The First Meeting of the IGF Advisory Group to the Secretary-General of the UN

The first meeting of the IGF Advisory Group took place in Geneva, May 22-23.
If you have to go to Geneva – try to book at the Manotel hotels. Any of them will do the job, but the closes to the train station is the Auteuil. Great hotels, and pretty good prices (for Geneva). Breakfast is quite good and healthy, and the tramway is just in front of the hotel. Hint: when bookind a room, it’s better to take the odd room numbers – the even face the railroads. It’s not noisy (it’s Geneva, after all!), but still.

Anyway, going back to the meeting…

The Advisory Group (AG) met at the ILO building. If you have to go there, it’s tricky to find the route – by car you go through one entrance, by foot – through another.

The meeting was well populated – somewhat 55 people, who discussed what is to happen in Athens.

There will be four main topics: Access, Diversity, Openness, and Security.

To review more details, go to the web site.

My impression:
– heavy presense of the USA – both in interests and in people. Unlike the WSIS, where Americans would show up from time to time, the IGF AG meeting was quite influenced by them.
– civil society representatives were quite active on pushing the issues about ICANN on the Athens agenda.

Some of the most spectacular people to watch – Mike Gallagher (former Asst.Secretary of Commerce), Heather Shaw of the USCIB, George Sadowsky, Matthew Shears, Jeanette Hofmann, Adam Peake, Bob Shaw, to name a few. In fact everyone of the people who spoke, was contributing quite well.

What really surprised me was the fact that the European Union was somewhat quiet, compared to the USA interventions. During the WSIS, and esp. during the WSIS PrepComs, the EU was much more active. May be this will change in the meantime, or may be they are working behind the scenes. It is important also to note that in the public consulations on May 19th, the EU put a stress on the enhanced cooperation process (what it is – see the Tunis Agneda documents of the WSIS). You can find their opinion on the official site, the scripts fromthe meeting on May 19.
What should we expect from Athens? A strong discussion on important issues. Lots of participants. Lots of e-mails.

In the meantime, I also expect that the enhnaced cooperation process will be moved forward.
(more – later)

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