The multistakeholder model: from its origins to its future – FA 03 Sub 02 2022
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How can we collaboratively envision the multi-stakeholder approach moving forward?
During this panel discussion, we take a look at the origins of the multi-stakeholder model, its evolution, and where the model is heading. We consider the legitimacy of the multi-stakeholder model, and to what extent the multi-stakeholder model has perhaps become obsolete under the increased role of national actors in digital regulation.
To what extent can the multi-stakeholder body adapt to new societal challenges? Will the model be able to adapt to the fast-paced digital transformation without losing legitimacy?
We consider the role of various Internet Governance players and their multi-stakeholder processes to better understand what are the obstacles currently hindering the model and what are the possibilities for renewal.
In particular the session will take a closer look at the democratization opportunities available for these multistakeholder bodies. By uncovering why and what barriers exist to participation, we can make participation in multi-stakeholder bodies more inclusive moving forward.
Panel discussion in the auditorium, with 3-4 speakers and plenty of time for Q&A
- “Third contribution to the June-September 2017 Open Consultation of the ITU CWG-Internet Analysis of responses”, Richard Hill, APIG, 28 August 2017
- “Thoughts on Best Practices for Multistakeholder Participation Mechanisms”, Nortbert Bollow and Richard Hill, July 2014.
- “Reflections on making Internet governance democratic and participative”, Norbert Bollow and Richard Hill, 20 May 2015.
- “Not fit for purpose: The grand experiment of mutli-stakeholder initiatives in corporate accountability, human rights and global governance”, Institute for Multi-stakeholder Initiative Integrity (MSIntegrity), July 2020.
- “Dissecting the ‘Internet Freedom’ Agenda: a review of Shawn M. Powers and Michael Jablonski, The Real Cyber War: The Political Economy of Internet Freedom”, Richard Hill, 29 April 2015.
- “What is civil society and who represents civil society at the IGF? An analysis of civil society typologies in internet governance”, Nadia Tjahja, Trisha Meyer, Jamal Shahin, Telecommunications Policy, Vol. 45, Issue 6, July 2021.
- “Richard Hill - The curse of contentration (Review of Cory Doctorow, How to destroy surveillance capitalism)”, Richard Hill, 29 April 2021.
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- Stephanie Teeuwen
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- Roberto Gaetano
- Ayden Férdeline
- Alève Mine
- Stephanie Teeuwen
- Vint Cerf
- Irene Signorelli
- Peter Koch
- Alicia Frey
- Chris Buckridge
- Chris Buckridge, RIPE NCC (onsite)
- Daphne Stevens, YOUthDIG (online)
- Prof. Wolfgang Kleinwächter (onsite)
- Richard Hill (online)
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>> NADIA TJAHJA: We’ll ask you to start taking your seats. We’re about ready to start the next session. Please take your seats. We’ll now start with sub topic 2 of focus area 3, The multistakeholder model: from its origins to its future.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Welcome to this focus area 3, the multistakeholder model from its origins to its future. I’ll be the moderator for today. Last year I also participated in YOUthDIG. I’m excited to see a lot of young participants also this year. Additionally, I’m the cocoordinator for the Netherlands Internet Governance Forum so I’m excited to participate actively in EuroDIG.
With me today on stage, Professor Wolfgang Kleinwachter and Chris Buckridge, and online we have ready and Daphne Stevens.
We have questions and there is time for dialogue. If you have questions yourself, come up to the mic, raise your hand in Zoom and raise your question.
I guess we’ll get started. I think we can start with sort of thinking about what the multistakeholder model means to different people, to different stakeholders.
So Professor Wolfgang Kleinwachter, if you would like to, if you would like to set it up?
>> WOLFGANG KLEINWACHTER: Thank you very much. Thank you for the invitation.
Indeed, the multistakeholder model, quote, unquote, it is a very familiar language. To be frank, there is no model. I always try to use the language, the multistakeholder approach, which is quite better because there is no one-size-fits-all. The understanding of the multistakeholder approach, it is different across stakeholder groups, governments, regions. I think everybody has its own quote, unquote model. This is part of the success of the approach because 20 years ago it was difficult, today everybody accepts it but also that’s the problem. If everybody does what he or she wants, this creates more confusion and could be counterproductive.
