Second Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)
Forum Chairman Sérgio Rezende's summary
Rio de Janeiro, 12 - 15 November 2007
There were seven main sessions in an innovative format of interactive multi-stakeholder panels with questions and comments from the audience. These sessions followed the format of the agenda set out in the preparatory process and included five thematic panel discussions built around the IGF themes - critical Internet resources, access, diversity, openness and security – and were followed by a session on both ‘taking stock and the way forward’ and ‘emerging issues’. In total, 84 other events took place in parallel to the main sessions which comprised workshops, best practices forums, dynamic coalition meetings, and open forums clustered around the five main themes.
The entire meeting was webcast and it was transcribed in real time. Both records are available on the IGF website. All main sessions had simultaneous interpretation in all UN languages and Portuguese and all other events had Portuguese interpretation.
Remote participants were given the opportunity to take part via blogs, chat rooms, and email. The panels adopted an innovative format of interactive multi-stakeholder participation with questions and comments from the audience, facilitated by the moderator. Each of the sessions was chaired by the host country and moderated by journalists or independent experts.
The meeting adhered to the commitment that the IGF would foster a dialogue among all stakeholders as equals. The innovative format was generally accepted and well received while some participants called it a true breakthrough in multi-stakeholder cooperation.
In terms of participants, there were over 2,100 registered participants prior to the meeting, of which 700 came from civil society, 550 from government, 300 from business entities, 100 from international organizations, and 400 representing other categories. The meeting was attended by 1,363 participants from 109 countries. Additionally, over 100 members of the press attended the event. These statistics can be viewed on the IGF website at - www.intgovforum.org/stats.php
Opening Ceremony/Opening Session
In his message to the Forum, delivered by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, the Secretary-General underscored that the UN had used the platform of the IGF to ensure the Internet’s global reach. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon referred to the Forum as a non-traditional UN meeting, and as a “new model of international cooperation and, just like the Internet, it is in constant evolution”.
His message went on to say: “The Forum can develop a common understanding of how we can maximize the opportunities the Internet offers, how we can use it for the benefit for all nations and peoples, and how we can address risks and challenges”.
In his own statement to the Forum, the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang, said: “The importance of the Forum lies in its mandate, which enables it to discuss virtually any subject related to the Internet, its governance and its use and abuse”. He continued: “The Forum is also unique in that it brings together people who normally do not meet under the same roof”. The Brazilian Extraordinary Minister for Strategic Affairs, Roberto Mangabeira Unger, also delivered an address.
During an opening session, 19 speakers representing all stakeholder groups addressed the meeting. The list of speakers is attached as an annex.
Sergio Rezende, Brazil's Minister of Science and Technology, in his capacity as Chairman of the meeting, said “the IGF had a mission to discuss and find ways to ensure that Internet can be a tool for meeting the principles and commitments of the Tunis Agenda, to build an Information Society which is inclusive, human centered, and geared to development.”
Other speakers noted that the Forum brought together diverse groups of individuals with the aim of sharing knowledge and experience. Speakers pointed out that the Forum presented all stakeholders with a unique opportunity to catalyze local change.
Several participants underlined that the IGF was not a only a space for dialogue, but also a medium that should encourage fundamental change at the local level to empower communities, build capacity and skills, enable the Internet's expansion, thereby contributing to economic and social development.
The theme of development was emphasized with several speakers asking what that IGF could do for the billions who do not yet have access – the ‘next billion’ emerged as a call for action. Many of the speakers focused on the multiple dimensions of bringing on-line the next billion users. Among the questions raised were those pertaining to capacity-building, education, new governance structures, internationalized domain names and building appropriate national regulatory framework to enable growth and investment in the Information Society.
The main message of this session was that no single stakeholder could do it alone and that multi-stakeholder cooperation was a prerequisite for good Internet governance. Working on Internet governance in development together was necessary and hence the significance of the IGF as providing a new place of dialogue was underlined.
Critical Internet Resources
Chaired by Plínio de Aguiar Junior, Member of the Board of the Internet Steering Committee.
