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Opening the Door to Civil Society Participation in the ITU Informal consultation between ITU and civil society on the participation of all relevant stakeholders International Telecommunication Union, Geneva, 18 May 2007

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General Manager of Public Participation, current RFC on reform, etc. Extensive CS participation (including on the Board of Directors) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Opening the Door to Civil Society Participation in the ITU Informal consultation between ITU and civil society on the participation of all relevant stakeholders International Telecommunication Union, Geneva, 18 May 2007


1
Opening the Door to Civil Society Participation
in the ITUInformal consultation between ITU
and civil society on the participation of all
relevant stakeholdersInternational
Telecommunication Union, Geneva, 18 May 2007
  • Dr. William Drake 
  • Director, Project on the Information  Revolution
    and Global Governance  Graduate Institute for
    International Studies  Geneva, Switzerland
  • http//hei.unige.ch/psio/researchprojects/Drake.ht
    ml
  • drake_at_hei.unige.ch

2
What do we mean by civil society?
  • Two sources of confusion
  • Historical usage in political theory practice
  • UN usage of NGO category
  • Nevertheless, in recent decades, common usage
    clearly refers to the non-profit or third
    sector, comprising e.g.
  • Advocacy organizations
  • Service providers/operating entities, e.g. in
    development
  • Professional associations
  • Academic and research institutions
  • Social movements and networks
  • Individual citizens
  • Last point bears emphasis in Internet age civil
    society (CS) encompasses both civil society
    organizations (CSOs) and unaffiliated individual
    stakeholders, who typically participate in
    international collaborations at their own expense

3
CS and Global ICT Policy
  • Historical disconnect relative to other global
    policy arenas
  • Impact of the Internet on perceptions of
    interest, capabilities, mobilization
  • WSIS and multistakeholderism
  • CS contributions to the process impact on
    expectations and evaluations re global ICT
    policymaking organizations
  • For most of the hundreds of CS actors involved,
    first encounters with the ITU impact on
    negotiation positions, especially re Internet
    governance
  • 2004 study of 140 CSOs, none had experience with
    or monitored ITU affairs, save the few involved
    in the unsuccessful 1999 dialogue with ITU-D

4
Illustrative Practices in Other Organizations
  • In most nongovernmental Internet
    governance-related organizations, participation
    by both CSOs and individuals is allowed as matter
    of right, and is the norm
  • In most relevant intergovernmental organizations,
    participation by accredited CSOs is allowed as
    matter of right
  • ECOSOC has 2,870 accredited NGOs in
    consultative status
  • ECOSOC Res. 1996/31 Consultative relationship
    between the United Nations and non-governmental
    organizations Calling upon specialized
    agencies of the United Nations system to examine
    the principles and practices relating to their
    consultations with non-governmental organizations
    and to take action, as appropriate, to promote
    coherence
  • Exceptions tripartite structures with organized
    labor in ILO, OECD (progressive when created, but
    now too limiting)

5
ICANN
  • At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC)
  • Operates in parallel with three other committees
    (including the GAC)
  • Advises the Board of Directors and has liaisons
    to the Board, GNSO, etc.
  • Can initiate discussion of topics
  • Transitioning to a structure comprising ten
    people elected by five Regional At Large
    Organizations (each comprising multiple CSOs) and
    five appointed
  • Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC)
  • Operates in parallel with five other
    constituencies within the GNSO, elects members to
    the GNSO Council
  • 43 CSO members
  • Transparency
  • Most documents freely available (GAC board
    notable exceptions)
  • Archived listservs, recorded/transcribed
    teleconferences publicly accessible
  • Public participation website
  • Meeting webcasts, virtual participation
  • Open RFCs, blog, etc.
  • General Manager of Public Participation, current
    RFC on reform, etc
  • Extensive CS participation (including on the
    Board of Directors)
  • Similarly, the IETF Open participation subject
    to conference fees (lack of regular budget
    support), working groups open to all, most work
    done on line, all documents freely available,
    open RFCs, etc.

