Press Releases

    PI/1613
    17 September 2004

    Consultations on Setting up Working Group on Internet Governance to Be Held in Geneva, 20 - 21 September

    GENEVA, 16 September (UN Information Service) -- Consultations on the establishment of the Working Group on Internet Governance that was requested last December by the World Summit on the Information Society will be held in Geneva on 20 and 21 September.

    The consultations, to be held at the United Nations Geneva Office, aim to develop a common understanding of structure and functioning of the Working Group.  Discussions will focus on the scope and working methods of the Working Group, as well as the profile, qualities and characteristics of its members.

    The meeting will be chaired by Nitin Desai, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for the World Summit on the Information Society. Tarek Kamel, Minister of Communications and Information Technology of Egypt, is the keynote speaker. Participants include representatives from the permanent missions to the United Nations in Geneva and officials from government offices responsible for information technology strategy; representatives from the private sector and civil society; as well as participants from international and regional organizations dealing with Internet governance issues, United Nations specialized agencies, inter-governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations.

    The consultations are an outcome of the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva, 10 to 12 December 2003), where Member States agreed to continue the dialogue on Internet governance and reach a decision at the Summit’s second phase, to be held in Tunis in November 2005. To this end, they requested United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to establish the Working Group.

    The parameters and terms of reference for the Working Group are set in the two documents the Summit adopted in Geneva -- the Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action. The Working Group’s main activity is “to investigate and make proposals for action, as appropriate, on the governance of Internet by 2005”. The Working Group is to present the result of its work in a report for consideration and action at the Summit’s Tunis phase.

    The chairperson and members of the Working Group should be appointed in October, and the final report should be submitted to the Secretary-General in July 2005.

    Among other things, the Working Group is to:

    -- Develop a working definition of Internet governance;

    -- Identify the public policy issues that are relevant to Internet governance; and

    -- Develop a common understanding of the roles and responsibilities of governments, international organizations and other forums, as well as the private sector and civil society from both developing and developed countries.

    Member States stressed that the process should be “open and inclusive”, and ensure “the full and active participation of governments, the private sector and civil society from both developing and developed countries, involving relevant intergovernmental and international organizations and forums”.

    The meeting’s provisional agenda, together with a programme and time management plan, are available on the Working Group’s Web site, http://www.wgig.org, which is being hosted temporarily by the Summit’s Web site, http://www.itu.int/wsis. Papers submitted by participants are also available there.

    Contact:  Markus Kummer, Executive Coordinator, Secretariat of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG), tel.: +41(0)22 917 54 88, e-mail: mkummer@unog.ch.

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