[Update] Members of the working group remain divided on the issue of whether or not a new UN mechanism is needed to fully implement enhanced co-operation, and whether any new mechanism should focus on intergovernmental decision-making or multistakeholder involvement. There were some broad agreements on less contentious topics (such as alignment with the sustainable development goals).
The ongoing differences of opinion on a new mechanism were also reflected in debates at the meeting about the structure of the final report, with some members wanting the report to document discussion on non-consensus recommendations, and others not.
Having non-consensus recommendations in the final report, which ultimately goes to the UN General Assembly, would give the General Assembly the option of reopening the debate on issues that the working group could not reach consensus on, and that the General Assembly was not able to reach consensus on during the WSIS+10 review process in 2015, which had led to the re-establishment of WGEC in the first place. Some members of the group felt that including non-consensus recommendations would undermine the legitimacy of the recommendations, and make it less likely that the consensus recommendations would be implemented. Members of the group have until October to submit any revised recommendations they wish to propose, with the Chair producing a draft final report by the end of October. The draft report will be open for comments until the end of November, with a second draft to be released early January. There will be one more meeting of the group before the end of January.
The fourth meeting of the Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation (WGEC) of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) will be held on 25–27 September 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The WGEC was established on the basis of the UN General Assembly Resolution A/70/125 (the outcome document of the review of the ten-year implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society), with the aim to develop recommendations on how to further implement enhanced cooperation on public policy issues pertaining to the Internet, as envisioned in the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, taking into consideration the work that has been done on this matter. The resolution also requested the group to decide at the outset of its working methods, and to ensure the full involvment of all relevant stakeholders, taking into account all their views and expertise.
The group, whose composition was announced in May 2016, is expected to report to the 21st session of the CSTD in 2018.
For more information, visit the event webpage.