[bestbits] Your sign on requested- Civil society statement post-WCIT
parminder at itforchange.net
Sat Dec 22 08:28:19 EST 2012
I find the new ITRs largely in keeping with the BestBits pre WCIT
statement. So, I dont see why we should decry it. The ITRs speaks
everywhere only about telecommunication networks (if you dont think so,
pl do point out the relevant part). In Baku we actually did agree that
the physical layer of the Internet - implied by general terms like
access to broadband etc - can be covered by the ITRs. This
understanding was the basis of the agreement on the language that IP
layer and above must not be regulated. However, developed countires did
not even agree to terms concerned with the physical layer of the
Internet - like access to broadband - to be included in the ITRs. This I
understand was against what we wanted. So probably we should speak about it.
As for the Internet resolution which is not a part of the ITRs but
appended to it, this compromise actually appears very symmetric to the
the compromise that we reached at the BestBits meeting, whereby the last
sentence of our statement read....
"More generally we call upon the ITU to promote principles of net
neutrality, open standards, affordable access and universal service, and
effective competition. "
All/ most of these issues are Internet issues. In fact, although the
BestBit statement was open to it, the physical layer of the Internet was
no included in the ITRs, how we can now criticise its inclusion even in
an appended resolution. Why is your proposed statement speaking against
the 'Internet resolution' that is not even part of the ITRs. We should
welcome it since it correspond to the manner in which we structured our
own statement. Quoting from your proposed statement "We regret that an
Internet governance-related resolution has been included in the Final
Acts of WCIT"
When the proposed statement says
"We are also concerned by the lack of clarity around the applicability
of the treaty, which as defined could have unforeseen consequences for
an open internet, and the lack of specificity in key terms, such as
security, which may negatively impact the public's rights to privacy and
freedom of expression."
Can you specify what clarity would we have wanted to be included. The
preamble says 'content is not included', it says, the ITRs will be
implemented in a manner that respects and upholds human rights. What
else could have been written in the form of clarifying text. Can you
please state some specifics in this regard.
It is extremely rare that civil society makes a statement of
expectations from an global meeting/ treaty and than the meeting/ treaty
actually meets those expectations to the extent that the new ITRs meet
the expectations of the BestBits statement. This is how I look at it but
I am ready to hear the views of others and discuss the matter further.
The proposed statement uses selectively text from the BestBits statement
and in this respect seem to take forward the same initiative, which is
quite misleading. As I said, I disagree with the assessment presented in
the proposed statement of the correlation of the BEstBits statement with
the new ITRs. I see the correlation as largely positive.
Therefore it would not be right for the proposed statement to
selectively quote in the manner it does from the BestBits statement and
make its case based on that quotation . The BestBits statement is the
common ownership of those who signed it, and as one of signatories I
object to the manner in which the proposed statement selectively quotes
the BestBits statement, without giving the full picture. If you indeed
want to go ahead with the statement please remove those quotes from the
In the end, It is disappointing that while a civil society group got
together to draft a pre WCIT statement, a post WCIT statement is being
presented by a good number of participants of that group as a fait
accompli, and was not developed together in this group. On the other
hand, of course any group has a right to issue its own statement.
However, I do appeal to those managing the Bestbits group at present to
see if we can draft a BestBits statement on WCIT outcomes.
Also, agreeing with Micheal, the proposed statement cannot use the term
'civil society in a generic manner, as if it represents 'the' civil
Willing to talk further on the above issues.
Thanks and best regards, parminder
*From:* bestbits-request at lists.igcaucus.org
[mailto:bestbits-request at lists.igcaucus.org] *On Behalf Of *Deborah Brown
*Sent:* Thursday, December 20, 2012 2:09 PM
*To:* wcit12 at cdt.org; <bestbits at lists.igcaucus.org>; AfriCS-IG
*Subject:* [bestbits] Your sign on requested- Civil society statement
As a follow up to the civil society letter to WCIT
that a number of organizations on this list have signed on to, civil
society representatives in Dubai drafted a statement on the new ITRs and
the future of multi-stakeholder engagement. The text of the statement is
This statement assesses the opportunities and challenges faced by civil
society at WCIT and sets out shortcomings we would like to see addressed
to achieve meaningful civil society participation at the ITU moving
forward. It is meant to be complementary to other post-WCIT civil
society statements that focus on the substance of the ITRs.
