24 November 2015
Multiple organizations sign statement; support calls for open processes at pivotal U.N. meeting
The Internet Society announced that it has joined more than 200 organizations and individuals who have signed a statement intended for leaders and governments participating in the United Nations General Assembly’s 10 Year Review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+10 Review).
Key Internet stakeholders convened during the Internet Governance Forum contributed to the joint statement which urges the U.N. General Assembly to safeguard fundamental principles for the future of the Internet. The statement highlights the need for collaboration, transparency and inclusiveness in the Internet and calls upon the U.N. to ensure an open process of governance as it looks back at past Information Society achievements and maps goals for the future.
On 15-16 December, government officials from more than 190 countries will meet in New York City for the WSIS+10 Review to assess progress in achieving a people-centered and development-oriented Information Society where everyone can create, access, use and share information. Leaders will discuss a wide range of issues, including the role of governments in Internet oversight, expansion of Internet access, and the impact of Internet technologies in supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The discussions at the WSIS+10 Review can influence how the Internet is governed for the next decade and beyond. Since the last WSIS summit 10 years ago, the Internet has evolved in ways previously unimagined. Today, the digital economy contributes five to nine percent of total GDP in developed countries and is growing 15 to 25 percent per year in developing markets. Governments, private sector, civil society, academia and the Internet technical community have worked together over the years to make the Internet an invaluable tool for economic and social development. This multistakeholder approach is critical in achieving the WSIS goals.
The joint statement highlights several other key issues:
- Full support of the renewal of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) mandate. The IGF, which was initiated at the 2005 WSIS meeting, brings people together from various stakeholder groups to discuss Internet-related public policy issues on an equal footing and in a free and open environment. The joint statement calls for the extension of the IGF’s mandate to continue its important work.
- A critical need to connect the unconnected. Access to an open and inclusive Internet is a fundamental tool that enables free speech, empowers people and creates economic opportunities. It should be a priority of all stakeholders to expand Internet access as the digital divide only increases existing economic and social disparity. To this end, the newly adopted UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize the Internet and connected information and communication technologies (ICTs) as a critical enabler for economic and social progress. The WSIS +10 Review provides an important opportunity to showcase how Internet technologies can help the world achieve key development goals, such as access to health care, educational opportunities and gender equality.
To view the Joint Statement and the current list of signatories, visit: https://www.openwsis2015.org/joint-statement-on-wsis10/. Other stakeholders are invited to add their signatures to the list.
For more information on the WSIS +10 Review, visit http://dev.internetsociety.org/wsis.