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ITU Secretary-General launches “Open Talks”

Geneva, 15 October 2013 – ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré launched on 8 October 2013 a series of online and off-line ‘Open Talks’, informal consultations with diverse stakeholders on issues of importance to the Union. This initiative was further reinforced today with the launch of a new ITU crowdsourcing platform specifically developed to gather ideas and promote collaboration and knowledge sharing: http://ideas.itu.int/

“It is important to acknowledge that not everyone may have the opportunity to participate in discussions at ITU,” Dr Touré wrote on the ITU blog where he described the background to the initiative. “As the ITU Secretary-General, I constantly seek different means to reach out and to engage all those whose ideas could make a difference. No one person, no single group or institution, no one country has a monopoly over good ideas. As history has reminded us time and again, the brightest minds can be found anywhere.”

The first topic of ‘Open Talks’ deals with international internet-related public policy issues, including the role of governments in the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance. In line with the objective to adopt informal, open and inclusive formats providing opportunities for anyone, anywhere in the world to participate, a World Café was held at ITU headquarters on October 8, 2013

The World Café assembled some 50 representatives from different stakeholders, including ITU’s membership, in a collaborative conversation to exchange ideas on the following: 

  1. What is the role of governments in the multi-stakeholder model of Internet?
  2. What are the key issues that government should play an active role in?
  3. How can governments improve their interaction with other stakeholders?

In the context of the World Café, all participants engaged actively in a fruitful conversation: exploring different perspectives, encouraging contributions and sharing proposals and ideas. A number of different ideas were brought to the table regarding the governments’ role in the multi-stakeholder model of the Internet, including:

The role of governments in the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance is to offer an enabling framework to ensure dialogue and to stimulate cooperation; ensure that public interest is taken into account and human rights protected; and provide a policy and legal framework.

It was proposed that governments should play an active role in ensuring accountability and transparency; enhancing cybersecurity; managing critical national infrastructure resources; protecting vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities; and raising awareness and educating citizens in the use of this important resource.

Furthermore, governments could improve their interaction with other stakeholders by providing support for enabling the participation of all groups of stakeholders (e.g., using ICTs to ensuring two-way interactions); and ensuring transparency and openness. A full report on the outcomes of the discussion will be made available shortly on ITU’s new crowdsourcing platform.

In addition to the online platform, it is planned to convene a Town Hall meeting at the forthcoming IGF 2013, Bali, Indonesia, on25 October 2013, 9:00-10:30.

The essence of the discussions during the informal consultations will inform the Secretary-General’s ‘Information Document’ which he will submit to the ITU Council Working Group on International Internet-related Public Policy Issues (CWG-Internet) in November 2013.

For more information, please contact:  
Paul Conneally
Head of Communications and Partnership Promotion Division
tel +41 22 730 5601
tel +41 79 592 5668
tel paul.conneally@itu.int 


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