To simplify this, I think there are two elements, one is the political, practical element, and the comments in the opening session referred to the opening group on Internet Governance, I was a member of this group, where at the multistakeholder approach is more or less defined for the first time in the UN context and this is a political compromise. We had this conflict where the U.S. government was for private sector leadership, the Chinese government was for government leadership and they could not agree, they established a Working Group on Internet Governance and the Working Group said that the internet does not need a leader, it needs enhanced cooperation where all stakeholders participate in their respective role. This was the first multistakeholder approach related to Internet Governance in the UN system. It was a political compromise.
Theoretically, I see it a little bit different. In a theoretical framework, we have a political system based on representative democracy. The multistakeholder approach goes one step further, including more participatory elements, participatory democracy. Because the idea behind this, it is that people who are affected, who are concerned, it has to become involved in policy development and decision making. That means not just to delegate an issue to somebody who represents you, but the complexity of the Internet Governance ecosystem has grown to such a dimension that let’s say the representation, it becomes so long, that the decision maker, at the end of the training doesn’t understand anymore what are the real interests. Where this whole thing starts.
So far, to bring additional voices to the negotiation table. That means people doing the work in the technical community who are affected directly in the Civil Society, who are doing business in it. So this enriches the representative democracy, it does not substitute the representative democracy but it complements it.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you for that contribution.
Alexander hill, what is your view on the multistakeholder approach?
>> RICHARD HILL: You mean me, Richard Hill?
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Richard Hill, I’m sorry. Yes.
>> RICHARD HILL: Yes. Thank you. How long would you like me to speak at this point, I suppose no more than 5 minutes?
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Yes, something like that. Thank you.
>> RICHARD HILL: Right. Yes. I basically agree with everything that Wolfgang Kleinwachter had said, which is not always the case.
I want to put a nuance on the most – what I think is a key issue, which is how do you make a decision at the end. I have posted a paper on the chat, also through the group here, I analyze what happened on a specific issue, namely OTT and ITU and at the end, there is an academic paper discussing the whole history of multistakeholder, which is not a recent invention. It is traced back to the middle ages if you look carefully enough.
There is general agreement that you should consult everybody, that’s not a problem. The question is how do you make decisions in the end.
The horizontal thing where everybody is in the room when you make decisions works very well when it is a win/win situation. When everybody has a common interest and they find a win/win solution, it doesn’t work so well when you have diverging interests and that’s the example that I analyzed in that paper, in the OTT debate, different stakeholder high school different interests and you get suck and can’t make decisions. The question is how do you make a decision. My view, and I use the example of the consultation, the first one on Network Neutrality, but in Switzerland we do this routinely as somebody will point out later in the session, Netherlands, other countries too, you do big consultations so that you make sure everybody affected has had their say and in the end there is democratic representative systems to make decisions. In the U.S., for instance, it was the FCC, I do not think it is a democratic representative, whatever, it is the best we have, they listened to everybody, looked at everything and then said okay, this is what we think, the politics changed for the U.S. subsequently when FCC reached different decisions and now it is up again. The point is, when you have divergent interests between the stakeholders, you have to have some sort of a decision making model. The multi-stakeholderism has been around in this internet context, it was kind of formalized during actually the first of Geneva and then the Tunis Fabio Monnet, the World Summit on the Information Society, one of the features of the model, that not everybody agrees with, of course, it is that the governments should have the primary role in public policy, whatever the public policy is, it wasn’t defined. What we see now is some institutions that are multistakeholder but do not conform to that model. In ICANN governments have an advisory role even for public policy models, it is multistakeholder but doesn’t exactly fit the model agreed at the WSIS. Another one put forward, the IGF as a multistakeholder body, it is not actually formally, it is just individuals, anybody can show up at the IGF, they don’t care who you represent, it is just the value of your inputs and your ideas that count. It is not exactly multistakeholder, it is completely open, participatory, et cetera, it does not define the multistakeholder groups, which is the model.
If you go deeper, the IGF, like all standards organization, this is not criticism, it is just the way that the world work, it is dominated by the manufacturers who actually have an interest in standardizing products so that they have a big market and can sell it. Nothing wrong with that, it is just how the way things work.
