Argentina and progress towards multistakeholder model

by Digital Rights LAC on May 28, 2014

gobernanza es pensar

Under the NETmundial meeting held last month in Brazil on the Future of Internet Governance, Argentina announced the creation of a national organization dedicated to raising strategies on Internet governance. This was an announce on which the Argentina delegation not overemphasize: Communications Secretary Norberto Berner did not even mention the issue in his opening speech.


By Ramiro Alvarez Ugarte*

Anyway, this is a significant event. Through Resolution 13/2014, the Ministry of Communications of Argentina created the Argentine Internet Policy Committee (AIPC). And it is a space that seems to be the first step toward a multistakeholder model in governance in Argentina. But it is thought that the process will be slow.

Indeed, the first step of the AIPC will be to develop Internal Operating Rules which will aim to “coordinate the participation of the various stakeholders and to design a national strategy on the Internet and its governance.” And the first step on this path is to articulate positions inward state. It will be after this internal process that AIPC will open to other sectors, which is necessary for a true multiparty governance model.

These models are complex: the incorporation of different actors leads necessarily to question the logic behind the model of action and representation of each of them. And for the time being, from the State, there were conflicting signals. Indeed, Berner recognized the complexity of the process and the autonomy of each sector to define its way of action when he pointed out in an interview to a newspaper that, “the first challenge is to define who are, in Argentina, the multiple stakeholders”. He noted that “the first step is to define the universe, define how representation theory will operate. But beware: each sector has to choose their represented ones, that then will speak at AIPC. That will not be something I decide”

The definition is interesting because it accounts for the relative autonomy of each sector, a necessary element for multistakeholder governance model work as it is supposed to do. But other definitions of Berner generate certain precautions. For example, Berner said it will be necessary to “go find out all the associations that are related to internet, but especially those who have the representation of users”, which conflicts with the relative autonomy that was mentioned earlier. It is also problematic that certain actors –as Fibertel- have been excluded before the deliberation process has even begun.

In any case, Argentina is not innovating: multistakeholder governance model has several years of operation at international and local level. What is at stake here is to create a process of deliberation and action broad and inclusive, where all stakeholders are involved in the design of regulations of a public good as the Internet. Argentina seems to have taken the first step in that direction.

*Ramiro Alvarez Ugarte is the director of the Access to Public Information Area of ADC.