Computers, Information Technology, the Internet, Ethics, Society and Human Values
Philip Pecorino, Ph.D.
Queensborough Community College, CUNY
Chapter 12 Political Change
The gulf between nations and peoples that have access to the advancing technologies and thsoe who do not have such access.
from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_divide
To address the divide the United Nations organized a program titled the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS). The summit was held in Geneva in 2003 and Tunis (2007). Some selections form the recommendations issued are offered here:
10.3 Geneva Plan of Action http://www.itu.int/wsis/docs/geneva/official/poa.html
1. The common vision and guiding principles of the Declaration are translated in this Plan of Action into concrete action lines to advance the achievement of the internationally-agreed development goals, including those in the Millennium Declaration, the Monterrey Consensus and the Johannesburg Declaration and Plan of Implementation, by promoting the use of ICT-based products, networks, services and applications, and to help countries overcome the digital divide. The Information Society envisaged in the Declaration of Principles will be realized in cooperation and solidarity by governments and all other stakeholders.2. The Information Society is an evolving concept that has reached different levels across the world, reflecting the different stages of development. Technological and other change is rapidly transforming the environment in which the Information Society is developed. The Plan of Action is thus an evolving platform to promote the Information Society at the national, regional and international levels. The unique two-phase structure of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) provides an opportunity to take this evolution into account.
3. All stakeholders have an important role to play in the Information Society, especially through partnerships:
Objectives, goals and targets4. The objectives of the Plan of Action are to build an inclusive Information Society; to put the potential of knowledge and ICTs at the service of development; to promote the use of information and knowledge for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration; and to address new challenges of the Information Society, at the national, regional and international levels. Opportunity shall be taken in phase two of the WSIS to evaluate and assess progress made towards bridging the digital divide.
5. Specific targets for the Information Society will be established as appropriate, at the national level in the framework of national e-strategies and in accordance with national development policies, taking into account the different national circumstances. Such targets can serve as useful benchmarks for actions and for the evaluation of the progress made towards the attainment of the overall objectives of the Information Society.6. Based on internationally agreed development goals, including those in the Millennium Declaration, which are premised on international cooperation, indicative targets may serve as global references for improving connectivity and access in the use of ICTs in promoting the objectives of the Plan of Action, to be achieved by 2015. These targets may be taken into account in the establishment of the national targets, considering the different national circumstances:
C. Action LinesC1.
The role of governments and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development8. The effective participation of governments and all stakeholders is vital in developing the Information Society requiring cooperation and partnerships among all of them.
9. Infrastructure is central in achieving the goal of digital inclusion, enabling universal, sustainable, ubiquitous and affordable access to ICTs by all, taking into account relevant solutions already in place in developing countries and countries with economies in transition, to provide sustainable connectivity and access to remote and marginalized areas at national and regional levels.
10. ICTs allow people, anywhere in the world, to access information and knowledge almost instantaneously. Individuals, organizations and communities should benefit from access to knowledge and information.
11. Everyone should have the necessary skills to benefit fully from the Information Society. Therefore capacity building and ICT literacy are essential. ICTs can contribute to achieving universal education worldwide, through delivery of education and training of teachers, and offering improved conditions for lifelong learning, encompassing people that are outside the formal education process, and improving professional skills.
12. Confidence and security are among the main pillars of the Information Society.
13. Confidence and security are among the main pillars of the Information Society.
14. ICT applications can support sustainable development, in the fields of public administration, business, education and training, health, employment, environment, agriculture and science within the framework of national e-strategies. This would include actions within the following sectors:15. E-government
23. Cultural and linguistic diversity, while stimulating respect for cultural identity, traditions and religions, is essential to the development of an Information Society based on the dialogue among cultures and regional and international cooperation. It is an important factor for sustainable development.
24. Cultural and linguistic diversity, while stimulating respect for cultural identity, traditions and religions, is essential to the development of an Information Society based on the dialogue among cultures and regional and international cooperation. It is an important factor for sustainable development.
25. The Information Society should be subject to universally held values and promote the common good and to prevent abusive uses of ICTs.
