Contribution to the Working Group on Internet Governance
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC)
The first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) ended with a request to the Secretary General of the United Nations for setting up a Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). Among the various forums established to discuss Internet Governance, WGIG is well-positioned to build compelling and effective solutions.
To reach a fruitful consensus within the limited time frame to Tunis phase, the WGIG, ensuring the active participation of stakeholders with diverse views, should take the initiative on discussions of Internet Governance following the framework of discussion described in the Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action.
1. Composition and working methods of the working group
In accordance with the Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action, WGIG should:
i) develop a working definition of Internet governance;
ii) identify the public policy issues that are relevant to Internet governance;
iii) develop a common understanding of the respective roles and responsibilities of governments, existing intergovernmental and international organizations and other forums as well as the private sector and civil society from both developing and developed countries;
iv) prepare a report on the results of this activity to be presented for consideration and appropriate action for the second phase of WSIS in Tunis in 2005.
In dealing with issues raised by the rapid growth of the Internet and associated current and future social and economical structures, discussions on Internet Governance should be inclusive and comprehensive.
In order to ensure that a compelling conclusion is reached, the WGIG should request balanced input from various stakeholders. The composition of the WGIG should reflect:
- A balance of sectors: all sectors whose participation is required by the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action should be included and balanced.
- Differences in Internet Growth: Internet development and penetration vary significantly from region to region. The WGIG should pay close attention to regional differences in needs accruing from differences in Internet development and penetration.
- Differences in thinking – “Two schools of thought”: During the discussion in the WSIS Geneva phase, various participants made a number of proposals, which fall into “Two School of Thoughts” in the words of the Executive Coordinator.
- Other balances: public/private, region and gender.
Considering the role of the WGIG and issues to be discussed, each member is expected to provide expertise in one of the following areas, though expertise in both is desirable:
- Professional expertise on a wide range of public policy issues in the ICT area
- Technical expertise on the nature of network technology
In order for the WGIG to address the required balance and attention to differing needs of members indicated above, the size should be reasonably large. To ensure credibility of the WGIG as appropriate for the Internet Governance discussion, sufficient deliberation on the size, composition, and working methods is essential.
More concretely, on the structure and working methods of WGIG, we propose:
- To optimize the size of the WGIG to around 40 members, half of whom should come from the government sector (including intergovernmental organizations) and the rest from other sectors (including the business sector, international organizations and civil society). Regarding the representatives from the government sector, the number of members from developed and developing countries should be balanced. Regional balance should also be taken into account.
- To establish an Advisory Committee, in order to utilize the specialized knowledge from both the public policy and technical perspectives and to facilitate deliberations in the WGIG, and to invite their opinions as inputs on appropriate issues. The Advisory Committee should be comprised of global leaders associated with technical, social or policy aspects of the Internet.
- To ensure the comprehensiveness and transparency of the discussion, the WGIG should prepare the minutes of each meeting and make the minutes available to the public. WGIG should provide opportunities for public consultation on drafts produced by the WGIG in order to draw opinions from and to guarantee the active contributions of various stakeholders.
2. Our view of Internet Governance
The rapid growth of the Internet has been nurtured under flexible and generative environment mainly led by the private sector. For the continued growth of the Internet, it is essential to build on the current structure under which its innovation and use by private entities is not constrained.
At the same time, it is natural for all stakeholders including governments to be concerned about the issues related to the Internet, because of the scale of its impact on society. We recognize the need for addressing problems and opportunities as they arise in international coordination.
In order to develop practical solutions to various issues concerning the Internet, the roles of various entities - especially the government - need to be clarified on each issue.
Correspondingly, timely review and changes in the role of entities concerned are expected where appropriate. Awareness of the different roles of each entity deriving from varying Internet development profiles of individual countries or regions is important.
Public policy areas in which the government sector should play an active role in cooperation with other sectors: privacy protection, spam mail, security, intellectual property protection, etc
Areas in which the private sector should play a leading role and government intervention should be limited: deployment of network infrastructure, provision of Internet connection services, management of IP addresses and domain names
In both of these areas, it is necessary to establish a system by which private or public stakeholders in both developed and developing countries can access appropriate information, and exercise practical influence.
Looking ahead to the continued global development of the Internet, we look forward to contributing to the success of WGIG and WSIS.