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Internet Governance Civil Society Coordination Group (CSCG)

CSCG letter as regards civil society involvement in selection processes

Nov 6, 2015

Dear Co-facilitators of WSIS + 10 process,

We are writing to you on behalf of the Internet Governance Civil Society Coordination Group (CSCG), a “coalition of coalitions” working actively on internet governance issues. Our member coalitions (Association for Progressive Communications, Best Bits Coalition, Internet Governance Caucus, Just Net Coalition, and Non Commercial Stakeholders Group of ICANN) extends to some thousands of individual members and hundreds of civil society organisations working actively on internet governance issues. Many have been involved with the WSIS process since its inception.

Firstly, we wish to commend you for your efforts to include voices of non-governmental actors in the WSIS + 10 process.

However, we would like to raise a serious concern about one part of the process, whereby selection of civil society speakers for various events appears to be being done by a selection committee which includes representatives of other non-governmental stakeholder groups.

You will understand that it is of utmost importance for maintaining the independence of civil society that its representatives are chosen by civil society alone, and having other stakeholder representatives as part of a selection committee for civil society representation, or as final arbiters of our representation, is problematic for us.

Indeed, in the evolution of the multistakeholder model of internet governance, this was made quite clear in the Netmundial Outcomes Declaration. I quote:

"Stakeholder representatives appointed to multistakeholder Internet governance processes should be selected through open, democratic, and transparent processes. Different stakeholder groups should self - manage their processes based on inclusive, publicly known, well defined and accountable mechanisms."

In accordance with this principle, CSCG has established its own internal selection processes, which can be found at http://www.internetgov-cs.org/procedures. These are transparent processes, accepted and adopted by a wide range of civil society organisations, and used effectively in the past for selection of civil society representatives for e.g. IGF’s Multistakeholder Advisory Group, Speakers for IGF Opening and Closing ceremonies, The Netmundial meeting, and various other UN and international events where CS speakers and representatives have been required. These procedures take into account gender and geographic balance as a central matter of our determinations.

Since some deadlines are quite close with respect to the currently announced process, we request your urgent intervention in this regard. Our proposal is that each stakeholder group choose its own speaker representatives and put these forward.

We do realise that increasing - both as widening and as deepening - civil society engagement with the UN is a challenging and complex process, and we salute your pioneering efforts in this regard. The Internet Governance Civil Society Co-ordination Group (CSCG) remains available to assist you in this matter.

Sincerely

Ian Peter
Independent Chair, Internet Governance Civil Society Coordination Group

Endorsed by CSCG Members:

Chat Garcia Ramilo, Association for Progressive Communications
Jeremy Malcolm, Best Bits Coalition
Deirdre Williams and Analia Apsis, Internet Governance Caucus
Norbert Bollow, Just Net Coalition
Robin Gross, Non Commercial Stakeholders Group of ICANN