The first of the five main sessions, which was additional to the four main themes discussed at the inaugural IGF meeting in Athens, heard a number of views from panellists and participants on the various challenges and evolution of critical Internet resources. The panel discussion covered a wide range of topics related to the physical and logical infrastructure of the Internet. As had been echoed in a number of other IGF sessions, one panellist remarked that it was essential to build up community infrastructures, including critical Internet resources, in order to reach the five and a half billion people in the world who did not have access to the Internet.
While the discussion covered a wide range of resources that were important for development, the primary focus was on domain name and Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Resources such as the cross-cutting theme of capacity-building and the other IGF themes of access and security, as well as the routing and the basic need for electricity, were all discussed as critical to the Internet's development at some point in its evolution. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and its responsibilities were the focus of much of this discussion.
Many speakers expressed the view that the inclusion of critical Internet resources as a main theme was important in that it represented the fulfilment of the Tunis Agenda mandate to discuss “issues related to infrastructure and the management of critical resources on the Internet”. As set out by the agenda, the discussion also included the management of domain name system (DNS), Internet protocols (IP), the management of root servers, standards, interconnection points, telecommunications infrastructures, including converging and innovative technologies, and also the transition to multilingualism.
A number of participants raised the issue of unilateral control of ICANN by a single government, while some argued that the international community should take a more active role in addressing critical Internet resources. Referring to the Tunis Agenda, one speaker recommended that the UN Secretary General establish a special multi-stakeholder working group within the IGF framework on critical Internet resources. This group's work should discuss the gradual transfer of Internet governance to the authority of the international community.
While some panellists generally supported ICANN being independent of governments, others wanted governments to play a more significant role with regard to public policy issues. There was also discussion on the future of ICANN set in the context of the current mid-term discussion of the Joint Project Agreement (JPA) by ICANN and the United States Department of Commerce.
Among the topics discussed was the essential bottom-up nature of the ICANN processes as well as the requirements for regular external reviews of ICANN sub- organizations. Other points covered the relation of governments to ICANN and whether is was appropriate for the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) to have only an advisory role as opposed to fuller powers in terms of international public policy. While one panellist argued that the participation of governments in the GAC was one of ICANN's most important features, another put forth that the current model with GAC as part of ICANN was not a stable model.
Panellists also discussed the eventual exhaustion of ICANN's reserve of unassigned IPv4 addresses. It was made clear that this would not cause the Internet to fail, but this was used to indicate the importance of the effort to bring the IPv6 network on-line and the need for the full interoperability between the IPv4 and IPv6 networks.
One of the panellists made a suggestion in favour of adopting policies that would encourage IPv6 connectivity among all of the Internet service providers. He went on to suggest that governments could choose to subsidize the cost of inter-exchange points that would encourage interconnection using IPv6 address space so as to reach as quickly as possible a fully connected IPv6 system in parallel with the IPv4 system.
Another panellist spoke of the effort to create a national IGF following the multi-stakeholder model. She also spoke of the success of self regulation in the UK and indicated that while critical Internet resources were not a critical issue for users, security issues as well as issues of access in developing counties were important.
There was a general recognition of the value of discussing issues such as critical Internet resources in the IGF environment. There was also recognition of the importance of building human capacity as a critical resource. A general sentiment was expressed that cooperation among stakeholders had increased of late and that this increased cooperation was important to progress. As one panellist pointed out, the spread of the multi-stakeholder methodology was an important new protocol for resolving issues of critical Internet resources.
Chaired by Brazilian Minister of Communications, Helio Costa.
Panellists highlighted that the issue of access to the Internet remained the single most important issue to many countries, in particular in the developing world. Speakers stressed the development impact of the Internet. A theme that emerged throughout the session was that while having one billion Internet users was considered a huge success, the focus should shift towards the next billion and the billions after that.
Several panellists questioned who might be the next billion people to connect to the Internet. One speaker asserted that if people talked about one billion Internet users ten years ago that would have sounded unthinkable. Providing statistics, another speaker pointed out that since the first IGF meeting in Athens last year, much progress had been made in terms of broadband and quality of access, as well as in terms of those actually connected to the Internet.
