JNC at the United Nations’
The UN held its ten-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society during the second half of 2015. The first of the pair of WSIS summits had convened in Geneva 2003. The second summit concluded the process in Tunis 2005. Hence ten years on, 2015, brought a high level review of WSIS at the UN’s New York headquarters.
Two informal consultations with stakeholders, 2 July and 19 October 2015, met in the ECOSOC Chamber. For the High Level Meeting, 15-16 December, the General Assembly convened.
For the Just Net Coalition, two members contributed, Parminder Jeet Singh and David Allen. Here you find the video record of those interventions.
At the High Level Meeting itself, in the General Assembly, Parminder had the honor to be the lead presenter of five individuals so chosen from civil society.
— the High Level Meeting 16 December 2015 —
Parminder presents to the
Parminder makes a clarion call for action from the states assembled in the High Level meeting of the General Assembly. After a decade post-WSIS of rising inequality - not the rising opportunity hoped – amid gathering monopoly power, will the UN take steps to insure democratic governance for the ‘nervous system of society’?
Parminder issues a call for now – and delivers a presentation for the ages. Do enjoy.
— the first Consultation 2 July 2015 —
Procedural safeguards for a multi-stakeholder selection process
At stake in the first consultation was the multi-stakeholder process used, in the first place, to select speakers for the day's panels. Rather than insure inclusiveness – the underlying purpose for multi-stakeholderism – instead a main point of view had been excluded from the panels. While an opposing view got voice in and among more than a third of the speakers.
Multi-stakeholder selection works only with procedural safeguards.
As it turns out, following David’s, the last intervention of the day, a revamped selection process put in place for the next consultation did produce evenhandedly.
Special consultative status with ECOSOC was also on this griddle.
— the second Consultation 19 October 2015 —
Refocusing on “development” for the draft document
Parminder encourages re-balancing a bit in the draft document, from Internet governance, toward ITC for development. In particular, we need community-focused practices and a rights-based approach, in ITC for development. The UNDP might take the lead at the micro level, and UNCTAD at the macro.
Opposed views – civil dialog
Multi-stakeholders – in their respective roles (not on an equal footing)
David discusses multi-lateral and multi-stakeholder modes. Multi-stakeholder participation is essential to democracy, a cherished right for which millions have even died to insure we may enjoy. But democracy requires that stakeholders be in their respective roles, not on an equal footing.
Further to that position:
Democracy requires respective roles. In a new global instituition, where democratically elected representatives choose policy
Parminder addresses the need for Internet governance policy making at the global level. To do this requires a new meta-level institution providing necessary expertise. While stakeholder participation is essential, policy choices can only be in the hands of democratically elected representatives (not for instance with business on an equal footing).
A different, opposed view:
No, "equal footing" may be nimbler, making for quicker progress
Alejandro Pisanty, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, (not a member of the Just Net Coalition, but a good friend) disagrees with David and Parminder re "equal footing" versus "respective roles." Alejandro says that if the lines are blurred a bit between roles, collaboration can be nimbler, with quicker progress.
A response – but look to further dialog:
Well, consider that clear identities demarcated by respective roles are essential to cooperation – but what is your thought?
Continuing the dialog with Alejandro, David posits that "respective roles" are not counter to cooperation. To the contrary, precisely the clear demarcation of identity boundaries is a precondition essential if cooperation is to succeed.
The concluding focus
Human rights – study the impact of ICTs across the range of economic, social and cultural rights
Parminder stresses the need for an in-depth study on the impact of ICTs across the range of human rights, beyond civil and political rights – that is, the range of economic, social and cultural rights. Examples beyond access, discussed by the panel, are algorithmic policy-making and labor rights in an "Uber-fied" economy.