It is not really multistakeholder although it is put forward that way.
I’ll stop here and hopefully we’ll get into a debate. Thank you.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you.
Chris what, are your thoughts on this?
>> CHRIS BUCKRIDGE: Thank you, Stephanie.
Yeah. I think I’m going to agree with both Wolfgang Kleinwachter and Richard Hill. Wolfgang Kleinwachter I think stole my opening line but it is worth repeating! The title of this is the multistakeholder model and I think it is worth being pragmatic saying it is an approach rather than a model. It really is a mindset rather than a specific prescribed set of processes or practices. I think we see different substantiations of that multistakeholder approach, and Richard was talking there about the IGF, ICANN, et cetera, et cetera, and I think that’s important to note. I think it is important to note that they’re all imperfect, they’re evolving, developing, working towards an ideal which perhaps they’ll never achieve but which is what we’re trying to do here.
The point, it is really important to make about the multistakeholder approach, it is not a sort of idealism or a sort of political ideal or something, it is really a quite pragmatic reflection of how the internet works and how the internet is structured or at least valued, the value we see in that. Where we had this network of networks that evolved not outside of government association, although there was certainly government involved from the very beginning, but outside the sort of more formal traditional governmental or intergovernmental structures, that produced a really spectacular outcome in terms of the internet and that was beginning to be clear at the beginning of the century here. There was this desire to say, hey, how do we keep going with this, acknowledging that this is going to be critical, important to our societies and we need to find a way to govern this but also noting that maybe pushing it back into the box of how we used to do things with say the telecommunication regulation, it is probably not the best move and really would jeopardize the value that we see here.
I think that’s worth noting.
I think what I also see, it is that evolution, that development of this happens in historic flurry, it is often reflected by things separate to the specifics going on. An interesting – if I look to the most recent one that I would identify, the period from 2012 to 2016, so it is like four years there and a lot was going on which didn’t necessarily seem so connected at the time, although a lot of it did as well.
Looking at, it we say, okay, 2012 you had a very big ITU conference which a lot of us in the internet community, technical community, stakeholders in WSIS saw as a significant threat to this multistakeholder approach, a threat to that being maintained.
2013, so that happened. Actually there weren’t too many significant outcome force the internet although it really did set the tone.
2013, Snowden revelations. That came through. That really also changed a lot of people’s mindsets about the internet and what we needed to do in relation to that governance.
Then those two things indirectly led or came to a period in 2014 where you had the U.S. government in March announce we’re going to hand over stewardship, we have a multistakeholder process to achieve that. That began a process which then took about 18 months. April of 2014 you also had the whole global South approach to global multistakeholder approach and what that could mean.
I think when you look at that you see, okay, this inspired a series of events that then made ICANN and RIPE look at things like their accountability models, how are we accountable to our stakeholders, who are the stakeholders, how do we increase or ensure inclusivity, how are we building that, there were taskforces in RIP, and the stream 2 in the ICANN accountability process that took place. Also things like how do we avoid capture and ensure that these processes are not captured by – could be government, big tech, could be just technical community trying to keep other people out of the process.
I think that’s happening in a historic shift and last point to say simply I think in the last two years we have had COVID which dramatically changed how we view the criticality of the internet in our lives and the extent to which it can help us and ensure getting through crisis like that and then we have events like the ongoing war on Ukraine which contributes to undermining the trust on a global level that the internet has really relied upon. We’re looking ahead to 2025 and looking to the WSIS+20 and looking ahead it next year, this Global Digital Compact so there are key events forming right now and it is not clear what the output of that will be. What that impact on the multistakeholder approach will be. Probably signature I think.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Yeah. I can imagine.
Daphne Stevens, can we hear your view and position?
>> DAPHNE STEVENS: It is very difficult after the great points that the previous three speakers have made. I’m fairly new in the field. I have been there for two years.
