DR. SHERIF HASHEM, CHAIRMAN,
DISTINGUISED DELEGATES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Iím pleased to welcome you to this meeting of the Council Working Group on Child Online Protection. This is an issue that is of high priority for the ITU and for all of us as individuals.
Since the Child Online Protection Initiative was launched in 2008, ITU has been working to make the Internet safer for children by providing a platform to raise awarenss and educate stakeholders on this vital issue. The global COP Guidelines, for children, parents, industry and policy-makers, which were developed by a multistakeholder group of COP partners, are one such example.
Our work in this field was further enforced at the Plenipotentiary Conference in 2010, where Member States adopted new Resolution 179, ITUís role in child online protection (Guadalajara 2010), encouraging ITU to continue its COP Initiative as a platform to raise awareness and educate stakeholders on this important issue.
In line with this, ITU has entered into a new phase of concrete activities under the COP Global Initiative, which was launched by the ITU Secretary-General together with a new COP patron, H.E. Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica, in November 2010.
As an update since your last meeting in May 2011, I would like to inform you that under the framework of the COP Global Initiative, ITU, through its three Bureaus, is continuing efforts to protect children online by collaborating with governments, industry, educators, law enforcement and our COP partners.
The COP National Survey was carried out by ITU Development Bureau, addressing a broad range of issues connected to policy and practice in the field of child online safety. As of September 2011, more than 90 Member States have replied to the detailed survey questions and the real-time survey result is available on our COP website.
In line with this COP survey, ITU also welcomes interested Member States, like the government of Pakistan, to use the ďChild Online Protection Statistical Framework and IndicatorĒ released in November 2010, which assesses the status of child online safety in their countries and identifies aspects of child online protection that may require further effort.
ITUís Development Bureau is working on ďthe National Strategy GuideĒ in order to support countries in building a national strategy on child online protection. The first draft is completed and we are currently collecting feedback from different stakeholder groups on the draft and planning to release the outcome by end of this year.
ITUís Standardization Bureau is also continuing its study to develop interoperable standards that would help to protect children from online threats. In particular, at the Study Group 17 meeting in August, members agreed to continue research on the technical areas of COP for study and propose possible areas of study at the next meeting in February 2012.
Since your last meeting ITU has also been leading the discussion about protecting children through the organization of workshops and other special occasions.
In collaboration with Costa Rica, ITU had a youth video competition in the country to raise awareness of online threats and provide channels to young people for self expression and positive use of the Internet. The winner of the competition was invited to the ITUís workshop on child online protection at the 6th Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi last week.
ITU has organized two workshops on child online protection together with other international organizations, including UNODC and UNICEF, at the 6th IGF. In particular participants discussed the issues of international cooperation on child online protection and considered better options to ensure a collaborative approach to maximize efforts in this area.
We are also preparing an open discussion event on child online protection during the ITUís Telecom World 2011 in order to share with participants the world leading Telecom industriesí expertise and experience on child online protection.
Iím pleased to tell you that the ITUís workshop on the Policy Advocacy & Capacity building in child online protection for the Arab region will take place at the end of this month in Muscat, Oman.
To conclude, Iíd like to reiterate that ITU is available to support your work and that of the Correspondence Group created during your meeting of May 2011.
I wish you very successful deliberations.
Geneva, Switzerland 10/7/2011