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Opening remarks by Joe Alhadeff at NETmundial (23-24 April 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Opening remarks by Joe Alhadeff at NETmundial (23-24 April 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Ministers, Excellencies, Participants and Stakeholders:

We congratulate Brazil on the organization and warm hospitality of the NETmundial meeting. NETmundial resulted from a confluence of rather unique events that provided an opportunity to host a meeting to help further consensus and dialogue on issues that are being worked on in many global fora.

The success of NETmundial is not measured in declarations or new commitments, but rather in the crystallization of consensus across stakeholder groups. Success is likewise measured by the level of participation in the meeting, both physical and virtual. Success is also the constructive dialogue on those issues which are not ripe for consensus or otherwise beyond the scope of what can be addressed in even the most ambitious two-day event. We agree with Commissioner Kroes with the observation that we agree with more than we disagree. NETmundial has equally demonstrated a future-oriented and generous spirit by specifically indicating that it exists for the benefit of all through outcomes that are not ends in themselves, but rather inputs to other, existing processes with the hope of providing important reflections on issues of great currency.

We are gratified by the strong support that NETmundial has evidenced for the meaningful and inclusive participation of stakeholders taking into account the needed skills and capacities for certain topics as well as the functional and operational requirements of the Internet and its governance mechanisms. We also recognize the importance of the dialogue on how to most appropriately include the concerns of those who may be impacted by Internet governance issues, but not be able to directly participate in relevant conversations. We also note the need for inclusiveness and further dialogue on how to reach out to less and least developed economies, citizens and small businesses whose voices have not always been heard because they have not been able to take advantage of opportunities to participate.

We are meeting pursuant to the recent NTIA announcement related to the transition of its stewardship role and highlight the importance of all the conditions set forth for the transition, including the essential multistakeholder nature of its successor as part of the concepts which should be reflected in any related statements in the roadmap.

We are equally gratified by the strong support for the continued importance and validity of the IGF as well as the constructive dialogue on how to strengthen it and increase its relevance while not undermining its essential character.

We further note the importance of addressing issues of concern related to Internet governance faced by developing countries for which there is no solution readily apparent. We believe that innovative solutions may be developed by leveraging new technologies to be able to provide a comprehensive resource related to work being done across global fora on these issues in a way that is more usefully searchable.

NETmundial has covered an ambitious scope of issues, including a number of important societal and human rights issues. We recognize the importance of those issues in the formation and implementation of Internet Governance policies and mechanisms, but would differentiate them from principles of Internet governance. We all agree that these societal and human rights issues must be addressed both online and offline and form the ecosystem within which we operate. Questions related to how we classify these issues should not be taken as any disagreement as to their importance or need to be addressed.

NETmundial has also stressed the importance of the continued security, stability, resilience and operational functionality of the Internet. We also note the need to maintain the unified end-to-end nature of Internet as a platform for innovation powered by cross border and global flows of information. We further highlight the importance of globally accepted, consensus-based voluntary standards in maintaining the Internet as a flexible, responsive and interoperable platform for innovation.

We look forward to the dialogue and drafting that will occur over the next day and a half and hope that all stakeholders approach those discussions with an open mind in search of the middle ground of consensus and the needed humility to hear different points of view without prejudice.