Participants demonstrated that the underlining theme of the IGF – the multi-stakeholder cooperation – was also very important with regard to access. There was an acknowledgement that governments had an important role to play, but had to work closely with private sector, civil society and the Internet community in that regard. Many participants talked of the need for innovative solutions, including public-private partnerships, and the need for private companies to work with governments and civil society in order to provide access to rural areas.
There was also a notion that every country had to find its own solution and there was no one-size-fits-all solution. In that regard, the size of the local markets was mentioned as a problem for small countries. One speaker pointed to the African experience where a big continent had only a very small portion of the Internet, noting that each country had tried to do it alone instead of adopting a regional approach.
The importance of regional multi-stakeholder collaboration in terms of creating regional Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), was stressed by many speakers. The experience of the regional IXPs was recognized as a good example of the ways in which collaboration can enhance access for users, support local content and reduce costs.
There was a clear convergence of views that governments had an important role to play in creating a solid regulatory framework and making sure that the rule of law was well established and respected. Many speakers stressed the need for open markets, while others emphasized that market forces alone could not solve the issue of accessibility, and governments had the responsibility of designing and implementing universal access policy.
The particular issue of backbone networks was mentioned by many speakers and clearly this remains an important issue. Many speakers noted that local initiatives to enhance access were dependent on the provision of backbone networks, both nationally and internationally.
On the demand side, many of the contributors had observed that access was much broader than connectivity. The link had to be made between access and development and hence the needs of users must be understood. It was generally felt that access cannot just be measured in terms of technological parameters. Clearly prices, quality, availability and content were significant issues, as noted by some speakers.
Many speakers maintained that providing access to the next billion people required new business models and partnerships to support users who were living on two dollars a day or less. As one speaker observed, this probably meant less than two dollars a month to spend on telecommunications and Internet services. Hence the appropriateness and value of access was seen as a key issue in shaping and integrating the use of ICTs into the development process. It was noted that governments were often the single largest buyer of ICT services which meant that demand can be used to anchor new access projects in under-served areas.
Overall, there was a general agreement that the issues of access remained central to the agenda of the IGF and as the ‘next billion’ come on-line new challenges and opportunities will emerge.
Chaired by the Brazilian Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil.
The discussion on diversity came out as a very strong plea for diversity in all its facets. In the discussion there was recognition that the Digital Divide was also a knowledge divide and that respect for diversity was a global issue.
Speakers identified different dimensions of diversity: linguistic diversity, cultural diversity, diversity of media, and diversity relating to people with disabilities. More than one person remarked that the notion of diversity extended to the need to include all people including immigrants living in a nation with a different language and culture and to native peoples living in nations with a dominant culture that is not their own.
Panellists made a call for the Internet to be accessible to all. In order to include people with disabilities, use of universal design and assistive technologies were important. One panellist reminded the Forum that an important aspect of supporting diversity in that consideration should be given to spoken languages that were not written and to signed languages that were not spoken and that when written used iconic representations.
One panellist spoke of how culture was at the core of any discussion of identity, enabled social cohesion, and was critical to the development of any knowledge economy. An example was given of the loss of freedom that occurred to African children when they were forced to learn in a foreign language that ignored their culture when they first enter school.
During the discussion, a parallel was drawn between linguistic diversity and biodiversity, and in this comparison linguistic diversity was as important for human freedom as biodiversity was for nature. It was recommended that the precautionary principle should also be adapted as relating to diversity.
The impact of standards and the importance of open, non-proprietary standards was mentioned, and also the use of free and open source software as important elements. Adhering to standards was described as another way to promote diversity, especially with regard to accessibility standards.
The session recorded some progress from the diversity session held in Athens last year. One panelist pointed out that there was less need to discuss related to Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). Some speakers stressed the need to distinguish between content in different languages and the role of the IDNs. It was apparent that the debate had now moved on, though IDN, and especially the deployment of IDN remained an important aspect of diversity.
Some issues were raised concerning the work that needed to be done to prevent IDNs from being a new avenue for phishing and other security threats
It was also mentioned that the Internet, if available in a local language can help to change society. The change was facilitated by bringing together the network culture with the local culture through a reduction in the knowledge gap. Some speakers saw a need for finding economically sustainable ways to balance between protecting property while allowing for the free spread of knowledge to all of the diverse populations who needed that knowledge to flourish.