26. International cooperation among all stakeholders is vital in implementation of this plan of action and needs to be strengthened with a view to promoting universal access and bridging the digital divide, inter alia, by provision of means of implementation
27. The Digital Solidarity Agenda aims at putting in place the conditions for mobilizing human, financial and technological resources for inclusion of all men and women in the emerging Information Society. Close national, regional and international cooperation among all stakeholders in the implementation of this Agenda is vital. To overcome the digital divide, we need to use more efficiently existing approaches and mechanisms and fully explore new ones, in order to provide financing for the development of infrastructure, equipment, capacity building and content, which are essential for participation in the Information Society.D1. Priorities and strategies
28. A realistic international performance evaluation and benchmarking (both qualitative and quantitative), through comparable statistical indicators and research results, should be developed to follow up the implementation of the objectives, goals and targets in the Plan of Action, taking into account different national circumstances.
29. Recalling General Assembly Resolution 56/183 and taking into account the outcome of the Geneva phase of the WSIS, a preparatory meeting will be held in the first half of 2004 to review those issues of the Information Society which should form the focus of the Tunis phase of the WSIS and to agree on the structure of the preparatory process for the second phase. In line with the decision of this Summit concerning its Tunis phase, the second phase of the WSIS should consider, inter alia:
Tunis Commitment http://www.itu.int/wsis/docs2/tunis/off/7.html
1. We, the representatives of the peoples of the world, have gathered in Tunis from 16-18 November 2005 for this second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to reiterate our unequivocal support for the Geneva Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action adopted at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva in December 2003.
2. We reaffirm our desire and commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and multilateralism, and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so that people everywhere can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, to achieve their full potential and to attain the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.
3. We reaffirm the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, as enshrined in the Vienna Declaration. We also reaffirm that democracy, sustainable development, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as good governance at all levels are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. We further resolve to strengthen respect for the rule of law in international as in national affairs.
4. We reaffirm paragraphs 4, 5 and 55 of the Geneva Declaration of Principles. We recognize that freedom of expression and the free flow of information, ideas, and knowledge, are essential for the Information Society and beneficial to development.
5. The Tunis Summit represents a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can bring to humanity and the manner in which they can transform people’s activities, interaction and lives, and thus increase confidence in the future.
6. This Summit is an important stepping-stone in the world’s efforts to eradicate poverty and to attain the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals. By the Geneva decisions, we established a coherent long-term link between the WSIS process, and other relevant major United Nations conferences and summits. We call upon governments, private sector, civil society and international organizations to join together to implement the commitments set forth in the Geneva Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action. In this context, the outcomes of the recently concluded 2005 World Summit on the review of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration are of special relevance.
7. We reaffirm the commitments made in Geneva and build on them in Tunis by focusing on financial mechanisms for bridging the digital divide, on Internet governance and related issues, as well as on follow-up and implementation of the Geneva and Tunis decisions, as referenced in the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.
8. While reaffirming the important roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders as outlined in paragraph 3 of the Geneva Plan of Action, we acknowledge the key role and responsibilities of governments in the WSIS process.
9. We reaffirm our resolution in the quest to ensure that everyone can benefit from the opportunities that ICTs can offer, by recalling that governments, as well as private sector, civil society and the United Nations and other international organizations, should work together to: improve access to information and communication infrastructure and technologies as well as to information and knowledge; build capacity; increase confidence and security in the use of ICTs; create an enabling environment at all levels; develop and widen ICT applications; foster and respect cultural diversity; recognize the role of the media; address the ethical dimensions of the Information Society; and encourage international and regional cooperation. We confirm that these are the key principles for building an inclusive Information Society, the elaboration of which is found in the Geneva Declaration of Principles.
10. We recognize that access to information and sharing and creation of knowledge contributes significantly to strengthening economic, social and cultural development, thus helping all countries to reach the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals. This process can be enhanced by removing barriers to universal, ubiquitous, equitable and affordable access to information. We underline the importance of removing barriers to bridging the digital divide, particularly those that hinder the full achievement of the economic, social and cultural development of countries and the welfare of their people, in particular, in developing countries.
11. Furthermore, ICTs are making it possible for a vastly larger population than at any time in the past to join in sharing and expanding the base of human knowledge, and contributing to its further growth in all spheres of human endeavour as well as its application to education, health and science. ICTs have enormous potential to expand access to quality education, to boost literacy and universal primary education, and to facilitate the learning process itself, thus laying the groundwork for the establishment of a fully inclusive and development-oriented Information Society and knowledge economy which respects cultural and linguistic diversity.
