Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to join you here in Hyderabad for what I trust will be three days
of productive discussions aimed at defining a clear path forward for the IGF.
It is worth reiterating that the IGF was created as the result of the most
wide-ranging, comprehensive and inclusive debate ever held on the future of the
Through the Geneva and Tunis Phases of the World Summit on the Information
Society, ITU proactively solicited contributions from stakeholders worldwide.
Intensive preparatory work for the Tunis phase of WSIS had already built
significant global consensus on the principles governing ongoing policy
At the close of that summit, we spoke of a breakthrough agreement on Internet
governance which acknowledged the need for enhanced global cooperation. The need
for equality of governments worldwide. And the need for the application of
principles of national sovereignty in each country’s management of its ccTLD, as
laid down in paragraph 35 of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.
We underlined the importance of strengthened cooperation in the development of
globally applicable principles for the management of critical Internet
We hailed the agreement, and the creation of the IGF in accordance with
paragraph 72 of the Tunis Agenda, as a turning point that would pave the way for
all countries to exercise their national rights in managing their own critical
Three years later, where are we?
I am pleased with some of the progress achieved by ICANN over these past three
years on critical issues such as security and internationalization of the Domain
For our part, ITU has been very active in implementing both the letter and the
spirit of our WSIS commitments.
On 17 May last year I launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda, a global
framework for international cooperation aimed at enhancing public confidence and
security in the use of ICTs.
Because children are increasingly vulnerable to the predations of
cybercriminals, we recently enhanced the GCA with the launch of our new Child
Online Protection initiative.
ITU’s 2008 World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly adopted key
Recommendations on IPv6 and on non-discriminatory access to Internet resources.
ITU Council last month created a new working group dedicated to accelerating the
pace of work on Internet-related public policy issues.
ITU also continues to push for faster progress in building international
Internet connectivity in developing countries. Last year’s ITU Connect Africa
summit alone raised an unprecedented 55 billion dollars in investment
commitments specifically targeting regional connectivity projects.
And in April next year, ITU’s fourth World Telecommunication Policy Forum in
Lisbon will welcome over a thousand senior policy makers for high-level
discussions on four key themes, among them Internet-related public policy
When we met in Rio last year, I spoke of the need for next-generation Internet
governance. Governance that reflects the changing geopolitical realities of our
world, and the changing nature of the Internet itself.
I make no apology for stating bluntly that I believe the IGF is not on track to
meet the expectations of many countries that participated in the Tunis phase of
WSIS, and who were hoping for frank and fruitful discussions on globally
applicable principles for the management of critical Internet resources.
If we allow ourselves to get bogged down in re-hashing issues for which there
was already broad global consensus in Tunis, then critics are justified in
labelling our efforts a waste of time.
Last month, I was privileged to participate in the ICANN meeting in Cairo – a
meeting that elicited forthright discussions on our strengths and weaknesses.
One of the clear weaknesses in the current structure is the Governmental
Advisory Group, or GAC.
Not only does this body lack any kind of policy-making muscle, but it is highly
unrepresentative. Of ITU’s 191 Member States, barely half have representation in
GAC, and under a third play an active role.
I continue to receive complaints on issues of great importance to ITU Member
States, such as the management of the ccTLD for Trinidad and Tobago, which has
still not been resolved.
When issues of such concern to sovereign states cannot be addressed in a timely
and satisfactory manner, it is only natural that these countries turn to ITU for
Ladies and gentlemen,
Since the last meeting of the IGF, the world has been plunged into an economic
crisis the magnitude of which is only just beginning to be fully appreciated.
At a top-level crisis meeting in New York, heads of international agencies were
unanimous in their call for global frameworks that embrace a new multilateral
These leaders were unequivocal in their call for a new environment that
supports, rather than undermines, social fairness and sustainable development.
This compelling need for new, more equitable international frameworks is just as
important when applied to cyberspace. The same principles of democracy advocated
by some of the loudest voices on the Net must also apply to the governance of
this critical global resource.
I therefore urge IGF members to strengthen their will to move forward in
addressing the issues for which this forum was set up, in the spirit of
Paragraph 72 of the Tunis Agenda.
As the international agency Committed to Connecting the World, ITU has a mandate
to extend equitable access to all the world’s people.
This is a responsibility we take very seriously.
I, for one, would be encouraged to see a clear demonstration of the same
commitment from the IGF.