As Chris had mentioned earlier, I have been active in the field during the COVID times making it very difficult to make comparison to preCOVID and during or post COVID. What I have seen the past two years is that in my opinion, the approach that we have right now, it is very flawed and that it needs to be changed and maybe as Chris was mentioning, this is a very good moment to have that change. As Wolfgang Kleinwachter and Richard Hill had both mentioned, there is a need for cooperation and that there is a need for actual decision making and avoiding capture but what I noticed in the past two years that we have been active in different conversations, there have been a lot of talking, very little listening, very little acting, and I think that’s something that you have to really delve in deeper today I would say because different actors seem to want to say and I think at the moment we’re at risk of a capture like that actually happening. I think to have a general conversation about that right now, it may be a small impact that either limits the capture, maybe even completely stops this capture.
I’m very much looking aboard to speak being that further.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you. When we look at the current world, with the war going on, the COVID pandemic dragging on and affected, there are so many people not connected to the internet, there is definitely wayless ahead, so perhaps we could go to Wolfgang Kleinwachter. How do you think this sort of multistakeholder approach can adapt to the now societal challenges and how – will we be able to adapt to the fast-paced digitalization in the global world do you think.
>> WOLFGANG KLEINWACHTER: Yeah.
More or less, the multistakeholder approach opens the door to a new territory. Conceptually, the multistakeholder approach is about sharing. The internet is such a complex system that you do not have a final answer, you need different perspectives. Businesses have a different idea how an issue should be managed than governments. Individual users have a different expectation and technical community, they have their own ideas as we learned from the AI discussion this morning so that as a gap between engineers on one hand and the users, the developer, service providers on the other hand. The way forward is sharing. This belongs to the DNA of the internet. The internet has started with sharing resources. If you have only good guys in the room, that’s okay. With 4, 5 billion internet user, there is not only good guys in the room and bad guys in the room. When it comes to decision making and sharing, that’s difficult. The decision making, it is based on power.
Sharing power is a very complicated thing. It means if Mr. Putin decided to start war in Ukraine, he did not consult with Civil Society or the private sector or other stakeholders. It was a one stakeholder decision. He was not ready to share his decision-making power with somebody else, probably not even Mr. Foreign Minister. It is a different story.
If we speak about governance in the 21st Century, it means that we have to develop new forms and methods of how to govern the interdependent complex world, and this has to be based on sharing. That’s why I said in my first intervention, the participatory elements of the multistakeholder approach do not substitute the representative democracy. It is not an alternative. It is an enrichment. I think this is really important to make this different association. This is no time for a revolution, though it is part of an evolution.
For the moment, probably what I see, it is that while everybody agrees on this general principle, because it is very logical, very normal, if it comes to the reality on the ground then each institution which represents power in their hands, pays lip service to the approach, but acts in a different way. I was in a meeting in Beijing, in China, and the Chinese host was very excited about multistakeholder model, they call it the multiparty model and the idea that we have Civil Society, technical community visitors and China approaches the multistakeholder applies under the leadership of the communist party. That means wonderful multistakeholder model on the ground but under control.
The European Union also supports the multistakeholder approach, but if it comes to reality, then they think that the consultations between European Commission, the European Counsel and the European Parliament, it is the multistakeholder approach. A lot of Civil Society organizations and business and technical community are not really involved in making the final draft of the law.
The U.S. government decided if you want to have a declaration on the future of the internet but then the whole document was drafted by the White House only and it supported the multistakeholder governance model. The stakeholders were not involved in drafting the document.
So far, as mentioned by Chris, it has produced a very good example of how you can produce documents in new forms of negotiations, because this was really sharing the decision making power, sharing the negotiation power. The big step forward of this declaration was they identified principles for the multistakeholder approach, like accountability, transparency, inclusiveness and it was a step forward. It is not a definition of the multistakeholder approach, but it has produced a number of criteria which are very useful.
As also Chris has mentioned, this was 214, since that, stumbling forward, stumbling sideways and probably backwards.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you for that observation.
I see we have some questions from the room.
Please go ahead.
>> Thank you very much, from France, Chair of the end user within the ICANN system. I just want to argue with what’s said here. I’m not sure that – I prefer the word approach than model. It was my struggle when I was on the Board of ICANN to stop to talk about model, who is the model to whom. Approach, if it is not with an S, it is really not the case. We have not one approach. We are approaches. Even more, we are not still in an approach, we are living the multistakeholder model in various organizations. It is already here. What we have to argue, it is how we can – how it can be done. Therefore, it is not just an approach, it is also a reality. How we can have that moving.
