Yesterday night, resumed prepcom ended the negotiations about the final documents, and the most discussed issue about WSIS was finally settled. As the subcommittee A ended their negotiations about Internet Governance, a new space for dialogue has been created.
This forum will be just that: a space for dialogue. Luckily many ideas were discarded on the last hours; being clear that only a few support a new organization. The forum needs to be put in place no later that half of next year, and the first meeting will be on the last quarter of 2006.
In recent posts, I wondered about the specific tasks of this forum. I felt it was a bad idea to set up any new mechanism without a clear agenda, and I still think so, but the government delegates manage to get – finally – some specific language.
The forum functions will be:
a) Discuss public policy issues to key elements of Internet Governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet;
b) Facilitate discourse between bodies dealing with different cross-cutting international public policies regarding the Internet and discuss issues that do not fall within the scope of any existing body;
c) Interface with appropriate inter-governmental organizations and other institutions on matters under their purview;
d) Facilitate the exchange of information and best practices, and in this regard make full use of the expertise of the academic, scientific and technical communities;
e) Advise all stakeholders in proposing ways and means to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world;
f) Strengthen and enhance the engagement of stakeholders in existing and/or future Internet Governance mechanisms, particulary those from developing countries;
g) Identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendations;
h) Contribute to capacity-building for Internet Governance in developing countries, drawing fully on local sources of knowledge and expertise;
i) Promote and assess, on an ongoing basis, the embodiment of WSIS principles in Internet Governance processes;
j) Discuss, inter alia, issues relating to critical Internet resources;
k) Help to find solutions to the issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet, of particular concern to everyday users;
l) Publish its proceedings
As you can see, many of these objectives are very general, while others are more specific, targeted missions. Points h, e, and f are on the later. They represent a commendable effort to focus on the important matters, like connection costs, development and multi-stakeholderism, by setting clear objectives. A detailed analysis coming later…