São Paulo, Brazil, Thursday 24 April 2014.
“In 2014, the ICT sector is the Internet, and the Internet is the ICT sector”. So began WITSA’s content submission to the NETmundial Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, held in São Paulo, on 23-24 April. Reflecting the importance of Internet Governance to the global ICT sector, WITSA had strong representation at the meeting, led by new Public Policy Chairman Nizar Zakka, from Lebanon, who is also WITSA Vice-Chairman for the Middle East and North Africa.
WITSA members from Africa, South America, India and Australia also attended, as well WITSA Advisory Committee members from Google, Cisco, Microsoft and ISOC, participating actively in the discussions, supported by Tim Conway and Marilyn Cade as advisors.
The Brazilian Government, and ICANN convened the NETmundial event jointly, in the wake of growing concerns about Internet Governance in the wake of disclosures about surveillance. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff opened the meeting with more than 30 government ministers in attendance, including EU Vice-President Neely Kroes. The 800 plus attendees, along with many more at 33 remote hub locations and online, heard presentations from Internet luminaries (and WITSA Advisory Council member) Vint Cerf, and Tim Berners-Lee as part of discussions addressing two important issues: Internet Governance principles; and the roadmap for the future evolution of the Internet Governance Ecosystem.
WITSA members made important contributions regarding the importance of ensuring the capability, stability, resilience and security of the Internet is maintained, that open access and performance is enhanced, and that the Internet remains a unified and unfragmented space, based on an open, distribute architecture. The need to support participation in multistakeholder activities by the ICT sector, especially from developing nations, the importance of diverse geographic representation, and transparency in the appointment of stakeholder representatives was also highlighted.
In the closing session, which discussed the proposal to transition the current IANA and root zone management role played by NTIA, WITSA Public Policy Chairman Nizar Zakka called for ICANN, which is to convene global stakeholders to enable this transition with broad community support, to ensure broad stakeholder representation including from the business sector including ICT, so that such an important and technical topic can be addressed in a meaningful way by all, and especially affected stakeholders.
Speaking following the NETmundial closing ceremony, Mr Zakka said he was proud to have led a significant and effective participation by WITSA members on key Internet Governance issues.