The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in João Pessoa, Brazil, from 10 to 13 November 2015. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> MERVI KULTAMAA: Good afternoon. This is the open forum on the ten‑year review. We are going to start in a few minutes. I would like the people in the back to perhaps join us on the table, and you can see us better, and perhaps it's easier, also, to discuss. Thanks. okay. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I think we start. Welcome to the open forum from UNCTAD. My name is Mervi Kultamaa.
I work as the Coordinator in UNCTAD, and as you may know, serve as the Secretary for the CSTD, the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, which is based in Geneva. And I am in charge of CSTD Secretariat's activities in relation to WSIS. So, the objective of this forum is to discuss the main messaging of the ten‑year review of WSIS, which the CSTD conducted this year, and perhaps also link it to the ongoing preparations for the overall review, which will take place in the General Assembly in mid‑December. We will make a summary of this session, gathering the main points of discussion, and I hope that that will support the preparations for the overall review.
We are going to circulate a list of where I would ask you to just sign your name, affiliation, and email. It will be circulating here in the room. And when you speak, please state your name and affiliation so that remote participants can also keep track of what's happening here. The session is to last until 3:30, so we have a little bit more than one hour in our use. And to get this session fully ongoing, I would like to introduce to you our moderator, Peter Major, who is also the current chair of the CSTD.
As you may know, he has been involved in CSTD work for a number of years. He has, among others, shared the CSTD working groups on the improvements to the IGF, as well as on enhanced cooperation, and he has facilitated negotiations on the draft resolutions on WSIS a number of times. He is also actively involved in the IGF work. With this, I would like to hand it over to you, Peter. We are honored to you moderate this session.
>> PETER MAJOR: Thank you, Mervi. I especially want to point out that I was chairing the drafting exercise of this year's, and when I started, my hair wasn't that gray. So it was a real challenge. Good afternoon. So, I'm really pleased to moderate this session on the ten‑year review of the WSIS, which the CSTD conducted in the form of substantive discussions during its last meeting, the 18th session last May. We had a ministerial roundtable, and a one‑day discussion, which was a kind of open dialogue with the keynote addresses from the two presidents of the two areas of the WSIS.
The discussion was based on a ten‑year review report. This is the report. And I'm told that we have extra copies somewhere in Rio, which got stuck at the airport. So, I know your dedication, and I know that from now, you are going to Rio to fetch one of the copies, but I think we have it in downloadable form, as well. And in the leaflets you have been given, you can find the URL to download the copy. Some of you may like to have it in paper form anyway.
So, this report presents detailed information of the implementation of the WSIS targets and action items, commitments, concern, financial mechanisms, internal governance, and multistakeholder implementation. It is based on a variety of inputs, including written and face‑to‑face consultations with our stakeholders. The commission was also informed by written inputs to online consultation where stakeholders were invited to share their experiences and views on progress made in the implementation of the WSIS outcomes.
At the recommendation of the commission, the economic and social consult decided last July in its resolution on the implementation followup to the WSIS outcomes to transmit both the summary of the substantive discussion and the ten‑year review report to the preparative process for the high‑level meeting of the General Assembly as inputs to its deliberations. In this open forum, we will discuss the key messages from the CSTD ten‑year review, and what, in your opinion, from the CSTD work, should be fed into the outcome of the overall review.
We have an excellent panel, and I will introduce them as they will take the floor. So, first, I would like to introduce Ambassador Janis Mažeiks, from Latvia. Unfortunately, the other co‑facilitator from the United Arab Emirates already had to leave, Jean. But, I'm sure that Janis can tell us a lot about the processes. Without further ado, I would like to give the floor to Ambassador Mažeiks.
>> JANIS MAŽEIKS: Thank you, Peter, for these kind words of introduction. Ladies and gentlemen, dear participants, I would like to start by thanking the organizers of this event for the invitation to speak at the open forum on the review of the WSIS ten‑year implementation. It is my first IGF, and I appreciate the chance to participate. The ideas being debated and refined here are precisely the top of inputs that we are looking for, and what we all stakeholders need to take back to New York, especially now as we enter the critical stages of negotiation of the WSIS review.
So, as Peter mentioned, I am primarily here in my capacity as co‑facilitator appointed by the President of the U.N. General Assembly to lead the intergovernmental negotiations for the overall review of the WSIS implementation, which also takes into account contributions of all stakeholders in the process. The review process provides an opportunity to look back over the past ten years of the WSIS, evaluates progress made, and the challenges that remain, and identify priorities for the future.
I must also say, I am not a complete stranger to the CSTD work, because only a few years ago, I was a representative to the U.N. in Geneva, and as such, I participated in the work of the CSTD, and I was glad to come back to CSTD this spring. But now, returning to the WSIS review process currently taking place in New York, I would like to give brief insight into working methods and the wider context that accompanies the overall review.
So, first, on the working methods. We are engaged in face‑to‑face meetings, since the 1st of June when we were appointed. We have had two rounds of informal meetings of the General Assembly, and two rounds of informal consultations with stakeholders organized by the General Assembly. And in addition to that, we have put our best effort to accommodate every request for meetings in order to hear all leadership parties.