12. We emphasize that the adoption of ICTs by enterprises plays a fundamental role in economic growth. The growth and productivity enhancing effects of well-implemented investments in ICTs can lead to increased trade and to more and better employment. For this reason, both enterprise development and labour market policies play a fundamental role in the adoption of ICTs. We invite governments and the private sector to enhance the capacity of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), since they furnish the greatest number of jobs in most economies. We shall work together, with all stakeholders, to put in place the necessary policy, legal and regulatory frameworks that foster entrepreneurship, particularly for SMMEs.
13. We also recognize that the ICT revolution can have a tremendous positive impact as an instrument of sustainable development. In addition, an appropriate enabling environment at national and international levels could prevent increasing social and economic divisions, and the widening of the gap between rich and poor countries, regions, and individuals—including between men and women.
14. We also recognize that in addition to building ICT infrastructure, there should be adequate emphasis on developing human capacity and creating ICT applications and digital content in local language, where appropriate, so as to ensure a comprehensive approach to building a global Information Society.
15. Recognizing the principles of universal and non-discriminatory access to ICTs for all nations, the need to take into account the level of social and economic development of each country, and respecting the development-oriented aspects of the Information Society, we underscore that ICTs are effective tools to promote peace, security and stability, to enhance democracy, social cohesion, good governance and the rule of law, at national, regional and international levels. ICTs can be used to promote economic growth and enterprise development. Infrastructure development, human capacity building, information security and network security are critical to achieve these goals. We further recognize the need to effectively confront challenges and threats resulting from use of ICTs for purposes that are inconsistent with objectives of maintaining international stability and security and may adversely affect the integrity of the infrastructure within States, to the detriment of their security. It is necessary to prevent the abuse of information resources and technologies for criminal and terrorist purposes, while respecting human rights.
16. We further commit ourselves to evaluate and follow up progress in bridging the digital divide, taking into account different levels of development, so as to reach internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals, and to assess the effectiveness of investment and international cooperation efforts in building the Information Society.
17. We urge governments, using the potential of ICTs, to create public systems of information on laws and regulations, envisaging a wider development of public access points and supporting the broad availability of this information.
18. We shall strive unremittingly, therefore, to promote universal, ubiquitous, equitable and affordable access to ICTs, including universal design and assistive technologies, for all people, especially those with disabilities, everywhere, to ensure that the benefits are more evenly distributed between and within societies, and to bridge the digital divide in order to create digital opportunities for all and benefit from the potential offered by ICTs for development.
19. The international community should take necessary measures to ensure that all countries of the world have equitable and affordable access to ICTs, so that their benefits in the fields of socio-economic development and bridging the digital divide are truly inclusive.
20. To that end, we shall pay particular attention to the special needs of marginalized and vulnerable groups of society including migrants, internally displaced persons and refugees, unemployed and underprivileged people, minorities and nomadic people, older persons and persons with disabilities.
21. To that end, we shall pay special attention to the particular needs of people of developing countries, countries with economies in transition, Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States, Landlocked Developing Countries, Highly Indebted Poor Countries, countries and territories under occupation, and countries recovering from conflict or natural disasters.
22. In the evolution of the Information Society, particular attention must be given to the special situation of indigenous peoples, as well as to the preservation of their heritage and their cultural legacy.
23. We recognize that a gender divide exists as part of the digital divide in society and we reaffirm our commitment to women’s empowerment and to a gender equality perspective, so that we can overcome this divide. We further acknowledge that the full participation of women in the Information Society is necessary to ensure the inclusiveness and respect for human rights within the Information Society. We encourage all stakeholders to support women’s participation in decision-making processes and to contribute to shaping all spheres of the Information Society at international, regional and national levels.
24. We recognize the role of ICTs in the protection of children and in enhancing the development of children. We will strengthen action to protect children from abuse and defend their rights in the context of ICTs. In that context, we emphasize that the best interests of the child are a primary consideration.
25. We reaffirm our commitment to empowering young people as key contributors to building an inclusive Information Society. We will actively engage youth in innovative ICT-based development programmes and widen opportunities for youth to be involved in e-strategy processes.
26. We recognize the importance of creative content and applications to overcome the digital divide and to contribute to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.
