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Internet Governance Civil Society Coordination Group (CSCG)

Civil Society MAG 2016 endorsements and recommendations

Feb 1, 2016

Dear Chengetai, IGF Secretariat, and MAG selection committee(s),

First, we wish to thank you for your past co-operation with us in aiming to ensure the best possible representation for civil society in the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG). We were pleased that you were able to accept all but one of our suggested nominations last year, and also our suggestions for speakers at IGF. We look forward to further strengthening this collaboration, in line with various recommendations calling for greater legitimacy, transparency and stakeholder involvement in such processes

The Civil Society Coordination Group (CSCG) exists solely to ensure a co-ordinated civil society response and conduit when it comes to making civil society appointments to outside bodies. It comprises representatives of the coalition members of the Best Bits, Association for Progressive Communications, Internet Governance Caucus, Just Net Coalition, and the Non-Commercial Stakeholders Group of ICANN. Together the reach of these groups extends to many hundreds of non-governmental organisations, as well as a great number of individuals. In addition, the CSCG receives recommendations of non-affiliated individuals and groups who chose to voice their endorsements through the CSCG mechanism. The CSCG represents the five largest groupings of civil society organisations addressing Internet governance issues. We also work in collaboration with other initiatives in the UN, but also outside of it (such as the Netmundial Conference in Brazil in 2014 and the subsequent Netmundial Initiative).

We are pleased to forward the following civil society endorsements for candidates for the 2016 MAG renewal.

The Nomcom considered 16 names submitted via our networks, which are attached as Appendix 1. For the record, we also asked to be privy to any other civil society nominations forwarded to you from other sources, and, for full transparency, all civil society stakeholder group applications, which we ideally should have considered fully and without discrimination, but we were told this was not possible. However if there are other names you are considering, we offer our services to give you confidential assessment of any such candidates.

In completing our task, we note that three candidates designated by you as civil society representatives have terms ending this year; two from LAC region and one from Asia. (Fatima Cambronero, Desiree Zachariah, and Subi Chaturvedi)

In considering replacements, we have looked at a number of considerations, the most important of which at this particular time, are:

First, to restore the balance of LAC region representation, to replace retiring civil society members, we recommend:

1. Julian Casasbuenas. Julian is a member of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), and has been attending IGF since 2006. He was involved in the organization of LAC regional IGF meetings and participated actively as a reporter and speaker in these events. In 2012 his organization, Colnodo, was co-organizer with .CO Internet of the Fifth IGF LAC meeting that was held in Bogotá Colombia.

2. Renata Aquino Ribeiro. Renata is currently a professor in the IT Campus at Quixadá City in Federal University of Ceará, Brazil. In 2014, she was a researcher in social development, technology and education at Business and Economics Faculty (FEAAC) at Federal University of Ceará (UFC). For the last decade, she has followed the Internet governance debates such as regional IGFs and ICANN53 participation as a fellow, Brazilian Internet School of Governance 2014 fellow, South School of Internet Governance 2015 fellow, LACRALO ALS Nexti participant, and NCUC participant in ICANN.

Our second and third major considerations are to increase voices speaking for the geo-political global south, and to add to the level of experience in internet governance matters of civil society participation. We believe this can be done with one specific candidate. i.e.:

3. Norbert Bollow. Norbert has a background in mathematics, physics and IT, and he also has many years of experience in civil society activism on a wide range of information society topics including advocacy for human rights and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). He has participated in the consultations that preceded the first IGF and he has since then participated in many IGFs, including several times as a workshop organizer. He has been a co-coordinator of Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus. Norbert is currently a co-convenor of the Just Net Coalition http://justnetcoalition.org/jnc-members, an international civil society coalition of 35 organisations and networks, most of them South based, with a focus on demands that the Internet must advance human rights and social justice, and that Internet governance must be truly democratic.

Our fourth consideration is to gain representation from the MENA region, which currently has no civil society representation; and at the same time to strengthen our African presence. To this end we endorse:

4. Rasha Abdulla. Dr. Rasha A. Abdulla is Associate Professor (tenured) and Past Chair of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo. She has a Ph.D. in Communication (December 2003) from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. She is the proud recipient of several teaching and research awards. Her current research interests focus on the Internet as a medium. Her doctoral dissertation was the first large scale academic study of the uses and gratifications of the Internet among Arab students in Egypt...

Thank you for your consideration of these candidates. Please note that, in addition to addressing matters of geographical and gender balance, civil society, like other stakeholders, needs to consider geopolitical balance and the need to ensure that all stakeholder voices are represented. What might appear to be simple changes to the representation we suggest can be quite problematic for us, and result in either imbalance in representation or in inappropriate candidates being selected. To avoid these problems which have occurred in the past, we do suggest that, should you be looking at appointing anyone as a civil society representative not on our list of endorsements, you discuss this in confidence with our coordinators. In addition to any names you might have received individually, we recognise that there are a number of excellent candidates from distinct geographic regions who applied to be nominated through CSCG who we were unable to include in our limited number of endorsements above, that might come into consideration in such discussions.

Given the investment in the important process of (perceived) legitimacy, balance, transparency and consensus, we feel strongly that selections should be done with our collaboration. This enhanced co-operation and consultation can assist to ensure the best possible civil society representation, a goal we all share. This also addresses the recommendation of the Working Group on Improvements to the IGF, later endorsed by UN General Assembly, seeking ‘self-management’ of stakeholder representative process by respective stakeholder groups. We are open for further discussion on this point and other relevant recommendations of the mentioned Working Group.

Finally, we do think that, in the light of recommendations in the mentioned CSTD WG and in Netmundial, calling for greater legitimacy, transparency and stakeholder involvement in such processes, it would be appropriate in coming months to review the IGF MAG selection processes, to align them more with emerging best practice in ensuring stakeholder representation and also overall transparency. We offer our services to work with you and other stakeholder representative organisations towards this objective, which we consider imperative to have in place for the 2017 MAG selection process.

Sincerely,

Virginia Paque and Ian Peter
Non-voting Co Chairs CSCG

Nomcom members: Nadira Alaraj (Best Bits), Analia Aspis (Internet Governance Caucus), Robin Gross (Non Commercial Stakeholders Group, ICANN), Chat Garcia Ramilo (Association for Progressive Communications), Parminder Jeet Singh (Just Net Coalition)

The role of CSCG is to ensure a co-ordinated civil society response and conduit when it comes to making civil society appointments to outside bodies. Our procedures can be viewed at http://www.internetgov-cs.org/procedures


APPENDIX ONE

CANDIDATES EVALUATED BY CSCG NOMCOM

Julian Casasbuenas (LAC)*
Renata Aquino Ribeiro (LAC)*
Norbert Bollow (WEOG)*
Rasha Abdulla (Africa)*
Renata Avila (LAC)
Wisdom Kwasi Donkor (Africa)
Isaque Manteiga Joaquim (Africa)
Olevie Kouami (Africa)
Glenn McKnight (WEOG)
Jeremy Malcolm (WEOG)
Joseph Marc Antoine Ridore (Africa)
Grigori Saghyan (WEOG)
Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro (Asia-Pacific)
Abdul Rasheed Tamton (Africa)
Arsene Tungali (Africa)
Deidre Williams (LAC)