Also, we rely on written inputs from stakeholders. We received considerable amounts of written input, allowing us to move to draft documents that have been circulated quite recently. With respect to the context ‑‑ in order to understand the overall WSIS review process, one must consider two things that are most visible and have gained much prominence in our discussions. An important pillar of the U.N.'s work is on development, and to address the issue of sustainable development, all 193 member states and government delegates came together in New York in September and agreed to mobilize partnerships to eradicate poverty, protect the planet, and achieve peace under the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
So, the sustainable development goals demonstrate a considerable shift in the approach of the international community as they apply to every country of the world, recognizing that we can all benefit from a global commitment to social, environmental, and economic betterment. And in the context of this debate, we no longer talk about whether ICT should be part of the development, but rather, how they should be leveraged to their maximum potential.
Harnessing the potential of ICT for social and economic progress lies at the core of the WSIS, and is inseparable from the talks on the future of the WSIS process. Second thing that I would like to highlight is internet governance. Perhaps most hotly debated topic in the WSIS review at the U.N. Some countries see internet governance as being ICT for development, and groups disagree on this. So, collectively, we'll be coming to an understanding. And I have been glad to see that there is consensus emerging on the issue, because everybody has been appreciative of the very important work that the IGF has been doing for the past ten years.
The use of ICT for illicit purposes has exacerbated attentions, meeting concerns about security and human rights intergovernance. Some countries argue, due to security concerns, government regulation is in the interest of development. But on the other hand, many others see such intervention as a slippery slope to strangling the spirit that has made the internet so successful in the first place.
So, as you see, there are many divergent views on who should have decision‑making on governance issues, and what the impacts on development will be. This is all a matter of further discussion that we will have in the coming days, because the next intergovernmental negotiations will take place next week. However, I would also emphasize that one of the strongest points of consensus in the WSIS review at the U.N. has been that the government and nongovernmental stakeholders should always both have a place at the table.
Speaking of the overall review itself, I would know that we did not start in an empty space, as Peter already mentioned. We did have a solid foundation of work from other fora that had discussed WSIS implementation, and we have received inputs from both governments and nongovernmental stakeholders. From the inputs we would like to mention is UNESCO 2013 towards knowledge societies for peace and sustainable development, IDU hosting a WSIS 2014 high‑level event, which was prepared by the multistakeholder platform, and the CSTD 2015 WSIS Plus 10 Review, which we already saw on the table.
All conductment of these events formed the basis for the current review process in New York, and are widely used for reference. In particular, the WSIS Plus Ten Review by the Secretariat is an important element of the CSTD review. I will stop here, and I will follow with utmost intention today's discussion on the key messages from the CSTD ten‑year review, with the intention of bringing them back to New York. Thank you.
>> PETER MAJOR: Thank you, Janis. I think this introductory just gave the ‑‑ set the scene what we are going to talk about, and probably it's on the mind of each and every one of us, what will be the outcome of the December meeting. And without further ado, I'm going to give the floor now back to Mervi. And Mervi is going to ‑‑ as you know, as she said in her remarks, she has worked for the WSIS for more than ten years.
It means that you have already started during the first phase of the WSIS, which is quite remarkable. So, she will brief us on some of the key messages regarding the CSTD ten‑year review. Mervi, the floor is yours.
>> MERVI KULTAMAA: Thank you so much, Peter. Actually, I started at the last prep conf, before the summit. And I was involved in the negotiations on the IGF's mandate, for example, which was very exciting. So, I'll just present some of the key messages from the CSTD ten‑year review. And many of these messages also came through in the substantive discussion that we had last May in the CSTD's annual session.
Okay. There is a technical fault, maybe. I cannot see the slides on the screen in front of me. Is there anyone who could know how to fix that? I can also turn my head, but it would be helpful. Well, anyway. I will first say a couple of words on the changes of ICT technology and services and the impact on development. And then I will explain some of the key messages of the review report addressing the main outcomes of WSIS, namely the overall vision, the ten targets, and the 11 action lines, the financial mechanisms, the internet governance, and the multistakeholder cooperation.
I'll just try to go through them briefly with some key messages. But first, on the development. Our review really placed itself in the observation that the world has changed considerably since WSIS in terms of technology and services. The capabilities of networks and devices are today some 30 times of what they were at the time of WSIS, and they are doubling every two years or so, which is really remarkable development.
And when we think about innovations and current trends today, such as mobile internet user generated content, social media, cloud computing, big data, internet of things, or smart systems, whatever, any of these were not actually mentioned in the WSIS texts. And as far as I counted, even broadband is referred to in WSIS outcomes only three times. So, with these developments, the potential that the ICT has to contribute to the economic and social development has increased enormously.
However, the ability to make use of these changes for development varies largely, and, of course, depends on a number of things, such as whether there is an enabling environment that's supported, whether there are sufficient capabilities within the society to address different risks and challenges such as those concerned with cybersecurity and so on. And cybersecurity seems to be quite a strong point, also, in the preparations for the overall review.
So, it is instrumental that the review is placed in the understanding of the implications of this very rapid change, and the impact on society. And it is important that goals and strategies need to be adjusted to take advantage of today's technologies. And they also need to be adaptable to meet changing circumstances, both opportunities and threats. This places a considerable challenge to targets which are stable and actions that have been defined more than ten years ago in the first phase of WSIS.
