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Thursday, April 19, 2007

CSO demands inclusion of paragraph 72 in Rio agenda

Members of the Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Caucus of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) have called for more focused discussion centred on the paragraph 72 of the Tunis agenda.

Presenting the report of the February meeting to members of the group recently, coordinator of the caucus, Mr. Adam Peake, made this call and said that they would cherish future consultations like the forthcoming Rio meeting come November this year, to have ample time to specifically deal with the aspects of this paragraph that were not treated in Athens due to time factor.

He said that comments, for instance on paragraph F and I needed the IGF to discuss the good principles of Internet governance as agreed in Tunis in 2005.

In addition, he said that the Tunis document outlined how to fully implement them inside all existing governance processes, including how to facilitate participation by disadvantaged stakeholders such as developing countries, civil society, and individual users.

“We expect this to be an additional theme for Rio,” he declared, stressing that about the themes for Rio, CSOs are generally satisfied with the areas of work as defined for Athens, but noted that some of them are much bigger than others, and thus many issues falling into them were not given adequate attention.

“We would like to propose to break the openness group of items in two; one about human rights and freedom of expression and the other on intellectual property rights and access to knowledge,” the group suggested.

Mr. Peake also called for raised attention on the importance of access not just in terms of physical connections for developing countries, but also in terms of accessibility of technologies to the disabled and to other disadvantaged groups, which could equally become another group of issues.

He further said that as noted above, CSO also felt the need for what he described as ‘a meta governance’ theme.

“We are aware of the complex discussion on whether the narrow Internet governance themes, such as the oversight of the Internet addressing and naming system, should be part of the agenda in Rio,” he said.

According to him, inside the civil society group, there are different points of view about this matter, including that all agreed in the deep dissatisfaction for the lack of transparency and inclusion in the so-called enhanced cooperation process, which, had earlier been agreed in Tunis, hence demands that this should be discussed in a multi-stakeholder fashion.

“We ask that prompt communication be given to all stakeholders about the status and nature of this process and that independently from the venue chosen to host it, steps are taken to ensure the full inclusion of all stakeholders in this process,” he said in the report.

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