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Internet Governance 16 October 2015

WSIS+10 Consultations Next Week: The Negotiations Are Accelerating

By Constance Bommelaer de LeusseFormer Vice President, Institutional Relations and Empowerment

Next Monday the WSIS+10 Second Informal Interactive Consultations will take place at the UN Headquarters in New York. Much of the discussions will focus on what is called the “zero draft”, which is the draft outcome document of the overall ten-year Review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). As it stands, the text is an effort from the negotiators to collect multiple perspectives, reconcile differences and hopefully make progress towards consensus before the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting in December. From our perspective, the zero draft offers some encouraging signs:

  • the mandate of the IGF is renewed and its governance structure is not altered;
  • there’s a strong link to the Sustainable Development Agenda;
  • the text reaffirms the importance of Human Rights; and
  • It also calls for practical collaboration amongst all stakeholders in the field of cyber-security rather than rushing to creating a new treaty.

This is a good basis. At the same time there are still pending questions that call for further discussion. For instance, the need to articulate the right to governments’ sovereignty with the preservation of the Internet as a common space where information can flow freely, regardless of frontiers. Also, why discuss organizing a new Summit which would utilize stakeholders’ resources while they should urgently be directed to implementing further the WSIS targets? The Internet Society’s full comments on the zero draft can be found here. We expect the discussions next week to gravitate around three main topics:

  • Internet Governance
  • Trust
  • Development.

In this regard, we’ll be building on our Internet Society’s CEO statement at the recent UN Sustainable Development Summit and sharing a new paper that highlights WHY The Internet (is) an Opportunity for Development.

The meeting will start at 10am EDT on Monday. Raul Echeberria, our three ISOC policy fellows (Alejandro Pisanty, Osvaldo Larancuent and Alicia Tricas) and myself will be participating to the discussion. We encourage you to check out the remote participation details. After listening to stakeholders, UN Member States will then pursue their discussions and defend their positions and interests. To help you understand where they stand, you can read this updated version of the ISOC WSIS Matrix, which analyses their contributions for the “non-paper” previously released. We’ll also be sharing a version including other stakeholders positions shortly.

Many other side-events will take place next week, and Raul and I will be reporting out to our community as the week unfolds. In the meantime, and to keep track on the WSIS+10 process, we invite you to visit our WSIS resource page.

Image credit: Ashitaka San on Flickr

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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