We would very much like to secure sign on from your organization. We
feel that there is a strategic importance of having this communication
with the ITU Secretariat on record as we look to future
conversations/events. Though the timing is not ideal, we plan to publish
this statement with the list of signatories and send a copy to the
ITU on Monday. Therefore,_we request that you reply to this email by
0900 EST/1400 UTC on Monday, January 24 if you would like to sign
on_. Like with the earlier letter, we will leave the statement open for
sign on and update the list of signatories regularly. I will send out a
publicly accessible link with the statement and list of signatories on
Monday for people to post and circulate, but it would also be great to
discuss ways to draw attention to this statement in the New Year.
Please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you for your
attention to this. Warm wishes over the holidays.
*Civil Society statement on the new ITRs and the future of
December 21, 2012
Civil society is disappointed that the World Conference on International
Telecommunications (WCIT) could not come to consensus in revising the
International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs). We understand,
however, the serious concerns that a number of governments have
expressed with regard to the potential impact of the new regulations.
As civil society stated in its Best Bits statement, a key criterion for
ITRs should be that "any proposed revisions are confined to the
traditional scope of the ITRs" and "where international regulation is
required around technical issues [it] is limited to telecommunications
networks and interoperability standards." We regret that an Internet
governance-related resolution has been included in the Final Acts of
WCIT, despite assertions by many that WCIT was not about Internet
governance. We are also concerned by the lack of clarity around the
applicability of the treaty, which as defined could have unforeseen
consequences for an open internet, and the lack of specificity in key
terms, such as security, which may negatively impact the public's rights
to privacy and freedom of expression.
This said, civil society would like to acknowledge and thank those
governments that opened their delegations to members of civil society
and other stakeholder groups. This was a very important initial step in
establishing a civil society voice in the proceedings and we trust that
it signals a wider commitment to multi-stakeholder approaches in public
policy development and decision-making on telecommunications and
Internet-related matters. We trust that this openness and inclusive
approach will continue and extend to upcoming ITU-related work and
beyond, and we urge other governments to welcome and engage with civil
society going forward.
As we communicated to ITU Secretary General Touré, we also commend the
ITU on first steps towards greater transparency and openness with regard
to access to and webcasting of plenary sessions and Committee 5
sessions, as well as soliciting public submissions. These initial steps
enabled civil society to play a constructive, albeit limited, role at
However there remain serious limitations to engaging with the ITU. The
substantive policy deliberations in working groups were neither webcast
nor open to unaffiliated civil society. Further, while it is positive
that the ITU opened the process to public comment, these comments were
never part of the official record. We raised both of these challenges
with the Secretary General, in writing and in person, and he committed
to addressing these concerns and appealing to member states, as
appropriate. Although the WCIT has concluded, we renew our request to
have the public comments submitted as official ITU documents to capture
these positions for the historical record.
We also raised the issue of the lack of any institutional mechanism for
civil society participation at the ITU. While the participation of civil
society representatives in government delegations benefits both the
delegations and the WCIT's deliberations as a whole, it cannot
substitute for engagement with independent members of civil society. We
will be following up on these important matters with the Secretary
General and welcome his commitment to considering institutional remedies
to this challenge.
Looking forward, civil society seeks to work with governments and other
stakeholders around the globe towards an ever more inclusive and
substantive multi-stakeholder engagement on telecommunications,
Internet, and related matters. Much more needs to be done with regard
to opening the ITU to greater genuine multi-stakeholder participation
and in particular independent civil society participation -
institutional change will need to occur and we will work with the ITU
and other stakeholders to bring this about. These changes are vitally
important and need to be addressed as soon as possible given the
upcoming 2013 World Telecommunication Policy Forum, World Summit on the
Information Society (WSIS+10) and 2014 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference.
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E. deborah at accessnow.org <mailto:deborah at accessnow.org>
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