There were several concrete proposals that were made as a possible way forward, including the creation of a group to work on a Global Compact on Languages to find a way to release copyright materials for localized language use and for representation in all the forms necessary to reach the disabled.
There was some discussion of the urgency of the need to provide for content in diverse languages and formats. Not only was this described as necessary for the world's people, it was described as also necessary to prevent the loss of the world's cultures, as languages, and the cultures they represent, are rapidly being lost to humanity.
There was some practical discussion of how to measure diversity. Full and active participation of all, including in particular, people with disabilities, was mentioned as the yardstick to measure whether diversity had been achieved or not.
There was a general sentiment that the Internet provided the opportunity for protecting cultural diversity. In order for this to be possible it was said that it should be managed for the benefit of the whole of humanity where all people could use their own languages with their own values and cultural identity.
For that, the Internet needed to expand in order to reflect in its content and naming systems the cultural and linguistic diversity as well as regional and local differences that characterized civilization.
As one speaker put it, there was not only a need to get the next billion people on-line, there was also a need to get them on-line with economically, culturally, and socially relevant content in their own language so that it truly reflects the diversity of the human race.
On a final note, as one panelist put it, to respect diversity, the Internet should be a caring, peaceful, and barrier-free place.
Chaired by Ronaldo Lemos, Law professor, Center of Technology and Society, Rio de Janeiro
In the session on openness there was a generally held view that openness was a multifaceted and multi-dimensional issue. It was portrayed by participants as a cross-cutting issue with linkages to the other IGF themes, namely diversity, access, and security with legal, political and economic dimensions.
Several speakers pointed out that openness involved several questions of balance. There was a balance between ‘the two IPs’ - as referred to by several speakers - the IP for Internet protocol and the IP for intellectual property. It was pointed out that while on the surface there may be a dichotomy, there was no real dichotomy between the two. There was also a question of balance between freedom of expression and free flow of information and the freedom to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor. Moreover, there was also the question of balance between privacy and freedom of expression.
The panel and the discussion gave a strong emphasis on the fundamental freedoms, the freedom of expression, the free flow of information, as contained in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Geneva Declaration of Principles and the Tunis Agenda in the WSIS context. It was pointed out that a human rights perspective should go beyond paying lip service to these universally accepted principles.
The observance of human rights was not only for governments but also for businesses and other stakeholders. It was pointed out that compliance with human rights was a journey rather than a destination. One speaker was concerned that human rights had slipped down the Internet governance agenda, and that issues such as child pornography, credit card fraud or terrorism were treated as a priority issues,. There should not be an either/or and solutions to these real problems should build on human rights. The principles that were accepted by all needed now to be translated into practical solutions based on the respect of human rights.
It was also pointed out that law was always a product of society and reflected commonly held standards. With regard to the protection of intellectual property and copyright, it was always possible to make exceptions, as in the case of education. One of the speakers pointed out that open access to scientific knowledge was an essential element in the development process and therefore very important for developing countries. Movements, such as Creative Commons were mentioned in this context.
There was also a discussion on open standards and free and open source software. It was pointed out that they may lower the barriers of entry and promote innovation and were therefore important for developing countries. It was underlined that there was no contradiction between free and open source software and intellectual property. It was also recalled that in the WSIS outcome documents, both open source and proprietary software were seen as equally valuable and both models had their merit.
There was also a discussion on what kind of regulation was needed. Several speakers emphasized the usefulness of self-regulation and many favoured a mixed solution between hard and soft law instruments.
With regard to the economic dimension, there was a discussion on market dominance and virtual monopolies and their relationship to openness and freedom of expression. It was also pointed out that the discussion in the IGF had a relationship to discussions held in the World Intellectual Property Organization, in particular with regard to its Development Agenda and UNESCO with regard to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression..
Recalling the discussions held last year in Athens under this theme, participants made mention that legislation needed to be adapted to cyberspace. It was pointed out that legislation was not something that was taking place outside society, but it needed to reflect the wishes of society and be adapted to what society wanted. As noted by the Chairman at the beginning of the session, the choice of what society wanted ultimately was a political choice.
