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This report has been produced by the Working Group on Internet
Governance (WGIG), which was set up by the Secretary-General of the United
Nations in accordance with the mandate given to him during the first phase of the
World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in Geneva, on 10-12
December 2003. The WGIG comprised 40 members from Governments, private
sector and civil society, who all participated on an equal footing and in their
personal capacity. It was chaired by Mr. Nitin Desai, Special Adviser to the
Secretary-General for the WSIS. The list of the members of the WGIG is attached
as an annex to the report.
A background report (hereafter referred to as Background Report) that
includes much of the work produced in the course of the WGIG process is made
available separately. It reflects the wide variety of opinions held within the group
and reflects many comments made by stakeholders. The Background Report
makes clear whether an argument or opinion is shared by the entire group or only
by some of its members. It does not have the same status as the WGIG Report,
but can be used as a reference.
The WGIG held four meetings in Geneva: 23-25 November 2004;
14-18 February 2005; 18-20 April 2005; and 14-17 June 2005.
The mandate of the WGIG stemmed from the Geneva phase of the WSIS,
during which Heads of State and Government recognized the importance of the
Internet: they acknowledged¹ that the Internet is a central element of the
infrastructure of the emerging information society, while recognizing that there
are differing views on the suitability of current institutions and mechanisms for
managing processes and developing policies for the global Internet. For this
reason, they requested the Secretary-General to set up a Working Group on
Internet Governance, with a view to preparing the ground for negotiations at the
second phase of the WSIS, to be held in Tunis in November 2005.
The WSIS Declaration of Principles and the WSIS Plan of Action² adopted
in Geneva set the parameters for the WGIG and contain its Terms of Reference
and work programme. The WGIG has been asked, inter alia, to investigate and
make proposals for action, as appropriate, on the governance of the Internet by
2005,³ dealing with the following issues:
Develop a working definition of Internet governance
Identify the public policy issues that are relevant to Internet governance
Develop a common understanding of the respective roles and
responsibilities of Governments, existing international organizations and
other forums, as well as the private sector and civil society in both
developing and developed countries
In carrying out its assignment, the WGIG was guided primarily by the key
WSIS principles. In particular, the WSIS principle relating to the stable and
secure functioning of the Internet was judged to be of paramount importance.
Hence, at the outset, the WGIG agreed that all recommendations aiming to
improve current governance arrangements should be fully assessed in terms of
their capacity to address the WSIS principles.
WSIS Declaration of Principles, paras. 48-50 (WSIS-03/GENEVA/DOC/0004).
WSIS Declaration of Principles, para. 50 (WSIS-03/GENEVA/DOC/0004).
WSIS Plan of Action, para. 13 (b) (WSIS-03/GENEVA/DOC/0005).