Joint statement on WSIS+10: Calling for an open preparatory process

by Rajat Rai Handa

At the conclusion of the 10th Internet Governance Forum on 13 November 2015, a group of over 25 organizations came together to issue a joint statement on the WSIS+10 Review process. You can join the list of signatories by signing the statement either on behalf of an organization or as an individual.

Representatives of the organizations who gathered at the 10th Internet Governance Forum (IGF), in João Pessoa, Brazil, along with other organizations and individuals from around the world, would like to convey the following three key messages to contribute to negotiations in the final phase of the World Summit on the Information Society 10-year review process (WSIS+10).

These organizations and individuals would like to collectively highlight and support the extension of the IGF’s mandate to continue its important work, and the collective work to support and successfully implement the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The organizations may continue to provide separate and more detailed input on other elements of the WSIS outcome document, and related processes that are equally important to their respective communities.

  • The IGF, harnessing the benefits of the community’s diversity, has become a primary vehicle for identifying issues and solutions through a collaborative approach, on an equal footing and in a free and open environment. The proliferation of national and regional IGF initiatives is a sign of its relevance, and an example of an inclusive, bottom-up approach to global issues, rooted in local communities. We fully support the IGF mandate renewal. In addition, further efforts to implement recommendations for improvements to the IGF will be essential for the community’s ability to continue addressing complex problems, and the challenges of the future.

  • The multistakeholder approach, cooperatively developed since the inception of the Internet is critical in achieving the WSIS goals. The Internet is one of our most important tools for sustainable development, improved human rights and good governance. The community must safeguard the principles of collaboration, openness, transparency and inclusiveness that have allowed the Internet to flourish.

  • There is still much work to be done, especially in connecting the unconnected. Access to an open and inclusive Internet is the central issue of our time, and a fundamental tool enabling free speech and empowering people in the 21st century. The newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals recognize the Internet and connected information and communication technologies (ICTs) as a critical enabler for economic and social progress. The close alignment between the WSIS action lines and these goals reflects the essential role of ICT and the Internet in advancing the 2030 agenda. To achieve these goals, and to ensure a secure and trustworthy Internet, it is crucial that the future of the Internet be shaped through an open, inclusive and truly multistakeholder process.