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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

Contribution Feb 2013 Text Display Screen



Name : CHANGO, Mawaki
Date : July 30, 2013
Organization : Association for Progressive Communications
Country : Cote d'Ivoire
Issues : Issue 3

Contribution :

A submission by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in consultation with African Civil Society Platform on Internet Governance



Eight years after the report of the Working Group on Internet Governance was released during WSIS, we note that much is still to be done to bring down the cost of access for the African Internet user. In that regard, we are pleased to note that setting up local and regional IXPs and fostering the creation of local contents are part of the WTPF proposed course of action this past May. We equally note the ongoing effort being undertaken by the African Union in collaboration with its partners to establish national and regional IXPs across Africa.


We request that ITU works in synergy with the African Union and all interested actors in order to maximize the sum of the efforts undertaken to fully realize the benefits of the Internet for people in Africa as active users, not only finding and consuming relevant contents at the lower possible cost but also creating their own and thus adding value to the global network.


With a view to providing increasingly affordable access to all users in Africa, ITU should encourage member states to move towards new and more dynamic regulatory approaches in their management and allocation of radio spectrum. African member states should make use of the full range of dynamic spectrum management techniques – such as cognitive radio, among others emerging and smarter technologies – in order to optimize the allocation and use of radio frequencies so as to bring the Internet within access for many people and communities which are still excluded in Africa. To that end, TV White Spaces should be added to the pool of means that shall be used to quicken the pace of Internet access in Africa.


We call on ITU to take a leadership position vis-à-vis its member states in order to include a gender balance perspective in all their efforts for Internet access at all levels of the society. ITU and its members should strive for universal access by also ensuring that disability challenges be addressed while further infrastructure is being laid out and technologies are being deployed to increase access or usage.


Overall, through a variety of policy mechanisms and provisions, ITU should promote a vision for smarter and more efficient access. It should make sure African member states strive to dramatically improve the ratio between investment and user population in inclusive manners by making sure to reach the highest possible and a diverse number of users for every access channel possibly available.    


Furthermore, we request the Council to take rapid steps towards operationalizing the enhanced cooperation process in global Internet governance in cohesion with all stakeholders involved in various fora such as the CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation. While governments have traditionally played a primordial role in public policy-making in various issue areas, governments should recognize the particular nature and history of the Internet whereby non-state actors have played a primordial role in its emergence and its growth. On the other hand, we as African civil society recognize that the Internet has globally taken such proportions that decisions made towards the coordination and management of its unique resources as well as decisions shaping its use may significantly impact on public life which is of concern for national states in every country.


Therefore we seek a clear and stable Internet-related public policy-making framework that ensures:

  • Public policy development can be initiated by state actors as well as non-state actors;
  • All stakeholders, regardless of the originator of the policy proposal, co-develop public policy, on equal footing, with all proposals and views to be weighed on their merit;
  • Balanced representation between and within stakeholder groups, across the five UN regions, and with best effort towards equal distribution between developing and developed countries.  
  • Input and engagement of stakeholders via a well-facilitated remote participation platform

 

Specific roles for government vis-à-vis Internet Governance processes and structures, if any, as well as their operational modalities should be clarified and adopted through consensus among all stakeholders.

We welcome initiatives such as this public consultation and the Informal Expert Group experiment which helped draft solid and valuable inputs to this year WTPF in a multistakeholder approach. However, we want to encourage ITU to go further on this path by putting in place more systematic and better publicized mechanisms that will increase an inclusive participation from all stakeholders worldwide, particularly from Africa, in any ITU policy and regulatory process that may impact the Internet – such as the Council Working Group on International Internet-related Public Policy Issues and any other relevant deliberations.


Finally, we commend the efforts of the ITU towards paperless meetings and its engagement to publish meeting documents and hope that this engagement will continue and increase in the coming years.

 

 

 

July 30, 2013