Opening Ceremony

30 October 2006 - A Main Session on Internet Governance for Development in Athens, Greece

Session Transcript

 Internet Governance Forum Athens, Greece Opening Ceremony 30 October 2006

 Note: The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the
 The Inaugural Meeting of the IGF, in Athens on 30 October. Although it is
 largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to
 inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to
 understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an
 authoritative record.



 [ Applause ]

 >> Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Before we start, I would like to ask you
 to turn off your mobile phones. I am very glad to be able to welcome you here
 to the inaugural meeting for the Internet Governance Forum, which starts today,
 and will go on until Thursday in Athens. I will now give the floor to the Greek
 minister for transport, Mr. Liapis, who will be presiding this section.

 [ Applause ] 
 
 >>MINISTER MICHALIS LIAPIS:  Prime minister, representatives of
 the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Secretary-General of the
 international telecommunications union, ministers, commissioner, ladies and
 gentlemen, it's with a feeling of great honor and allow me to say also personal
 satisfaction for me here in my own country today to preside the first global
 assembly on Internet governance Internet governance. I would like to welcome
 all of you representatives of governance and international government
 organizations and representatives of the private sector and of civil society.
 When in Tunis we expressed our wish to host the inaugural meeting of this new
 forum, we did so in full awareness of the huge scope and the importance of what
 we were about to do. It was a challenge, a challenge which we embraced. We
 embraced it because we believed in the vision of a global society where the
 Internet would build bridges between countries, cultures, people, and would
 contribute to peace and the advance of humanity. So we are particularly pleased
 that Greece, the cradle of democracy, is hosting the first meeting on Internet
 governance, which is far and away the most democratic means of communication in
 the modern world. This is -- this forum is following a multistakeholder, open
 process, a NASCENT process which should not be inspired by dogmas and
 stereotypes. On the contrary, we believe that it has to be seen as a platform,
 a platform to promote all forms of innovatory ideas and free-thinking. It's,
 therefore, a unique opportunity to have a creative dialogue which will give
 rise to policy, a dialogue which will state before the whole world that the IGF
 is worthy of its founding vision. Major developments have taken place since the
 adoption of the Tunis agenda on the information society. That was about one
 year ago. The main, major development here was the recent approval of the
 United States government, its approval to grant further autonomy to ICANN, thus
 taking a step towards full independence in terms of Internet governance for
 forthcoming years. Ladies and gentlemen, the Internet is the start of a vast
 overhaul, a reshaping of our society, which it will take several decades to
 complete. It is going to be the most important tool in intellectual
 development. It will affect all of us, all of us in the way in which we run our
 businesses, right through to the way in which we live our daily lives. The drop
 in the cost of Internet access will follow on from global diffusion of I.T. and
 also diffusion of knowledge in the future as well that of wisdom. Those people
 who are not familiar with using the Internet will be left on the sidelines of
 society, like someone who has grown up in the jungle and then tries to adapt to
 life in the town. Thus, the IGF must be a forum in which we can shape our
 common global vision for the development and growth of the Internet. But we
 also have to shape principles, rules, and democratic processes which will
 provide an orderly outcome to -- an orderly form to its outcome. To facilitate
 access to knowledge, to provide citizens with the necessary skills in order to
 have freedom of expression and also free movement of ideas. It is our standing
 aim to bring about ongoing economic development and social progress for our
 people. This can be achieved by establishing a correct legal, political, and
 regulatory framework which will guarantee the respect of the Internet's