Chaired by Antonio Tavares, Representative of the Private Sector Brazilian Internet Steering Committee.
The security discussion was as complex as it was rich. It was recognized by many that security was a critical issue and as the issues of access change from country to country. Security was seen as a multidimensional issue. As with all subjects discussed at the IGF, multi-stakeholder involvement and cooperation were essential ingredients when trying to find a solution. In the debate on security within the IGF a key issue was that there was not broad agreement on a single definition of what is meant by the term ‘security’.
Several speakers tried to give their own definition of security; these included national security, security for business, users, network security, and network reliability. One speaker stressed the need for preventing security breaches before the event, while others focused on finding solutions after the event. Resilient and secure networks were also mentioned as key elements in this debate. One speaker referred to security as an attempt to achieve ‘control over the future’ but that as we do not know what the future will bring security was never 100% possible.
Others concurred observing that in all walks of life, as with the Internet, security needs could never be fully met. Other speakers noted that many of the technical tools for secure operations were already available.
Many speakers emphasized the legal dimension of the security debate. It was widely recognized that on-line and off-line should not be treated differently and a crime was a crime. It was mentioned that 95% of the crimes committed on-line were covered by existing legislation. Several speakers pointed out that while legislation may exist, that the problem involved enforcement, given the borderless nature of the Internet. They highlighted the need for high levels of co-operation among law enforcement agencies – a process that needed to be enhanced in respect to on-line criminals.
While some called for more legislation, there was also a warning against over-regulation. There is strong support for a legal instruments and protection but many speakers pointed out that collaborative, multi-stakeholder efforts of cooperation could be sufficient. The forum noted that both hard law and soft law solutions were needed to enhance security. There was a strong call for harmonizing legislation between countries and also for bringing into force new legal instruments that apply to the on-line world. The Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime was mentioned as a promising approach that more nations should adopt.
In terms of soft law solutions, the representative of the OECD pointed to the OECD guidelines in these various fields. Several of the speakers indicated the need to look at the source of the problem, raising awareness, human resource development, training people to handle the problem as part of the solutions.
There was also mention of the need to think about security when designing and implementing network systems, and to think about security in the context of the whole operational process. As the OECD representative pointed out, a culture of cybersecurity was relevant to any solution.
Echoing the input received during the session on openness, it was pointed out that the role of the ISPs was crucial. One speaker called for laws to protect them. For some the key issue here was the liability of the ISPs. – an issue that needed to be considered in further detail.
There was a discussion on what type of software was best suited to security, proprietary or open source. In this there were different views held by various speakers, reflecting the general viewpoints on this topic. It was mentioned that transparency was important with regard to security solutions and one speaker held the view that the open software approach offered greater transparency and that security through obscurity was a flawed concept; open systems and designs that can be audited were more secure.
Other speakers pointed out that proprietary software was equally suited and one speaker pointed out that, from a developing country perspective, where designers were interested in developing new systems it was important to protect intellectual property rights and that therefore, proprietary solutions were important.
As commented by one speaker, an explicit public policy demanding open source solutions in procurement processes may limit the development of the indigenous software industry. It was clear that in regard to non-proprietary or proprietary systems there was no one size fits all solutions.
It was also pointed out that in the search for international collaboration, there were problems related to financial limitations and to the training of law enforcement and also of the judiciary.
One speaker spoke of a threat to national and international security which goes beyond a cybernetic crime. The importance of this international security was confirmed in the 62nd session of the General Assembly where there was a unanimous vote on a proposal by Russia on how to achieve security for information at the international level. The speaker went on to discuss the importance of considering the technical, political, military aspects as a whole and recommended that there should be international agreements on this subject.
The connection was also made between security issues and human rights and privacy. And the point was made that developing privacy laws was actually a contribution to enhancing security. One speaker pointed out that this was especially the case in regard to identity theft which is greatest in nations that have the weakest privacy protections.
One of the themes that emerged from the discussions was that creating a sustainable environment of trust from all stakeholders was essential in the pursuit of security and to achieve this required everyone's cooperation.
