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ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum opens in Geneva

Consensus-oriented multi-stakeholder debate around Internet issues

Geneva, 14 May, 2013 — Over 800 delegates from the private sector, government, NGOs and Internet-related organizations are meeting in Geneva this week for ITU’s fifth World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum, a regular multi-stakeholder event designed to stimulate debate around hot topics affecting the fast-evolving technology sector.

The event opened this morning at Geneva’s International Conference Centre with addresses by Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General; Doris Leuthard, Minister, Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, Switzerland; Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO, ICANN; and Robert E. Kahn, Chairman, CEO and President, CNRI and one of the fathers of the Internet.

This year’s Forum focuses on the topic of Internet-related Public Policy Issues, and will consider the adoption of six draft Opinions developed during three preparatory meetings of the WTPF Informal Experts Group (IEG):

Opinion 1: Promoting Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) as a long term solution to advance connectivity

Opinion 2: Fostering an enabling environment for the greater growth and development of broadband connectivity

Opinion 3: Supporting Capacity Building for the deployment of IPv6

Opinion 4: Supporting IPv6 Adoption and Transition from IPv4

Opinion 5: Supporting Multi-stakeholderism in Internet Governance

Opinion 6: Supporting operationalizing the Enhanced Cooperation Process

Speaking to assembled delegates at the opening session this morning, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré noted that the WTPF is one of ITU’s most free-thinking events – “a chance to pause, reflect and debate the emerging issues in telecoms and ICTs, and their significance for us all.

“We stand at a ‘tipping point’ between the Internet as a vital enabler of social and economic progress in the industrialized world and the Internet as a valuable global resource and a basic commodity of human life everywhere,” said Dr Touré. “By the end of this year, there will be almost as many active mobile cellular phones as there are people on the planet, and some 2.7 billion people will be using the Internet – with 2.1 billion active mobile-broadband subscriptions. But at the end of this year almost 70% of people in the developing world will still be offline,” he said, urging delegates to focus their discussions on ways to improve global connectivity.

The WTPF was established by ITU’s governing body, the Plenipotentiary Conference, back in 1994, as a venue to discuss and exchange views and information on emerging ICT policy and regulatory matters. Topics for each WTPF are chosen by ITU members.

Structure of the Forum

This fifth WTPF is chaired by Ivo Ivanovski, Minister of Information Society and Administration, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, supported by six vice-chairs.

“The WTPF is unique among ITU events in providing an open and informal cross-sectoral platform for government, industry and civil society to get together to forge a common vision around the issues that affect all stakeholders. I am looking forward to the upcoming discussions during the conference, where the participants will have a chance to voice their opinions on significant topics for the future development of the Internet,” said Ivanovski.

The principal input document to the WTPF is the ITU Secretary-General’s Report, which incorporates the 75 contributions received from government and private industry during the preparatory process. Also discussed will be contributions received from ITU’s membership submitted directly to the Forum. The purpose of Secretary-General’s report is to serve as a starting point for discussions; it will not be amended as an output of the Forum.

More than 180 experts participated in the work of the IEG, which was open to all interested parties. Chaired by Petko Kantchev of Bulgaria, the IEG met twice in 2012 (5 June, 8-10 October), and once in 2013 (6-8 February).

The WTPF was preceded yesterday by a high-level Strategic Dialogue around the topic of broadband, featuring prominent speakers from industry, civil society and government. Session One, Building Out Broadband, examined the role of broadband as critical infrastructure in the modern global economy for promoting economic growth, productivity and trade. Session Two, Broadband Driving Development, looked at broadband applications for development in areas like e-health and e-education, as well as the scale of the business opportunity for the private sector looking to invest in under-served markets.

The WTPF and Strategic Dialogue are webcast (live and archived) in all six official UN languages at: www.itu.int/en/wtpf-13/Pages/webcast.aspx

The WTPF opening press conference can be viewed at: www.itu.int/en/wtpf-13/Pages/webcast-pc.aspx

The Forum structure including the full list of Working Groups and Working Group Chairs and vice-Chairs can be found at: www.itu.int/en/wtpf-13/Pages/structure.aspx

Media backgrounders on the key topics being discussed at the Forum and Strategic Dialogue are available on the WTPF Newsroom: www.itu.int/en/wtpf-13/Pages/newsroom.aspx

Speeches and official policy statements are available at: www.itu.int/en/wtpf-13/Pages/speakers.aspx

Photos from the WTPF and Strategic Dialogue can be viewed and downloaded at: www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/collections/72157633439495845/

View video footage on the WTPF 2013 playlist at ITU’sYouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/12giDR5

Broadcast media can download HD-quality video from ITU’s Virtual Video Newsroom at: www.itu.int/en/newsroom/Pages/videos.aspx

The Secretary-General’s Report can be downloaded at: www.itu.int/md/S13-WTPF13-C-0003/en

A full list of members of the Informal Experts Group is available here.

For more information please contact:

Paul Conneally
Head, Communication & Partnership Promotion
telephone +41 22 730 5601
tel +41 79 592 5668
email paul.conneally@itu.int
Sarah Parkes
Chief, Media Relations & Public Information, ITU
telephone +41 22 730 6135
tel +41 79 599 1439
email sarah.parkes@itu.int
Note for media: ITU’s video newsroom provides fast access to broadcast-quality footage and news packages. Register at www.itu.int/en/newsroom/Pages/videos.aspx


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