Tuesday, December 31, 2013

/1Net: What works for me

Paul Wilson of APNIC was the first to take his time to do a blog post on /1Net. He did try to clear what was a kind of spider web in the minds of many. In the few weeks between that post and the end of the year 2013:

  • The call for nominations to /1Net Steering Committee has been taken up by all stakeholder groups and discussions are being fed back into the 1Net main discussion channel
  • The /1Net site has been redesigned to be IPv6 Compliant
  • The original “Coordination” list has gone from closed to open and its name has evolved from coordination to “Discuss.
  • Even in the midst of the different holidays that accompany the last days of every year, discussions are still heavily ongoing in the 1Net discuss list and if any signs, they are certainly going to get more intense when folks “get back from the beach”.

From the onset, I had set myself on “reserve” on the /1Net list, for reasons best known to me. However, I have read almost all the email exchanges, perhaps, except those that are on the IPv6 thread.  After the 1000 or so emails, here is what is rocking for me about /1Net at the moment:

First and foremost, the singular opportunity to have most stakeholders on one platform. In my 11 years of WSIS prepcoms, WSIS 1, WSIS 2, IGFs, ICANN and IG-related engagements, this is the ONLY time I have had one platform where I get an insight to the workings of the IG Business Community.

The second thing is the apparent “ease” with which the Civil Society transcended the nomination process of members to the 1Net steering committee. In so many years, I have come to believe that Civil Society is that stakeholder group that achieves the least consensus among itself. As a Civil Society actor, I have come to accept this “fallacy”, hook, line and sinker. /1Net has given me the opportunity to do a turn-around on that. This time around, the CS organized itself within the deadline, in a more or less efficient manner, whereas other stakeholder groups were needing more time to get things sorted.

The other great thing about /1Net for me is the quality of the issues raised. Most importantly, on transparency of representational networks. I have seen the likes of  BASIS, GIGANET, Best Bits, Diplo and IGC questioned from all angles. To varying levels questions have received their answers, at least, for those who are seeking information, collaboration and progress.

I have also seen pro-active engagement in circles that have not had the Internet Governance question as a centre-point of activity. This is the case of the Community Informatics network and the AFREN group. Individuals have been pivotal in piloting these initiatives and I’m really happy to see such engagement from the research and academia stakeholder group, a group, which I believe, have not had enough  platform allowance to bring its issues to the fore in the IG journey. 

Then there is the Africa representation question. Again? Yes, again! The debate is back. Are folks from Africa participating enough? Are they being represented? Do they volunteer for tasks?  Do they feel/think ably represented by anyone from the “Global South”?  After these initial talks, will Africans take  the issues “home” and take them up from there?  I’m keeping my eyes open.

/1Net’s positioning of itself in Brazil 2014 has been fast and furious. In only 2 months, the “Network” or "Coalition"  has set itself as a major partner in the Brazil International Conference on Global Internet Governance …. And beyond that, even future IG framework. Impressive! It is a space that needs to be watched..

As some still “observe” how things roll out with /1Net, I can only look forward to what 2014 will be from the /1Net lenses. But between now and then… some things already have happened for me..
Happy New Year!
Are the Acronyms and abbreviations  confusing?
1Net is the global coalition on the Internet. 1Net.org has info. APNIC is the Asia-Pacific Network Information Center. IPv6 is Internet Protocol Version 6. WSIS is the World Summit on the Information Society. PrepCom is Preparatory Committee (of the WSIS).  IGF is the Internet Governance Forum. www.intgovforum.org  has all the info. ICANN is the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.  IG is Internet Governance. BASIS is the Business Action to Support the Information Society. GiGANET is the Global Internet Governance Academic Network. Best Bits is a platform for Civil Society actions around Internet issues. www.bestbits.net has info. Diplo is the short form of The Diplo Foundation. www.diplomacy.edu has info. IGC is the Internet Governance Caucus of some civil society and other organisations. AFREN is the Africa Regional Education Network