Multistakeholder Global Internet Governance and Sustainable Development

The multistakeholder governance framework is composed of three key ideas: “open-ended unleashed innovation,” “decentralized governance institutions,” and “open and inclusive processes,” as stated in the article “Internet Governance – Why the Multistakeholder Approach Works” In other words, multistakeholder governance focuses on infrastructure, governance, and humans. This article notes that multistakeholder decision-making is effective and sustainable, which is relevant to our inquiry on inclusive sustainable development. Rather than thinking of the multistakeholder approach as a single solution/model, we should think of it as a tool system that prioritizes “individuals and organizations from different realms participating alongside each other to share ideas or develop consensus policy” (“Internet Governance”). Thus, solutions and models under the multistakeholder framework may differ in some ways, yet they will all prioritize open and inclusive participation from different perspectives. In relation to the Internet ecosystem, the article states that “the Internet’s governance reflects the Internet itself: open, distributed, interconnected, and trans-national.” As the Internet ecosystem grows, public and private organizations rely not just on the Internet, but also on the multistakeholder approach, which mirrors the “Internet way of doing things” (“Internet Governance”). Following the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2005, many international and multilateral organizations have come out in support of the multistakeholder approach, including the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2008 and the NETmundial conference in 2014, among many others (“Internet Governance”). The article notes that as the Internet evolves, so will the multistakeholder approach. As the multistakeholder approach evolves, certain attributes should be maintained, such as inclusiveness and transparency, collective responsibility, effective decision-making, and collaboration through distributed and interoperable governance (“Internet Governance”). It is incredibly exciting and important that in addition to being characterized as sustainable, as mentioned above, multistakeholder approaches are also working towards inclusiveness. This approach seems to really fit with our class themes. Outside of this class, I have not heard much about multistakeholder governance/approaches, and I am interested in the reason behind this. I feel that this approach is relevant not just in Internet governance or in inclusive sustainable development, but in many other aspects of life (e.g., in discussions on power hierarchies, political representation, public policy, the bureaucracy of the education system, etc.).

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