Of course, it is also clear that one size does not fit all. Countries have adopted different methods for implementation and different approaches. There has been increased discussion about how local level could better contribute to the achievement of these goals, and how these regional and local efforts could be reflected in the review. And the challenge is also how to link WSIS to the broader goals, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and STGs, which the ambassador also mentioned, so that these two processes would be coherent and mutually enforcing.
So, there is, on one hand, the high policy level, where the link needs to be explicit in the overall review, for example. But also, there is the level of implementation, which needs to be guided through mainstreaming of ICT's international and local development policies and strategies. And that really remains to be seen, but I think what's instrumental is that we get a strong guidance in the review outcome as well.
Okay. Just a few words on the vision of people‑centered inclusive and development‑oriented information society. That was defined in the opening paragraph of the Geneva declaration. In the consultations that we conducted, there was widespread agreement that this overarching WSIS vision remains valid, and is yet to be fully achieved. However, many also thought that resulting from the rapid developments, we should rethink our approach to the information society, what it really is, and what we want to achieve through it.
There is, and has been, great progress towards achieving this vision, but it is also clear that we are only some way down the road. The availability of new technologies has not led to a rollout, and the potential value of ICTs has not been fully leveraged. Inclusiveness remains a challenge even if we speak only in terms of access, as we still have some 3 billion or more people that are not yet connected.
Also, innovations have made using ICTs more people‑centered, that is clear, but there needs to be more consideration of the application of ICTs and what makes them conducive to development. It is important to realize that ICTs alone do not bring about development challenges. It is really the relationship between technology and human development that matters. And in order to be fully people‑centered, societies need to better address and perhaps also reach a common understanding on upholding people's rights in regards with issues such as access to information and communications, freedom of expression.
And there again, the overall review makes a strong point and commitment. Okay. Now we are on the ten WSIS targets. There has been significant progress in meeting the targets. For example, the target to ensure that more than half of the world's inhabitants have access to ICTs within their reach has been met. But if access is measured, both in terms of having access to ICTs within reach, and in terms of also making use of them, this target should be achieved by the end of 2016.
This is the estimation of the partnership on ICTs for development. If we just talk about the targets, and the utility, there has been some criticism that they are not comprehensive enough, as most of them are concerned with connectivity and access rather than with development aspects of ICTs. Also, they don't address the impact that ICTs have on different development sectors such as health and education, for example. And they don't enable measurement of innovations in the ICT environment, since WSIS, for example, discusses broadband networks and social media.
In the final WSIS targets review, the partnership on measuring ICT for development suggested a number of improvements to make the targets more effective and comprehensible. For example, they suggested that the targets should be time‑bound, concrete, and measurable, ambitious but realistic, clear and easy to understand, relevant to policy interventions, and based on internationally agreed statistical standards.
The partnership also emphasized that future measurement needs to be more systematic and scientific, and be accompanied with indicators. I don't think that the overall review reflects all this. I mean, this is a wealth of information on the targets. I don't know how detailed it can be. But perhaps there are a few measurements that would be shared of that.
Okay. If we move to the WSIS action lines, the report based its assessment largely on the WSIS Plus Ten statement on the implementation of WSIS outcomes, which was adopted by the WSIS Plus Ten High‑Level Event in June of last year. If we talk about the utility of the action line framework itself, there is an overall conclusion that action lines have helped in building understanding and have catalyzed strategies and even tangible action in a number of areas.
However, there is also a number of weak points that could be addressed. Some contributors to our review noted that action lines cover only a small proportion of activities undertaken by stakeholders, and they have, perhaps, not been as central to the development which have occurred in ICTs and ICT 4D as one could have hoped for. So the challenges remain in how to achieve a more substantial role for the action lines, and improve their inclusiveness in spite of limited resources.
How to integrate issues across boundaries, and how to cover sufficiently current developments and challenges. The action line mandates could be further developed so that they reflect the changes that have been taking place since WSIS, and more attention could be put, perhaps, into education and capacity‑building. Equally, there should be a better focus on gender, which was also noted in the overall review document. And it would be important to increase synergies, both between action line areas and with other ICT 4D processes.
I'm not sure how to do that. Perhaps this is a matter of putting the suggestions into practice more than highlighting them in the outcome document. Just a couple of words on the financial mechanism. The agenda recommended a number of improvements and innovations to ensure that financial resources for ICTs and ICT 4D become what they say adequate, more predictable, preferably untied, and sustainable. And as it was the case at the time of the summit investment and information in the society has been led by the private sector.
It fell during the economic downturn, but has recovered again towards the end of the decade. And international financial institutions such as, for example, World Bank, have also played a role in infrastructure and in developing regulatory frameworks. However, we concluded that renewed attention should be paid to financial mechanisms for the Information Society, including financing the new aspects of infrastructure such as data centers and responding to the requirements arising from growing volumes of data traffic.
And we have to bear in mind that investment in content, applications, and capacity‑building is as important as investment in infrastructure. When it comes to the development cooperation, bilateral donors have played roles in supporting ICT D4 activities. And we encountered problems in determining the trajectory of funding. Because of the increasing extent to which ICTs are mainstreamed in all development activity to start with, and also because the ODA flows related to the information society are not being effectively counted.