My last point to be short, it is that – and it is the provocation – but democracy is dying. When you see the election in France, you have so many people not coming to vote, it is not what we want. The multistakeholder must not be built on democracy. It must be built on the real participation of the people, of the people who are – who have a say on what we’re talking about. Of course, not everybody wants to talk about how we will take care of the bees, how we will take care of the root server, how we will take care of anything else. I really think that democracy is dying. I hope that multistakeholderism has not yet died.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you.
I suggest we take some questions. I see there is a lot in the room and then we’ll go back to the panelist.
>> Thank you for giving me the floor. I’m from UNESCO. A warm greeting to the speakers online.
We like the word the multistakeholder. We like that global multistakeholder music like last night.
For us, multistakeholder is no more just a concept, it is a principle, an official position since we have already endorsed the internet universality principle which accounts for the fundamental principles by all Member States, 195 Member States at the time, and it means the multistakeholder.
Not only that, in 2019 we have developed 300 indicators to assess principle, including 20 indicators to assess multistakeholder approach at the national level, and now we have assessed the 40 more, more than 40 countries.
I would like to share some positive trends with you. In the 20 indicators, we have a set of three dimensions of multistakeholder approach: And the first one, it is to what extent a national state has institutionalized this multistakeholder approach by law, by policy, by Constitution. We have an example from Brazil, we do have a Constitutional framework and even an agency to ensure this approach to be realized.
The Global South countries, like in Kenya, even in countries that didn’t have a formal law but they are really embracing and have launched the project of assessing in Cambodia. I was so impressed to see that 30 people, the advisory board from governmental and Civil Society, and that doesn’t mean that with the law everything is perfect, even in the Global North like in Germany there is the multistakeholder approach, they see the lack of gender balance, women and the youth and voice needs to be more involved and it is – as colleagues had said – they were assessed as in the existence of the multistakeholder forum at national level. I mean, we see the national IGF in many countries.
The third dimension we assess, the regional, international dimension, to what extent the national actors are really engaging with the global discussion. This dimension makes more sense now more than ever since we’re developing AI. We’re addressing new, emerging technologies, and we need multistakeholder more than ever to ensure the voice of Civil Society of those marginalized groups to be included in this process. That’s all UNESCO has been doing and we’re happy to discuss more.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you. (Audio distortion.
>> RICHARD HILL: I don’t disagree with anything that’s been said before. I want to elaborate on what Chris said because it has answered the questions that have been raised. There is no one answer. There is plenty of room to agree.
I think we all know that one of the issues right now, it is lack of cybersecurity, how do you fix that. You know, in a paradox, in my view, it is because of the initial development of the internet was not actually particularly multistakeholder as we all know, it was the U.S. project which funded some very bright academics who did great work, no criticism of the work and they – they didn’t neglect cybersecurity, they had an end-to-end cybersecurity model torn down from various models and they were not usually worried about building it or multi-lingual. It was faster. There was a parallel development that some people know, OSI which was sort of both stakeholder because it had governments and private industry, although it didn’t have Civil Society. That was really too complicated precisely because everybody wanted something. It was heavily multi-lingual. It had cybersecurity. It was too complicated to implement and all of the things we know on the internet prevailed.
That shows that actually what we have now was not originally derived as multistakeholder – some people say that’s a good thing, otherwise we couldn’t have it. What we’re seeing, an increasing interest as pointed out of governments because the internet is everything now. Everything is internet, health, agriculture, transport, you name it, and governments are increasingly saying wait a minute, we don’t feel comfortable about this, maybe it is interfering with election, maybe we can’t control food supplies and so on.
The question becomes how do you have a proper role for governments without – as people are correct of saying – without the risk of innovation and imposing laws that we don’t like, Russia, whatever, there are other models. What do we do? It was mentioned, the shocking invasion and unilaterally I agree, unjustified, unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine. We have to remember that the U.S. has done similar things, one person decided, Mr. Bush decided, to invade Iraq in 2005 with similar disruption, loss of life, et cetera, so it is not just the one set of bad guys that do this, there are lots of bad guys in the world and we have to face that. In this discourse, the U.S. has done things and some things done well, happy, other things, not so good.
