Should the IGF+ be supported by a Multi-Stakeholder High Level Body (MHLB)?
In the course of the Consultation on paragraph 93(a) of the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation European stakeholder discussed during a EuroDIG Extra the need and function of a Multi-Stakeholder High Level Body (MHLB) and its relationship to the Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG). The aim is to come up with a shared view and make a contribution to the questioner that was prepared by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Secretariat, in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology.
Please comment on the summary of EuroDIG Extra until 8th March:
On the function of the Multi-Stakeholder High Level Body (MHLB)
- There was broad agreement among the EuroDIG Extra participants in support of the rationale for creating the MHLB to undertake specific functions as outlined in Paragraph 93a of the UNSGs Roadmap, in particular coordinating follow-up actions and relaying proposed policy approaches and recommendations to decision-making fora.
- None of the MHLB’s activities should draw attention away from the IGF or undermine its bottom-up, multistakeholder nature.
- By creating a table at the IGF for decision-makers from all stakeholder groups to have high-level discussions, the MHLB would serve to bridge the gap between discussions and decisions.
- There were tentative expressions of support, subject to further clarifying discussion, for the MHLB to address specific “urgent issues” as stated in Paragraph 93 A. This should be undertaken in full consultation and coordination with the MAG.
- There was support for the MHLB providing strategic inputs with the aim of helping to shape the IGF programme and long-term strategy. Participants emphasised, however, that the MAG should continue to have full authority and responsibility for the IGF’s programme development.
On its relationship to the Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG)
- There was general agreement on the need for the MHLB to have a strong linkage with the MAG rather than being a separate body.
- Differing views were expressed on how this linkage should be achieved, either as a single combined body (the smaller MHLB being part of the MAG), or by creating a layered governance structure with the MHLB supporting the MAG. There were several expressions of support for one or more of the three options developed by the MAG Working Group on Strengthening and Strategy, as providing the basis for a final decision.
- Participants agreed that it would be essential to ensure multi-stakeholder accountability and transparency for the MHLB’s membership nomination.