Press Releases

    PI/1640
    14 April 2005

    Working Group on Internet Governance to Meet in Geneva, 18 - 20 April

    Focus on Roles, Responsibilities, Adequacy of Internet Arrangements

    NEW YORK, 13 April (UN Headquarters) -- The third meeting of the Working Group on Internet Governance, to be held at the United Nations Office in Geneva from 18 to 20 April, will focus on the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in governance arrangements and assess the adequacy of existing arrangements.

    Consultations open to all interested parties will be held on 18 April.  The Working Group will hold a closed meeting on 19 and 20 April.

    The next phase of the Group’s work is to look into areas where improvements are needed in current governance arrangements.  The evaluation will cover four key groups of issues that had been identified at the Working Group’s second meeting in February, also taking into account the views of the public:

    -- Issues relating to infrastructure and the management of critical Internet resources, including administration of the domain name system and Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, administration of the Root Server system, technical standards, peering and interconnection, telecommunications infrastructure, including innovative and converged technologies, as well as multilingualism.  These matters fall within the area of responsibility of existing organizations;

    -- Issues relating to the use of the Internet, including spam, network security and cybercrime, where the nature of the global cooperation required is not well defined;

    -- Issues which are relevant to the Internet but have a much wider impact, such as competition policy, liberalization, privatization and regulations; consumer protection and privacy; access protection; intellectual property rights; dispute resolution; e-commerce and e-commerce taxation; and media freedom and freedom of information.  In these areas, there are organizations responsible for these matters, such as intellectual property rights or international trade; and

    -- Issues relating to development aspects of Internet governance, in particular capacity-building in developing countries, gender issues and access.  Such issues include affordable and universal access, Internet-leased line costs, national infrastructure development, cultural and linguistic diversity, content accessibility, and open-source and free software.  These questions have been addressed by organizations of the United Nations system.

    The Working Group has started examining the extent to which these matters are being handled in accordance with the Declaration of Principles adopted by United Nations Member States at the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003.

    Interested parties have been invited to submit papers, comments and contributions, to be published on the Working Group’s website, www.wgig.org.  Based on this assessment, the Working Group will draft recommendations for action on Internet governance arrangements.  These draft recommendations will be discussed at its fourth and last meeting in June, which will also be preceded by a round of open consultation to be held on 14 June.

    The final report of the Working Group is expected to be submitted to the Secretary-General in July, to be considered at the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in November.

    The Working Group was established at the request of the United Nations Member States at the first phase of the World Summit.  The 40 members of the Working Group, appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan last November, serve in their personal capacity and come from all the world’s regions, as well as from different sectors -- governments, the private sector and civil society.  The Group’s Chairman, Nitin Desai, is Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for the World Summit on the Information Society.

    The Working Group is not a negotiating body, but a working group with the task of preparing the ground for the negotiations to be held in the framework of the World Summit on the Information Society.

    For information, please contact Markus Kummer, Executive Coordinator, Secretariat of the Working Group, e-mail: mkummer@unog.ch, tel.: +41(0) 22 917 54 88.  Complete information about the Group's purpose, meetings, list of members and documents is at: www.wgig.org.

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