 founding principles. What we need to do, in particular, is to constantly strive
 to develop action to protect children against exploitation, protect their
 rights in their links with the Internet in order to empower also young people
 as basic players in forming a participatory civil society. But we also have to
 extend opportunities to involve them in electronic-style processes. I would
 like to stress that Greece has taken off, it's taken off on a new line of
 development with a series of reforms in all fields. We are systematically
 tapping and making the most of the advantages offered by our country, and we
 are creating an attractive investment climate, providing new opportunities for
 business initiatives on a vast scale. We are stressing here energy, tourism,
 the banking sector, trade, transport, shipping, and, of course, communications.
 In this new economic environment, the Internet technology, digital cohesion
 provide the basis, but at the same time, the driving force. We are investing in
 training and I.T. We have put in huge efforts to extend Internet use by our
 assistance. At this very moment, we are developing programs and actions to
 extend broadband use, both in our infrastructures and within our services.
 We've taken specific measures to facilitate the access of young people to the
 Internet, students, in particular. And we are committed to these efforts. We
 will continue them. Our efforts are starting to bear fruits. We have now
 achieved one of the highest growth rates for broadband connections throughout
 the whole world, putting into practice our political commitment to build a
 citizen-focused information society with no social exclusion and oriented
 towards development. It's also important that we should apply technology
 cautiously. We have always to have at the forefront of our minds the human
 factor. We shouldn't allow a rupture in normal communication between human
 beings. We shouldn't allow the Internet to lead to their physical isolation.
 And that's why governments have to play a leading role in developing a
 long-term strategy with productive investment to ensure that education, the
 development of research and technology, are at the forefront, that we can
 strike a balance between the various different groups, and that we can boost
 competitive prospects so that we can ensure the security of the infrastructure
 and the Internet. The remit from Tunis was that the IGF should contribute to
 achieving the vision of an anthropocentric, participatory society, focused on
 growth and development. Thus, the theme before us here in Athens stresses this
 idea of development and growth aiming to bridge the digital divide, taking into
 account the different levels and also looking for ways to ensure that everyone
 can reap the benefits provided by ICT. Thus, this forum can become a meeting
 point, a meeting point at which we can kick off the process for converting this
 digital divide into a Digital opportunity. Ladies and gentlemen, organizing
 this forum is a complex, demanding job. Our cooperation with the special
 advisor of the U.N. Secretary-General on Internet governance, Mr. Desai, was
 really outstanding. I would like to thank all of you, and the U.N. staff, for
 having supported this meeting. I would also like to thank the ITU, in
 particular, the Secretary-General of that body, Mr. Utsumi, who has given us
 this unique opportunity to communicate our message to a wide audience of both
 state and non-state players. I would also like to extend my very warmest thanks
 to the member countries of the regional groups based in Geneva, who were very
 present in the preparatory work and really helped us to prepare for this
 meeting in Athens. The presence here and also the large number of submissions
 from representatives of the private sector and civil society, including also
 the academic and technical communities, were not only welcomed, but also highly
 encouraging. And your impressive participation here today instills us with
 confidence and optimism as to the outcome of this meeting. Finally, I would
 like to take this opportunity to welcome you all once again, and wish all the
 best to this forum over the forthcoming four days. This is a forum which I am
 confident will show how we can move towards success in future meetings of the
 IGF, which, as you will all be aware, will be meeting in Brazil, India, and
 Egypt in 2007, 2008, and 2009 respectively. Thank you very much, indeed.

