Ensuring Representative Multistakeholder Governance

When considering the importance of ensuring that a diverse range of people have opportunities to make their voices heard at global levels, it is vital to encourage this sort of multistakeholder participation to start at local levels. At their genesis, multistakeholder groups need accurately represent all invested parties so that they can carry their wants and needs to higher levels.

The inclusion of a wide variety of people at local levels makes state, national and global governance more nuanced and more tailored to people’s needs. This inclusion can also help answer complex and varied development issues that have been unsolvable in the past. Without local knowledge and understanding, policymakers and government officials are quite literally flying blind when it comes to implementing the “best” strategies.

A vital part of ensuring multistakeholder participation at all levels is dialogue and communication. Although these may seem like easy assurances at first, fair and equal conversation can be extremely difficult to facilitate between different people and groups. ICTs and translating services may aid in developing these constructive conversations.

Looking to incorporating local views into an international context, a consensus must be made on what development plan or project would most benefit the greatest amount of people. This is a messy process where it is true that not everyone will be pleased with the outcome, but no one should be harmed by it. There should also be various feedback mechanisms in place that allow policymakers to identify the successful and unsuccessful parts of governance and implementation.

https://www.undp.org/content/dam/aplaws/publication/en/publications/capacity-development/drivers-of-change/accountability/multi-stakeholder-engagement-processes/Engagement-Processes-cp7.pdf

Using the ICTs for Inclusive Education

Although our class discussed inclusive education a while back, our recent talks on Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) are relevant in furthering educational opportunities. We learned that disability inclusive education is ensuring that all students, children, adults, and others have the available tools to be able to pursue their goals as equally as any other. It is a notion that has been received positively, yet not always implemented well. The article Educational Opportunities for Students with Disabilities by F.S. Haq highlights this point. When comparing trainee teachers’ attitudes to certain disabilities and students with higher support needs, Haq found generally positive attitudes toward including children with special needs in the general classroom, especially if the teachers have the appropriate sensitization and awareness exposure in training for this special and inclusive education (Haq and Lawrence). However, in the article’s survey, participants also supported inclusion but were not in favor of accommodating students with multiple disabilities and challenging behaviors (Haq and Lawrence). Positive attitudes are certainly a key component to inclusive education, but there needs to be action. Every person has a fundamental right to educational opportunities. I agree with Haq that special education courses should thus be incorporated into teacher training programs. Teachers should be able to accommodate for every student’s style of learning. It may be apprehensive and a lot to approach, but it must be done. Continue reading

Evolution of a Digital Society

This past week expanded upon the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) that our class touched upon a couple weeks ago. To recap, the IGF brings people together “from various stakeholder groups as equals to discuss public policy issues relating to the Internet” (Internet Governance Forum). It may not necessarily produce solutions, but it is an opportunity for different perspectives to give their insight and understand how to “maximize internet opportunities and address risks and challenges that arise” Internet Governance Forum). Continue reading

Intersectionality and Inclusivity

           Intersectionality is the concept that we belong to more than one group and these groups shape the way we interact with the world and each other. These intersections occur based on our gender, sexual orientation, race, age, educational background, physical abilities and countless other experiences and traits that make us unique. Within international development, intersectionality is a new buzzword that aims to challenge the traditional approach to key issues in development. A traditional approach tends to provide a blanket solution for an issue, without considering the intersection of identities. However, intersectionality stresses that there is no one way for development to occur because everyone needs something different depending on their intersectionality. This possesses a challenge for development. How are we supposed to help everyone when everyone is different and has different needs? Continue reading

The MDGs as a Tool for International Betterment

The United Nations has had several successes and failures since its development in 1945. As a whole, the United Nations still has a major international presence and sets the tone for the issues the global community must focus on. However, sometimes it seems the politics of the United Nations makes it its own enemy. Nevertheless, the United Nations exists to make the world a better place and it seems to be keeping that promise. Continue reading

Making Cities Resilient & Inclusive

With the impending climate crisis, the planet has already seen an increase in destructive natural disasters. From wildfires in California to severe flooding in Bangladesh, this is just the beginning of what could arise from climate change. While the main concern should be to tackle climate change at its core i.e., greenhouse gas emission, there is no harm in establishing disaster risk plans for when they are necessary. Continue reading

“It’s a Digital Policy Jungle Out There”

The complexity of global internet governance can not be understated; new issues and challenges arise every year. Consequently, this year is the fourteenth meeting of the UN Internet Governance Forum, in which the vision is “One World. One Net. One Vision.” The Forum, along with copious other discussion points, is a way to bring together the rights of individuals both offline and online. How does the evolution of technology impact the capacity for governing the internet? And what challenges have arisen for the future of the internet, and its regulation and related institutional mechanisms? 

We have all seen the drastically increasing presence of technology, specifically the internet, in our lives. Due to inefficiencies in governmental sectors, accounting, science and engineering, the world began to turn towards digitizing for increased productivity in these sectors. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, several international organizations began using this technology for population and infrastructure censusing. The expansion of ICTs did come with a few economic unknowns. From this, two challenges that the implementation of ICTs faced around the world include its scalability and transferability across different geographic and contextual locations. 

One crucial aspect of the evolution of the internet that is necessary to point out is that it developed outside of any governmental or organizational context, and even outside of the Westphalian Sovereign State system at large. It grew without early regulation or government approval, which renders it a much more complex and convoluted issue to address. As such, internet governance faces domestic and international challenges. Global differences in culture and politics is a prime example. Countries like China have a completely government-monitored internet system in which they try to address problems through top-down changes in the structure of the internet. Comparing that to democratic nations, the demands for action and human rights are intrinsically different. Can this gap in mindset be bridged? If so, how? 

Another possible point of contention in the internet governance is definition-making. The two-phased summit, WSIS, worked to define internet governance, identify relevant stakeholders, and identify what their roles should be. In WSIS II, using the wording of “in their respective roles” gives stakeholders leniency [read: constructive ambiguity] in order to reach compromises on the shared principles and rules that shape the internet. The IGF brings people together to participate with these shared norms and the ITF meets to create a rough consensus and operational code for the internet, both allowing space for voices to be heard. Although these institutions may be slow and bureaucratic, they do provide a multi-stakeholder platform for discussion and rule-making, and due to the ever-increasing influence the ICTs have on development, regulation through compromise will be crucial. 

https://www.itu.int/net/wsis/

https://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/content/igf-2019