Debates about ‘enhanced cooperation’ are, at their heart, debates about how internet-related public policy is made, and what role different stakeholders have in developing those policies. Frustrations at the current internet governance regime are revealing themselves in a range of processes that have been recently instituted and which could result in significant changes to the regime over the next few years, such as the WSIS +10 review process, the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance hosted by Brazil, and – the focus of this paper – the CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation. The outcomes that emerge from these processes will likely shape future internet challenges, where they are situated, how they are framed, and how they must be addressed (for example, will civil society be in the room or not).
In an effort to understand the concerns about the current internet governance regime and the proposed solutions that are on the table, this paper analyses the concept of enhanced cooperation and arguments around it. It goes on to suggest a way towards formalising a distributed model of internet governance.