 [ Applause ] I would now like to ask the Greek prime minister, Mr. Konstantinos
 Karamanlis, to declare open the first Internet Governance Forum. You have the
 floor, prime minister.

 [ Applause ] >>PRIME MINISTER MR. K. KARAMANLIS:  Mr. Secretary-General, Mr.
 Secretary-General of the ITU, ministers, commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, it
 is with great pleasure that I open today the first meeting of the Internet
 Governance Forum, thus implementing one of the main decisions of the Tunis
 World Summit on the Information Society. Today, we inaugurate a process in
 order to meet one of the main challenges of our time, the future form of the
 Internet and its capacity to provide increasing opportunities for an inclusive,
 global community, with no exclusions, opportunities which were unimaginable a
 few years ago. Greece, being the host country of the inaugural meeting of this
 novel and unique process, is well aware, fully aware of its importance and its
 comprehensive nature. This forum, through a multistakeholder approach, unites
 under the same goal and vision governments, intergovernmental organizations,
 the private sector, and, of course, civil society. In this way, it
 institutionalizes a successful practice already established during the
 preparatory process. Taking into consideration our shared interest in the
 ongoing robustness and dynamism of the Internet, this forum should be
 considered as an opportunity for a multistakeholder policy dialogue. Its
 conclusions should ideally help identify and build consensus. They should also
 inspire us with a shared vision and a common understanding of the way forward.
 The IGF provides an open and transparent platform for establishing dialogue
 among all stakeholders. It can facilitate the exchange of ideas and examples of
 best practices concerning Internet governance. Through increased interaction
 among stakeholders, the free flow of ideas may lead to an independent and
 reflective treatment of the more important issues. At the same time, the
 diversity of participants, combined with the openness of this forum, offer an
 opportunity for the serious engagement of all stakeholders. We all acknowledge
 that Internet, which is a central element of the infrastructure of the
 information society, has evolved, from a research and academic facility, it has
 become a global means of communication available to everyone. Nowadays, ICT
 makes possible for a vastly large population to join in, to share, and expand
 the base of human knowledge. It contributes to the further growth in every
 aspect of human endeavor, especially in education, health, and science. The
 adoption of ICT by enterprises plays a fundamental role in growth, while
 well-implemented investments in ICT lead to an increased -- to increased trade
 opportunities and more and better employment. Ladies and gentlemen, openness,
 simplicity, freedom in accessing and receiving information, along with its
 distributed nature, are among the main principles the Internet's success has
 been based on. These principles have enabled the Internet to grow rapidly and
 to adapt to new demands and opportunities. The Internet governance body should
 encompass these principles in order to respond appropriately to the rapidly
 changing operational environment of the Internet. Given its global role today,
 the Internet must continue to provide the means of supporting open, accessible,
 and free exchange of information, ideas, and opinions around the world. We must
 commit ourselves to stability, security, and effective governance of the
 Internet as a global facility, and this calls for the participation of all
 stakeholders, from both the developed and developing countries, within, of
 course, their respective roles and responsibilities. After all, the Internet
 governance includes more than Internet naming and addressing. It includes
 significant public policy issues, the management of critical Internet
 resources, security, safety, as well as other social and economic issues. The
 approach we follow should be inclusive and responsive to challenges and should
 continue to promote an enabling environment for innovations, competition, and
 investments. To ensure the operational character of the Internet as a global
 network, the Internet governance model should not only build on existing
 structures, but also on cutting-edge innovations. It should capitalize on
 well-known and successful practices and frameworks, putting particular emphasis
 on new ideas and on the complementarities between parties involved on a
 democratic, transparent, and multilateral process. We need close cooperation
 among all the involved and interested parties, and this should include the
 development of globally applicable principles on public policy issues
 associated with the coordination and management of critical resources. Now, if
