STATEMENT BY H.E. DR LEE BOON YANG, MINISTER FOR
INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS & THE ARTS
17 November 2005
Ladies and gentlemen
ICT Development and the WSIS Process
The advance and ubiquity of ICT has had a profound impact
on the economic and social progress of all countries. The benefits from
deploying ICT are apparent in nearly every field of human endeavour. So are
the divides faced by those who are unable to adopt and utilise ICT for
various reasons. It was the emergence and recognition of these divides which
prompted the community of nations to initiate the World Summit on
The Tunis Summit will build on the success of the first
WSIS in Geneva. Over the past two years, we have all worked in an open and
inclusive manner to implement the commitments we made in Geneva. For
instance, we have reached agreement on financial mechanisms for development,
spam control and cyber-security. Singapore welcomes and supports such
Singapore's Efforts at Building an Information Society
Singapore first saw the importance of harnessing ICT for
progress in the early 1980s. Since then, we have invested much effort and
resources in programmes to attain our vision of deploying ICT as a key
enabler to unleash the potential of our people and create opportunities for
our citizens. While more remains to be done, today, Singapore offers an
interconnected, mobile, broadband and wired as well as wireless environment
for work, play and learning.
The Government is itself a lead user of ICT. We offer
Singaporeans 24/7 on-line e-government service delivery as well as promote
inclusive and active citizenry through on-line contacts for policy
consultations and feedback. More than 1,600 government services are now
available online. ICT is extensively used for education, healthcare and many
other social services. E-government has also enhanced citizens' inputs on
public policies and provided more accessible and timely public services.
To help us advance into the next phase of growth as an
Information Society, Singapore is developing a new strategic master-plan,
known as Intelligent Nation 2015, or iN2015. This master-plan is an attempt
to identify critical new infocomm developments and will serve as our ICT
roadmap for the next ten years.
Internet Governance – Singapore's View
Allow me to turn now to one of the major issues that has
preoccupied WSIS for the past two years, namely Internet Governance. It is
self-evident that the Information Society is founded on the continued
development of the Internet. The Internet is a truly revolutionary modern
phenomenon. In a short span of less than two decades, it has become a
crucial component of global commerce, communications and human development.
It is no surprise therefore, that governance of this pervasive and strategic
medium has been of much interest to participants at this Summit.
Singapore supports the Joint Statement of the Association
of South-East Asian Nations, or ASEAN, on the issue of Internet Governance.
We share the view that Internet Governance must be inclusive and responsive.
It must facilitate development. We also accept that while there is a need to
improve governance of the Internet, we should not view such governance as
the sole domain of governments. The importance of continued technological
Internet developments and deployment reinforces the advantage of a
partnership approach whereby Governments, industry and civil society work
together for the benefit of all who are touched by this wonderful invention.
However we urge greater recognition of the legitimate
interest of governments in the public policy issues connected and influenced
by the Internet. The interest of governments in the Internet is not
unfounded nor is it due to a lack of understanding of how the Internet
works. Take for example the recent ICANN proposal for a new generic top
level domain for adult content, .xxx; The United States government promptly
requested ICANN to study this matter further. In doing so, it echoed the
concerns of many countries around the world. This clearly shows that
governance of the Internet affects public policy and national interests.
The challenge before us is how to better serve these
public interests in a manner that respects the unique architecture and
traditions of the Internet. Singapore believes that a top-down
inter-governmental structure may not be the right fit. Instead, we should
work to enhance the existing governance structure. An evolutionary approach
will provide time for more consultation and deeper appreciation of the
intricacies of making the Internet a true force for advancing the cause of
To us, therefore, the answer lies in strengthening and
evolving existing structures to respond more positively and effectively to
the growing global significance of the Internet and the legitimate
aspirations of all those whose lives are affected by it. There is no
question that these existing structures and institutions must become more
international in nature. This process of change should gather momentum after
WSIS and move forward with clear milestones and deliverables.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Tunis Summit is
the Summit of Solutions and Actions. Far from being the end of our work, it
signals the beginning of concerted and global efforts to achieve an
all-inclusive global Information Society. Singapore supports the report that
has been submitted to this Summit for endorsement. The report charts a
vision for the global community to achieve the full benefits of an
Information Society for all.