27. We recognize that equitable and sustainable access to information requires the implementation of strategies for the long-term preservation of the digital information that is being created.
28. We reaffirm our desire to build ICT networks and develop applications, in partnership with the private sector, based on open or interoperable standards that are affordable and accessible to all, available anywhere and anytime, to anyone and on any device, leading to a ubiquitous network.
29. Our conviction is that governments, the private sector, civil society, the scientific and academic community, and users can utilize various technologies and licensing models, including those developed under proprietary schemes and those developed under open-source and free modalities, in accordance with their interests and with the need to have reliable services and implement effective programmes for their people. Taking into account the importance of proprietary software in the markets of the countries, we reiterate the need to encourage and foster collaborative development, interoperative platforms and free and open-source software, in ways that reflect the possibilities of different software models, notably for education, science and digital inclusion programmes.
30. Recognizing that disaster mitigation can significantly support efforts to bring about sustainable development and help in poverty reduction, we reaffirm our commitment to leveraging ICT capabilities and potential through fostering and strengthening cooperation at the national, regional, and international levels.
31. We commit ourselves to work together towards the implementation of the Digital Solidarity Agenda, as agreed in paragraph 27 of the Geneva Plan of Action. The full and quick implementation of that agenda, observing good governance at all levels, requires in particular a timely, effective, comprehensive and durable solution to the debt problems of developing countries where appropriate, a universal, rule-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system, that can also stimulate development worldwide, benefiting countries at all stages of development, as well as, to seek and effectively implement concrete international approaches and mechanisms to increase international cooperation and assistance to bridge the digital divide.
32. We further commit ourselves to promote the inclusion of all peoples in the Information Society through the development and use of local and/or indigenous languages in ICTs. We will continue our efforts to protect and promote cultural diversity, as well as cultural identities, within the Information Society.
33. We acknowledge that, while technical cooperation can help, capacity building at all levels is needed to ensure that the required institutional and individual expertise is available.
34. We recognize the need for, and strive to mobilize resources, both human and financial, in accordance with chapter two of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, to enable us to increase the use of ICT for development and realize the short-, medium- and long-term plans dedicated to building the Information Society as follow-up and implementation of the outcomes of WSIS.
35. We recognize the central role of public policy in setting the framework in which resource mobilization can take place.
36. We value the potential of ICTs to promote peace and to prevent conflict which, inter alia, negatively affects achieving development goals. ICTs can be used for identifying conflict situations through early-warning systems preventing conflicts, promoting their peaceful resolution, supporting humanitarian action, including protection of civilians in armed conflicts, facilitating peacekeeping missions, and assisting post conflict peace-building and reconstruction.
37. We are convinced that our goals can be accomplished through the involvement, cooperation and partnership of governments and other stakeholders, i.e. the private sector, civil society and international organizations, and that international cooperation and solidarity at all levels are indispensable if the fruits of the Information Society are to benefit all.
38. Our efforts should not stop with the conclusion of the Summit. The emergence of the global Information Society to which we all contribute provides increasing opportunities for all our peoples and for an inclusive global community that were unimaginable only a few years ago. We must harness these opportunities today and support their further development and progress.
39. We reaffirm our strong resolve to develop and implement an effective and sustainable response to the challenges and opportunities of building a truly global Information Society that benefits all our peoples.
40. We strongly believe in the full and timely implementation of the decisions we took in Geneva and Tunis, as outlined in the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.
Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (18 November 2005) http://www.itu.int/wsis/docs2/tunis/off/6rev1.html
1. We recognize that it is now time to move from principles to action, considering the work already being done in implementing the Geneva Plan of Action and identifying those areas where progress has been made, is being made, or has not taken place.
2. We reaffirm the commitments made in Geneva and build on them in Tunis by focusing on financial mechanisms for bridging the digital divide, on Internet governance and related issues, as well as on implementation and follow-up of the Geneva and Tunis decisions.
Financial mechanisms for
meeting the challenges of
3. We thank the UN Secretary-General for his efforts in creating the Task Force on Financial Mechanisms (TFFM) and we commend the members on their report.
4. We recall that the mandate of the TFFM was to undertake a thorough review of the adequacy of existing financial mechanisms in meeting the challenges of ICT for development.