 I may stretch a little bit this deliberation, it is the analogy of Professor
 Negreponte's three interconnected circles that we should be focusing on. The
 interactive world, the entertainment world, and the information world are these
 three interconnected circles. Recognizing the existence of the digital divide
 and the challenges this poses for many countries, we should put special
 emphasis on the development, planning, and capacity-building necessary.
 Bridging the digital divide requires adequate and sustainable investments in
 communications infrastructure and services, capacity-building and technology
 transfer, and all this for many years to come. Advances in communications
 technology and high-speed data networks continuously increase the possibilities
 offered to developing countries and countries with transitional economies,
 allows them to participate in the global market. Everyone should have equal
 opportunities to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge in order to
 comprehend and participate actively in and benefit fully from the Internet and
 the economy of knowledge. Within this line of thinking, I would like to urge
 our societies to produce and distribute even more $100 laptop-like projects.
 Mr. Secretary-General, ladies and gentlemen, I would say that our future
 appears to be deeply intertwined with the Internet. The Internet will be there,
 with all its advantages and shortcomings. The scope and the policy of this
 meeting is to ensure that the Internet will be an effective tool to promote
 knowledge, to promote peace, security and stability. The Internet can and
 should enhance democracy, social cohesion, good governance, and the rule of
 law, both at the national and the international level. It is our challenging
 task to ensure that it will respond to the particular needs of those widely
 described as the digitally homeless. Our attention should turn eventually to
 the more vulnerable groups of society, and this includes migrants, refugees,
 the unemployed, underprivileged people, the young, senior citizens, and persons
 with special needs. In this first IGF meeting, we expect to set the scene and
 establish a solid and comprehensive framework and network and focus on issues
 such as affordability and availability of the Internet; interconnection costs
 and security; management of critical resources and technology transfer;
 multilingualism and local development of software; capacity-building and
 participation of multistakeholders from developing countries. In this context
 of letting the Internet evolve based on its positive attributes of being open,
 transparent, and nonfragmented, the IGF aims at addressing ways to promote the
 free flow of information which should allow the ability and include the ability
 to communicate across linguistic boundaries and ensure the respect of freedom
 of expression. It is a fact that the Internet has become a strategically vital
 part of the communications infrastructure of most countries. Consequently, it
 directly affects the economic and social development of these countries. It is,
 therefore, imperative to consider the Internet governance -- to consider
 Internet governance as an issue of critical importance and high priority. The
 IGF aspires to be the framework where we start the process for the development
 and realization of a common vision regarding the evolution of the Internet and
 the information society. This common challenge is of paramount importance for
 today's world, and most importantly for future generations. The IGF,
 structuring the issues around the democratizing effect of the Internet can
 introduce a meaningful dialogue on how to promote worldwide free flow of
 information. I would have thought that before we move to Internet democracy, it
 would be rather reasonable to firstly enhance democracy in the Internet itself.
 I am sure that the participants will benefit from the networking offered here
 in Athens, and they will acquire new knowledge of best practices and form new
 knowledge hubs. I hope that they will achieve a very good idea of what new,
 pressing issues are. And I think that they should embrace rather than avoid the
 unfinished issues of the world summit in Tunis and proceed in a critical
 assessment of international institutions involved in ICT governance. The
 implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis will be
 among the main elements for judging the future successes of the IGF, along with
 establishing an institutional identity and also structuring the forum and
 building trust among all stakeholders. We are proud that this first and
 important effort to govern the Internet and render it more accessibility is
 taking place here in Greece. It is, indeed, an effort to the benefit of all
 mankind. Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you every success with the work lying
 ahead during the next four days. Thank you.

