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Agenda for the Information Society – Tunis 2005

C.    Internet Governance

29.    We reaffirm the principles enunciated in the Geneva phase of the WSIS, in December 2003, that the Internet has evolved into a global facility available to the public and its governance should constitute a core issue of the Information Society agenda. The international management of the Internet should be multilateral, transparent and democratic, with the full involvement of governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations. It should ensure an equitable distribution of resources, facilitate access for all and ensure a stable and secure functioning of the Internet, taking into account multilingualism.

30.    We acknowledge that the Internet, a central element of the infrastructure of the Information Society, has evolved from a research and academic facility into a global facility available to the public.

31.    We recognize that Internet governance, carried out according to the Geneva principles, is an essential element for a people-centred, inclusive, development-oriented and non-discriminatory Information Society. Furthermore, we commit ourselves to the stability and security of the Internet as a global facility and to ensuring the requisite legitimacy of its governance, based on the full participation of all stakeholders, from both developed and developing countries, within their respective roles and responsibilities.

32.    We thank the UN Secretary-General for establishing the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). We commend the chairman, members and secretariat for their work and for their report.

33.    We take note of the WGIG report that has endeavoured to develop a working definition of Internet governance. It has helped identify a number of public policy issues that are relevant to Internet governance. The report has also enhanced our understanding of the respective roles and responsibilities of governments, intergovernmental and international organizations and other forums as well as the private sector and civil society from both developing and developed countries.

34.    A working definition of Internet governance is the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.

35.    We reaffirm that the management of the Internet encompasses both technical and public policy issues and should involve all stakeholders and relevant intergovernmental and international organizations. In this respect, it is recognized that:

a)    Policy authority for Internet-related public policy issues is the sovereign right of States. They have rights and responsibilities for international Internet-related public policy issues.

b)    The private sector has had, and should continue to have, an important role in the Agenda for the Information Society development of the Internet, both in the technical and economic fields.

c)    Civil society has also played an important role on Internet matters, especially at community level, and should continue to play such a role.

d)    Intergovernmental organizations have had, and should continue to have, a facilitating role in the coordination of Internet-related public policy issues.

e)    International organizations have also had, and should continue to have, an important role in the development of Internet-related technical standards and relevant policies.

36.    We recognize the valuable contribution by the academic and technical communities within those stakeholder groups mentioned in paragraph 35 to the evolution, functioning and development of the Internet.

37.    We seek to improve the coordination of the activities of international and intergovernmental organizations and other institutions concerned with Internet governance and the exchange of information among themselves. A multi-stakeholder approach should be adopted, as far as possible, at all levels.

38.    We call for the reinforcement of specialized regional Internet resource management institutions to guarantee the national interest and rights of countries in that particular region to manage its own Internet resources, while maintaining global coordination in this area.

39.    We seek to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs by strengthening the trust framework. We reaffirm the necessity to further promote, develop and implement in cooperation with all stakeholders a global culture of cybersecurity, as outlined in UNGA Resolution 57/239 and other relevant regional frameworks. This culture requires national action and increased international cooperation to strengthen security while enhancing the protection of personal information, privacy and data. Continued development of the culture of cybersecurity should enhance access and trade and must take into account the level of social and economic development of each country and respect the development-oriented aspects of the Information Society.

40.    We underline the importance of the prosecution of cybercrime, including cybercrime committed in one jurisdiction, but having effects in another. We further underline the necessity of effective and efficient tools and actions, at national and international levels, to promote international cooperation among, inter alia, law-enforcement agencies on cybercrime. We call upon governments in cooperation with other stakeholders to develop necessary legislation for the investigation and prosecution of cybercrime, noting existing frameworks, for example, UNGA Resolutions 55/63 and 56/121 on Combating the criminal misuse of information technologies and regional initiatives including, but not limited to, the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime

41.    We resolve to deal effectively with the significant and growing problem posed by spam. We take note of current multilateral, multi-stakeholder frameworks for regional and international cooperation on spam, for example, the APEC Anti-Spam Strategy, the London Action Plan, the Seoul-Melbourne Anti-Spam Memorandum of Understanding and the relevant activities of OECD and ITU. We call upon all stakeholders, to adopt a multi-pronged approach to counter spam that includes, inter alia, consumer and business education; appropriate legislation, law-enforcement authorities and tools; the continued development of technical and self-regulatory measures; best practices; and international cooperation.

