Wednesday, July 27, 2011

IGF: ‘Take advantage of multi-stakeholder approach’

The global internet community has been tasked to take advantage of multi-stakeholder approach to drive home the import of free internet access.

Making this charge recently at the United States’ Internet Governance Forum (IGF-USA), the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Mr. Lawrence E. Strickling, said that now the challenge facing global internet community is to convince the rest of the world on the advantages of the multistakeholder approach.

He said that the United States is ready to take its case to the forthcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) organised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in November this year.

This treaty negotiation, he said, would conduct a review of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), the general principles which relate to the provision and operation of international telecommunication services.

“We can expect that some states will attempt to rewrite the ITRs in a manner that would establish heavy-handed governmental control of the Internet and cybersecurity,” he noted, adding that these are the countries that stakeholders must identify and promote the multistakeholder model, which must begin right away.

As said by him, the forthcoming IGF in Nairobi this September would provide stakeholders with an excellent opportunity to get started on this important task.

“I will use speaking opportunities at the IGF and the Government of Kenya’s Ministerial meeting to explain why we feel multistakeholder Internet governance is so valuable to preserving and enhancing a dynamic Internet and how it can be most useful in countries with little tradition of employing it,” he said.

His team at NTIA, Mr. Strickling said, would also work extensively at the bilateral level over the next year to spread the message.

“We ultimately hope to attain a global consensus on Internet governance that will preserve an open, interoperable, secure, and continually innovating Internet. But we need your help,” he said, reminding participants at the forum that on Friday, July 29 is the deadline for responses to NTIA’s ‘Further Notice of Inquiry on the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions contract.

This process, he explained, is the first comprehensive review of the IANA functions contract since the award of the initial contract in 2000.

“We have been conducting what I hope the community agrees is an open and transparent process on the contract. Based on comments received to our original notice, we have gone back to the global community to confirm that we interpreted correctly what was said in the comments. We set forth our tentative conclusions in response to the comments and then provided a draft Statement of Work for public comment,” he elucidated.

For Mr. Strickling, this is the first time NTIA has sought public input on the draft Statement of Work, stressing that in keeping with its commitment to the multistakeholder model; NTIA is actively seeking the input of global stakeholders.

“I encourage you to all carefully read the Further Notice and submit comments by the deadline,” he said, reassuring that the United States government is committed to the multistakeholder model of Internet policymaking,” he said, stressing that US is encouraged by the fact that support for the model has continued to gain momentum across the global internet community.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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