 [ Applause ]


 >> Thank you very much, indeed. That was very interesting to hear your
 interesting opinions there.  And also thank you for your best wishes for the
 success of our forum. I would now like to ask the special advisor to the U.N.
 Secretary-General, Mr. Desai, to take the floor.

 [ Applause ] >>MR. NITIN DESAI:  Honorable prime minister, Mr. Liapis, the
 chairman of the IGF, honorable ministers, commissioner, distinguished
 representatives of the business and civil society sector, ladies and gentlemen,
 may I begin first with a -- on behalf of the U.N. Secretary-General and the
 advisory group which I chair, of thanking the prime minister, the minister, and
 the government and the people of Greece for hosting this first meeting of the
 Internet Governance Forum. Mr. Liapis spoke about the cooperation with the U.N.
 Cooperation with a two-way affair, and I really would like to say that we truly
 appreciate the generosity and flexibility which Mr. Liapis and his staff have
 shown in allowing us to organize this forum. It's truly appropriate that we
 should be meeting here in Athens, a city associated with the very idea of open
 democracy, particularly in this hosting of the first open house for the
 citizens of the global Internet for this forum, which brings together
 stakeholders who often meet separately, but seldom together, a forum which,
 hopefully, will be as innovative as the Internet, and be a harbinger of a new
 type of multilateralism which brings together multiple stakeholders around a
 purpose, a forum which I hope will be as much about listening as it will be
 about talking. So Prime Minister, the secretary-general of the United Nations
 would really have loved to be present at this meeting.  He has taken a strong
 interest in this area. But as you would appreciate, with the general assembly
 in session and a new secretary-general about to take over, he has certain
 preoccupations. But he has asked me to convey a message to this gathering. And
 now I will read the message of the U.N. secretary-general to the Internet
 Governance Forum. It gives me pleasure to send my greetings to this inaugural
 meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, generously hosted by the government
 and people of Greece. The forum is an important new vehicle for
 multistakeholder policy dialogue.  It sustains the momentum generated by the
 two-phase World Summit on the Information Society.  And it represents further
 progress in our efforts to extend the benefits of information and communication
 technology to all the world's people. Indeed, I am very encouraged that during
 the preparatory process, all stakeholders acknowledge that the Internet can
 play a powerful role in helping developing countries to advance their economic
 and social well-being, and agreed on the developmental dimension as an
 overarching priority of the forum. Today, the forum enters uncharted waters. 
 Its mandate, decided upon at the highest political level, calls on it to serve
 not as a convenor of governments but of all stakeholders.  The forum will thus
 have to develop procedures and practices for cultivating meaningful cooperation
 among these disparate partners.  While this will be a challenge, the Internet
 lends itself particularly well to this search for new forms of global
 collaboration. With more than one billion users worldwide and still growing
 dramatically, the Internet has outgrown its origins as a network run by and for
 computer specialists. Indeed, it has become too important, for almost every
 country's economy and administration, for governments not to take an interest.
 The challenge, therefore, is to bring two cultures together:  The
 non-governmental Internet community, with its tradition of informal, bottom-up
 decision-making, and the more formal, structured world of governments and
 intergovernmental organizations. The Internet Governance Forum is well placed
 to contribute to that effort by fostering dialogue, and by giving voice to a
 wide range of views, including developing-country individuals and institutions
 involved in Internet Governance. Its emphasis will be on voluntary cooperation,
 not legal compulsion.  And while the forum is not designed to take decisions,
 it can identify issues that need to be tackled through formal intergovernmental
 processes. I hope this inaugural meeting will launch a process of mutual
 learning, generate knew ideas, and perhaps even see the emergence of some new
 partnerships. Please accept my best wishes for a successful gathering. This
 ends the message of the U.N. secretary-general.  Thank you.

 [ Applause ] >>MINISTER MICHALIS LIAPIS:  Thank you very much, indeed, Mr.
 Desai for those particularly warm words about my country, and also the very
 interesting views expressed as well as the message from the secretary-general
 of the United Nations. I would like to break for a couple of minutes so that
 Mr. Desai himself can accompany the Prime Minister out, and then we will come
 back after these two minutes to continue with the further presentations.  Thank
 you.



 (gavel). >>MINISTER MICHALIS LIAPIS:  Please take a seat because we will now
 continue as I promised you.  It was a very short break, just two minutes. And I
 would now like to give the floor to the next speaker, who is the
 secretary-general of the international telecommunication union, Mr. Utsumi. Mr.
 Utsumi, you have the floor

