Nº 5 2013 > Highlights from WPTF‑13 Opinions
Brazil's draft Opinion
One of the most significant discussions at the World Telecommunication and Information and Communication Technology Policy Forum (WTPF‑13), held in Geneva on 14–16 May 2013, was on a new draft Opinion from Brazil* on the “Role of Government in the Multistakeholder Framework for Internet Governance”. It was first discussed in the Forum’s Working Group 3, but was not endorsed.
Brazil introduced the rationale for submitting this contribution, emphasizing that the central issues to be discussed at WTPF‑13 included operationalizing the role of governments in the multistakeholder model and capacity building with the support of ITU. The Russian Federation, in support of the contribution, highlighted the important role of governments in Internet governance and the need to define international rules for the Internet.
There was significant discussion on the new draft Opinion from Brazil. Based on the feedback received, at the urging of the Chairman of Working Group 3, Brazil consulted on an informal basis with various delegations and came back with a revised version of their contribution on the closing day of the Forum. After a 45-minute adjournment for delegates to consider the revised version, the group continued the discussion on the revised Brazilian contribution.
All delegates expressed their appreciation to the Brazilian delegation for its dedication and constructive spirit in consulting and revising the text. Many delegates, while supporting the issues expressed in the contribution, indicated that some modifications were still needed to more accurately reflect various views and concerns.
Many delegates, as well as the Chairman, agreed that the issue of the role of governments in the multistakeholder model of Internet governance is a very important topic and one of the key issues that have not been clearly addressed to date. It was emphasized by the Chairman that “we should not shy away from talking about it and that until we do address the core issue, there will be a degree of uncertainty, especially when it comes to public policy issues”.
Many delegates expressed the view that the topic was very complex and that there was insufficient time left to consider all aspects in detail. But they also agreed that while they could not reach a conclusion at the Forum itself, the discussion could be continued elsewhere.
Brazil accepted that in the absence of a consensus, it would be difficult to pursue their draft Opinion at Working Group 3 and expressed their willingness to work with others to continue to deliberate on the issues expressed in the contribution.
The Chairman concluded that while the new draft Opinion was not adopted, there was support for the principles embodied in that contribution. He noted that these are building blocks and encouraged all the delegates to stay engaged in this matter and continue debating within ITU, as well as at other forums. Some delegates suggested that aspects of the discussion could be continued at forums such as the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).
The Chairman suggested the ITU Council Working Group on international Internet-related public policy issues (CWG-Internet) as one other forum (noting the ongoing open consultations with all stakeholders). Brazil could make a contribution on this important issue, taking into account the relevant deliberations at WTPF‑13, as well as any further inputs received from delegates. The Chairman also indicated that the Council Working Group could consider forwarding the output of its deliberations to the ITU Council for further consideration.
In the light of these discussions, the Chairman of Working Group 3 reported to the plenary that the new draft Opinion was not endorsed by the working group. The Brazilian Opinion was discussed again in plenary and the same conclusion was reached — that the dialogue will continue in many forums.
*This article is adapted from excerpts from the report of the Chairman of Working Group 3 to the plenary.