[bestbits] Your sign on requested- Civil society statement post-WCIT

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Sat Dec 22 08:28:19 EST 2012

Hi Deborah

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 
besbits statement.

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 

Dear all,

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 
pasted below.

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.

Best regards,


*Civil Society statement on the new ITRs and the future of 
multi-stakeholder engagement*

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 
the WCIT.

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.


Deborah Brown

Policy Analyst

Access | AccessNow.org

E. deborah at accessnow.org <mailto:deborah at accessnow.org>

S. deborah.l.brown

T. deblebrown

PGP 0x5EB4727D

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