I delivered the following statement on behalf of CONGO to the open consultation on the Global Alliance for ICT Policy and Development today (21 February 2005).
Comment from Rik Panganiban, on behalf of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations
on the proposed “Global Alliance for ICT Policy and Development”
21 February 2005
The Conference of NGOs has over 50 years of experience as a bridge between civil society and the United Nations. We are a diverse network of over 500 member organizations from around the world, many of whom represent international and national networks in their own right. We welcome this initial consultation on the idea of a “Global Alliance for ICT Policy and Development,” and lend our support with what limited resources we have for as deep and wide a consultative process as possible.
I should note that it is the nature of institutions to seek to perpetuate themselves, even long after their initial mandate has run-out. Thus we welcome the open and creative approach taken by the UN ICT Task Force to see that the important issues of ICT policy development continue to move forward, while not simply extending the mandate of the body that has done so much to keep them on the forefront of global policy agenda.
On the question of the mission of the Global Alliance, let me suggest a two-stage orientation. On one level, the mission of the Alliance could be to create a stable platform for the existing actors in government, the private sector and civil society who are already deeply involved in ICT policy making to interact and collaborate on an ongoing basis. This would serve the important objectives of policy coherence and resource sharing.
On another level, the mission of the Alliance could be to to bring into the process those stakeholders not already involved in the policy making process whose views are nonetheless critical for the formation of effective and widely-supported ICT policy. I refer in particular to those in Global South, marginalized communities, those on the other side of the Digital Divide. Both of these missions are important, and the Global Alliance should get us closer to achieving them together.
On the modus operandi of the Global Alliance, I would like to see as rich and creative a discussion as possible take place over the next months on the structure and operations of the Alliance. In particular, the various multi-stakeholder experiments from other UN processes (from the “Major Groups” approach of the UN Commission Sustainable Development to multi-stakeholder consultations of the Financing for Development process) should be examined and tested for the best “fit” with the ICT policy-making arena. Beyond the United Nations, the most innovative practices in collaborative policy making from around the world should be collected and considered.
While the comments I make over the next few minutes are in line with the overall mission and experience of CONGO, these ideas and proposals are my own and not intended to represent any official position of the organization or its members.