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The Annual Coordination Session of Dynamic Coalitions (DCs) was about taking stock of each DC’s experience of this year’s IGF. The discussion mainly focused on the session ‘Dynamic Coalitions - Joint Efforts to Achieve the SDGs’ and brainstormed the way forward to increasing recognition of the work that each DC does.
Many shared their disappointment in the small number of participants at the previous day’s joint session; it was noted that it is difficult to attract participants to come to a session that does not have a specific focus. The joint session featured 14 speakers representing different DCs who talked about their work. For people new to the subject, this was a challenge, as prior knowledge on the issues is required to understand each presentation. For most IGF participants who already have their own area of expertise or interest in a specific topic, the joint session would not be of interest as it covers a wide range of topics in a limited amount of time. However, it was noted that the success of the DCs cannot be measured by the number of attendees at the joint session, since the individual workshops have, overall, gathered many participants from different sectors.
Some questioned the format of the joint session, which resembled a lecture and possibly discouraged interaction among the speakers, and between the speakers and the attendees. One suggestion for next year is to hold a joint session in a smaller room, to create an intimate setting and encourage active interaction among participants. A trade-off of holding it in a smaller room would be the unavailability of live interpretation, which some DCs believe should not be compromised.
The lack of collaboration between each DC was pointed out as an issue, which was clearly demonstrated during the joint session. Identifying the synergy between each coalition and strategising plans together is a key element to create more understanding and recognition of the work that the DCs do among the Internet governance community. The creation of sub-groups of DCs was brought up during the discussion as a starting point to foster a culture of collaboration. Whilst it can certainly strengthen knowledge sharing, each DC has to consider the balance between producing in-depth analysis as a group of experts, and collaborating with other DCs with similar interests.
Many said that the recognition on the DCs remains insufficient. The concept of a DC is quite uncommon in comparison to other groups of experts in the UN system (e.g. Working Group), because DCs are created in a bottom-up way and are self-governed, which could result in a lack of understanding among the international community. To solve this issue, it is necessary to explain the work of the DCs to all stakeholders involved in Internet governance. A participant suggested that the session ‘IGF for Beginners’ is one of the opportunities to introduce the DCs and the role they play in the international community.
The breadth of work done by DCs reflects the breadth of Internet governance. All stakeholders need to embrace and tackle the comprehensiveness and specificity of Internet-related global challenges.
By Nagisa Miyachi