Press Releases

                                                                                                                            24 March 2004

    Global Forum on Internet Governance to Be Held at UN Headquarters, 25 - 27 March

    NEW YORK, 23 March (UN Headquarters) -- The complex and contentious issue of Internet governance will be the focus of a Global Forum to be held from 25 to 27 March at United Nations Headquarters, as part of the sixth meeting of the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force.

    The Global Forum will bring together representatives from government, the private sector and civil society for a wide-ranging discussion on all aspects of Internet governance.  Over 200 participants representing all stakeholders will attend.

    Participants include such prominent Internet actors as Vinton Cerf, Senior Vice-President, MCI; Paul Twomey, President and CEO, International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); John Gage, Senior Researcher, Sun Microsystems; Robert Kahn, President and CEO, Corporation for National Research Initiatives; Michael Aisenberg, Director, Verisign; Fred Baker, Chairman of the Board, Internet Society; Lynn St. Amour, President and CEO, Internet Society; and Leslie Daigle, Chair, Internet Architecture Board.

    The Forum is intended to contribute to worldwide consultations to prepare the ground to a future Working Group on Internet Governance to be established by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which is to report to the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (Tunis, 2005).

    The event will open at 9 a.m., on Thursday, 25 March, in the Chamber of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with remarks by the Chairman of the Task Force, José María Figueres-Olsen; a welcome statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan; remarks by ECOSOC President Marjatta Rasi; and a statement by Vinton Cerf of MCI.

    Forum participants will then examine the different arenas and institutional forms of governance, the issues arising out of the Geneva phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, and the outcome of recent meetings on Internet governance organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), ICANN and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), as well as the results of the online forum organized by wsis-on-line. Jose Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, will chair the session.

    In the afternoon, the Forum will break into working groups that will seek areas of agreement in different areas of Internet governance, as well as to identify areas that merit further discussion. Five working groups will examine Internet infrastructure, including domain names and IP addresses, network security, and root server and zone file operations; issues of transaction and content, including e-commerce, e-signatures, e-contracting, consumer protection, intellectual property, privacy, and information security; and insufficiently covered issues that could require collective governance, such as Internet interconnection and backbone deployment, spam, cultural and linguistic diversity, taxation, jurisdiction and choice of law, universal access, and ICT and development.

    On Friday, 26 March, a discussion on “The Way Ahead” will focus on areas of common understanding, as well as on issues participants felt would deserve more focused deliberations at subsequent meetings, in particular, within the ICT Task Force.  The Forum will close at 1 p.m. after hearing Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette and UN ICT Task Force Chairman Mr. Figueres-Olsen.

    The sixth meeting of the UN ICT Task Force will conclude with a closed session on Saturday, 27 March.

    Launched in 2001 by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the UN ICT Task Force brings together representatives of government, academia, business and civil society, united by the goal of using ICT to advance development.

    For information, please call Enrica Murmura at (212) 963 5913 or Edoardo Bellando at (212) 963 8275, or visit

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