Post-2015 WSIS Agenda Must Be Forward-Looking, Multistakeholder and Development Focused

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) review process is in its final stages. The multistakeholder component of the review came to a close in early November and the process is now in the hands of governments alone. The final outcomes document will be agreed at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.The outcomes document reviews the past ten years of the WSIS, including progress on how ICTs have influenced development, the performance of the Internet Governance Forum, and the degree to which Internet governance and policy have changed.Unfortunately, it appears that the contributions of non-government stakeholders – civil society, business, the technical community, and academia, among others – are being whittled away by governments. The co-facilitators of the review, the Ambassadors to the UN from Lithuania and the United Arab Emirates, have made considerable efforts to draft an outcome document that is forward-looking, reflects the views of a diverse set of stakeholders, and captures the challenges as well as the opportunities that the global community faces in the near future. Yet we are being let down by governments insisting on language that dates from 2003 and 2005 on issues such as the roles and responsibilities of government and non-government stakeholders, and whether Internet governance is multilateral (between governments) or multistakeholder. Effectively, it is the ambition of some governments to turn back the clock on the role of stakeholders in the management and the governance of the Internet.

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