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Internet Governance 5 November 2012

Addressing the Challenges of a Hyperconnected World

Ministerial Address

Prof. Dr. Abbasov, Under secretary General Mr. Wu Hongbo, ITU UN Secretary General Hamadoun Toure, Asst. Director General UNESCO mr. Janis Karlins, Ministers,Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Colleagues and Friends:
Thank you for this invitation to address you here today on this important topic, and in particular for your efforts to include members of the Internet Community.
The Internet has changed the way people interact with one another at very fundamental levels.  It has brought unprecedented economic opportunities to people across the world and from all walks of life.  It has done no less, than change societies.    And, it can do so much more to help advance human civilization.
At the heart of the Internet – and what distinguishes it from other communication mediums – is its openness, global reach, and decentralization that allows, what we call “permission-less innovation”.  The fathers of the Internet not only worked to develop the technical standards and establish the basic functionality of the Internet, but also helped to shape the spirit of the Internet – all based on the principles of choice, transparency, openness, and access.
The Internet also relies on a number of organizations managing or overseeing some key Internet resources, and while I am very pleased the Internet Society was invited to speak here, I also want to recognize the very central efforts of other Internet bodies – notably the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), as without their efforts we would not be here nor indeed would we be “hyperconnected”.    We also need to recognize the Regional Internet Registries (RIR’s), root servers, ccTLD and gTLD operators, as well as ICANN in their role to implement and coordinate the system of unique names and numbers – largely done in concert with or on behalf of the organizations enumerated above.  And, of course, the Internet would not be what it is today without all the efforts of the private sector, or without support from governments and Inter-Governmental Organizations.
The Internet continues to fundamentally transform how business is conducted, how government operates, and how individuals communicate.  It transcends national boundaries, and therefore it is inevitable that we would be looking at ways to reconcile the borderless technology with the existing system of international cooperation, which is based on national sovereignty.
The Internet’s organic relationship with freedom of expression and freedom of association is not the mere product of chance, but rather the result of specific design choices and considerations that emerged from the development of the technology and the associated protocols – all of which of course emanate from the very nature of being human.
The end-to-end decentralized nature of the network is a fundamental characteristic, which focuses on individual choice at the edges rather than being pre-determined at the centre. The Internet, by design, empowers users and acts as a neutral conduit, allowing individual choice in what they create and make available, and in what they consume.
The Internet governance arrangements of today have served it very well over the years – the proof point is the Internet itself and its undeniable economic and social benefits.  These organizations and arrangements, of which we include the IGF, reflect the underlying open and distributed architecture of the Internet and are based on open, transparent, and inclusive processes. Many organizations work together in a distributed, collaborative effort, based on confidence and trust; nobody and no one body is in control.
Turning to the theme here today: “Addressing the Challenges of a Hyperconnected World”.
all efforts should start from the same principles that gave us the Internet –and supported its remarkable growth and tremendous resiliency:
  • openness, transparency, and inclusive policy development processes that involve ALL stakeholders: governments, business, civil society and the Internet community. No stakeholder group can do it alone – not governments, not business, not civil society nor the Internet community.  We all need to work together.
We can learn a lot from the IGF:  the key to finding solutions is the open exchange of information and experiences.  The sharing of information and best practices is the best way forward to help shape the search for viable answers to the multiple challenges and opportunities that the Internet gives us.
Thank you for the opportunity to address you today, and I look forward to working with many of you over the days to come.
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