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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    ITU Can the United Nations Improve ICANN?
    posted by Mueller on Thursday July 24 2003, @12:52PM

    Editor's note: In the following article, YJ Park describes the tensions between the positions of civil society advocates, governments, and business regarding Internet governance at the World Summit on the Information Society. Park just returned from the Prepcom III in Paris, where she co-chairs the civil society sector's Internet Governance Caucus with Wolfgang Kleinwachter.

    Civil society advocates sought from WSIS a statement that the whole ICANN regime "should be re-examined with the full participation of all stakeholders in light of serving public interests and compatibility with human rights standards."

    Developing country governments, on the other hand, sought to turn over ICANN's functions to an intergovernmental organization, while business and the US government strongly supported ICANN.

    YJ Park writes
    An Internet Governance Caucus was set up during the World Summit on the Information Society's PrepCom II in Geneva. The co-chairs were YJ Park and Wolfgang Kleinwachter, who were joined by others who had participated in the ICANN process with disappointment.

    As participants in the "civil society" section of WSIS, the caucus presented its first position on February 26.

    In the process of managing rough consensus of this caucus before and during the WSIS intersessional meeting, it has been noted that there are fundamentally different views on this issue even among the civil society groups just like their counterpart, the governments, on this issue.

    The main controversy among the civil society groups was "re-examination of the current system, ICANN". It was proposed at the last minute when the civil society priority documents were consulted with on the civil society mailing list.

            "the current management of Internet names and numbers and other related mechanisms should be re-examined with the full participation of all stakeholders in light of serving public interests and compatibility with human rights standards."

    Based on the proposal, the re-examination paragraph was added in the civil society priority document and it invited arguments between those who support the proposal and those who object to the proposal (archived at governance@lists.cpsr.org). The first urgent call was expressed with a request to delete the paragraph not to mislead the governments in the WSIS about ICANN. The delete request was reflected in the following interventions despite strong objection to that motion in the caucus.


    2. Governments and Internet Governance

    After a lengthy negotiaion process, the governments are going to create five adhoc working groups and Internet Governance was one of the five on July 16.

    The governmental Internet Governance Working Group meeting was open for the other stakeholders and the designated chair(Francis Wangusi of Kenya) even allowed two civil society members to speak in the meeting. The first speaker (Louis Pouzin, France) shared his concerns in the current Internet management system especially centralized root server control. The second speaker(Paul Wilson, APNIC Executive Director) intervened regarding managing IP address allocation and acknowldged some governments' concerns in this regard. He and other governments' representatives appreciated civil society's contributions after the meeting. The meeting itself was a good start of the "multistakeholder approach" in the WSIS. There were around 20 - 25 governmental delegates, around ten civil society members, and about five business members.

    After a two-hour-long WG discussion, Mr. Wangusi decided to continue the Internet Governance working group meeting the next day(July 17) at 9:00 am. The next day the Chinese delegates has distributed the following text.

                  "The international management of Internet should be democratic, intergovernmental, multilateral, transparent and participative, with the full involvement of the governments, private sectors and civil society. This management should encompass both technical and policy issues. While recognizing that the private sector has an important role in the development of Internet at the technical level, the fast development of Internet as the basis of information society requires that "intergovernmental organizations take the responsibility in developing and coordinating policies of the public interests related to stability, security, competition, freedom of use, protection of individual rights and privacy, sovereignty and equal access for all, among other aspects."

    The Chinese government strongly proposed the "intergovernmental organization" for Internet management and was supported by Brazil and other developing countries. On the other hand, it was reconfirmed that the USA, EU, Japan, and other governments who push business-oriented economic system would not agree to those views.

    In conclusion, according to the final version of draft declaration of principle on Internet Governance, 44 was bracketed and there was no agreement among the governments on this issue as of July 17.

    3. Business and Internet Governance

    Business interests expressed strong support for ICANN."

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      Related Links  
  • European Union
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  • http://prepcom.net/wsis/105834 5885001
  • http://prepcom.net/wsis/105853 0266780
  • More on ITU
  • Also by Mueller
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Can the United Nations Improve ICANN? | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 3 comments | Search Discussion
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    by ldg on Friday July 25 2003, @01:41AM (#12004)
    User #2935 Info | http://example.com/
    Is there any surprise here? Business interests are the reason behind ICANN's actions and policies - big business, that is. There's nothing new in this report. It just states the obvious, IMO.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Can the UN improve ICANN
    by vasconcelos on Tuesday July 29 2003, @11:52AM (#12010)
    User #3149 Info
    I think the problem lays on the definition of the relevant stakeholders, of their representation and of who should decide such matters. That is what has been haunting ICANN from the begining.
    I have no idea how to solve those problems but I wonder if an intergovernmental organization is not the least of all evils. ICANN as an experimental alternative has proven worse.
    I know that the UN is an intergovernamental organization, and some question its representativeness.
    Hence, we are in desperate need of alternatives and not of nice whishfull thinking declarations.
    The present situation certainly favours interst groups because there are no mechanisms to check their strength.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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