What we know is they have been more concerned with applications than with infrastructure, but we recommended a comprehensive study of ODA flows that could be useful in the future. There is also a need to consider innovative approaches to financing and to improve international cooperation. There was a lot of talk about the solidarity fund, which wasn't ‑‑ which didn't really fulfill its promise. But perhaps other innovative approaches might do so in the future, if there was a consensus around them.
And also, enhanced experience of experience concerning, for example, enabling frameworks for innovation and investment and capacity‑building could support. Okay. Let's just turn to internet governance, which I'm sure is of primary importance to many of us here. And also, the Geneva Declaration said that it should constitute a core issue of the Information Society agenda. The importance of the internet itself has increased attention to internet governance, and there has been a number of developments that have taken place since WSIS concerning the technical functions of the internet, ICANN, internet domains, multilingualism, soft legislation at international level, DR being one example, and so on.
And when one comes to think about it, it is really amazing that we have only a working definition of internet governance, the one that was adopted by WGIG between the two phases of the summit. There is clearly a growing need to better understand what internet governance is, and what it includes, and should include. For that objective, there have been different mapping exercises. The one that the CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation conducted being one example.
The agenda also stated that internet governance encompasses both technical and public policy issues. Nowadays, it has been understood that most of the topics have both technical and public policy dimensions, and it is often difficult to separate the two. The agenda also affirmed that internet governance should involve all stakeholders, as we have witnessed even here in the IGF. The roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders continue to be at the heart of internet governance discussions.
For example, whether they are, in principle, stagnant, as the Tunis agenda seemed to suggest, or whether they vary in different contexts, whether multilateral or multistakeholder is the preferred model, and so on. Then let's talk about the two processes, the concrete inputs of the Tunis agenda, the IGF and the process towards enhanced corporation. I'm a little bit careful of talking about IGF. (Chuckling.) Many of you know it better than I do.
But it is clear that with more than 2,000 participants each year, and the flourishment of regional and national initiatives, the IGF has definitely established itself in the internet governance landscape. Even though there has been general satisfaction to the IGF, there have been also different views of how to improve it and take it forward. The CSTD working group on the improvements to the IGFs of established to respond to some of those concerns, and its recommendations are being gradually implemented.
From the comments of different stakeholders also outside the IGF, it is clear that the general will is to continue IGF. And whatever the decision is on its prolongation, the review would really need to also secure the practical functioning of the IGF to make sure that the secretariat has sufficient resources, and it's able to operate.
Now, moving to the other initiative that was set out in the Tunis agenda, the report acknowledges that less progress has been made in terms of enhanced cooperation, meaning that there is still no consensus of what it really means. The different face‑to‑face consultations and written inputs have increased understanding of different views, but there is still no common understanding of what constitutes enhanced corporation and how to implement it in practice.
And it does continue to preoccupy many. This became also clear in the substantive discussion that we had last May. We offer no solution to the dilemma on enhanced cooperation, but still, renewed effort should be made to resolve the differences and to achieve consensus on the future of internet and find solutions that allow all stakeholders to be involved in internet development and addressing the challenges related to it.
It is also important that discussion concerning the internet's future reflect this wide‑ranging significance, and the differences of few concerning internet governance do not cloud us, and do not inhibit discussion on how to take best advantage of innovation in technology and services, and the positive impact that the internet has on economic and social development. This is also important in the context of the review, that it doesn't concentrate on the dilemmas around internet governance only, but that has a strong focus on the development aspects of the internet.
Whatever the measures to implement the outcomes are, it would be important to ensure that the internet remains a universal resource, and that it becomes available for all. Now, just a couple of words on multistakeholder cooperation. Perfect, thank you very much for solving the problem. (Chuckling.) Now, the summit called for implementation of WSIS outcomes by all stakeholders, working individually and in partnerships, and the ten‑year review reviews the implementation by different stakeholders, illustrating these by examples.
The cooperation and dialogue across stakeholder groups has been a hallmark of WSIS implementation activities, but it has also made an important contribution to international governance at large. For example, in the United Nations, clearly it has set a new, sort of, spirit of multistakeholder involvement. The importance of multistakeholder cooperation was also emphasized in many of the contributions for the review. However, there were also some voices that pointed out weaknesses.
And it is true that the experience of multistakeholder participation is still relatively new. Many institutions are adjusting to new ways of doing things, including us in the United Nations. The modalities need to develop further, keeping in mind that there may be different approaches and ways of implementing multistakeholder cooperation. What may be perfect in one context may not be suitable in other. And continued efforts need to be made to overcome resource constraints and to increase inclusiveness, not just in the IGF, but also elsewhere.
A comprehensive assessment of the impact and potential multistakeholder participation would be also valuable, but still, it has not been undertaken. Now, a few words to conclude. It is clear that the WSIS vision continues to inspire the development of the information society. And the overall objectives set out in the WSIS outcomes remain relevant. Yet, it is important to adapt our policies, goals, and programs. And it is important that the objectives of the implementation today reach beyond the objectives that were set at the time of the summit. Much has been achieved thanks to the development of ICT technology, and the efforts of all stakeholders, but much still needs to be done, particularly in addressing digital divides and in reaching inclusiveness.
