Internet Governance 2 May 2013

Statement: Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) Inter-sessional Meeting

CSTD Inter-sessional Meeting: [Lima, Peru – 9 January 2013]

Statement from Constance Bommelaer, Director of Public Policy,

The Internet Society WSIS Follow-up, Including Preparations for the 16th Session of the CSTD

I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to participate to this discussion.

The Internet Society (ISOC) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education and policy. ISOC is also the organizational home for Internet infrastructure standards including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The Internet Society was accredited to the WSIS during the first phase and participated actively in the entire preparatory process and in the Geneva and Tunis Summits themselves.

The Multi-stakeholder Approach: a Key to a Successful WSIS Implementation

As the WSIS community is about to start reviewing the impact of the summits, I’d like to start by emphasizing their remarkable achievements.

From the perspective of a non-governmental organization such as ISOC, there can be no doubt that the innovations and openness that the WSIS brought to all the stakeholders involved is one of its most important achievements.

For instance, the WSIS offered an unforeseen opportunity for governments to learn about and broaden their understanding of the Internet institutions and civil society organizations.

The goals of the WSIS were ambitious and the lesson we have learned throughout its implementation is that a multi-stakeholder cross-fertilized approach offers the most effective methodology. As it was before and during the WSIS process, the Internet model of development remains relevant to continuously improve cooperation among all stakeholders – each in their area of competence and mandate.

We all know that the Tunis Agenda created two tracks in 2005 – the “Internet Governance Forum” and the process of “Enhanced Cooperation”. While the two tracks were initially separate, we now observe an increasing convergence between them. In our understanding, Enhanced Cooperation takes place within and between existing organizations – it is a distributed process in line with the underlying distributed technology.

The IGF has turned into a fantastic catalyst that enhances cooperation among all stakeholders involved in Internet Governance. This forum has proved to be extremely useful and the national and regional IGF type meetings that have sprung up all over the world have proven the validity of the concept. Indeed, it helps governments reach better decisions and implement the WSIS action lines together with relevant stakeholders from civil society, business and the technical community.

Therefore, strengthening the IGF would strengthen Enhanced Cooperation. And to this end we suggest examining ways to strengthen linkages between the IGF and the annual follow-up to the WSIS evaluation as well as the UN CSTD – while, most importantly, maintaining the IGF’s multistakeholder nature.

Towards WSIS+10, and Beyond

Now, as we are about to kick-start the WSIS+10 Review, and discussions in the CSTD working group on enhanced cooperation, it is critical for our community to preserve this collective and constructive approach.

In accordance with the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, “the WSIS Review should assess the multi-stakeholder implementation at the international level (…) taking into account the themes and action lines in the Geneva Plan of Action1”. Among other outcomes, we expect the WSIS+10 to naturally reaffirm the principles and commitments made in Geneva in 2003, and in Tunis in 2005, and emphasize the importance of the multi-stakeholder approach at all levels.

We welcome the opportunity to be a part of the WSIS implementation and review efforts, and very much look forward to continuing to work with others.

And on this note, I’d like to conclude and thank you again for the opportunity to be part of this discussion.

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