5. The TFFM report sets out the complexity of existing mechanisms, both private and public, which provide financing for ICTs in developing countries. It identifies areas where these could be improved and where ICTs could be given higher priority by developing countries and their development partners.
6. Based on the conclusion of the review of the report, we have considered the improvements and innovations of financial mechanisms, including the creation of a voluntary Digital Solidarity Fund, as mentioned in the Geneva Declaration of Principles.
7. We recognize the existence of the digital divide and the challenges that this poses for many countries, which are forced to choose between many competing objectives in their development planning and in demands for development funds whilst having limited resources.
8. We recognize the scale of the problem in bridging the digital divide, which will require adequate and sustainable investments in ICT infrastructure and services, and capacity building, and transfer of technology over many years to come.
9. We call upon the international community to promote the transfer of technology on mutually agreed terms, including ICTs, to adopt policies and programmes with a view to assisting developing countries to take advantage of technology in their pursuit of development through, inter alia, technical cooperation and the building of scientific and technological capacity in our efforts to bridge the digital and development divides.
10. We recognize that the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals, are fundamental. The Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development is the basis for the pursuit of adequate and appropriate financial mechanisms to promote ICT for development, in accordance with the Digital Solidarity Agenda of the Geneva Plan of Action.
11. We recognize and acknowledge the special and specific funding needs of the developing world, as referred to in paragraph 16 of the Geneva Declaration of Principles*, which faces numerous challenges in the ICT sector, and that there is strong need to focus on their special financing needs to achieve the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.
12. We agree that the financing of ICT for development needs to be placed in the context of the growing importance of the role of ICTs, not only as a medium of communication, but also as a development enabler, and as a tool for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.
13. In the past, financing of ICT infrastructure in most developing countries has been based on public investment. Lately, a significant influx of investment has taken place where private-sector participation has been encouraged, based on a sound regulatory framework, and where public policies aimed at bridging the digital divide have been implemented.
14. We are greatly encouraged by the fact that advances in communication technology, and high-speed data networks are continuously increasing the possibilities for developing countries, and countries with economies in transition, to participate in the global market for ICT-enabled services on the basis of their comparative advantage. These emerging opportunities provide a powerful commercial basis for ICT infrastructural investment in these countries. Therefore, governments should take action, in the framework of national development policies, in order to support an enabling and competitive environment for the necessary investment in ICT infrastructure and for the development of new services. At the same time, countries should pursue policies and measures that would not discourage, impede or prevent the continued participation of these countries in the global market for ICT-enabled services.
15. We take note that the challenges for expanding the scope of useful accessible information content in the developing world are numerous; in particular, the issue of financing for various forms of content and applications requires new attention, as this area has often been overlooked by the focus on ICT infrastructure.
16. We recognize that attracting investment in ICTs has depended crucially upon an enabling environment, including good governance at all levels, and a supportive, transparent and pro-competitive policy and regulatory framework, reflecting national realities.
17. We endeavour to engage in a proactive dialogue on matters related to corporate social responsibility and good corporate governance of transnational corporations and their contribution to the economic and social development of developing countries in our efforts to bridge the digital divide.
18. We underline that market forces alone cannot guarantee the full participation of developing countries in the global market for ICT-enabled services. Therefore, we encourage the strengthening of international cooperation and solidarity aimed at enabling all countries, especially those referred to in paragraph 16 of the Geneva Declaration of Principles, to develop ICT infrastructure and ICT-enabled services that are viable and competitive at national and international levels.
19. We recognize that, in addition to the public sector, financing of ICT infrastructure by the private sector has come to play an important role in many countries and that domestic financing is being augmented by North-South flows and South-South cooperation.
20. We recognize that, as a result of the growing impact of sustainable private-sector investment in infrastructure, multilateral and bilateral public donors are redirecting public resources to other development objectives, including Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and related programmes, policy reforms and mainstreaming of ICTs and capacity development. We encourage all governments to give appropriate priority to ICTs, including traditional ICTs such as broadcast radio and television, in their national development strategies. We also encourage multilateral institutions as well as bilateral public donors to consider also providing more financial support for regional and large-scale national ICT infrastructure projects and related capacity development. They should consider aligning their aid and partnership strategies with the priorities set by developing countries and countries with economies in transition in their national development strategies including their poverty reduction strategies.
