UNESCO’s Division of Freedom of
Expression and Media Development moves into a second phase in its
open consultation with all stakeholders on the new concept of
“Internet Universality”, with the release this week of a second
version of a concept paper.
This follows a series of internal and
external consultations by the Communication and Information Sector,
most recently with the sister programmatic sectors at UNESCO. Since
the process began at the WSIS+10 review meeting in February 2013, the
concept has also been canvassed at eight international fora.
The concept of “Internet
Universality” provides an overarching understanding of key elements
of the Internet. These are the underlying norms that contribute to
shaping the use and development of Internet: (i) free and human
rights based; (ii) openness; (iii) accessible to all; and (iv)
multi-stakeholder driven participation. The four can be summarized by
the mnemonic R – O – A – M (Rights-based, Open, Accessible,
By bringing together UNESCO’s
existing positions on the Internet, the concept of “Internet
Universality” could help to frame much of UNESCO’s
Internet-related work in education, culture, science, social science
and communication-information for the strategic period of 2014-2021.
It could provide a common point of reference and lead to enhanced
synergies between sectors.
In addition, the concept could support
UNESCO’s work in facilitating international multi-stakeholder
cooperation in regard to the Internet, and it could also highlight
what the Organization can bring to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The Division of Freedom of Expression
and Media Development thanks all those who have commented on earlier
drafts for their valuable suggestions. As part of an evolving
discussion, the second version of “Internet Universality: A Means
Towards Building Knowledge Societies and the Post-2015 Development
Agenda” is offered for further feedback from all stakeholders.