Snowden was mentioned. Let’s face things as they are. We don’t have just one bad guy, we have a series of risks that we have to face and the clear and present danger probably people don’t know about it, it is the World Trade Organization which is totally non-multistakeholder, totally secretive. If you are not a government, you can’t get access to things. The Swiss government, I don’t have access to things, and they’re trying to come up with what they call eCommerce rules which enshrines certain things which many people think are not very helpful and, in fact, very bad. We also know that the European Commission is going to have various measures, some of which don’t make sense.
We have to be aware of this fact, that governments are actors. How do we apply proper multistakeholder models to say wait a minute, you can’t do that without letting the companies dominate too much, the discourse, so that they get exactly what they want.
Again, very few people are sufficiently worried about a dangerous development in terms of multistakeholder models.
>> CHRIS BUCKRIDGE: Something triggered by the Ukraine, Putin, there was the point made also by Richard, governments, they’re not keen to give up their prerogatives of states to make their own decisions. I think this really in a sense highlights the frailty, the vulnerability of the multistakeholder approach. It is if you have got governments that turn around, they say no, we’re going to make our own decisions here, we’re going to do our own thing, that’s kind of the end of it.
What I would say, the resilience of the multistakeholder approach, it is that in doing so they, I think knowingly in many cases – not always – jeopardize the value we have from having a single interoperable internet. That’s the resilience, to keep that, we kind of have to cooperate and to coordinate in a certain level. When you stop doing that, you jeopardize actually the value you get from an internet.
I think we have to hope that that sort of realization, that understanding of the internet, it is good. Whatever else is going on, it is kind of in our interest to maintain a global internet and let’s work to the extent we need to in a cooperative way to maintain that. It is not a given that will always be the mindset. I think we’re seeing in geopolitical terms now the possibility of that mindset going away. Yeah. We need to push back on that I think.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: That makes sense for sure. It is pattern to take all of it, how do we keep the mindset alive, how do we keep that approach alive.
I see we have more questions I believe there is a question online.
(Speaker on mute).
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: I don’t think we’re hearing you. You are on mute.
>> DAPHNE STEVENS: Perfect.
So I would like to respond on one hand to what our previous panelists stated, and on the other hand also to kind of jump into the two interventions that were made by the participants already and ask the question to go even higher, ask ourself as question, do we even have the right stakeholders? It seems very stuck, and I think that’s a very big issue. You talk, you give an example from a youth perspective, it is that I am – also people that I talk with over the past few days – they’re very strongly of the opinion that youth should be seen, involved as a separate stakeholder because we don’t necessarily fit in a specific group due to the various backgrounds. Take YOUthDIG, for example, this weekend, we had filmmakers, doctors, we had people active in the field of Internet Governance and it was such a big mix it is very difficult to actually be a strong voice. It is very much stated by the previous speakers, there is a need for engagement, and a need for actually providing input and sharing voices.
However, I do think this is something that’s very strongly overlooked at the moment. That means that the ideas that the youth have who have the greatest impacts for the choices made for the longest period of time, and I think it is very important that we realize that we’re deciding the future of the digital world in spaces like these. This is going to impact young people for such a long time. However, at the table, no offense, there is very little youth. That’s why I think we should even consider whether we have the stakeholders that are fit for the discussions we’re having, and to maybe link with a point that Chris was making, we have to be resilient. And I have a feeling that when you have been active in the field for a really long time you’re on one hand still resilient and still very used to, hey, this is how it is right now. This is how our multistakeholder approach works and we’re not really going to change it further. We can have these discussions about how it needs to change, but at the same time, you already have experienced that change.
I think that the youth, they’re the most amazing example of how we’re incredibly resilient and how we’re calling for change. I would call for the youth to be an actual separate stakeholder and to give them a permanent seat at the table and have them leave input at the decision-making processes because they may actually provide the strong opinions that may lead to a further change in the approach that we’re discussing moment in.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you. You make an excellent point.
The young generation sort of our age is the first to grow up with the internet, on the internet, and I for example cannot imagine a world without the internet. Definitely youth are important in discussion.
