Internet Governance 22 April 2009

Presentation of Comments by the Membership on the report of the Secretary General

By Lynn St. Amour

World Telecommunications Policy Forum, 22 April 2009

Mr. Chairman, Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen…

It is my honour to address you today as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Society, a Sector Member of the both the ITU-D and the ITU-T, and a member of the WTPF Informal Expert Group.

The Internet Society is an independent, international, nonprofit organization. It was founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet related standards, education, and policy.

The Internet Society is uniquely positioned to provide technically-sound, unbiased information and education. It facilitates and coordinates Internet-related initiatives around the world. And it is the organizational home for the Internet standards development organizations, the IETF, IAB, and IRTF.

As a member of the Informal Expert Group, we were pleased to submit comments on the Secretary General’s Report, and on the Opinions that are presented in its annexes. As time is short, I will not review all of our comments.

However, in the context of this Forum’s broad, challenging agenda, which requires solid understanding of the Internet’s technical, development, and management functions, I would like to stress several points:

  • The value of continued multi-stakeholder dialogue
  • The importance of factual and technical inputs for constructive and informed discussion, and;
  • The importance of collaborative relationships with the existing Internet management and development organizations, without duplicating their established functions and responsibilities.

In that context, we were pleased to also submit information documents on “The Internet Ecosystem”, “Preserving the User Centric Internet”, “IPv6 Address Allocation”, “The Internet and Standards”, and “NGN and the Internet”. These documents are available in five languages and we hope that these documents will promote understanding of these key points in the discussions that unfold this week.

The Internet Society takes note of the Opinions that now form a part of the Secretary-General’s Report to the WTPF and we look forward to the opportunity to engage in fuller discussion over the course of this week.

As a general comment, we must stress the importance of respecting and protecting the Internet model which continues to underpin the Internet’s contribution to innovation and creativity.

The Internet Model is based on widely supported, key architectural principles, which enable the global deployment of innovative applications and services. Furthermore, open and transparent processes for technical development, policy development, and operational management are proven to work, and are necessary for the Internet‘s success.

The genius of the Internet stems from its decentralized architecture, which allows users to choose – or create – the hardware, software, and services that best meet their needs.

Thus, the opportunities and advantages of increasingly converged services arise specifically from the Internet’s intrinsic design principles and development model, which together create a vibrant environment of innovation and creativity.

Likewise, modern NGNs can be developed and deployed on the existing Internet because of visionary architectural decisions made literally decades ago. Indeed, today’s NGNs will become tomorrow’s legacy networks, replaced by new applications running on the Internet, which was designed to support as yet unknown future improvements.

Mr Chairman, the final session on the agenda includes discussion of the International Telecommunication Regulations.In any such discussions regarding the ITRs, it is vital to understand and recognise the importance of the Internet’s design, operations, and development principles. And it is equally vital to engage collaboratively with the well-established forums and organizations that comprise the Internet Ecosystem.

Ladies and gentlemen, we gather here this week in a challenging economic climate. At such a time, it is vital to preserve an environment that is proven to work; an environment that clearly enables the emergence of innovative solutions. The lessons of the past teach us that in that environment, Internet applications and development thrive, in turn spurring economic and social development and contributing to all facets of human progress.

We are pleased to participate in these discussions, and we encourage the ITU to expand the opportunity for all interested stakeholders to participate in its conferences. Broadening participation, beyond Member States and Sector Members, to include Civil Society, the Internet community, and the research community will enrich and better inform discussions.

We strongly believe in developing appropriate multi-stakeholder forums that involve knowledgeable, interested, and capable people in building on the strength of the Internet as a vital tool for communication and innovation.

Finally, we thank Portugal, for hosting this event and providing the warm hospitality and excellent facilities which encourage participation from all stakeholders.

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