The Number Resource Organization (NRO), on behalf of the five Regional Internet Registries(RIRs), AFRINIC, APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC, and RIPE NCC offers this submission to the“NETmundial”1, addressing each of the two submission topics: “Internet GovernancePrinciples”, and “Roadmap for the Further Evolution of the Internet Governance Ecosystem”.
NETmundial: Response to Call for Submissions
The Number Resource Organization (NRO)
7 March 2014
The Number Resource Organization (NRO), on behalf of the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), AFRINIC, APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC, and RIPE NCC offers this submission to the “NETmundial”, addressing each of the two submission topics: “Internet Governance Principles”, and “Roadmap for the Further Evolution of the Internet Governance Ecosystem”.
Section 1. Internet Governance Principles
· The “working definition” of Internet Governance, established by the Working Group on Internet Governance, is now well accepted and should remain in place for the purposes of the NETmundial meeting, and for the future. We believe that there is no need to revise this definition.
“We support the existing definition of Internet Governance”
· The subject of Internet Governance is the Internet as we know it and its core values, including a set of essential evolutionary and identifiable, technical, operational and organizational features which have been critical to its success.
“The subject of Internet Governance discussions is the Internet as we know it and its core values”
· Among these features is the “multistakeholder model” of governance and cooperation, which was also identified during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process. While not named as such, this model has been in operation since the earliest days of the Internet, in various forms and instances. These include open and consensus-based processes for standards and policy development, cooperative operational forums active at various levels of infrastructure and service, and widespread distribution of functions among diverse and autonomous cooperating organizations.
“The multistakeholder model has been and continues to be fundamental to the success of the Internet”
· General principles of Internet Governance have been discussed many times and can be approached in various ways. A group of Internet technical community organizations and individuals have agreed on a set of observations and recommendations, known as “Internet Governance Observations and Recommendations from Members of the Internet Technical Community"that were submitted to NETmundial. In referring to this document, we stress the importance of a sustainable and effective bridge between Internet technical coordination and public policy processes.
· An expert panel which examined “ICANN’s Role in the Internet Governance Ecosystem” has also produced a valuable report which articulated “5 Rs” – the principles of Reciprocity, Respect, Robustness, Reasonableness and Reality – which have been applied in a variety of Internet Governance processes such as those facilitated by the RIRs, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and others. We support this formulation, but also agree with the Panel that we do not seek a “single constitutional moment” for Internet Governance.
“There is no one set of Internet Governance principles; however we highlight the report of the ICANN Strategy Panel on ‘ICANN´s Role in Internet Governance Ecosystem’, and the NETmundial submission by members of the technical community”.
· Importantly, as identified by the WSIS process, Internet Governance must be advanced through suitable processes that respect and enhance the multistakeholder model. Such processes already exist for certain governance issues in various communities and jurisdictions. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was established as the foremost open and inclusive, non-decision-making global forum in which Internet Governance matters can be discussed and advanced. The IGF has become the central element of the global Internet Governance environment, even while it matures to better meet evolving challenges.
“The Internet Governance Forum should remain a central element of the global Internet Governance environment”
· The NETmundial is understood to be a one-time event, that should address questions of how Internet Governance issues are handled (whether individually or in aggregates), the applicability and quality of multistakeholder governance activities, and the evolution of the governance model. How Internet Governance is conducted is itself an Internet Governance issue, and as such, fits clearly within the mandate of the IGF. To create a competing forum would only cause confusion and fragmentation in a set of processes that should operate with maximum accessibility, inclusion and convergence.
“NETmundial and any other initiatives should be coordinated and complementary to the IGF.”
Section 2. Roadmap for the Further Evolution of the Internet Governance Ecosystem
We make the following recommendations for the future of Internet Governance. Our recommendations are not exhaustive, but are essential to successful Internet Governance in the future.
First, on the question of ICANN and the associated IANA activities we would assert that governance of these functions must be undertaken consistently with accepted principles of Internet Governance, as outlined in the 2013 Montevideo Statement. That statement called for accelerating the globalization of ICANN and the IANA functions towards an environment where all stakeholders, including all governments, participate on an equal footing. Aside from these broad principles, the details of any transition and any new arrangements should not be a primary focus for NETmundial.
Secondly, we would like to make the following recommendations on the Internet Governance Forum (IGF):
1. Internet Governance will remain important to the global community for as long as the Internet continues to grow and evolve. Therefore we propose a renewal of current IGF arrangements for a further 10 years after the current 5-year cycle. A longer-term renewal of the IGF mandate should not preclude an evolutionary transition of the IGF to a more sustainable model. This will promote a clearer understanding of its importance, legitimacy and longevity.
2. The IGF must continue as a “non-binding” forum, and produce useful outputs, through appropriate participatory and consensus-based decision-making processes. These may take the form of reports from IGF meetings and processes, informational papers resulting from emerging working groups, and non-binding recommendations based on case studies and emergent best practices.
3. The IGF needs to evolve and be strengthened. Some evolutionary changes may gain impetus from external processes, such as NETmundial. They must be subject to review through the IGF process itself to ensure that multistakeholder legitimacy is continually maintained and enhanced.
4. The IGF’s Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) has played an important role in the IGF. It is essential that the MAG receive strong support from the IGF Secretariat. Some MAG processes could also improve, including transparency and predictability of selection of members.
5. Further improvement of the IGF requires a strong, stable Secretariat, with the human and financial resources to effectively meet a range of administrative tasks, including IGF site selection, negotiation with hosts, design of the event, funding and fundraising, reporting, planning and resourcing.
6. The IGF has benefited greatly from intersessional activities, including national and regional IGF events. These IGF-related events have proven to very beneficial in increasing the reach and impact of the overall IGF process. There is a need for ongoing support to inter-link them with an overall IGF process in a way that increases their value for all participants.
7. In addition and complimentary to these IGF events, ongoing multi-stakeholder discussions are occurring online in a number of forums. These discussions have tended to be specific to stakeholder communities rather than encompassing all stakeholders. We recommend that “/1net” be recognized as one encompassing multistakeholder forum for holding intersessional IGF related discussions in an open and constructive manner and for building consensus to be channeled through IGF.