Taking Stock and the Way Forward
Chaired by Nitin Desai, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Internet Governance and Hadil da Rocha Vianna, Minister, Director for Scientific and Technological Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
There was a broad agreement that the meeting had been a success; the richness of the debate, the number of workshops, the multi-stakeholder format, the diversity of opinions, the number and range of delegates were all cited as indicators of success.
The development of the agenda since Athens to include critical Internet resources was seen as a success and would form part of the agenda for the third meeting. However, it was clear that issues of access needed to remain as a core agenda item. Another possible area for the agenda of the next IGF included a focus on Internet rights. Another area of development could be to allow greater scope for stakeholders to express commitments, and that these commitments would be part of demonstrating the relevance and contributions of the IGF to the Internet community.
In terms of processes, some concern was expressed that the link between the workshops and the main sessions was not as clear or as strong as could have been expected. It was recognized that the workshops offered a wealth of information and opinion, but the ability of these inputs to shape the debate in the main sessions had been limited.
There was clear support for the multi-stakeholder processes and many comments as to how the dialogue of the IGF, freed from the constraints of negotiations and decision-making, allowed for ideas to be freely exchanged and debated. There was a view that participation from users could be increased and that attention needs to be given to ensuring effective remote participation in the meeting. Some commentators spoke of the need for greater diversity in participation and, for example, the need for greater gender balance on the panels. Also young people needed to be better represented.
There was support for the work of the Advisory Group and the work of the Secretariat. Some, however, argued that the processes of the Advisory Group should be formalized and made more transparent.
The session concluded with a formal invitation to the delegates to the third IGF meeting in New Delhi, 8 - 11 December 2008.
This final session of the second IGF meeting was designed to bring into focus issues which could be of importance to the future agenda of the IGF. The session was structured around four broad themes, namely (i) demand and supply side initiatives (ii) social, cultural and political issues of Web 2.0 (iii) access and, (iv) innovation, and research and development.
One point which came out of the discussion was the differences of perspectives on what were considered to be emerging issues, depending on where once came from, whether from the developed world or from developing countries. The issue of anonymity, for instance, took on a different tone depending on the level of protection of fundamental freedoms. Another example was access. While access was not an emerging issue in developed countries, it remained the most important priority issue in developing countries.
As speakers noted, one of the cross-cutting issues throughout the Rio meeting concerned the borderless nature of the Internet and the fact that national regulations and legislations varied.
The debate on demand and supply side issues highlighted the need to bring into focus the role of users, especially young people, more strongly as well as public policy initiatives to stimulate and support demand. In terms of public policy exploring the linkages between the Internet governance and sustainable development was seen as an important area of debate and new dialogue. Panellists stressed the need for governments not to pursue policies which inhibit demand for broadband service access, such as restricting the use of VoIP and regulating videos over the Internet as if it were public broadcasting.
On the supply side, the opportunities created by the release of spectrum through the switch to digital broadcasting were highlighted. Some speakers suggested that such spectrum could be used to support new broadband networks and support new investment and innovative services, while others held the view that this would not be a sustainable solution.
One of the panellists discussed a number of key issues about Web 2.0 and how it raised significant issues for Internet governance. There were many interventions raising several points; there was broad agreement, however, that issues of anonymity and authentication were critical, but the appropriate policy was country- and case-specific. It was argued that in some cases anonymity created the potential for negative impacts. However, it was pointed out that in countries where there were restrictions on the freedom of expression anonymity protected the Internet user and helped promote democracy. There was widespread agreement that Web 2.0 raised many important issues to which the IGF could make a significant contribution.
The importance of access was stressed by many speakers and the limited levels of Internet use in Africa were highlighted. Some speakers highlighted that Internet access in Africa would be based on both IPv4 and IPv6. The question here was that IPv6 was critical to providing for the growth of the Internet but that care needed to be maintained that connectivity with the global Internet was protected.
The Internet had been able to foster and support high levels of innovation. The sources of these innovations have been diverse covering all levels of the networks and coming from a wide range of institutions, from the largest and most formal research programmes to individuals working almost in isolation.
It was observed that the Internet could be seen as the scaffolding of new research and innovative activity and as a result key features of the Internet today could be replaced in the foreseeable future; an example suggested here was the use of URLs.
