Multistakeholder Internet governance mechanisms/approaches at national level

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Alias: Multi-SEE model



Session description

Multistakeholderism is a term widely used in connection with “Internet governance”. While it does not have a widely agreed definition, a multistakeholder mechanism is generally seen as an “iterative, open, known, accessible, transparent process, balanced among stakeholders who are seeking rough consensus”. In the realm of Internet governance, a “multistakeholder mechanism is one where all the relevant stakeholders are engaged in making the decisions that affect them” (IGF 2014 Best Practice Forum on Developing Meaningful Multistakeholder Mechanisms).

At global level, multistakeholder mechanisms exist within organisations and process such as the IGF and ICANN. Such mechanisms are also implemented at national level, in various instances: in some countries, relevant country-code top level domains (ccTLDs) are managed and administered by multistakeholder registries, where the various stakeholder groups are represented; in other instances, multistakeholder entities are formed with the aim of guiding the Internet development at the national level; in yet other cases, national IGF initiatives are annually held as open spaces for discussions on key Internet governance issues relevant at a national level.

Multistakeholderism in the context of Internet governance starts to be understood and implemented in countries in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area as well. This is despite the fact that, similar to the term “governance”, the term “multistakeholder” also tends to lose some of its meaning when translated into local languages (for example, in some instances, the term is simply narrowed down to mean “multilateralism”). There are ccTLD registries that are based on a multistakeholder model; IGF initiatives have been formed or are in the process of being formed in some countries; and multistakeholder bodies are also being created in order to deal with Internet governance issues at a national level.

In this context, the first part of this session is aimed at:

  • explaining multistakeholder mechanisms, from a theoretical perspective: What are they? How do/should they function?
  • sharing best practices and experiences from the region in terms of developing and implementing multistakeholder mechanisms. Questions to be raised: What motivated the creation of such multistakeholder mechanisms in the region? Have regional and international organisations and processes (such as the IGF, ICANN, European Commission, Council of Europe) played a role here? If so, what role? What were the challenges in building national multistakeholder mechanisms? How were they addressed? How do these mechanisms function nowadays? Are there more challenges?

In the second part, all participants will be invited to discuss about multistakeholder Internet governance (IG) mechanisms at national level, trying to answer questions such as: Do we want multistakeholder IG mechanisms in our countries? Why? Why have some countries succeeded in implementing multistakeholder mechanisms and others have not? Can the few examples shared during the session be replicated in other countries in the region? If yes, how? If not, why?

Keywords

Multistakeholder, mechanism, best practice

Format

Short introductions by key participants, followed by discussions among all participants.

People

  • Keynote speaker (introduction to multistakeholder mechanisms in the Internet governance ecosystem): Thomas Schneider, Federal Office of Communication (OFCOM), Switzerland.
  • Key participants:
    • Hristo Hristov, Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, Bulgaria
    • Megan Richards, Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology, European Commission
    • Grigori Saghyan, Internet Society Armenia
    • Dušan Stojičević, Serbian National Register of Internet Domain Names (RNIDS), Serbia
  • Moderator: Vladimir Radunović, DiploFoundation, Serbia
  • Remote moderator: Matei-Eugen Vasile, Association for Technology and Internet, Romania
  • Rapporteur: Ana Kakalashvili, Tbilisi State University, Georgia

Further reading

Report

  1. On a global level, we need to come up with minimum standards/safeguards for guaranteeing a balanced multistakeholder model for Internet governance. We need checks and balances for people to trust this model.‬
  2. Stakeholders do not have to know every bit of details of how policies/laws are made, but decision-/lawmakers should (and it is crucial for the multistakeholder model) spend more time on consultation with other stakeholders.
  3. The creation and functioning of multistakeholder mechanisms is not conditioned by enshrining them in legislation or by having an official permission from government for putting them in place.
  4. Every involved stakeholder should become more active in Internet governance: not only governments, but also academia, civil society, private sector and the technical community. For this to happen, digital skills and awareness on Internet governance should be developed and raised.‬

Video recording

The video recording of the session is available.