21. We recognize that public finance plays a crucial role in providing ICT access and services to rural areas and disadvantaged populations including those in Small Island Developing States and Landlocked Developing Countries.
22. We note that ICT-related capacity-building needs represent a high priority in all developing countries and the current financing levels have not been adequate to meet the needs, although there are many different funding mechanisms supporting ICTs for development.
23. We recognize that there are a number of areas in need of greater financial resources and where current approaches to ICT for development financing have devoted insufficient attention to date. These include:
In addition, there is a need to consider the following other issues, which are relevant to ICT for development and which have not received adequate attention:
24. Recognizing that the central responsibility for coordination of public financing programmes and public ICT development initiatives rests with governments, we recommend that further cross-sectoral and cross-institutional coordination should be undertaken, both on the part of donors and recipients within the national framework.
25. Multilateral development banks and institutions should consider adapting their existing mechanisms, and where appropriate designing new ones, to provide for national and regional demands on ICT development.
26. We acknowledge the following prerequisites for equitable and universal accessibility to, and better utilization of, financial mechanisms:
27. We recommend improvements and innovations in existing financing mechanisms, including:
28. We welcome the Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF) established in Geneva as an innovative financial mechanism of a voluntary nature open to interested stakeholders with the objective of transforming the digital divide into digital opportunities for the developing world by focusing mainly on specific and urgent needs at the local level and seeking new voluntary sources of “solidarity” finance. The DSF will complement existing mechanisms for funding the Information Society, which should continue to be fully utilized to fund the growth of new ICT infrastructure and services.
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’s 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:
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 their 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 the 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:
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:
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 roles of the private sector and civil society as the drivers of innovation and private investment in the development of the Internet are 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 agree, inter 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:
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:
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:
79. Diverse matters relating to Internet governance would continue to be addressed in other relevant fora.
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.
Implementation and Follow-up
83. Building an inclusive development-oriented Information Society will require unremitting multi-stakeholder effort. We thus commit ourselves to remain fully engaged—nationally, regionally and internationally—to ensure sustainable implementation and follow-up of the outcomes and commitments reached during the WSIS process and its Geneva and Tunis phases of the Summit. Taking into account the multifaceted nature of building the Information Society, effective cooperation among governments, private sector, civil society and the United Nations and other international organizations, according to their different roles and responsibilities and leveraging on their expertise, is essential.
84. Governments and other stakeholders should identify those areas where further effort and resources are required, and jointly identify, and where appropriate develop, implementation strategies, mechanisms and processes for WSIS outcomes at international, regional, national and local levels, paying particular attention to people and groups that are still marginalized in their access to, and utilization of, ICTs.
85. Taking into consideration the leading role of governments in partnership with other stakeholders in implementing the WSIS outcomes, including the Geneva Plan of Action, at the national level, we encourage those governments that have not yet done so to elaborate, as appropriate, comprehensive, forward-looking and sustainable national e-strategies, including ICT strategies and sectoral e-strategies as appropriate1, as an integral part of national development plans and poverty reduction strategies, as soon as possible and before 2010.
86. We support regional and international integration efforts aimed at building a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, and we reiterate that strong cooperation within and among regions is indispensable to support knowledge-sharing. Regional cooperation should contribute to national capacity building and to the development of regional implementation strategies.
87. We affirm that the exchange of views and sharing of effective practices and resources is essential to implementing the outcomes of WSIS at the regional and international levels. To this end, efforts should be made to provide and share, among all stakeholders, knowledge and know-how, related to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of e-strategies and policies, as appropriate. We recognize as fundamental elements to bridge the digital divide in developing countries, in a sustainable way, poverty reduction, enhanced national capacity building and the promotion of national technological development.
88. We reaffirm that through the international cooperation of governments and the partnership of all stakeholders, it will be possible to succeed in our challenge of harnessing the potential of ICTs as a tool, at the service of development, to promote the use of information and knowledge to achieve the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals, as well as to address the national and local development priorities, thereby further improving the socio- economic development of all human beings.
89. We are determined to improve international, regional and national connectivity and affordable access to ICTs and information through an enhanced international cooperation of all stakeholders that promotes technology exchange and technology transfer, human resource development and training, thus increasing the capacity of developing countries to innovate and to participate fully in, and contribute to, the Information Society.