The review report, as well as the substantive discussion, also highlighted particular topics such as the importance of monitoring and measurement, education and capacity‑building, cybersecurity, and the international cooperation to overcome cyber threats. These are also reflected in the outcome document, in my opinion. Finally, ICTs have had profound impacts on society, economy, and culture, and their enabling power needs to be taken into consideration, and they need to be fully mainstreamed into wider social policies and programs.
Even though there is no proposed STG that is focused specifically on ICTs, the rapid development of ICTs really ensured that they play an increasingly important part in the measurement and implementation of STGs. And there needs to be a strong focus on this, both in the review, but also in further post‑2015 implementation of WSIS. With this, I would like to thank you, and hand it over to Peter.
>> PETER MAJOR: Thank you, Mervi, for this really rich description of what this WSIS review contains. There were many thoughts which came to my mind, especially when you mentioned the enhance cooperation. Just for those of you who aren't so familiar with the WSIS process itself, and especially the Tunis phase, the term "enhanced cooperation" has been introduced as a kind of diplomatic ambiguity to satisfy those parties who were having a discussion about the IANA functions, already at that time.
And the text, which is in the Tunis agenda, satisfy both parties. No one really knows, exactly, what "enhanced cooperation" means. We are working on that. And we have been doing ‑‑ to my understanding ‑‑ quite a progress in this working group I have been chairing. And hopefully we will come to some kind of conclusion in the future. So, that was my short remarks about enhanced cooperation. With that, I would like to introduce Professor David Souter, Researcher of the Research and Policy Consult, ICT Associate. David was also the lead consultant in the preparation for this ten‑year review report, so I would like to hear some words from David.
>> DAVID SOUTER: Thank you, Peter. I think, given the time, and also the very comprehensive summary that Mervi has given, I can say, thank you, Mervi. In terms of analyzing the report, what I'll do rather than saying some of the things I would otherwise have said, I'll speak a bit and ad lib about some key points which I think are worth raising, and may be helpful in the context of the WSIS plus ten review, as it currently stands.
One of the things that strikes me is that a distinction needs to be drawn between the WSIS plus ten review, being conducted at the moment by the co‑facilitators of the General Assembly, and a reappraisal of the development of the information society, which is a broader thing, which is necessary. To some degree in this report, CSTD tried to do both in that it analyzed progress, developments, around the targets, the action lines, financing mechanisms, internet governance, etc. That is the WSIS agenda.
But it also looked at the changes which have taken place in the Information Society over the past ten years. And the reason why I think that the distinction is important is because it identifies the parameters around the General Assembly process, which I suspect are not necessarily appreciated by everybody at the IGF. But, essentially, the General Assembly process is a review of WSIS outcomes. And therefore, it's bound to that specific mandate. What we said in the WSIS outcome documents, and the modalities resolutions referenced to assessing that, looking for gaps and challenges, and drawing conclusions from that.
It's a very tight timetable, and it's not possible to resolve all of the difficult issues that arise. And it's not possible to go into the level of detail that, for example, we were able to in this report. And thirdly, the General Assembly process is an intergovernmental negotiation. It requires ‑‑ the outcome document requires geopolitical consent. And that also limits what can be said within that final document. So that's very different from what one might say if one were to say, let's review the information society's development over the past ten years.
In terms of the WSIS outcomes, as Mervi said, there are essentially six outcomes, the vision, targets, action lines, financing mechanisms, internet governance, multistakeholder implementation approaches. Five of those are really quite closely tied to things that were decided in 2003 and 2005. The one exception is the vision, people‑centered, development‑oriented information society, that's a vision that is applicable, really, to any kind of context that you might have in terms of technology and markets.
But the context for the other five is really very dramatically different today from what it was in 2003, 2005. Targets set in 2003, action lines agreed in 2005. As Mervi said, the capabilities of ICT are now greater, three times as many people now make use of the internet. The majority of users of the internet, by the majority of people, are things that were not invented at the time of WSIS, social networking, cloud computing, and socials.
But, that's also ‑‑ it's important to recognize that's an ongoing process. And that 30 times capability, being 30 times greater than in 2005 today, will turn into capabilities being a thousand times greater in 2025. Over a 20‑year period, Moore's Law, doubling every two years, you get that scale of growth. If we're talking about a document to help us look forward over the next ten years as well, it needs to have that kind of context in mind.
We'll be very, very distant from the targets and so on that seemed relevant in 2005, in 2025. As distant, say, as space travel from the earliest airplanes. There's a challenge for the General Assembly process here, because the targets were out of date by 2010, the partnership updated them in 2010 to include broadband. They aren't necessarily the targets we would measure today.
We need adaptive targets which can move forward over time, so they continue to measure something relevant to the current state of things. The action lines, too. You know, the action lines were the things that seemed important in 2003, 2005. We would choose other action lines if we were starting today. That's not to say that we should revise the action lines to make them something else, because that is a complication we don't have the space to do.
But, in practical terms, the issues that are of primary importance today are quite different from then. Financing mechanisms, well, we've recently had the agenda on financing development, and that surely sets the framework for any discussion of financing mechanisms now. It would be odd for a new General Assembly process to agree to something that was not consistent with those. So that clearly has to set the frame of reference for that.
