[governance] statement for ITU website

Parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Mon Jan 30 09:24:34 EST 2006

Hi Bill



Pl add IT for Change's endorsement to it. Thanks. 


I still find it astonishing that ITU can get away with not incorporating
open access principle which is clearly stated in POA, and more clearly so
for the kind of work ITU does - technical IS related info.. 


I am in the middle of something urgent, and not able to draft a separate
'open access' statement' - so well, some other time. Though I also see that
there could be some lack of complete consensus on this issue in the CS - it
is certainly is a complex issue..


For me making such representations is important not only from a content
point of view - which is of course more important - but as much from process
point of view. We need to take opportunity at these times when the WSIS-CS
mandate, structure and future is uncertain to asset ourselves as the 'WSIS
CS' or something. We have gathered some political strength in our collective
form, however rudimentary. It needs to be preserved - and it can only be
preserved by pushing 'content' or substantive actions like this one..


That was the reason I had used the rather artificial sounding opening for
the statement I drafted - 'We, the CS that associated with the WSIS'. See if
some acceptable version of such assertion can be used.. It will be
politically significant... though we need to figure out how much active the
WSIS CS is at present.. More on that later..


Thanks for the effort.


Best regards






Parminder Jeet Singh

IT for Change

Bridging Development Realities and Technological Possibilities 


 <http://www.itforchange.net/> www.ITforChange.net 


From: governance-bounces at lists.cpsr.org
[mailto:governance-bounces at lists.cpsr.org] On Behalf Of William Drake
Sent: Monday, January 30, 2006 3:05 PM
To: Governance
Subject: [governance] statement for ITU website


Good morning,


Since there was no consensus on making a joint caucus or other CS statement
on the website for the ITU's Wednesday reform meeting, I decided I might as
well type up something short to submit on a personal basis.  If anyone would
like to sign on you're more than welcome; either way, I will submit this by
close of business today, Geneva time.  I don't know that we'd have time to
do any text tweaking, but if that might make this more attractive to
potential signatories, let's communicate.  I see that Parminder made a nice
submission on the cost of ITU documentation and its nonconformity with the
access to knowledge and information principle enunciated in the WSIS Plan of
Action.  The below text is on a different point and is complementary.




The WSIS Principles state that Internet governance should be multilateral,
transparent and democratic, with the full involvement of governments, the
private sector, civil society and international organizations.  The ITU
clearly does not meet the last criteria.  For the overwhelming majority of
civil society organizations, the barriers to becoming a sector member or
even an associate are simply too high.  In parallel, there are no options
for participating on a more flexible, ad hoc basis in special workshops and
seminars, or in the assemblies and conferences.  In consequence, and unlike
other UN agencies, true NGOs (as opposed to hybrid business/user/technical
organizations) are almost entirely absent and alienated from the ITU.   That
this is not in the ITU's own interest was amply demonstrated by the WSIS
process, in which civil society strongly opposed the ITU playing an
expanded, leading role in Internet governance.  


With WSIS follow-up and implementation efforts forthcoming, now would be a
particularly appropriate time to make opening up to civil society a central
element of ITU reform.  Doing so would not in any way disrupt the work of
the Union, and the administrative cost would be negligible (we can print our
own documents, etc).  The ITU would not face a stampede of hundreds of
organizations seeking to participate in ongoing study group work on
frequency propagation, signaling requirements and protocols, and other
technical matters.  A much more likely scenario would be that a manageable
number of NGOs would seek to participate in some of the above-mentioned
workshops, seminars, assemblies and conferences.  Civil society experts
contributed significantly to the success of the February 2004 ITU workshop
on Internet governance, and there is every reason to believe that same
constructive engagement would ensue in other forums.  Allowing civil society
participation in events like the March 2006 meeting on NGN policies would be
a good first step, and would not require changes to the Constitution and
Convention.  WSIS and/or ECOSOC accreditation would seem sufficient for this


It is unfortunate that the ITU's February 1 reform meeting is closed to
civil society participation.  Our exclusion from this and similar events has
been debated extensively on civil society Internet listservs in the course
of the WSIS process and afterwards.  There was little enthusiasm for the
website's cheery invitation to "be part of it" by submitting statements in
this "open forum" for a meeting from which we are barred.  If however the
ITU were to initiate a genuine, open and inclusive dialogue on the matter,
the response would be rather different.  








William J. Drake   <mailto:drake at hei.unige.ch> drake at hei.unige.ch

Director, Project on the Information

  Revolution and Global Governance

  Graduate Institute for International Studies

  Geneva, Switzerland 
President, Computer Professionals for 
   Social Responsibility
 <http://www.cpsr.org/board/drake> http://www.cpsr.org/board/drake 


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