 [ Applause ] >>SECRETARY-GENERAL UTSUMI:  Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
 good morning.  It is my pleasure to give some opening remarks at the inaugural
 meeting of the Internet Governance Forum. What better place to talk of
 advancing good governance of the Internet than here in Greece, the birthplace
 of democracy. Ever since -- Ever since then, Greece has played a very important
 role in advancing our core values of dialogue, human rights, democracy, and the
 rule of law. Greece is also the birthplace of Socrates, a Greek philosopher who
 is now widely credited as having been the wisest man in all of Greece. He was
 born in Athens, where he spent most of his time in enthusiastic pursuit of
 wisdom. Socrates had many devoted followers such as Plato, whose subsequent
 teachings are seen as a great contribution to modern-day thinking.  But
 Socrates also had many angry detractors. Due to his then controversial
 challenges to conventional wisdom and popular beliefs, opinions about him were
 widely polarized, drawing both very high praise and very severe criticism.
 Sometimes it is dangerous to be ahead of your times.  Socrates fell into grave
 disrepute with the public powers at that time, and he was arrested and accused
 of various crimes. He was sentenced to die by drinking poison, or else to leave
 the country as an exile. He felt no fear of death, and at the age of 70, he
 drank hemlock and died. I have had the privilege of serving as
 secretary-general of the international telecommunication union since 1998. 
 Over our 141 years of history, the ITU has often had to adapt to dramatic
 changes in the global communications environment, and I feel very lucky to have
 served during this particular period which has witnessed a dramatic growth and
 impact of the Internet and mobile communications. I am also proud that the ITU
 has been the instigator and successful organizer of the World Summit on the
 Information Society. I would like to, today, as usual, in the spirit of
 Socrates, challenge beliefs some of you have as to how the Internet should be
 governed. The IGF was created because there remains a continued lack of
 consensus on Internet Governance. Yes, there is a camp who will claim that for
 certain issues there is no need to further discuss because things are working
 quite well and there is no need to change. But there is another camp that
 disagrees and says that this is just an attempt to avoid debate by claiming
 there are no problems. To me, it is obvious that if these issues were really
 settled, then there would be no reason to create an IGF.  You would not be
 here, and there would be nothing to discuss. Let us not claim falsely that we
 know there are no problems.  Let us welcome open debate in the great spirit
 Athenian democracy. The underlying theme of this first IGF meeting is supposed
 to be a focus on development.  However, I do not share the perspective of those
 who argue that Internet Governance is just a developing-country problem. I
 disagree, because the basis of this perspective is that with just more capacity
 building, then developing countries will come around to a certain enlightened
 point of view.  We have heard this often, and it borders on arrogance. Many of
 the critics of the current system of Internet Governance are not from
 developing countries, and they are extremely well-informed.  Many of them are
 tired of hearing "you just don't understand." Many do fully understand,
 particularly after WSIS. Many also understand that no matter what technical
 experts argue is the best system, or no matter what self-serving justifications
 are made that this is the only possible way to do things, there are no such
 systems or technologies that can eternally claim they are best. And many know,
 no matter what is discussed or decided here, in the end it will be the global
 marketplace that will define a final outcome. What are the elements of this
 marketplace? Of course, there are issues common to all markets.  Does it match
 what users want?  What is the price, availability, and convenience?  Does it
 meet local priorities and needs? Then there is the issue that relates in
 particular to the Internet:  The ability to rapidly innovate at the edge of the
 network. And it is here, most of all, that I see the current centralized system
 as weak.  What is needed is more diversity and a recognition of the principle
 of user's true needs. In order to respond to the need of the users, what is
 lacking is a viewpoint that matters should be handled at a level that is closer
 to the user and that any central role should have only a subsidiary function,
 performing only those tasks which cannot be handled more effectively at a more
 immediate or local level. Whenever there are discussions of governance, it is
 natural that there are discussions on the role of governments. Replicating a
 debate that took place in the 1920s with radio, there has been much debate on
 the role of government in the Internet. It is interesting that this debate has
 shifted significantly in the last few years.  In the 1990s, a common question
 of many of you present here was, "Should the Internet be regulated?" Now, only
 ten years later, to have even asked such a question seems remarkably naive,
 particularly when we see the extent of Internet-related legislation enacted
 daily around the world. The reason for this is that the Internet has now become
 a central part of everyday life and cannot be treated differently from the rest
 of society and the economy. This means, for better or for worse, that the
 Internet will, in due course, not be governed or regulated in a way that is
 fundamentally different from the way that other things are governed. And this
 is why the future of Internet Governance is inevitably local rather than
 global. It is because the best approach is different for each society and
 economy. During your discussions, I hope that you keep an open mind.  There are
 rarely absolute truths in human endeavors. Today's common sense may become
 tomorrow's heresy.  And as demonstrated by Socrates, history has also
 demonstrated that today's heretical views may be tomorrow's widely accepted
 wisdom. So ladies and gentlemen, may I wish you the best of luck in your
 discussions. I thank you very much.

