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THE 10TH ONLINE DISPUTE RESOLUTION WORKING GROUP CONFERENCE

FEBRUARY 7th – 9th 2011, CHENNAI, INDIA

Summary:

The ODR Working Group has met annually since 2002 in a wide variety of locations around the world:

2002 – 1st – Geneva (UN Palais des Nations)

2003 – 2nd – Geneva (UN Palais des Nations)

2004 – 3rd – Melbourne, Australia

2005 – 4th – Cairo, Egypt

2006 – 5th – Liverpool, UK

2007 – 6th – Hong Kong, China

2008 – 7th – Victoria, Canada

2009 – 8th – Haifa, Israel

2010 – 9th – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Each conference has grown in size and expanded the number of countries represented among the attendees.  The last few conferences included participants and speakers from:

USA Canada Ireland Italy Switzerland
UK Mexico Spain Denmark Israel
Czechoslovakia Germany Netherlands Singapore China
Philippines Indonesia Japan Korea Australia
Argentina Brazil Ecuador Chile Uruguay
Egypt India Hong Kong Sri Lanka Malaysia
Pakistan Venezuela Peru Nigeria Uganda

This is the first time India will play host. Because this is our first meeting in India we expect a very strong turnout from the Indian legal, information technology, commercial and mobile community.  With the expansion of the Internet and the growing reach of technology, the need for effective and ethical online dispute resolution is growing in importance. We expect that this meeting will enable the world to learn from India, as well as enabling India to learn from the world.

Background

Tens of millions of disputes are resolved using ODR tools every year.  The volume of cases handled through ODR systems dwarfs the volume of cases handled through face-to-face dispute resolution processes by an order of magnitude, and on a total filings basis it’s safe to say that more matters are resolved through ODR each year than through the Indian and American judicial systems combined. ODR was started for ecommerce and now has spread its wings to every facet of dispute prevention, resolution and transformation.

The ODR Working Group Meeting always embraces the full spectrum of these issues.  Speakers at the meeting will address labor/management issues, cease fire monitoring, domain names, environmental conflict, and customer support, to name only a few application areas.  Governments around the world are already funding ODR experiments in many of these areas, and as our global society becomes more wired, the number of applications leveraging ODR will inevitably continue to grow.

This year is particularly important in the realm of eCommerce ODR because the UN has agreed to explore the creation of a global eCommerce ODR system to provide redress to all online consumers.  This meeting of the ODR Working Group will be the first time the ODR field will hear from officials working at UNCITRAL (the UN Agency tasked with harmonizing global laws) on this proposal.

Global interest in Online Dispute Resolution is at an all time high.  After more than a decade of experimentation, with many well documented successes, ODR is finally ready to move into the mainstream.  The trends that underlie ODR (e,g. technology, eDemocracy, dispute resolution, and public participation) all seem to be cresting at this moment.  Convening the leading minds in the field of ODR from around the world to explore current research and share best practices will help to define how justice will be achieved in the coming century.

Agenda

The conference takes place over two days.  There are several plenary and keynote sessions, and several break-outs with multiple concurrent sessions.  A half-day post-conference session aimed to provide an introduction to ODR for individuals who might not know much about ODR’s history, tools, or applications will be held with Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Another session for the UNCITRAL working group on Global Consumer Online Dispute Resolution is also being planned post conference.

This gathering will be sponsored by PayPal, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, and the Institute for International Commercial Law.

Conference Website and Registration:  http://odr2011.org

Participation: Free of Charge

If you have any further questions, please contact Chittu Nagarajan at cnagarajan@paypal.com, or visit the conference website at http://odr2011.org.

 

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This is not immediately on mediation in Asia, but you’ll see the connections if you pick up the links.

First, there’s a growing body of work on the role of information communication technologies and conflict resolution & peace (to sit alongside the work on online dispute resolution). Much of this work can be be linked to the NGO ICT4Peace, founded by former Finnish President and Nobel Peace Laureate, Martti Ahtisaari.

Have a look at the latest periodical, Peace IT which can be downloaded here: http://ict4peace.org/view_blog_posts-1-v-188.html

Much of the work relates to the potential and current uses of ICT in crisis management and mitigation; there are also strong links to the role of ICT in governance, information dissemination, and capacity building.

As a counterpoint to any sense that ICT’s provide a panacea to issues of conflict and crisis, it’s also worth looking at Evgeny Morozov’s article, Texting Towards Utopia, in the Boston Review at  http://bostonreview.net/BR34.2/morozov.php.

For an idea of how this work – the role of ICT in conflict mitigation and management – is being developed in this region, and on the ways in which such media may serve as a kind of “mediating social institution”, see the work of Sanjana Hattotuwa in Sri Lanka, and the links on his web pages, especially on media and peacebuilding.

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