16 June 2014

Following the WSIS+10 High Level Event, the Internet Democracy Project, together with other colleagues in civil society who have been closely engaged in the preparatory processes for that event, has released the following statement, reflecting on the important gains we believe have been made in the process as well as on the way forward. The statement was shared with the ITU Secretariat as well as publicly distributed.

16 June, 2014

As civil society organisations that have been engaged throughout the WSIS+10 Multistakeholder Preparatory Platform (MPP), we welcome the adoption of the WSIS+10 MPP outcome documents.

Though the road was a long, and at times difficult, we believe that throughout the MPP a collaborative spirit prevailed in the meetings. Under the able guidance of the Chairperson, Professor Minkin, and with the active participation of all stakeholder groups, we saw for the first time a full-fledged multistakeholder process being implemented in the ITU. And we trust, indeed expect, that this same commitment to multistakeholderism will be carried through into the modalities of the overall WSIS review going forward.

During the last-minute negotiations in the days just preceding the adoption of the text, the multistakeholder aspect of the negotiations disappeared somewhat into the background, providing food for thought as to how we can ensure full stakeholder participation in decisions even at the very last steps of the negotiations. Whilst accepting that the nature of such negotiations are complex, the informal nature of the final negotiations leaves room for improvement.

Nevertheless, in addition to the issues that several of us noted in our statements during the High Level Event, we are particularly pleased about the reinforcement of the importance of multistakeholder processes, and the recognition of the importance of engaging with all stakeholders and of inclusive and open governance mechanisms. We also greatly value the increased recognition of the importance of protecting and promoting human rights that the final version of the input documents contains.

Finally, we welcome the renewed recognition of the importance of linking ICTs to development in the document, and would like to use this opportunity to urge governments, indeed all stakeholders, to refocus on the development dimension of the WSIS. There is no doubt that governance issues have an important role to play in facilitating the development dimension of the WSIS. However, we must ensure that the original goal of the WSIS - that of harnessing the potential of ICTs for development - becomes the central focus of the WSIS going forward.

Statement on behalf of:

Access

Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)

Center for Technology and Society at FGV (CTS/FGV)

Global Partners Digital

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)

Internet Democracy Project

Internet & Digital Ecosystem Alliance (IDEA)

Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet)


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