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What Is "1net" to Me

Paul Wilson

APNIC is a signatory to the Montevideo Statement, a declaration from members of the Internet technical community about the current state of Internet technical coordination, cooperation and governance. The statement conveys in particular an agreement on "the need for ongoing effort to address Internet Governance challenges", and a commitment to "catalyze community-wide efforts towards the evolution of global multi-stakeholder Internet cooperation".

Last week during ICANN 48 in Buenos Aires, there were numerous discussions about the Montevideo Statement: about the Internet cooperation clause and its relation with the Internet Governance Forum; about the global meeting which will take place in Brazil in April 2014, and yet another new issue, the "1net” initiative.

It is of course fundamental that the Internet should continue to be driven from the bottom up, by all sectors of our multistakeholder community. But after these recent initiatives, and the high level of interest shown by the community, it seems useful to offer some personal perspectives, to explain how I at least (as head of APNIC), understand both their individual intent, and how they are related to one another.

Montevideo Statement

This statement was released in October 2013 after a meeting convened by the Internet Society to discuss current Internet technical issues. Participants included chairs and executives of ISOC, ICANN, IAB, IETF, W3C and the 5 RIRs (of which APNIC is one), a group which has been referred to loosely as "I*" (though this is not a name that any of us particularly likes).

This latest I* meeting was unusual in that for the first time, the participants agreed on the need for a public statement about a number of specific issues. Several factors prompted this action, among them the various recent revelations of Internet surveillance, and the more recent call in a speech to the UN by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff calling for increased multilateral (as opposed to Multistakeholder), oversight of Internet matters.

The Brazil Meeting

After the Montevideo meeting, it was known that Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO of ICANN, was going on to Brasilia to meet with the Communications Minister. It was during those meetings that the idea then emerged for a new international Internet conference to be held in Brazil in 2014, an event now known as the "Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance".

The Brazil meeting was big news: suddenly, both the Montevideo Statement and the proposed meeting were being discussed widely, but they were also conflated and perceived as part of a single plan, whereas in fact they were conceived quite independently

IGF 2013

The Internet Governance Forum in Bali followed soon after these events and it became a focal point for further discussions. Efforts were made by members of the I* group to explain the Montevideo Statement, and its relationship with the still-unformed Brazil meeting. It seemed an opportunity to build support for a broad coalition or movement, just as we had resolved in Montevideo: "to catalyze community-wide efforts towards the evolution of global multistakeholder Internet cooperation".

During this time, ICANN proposed the name of "1net" as a banner of sorts, under which this movement could be formed.

The discussions in Bali were not conclusive. For a variety of reasons, they left many in the community confused about the many issues which had been discussed, unsure of their implications and of the intent behind them. However, there was consensus at least to continue discussions, to allow unanswered questions to be addressed and develop a vision and scope for the initiative, however it was to emerge. As a practical contribution, the NRO established a mailing list called i-coordination, where discussions could continue in the free and open fashion which was expected.

ICANN 48

During the opening of ICANN 48, Fadi announced that www.1net.org had been established as a platform for the "coalition/movement" which had been discussed during IGF. In response to questions and concerns, he also announced a special 7am session, at which the topic could be openly discussed.

I spoke during that session, and encouraged those with questions to also propose the answers that they hoped to hear; to contribute constructively to the creation of 1net. For many in the ICANN audience, the key issues were already being addressed within that forum; leading them to question the need for another. The point is, however, that ICANN is only a small subset of a much wider Internet community, for whom there are many outstanding issues that are well outside the scope of ICANN.

During the week in Buenos Aires, various other initiatives and developments were announced, including latest news on the CEO's "strategy panels”, and on the new "Panel on the Future of Global Internet Cooperation”, independent from ICANN, which will release a report in early 2014, presumably in time for the Brazil meeting.

What does it all mean for our Community?

I firmly believe that these various recent events do represent significant developments and opportunities in the short history of Internet Governance. My hope is that they also represent, or will lead to, an ongoing convergence of opinion on a number of important points:

  • The IGF should be strengthened as the recognized global forum in which Internet Governance issues can be addressed among a truly multistakeholder community; it must continue for the foreseeable future but also keep evolving to meet current and emerging needs;
  • The Brazil meeting provides a one-off high-profile opportunity to consolidate support for the multi-stakeholder process; it may or may not produce inputs or recommendations, but it should at least provide new impetus and reinforcement, to the IGF;
  • ICANN's new Strategy Panels, along with the independent panel on the Future Internet Cooperation, may provide important contributions to the debate, but should not represent any change to ICANN's scope, mandate or authority in Internet Governance matters;
  • The 1net initiative should encompass the widest possible stakeholder community, like the IGF itself, but without being duplicative of the IGF in any respect. If successful, it should function in some way as an "inter-sessional" IGF process.

So what next for 1net?

How 1net evolves from here should be determined entirely by the wider Internet community. I believe it is a timely initiative, which does embody the I*'s commitment to "community-wide efforts towards the evolution of global multi-stakeholder Internet cooperation". I believe it can be consistent with the IGF, and I hope it can also provide a channel for multi-stakeholder community into the Brazil meeting, in whatever form that emerges.

If all of these things can be achieved, and if the Montevideo Statement has served in any way as a catalyst to that end, then I believe it was a very worthwhile exercise.

For more information on 1net and how to participate, please visit www.1net.org.

By Paul Wilson, Director General of APNIC

Related topics: ICANN, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation, Regional Registries

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Comments

This is helpful Avri Doria  –  Nov 29, 2013 9:54 AM PDT

If only it had been introduced this way on Thursday morning in BA.

I find myself very comfortable with this vision.

One additional thing I hope develops is a space where we can recognize the interconnectedness of technology and policy. What we are still lacking is a place where the languages of both technology and of policy can be spoken without alienating most of the participants. Hopefully in this new effort we can find a way to discuss the tussle that is involved in techno-political discussions of Internet governance

Why do we need 1net to provide Jeremy Malcolm  –  Nov 29, 2013 8:39 PM PDT

Why do we need 1net to provide a kind of inter-sessional IGF process?  Why shouldn't the IGF be a kind of inter-sessional IGF process?

That question could be restated, in the terms of a popular fable Suresh Ramasubramanian  –  Dec 02, 2013 1:33 AM PDT

If the hare had not stopped to take a nap, it would have overtaken the tortoise.

But it didn't, so the question is moot.

And in this case it was the Jeremy Malcolm  –  Dec 02, 2013 1:36 AM PDT

And in this case it was the tortoise who laid the hare's bed and fluffed his pillows.

Civil society managed to shoot itself in the foot Suresh Ramasubramanian  –  Dec 02, 2013 2:21 AM PDT

And it has itself to blame here.  At least, it has some elements of itself to blame, which should never have been allowed to represent or speak for civil society at large, but publicly repudiated from the beginning.  Pity.

Dear Paul,Excellent article.One clarification.It's right that President Hartmut Glaser  –  Nov 30, 2013 4:44 AM PDT

Dear Paul,

Excellent article.

One clarification.

It's right that President Dilma at the UN speech mentioned multilateral (as opposed to Multistakeholder), but in all interviews she explained that internet governance must include governments, private sector, and civil society, and must be open democratic and with participation of all stakeholders.

regards

Prof.
Hartmut Glaser
Executive Secretary
Brazilian Internet Steering Committee

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