Thursday, August 18, 2005

Caribbean and IG - how do we get involved?

One question that we still struggle with is how to talk about Internet Governance in a manner that can engage the general population. How do we interest more people in this issue?
We have not been able in the past to move past the concept of Internet Governance as an arcane and technical topic that really doesn�t have much practical use. I�ve seen this in the general population, women and men both. The definition of IG that the WGIG promulgated is very high-level. We need, I think, practical applications and ideas to bring it home to people why they should care about it.

What we need is a vision that articulates how new technologies are a community asset, an instrument of public policy and an investment to build the future.

The policies that are being promulgated at this very minute - these policies determine access to funding, to infrastructure, to training and capacity building. If the national, regional and international internet governance regime is not impacted by communities, their issues will not be reflected in policies and these policies will not be beneficial to these communities. Thus, the best way to interest people in IG is to show them where their self-interest is intersecting with IG policies that are being promulgated in their name, but may not be beneficial to them.

The Caribbean is only now beginning to make steps towards understanding IG issues and looking at how these issues affect us, from a development perspective. It's a good time to get involved. We can get in on the ground floor, and have a positive influence on the regional process. However, with regar to the world stage, the region is late to the party. We absolutely need to move fast lest we miss the party entirely.

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