While no formal conclusions were drawn from the session, all the speakers agreed that debate had begun to suggest significant issues for future agendas and issues to which the IGF process could make an important contribution.
Issues addressed in the 84 events taking place in parallel to the main sessions provided an opportunity for meeting participants to share experiences, ideas and best practices. These thematic events, built around the five main themes, discussed specific ideas, heard presentations on successful projects and exchanged views on next steps to address the use and abuse of the Internet.
While in general the themes being highlighted at these events were fairly diverse, the issues of the protection of children and the fight against child pornography on the Internet was featured more prominently.
Of the 84 other events, there were 36 workshops, 23 best practices forums, 11 dynamic coalitions meetings, 8 open forums, and 6 events covering others issues. Of these, 11 were devoted to the issue of openness and freedom of expression, 12 on development and capacity-building, 9 on access, 10 on critical Internet resources, 6 on diversity, 17 on other issues, and 19 were devoted to the issue of security. Of the security sessions 9 spotlighted the issue of the protection of children and child pornography on the Internet.
Reports of these events will be made available on the IGF Web site and all organizers are kindly requested to upload their report on the IGF Web site: www.intgovforum.org.
CHAIRMAN’S CLOSING REMARKS
“The Brazilian people and Government were proud to host the second meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro, in the past four days. We were honored to receive over 2,000 registrations, including representatives from Governments, the civil society, the private sector, international organizations, research institutions and Internet users.
The second IGF took place in an atmosphere of friendship and cooperation. In accordance with its mandate, as contained in the Tunis Agenda for Information Society, the second IGF provided a space for multi-stakeholder debate on cross-cutting themes. It facilitated the dialogue between organizations in charge of complementary aspects of Internet governance, identified emerging issues and brought them to the attention of the public. The intense debate and participation in main sessions, workshops, open and best-practice forums, dynamic coalitions and other meetings confirmed the role of the IGF in shaping the governance of the Internet with a view to contribute to the building of a people-centered, development-oriented and inclusive information society.
The second meeting of the IGF also confirmed that the format of this Forum is in the forefront of multilateral policy-making and may set precedents for a renewed, upgraded style of multilateral conferences, in an open, inclusive and representative environment, with the participation of all stakeholders. It is important to build upon the experience achieved so far, with a view of exploring possible avenues for strengthening the existing Internet governance mechanisms, adding to their legitimacy to the international community and adequacy to the guiding principles of the World Summit on Information Society.
The second IGF meeting advanced in the path towards the full implementation of its mandate, in terms of participation, scope, thematic agenda, organization of work and possible results. It contributed to the incremental process that aims at accomplishing the fulfillment of the Forum’s mandate by 2010, at the end of the five-year period initially established by the Tunis Agenda.
In terms of substance, besides the important themes of access, diversity, openness and security, the Rio meeting contributed to broaden the debate on Internet governance by devoting a main session to the discussion on critical Internet resources and the improvement of the global mechanisms in charge of their management.
In terms of organization of work, another improvement achieved in Rio was the sharing among different stakeholders of the chairmanship of main sessions. One representative from civil society chaired the main session on Openness and another from the private sector chaired the main session on Security. It is also worth noting the interest of Brazilian high Government officials, as shown by the participation of four Brazilian Ministers and a number of other authorities at the IGF events.
Critical Internet Resources
The main session on critical Internet resources (CIR) considered the conformity of existing arrangements for the management of Internet physical and logical infrastructure vis-a-vis the principles adopted by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). ICANN's multi-stakeholder decision-making process is an interesting experiment in terms of broadening the participation in decision-making processes. There are of course improvements to be made, as for example on the relationship between the Governmental Advisory Committee and the ICANN board. Governments should be allowed, on equal footing, to play their sovereign role in global public policy-making. In this respect, ICANN's on-going reforms, and the perspectives for the recognition of ICANN as an international entity and its independence from any government should be followed with interest.
