6.1. Other organisations as models

It will be helpful to make reference back to the models and experiences of some of the other organisations discussed throughout this thesis, which will provide anecdotal evidence of prevailing best practices in Internet governance to corroborate the conclusions drawn from theory. The difficulty with this is that over two hundred organisations have been referenced in this thesis, making it impractical to refer to all or even a significant fraction of them in this concluding chapter.

To narrow the scope of the endeavour, but in a principled rather than an entirely arbitrary way, the following method will be used to highlight a small number of organisations most likely to provide useful lessons for the IGF:

The result of the application of these criteria to the forty shortlisted organisations is found in Appendix A. Before these results can be used to narrow down the shortlist into a final list of organisations most likely to hold lessons for the IGF, the same criteria noted above need to be applied one more: this time, to the IGF itself.

The IGF obviously falls within the Internet governance regime, in the sphere of public policy governance, and acts internationally. Its main operational role is that of capacity building,[4] and its main governance roles are those of policy-setting and coordination,[5] rather than audit,[6] arbitration or regulation. It acts as a governance network, under the oversight of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which also provides its link with the international system. It is multi-stakeholder in composition, with membership being open and free of charge, and held in an individual capacity. Its executive, if the Advisory Group can be described as such, and its Secretariat, are both appointed in a hierarchical fashion by the UN Secretary-General.

It is now possible to begin the final step in the process of narrowing down the shortlist of forty other organisations, by identifying a minimal set of key criteria that such organisations should share with the IGF to establish that they are close enough in role and structure to be meaningfully and usefully compared with it.

Although this is again a somewhat subjective task, enough ground has been covered already to make short work of it. In order to qualify as closely comparable to the IGF, an organisation should exercise the same governance roles (policy-setting and coordination), should be of multi-stakeholder or open composition, should act as a governance network, and its membership should be open. There is no other existing organisation from the shortlist that meets each of these five criteria. However there are eight that meet at least four of the criteria:

Figure 6-1. Organisations comparable to the IGF

Policy-setting

Coordination

Mechanism

Composition

Membership

APNIC

Yes

Yes

Rulesa

Open

Openb

auDA

Yes

Yes

Rulesc

Multi-stakeholder

Open

CGI.br

Yes

Yes

Networks

Multi-stakeholder

Democratic

GAID

No

Yes

Networks

Multi-stakeholder

Open, free

GKP

No

Yes

Networks

Multi-stakeholder

Open

gTLD-MoU

Yes

Yes

Networks

Open

Open, free

ICANN

Yes

Yes

Networks

Multi-stakeholder

Restrictedd

UNICTTF

No

Yes

Networks

Multi-stakeholder

Open, free

Notes:
a. Although its policy processes are consensual, its control over IP addresses is hierarchical.
b. Although not free, membership is not required to participate in its policy development process.
c. The same argument expressed in footnote a. applies to auDA’s control over domain names.
d. Participation in the organisation is only possible indirectly through its ACs and SOs, which define static constituencies and provide varying levels of representation within the larger structure.

Other than sharing similar attributes to the IGF according to the five key criteria, these eight organisations are highly diverse. National, regional and international organisations are all represented. Their executive bodies are constituted through the full range of consensual, consociational, democratic, and oligarchical means. Other than coordination, they do not even perform a common role, although they do fall into two identifiable clusters; those involved in technical coordination (along with policy governance in the case of CGI.br), and those (namely GAID, GKP and UNICTTF) involved in ICT for development.

These “exemplar organisations,” as they will be referred to for convenience, therefore provide a usefully various, but also more comfortably delimited, set of case studies to which reference will periodically be made in the course of analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the IGF in its current form.

Notes

[1]

GAID (the Global Alliance for ICT and Development; see http://www.un-gaid.org/) has not yet been discussed, but will be at Section 6.4.1.1. GAID was formed in April 2006 as the successor to UNICTTF whose mandate had expired at the end of 2005. Its cross-cutting mission is to provide “a platform for an open, inclusive, multi-stakeholder cross-sectoral policy dialogue on the role of information and communication technology in development”: United Nations Office of the Secretary-General, Global Alliance for Information Technologies and Development to be Launched (2006).

[2]

These last five criteria are drawn from the WGIG report: WGIG, Report of the Working Group on Internet Governance (2005), 12.

[3]

Compare Martens’ much simpler categorisation of multi-stakeholder bodies into low, medium or high levels of institutionalisation: Martens, Jens, Multistakeholder Partnerships: Future Models of Multilateralism? (2007), 23.

[4]

WSIS, Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (2005) paras 72(d), (e), (f), (h), and at some remove see para 72(k) which mandates the IGF to “[h]elp to find solutions to issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet.”

[5]

WSIS, Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (2005) paras 72(a), (b), (c), (g) and (j)

[6]

But see WSIS, Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (2005) para 72(i).