INTERNET GOVERNANCE FORUM
Multistakeholder Advisory Group Meeting
Geneva, 27-28 February 2008
The Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) met in Geneva on 27-28 February 2008. The
discussion focused on the following issues:
· The mandate to make proposals on a suitable rotation among its members, based on
recommendations from the various interested groups;
· Measures to increase the transparency of its proceedings;
· Preparation of the Hyderabad meeting.
With regard to the process of rotation and renewal of the MAG membership, it was generally
felt that some form of rotation was necessary to increase the transparency and legitimacy of the MAG.
The need for transparency of both the way the MAG worked and the way in which it was selected was
seen as one of the main messages from the open consultations held on 26 February.
The group discussed a wide range of options for the renewal of the MAG, ranging from a full
reconstitution of the group to a gradual process of replacing members who resigned for professional
and other reasons. Proposals to replace members through a random process alone or through a
selection based on merit alone were found not to be adequate. The approach that found the most
favour was termed the 'black box method'. This method involved the MAG deriving some principles
and criteria, as elaborated in paras 9 11 below, that will be sent to the Secretary-General of the
United Nations with a list of candidate names. Rotating up to 1/3 of the members within each
stakeholder group each year was seen as the appropriate way forward.
The point was made that there was need for simplicity. A complicated long-term process was
not required, as the IGF was midway through its five year mandate. A more elaborate process could
be developed later, should the mandate be extended after the review process. Simplicity was also
important, so as not to disrupt a seamless transition to the new MAG. The group stressed the
importance of timely decisions to ensure continuity in the preparatory process of the Hyderabad
In terms of the composition of the group itself, the size - approximately 40 - was generally
found to be acceptable. While there was agreement on the importance of finding an appropriate
balance in terms of geography, stakeholder representation and gender, there were different views
whether the present composition reflected such a balance. Determining the proper balance between
the stakeholders groups was described as a challenge, complicated by the fact that many members
had extensive linkages to different stakeholder groups. These linkages were generally found to be
beneficial for the group's work.
While not perfect, the balance of the current MAG was felt to be reasonable. However, it was
generally agreed that there was room for improvement with regard to the gender balance as well as
representation of developing countries. Different views were held on the degree of over or under
representation of the different stakeholder groups.
However, the group was informed that the current balance in the MAG, of 50% of its members
proposed by governments and 50% by other stakeholder groups, would be maintained. As
governments had their own selection mechanisms through their regional groupings, they would be
asked to forward their proposals to the Secretariat.
Various methods were discussed for ways in which to provide a shortlist of appropriate
candidates for final selection by the Secretary-General. These ranged from an open call to the
creation of a small multi-stakeholder committee to work with the Secretariat in developing a list of
candidates. As in the past, there could be a variety of ways in which names would be gathered by the
Secretariat, taking into account the endorsements of various stakeholder groups. Some held the view
that it would be useful if candidates would include statements indicating their reasons for wanting to
It was understood that any decision on how to proceed would be left to the Secretary-General
and that any list of candidates would include the current MAG members who wished to continue. One
of the criteria passed on to the Secretary-General would be the need for continuity and the request
that approximately 2/3 of the members of the current group be carried over into the new group.
With regard to the MAG's operating principles and selection criteria, the group reaffirmed that
members served in their individual capacity. They emphasized that the work of the MAG was collegial
and based on consensus and there was a need for procedural flexibility. The anonymity and non-
attribution of the discussions was recognized as a crucial principle of the MAG's work. In concrete
terms, this principle, known as the Chatham House Rule, allows participants to use the information
received, but neither to reveal the identity nor the affiliation of the speakers. Members should possess
relevant knowledge and willingness to reach out and ensure continuous flow of information to and
from interested groups. There was agreement that active and constructive participation of all
members was required. Members were expected to take part in three meetings in Geneva, as well as
in the annual IGF meeting and participate in online preparatory work. Ways of financing attendance of
developing country members are being explored. All meetings also provide tools for remote members'
Membership in the MAG should respect regional balance. As regards to country
representation, the engagement of the respective country in the MAG and IGF should be taken into
account. In order to ensure continuity, the host country representation should be reflected in the
country representation (all previous, current and future host countries).
