Press Releases

    22 September 2004

    Consultations on Setting up Working Group on Internet Governance Conclude in Geneva

    (Reissued as received.)

    GENEVA, 21 September (UN Information Service) -- Over 250 participants from all over the world attended the consultations on the establishment of a United Nations Working Group on Internet Governance held in Geneva on 20 and 21 September. The establishment of the Working Group was requested last December by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

    Discussion centred on the scope of the Working Group’s mandate, the “mapping” of the issues under consideration, the relationship of the Working Group’s process with other consultations, as well as issues such as transparency and access to the Working Group’s proceedings.

    Consultation Chairperson Nitin Desai stressed at the outset that the meeting should focus not on differences but rather on the opportunities afforded by the Internet, particularly for developing economies.  He said that his role as Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for the World Summit on the Information Society was to enable a space for discussion and support for dialogue. Mr. Desai asked participants for a clarification of key viewpoints, in order to report back to Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the constitution of the Working Group.

    In his keynote address, Tarek Kamel, Minister of Communications of Egypt, stressed that Internet was “one of the main pillars and indispensable components of both the global and national information society”, as well as a requisite for socio-economic development.  But the process towards Internet governance should strike a balance by including all stakeholders and heeding their opinions.  He also underscored the importance of regional consultations and announced that Egypt was to host a regional Arab-African conference in May 2005 to prepare a regional coordinated stance.

    Given the short reporting period available to them, many participants felt that the Working Group should concentrate on key issues, including management of Internet resources, spam, cyber-security, cyber-crime, multilingualism and data protection.  Some stressed that the Working Group should take into consideration other work related to Internet governance that was being carried out at international forums.  Participants also reiterated the importance of adopting a multi-stakeholder approach that would include governments, the private sector and civil society, as well as participants from international and regional organizations dealing with Internet governance issues.

    There was an emerging consensus that the term “Internet governance” should be seen in a broader context.  Different views were expressed about the size and structure of the Working Group.

    Mr. Desai indicated, in his closing remarks, that he would report back to the Secretary-General on the Geneva Consultations. The next round of open-ended consultations is scheduled for 15-16 February 2005, back-to-back with the second Preparatory Committee meeting of WSIS, which is scheduled for 17-25 February. The Chairperson and members of the Working Group should be appointed in October, and the final report should be submitted to the Secretary-General in July 2005.

    Contact:  Markus Kummer, Executive Coordinator, Secretariat of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG), tel.: +41 0 22 917 54 88, e-mail:

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