90. We reaffirm our commitment to providing equitable access to information and knowledge for all, recognizing the role of ICTs for economic growth and development. We are committed to working towards achieving the indicative targets, set out in the Geneva Plan of Action, that serve as global references for improving connectivity and universal, ubiquitous, equitable, non-discriminatory and affordable access to, and use of, ICTs, considering different national circumstances, to be achieved by 2015, and to using ICTs, as a tool to achieve the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals, by:
promoting the use of ICTs to enhance flexible ways of working, including teleworking, leading to greater productivity and job creation.
91. We recognize the intrinsic relationship between disaster reduction, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and that disasters seriously undermine investment in a very short time and remain a major impediment to sustainable development and poverty eradication. We are clear as to the important enabling role of ICTs at the national, regional and international levels including:
a) Promoting technical cooperation and enhancing the capacity of countries, particularly developing countries, in utilizing ICT tools for disaster early-warning, management and emergency communications, including dissemination of understandable warnings to those at risk.
b) Promoting regional and international cooperation for easy access to and sharing of information for disaster management, and exploring modalities for the easier participation of developing countries.
c) Working expeditiously towards the establishment of standards-based monitoring and worldwide early-warning systems linked to national and regional networks and facilitating emergency disaster response all over the world, particularly in high-risk regions.
92. We encourage countries, and all other interested parties, to make available child helplines, taking into account the need for mobilization of appropriate resources. For this purpose, easy-to-remember numbers, accessible from all phones and free of charge, should be made available.
93. We seek to digitize our historical data and cultural heritage for the benefit of future generations. We encourage effective information management policies in the public and private sectors, including the use of standards-based digital archiving and innovative solutions to overcome technological obsolescence, as a means to ensure the long-term preservation of, and continued access to, information.
94. We acknowledge that everyone should benefit from the potential that the Information Society offers. Therefore, we invite governments to assist, on a voluntary basis, those countries affected by any unilateral measure not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations that impedes the full achievement of economic and social development by the population of the affected countries, and that hinders the well-being of their population.
95. We call upon international and intergovernmental organizations to develop, within approved resources, their policy analysis and capacity-building programmes, based on practical and replicable experiences of ICT matters, policies and actions that have led to economic growth and poverty alleviation, including through the improved competitiveness of enterprises.
96. We recall the importance of creating a trustworthy, transparent and non-discriminatory legal, regulatory and policy environment. To that end, we reiterate that ITU and other regional organizations should take steps to ensure rational, efficient and economic use of, and equitable access to, the radio-frequency spectrum by all countries, based on relevant international agreements.
97. We acknowledge that multi-stakeholder participation is essential to the successful building of a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society and that governments could play an important role in this process. We underline that the participation of all stakeholders in implementing WSIS outcomes, and following them up on national, regional and international levels with the overarching goal of helping countries to achieve internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals, is key to that success.
98. We encourage strengthened and continuing cooperation between and among stakeholders to ensure effective implementation of the Geneva and Tunis outcomes, for instance through the promotion of national, regional and international multi-stakeholder partnerships including Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), and the promotion of national and regional multi-stakeholder thematic platforms, in a joint effort and dialogue with developing and less developed countries, development partners and actors in the ICT sector. In that respect, we welcome partnerships such as the ITU-led "Connect the World" initiative.
99. We agree to ensure the sustainability of progress towards the goals of WSIS after the completion of its Tunis phase and we decide, therefore, to establish a mechanism for implementation and follow-up at national, regional and international levels.
100. At the national level, based on the WSIS outcomes, we encourage governments, with the participation of all stakeholders and bearing in mind the importance of an enabling environment, to set up a national implementation mechanism, in which:
101. At the regional level:
102. At the international level, bearing in mind the importance of the enabling environment:
103. We invite UN agencies and other intergovernmental organizations, in line with UNGA Resolution 57/270 B, to facilitate activities among different stakeholders, including civil society and the business sector, to help national governments in their implementation efforts. We request the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with members of the UN system Chief Executives Board for coordination (CEB), to establish, within the CEB, a UN Group on the Information Society consisting of the relevant UN bodies and organizations, with the mandate to facilitate the implementation of WSIS outcomes, and to suggest to CEB that, in considering lead agency(ies) of this Group, it takes into consideration the experience of, and activities in the WSIS process undertaken by, ITU, UNESCO and UNDP.
