STATEMENT FROM NORWAY
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are gathered here in Tunis to deal with a revolution,
comparable only to the Industrial Revolution more than two
hundred years ago – and with an impact even more profound.
Driven by information and communication technologies, a
global society is now being created. We are gathered here to
find the most appropriate response to this new challenge –
the challenge of global governance.
In our response to this challenge - creating a good
global society - we must address the following two
First, how do we strike the appropriate balance between
the freedom of the individual and the interest of society at
large? Secondly, how do we strike the appropriate balance
between the economic roles of the state and the market?
The way we see it, this two-dimensional balance has been
at the heart of our negotiations during the entire WSIS
Norway’s response is the following: We seek to achieve
the maximum freedom, integrity and development prospects for
the individual human being, as member of a peaceful and
stable society, governed by the rule of law.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Industrial production, in particular manufacturing of
goods, has been driving economic growth and development over
the past two hundred years. Now, we have come to acknowledge
that this industrial society is being substituted by
what we have labeled the information society.
Information, knowledge and ideas are increasingly the
main sources of productivity, growth and development.
My government considers this observation and its
consequences perhaps the most valuable message to come out
of this Summit. As a matter of fact, we consider this the
very raison d’etre of the entire WSIS process.
Recognizing that the freedom to seek, receive and impart
information, knowledge and ideas of all kinds, regardless of
frontiers, is increasingly the key to development, and to
pluralistic, prosperous and socially stable societies, we
commit ourselves to protect and promote all Human Rights,
including the freedom of expression.
We also recognize that truly free and independent media
have a crucial role to play in promoting and protecting an
open and inclusive society. We therefore call on all
governments to take the necessary legal, political and
economic measures to guarantee editorially independent media
in the Information Society.
Technology alone, without the appropriate democratic
policy framework, will do little to promote sustainable
development and bridge the digital divide.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Norway would like to see an Information Society based on
market economic principles, driven by the private sector. At
the same time, we recognize that this must take place within
a framework of regulations and other measures necessary to
achieve policy objectives.
Central among our objectives are peace, security,
prosperity, justice, openness, diversity, fairness and equal
This means that we are open to pro-active government
involvement when this is deemed necessary to modify
undisireable market outcomes. Let me highlight the most
important cases in point:
First, all our efforts must be geared at reaching the
United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
While the MDGs can only be reached in a dynamic
environment of economic growth, through good governance and
sound macroeconomic policies, unleashing enterpreneurship by
the private sector – we do recognize that such an
environment will not necessarily reach the marginal and most
vulnerable groups of society, nor the poorest among the
Therefore, active government measures are indeed
necessary, including public spending in health, education
The pilot project African University Network, jointly
developed by the United Nations University, the ITU, The
European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) and GRID Arendal,
and co-sponsored by the Government of Norway, is a case in
Second, empowering women, protecting women’s rights, and
ensuring equal opportunities for women is our highest
priority and will require pro-active policy measures.
Third, particular attention must be given to indigenous
peoples, whose culture and way of life can be at odds with
the fundamental premisses of the market economy. We
recognize this and should act accordingly.
Fourth, protection and promotion of cultural diversity is
now well established as a fundamental policy objective, most
recently in the newly agreed UNESCO Convention on Cultural
Fifth and finally, while privately owned knowledge and
information is the norm and the principal mode of supply in
a market economy, we also recognize the need to actively
encourage and provide for other sources of knowledge and
In this context I would particularly highlight the value
of public libraries, museums and archives – as well as open
source software. Libraries are vital elements in the
enabling environment and capacity-building of the
information society, supporting education, democracy and
Ladies and gentlemen,
Before I close, let me address more specifically the
issue of Internet Governance and explain Norway’s position
on this most prominent question at the Summit:
More than anything else, the Internet is the visual – and
virtual – expression of our new globalized society. Many
will say it is the main driver behind globalization.
The Internet is an immensely powerful tool for
individuals everywhere, enhancing their freedom and
development, regardless of frontiers.
The Internet has also become an integrated and vital part
of every single country’s basic infrastructure – and perhaps
even more importantly, the umbillical cord of our new,
globalized society. The Internet is a global public good.
The crucial importance of the Internet to our civil,
political, economic, social and cultural life explains why
Norway has been actively involved in the WSIS debate on
Internet Governance throughout this process.
The continued security and stability of the Internet is
our foremost objective.
Any change to the system of Internet Governance must keep
this in mind and promote an enabling environment for
competition, driven by the private sector, with a
multistakeholder nature, facilitating innovation and
development at the edges, where decisions are made at
the local level.
Precisely for these reasons and because this unique
innovation directly affects not only each and every country,
but also the interaction and rapidly increasing
interdependence of all countries, the challenge of Internet
Governance is also a pioneering challenge of global
For my government, this represents a dilemma. On the one
hand we fully appreciate the unique role of the United
States in the development of the Internet and as the
benevolent guardian of the continued security, stability and
functioning of the Internet.
At the same time we understand the sense of democratic
deficit the current governance regime can cause around the
world, a sense of democratic deficit which can undermine the
spirit of cooperation necessary to deal with common threats
to the Internet, including cybercrime and spam.
We therefore welcome the constructive approach to be
adopted by this Summit, and look forward to participate
actively in the agreed process on how we can move towards a
new model of international cooperation on Internet
Let me express Norway’s deep appreciation to the United
Nations for giving us this opportunity to collectively
address and find solutions to these issues of common
By coming together in the United Nations can we build a
peaceful and stable global society, based on the rule of
law, where might does not make right, but where right makes
In so doing, we shall keep in mind the following
Democracy at the core requires democracy at the edges!