Nº 6 2013 > Editorial

Open talks with ITU Secretary-General

Dr Hamadoun I. Touré

Open talks with ITU Secretary-General

As part of my commitment to ITU’s membership, I am pleased to announce the launch of a series of informal consultations — called “Open talks” — which I will host on Internet-related public policy issues. The talks will include the topic of the role of governments in the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. I will bring the essence of these talks to the ITU Council Working Group on international Internet-related Public Policy Issues in November 2013 for information.

I am proud of ITU’s substantial and diverse membership — 193 Member States and around 700 Sector Members, including members of the Internet community, industry, civil society and academia. ITU members from different regions and different perspectives continue to work together for the common good and in the public interest to resolve complex and challenging issues.

Not everyone has the opportunity to participate in discussions at ITU. That is why, as ITU Secretary-General, I constantly seek different ways of reaching out to engage all those whose ideas could make a difference. No one person, no single group or institution, no individual country has a monopoly over good ideas. As history has reminded us time and again, the brightest minds can be found anywhere.

Everyone’s views and opinions should be heard and accommodated in global Internet-related policy-making, because they concern what must be considered today as a basic commodity for all the world’s people.

In this regard, the multistakeholder model was recognized at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) as the way forward for the global governance of the Internet. The WSIS outcome documents (Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005) provide a set of framework principles for the multistakeholder model. In particular, a reference to the role of governments in the multistakeholder model can be found in many paragraphs of the Tunis Agenda, including paragraph 35 which outlines the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder group.

As we approach the tenth anniversary of WSIS, I am proud that ITU continues to play its part in championing multistakeholderism and in using its convening power to facilitate constructive dialogue.

If international policy-making is to be effective and to achieve the desired impact, it is clear to me that the diverse views of all constituents must be taken into account. This is particularly true when it comes to international Internet-related public policy — which directly affects how we manage a vital global resource.

In these open talks, I will adopt informal, open and inclusive formats that provide opportunities for anyone, anywhere in the world to participate. These formats include: a World Café in the ICT Discovery at the ITU headquarters (8 October 2013), a Town Hall meeting at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Bali, Indonesia (25 October 2013), and an online format through the use of an interactive crowdsourcing platform. I look forward to hearing from all of you and listening to the different ideas and perspectives that you will undoubtedly share.


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