104. We further request the UN Secretary-General to report to the UNGA through ECOSOC by June 2006, on the modalities of the inter-agency coordination of the implementation of WSIS outcomes including recommendations on the follow-up process.
105. We request that ECOSOC oversees the system-wide follow-up of the Geneva and Tunis outcomes of WSIS. To this end, we request that ECOSOC, at its substantive session of 2006, reviews the mandate, agenda and composition of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), including considering the strengthening of the Commission, taking into account the multi-stakeholder approach.
106. WSIS implementation and follow-up should be an integral part of the UN integrated follow-up to major UN conferences and should contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals. It should not require the creation of any new operational bodies.
107. International and regional organizations should assess and report regularly on universal accessibility of nations to ICTs, with the aim of creating equitable opportunities for the growth of ICT sectors of developing countries.
108. We attach great importance to multi-stakeholder implementation at the international level, which should be organized taking into account the themes and action lines in the Geneva Plan of Action, and moderated or facilitated by UN agencies when appropriate. An Annex to this document offers an indicative and non-exhaustive list of facilitators/moderators for the action lines of the Geneva Plan of Action.
109. The experience of, and the activities undertaken by, UN agencies in the WSIS process—notably ITU, UNESCO and UNDP—should continue to be used to their fullest extent. These three agencies should play leading facilitating roles in the implementation of the Geneva Plan of Action and organize a meeting of moderators/facilitators of action lines, as mentioned in the Annex.
110. The coordination of multi-stakeholder implementation activities would help to avoid duplication of activities. This should include, inter alia, information exchange, creation of knowledge, sharing of best practices, and assistance in developing multi-stakeholder and public-private partnerships.
111. We request the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to make an overall review of the implementation of WSIS outcomes in 2015.
112. We call for periodic
evaluation, using an agreed methodology, such as described in
113. Appropriate indicators and benchmarking, including community connectivity indicators, should clarify the magnitude of the digital divide, in both its domestic and international dimensions, and keep it under regular assessment, and track global progress in the use of ICTs to achieve internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.
114. The development of ICT indicators is important for measuring the digital divide. We note the launch, in June 2004, of the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development, and its efforts:
115. We also note the launch of the ICT Opportunity Index and the Digital Opportunity Index, which will build upon the common set of core ICT indicators as they were defined within the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.
116. We stress that all indices and indicators must take into account different levels of development and national circumstances.
117. The further development of these indicators should be undertaken in a collaborative, cost-effective and non-duplicative fashion.
118. We invite the international community to strengthen the statistical capacity of developing countries by giving appropriate support at national and regional levels.
119. We commit ourselves to review and follow up progress in bridging the digital divide, taking into account the different levels of development among nations, so as to achieve the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals, assessing the effectiveness of investment and international cooperation efforts in building the Information Society, identifying gaps as well as deficits in investment and devising strategies to address them.
120. The sharing of
information related to the implementation of WSIS outcomes is an
important element of evaluation. We note with appreciation
the Report on the Stocktaking of WSIS-related activities, which
will serve as one of the valuable tools for assisting with the
follow-up, beyond the conclusion of the Tunis phase of the Summit, as
well as the "Golden Book" of initiatives launched during the
Tunis phase. We encourage all WSIS
stakeholders to continue to contribute information on their activities
to the public WSIS stocktaking database maintained by ITU. In this
regard, we invite all countries to
gather information at the national level with the involvement of all
stakeholders, to contribute to the stocktaking.
121. There is a need to build more awareness of the Internet in order to make it a global facility which is truly available to the public. We call upon the UNGA to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day to help to raise awareness, on an annual basis, of the importance of this global facility, on the issues dealt with in the Summit, especially the possibilities that the use of ICT can bring for societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.
122. We request the Secretary-General of the Summit to report to the General Assembly of the United Nations on its outcome, as requested in UNGA Resolution 59/220.
Digital Divide: Access Issue by Blaise Liffick Disabled Users, American's with Disabilities Act
Web Surfer's Caveat: These are class notes, intended to comment on readings and amplify class discussion. They should be read as such. They are not intended for publication or general distribution. firstname.lastname@example.org @copyright 2006 Philip A. Pecorino
Last updated 8-2006 Return to Table of Contents