I see we have some more questions from the room but also we have about six more minutes.
I suggest we take one more question from the gentleman whose been waiting for a while, and then we’ll move on to final statements from the panelists.
>> Okay. Thank you.
I have been involved in 20 years in discussing this. There are many discusses by the multistakeholder approach, there have been failures. This is the sign of a weakness when putting together stakeholder groups, there are some like individual users, Civil Society, they gain from the multistakeholder and there are others, big companies and governments, and what we see, I think, when they have something to lose, they walk away, do things on their own. This is the fundamental problem that we do not know how to address.
Specifically, when we talk about the failure, not successes of the multistakeholder approach, many people like to think, you know, privacy implementation, ICANN, failures, but the most spectacular one, the failure to prevent the internet to be in the hands of more than a few companies. It is not blamed on government but the internet, technical community, it is through the multistakeholder approach failed to prevent this concentration which is in my opinion what is really putting at risk the openness, the freedom, the interoperability and the global non-fragmentation of the internet, governance, not the countries but the service providers. Account multistakeholder approach address this in anyway, should it have none, can it do it in the future or do we need something else because the multistakeholder approach cannot resolve this problem?
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you.
Go ahead, next one can go ahead and then we’ll take all of the questions and then move on to the final statement, please.
>> Thank you very much.
I guess as a YOUthDIG participant, it is very relevant and appreciated we’re having an entire discussion on the youth. I want to point out that also the youth is a very diverse group as Daphne Stevens had mentioned but in terms of our background, not education related background but geographically and gender, age, so on. I guess one of the questions that comes to mind, it is which groups do you think within the youth group are still really missing in the entire multistakeholder discussion and what is envisioned as for initiatives to include them such as this year at EuroDIG initiative and other ones.
Also which fields within the Internet Governance hold the debate and are still mitting this youth perspective.
Maybe a second one, it is very an entire reflection for another panel, maybe just one – maybe a one minute statement by each panelist if possible, do you really see the multistakeholder model surviving within a nation based global governance system or do we envision the entry of more federalist abuse in how this could be approached.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you.
>> Good afternoon. YOUthDIG also.
My question is also related to both Daphne he and the points of view of Helena but I’m interested in the practicality of deciding who are the multistakeholders while balancing efficacy. How do we decide that we have a holistic multistakeholder representation while not having irrelevant people and furthermore, is there a process that allows us – allows for the updating of multistakeholder as the issue changes and evolves? Thank you.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you.
Please go ahead. Then we’ll move on to the final statements.
>> Thank you.
I’m from Finland. I work for a multistakeholder model as a community member and I feel sort of the commercial interests have taken over that community a little bit too much. I would like to know how can we sort of make sure that doesn’t happen?
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: An excellent question. Let’s now move on to the final statements. I know there are a lot of different question was a lot of different aspects packed into it. Maybe try to focus one minute.
Chris, if you would like to start.
>> CHRIS BUCKRIDGE: Sure. So one minute: I think there was a lot of really good points made from the floor here and from my fellow speakers. I will try to respond.
I’ll start with one which was responding to Daphne Stevens, you made the point, those of us in it a long time can be very attached to the models we have. I understand that. I agree with this to an extent and pushing back that there is a recognition that this kind of needs to change. I think that’s challenging, hard, there’s a lot of inertia, yeah. It is going to develop, it is going it change. I think steering that in the right direction is important.
There are a couple of points here about youth and the different stakeholder groups, I think a real risk in a multistakeholder model is getting too attached to those stakeholder group definitions because particularly something like youth, yeah, youth are not a sort of single group. It is really important to bring younger people in and have that perspective. We also need to recognize that they are also members of the technical community and members working with government or they’re people working in the commercial sector.
I think, yeah, it is important to also build the vertical – I don’t know if it is a vertical but different ties linking and making sure that they’re connected to other, not just to a sort of small – in ward looking youth stakeholder group.
Yeah. There has been interesting research also into looking in the way of different stakeholder groups are formed and defined. That’s really important for us to think about in terms of future of a multistakeholder model. I’ll leave it there.
Thank you very much.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you.