So, I see that as a big challenge. And it's a challenge that's common to all review processes. It's one I think the 2012 Earth summit also faced. You're essentially looking today about what you want to do for the future in a very fast‑moving context on the basis of things that were agreed ten years ago. And ultimately what needs to come out of that is something that does genuinely review progress on what was agreed ten years ago, but in the context of the current situation, and also is going to look sensible, sustainable, substantive, over the period of ten years from now, during which it is going to be read, and looked at, and quoted.
So, I end with four things I think we need to ‑‑ these are not things I think the General Assembly process can deal with, but they are things that I think in ten years' time, it needs to look sensible about. So the first is the basic change. I mentioned Moore's Law, with Moore's Law, we'll be applying, assuming it does, we can assume, I think, pretty much it does, a thousand‑fold increase in the capabilities of ICTs between 2005 and 2025.
And some of the things we'll see there are relatively known, internet of things, big data, and so on. But there are unknown unknowns in that, too, as social networking was effectively an unknown unknown in 2005. As societies, we have very little experience of handling that pace of change. But I think it's important that the General Assembly's conclusions on the WSIS review still look sensible in the light of that very rapid pace of change. And secondly, I think we need to recognize that we have very little real understanding of the impact of the Information Society.
Today, we have really very inadequate quantitative and qualitative measurement approaches to it. We know that the data sets, we know from the analysis we did in the documentation, the partnership on measuring ICT, we know the data sets are inadequate and out of date. And the problem that arises from that is that it's very easy to make decisions on the basis of assumptions, and of claims by vested interests, rather than on a solid evidence base.
So, I think, you know, it would be valuable to recognize, looking forward, the need for much stronger information and evidence base about what's really happening, for that to be done on a continual basis and with analytical rigor. The third areas, the other major thing that has come out this year, the sustainable development goals. I share very strongly the disappointment many people had with the Earth Summit outcome document, and the STGs, and the limited attention which they paid to the ICT sector.
And this is not because I want to shout about how important the ICT sector was. It's because I think that ICTs have already changed the underlying parameters of economies, societies, and cultures, and that in the next ten years, they will change them dramatically more and dramatically more rapidly. So, looking forward, over this ten‑year period, it's important that the outcome document look relevant in the light of major changes that will happen, and I think, therefore, pays strong attention to the STGs and to integration of the WSIS and STG agendas.
Lastly, on internet governance, I'd echo Peter on enhanced cooperation. This was a holding position in 2005 which has turned into a kind of (?) in 2015. And I see a certain problem in that, which is not something that can be addressed in the General Assembly process, but which I think the IGF process needs to address. Most of what is being discussed in this meeting is not to do with the future of the IGF or enhanced cooperation, it's to do with other things which are about the future of the internet, but we're moving towards, for example, a concentration of data applications in the cloud, rather than the kind of de‑centralized model that we used to have.
We have a predominant data for access model today, which raises real questions of market concentration and data exploitation. We're on the verge of things, and algorithmic decision‑making, and these are big new challenges. Now, it's not possible at all, I think, for the General Assembly process, which is reviewing WSIS outcomes, to address these major challenges. But it is necessary, I think, for the community of people here, and for the IGF to be addressing them over the next two or three years.
And, again, I think in terms of the longevity of the General Assembly outcome document in ten years' time, it needs to look as if it was conscious of these major changes that are taking place, and nature of the technology, and the governmental challenges that arise from that. So, it was a bit ad libbed, and I hope it was reasonably coherent. So, thanks anyway.
>> PETER MAJOR: Thank you, David. That was very refreshing to listen to your ideas. And to me, there were two major messages. One is that we have to change our mindset. And the other message is an implicit one that eventually, we have to change the institutional organizations. Anyway, thank you. As I told you, there are many points which I echo what you said. Finally, I would like to give the floor to Valeria Betancourt from the Association for Progressive Communication, APC, a long‑term partner and supporter of the CSTD work. I think, according to my notes, it would be more appropriate hearing Jean than to have its coordinator for Latin America ICT program for us to share views on the interlinkages between CSTD work and the overall review. So, welcome to you.
>> VALERIA BETANCOURT: Thank you so much, Peter. My role, I am managing the policy program at the APC at the moment, but obviously, my heart and huge interest is in my region, Latin America. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share our worldviews and be part of this discussion. APC is an organization and a network, but ‑‑ and it has to do with the internet, but not only for internet's sake.
In that case, as a network with members both in the global north and the global south, we really value the fact that the CSTD review report work is concerning WSIS and its review, and has been developed with input of the various stakeholders, particularly Internet Society organizations. We do think that the CSTD ten‑year report on WSIS is a very substantial document which contains the essence of the key messages for the General Assembly, which will review the WSIS outcomes.
Because it draws on many sources, and importantly, on public submissions from the stakeholders around the world, it offers a balanced perspective, in our view, of different interests and viewpoints on the state of the WSIS implementation. With APC particularly, we remain strongly committed to the vision of a people‑centered, inclusive, and development‑oriented Information society. And we feel this goal should permeate the vision and commitments to be agreed in December in New York at the U.N. General Assembly in the framework of the WSIS review.