The Internet offers unprecedented perspectives for the expression of cultural contents from all corners of the world, as well as for the creation, dissemination, recombination and diffusion of content. The conversion of this potential into reality requires that the Internet be managed for the benefit of mankind as a whole. Each individual should have the possibility to take part of the Internet in his own language, in forms that are in harmony with his or her values and cultural identity. The Internet should expand in a way that reflects, in its content and addressing system, the existing cultural and linguistic diversity, along with the regional and local differences which characterize civilization. The particular needs of disabled people should be addressed through the creation and dissemination of specific peripherals at affordable prices, as well as by the adoption of accessibility standards by the industry.
International connection costs are a burden for developing countries. In this respect, a fair environment for business competition in global scale would contribute to an overall improvement in access conditions. Governments should stimulate the establishment and maintenance of such an environment whenever possible, and take action to correct market imperfections, if necessary. International financing arrangements should be developed to support investment in areas in which it is not commercially viable. Regional cooperation and Internet Exchange Points are particularly valuable resources to help reduce the demand on intercontinental backbones, thus reducing access costs.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right that should be ensured and requires the free flow of information and content from diversified sources. More than any other means of communication, the Internet is capable to embrace the cultural diversity and pluralism that characterize democracy. The conversion of this potential into reality requires the preservation of the open architecture features of the Internet.
The new realities, possibilities and challenges brought by the Internet should be considered in the debates on intellectual property, with particular attention to aspects such as privacy and right to information and access to knowledge. Different intellectual property regimes and software licensing models translate into distinct economic perspectives in innovation and insertion in the digital economy, particularly in developing countries.
Apart from the stability of the Internet, data integrity and content reliability, user protection and the fight against cybercrime should be given utmost priority in the building of a people-centered information society. In this regard, the right to privacy and the due process of law should always be taken into account. Given the borderless nature of the Internet and cybercrime, international cooperation in technical legal fields are fundamental tools in cybercrime countering and prevention. In this sense, the possibilities of legal harmonization on cybersecurity should be evaluated in light of specific national priorities and the distinct realities of the developed and developing world. Governments have a fundamental role in making of cyberspace a secure environment for human interaction, and should count on the help of civil society and the private sector for this purpose.
There are certainly lessons to be learned and improvements to be made for the next IGF meetings. Among those improvements, I would like to stress the need for reviewing the IGF preparation process, in order to allow for a broader, more balanced and more representative participation from all stakeholders, as well as from all regions of the world. It is important to bring in to this process, as much diversity of opinions as possible, taking also into account gender balance. The criteria, nomination, rotation, proceedings and role of the Advisory Group or other structure to be used as a supporting structure to prepare and conduct the meeting could be improved.
I would like to express to you, in the name of the people and the Government of Brazil, and of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee, our wholeheartedly gratitude for your attendance and active participation at the second IGF in Rio de Janeiro. A special thank goes to Mr. Nitin Desai and to Mr. Markus Kummer and staff, who did not measure efforts to ensure an excellent preparation of this meeting. I would also like to thank the presence of Mr. Sha Zukang, Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, for his attendance and personal contribution to the IGF. Last but not least, I would like to stress our recognition of the financial and logistical support that the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee has provided, which was crucial to the success of this event.”
Opening Session Speakers
Monday 12 November 2007
Mr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Ms. Anriette Estherhuysen, Executive Director, Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Mr. Guy Sebban, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Ms. Lynn St. Amour, President and CEO, Internet Society
H.E. Mr. José Mariano Gago, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Portugal
Mr. Paul Twomey, President and CEO, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
Mr. Naoyuki Akikusa, Chairman, Fujitsu Limited; Chairman, Global Information Infrastructure Commission
H.E. Ms. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, Minster of Communications, South Africa
H.E. Mr. Adama Samassékou, Executive Secretary, African Academy of Languages
H.E. Mr. Luigi Vimercati, Under Secretary of Communications, Italy
H.E. Mr. Kiyoshi Mori, Vice-Minister for Policy Coordination, MIC, Japan
Mr. John Klensin, Consultant
Ms. Maud de Boer-Bucquicchio, Deputy Secretary-General of the Council of Europe
Ms. Catherine Trautman, Member of European Parliament
Mr. Jainder Singh, Permanent Secretary, Department of Information Technology, India
H.E. Mr. Gilberto Gil Minister of Culture, Brazil