Press Releases

                                                                                                                            29 March 2004

    Information Technologies Can Play Vital Role in Meeting Anti-Poverty Goals Says Deputy Secretary-General at Close of Internet Governance Forum

    NEW YORK, 26 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following are Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette’s remarks at the closing session of the Global Forum on Internet Governance in New York, 26 March:

    It gives me great pleasure to address the closing session of the Global Forum on Internet Governance organized by the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force.  I would like to congratulate the participants for their contributions and for moving the discussion on Internet governance in a positive direction. I wish to especially thank José Maria Figueres Olsen for his leadership, as well as the chairs and moderators for effectively steering the discussion.

    This forum has provided another opportunity to improve our grasp of the many issues that fall under the rubric of Internet governance, to clarify the positions of the many stakeholder groups, and to discover areas of common ground.

    I think the complexity of Internet governance was clearly highlighted at this Global Forum.  A number of issues were identified where there was need for international cooperation to develop globally acceptable solutions (for instance Spam, network security, privacy and information security).  It was also highlighted that content should be culturally and linguistically relevant and, from a technical viewpoint, language standards ought to be rapidly developed and interoperable within the Internet infrastructure.

    I was pleased to hear that you had offered to develop a matrix of all issues of Internet governance addressed by multilateral institutions, including gaps and concerns, to assist the Secretary-General in moving forward the agenda on these issues.

    I thank you for your readiness to support the work of both the Working Group on Internet Governance and the Task Force on Funding that will be set up by the Secretary-General.  You stressed the principles of transparency and of building on existing institutions and mechanisms to enhance legitimacy and participation of developing countries in policy making forums, and we agree.

    A strong message of your meeting was the importance of addressing issues from the development perspective, and of ensuring that the benefits of the Internet contribute to the cause of human development.  ICTs -- particularly the Internet -- can play a vital role in contributing to the Millennium Development Goals.

    This Forum is an important contribution to the open and inclusive consultations on Internet governance that the Secretary-General will undertake worldwide in the coming months.  We are in the process of establishing the secretariat that will support the working group.  The Secretary-General appointed Markus Kummer as the Head of the secretariat yesterday.  We are listening to all stakeholders, and we are strongly committed to finding satisfactory answers to the difficult questions with which we are all wrestling.  I look forward to your continued participation in this work.

    Thank you very much.

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