Because this is an enduring vision, and because much is still to be done to realize it, as Mervi said, it has to be at the core of the ten‑year review, and at the core of the developing of additional vision for the future. In terms of the key messages for the General Assembly, I would like to highlight a few ones. Obviously, harnessing the potential of ICTs for development should, once again, be prioritized as we go forward, including, obviously, the post‑2015 development agenda David also mentioned, has mentioned already, the need to have a strong link with a sustainable development agenda, and within ‑‑ that is a key element of building the future for us and for our information society.
Obviously, this requires more than access to technology. It requires states and other actors to invest in human development, institutional capacity, human rights, and democratic, transparent, and accountable governance. It also requires building more just societies. These are processes that go well beyond the narrow internet governance issues that have, in a way, dominated much of the post‑WSIS intergovernmental debate. And they should have our full attention going forward.
In terms of achieving universal, affordable access, we would like to see a stronger recognition of the role of government to provide public access, and stimulate an enabling environment for a local community driving access solutions. We do think that effective, affordable access is not just connecting the next billion. It is about access that empowers people to create their own content in their own languages, and to act to change their lives.
It is not about linking more consumers to the internet. A key message when addressing access and rights issues should be around the need to appeal to the principle of network neutrality. We can find solutions such as civil rating access to social networking platforms should be approached in our view with great caution. They risk increasing access divides by creating different categories of users with different levels of access.
We cannot achieve the WSIS vision without accountable, inclusive governance. A strong emphasis and commitment on good governance at national, regional, and global levels in the overall WSIS review and in the future is necessary in our view. We also need strong emphasis on human rights. It is significant that ten years after the WSIS, that human rights standards apply online is now universally accepted. However, we have to recognize that they are not fully respected.
On the contrary, we see in various regions a setback with the adoption of legislation, regulation, and practices that impact negativity on the enjoyment of human rights online. Going forward, we really need a renewed commitment by states to respect, promote, and advance economic, social, and cultural rights, in addition to civil and political rights. A message should be passed to the General Assembly about the need to include recognition that any limitation to human rights should be in accordance with international human rights law.
The full references to the core human rights instruments are needed in the resolutions that we come up from the U.N. General Assembly. And please let me just refer to approaches to addressing cybersecurity. It must be people‑centered and underpinned by the promotion and protection of human rights. There is a need for the involvement of all stakeholders in efforts to be trusting, confident, and secure in the use of ICTs through open, inclusive, and transparent processes, as instrumental to achieving the WSIS vision.
But, in 2005, WSIS affirmed that women should be an integral part and key actors in the information society, participating on the basis of equality in all dimensions of society, and very importantly, in decision‑making processes. For us, it is crucial to see a renewed commitment on empowerment of women, and obviously, in the fact that violence against women based on technology exists, and it has to be combated, and it has to end.
So, we need a very strong commitment on that. In relation to the review of the IGF mandate, it is very good that CSTD recognizes the important role that the IGF plays, and the contribution it has made to the evolution of internet governance. We believe that the IGF should continue and should be strengthened with contributions of all stakeholders in line with the recommendations of the CSTD working group on IGF improvements, and also in line with the NETmundial statement.
Ideally, we would like to see greater participation of governments, particularly governments of developing countries in the IGF, and in playing a more effective role, we would like to see the IGF playing a more effective role in informing other internet governance and internet policy processes. Supporting the effort of the renewal of the IGF is needed, subject to obviously, appropriate monitoring and evaluation processes to assist and improve its capacity.
And finally, we cannot forget about the principle of multistakeholder participation that was embraced at the WSIS. We need affirmation of this principle if we want it to continue evolving to be fully democratic and inclusive. And we need to embrace open, inclusive, transparent and democratic approaches to all aspects of the information society, particularly internet governance, with meaningful participation of all stakeholders. The U.N. General Assembly should call for concrete measures to strengthen those approaches, including funding mechanisms. So, thank you again for the opportunity to highlight the points that we think should be passed to the General Assembly.
>> PETER MAJOR: Thank you, Valeria. Just while you were talking about gender issues, I observed that we have a balanced panel. So we try to do our best. Well, thanks to all of you, Janis, Mervi, Valeria, David, for the thoughts you have conveyed to us. Now, I would like to open the floor for your questions. Don't be shy. Yes, Fernando.
>> FERNANDO: Hello, hi. My name is Fernando, I'm responsible for F123 consulting, an initiative to include persons with disabilities through low‑cost, high‑performance technologies. I was about ten years or so ago involved in a project to develop a methodology to include exporters ‑‑ service exporters of disabilities. And I just wanted to bring up this issue, not just the importance of including gender and ‑‑ as well as persons with disabilities, and other realms of social policy in the objectives, but to emphasize the fact that these are, unfortunately, in many ways, our constants.
Yes, the technology has changed dramatically from ten years ago. But unfortunately, issues such as employment, education, and inclusion of these groups remains quite central. So I think I want to, in a way, congratulate UNCTAD and other U.N. initiatives in their concern for these social aspects, but I also want to request that these become, rather than the technology, that these aspects of our project become the main focus, because they are not ‑‑ unfortunately, they are not becoming outdated with time. Thank you.
>> PETER MAJOR: Thank you, Fernando. Who else?
