Letter to co-facilitators calling for civil society input into negotiations on WSIS+10 modalities

by Anja Kovacs

The Internet Democracy Project joined a number of other civil society organisations from around the world in writing a letter to the two co-facilitators appointed by the UN General Assembly to convene open intergovernmental consultations to finalise the modalities for the overall WSIS review. The UN General Assembly resorted to this move after it failed to reach agreement on the WSIS modalities by its earlier deadline of December 2013. The two co-facilitators that have been appointed are Tunisia and Finland. The civil society letter to the co-facilitators requests them to ensure that civil society will have an opportunity to input into the informal consultations that they are leading as well to be able to engage more formally throughout the preparatory process for the overall review. The full text of the letter can be found below. If you would like to endorse it, you can do so here.

H.E. Mr. Mohamed Khaled Khiari Permanent Mission of Tunisia to the United Nations 31 Beekman Place New York, N.Y. 10022

H.E. Mr. Jarmo Viinanen Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 222 New York, N.Y. 10017 Your Excellencies,

We, the undersigned, are writing as members of civil society deeply engaged in Internet governance and ICT for development issues. Many of us have been engaged in this field since the inception of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

At the outset, we would like to congratulate you on your appointment as co-facilitators of the General Assembly’s open intergovernmental consultations to finalize the modalities for the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of WSIS.

We feel strongly that all stages of the overall WSIS review process should be open to all interested stakeholders. As members of global civil society, we have been contributing to the WSIS review process that is currently underway and would welcome the opportunity to input into the informal consultations you are facilitating and serve as resources in these processes. The modalities for the overall review must embody the spirit of WSIS and take into account the progress and growing recognition of the importance of multi-stakeholder approaches to internet governance that has been made since 2005, as exemplified by the Multistakeholder Preparatory Platform for the WSIS High Level Event and the UNESCO WSIS+10 Review Event, but also the Internet Governance Forum, the Working Group on Internet Governance, the Working Group on IGF improvements, and the Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation.

We envision an overall WSIS review that renews and revives commitment to the Geneva principles’ vision of a people-centred, inclusive, development-oriented and non-discriminatory Information Society”, is rooted in the international human rights framework, and builds on the achievements and addresses the challenges experienced in the 10 years since WSIS.

Additionally, we would welcome efforts to find synergies and synchronicities between the overall WSIS review and the post-2015 development agenda, and in this context we would encourage the development of more concrete, measurable targets relating to ICTs and development.

To conclude, we, the undersigned, consider it critical that the modalities of the overall WSIS review take into account the viewpoints of all stakeholders and establish concrete mechanisms for civil society to channel its contributions, including through remote participation. Therefore, we, as members of global civil society, would like to request an opportunity to input into the informal consultations that you are facilitating and as well as to engage more formally in the preparatory process to the overall review.