Saturday, February 19, 2005

On the Closed Meeting of the WGIG

Vittorio Bertola reports:

so, this is the report about the two-days closed meeting of the wgig in which the group, after holding its public consultations, come to conclusion on its interim report, and on how to proceed with its work.

of course, i cannot tell you yet what's in the report, but i can tell you not to expect anything special: most of the report is just a factual summary of what we did in the last couple of months. we tried to come to closure on a possible definition of internet governance, but there was really not enough time for such a task, so we scrapped it out of the report and will address the problem in the future.

we finally decided that we will hold the next round of meetings on april 18-20, and the last round on june 14-17. both will (likely) be in geneva, and in both cases the first day will be devoted to open consultation.

the first of the two days was almost entirely devoted to a frank and lively discussion on icann and all the related problems. even if it made a couple of wgig members extremely nervous, i think that this discussion was quite useful to advance reciprocal understanding. we also talked at length about what does "transparent and accountable" mean, and i've proposed to the group to write down a set of general guidelines to be included in the final report, to turn words into practical action.

the second day was mostly devoted to the discussion of the interim report - and even if it's just a few pages, it took a lot of time to get everyone happy (and, as i told, there was not enough time to finalize the definition).

the last part of the day - after a brief chat about spam - was devoted to plans for future work. it was more or less agreed that we would group the issues into a limited number of clusters. that's basically all, and all the rest will have to be discussed online.

however, we members from civil society were quite disappointed when we heard the chair stress that the online work has just a preparatory value, but nothing can be actually decided out of physical meetings; in this backed by a european governmental person that more or less said that he has more important commitments in his job than reading emails.

i won't comment again on how weird it is for someone to be a member of a group which should decide over the future of the internet, and yet not use it regularly; i'll just say that at the end of the meeting, when we all posed for the mandatory group photo, one member shouted out loud "smile, this could be the photo of the first government of the internet"; and inside many of us a whole set of red lights started to flash.

anyway, my feeling is that, given the necessarily slow pace that a group of forty individuals has in a physical meeting, not using the mailing list for any substantial work would mostly equate to a significant reduction in any chance of producing results.
still, of course it is not in our plans to get out of this group without a minimal number of results that we have on our agenda... i'd rather sleep in the meeting room.


At 3:28 AM, Blogger Gen Kanai said...

"i won't comment again on how weird it is for someone to be a member of a group which should decide over the future of the internet, and yet not use it regularly; "

That is VERY, VERY disturbing.

Imagine having someone who doesn't drive making rules of the road. How did we get to this strange place?


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