would just qualify that with saying sometimes they are really substantial. That's when the multistakeholder process, and in particular decision‑making in the multistakeholder process becomes very difficult and challenging, yet one that I think we should continue to strive to make better.
Now, back to your presentations, I noticed some commonalities across some of the things you said. One of the things that caught my attention, both Rinalia and Samantha, basically said multistakeholderism is not new. We don't have to reinvent the wheel. All the examples you gave on where it's been used, tremendous resource there. It would make for a great academic study where are the commonalities, where are the differences. And I think it illustrates, too, that there's not one size fits all for multistakeholderism. Each situation is different. We certainly find that out in the GNSO.
Some of our working groups, you know, have worked just fine. Some of them have been terribly challenge willing. The participants are different. That's okay as long as you give opportunity to the people who are impacted and all the interested parties and so forth. In the end, you let the whole community look at it. That's okay.
Like Rinalia said, not all actors are equal. I think that's true. We try to assume ‑‑ frankly, I'm not one of those that's fond of the multi-equal stakeholder thing, because I think it's an oxymoron. I don't know what it means. How could everybody be equal?
Thanks, Phil. That may be. So quality in itself is only an issue if we're voting. And so there are times, I think, when it's helpful to take a poll or do some things. But if we can try to reach consensus or at least a level of an agreement that I'll also support without voting, in other words without determining the power that everybody has, I think we can better take advantage of the multistakeholder process, although that's not easy.
I won't go into ‑‑ I like the concept of social capital that several of you talked on. Of course, the common element of trust that a couple of you talked about.
Bill said, "How do you avoid the tyranny of the minority?" And I think that ‑‑ one way we can do that, I think, is with good leadership. But is that the only answer? Probably not. But the ‑‑ what's that?
>> Then we have a problem that we need to deal with. Leadership needs to function in a neutral way. If they don't, I think we need to change it. Anyway, that sounds easy, doesn't it?
You and I have both been there. In coming back to the decision‑making, when there are consequential decisions, that's the hard part of multistakeholderism. It's gonna be hard. The only alternative to the time and complexity is to change and not do multistakeholderism and then do some sort of a top‑down approach, which I think is a terrible mistake.
It is complex and the more complex the differences are. We do have real differences in our global environment.
Thanks again for the things you've shared. It's got me thinking about quite a few things.
>> MANAL ISMAIL: Thank you. Allow me first also ‑‑ my name is Manal. I work for the Egyptian delegation, and I represent Egypt in ICANN. I want to thank all the panelists. It's very important to me, with the background of the multistakeholderism, the examples and the practice of it was very informative. Of course it's been so clear how complex the multistakeholderism is. But I think it's more like a growing tree. We cannot continue that flat. I think we need to promote the model and the approach to have it on different levels. And make sure it's being implemented naturally, regionally, and then at a higher level, and then it becomes a matter of representation.
But without this approach and model being adopted at the different levels, I think it's gonna be even more and more complex. So we just need to make sure that the tree is growing and it's growing in the right way and we are lending a hand to countries or stakeholders who are under developed to make sure that everyone is included, but, again, not at a flat level, but rather at a well‑represented approach of or structured approach.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: We are theoretically out of time. We started a little late. Every panel member gets four Tweets of time. Jimson sent something. This has been a real interesting session and probably should be a semester course.
>> JIMSON OLUFUWE: Responding to the statements from the floor, here is my feedback. As business, I had a very good feel when I for the first time sat on the same table with government, on the same subject matter as the united nation, which is an exclusive club of governments. So multistakeholderism is a reflection of what is on ground concerning players in the Internet ecosystem. Business in particular drives a significant working spectrum of the working of the Internet. SME's, we value that our voice can be heard and it needs to be continually heard. If multistakeholderism provides a space for my company's participation, I'm happy with that. I'm finding people make mistake of thinking business will always fund the process.
Let me say again, there is a large business and small business. While large business might not have problems funding events like this, small business in the developing nation will think twice because of the need to how they spend their income when the issue of daily sustenance issue are there, policy issue is easily not a priority. However, coming into an association they are about to pull resources together, but I agree with this that the most multistakeholder model is the way to go.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: Thank you, Jimson. Peter?
>> PETER MAJOR: Well, for me it was very useful. The lack of theoretical knowledge has been provided to me. So I will make use of it in my next meetings. Hopefully I can be up to the expectations.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: Thank you.
>> RINALIA RAHIM: Peter, I was a practitioner before I started looking at theory, four years at the national level and then eight internationally. So you're not doing too bad. Bill mentioned something about muddling through. And he said it sort of somewhat negatively saying we have to muddle through. But public policy generally is done through muddling through. We're not in bad company with multistakeholderism.
Chuck mentioned about leadership as something that can navigate in towards perhaps a goal and it doesn't work. I think you need to appoint a facilitator to spot gaps. The leader may have specific stakes that he or she may not control.
Multistakeholderism is supposed to have a value proposition. It is not an end ‑‑ the end is actually a secondary value. The first value is actually the ‑‑ what you can achieve together.
I remember making the case for the Malaysian, during the Prime Minister's time to go beyond public private partnership. And it is the first value proposition is that here is a problem, a complex environment that we're going into with ICT and the Information Society, and here is a mechanism in which we can deal with this and we can seize it as an opportunity as well. The inclusion of it is a bonus. So that's why I also believe, as you do, Chuck, that it is a means. It can also be an end, but that's secondary.
>> SAMANTHA DICKENSON: This is just looking -- we tend to look at criticism of the multistakeholderism model as having bad. It's bad, but like general project management in the world, things are iterative. You should conduct a lessons learned exercise. That's what we're doing in real time with multistakeholderism. We need those voices that dissent. If we don't have voices criticizing, we don't have a way to correlate whether what we're doing is good. If we have no voices of criticism, we're probably doing something really, really wrong.
>> BILL DRAKE: I'm not cynical about multistakeholderism. I see challenges. It's a process of learning and recalibration. If you can't have some dark humor about it, then you're dead. We're living through this thing. We're trying to make something as we go on the fly. A lot of times stuff is being made up and a lot of times rules don't get followed, procedures turn out to be elastic, categories quiver, and don't maintain their character and all the things are natural. But it is something that's worth preserving.
I remember when it wasn't accepted at all. I remember in WSIS phase 1, governments throwing us out of the room. I remember how we had to fight to get recognition. We literally had to pound the door. I really remember this. We literally were locked out and were standing in the ITU in the hallway pounding on the door asking to be brought back in.
I remember multiple times throughout that process where our legitimacy, our right to be there, was challenged directly. And I remember how different things were after we did the working group on Internet Governance and showed that peer to peer level collaboration where people actually had to persuade each other based on knowledge and information and facts could really sway on someone's thinking. Things shifted from there.
So I think we have this cherished thing that we've built through hard labor and we have to keep working on it. But if you can't laugh at how goofy it gets sometimes, then you're gonna be very brittle as you go through the day.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: I think we've used this time well. And I thank everybody for good and interesting contributions to a good discussion and a worthwhile discussion. Let's give ourselves a hand.
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