APC’s policy programme approaches ICT policy holistically, recognising that, in an era of globalisation facilitated by the rapid growth of the internet and broadband networks, ICT policy reform can be coherently addressed only with reference to developments in other spaces.
This is why APC is active in three policy arenas — global, regional and national. We aim to ensure that policy is not simply handed down from the dominant centres in the United States or the European Union. Relevant input from previously marginalised voices, particularly in the global South, must be incorporated into policy formation. By learning from stakeholders with real experience of ICT policy formation and implementation either regionally or in their own countries, and applying that learning to policy developments in each space, APC is contributing to the opening and expansion of key policy processes around the globe.
The international policy arena that has generated the most energy since the World Summit on the Information Summit (WSIS) process of 2002-2005 is the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). At the second IGF in Rio de Janeiro in November 2007, APC presented a set of recommendations on internet access for the IGF secretariat to consider as the process moves towards the third forum in India in December 2008.
On the ICT for development (ICT4D) front, APC’s executive director Anriette Esterhuysen was appointed to the panel of high-level advisers to UN GAID. Moving into a new arena, APC worked on a civil society position for a ministerial meeting of the OECD on “The future of the internet economy” in Seoul, June 2008.
APC convened an Asia ICT policy consultation in Dhaka in 2006 to pinpoint ICT policy priorities and advocacy strategies in Asian countries, particularly in South Asia, and explore ways of networking and coordinating to effectively influence ICT policy research and advocacy in the region. APC also supported national policy advocacy processes in Bangladesh (broadband policy), India (open access to ICT4D content online and audiovisual content including an online space regarding information and communication policies for India) and Pakistan (community radio).
In Europe, APC members are campaigning around draft EU legislation on data retention. APC has commissioned an issue paper on ICT policy making in the EU. The results of this research will form the basis for our future policy advocacy in the EU.
National policy spaces
Although CIPP’s regional-level work is primarily focused on Africa and Latin America, our national ICT policy advocacy network spans the globe. What began in 2004 as an initiative to support 10 APC member organisations in their national advocacy strategies has now expanded to become an extensive network of advocacy initiatives in 18 countries over four continents.
Notable successes of the national ICT policy advocacy network include the appointment of network member DMTIC as head of the Civil Society Commission on ICTs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the invitation of network member Nodo TAU to become part of the jury for public consultation on the Rosario Digital City project in Argentina.