In terms of transparency in its working methods, the group discussed several suggestions for
opening its meetings to a small number of observers as part of its process to increase transparency
and to contribute to a better interaction between the MAG and the broader community. However, the
support was qualified with a concern for the discipline and dynamics of the MAG. While some
members were in favour of admitting observers throughout the MAG meetings, others argued in
favour of holding one session open to observers. One proposal was to hold open consultations in the
morning and a MAG meeting in the afternoon over a two-day period. The view was also held that the
admission of observers could lead to an imbalance in terms of geographical and stakeholder balance,
as it would favour Geneva-based participants.
The need to maintain the anonymity and non-attribution of the discussions was recognized as
a crucial ingredient of the MAG's work. Any opening of the discussions should maintain these
principles. One solution could be to open the meeting to a limited number of invited observers,
including the regional coordinators.
The important contribution of representatives of Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) was
generally recognized and the view was held that the current practice should be continued, allowing
them to take part in the discussions as equals. IGOs are not subject to rotation.
The MAG also discussed ways to enhance transparency of its discussions, both in meetings
and online. It was generally agreed that a short summary report of the meetings was appropriate and
that the public posting of the anonymized email threads be continued.
The Indian member presented the conference facilities for the Hyderabad meeting, to be held
on 3-6 December 2008. The group welcomed the excellent arrangements.
The group discussed the outline for the Hyderabad meeting programme and looked at two
alternative draft proposals as a starting point for the planning of the meeting. Both drafts are attached
to this summary report. They are to be seen as work in progress and they will be merged into a single
proposal, taking into account comments by MAG members in their online work and also comments
received from all interested stakeholders and sent to the IGF Secretariat at [email protected]
The final programme will be defined in light of the proposals made for holding workshops and
best practice forums. In order to speed up planning all interested stakeholders are invited to submit
proposals by 30 April. Preference will be given to organizers who submitted a report of events they
staged in Rio de Janeiro.
Draft Programme Outline
General programming principles:
· Two days with general themes and main sessions focused on specific issues and not
· Some workshops could be held on themes defined by the MAG (main workshops), but
organized by others who respond to a call for proposals.
· Main workshops, which are linked to the main sessions and workshops on the four
Athens themes, are not to be held in parallel to main sessions.
· Other workshops may be held in parallel to the main sessions, depending on the
quantity and quality of the proposals.
· All organizers of events (workshops, best practices etc) will be asked to commit
themselves to submit a report on their event. Non-submission of a report will disqualify
the organizer for the following year.
· Preference will be given in 2008 to those who did submit a report for 2007.
(Submission of reports is still possible and encouraged.)
· No official meetings starting after 1800 hours.
· No official meetings during the lunch-break between 1300-1400 hours.
· Further efforts will be made to enable remote participation
· Efforts will be made to publish the proceedings of the meeting also in other formats.
Curtain raiser, tutorials, workshops
Opening ceremony/Opening session
Universalization of the Internet - How to reach the next billion
(alternate title: Expanding the Internet)
1100 - 1300: Low cost sustainable access
1400 - 1600: Multilingualization
1630 - 1830: Implications for development policy
Host Country Reception
Managing the Internet
(alternate title: Using the Internet)
1100 1300: Critical Internet resources
1400 1600: Arrangements for Internet governance
1630 1830: Global cooperation for Internet security and stability
0900 1100: Taking stock and the way forward
1130 1300: Debate
1400 1600: Emerging issues
1630 1800: Closing Ceremony
Notes from the discussion:
The discussion on the two schedules and on possible topics took on the character of a brain
storming session that would provide a starting point for discussion in the MAG and the wider
Some of the points that were brought out include:
· The planning for 2008 should take into account the Chairman's Summary of the Rio
meeting and look at the lessons learned and issues raised in the previous meetings.
· Possible focused topics for "Low cost sustainable access" could include the role of
entrepreneurship in providing low cost sustainable access with a special focus on
entrepreneurship and India's success.
· The scope of "Managing the Internet" topic could focus on international, national or
local management of the Internet or the relationship among the three levels.
· Possible focused topics for "Critical Internet resources" include:
· Enabling growth and innovation
· Capacity building
· The role of public private partnership in managing the Internet
· Transition from IPv4 to IPv6
· Governance issues in promoting the adoption of IPv6
· Topics beyond IP addressing
· Possible Debate topics:
· IPR and innovation for development
· Privacy and protection of children
· Relationship between security and privacy
· The "Taking Stock and the Way Forward" session could include an evaluation of the
IGF in regard to its mandate
· Other comments:
· Freedom of Expression should have a dedicated session, though there was a
question whether the IGF was the appropriate forum to discuss this issue.
· Should the topic on innovations be discussed under
· Emerging Issues
· Universalization of the Internet.