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E-participation Principles
DiploFoundation is organizing WS 67, which can be seen at:
Some of the description is below: please take a look, and let us know what your questions or concerns might be. Then join us in person or online. Remote participation and input will be particularly important for this workshop, so we are counting on you!
The workshop will consist of a roundtable discussion, in order to ensure maximum interaction among participants. The issues will be framed as questions, in order to foster a more focused debate and to reach more concrete outcomes.
Building up on the positive experience of remote participation during IGF meetings, the workshop will explore two main topics:
a) The ways to strengthen online interaction among the members of the IGF community, in order to generate a continuous all-year debate, as proposed during the discussions that took place in CSTD WG on IGF improvement;
b) A strategy to raise awareness and foster the use of online channels for participation in other global meetings, with focus on the inclusion of developing countries in international policy-shaping as an underlying principle.

The workshop will count on speakers from all stakeholder groups, not only because the diversity of views leads to creative and out-of-the-box suggestions, but also because improving e-/remote participation should be seen as a collective responsibility of all the members of the community.

The round table discussion will have two parts, focussing on answering the following questions:
Part 1: Principles and global strategies:
What are the strategies to foster the use of channels for e-/remote participation by developing countries, least developed countries and remote areas?
How can we formulate a strategy to raise awareness and foster the use of online channels for participation in other global meetings, with focus on the inclusion of developing countries in international policy-shaping?
Can a set of principles and good practices be formulated to ensure the effective impact of e-/remote participants on policy-shaping process?

Part 2: Best practices and developing practices:
How can the IGF community make use of online channels of communication more efficiently to remain in contact and make the IGF a process that develops throughout the year? 
How can we carry out at least one of the IGF open consultations entirely online?
How can we foster the participation of remote speakers and speakers from hubs in workshops?

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Replies to This Discussion

If we could do just one thing that would make a difference to our communication problems, to our understanding of the world, to the conflict we live in – what should it be? We could bridge the digital divide – dedicate more tools and resources to facilitate increased participation and inclusion in national, regional and global policy processes. One of the strongest resources we have for bridging that divide is e-participation. E-participation brings people into the processes that govern the world, ensuring that the diversity and complexity of voices are heard. Real problems are addressed and citizens are involved in the ownership of the solutions.

 

Since its inception at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) process has made frequent mention of the digital divide. As the IGF matures, we have learned that the divides are various and go beyond the traditional one of Internet access. One of the divides is between those who can impact Internet policy and those who cannot. Even at the most successful IGFs we do not have more than 2000 participants. What about the remaining billions who will be impacted by Internet policy but have no input into the process? This is where e-participation and its potential fit in. E-participation can be as simple as broadcasting/webcasting (remote observation). However the IGF has made concrete steps towards moving from remote observation to actual remote participation. Workshop, and even main session presentations are now delivered remotely, as are audience interventions in main sessions and workshops. E-participation is used from the beginning of the IGF work year for open consultations by e-mail, mailing lists, and websites, to encourage input into the planning and organisation of the agenda each year. This year, over 35 remote hubs around the world will meet in parallel and connect to the IGF main meeting in Nairobi, in addition to hundreds of individual remote participants.

 

Now that we have tested and proven the basic concept and technical structures of e-participation, it is time to study the principles that should guide this important tool. So Diplo is organizing Workshop 67 to be held on 29 September at 9 a.m. Nairobi, (EAT UTC/GMT +3) where participants and panellists will analyse and propose basic principles for e-participation in global policy processes, as well as noting guidelines for e-participation that emerge during the workshop.

The output of this roundtable will be a draft list of principles for later discussion. These principles will not simply be guidelines, such as: 'all panels should have a remote moderator to interact with remote participants and facilitate their interventions in the sessions', although we expect to hear and note such guidelines as well. Rather, the objective of the workshop is to gather input for principles such as (informal draft possibility) 'E-participation, and specifically remote participation should be offered to ensure inclusion of unheard voices in global policy process meetings.'

 

Your ideas and input are important to this process. If you will not be in Nairobi for the IGF, please try to join us remotely, following the links that will be available at www.intgovforum.org during the IGF, from 27-30 September. You are also invited to post your ideas here for inclusion in the discussion. How can and should e-participation be used to reduce the digital divide? What should be the standard e-participation framework for international policy conferences and policy processes? Your voice is important. Let us know!

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