ICC BASIS joined nine other business and Internet organizations to convey strong objection to a decision taken by the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) to compose its Chair’s Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), exclusively of government representatives.
In a letter to Frederic Riehl, Vice-Chair and Sherry Ayittey, Chair of the CSTD, ten organizations, including the Internet Society, and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), called for the decision to be reconsidered.
“We urge you to retract the decision of 7 December, and to establish an appropriately constituted working group consistent with the World Summit on the Information Society formulation ensuring 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 letter said.
Convened under the aegis of the UN Secretary General, the IGF is currently the only forum where all entities – including business, governments, civil society and the technical community – can discuss Internet policy issues on an equal footing. The move undermines the multistakeholder principles of the IGF that are essential to the development of Internet policy and the management of Internet resources.
In the letter signatories also point out that the shocking decision is not in line with a United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution which invited the CSTD Chair “to establish, in an open and inclusive manner, a working group to seek, compile and review inputs from all Member States and all other stakeholders on improvements to the IGF, in line with the mandate set out in the Tunis Agenda”.
The strong message concerning the decision will be reiterated by ICC-BASIS and other groups at a CSTD meeting in Geneva on 17 December.
“The multistakeholder principle and spirit of the IGF are now seriously under threat,” said ICC’s Executive in Charge of Information and Communication Technologies Policy Ayesha Hassan. “ICC BASIS is working to do everything possible to ensure that this decision is overturned. Further improvements to the IGF must be developed by a multistakeholder group, consistent with the principles of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).”
Signatories of the letter are:
Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC)
Association for Competitive Technology
Australian Domain Name Administration (AuDA)
East African Internet Governance Forum
International Chamber of Commerce – Business Action to Support the Information Society
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
Internet Governance Caucus