42.    We reaffirm our commitment to the freedom to seek, receive, impart and use information, in particular, for the creation, accumulation and dissemination of knowledge. We affirm that measures undertaken to ensure Internet stability and security, to fight cybercrime and to counter spam, must protect and respect the provisions for privacy and freedom of expression as contained in the relevant parts of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Declaration of Principles.

43.    We reiterate our commitments to the positive uses of the Internet and other ICTs and to take appropriate actions and preventive measures, as determined by law, against abusive uses of ICTs as mentioned under the Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society of the Geneva Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action.

44.    We also underline the importance of countering terrorism in all its forms and manifestations on the Internet, while respecting human rights and in compliance with other obligations under international law, as outlined in UNGA A/60/L.1 with reference to Article 85 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome.

45.    We underline the importance of the security, continuity and stability of the Internet, and the need to protect the Internet and other ICT networks from threats and vulnerabilities. We affirm the need for a common understanding of the issues of Internet security, and for further cooperation to facilitate outreach, the collection and dissemination of security-related information and exchange of good practice among all stakeholders on measures to combat security threats, at national and international levels.

46.    We call upon all stakeholders to ensure respect for privacy and the protection of personal information and data, whether via adoption of legislation, the implementation of collaborative frameworks, best practices and self-regulatory and technological measures by business and users. We encourage all stakeholders, in particular governments, to reaffirm the right of individuals to access information according to Geneva Declaration of Principles and other mutually agreed relevant international instruments, and to coordinate internationally as appropriate.

47.    We recognize the increasing volume and value of all e-business, both within and across national boundaries. We call for the development of national consumer-protection laws and practices, and enforcement mechanisms where necessary, to protect the right of consumers who purchase goods and services online, and for enhanced international cooperation to facilitate a further expansion, in a non-discriminatory way, under applicable national laws, of e-business as well as consumer confidence in it.

48.    We note with satisfaction the increasing use of ICT by governments to serve citizens and encourage countries that have not yet done so, to develop national programmes and strategies for e-government.

49.    We reaffirm our commitment to turning the digital divide into digital opportunity, and we commit to ensuring harmonious and equitable development for all. We commit to foster and provide guidance on development areas in the broader Internet governance arrangements, and to include, amongst other issues, international interconnection costs, capacity building and technology/know-how transfer. We encourage the realization of multilingualism in the Internet development environment, and we support the development of software that renders itself easily to localization, and enables users to choose appropriate solutions from different software models including open-source, free and proprietary software.

50.    We acknowledge that there are concerns, particularly amongst developing countries, that the charges for international Internet connectivity should be better balanced to enhance access. We therefore call for the development of strategies for increasing affordable global connectivity, thereby facilitating improved and equitable access for all, by:

a)    Promoting Internet transit and interconnection costs that are commercially negotiated in a competitive environment and that should be oriented towards objective, transparent and non-discriminatory parameters, taking into account ongoing work on this subject.

b)   Setting up regional high-speed Internet backbone networks and the creation of national, sub-regional and regional Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).

c)    Recommending donor programmes and developmental financing mechanisms to consider the need to provide funding for initiatives that advance connectivity, IXPs and local content for developing countries.

d)    Encouraging ITU to continue the study of the question of International Internet Connectivity (IIC) as a matter of urgency, and to periodically provide output for consideration and possible implementation. We also encourage other relevant institutions to address this issue.

e)    Promoting the development and growth of low-cost terminal equipment, such as individual and collective user devices, especially for use in developing countries.

f)    encouraging ISPs and other parties in the commercial negotiations to adopt practices towards attainment of fair and balanced interconnectivity costs.

g)    Encouraging relevant parties to commercially negotiate reduced interconnection costs for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), taking into account the special constraints of LDCs.

51.    We encourage governments and other stakeholders, through partnerships where appropriate, to promote ICT education and training in developing countries, by establishing national strategies for ICT integration in education and workforce development and dedicating appropriate resources. Furthermore, international cooperation would be extended, on a voluntary basis, for capacity building in areas relevant to Internet governance. This may include, in particular, building centres of expertise and other institutions to facilitate know-how transfer and exchange of best practices, in order to enhance the participation of developing countries and all stakeholders in Internet governance mechanisms.