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. First of all, I give my excuses for being late, but, you know how hectic is this meetings and meetings. And I just want to say to those present here that maybe this document is the first one that you see from UNCTAD, but that I want to tell everybody here that UNCTAD has been doing fantastic reports. The information economy report that has been coming out since the year 2000 is a fantastic report. And I really think that many of the key concepts of the information society have come with this excellent report.
I want to congratulate UNCTAD for that work. And I only there to give a suggestion to keep on in the topic of internet economy, that as you know, it's still some sort of black box. And many things ‑‑ it has its roots ‑‑ many of the problems have their roots in internet economy, and net neutrality, and all that. Well, just that. To congratulate UNCTAD for their excellent reports that have come. Maybe you don't know that UNCTAD was the first U.N. organization that took care of internet in the days when everybody referred to internet as electronic commerce.
It was the days of Al Gore in the United States, of Ida, and nobody talk about information society or internet. Everybody talked about electronic commerce. And UNCTAD had a division for electronic commerce for many years with excellent professional that they really pushed forward this activity. So, only to say that. That UNCTAD is really a key player, and has been for many years a key player in this. And I congratulate you.
>> PETER MAJOR: Thank you, everyone. The gentleman from Bangladesh.
>> Thank you very much. I am working with the Bangladesh end user network for review and communication. Basically, our organization, involved with WSIS, to improve. And I was a member of U.N. GATE for ICT development. Okay. First of all, I would like to congratulate you for publishing and reviewing the WSIS ten years. And I fully endorse His Excellency, the Ambassador of Cuba. It's a very good report, I think.
But regarding the routine, next time, financial mechanism and another one is internet management, internet governance. But this time, internet governance, we are passing ten years also. But financial mechanism, completely missing. Maybe one or two meeting was held in Geneva, but that time. But there is no progress regarding the financial mechanism. So, I will be very happy if UNCTAD facilitated meetings regarding the financial mechanism like this.
We are very much happy to fully endorse regarding the idea for the renewal process from the report, and our recommendation would be not wait five years, not wait three years the renewal process. Maybe after 30, 15 years. Up to ‑‑ 2030, may be renewed through the IGF process. I think this is a very good recommendation from our side, and also, another thing is country level monitoring is very important regarding WSIS action plan.
Especially, my idea is C9. C1 through C11, but my idea is C9. Progress, a lot of things. The broadcasting system, public broadcasting, private, and community. Very vibrant now in Bangladesh. So, I would be very happy, look into regarding the financial mechanism. It is very, very important. And we committed to this process, as well as the process in 2003 and maybe '5. Thank you.
>> PETER MAJOR: Thank you for your intervention. Especially, thank you for commending the work CSTD and UNCTAD has been doing in this sphere. Yes, Fernando.
>> FERNANDO: Hello. This is Fernando again. In terms of financial mechanisms, there is a very innovative process that people call social bonds. And these are usually opportunities that are identified ‑‑ social problems such as unemployment, or the reintegration of persons that were prisoners before, or inclusion of persons with disabilities in workplaces and so forth. These are communities that represent a high cost to society, both because of re‑incidence, or just because of social security costs.
Now, social bonds are all about making investments today in training and other support mechanisms so that they can be included in the workplace. And through those investments and their eventually employment, saving resources to government, which would otherwise have to spend much more money with unemployment benefits and other social support expenses. So, I would like to suggest this as a potential avenue for funding, not just technology, but the most important element, the actual training of the different segments of societies in the effective use of this technology for employment. Thank you.
>> PETER MAJOR: Thank you for your thoughts. And it gives us a considerable task, as well, to reach out to other organizations to get involved in this work. Any other opinion or question to the panelists? Well, in case you don't have any questions, I would like to conclude our session. I think it was very informative and very interesting session from the ‑‑ just conveying some of the ideas which this very rich report contained, and probably it will also help the co‑facilitators in their work ‑‑ in their future work, which is not going to be very simple.
In fact, this is an understatement. It will be extremely complicated. But it gives, also, a good deal of thought for us, as well. As Fernando mentioned, different aspects which haven't been touched upon directly in the report. And probably it will give us also some kind of direction and guidance how to proceed. I'm really grateful to David, who has brought up a lot of interesting thoughts as how to move forward, because that is very important. And naturally, he has also outlined that there are time constraints, there are institution constraints, there are a lot of limitations, but we have to live with that.
It doesn't prevent us here in the IGF, or in the future in case the mandate of the IGF is going to be extended, to think about these issues, to bring up these issues, and to have debates and dialogues about these issues, and provide, according to the recommendation of the CSTD working group, some outputs for policy‑makers, for decision‑makers. I think the review report of the CSTD is a valuable input to the whole process, and I think it is being used by decision‑makers and the delegates who are in the process of negotiation in New York.
And as I read in the first draft of the interim phase of these negotiations, the report has been recognized quite extensively in addition to all the other works which have been conducted by the CSTD. So, I think we are looking forward to the results of the deliberations in New York with a certain optimism. And I hope that we are going to have a very nice evaluation during the upcoming IGF, if I may be optimistic, New Mexico. So I really thank you for your kind attendance. And thank you again for the panelists, and I would like to ask you to give a round of applause to the panelists.
(End of Session, 15:33)