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Internet Governance Civil Society Coordination Group (CSCG)

Civil Society in WSIS+10 Review and future WSIS-related activities

Nov 18, 2015

O: H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly (copied to co-facilitators of the WSIS+10 process)

Dear Sir,

We are writing to you as the civil society representatives on the committee established by UNDESA to choose speakers for the High-level Meeting on the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

By now your office will have received from UNDESA our choice of five speakers. This is to convey the rationale upon which our choice of speakers was based, and underscore the overarching principles we believe are critical in the final selection of civil society speakers.

As you will be aware, the General Assembly resolution convening the HLM (A/RES/68/302) specified that "the President of the General Assembly, in consultation with Member States, will invite, in addition to all Member and observer States and observers, representatives of all relevant stakeholders of the World Summit on the Information Society to speak during the high-level meeting, and in this regard also encourages the participation of those stakeholders in the meeting".

You will see from the names submitted that we have been careful to ensure gender and geographic balance. But of equal importance to us is to ensure that our representation provides a good balance of the varied perspectives and viewpoints that exist within civil society.

Like governments, civil society has large groupings espousing different political viewpoints. We also come from large networks and coalitions focussing on specific issues. We have worked hard in coming up with names that represent these diverse viewpoints and perspectives. That delicate balance can be easily upset, hence our desire to be specific as regards our speaker representation. It also cannot be maintained if the number of speakers is too small.

Thus, we count on your good offices to ensure that adequate number of speakers from civil society are given the chance to present their view points to the HLM.

Another matter that concerns us is that, while we are used to working collaboratively, and did so in choosing the five speaker names forwarded to you, we need to ensure that civil society and the academic and technical communities are all represented. Our selection of five speakers takes this imperative into account. However, we believe that in future they should be acknowledged as separate entities, each of which must have separate representation and be allowed to use its own selection processes (just as the private sector must ).

We will be pleased to work with you in the future to enable this basic principle to be embedded in ongoing deliberations and to further improve processes.

We thank you for your efforts, and those of UNDESA in this instance, towards ensuring that all stakeholder groups have the primary say in selection of their representatives, and trust that as a result the WSIS+10 High Level Meeting is a huge success.

Sincerely,

Ian Peter, on behalf of the civil society members of the Speaker Selection Committee, i.e.
Analia Apsis, University of Buenos Aires. Internet Governance Caucus, Argentina,
Anita Gurumurthy, IT for Change, India,
Michael Gurstein, Just Net Coalition, Canada,
Richard Hill, Association for Proper Internet Governance, Switzerland,
Lea Kaspar, Global Partners Digital, UK,
Remmy Nweke, DigitalSENSE Africa Media, Nigeria,
Ian Peter, Internet Governance Civil Society Coordination Group, Australia,
Reza Salim, Bangladesh Friendship Education Society, Bangladesh,
Baudouin Schombe, Centre Africain D’Echange Culturel, DR Congo.

This letter is also endorsed by the Internet Governance Civil Society Co-ordination Group, (CSCG) a “coalition of coalitions” working on internet governance issues. The CSCG exists solely as a conduit for selection of civil society representatives to outside organisations: member coalitions are Association for Progressive Communications, Best Bits coalition, Internet Governance Caucus, Just Net Coalition, and Non Commercial Stakeholders Group of ICANN. Together these organisations reach thousands of individuals and many hundreds of organisations active on internet and internet governance related issues.