52.    In order to ensure effective participation in global Internet governance, we urge international organizations, including intergovernmental organizations, where relevant, to ensure that all stakeholders, particularly from developing countries, have the opportunity to participate in policy decision-making relating to Internet governance, and to promote and facilitate such participation.

53.    We commit to working earnestly towards multilingualization of the Internet, as part of a multilateral, transparent and democratic process, involving governments and all stakeholders, in their respective roles. In this context, we also support local content development, translation and adaptation, digital archives, and diverse forms of digital and traditional media, and recognize that these activities can also strengthen local and indigenous communities. We would therefore underline the need to:

a)    advance the process for the introduction of multilingualism in a number of areas including domain names, e-mail addresses and keyword look-up;

b)    implement programmes that allow for the presence of multilingual domain names and content on the Internet and the use of various software models in order to fight against the linguistic digital divide and ensure the participation of all in the emerging new society;

c)    strengthen cooperation between relevant bodies for the further development of Agenda for the Information Society technical standards and to foster their global deployment.

54.    We recognize that an enabling environment, at national and international levels, supportive of foreign direct investment, transfer of technology, and international cooperation, particularly in the areas of finance debt and trade, is essential for the development of the Information Society, including for the development and diffusion of the Internet and its optimal use. In particular, the role of the private sector and civil society as the driver of innovation and private investment in the development of the Internet is critical. Value is added at the edges of the network in both developed and developing countries when the international and domestic policy environment encourages investment and innovation.

55.    We recognize that the existing arrangements for Internet governance have worked effectively to make the Internet the highly robust, dynamic and geographically diverse medium that it is today, with the private sector taking the lead in day-to-day operations, and with innovation and value creation at the edges.

56.    The Internet remains a highly dynamic medium and therefore any framework and mechanisms designed to deal with Internet governance should be inclusive and responsive to the exponential growth and fast evolution of the Internet as a common platform for the development of multiple applications.

57.    The security and stability of the Internet must be maintained.

58.   We recognize that Internet  governance includes more than Internet naming and addressing. It also includes other significant public policy issues such as, inter alia, critical Internet resources, the security and safety of the Internet, and developmental aspects and issues pertaining to the use of the Internet.

59.    We recognize that Internet governance includes social, economic and technical issues including affordability, reliability and quality of service.

60.    We further recognize that there are many cross-cutting international public policy issues that require attention and are not adequately addressed by the current mechanisms. 

61.    We are convinced that there is a need to initiate, and reinforce, as appropriate, a transparent, democratic, and multilateral process, with the participation of governments, private sector, civil society and international organizations, in their respective roles. This process could envisage creation of a suitable framework or mechanisms, where justified, thus spurring the ongoing and active evolution of the current arrangements in order to synergize the efforts in this regard.

62.    We emphasize that any Internet governance approach should be inclusive and responsive and should continue to promote an enabling environment for innovation, competition and investment.

63.    Countries should not be involved in decisions regarding another country’s country-code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD). Their legitimate interests, as expressed and defined by each country, in diverse ways, regarding decisions affecting their ccTLDs, need to be respected, upheld and addressed via a flexible and improved framework and mechanisms.

64.    We recognize the need for further development of, and strengthened cooperation among, stakeholders for public policies for generic Top-Level Domain names (gTLDs).

65.    We underline the need to maximize the participation of developing countries in decisions regarding Internet governance, which should reflect their interests, as well as in development and capacity building.

66.    In view of the continuing internationalization of the Internet and the principle of universality, we agree to implement the Geneva Principles regarding Internet governance.

67.    We agreeinter alia, to invite the UN Secretary-General to convene a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue.

68.    We recognize that all governments should have an equal role and responsibility, for international Internet governance and for ensuring the stability, security and continuity of the Internet. We also recognize the need for development of public policy by governments in consultation with all stakeholders.

69.    We further recognize the need for enhanced cooperation in the future, to enable governments, on an equal footing, to carry out their roles and responsibilities, in international public policy issues pertaining to the Internet, but not in the day-to-day technical and operational matters, that do not impact on international public policy issues.