 [ Applause ] >>MINISTER MICHALIS LIAPIS:  Thank you very much, indeed, Mr.
 Utsumi, or the views which you have expressed on behalf of the international
 telecommunications union. I would also like to thank him for the role his union
 has played in assisting us so much.  And I am amazed at his in-depth knowledge
 about Socrates. And also the fact that he was able to link an ancient
 philosopher with modern technology.  So thank you very much, indeed, Mr.
 Utsumi. I would now like to invite the Egyptian minister of communications and
 ICT, Mr. Kamel, to take the floor.

 [ Applause ] >>MINISTER TAREK KAMEL:  Mr. Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General of
 the ITU, Mr. Michalis Liapis, Minister of Transport and Communications in
 Greece, Mr. Nitin Desai, Special Advisor to the United Nations
 Secretary-General for Internet Governance, Madame Viviane Reding, Commissioner
 for Information Society and Media at the European Commission, and colleagues,
 Mr. Vint Cerf, a real godfather of the Internet pioneering community, Mr. Guy
 Sebban, ICC, Mrs. Natasha Primo, Mr. Bob Kahn, honorable audience, ladies and
 gentlemen.  It gives me great pleasure and honor to be with you today
 addressing your distinguished gathering at this remarkable event, marking the
 beginning of a new process for Internet Governance dialogue.  The first
 Internet Governance Forum.  First, I would like, on behalf of the Egyptian
 government, to extend special thanks to the government of Greece headed by His
 Excellency Mr. Konstantinos Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece, for hosting
 this important event and to all the parties that have contributed to its
 successful organization, especially the IGF Advisory Group, its chairman Mr.
 Nitin Desai, and its Secretariat headed by our friend, Mr. Markus Kummer. 
 Allow me to seize the chance to express our sincere appreciation for the
 tremendous efforts of Mr. Kofi Annan, the U.N. Secretary-General, who spared no
 efforts to support the process of Internet Governance since the first phase of
 the WSIS led by the ITU in Geneva and until the convening of the IGF here in
 Athens. Let me also extend our warm congratulations to Mr. Ban Ki-Moon wishing
 him the best in his sacred mission to build bridges and close divides. Here we
 convene at the first IGF meeting after a long process that involved sincere
 efforts of all stakeholders from both developing and developed countries.
 Today, the global Internet community is clearly reassured that this newly born
 forum comes to respond to and materialize the need for a stronger international
 dialogue and participation and more collaborative cooperation on Internet
 Governance. Ladies and gentlemen, the indisputable imprint of the Internet on
 our lives should always remind us of the long journey that the early Internet
 community has passed through to reach this point.  It is with no doubt that
 this Internet has developed to what it is today in a bottom-up approach, where
 its evolution is historically attributed to technical and research pioneers
 such as Mr. Vint Cerf and Mr. Bob Kahn. I have personally witnessed and
 benefited as a professional among many others from a strong collaboration among
 the professional community and the industry as well as the support of
 organizations such as ISOC, which successfully promoted the Internet and helped
 it to spread freely worldwide in a way that has really materializing the
 concept of Internet for all. Despite its young age, the Internet has turned
 into a robust mechanism transforming all walks of our lives:  The way we learn,
 work, communicate and do business. Its impact is not confined upon individuals
 only but it is extended to be a key factor in the world economy as well.
 Internet is, all the more, presenting itself as a prerequisite for the global
 Information Society, to an extent that it has become one of the main pillars of
 the socioeconomic development at large. With this increasing reliance on the
 Internet as a revolutionary resource for growth and development of humanity, it
 became more and more necessity to ensure the stability, sustainability, and
 security of this global medium through more international cooperation and
 coordination. This has led to the emergence of the Internet Governance theme
 strongly on the international arena and within the global Internet public
