08/03/2004
Press Release
PI/1560



ONLINE FORUM ON INTERNET GOVERNANCE LAUNCHED


GENEVA, 8 March (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs) -- In the context of consultations leading to the establishment of the working group on Internet governance to be set up by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, wsis-online.net, the community platform of the World Summit on the Information Society, has opened an online forum on Internet governance to host contributions from all concerned stakeholders.  The forum is accessible at www.wsis-online.net/igov-forum.


Secretary-General Kofi Annan was asked by the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva, 10-12 December 2003), to set up a working group on Internet governance.  The mission of this working group will include developing a working definition of Internet governance, identifying the relevant public policy issues, and developing a common understanding of the respective roles and responsibilities of governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society.  The working group is to report before the next phase of the Summit in Tunis in November 2005.


Preparatory meetings and workshops organized by various convenors will allow a large diversity of actors to engage in open consultations before the formation of this group.  In this perspective, an International Telecommunication Union workshop in Geneva on 26-27 February (see www.itu.int/osg/spu/forum/intgov04) and an Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers workshop in Rome on 4 March (see www.icann.org/meetings/rome/wsis-workshop-04mar04.html) already took place, and other meetings are planned.  In particular, with the encouragement of Mr. Annan, a two-day Global Forum on Internet Governance will be held in New York on March 25-26, organized by the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force on the occasion of one of its biannual meetings (see www.unicttaskforce.org/sixthmeeting).


Large visibility must be given to these efforts, and all stakeholders should be able to contribute in this open participatory process.  It is with this objective in mind that an online forum is offered on wsis-online.net to host contributions from all willing stakeholders.


Wsis-online.net is the online community platform for all actors willing to implement the Action Plan adopted at the World Summit on the Information Society.  It offers a calendar of events, and provides information on people, organizations and projects involved in building the information society, indexed through a list of summit themes.  To know more about this multi-stakeholder effort, visit:  www.wsis-online.net.


To facilitate navigation and contributions, this forum is structured around four threads:


-- What are the different dimensions of Internet governance?


-- Who are the main stakeholders already convening groups or consultations on these themes, and who should be involved in such consultations?


-- What are the main concerns or challenges for each of these different issues?


-- How can this consultation process facilitate the future work of the working group the Secretary-General was asked to set up?


The Global Forum on Internet Governance to be held in March will review the first results of this open consultation.


Participation in the online forum is open to any individual or organization concerned with Internet governance and willing to contribute to the debate in a constructive way.  The only condition for participation is registration on the wsis-online Web site with a valid email address.


Contributions should be short to facilitate interaction and oriented towards producing a common vision.  They can be submitted in English or French.  Contributions will be moderated to guarantee focus on the different threads, and a summary in six languages will be produced regularly to facilitate the interactive debate.  Forum archives will be freely accessible.


About UN ICT Task Force


The Task Force is a multi-stakeholder initiative launched by the Secretary-General in 2001.  In supporting the first phase of the World Summit, the Task Force successfully helped in placing the United Nations development objectives at the heart of the Summit and mobilized the participation of the multi-stakeholder networks, organized a series of side events and launched new initiatives, including on education.  The Task Force contributes to the preparations for the second phase of the Summit leading up to the Tunis conference (16-18 November 2005).  For more information, please visit www.unicttaskforce.org.


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