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Carlos A. Afonso, RITS, Rio de Janeiro


What worked well:

Many of the participants were among the best in their fields and their contributions in the plenaries and workshops were crucial.

Despite all of the suspicions to the contrary, the meeting was carried out, and despite the unofficial nature of the workshops, they ended up being the most relevant progress towards a global recommendations' mechanism the IGF might become.

What worked less well:

The incredibly generic agenda of main topics, even more so without an adequate preparatory process (with expert contributions etc) to try and focus the issues. The attempt to keep certain taboo (for some) themes out of the meeting -- and they were brought in anyway, thanks to the workshops.

Suggestions for improvements:

Several post-Athens contributions are worried about format as well as content. My view is that we need a process in each meeting in which we arrive at thematic and procedural resolutions. Plenaries "moderated" (I prefer to say "manipulated") by professional TV hosts do not work well, and even scare some of the panelists (specially some of those whose native idiom is not English). We need thematic specialists as moderators, not "crowd handling" specialists or showmen -- it seemed the purpose here (if any) was to keep true debate dissolved into generalities.

Other comments suggestions:

  1. Preparation for the meeting, once the thematic agenda is defined, should be stimulated, with the goal of bringing the best contributors to provide input during the coming months. This would help focus all discussions, and above all provide the needed "food for thought" in the workshops.
  2. Any preparatory process should be as open as possible, with the decision-making process sustained by regular public consultations.
  3. And, please, revise the site -- at least one link which should point to the IGF meeting venue site in Greece (http://igf-greece2006.org) has expired (where did all the content go??).

Synthesis:

Yes, this is an important contribution, but it is too little for such a big challenge. See above..