6
UNESCO
  • 332 accredited observers business and CSOs mixed
    as NGOs list is overwhelmingly CS
  • CS can send observers and can make oral
    interventions and submit written statements,
    subject to limitations
  • CS has contributed extensively to work
    operational programs and negotiations

7
WIPO
  • 250 accredited observers, business and CSOs mixed
    as NGOs many CSOs
  • CSOs can apply for permanent observer status or
    for ad hoc observer status at particular
    meetings, can speak subject to limitations
  • CS has actively contributed in recent years and
    has formed an effective coalition with developing
    countries to promote a broad Development Agenda
    and Access to Knowledge as a guiding
    organizational objective

8
UNCTAD
  • 196 accredited observers business and CSOs mixed
    as NGOs many CSOs
  • CS can send observers and can make oral
    interventions and submit written statements
  • Trade and Development Board holds informal
    hearings with NGOs to solicit views
  • Civil Society Outreach Unit
  • Helps facilitate CS participation in UNCTAD work
    and organizes hearings, consultations, briefings
    and meetings
  • Provides CS with information and documentation
  • Liaises with other UN system focal points for CS

9
How Does UNCTAD View CS Participation?
  • From the website The recent successive UNCTAD
    Conferences have called for further collaboration
    between UNCTAD and civil society. CSOs have
    played an important and constructive role in
    furthering the purpose and principles of UNCTAD
    and in contributing to the institutions work.
    They have been very active during UNCTADs
    quadrennial Conferences and, between sessions,
    and work closely with its intergovernmental
    organs and its secretariat. A range of modalities
    of cooperation with civil society entities is
    being implemented. UNCTAD has pursued a policy
    that allows cooperation with civil society actors
    by setting up formal and informal mechanisms for
    their participation in the activities of UNCTAD,
    including participation in conferences, workshops
    and seminars, producing co-publications,
    information-sharing and policy analysis through
    formal and informal exchange of ideas and
    implementation of technical cooperation
    programs. emphasis added

10
even the World Trade Organization
  • A harder case, as negotiating sessions deemed too
    sensitive, it is said that stakeholders would
    confound horse trading (potential negative
    impacts greater than for most ITU decisions)
  • Nevertheless, the WTO has an active outreach
    program
  • CS participation allowed at Ministerial meetings
  • CS often allowed to lurk in hallways outside
    negotiations to speak with delegates
  • Extensive day to day informal consultations
  • Regular briefings to be established
  • Annual symposia for CS
  • CS web portal with customized publications
  • CS issue papers compiled and made available to
    members
  • Negotiation documents derestricted

11
The ITU
  • The Club Model and Culture (exceptional, not
    generalizable)
  • Restrictive conceptions of legitimate
    stakeholders
  • Sector Member or Associate financial
    procedural hurdles
  • Very restrictive treatment of Observers
  • Very minimal CS participation historically or
    today
  • No action on prior recommendations for change,
    e.g. 1998-9 ITU-D SG2 Focus Group and the ITU
    Task Force on Gender
  • ITU web page lists as civil society members,
    inter alia
  • Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union
    (government/industry)
  • Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization
    (government/industry)
  • International Telecommunications Users Group
    (industry)
  • Internet Society (industry/CS hybrid)
  • Little attention the CS telecom needs policy
    perspectives

12
Arguments Not Heard in Other Global ICT
Organizations
  • Participation is already open, there is no
    problem (so then, where are they?)
  • Opening the door could unleash a flood
  • Most of CS lacks the ability to pay or send
    representatives to relatively frequent and
    lengthy sector meetings in Geneva
  • In the near-term, probably low demand for
    membership, very manageable demand for observer
    status at regular meetings
  • CS might disrupt the work (has not happened
    elsewhere, and even less likely in ITU due to
    focus and nature of the process)
  • What do they have to contribute? (potentially a
    lot, particularly as Internet-related work grows,
    but this is the wrong question)
  • It would be too expensive (limited
    participation in most meetings CS does not need
    hard copies of documents)

