Strasbourg, 21 November 2011








Draft Declaration on measures to support and foster Pan-European multi-stakeholder dialogue on Internet governance

1. All Council of Europe member states have undertaken to secure within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms set out in the European Convention on Human Rights. Fundamental rights, standards and values apply to the online information and communication environment as much as they do to the offline world. Maximising rights and minimising restrictions on the Internet is a priority. The best efforts of member states necessitate measures to protect and empower users in cyberspace.

2. The Internet is a global public good which should be governed in the common interest. Growing numbers of people rely on the Internet as an essential tool for everyday activities. Actions and decisions of both state and non-state actors can have an impact on the exercise of fundamental rights in the Information society. Effective Internet governance depends on the development and application of shared principles, norms, rules and decision-making procedures as referred to in the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.i

3. Internet governance dialogue facilitates new forms of participation, agenda setting and partnerships, ultimately developing and reinforcing democracy. Open, inclusive and transparent discussion between state and non-state actors about the political, social and economic impacts of the Internet is an opportunity to create and facilitate new forms of cooperation among and between governments, civil society, the private sector, European and international organisations.

4. Multistakeholder dialogue strengthens the development of core Internet values. It allows ideas to be launched and tested, views to be shared, and consensus to be built. It has added value at all stages of the policy development process: from inception to discussion and deliberation, through to formulation and thereafter validation, followed by implementation and follow-up. The Council of Europe’s standard-setting, monitoring and cooperation work on the Internet is and will be more fully informed and coherent because of multi-stakeholder dialogue.

5. The European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG)ii enables member states to connect and discuss with different actors. A number of member states are increasingly supportive of the EuroDIG process and are acknowledged for playing a leading role in the development and sustainability of Pan-European multi-stakeholder dialogue. EuroDIG provides an open and inclusive platform for cross-border dialogue on Internet issues; it should be seen as an integral part of the Council of Europe’s open multistakeholder platform which underpins the Organisation’s Internet governance and information society work. EuroDIG is recognised and supported by a range of European bodies, organisations and institutions.iii Raising its profile and impact is an opportunity for Pan-European stakeholders to play more effective and cross-cutting roles in shaping the evolution and use of the Internet.

The Committee of Ministers therefore:

    - Supports and encourages the active participation of all Council of Europe member states in relevant local, national, regional and global Internet governance dialogue;

    - Calls on member states to protect and encourage respect for rights and freedoms in cyberspace mindful of Internet governance dialogue and the public service value of the Internet;iv

    - Invites the Secretary General to:

    o make the necessary arrangements to support and facilitate Internet governance dialogue, in particular the development of national initiatives, and to ensure through adequate Secretariat support and, if necessary, fundraising the sustainability of the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG);

    o mainstream multi-stakeholder dialogue in Council of Europe working methods through an open multi-stakeholder platform permitting to connect with different stakeholder groups and associating them to relevant parts of the Organisation’s work.

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i The Tunis Agenda on the Information Society was adopted by the second phase of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in Tunis from 16 to 18 November 2005.

ii See EuroDIG website :

iii Para 42 of the European Parliament resolution of 15 June 2010 on internet governance: the next steps (2009/2229(INI)).

iv Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)16 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to promote the public service value of the Internet.