New proposal on internet governance to be tabled at summit

  • 8 December 2003

** This press release is provided by the businessatwsis website as courtesy for information purposes only. It is not a CCBI or ICC press release, but represents the personal position of Mr Abu-Ghazaleh. **

International business leader, Mr Talal Abu-Ghazaleh will tomorrow use a high-level meeting at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to propose creation of an internet governance forum balancing the interests of governments, civil society and business.

During a private roundtable meeting with the President of the Swiss Confederation, H.E. Mr Pascal Couchepin, Mr Abu-Ghazaleh will submit an internet governance proposal which uses the already established UN ICT Task Force as a platform for future discussions on governance of the internet.

Mr Abu-Ghazaleh is also the Vice-Chair of the UN ICT Task Force and Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce’s E-business & IT Commission.

His proposal advocates the continued “operational management of the internet under private sector leadership, driven by the dynamics of business”.

It comes amid pre-summit discussion of the role in internet governance of such technical bodies as ICANN – Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the World Wide Web Consortium and the Internet Engineering Taskforce.

The proposal complements many of the provisions already adopted in the pre-summit preparatory process.

“This summit provides us with an excellent opportunity to ensure the massive potential of the internet is spread to all corners of the globe,” Mr Abu-Ghazaleh said here today. “How this resource is managed needs serious discussion. It is my view that the UN ICT Task Force, an already-existing, multi-stakeholder body, is the best forum for this discussion. It is the only body which currently enjoys international legitimacy – we should build on it.

“There is already provision within the UN ICT Task Force for the voices of government, civil society and business to be equally heard.”

Under the terms of the Abu-Ghazaleh proposal, the Internat ional Telecoms Union (ITU), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) would be among member organizations of an UN ICT Task Force-led forum.

The forum would also feature a representative from each continent, in addition to the current membership of government, private sector and civil society members.

The UN ICT Task Force is a multi-stakeholder organization, established by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan in 2001 to bring together governments, civil society and business to explore ways in which IT technologies can best be harnessed to realize the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

It comprises 18 government representatives, six inter-governmental organizations, four NGOs and eight private sector leaders – of whom Mr Abu-Ghazaleh is one.