13
Unfortunate Consequences
  • ITU does not capture a share of the energy,
    enthusiasm, technical/policy expertise that
    thousands of CS actors world-wide now direct into
    other ICT institutions collaborations
  • In many cases, unfamiliarity with ITUs work
    contributions
  • Widespread perceptions of ITU as a closed shop
    comprising old guard interests that are not
    responsive to public interest considerations
    individual users concerns
  • This has been as demonstrated and consequential
    in the WSIS Internet governance debates, and
    could be reaffirmed as ITU increases work on
    Internet-related issues (e.g. security, NGN) that
    could impact users the global public interest
  • Difficult for any CS actors to convince
    colleagues that ITU could be a real partner, even
    in areas in which it has significant expertise
    has made important contributions

14
Recommendations Guiding Principles
  • Cultural institutional change is imperative to
    strengthen ITUs role in the contemporary
    environment
  • Time is of the essence, as conditions are
    evolving rapidly in global ICT technology
    policy
  • A pro-active, positive approach is needed to
    cultivate a CS clientele
  • Variable geometry of participation options needed
    in light of CS diversity
  • At a minimum, attain conformity with practices in
    other intergovernmental organizations
  • At least consider the potential lessons of
    nongovernmental collaborations common in the
    Internet environment

15
Recommendations Information Gathering and
Analysis
  • Mapping exercise identify CS actors with current
    or potential interests in each area of ITUs work
  • Survey instrument or RFC solicit bottom-up
    expressions of interest in particular activities
    forms of participation, as well as suggestions
    on institutional enhancements that would promote
    CS engagement
  • Comparative analysis Assess transparency
    participation in other global ICT policy
    institutions to identify current best
    practices, generalizable lessons learned (the IGF
    could be useful here)

16
Recommendations Transparency
  • De-restrict meeting documents make them freely
    available via the Internet
  • Make Secretariat reports and other documents
    available in PDF format either free or at
    discounted rates
  • Webcast many more meetings
  • Increase use of virtual collaboration methods
    common in Internet-related organizations (not
    only to promote transparency participation, but
    also to increase organizational efficiency)
  • Include CS in advisory groups like TSAG, RAG,
    TDAG, or create a special advisory structure

17
Recommendations Outreach
  • Establish a CS liaison function/office (general
    or within each sector) to facilitate
    participation, promote two-way communication on
    substantive procedural matters
  • Hold regular open consultations on ITU work
    programs (either large or small group formats)
  • Establish CS-oriented sections of the website
    ITU News
  • Establish an open door policy for scholars who
    wish to conduct research at the ITU (policy as
    well as technical)
  • Explore options for joint research and
    operational initiatives to take advantage of
    expertise build support
  • Establish a rotating, non-remunerative ITU Chair
    award for academics working on ITU-related
    technical or policy matters, similar to the
    UNESCO Chairs

18
Recommendations Access to Off-line Meetings
  • Formalize an open door policy for workshops,
    seminars, WTPFs, etc. allow virtual
    participation
  • Revise restrictive rules on observers (as in the
    Constitution Res. COM 5/3, Antalya 2006) to
    establish flexible system akin to other UN
    organizations WIPO model is instructive
  • A la carte observers at particular meetings of
    interest
  • Permanent observers subject to simple annual
    accreditation
  • Simplify the procedures for memberships and for
    fee waivers for those organizations that might
    like to become Sector Members or Associates
  • Support of a Member government should not be
    required in order to apply, per practice in other
    UN bodies

19
Recommendations Open the Dialogue
  • Invite observers to
  • Council Working Group on the World Summit on the
    Information Society (WG-WSIS) 13-14 June 2007
  • Council Working Group on the study of the
    participation of all relevant stakeholder in the
    activities of the Union related to WSIS
    (WG-Study) 15 June 2007
  • Other WSIS stakeholders are invited to make
    inputs by sending them via e-mail is not an
    effective invitation or way to get effective input

20
Conclusions
  • Adapt to the distributed stage of the information
    revolution and the current range of stakeholders
    and activities on supply and demand sides of
    global communications markets
  • Expand, diversify, and make more accessible the
    ITUs high-quality think thank functions
  • Develop open forum functions to attract some of
    the energy and enthusiasm now being directed
    elsewhere
  • Provide a range of options for participation in
    the ITUs regular work
  • Near-term operational impact on the ITU would be
    limited and positive
  • Small steps would yield large pay-offs in public
    perception
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