Please, go ahead.
>> WOLFGANG KLEINWACHTER: Thank you.
Two short points. The first thing, we have to be aware it is a battle, a struggle. It means to process, it is not really a very peaceful process of mutual understanding through different interests colliding in a global environment.
What we have seen more and more is that we have two different layers. On the application layer, we have one internet, 193 national jurisdictions and on the transport layer we have this one world, one internet, on the application layer, it is a one stakeholder approach, two, dominated by governments or businesses. On the transport layer, we have a multistakeholder approach, it was a big achievement as was said. With the COVID, other challenges, the internet works. The DNS works. We have no problems to get domain names, IP addresses, the servers are working, it was a big signal that ICANN, RIPE, resisted the very understandable question from Ministers to take top level domains out of the root, saying that we’re the neutral steward of a global resource and we’ll support you, give you 1 million to develop the internet into green but we do not attach the transported layer. It was a very important signal so that the core of the government, the public cost of the government, it is like the era of the government, it needs to be protected and this is based on the multistakeholder approach at least since this is a fully multistakeholder approach. I used the argument like in the real world we have no Chinese air, no American air, we have polluted air or clean air. On the transport layer it is important that the multistakeholder community protects the clean air of the internet. It is a big achievement.
On the higher level, we have this battle and this struggle. Let me make a final point, I’m now part of the 75 years of the old stakeholder group, I’m not – so that’s – what are the stakeholders? I recently, it is how to save the past, in the future of the internet. This remembers me, if you put this in the big historical context, on the French Revolution, you know, the starting point of the French Revolution, it was ten years later, we had a Napoleon dictator, and the principle, they survived.
The principles of the internet, this is later on in the declaration, the multistakeholder principles, they’re openness, transparency, accountability, inclusion, policy development, and I’m very optimistic that this will survive. It goes through waves. Now we have a complicated time and the 21st Century, at the end of the 21st Century, now the young stakeholder group is part of the old stakeholder group. They will have a very good internet available.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you very much.
We’re a little over time, very quickly, Daphne Stevens, please go ahead, Richard.
>> DAPHNE STEVENS: I’ll make it very, very quick.
Chris mentioned there is a recognition that it needs to change and now we actually do need to change, this is critical. You have seen during this session and during other sessions at EuroDIG, the youth, they’re very critical and use that as an example to be critical of ourselves and to see and to think about our own role in the whole discussion and in the whole multistakeholder approach and the way we’re acting. I think that’s the only way that we can actually cause the change, that we have discussed today, that we want so bad. Critical about yourself, but it is the final point that I want to bring forward.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you.
Richard, please, go ahead with final words.
>> RICHARD HILL: Yeah. I just am going to try to answer, you both raise the same questions, let’s look at the elephant in the room, it is access of power of corporations in certain areas, it is not everywhere but we see this is a key issue especially with respect to data.
It was just posted on the chat. What can we do about it, change the multistakeholder model and that’s really not obvious. I posted the links to a couple of papers that were wrote some years ago, kind of giving an outline of what we may wish to consider. I think, yes, improvements are possible, yes, this is an issue, yes, WTO, the clear, present danger and we have to do something about it and improve the model. That’s basically by everybody, even if we’re not quite sure how to do it.
Just the final point, would you please take the chat and post it to the website of the event because I think it is extremely useful in terms of exchanges and also lots of links, not just mine but others put helpful links in the chat, it is good to have the chat as a reference document on the website for the event.
Thank you for this excellent event.
>> STEPHANIE TEEUWEN: Thank you to all panelists. It is great to discuss the multistakeholder approach. And as Daphne Stevens had said, let’s now act on it, and also as Nadia mentioned earlier on Monday, there is definitely ways, for example, the private sector, governments can help in getting more youth engaged but also ensuring that all of the stakeholders, including the technical community and the private sector remain engaged.
I think we’re severely over time. I will leave it at that. Thank you all for participating in this discussion.
>> NADIA TJAHJA: Thank you to the moderator, Stephanie Teeuwen.
We’ll look to focus area 3, subtopic 3, Upcoming digital identity initiatives impacting your live. We hope that you will stay and we’ll see you here at 12:30 thank you.