Internet Organisations Dissatisfied With UN Over Government-Only IGF Plans

Posted in: Domain Names at 13/12/2010 17:30

ICANN, ISOC and the International Chamber of Commerce have joined seven other groups in sending a letter to the United' Nations' Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) expressing surprise and strong opposition to a government-only model for participation and consultation in working group whose mission is to study improvements to the Internet Governance Forum. The letter was signed by ten organisations in total.

The signatories to the letter "ask the Secretary-General of the United Nations to set up a working group on Internet governance, in an open and inclusive process that ensures a mechanism for the full and active participation of governments, the private sector and civil society from both developing and developed countries, involving relevant intergovernmental and international organizations and forums, to investigate and make proposals for action..."

The letter is a direct response to a decision by the CSTD on Monday last to form a working group to study internet improvements that would be made up only of "member states," which means that such a body would not only exclude all non-governmental entities, such as business and technology organisations, but also limit participation of governments that are not members of the CSTD.

In the letter, the signatories call for the UN "to retract the decision of 7 December, and to establish an appropriately constituted Working Group consistent with the WSIS formulation ensuring 'the full and active participation of governments, the private sector and civil society from both developing and developed countries, involving relevant intergovernmental and international organizations and forums.'"

However not all government's support the UN move. Maria Häll, who represents the Swedish government at the ITU and ICANN, told the Global Internet Business Coalition that she felt "very embarrassed" by the CSTD's decision and assured attendees that many governments were committed to the multi-stakeholder process. The GIBC also notes comments from a Brazilian foreign ministry representative who put the decision down to a lack of co-ordination between the "G77"" groups of governments, explaining that the meeting in question was unexpected and called at 6pm.

The outgoing head of the IGF secretariat, Markus Kummer, was another to express frustration with the move according to the GIBC.

The full list of organisations signing the letter are:

  • Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC)
  • Association for Competitive Technology
  • Australian Domain Name Administration (AuDA)
  • East African Internet Governance Forum
  • International Chamber of Commerce - Business Action to Support the Information Society
  • Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
  • Internet Governance Caucus
  • Internet Society
  • NetChoice
  • Nominet.

The full text of the letter can be seen at www.igcaucus.org/node/48.

The Global Internet Business Coalition posting can be seen at gibc.biz/2010/12/internet-organisations-furious-over-government-only-igf-decision.


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