70.    Using relevant international organizations, such cooperation should include the development of globally applicable principles on public policy issues associated with the coordination and management of critical Internet resources. In this regard, we call upon the organizations responsible for essential tasks associated with the Internet to contribute to creating an environment that facilitates this development of public policy principles.

71.    The process towards enhanced cooperation, to be started by the UN Secretary-General, involving all relevant organizations by the end of the first quarter of 2006, will involve all stakeholders in their respective roles, will proceed as quickly as possible consistent with legal process, and will be responsive to innovation. Relevant organizations should commence a process towards enhanced cooperation involving all stakeholders, proceeding as quickly as possible and responsive to innovation. The same relevant organizations shall be requested to provide annual performance reports.

72.    We ask the UN Secretary-General, in an open and inclusive process, to convene, by the second quarter of 2006, a meeting of the new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue — called the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The mandate of the Forum is to:

a)    Discuss public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance in Agenda for the Information Society order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet.

b)    Facilitate discourse between bodies dealing with different cross-cutting international public policies regarding the Internet and discuss issues that do not fall within the scope of any existing body.

c)    Interface with appropriate intergovernmental organizations and other institutions on matters under their purview.

d)    Facilitate the exchange of information and best practices, and in this regard make full use of the expertise of the academic, scientific and technical communities.

e)  Advise all stakeholders in proposing ways and means to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world.

f)    Strengthen and enhance the engagement of stakeholders in existing and/or future Internet governance mechanisms, particularly those from developing countries.

g)    Identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendations.

h)    Contribute to capacity building for Internet governance in developing countries, drawing fully on local sources of knowledge and expertise.

i)    Promote and assess, on an ongoing basis, the embodiment of WSIS principles in Internet governance processes.

j)    Discuss, inter alia, issues relating to critical Internet resources.

k)    Help to find solutions to the issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet, of particular concern to everyday users.

l)    Publish its proceedings.

73.    The Internet Governance Forum, in its working and function, will be multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic and transparent. To that end, the proposed IGF could:

a)    Build on the existing structures of Internet governance, with special emphasis on the complementarity between all stakeholders involved in this process — governments, business entities, civil society and intergovernmental organizations.

b)    Have a lightweight and decentralized structure that would be subject to periodic review.

c)    Meet periodically, as required. IGF meetings, in principle, may be held in parallel with major relevant UN conferences, inter alia, to use logistical support.

74.    We encourage the UN Secretary-General to examine a range of options for the convening of the Forum, taking into consideration the proven competencies of all stakeholders in Internet governance and the need to ensure their full involvement.

75.    The UN Secretary-General would report to UN Member States periodically on the operation of the Forum.

76.    We ask the UN Secretary-General to examine the desirability of the continuation of the Forum, in formal consultation with Forum participants, within five years of its creation, and to make recommendations to the UN Membership in this regard.

77.    The IGF would have no oversight function and would not replace existing arrangements, mechanisms, institutions or organizations, but would involve them and take advantage of their expertise. It would be constituted as a neutral, non-duplicative and non-binding process. It would have no involvement in day-to-day or technical operations of the Internet.

78.    The UN Secretary-General should extend invitations to all stakeholders and relevant parties to participate at the inaugural meeting of the IGF, taking into consideration balanced geographical representation. The UN Secretary-General should also:

a)    draw upon any appropriate resources from all interested stakeholders, including the proven expertise of ITU, as demonstrated during the WSIS process; and

b)    establish an effective and cost-efficient bureau to support the IGF, ensuring multi-stakeholder participation.

79.    Diverse matters relating to Internet governance would continue to be addressed in other relevant forums.

80.    We encourage the development of multi-stakeholder processes at the national, regional and international levels to discuss and collaborate on the expansion and diffusion of the Internet as a means to support development efforts to achieve internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.

81.    We reaffirm our commitment to the full implementation of the Geneva Principles.

82.    We welcome the generous offer of the Government of Greece to host the first meeting of the IGF in Athens no later than 2006 and we call upon the UN Secretary-General to extend invitations to all stakeholders and relevant parties to participate at the inaugural meeting of the IGF.

 

 

 

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