Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States

Statement to the High-Level Leaders Meeting
Delivered by
Mr. Thomas Gass, Assistant-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am honoured to have been asked to co-chair this high-level leaders’ forum today.  I thank the Government of Indonesia for graciously hosting the 8th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in beautiful Bali.  My department, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), has been designated by the Secretary-General to support and oversee the work of the IGF Secretariat.  We are eager to strengthen existing partnerships with all of the countries and organizations represented in this room. As the IGF continues to grow in prominence, we count on the leadership of each stakeholder group for continued commitment and participation.

Our theme today is ‘Global multi-stakeholder collaboration for achieving a safe, secure and tolerant cyberspace: enabling growth and sustainable development through cyber ethics.’

In Rio de Janeiro last year, world leaders attending the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development identified a comprehensive path towards sustainable development and its three dimensions: economic growth, social cohesion and environmental protection. As the world seeks to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and forge a transformative agenda for the post-2015 period, the Internet and ICTs can play an important role in helping to advance this vision.

To help realize this potential, the international community may need to consider ethical principles to achieve safety and security in cyberspace while accommodating diverse opinions and facilitating a healthy debate on the subject in question.

Indeed, ppublic policies for cyberspace should be grounded in creating an online world that is free of criminal activity and malicious attacks. There need to be fundamental safeguards to protect the safety of all who inhabit this virtual space.

The Tunis Agenda seeks to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs.   It highlights the need to promote, develop and implement a global culture of cyber security. This culture requires national attention and increased international cooperation to strengthen security, while at the same time enhancing the protection of personal information, privacy and data.

Building an inclusive development-oriented Information Society is also an important part of this culture. We can empower the most vulnerable populations, including those living in remote areas, to leapfrog previously unavoidable development hurdles. For example, the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States will be held next year. It will focus the world’s attention on a group of countries with unique and particular vulnerabilities. We can bring unique insights on how to assist these countries to prosper through cyberspace.

The IGF, again this year, is the ideal platform to allow all stakeholders to express their concerns and to offer solutions, on an equal footing.

I wish you very fruitful discussions.  

Thank you.