 policy dialogue. Internet Governance has been an ever broadening subject with
 the intertwined technical and policy dimensions where it is hard to draw the
 line.  It also implies broader and diversified issues, such as Spam, Internet
 exchange point, international interconnection costs and multilingualism, as
 well as security frauds, data protection, consumer protection and privacy to
 name only a few.  It is therefore essential for the Internet to be an area of
 cooperation, inclusion, innovation and integration.  It is our mission to make
 maximum use of the IGF to fulfill this concept and gain from all opportunities
 for the benefit of the global Internet community, while allowing the Internet,
 as promoted by the industry to grow its growth -- to continue its growth as a
 central element of the global Information Society infrastructure. Ladies and
 gentlemen, although the Internet is developing and spreading in an unforeseen
 pace, yet its uptake in developing societies is still relatively slow and
 lagging behind, and is thus contributing to a widening ICT gap and increasing
 Digital Divide. Let us not forget, ladies and gentlemen, that access is only
 available to one billion users out of the global world population exceeding six
 billion. Most developing nations still face the same set of barriers that limit
 Internet access and penetration in the countries and negatively affect the
 development of their economies. Those barriers, usually include issues such as
 high costs of bandwidth, scarcity of local content, and availability of
 suitable infrastructure, in addition of lack of human resource development and
 professional training programs. Other barriers to Internet penetration which
 are not confined to developing society, but also extend to some developed
 areas, include the absence of a truly diverse and inclusive multilingual
 Internet, capable of addressing all user needs irrespective of their language
 or cultural identity.  The language barrier comes as a major hindrance that
 faces national governments in their endeavors to increase Internet uptake and
 promote online services.  It is therefore fair to say that increasing Internet
 outreach and promoting national e-services and e-Government initiatives can
 only be accomplished if people across the world are enabled to access and use
 the Internet by overcoming all those obstacles.  It is imperative for the
 international community to realize that unless all those problems are tackled
 and solved through cooperation among all actors, this powerful instrument will
 not be able to flourish and expand as desired. With all this in mind, the IGF
 advisory group, in which Egypt is gladly represented, has attempted to comprise
 an agenda which meets the concerns and expectations of all stakeholders.  It
 has agreed on addressing during this first meeting, the main theme of Internet
 Governance for development, reflecting four broad topics, namely:  Openness,
 security, diversity and access, with capacity building as a cross-cutting
 priority. Ladies and gentlemen, in Egypt, Internet development has succeeded
 via a strong public-private partnership and through an intense collaborative
 community effort that includes private sector, academia and civil society. Many
 challenges and obstacles are being faced along this process such as low-cost
 penetration, immature markets, developing infrastructure as well as awareness
 and funding issues.  Yet our experience in Egypt is no different than those of
 other emerging markets which are usually confronted by similar challenges in
 their attempts to develop this critical and significant sector. Egypt remains
 firmly committed to its goal of bridging the Digital Divide to ensure that its
 citizens derive the maximum benefit from information and communication
 technology. This commitment to fostering a transition to an Information Society
 is made not as an end in itself but rather as a means to more -- towards more
 fundamental goals of the developing the Egyptian community. In a deregulated
 environment, the ICT sector in Egypt was one of the first sectors to
 demonstrate a series of successful partnerships between the government, the
 private sector and the civil society through a number of innovative initiatives
 falling within its general e-readiness plan and aiming at providing all
 citizens with easy affordable access to the units afforded by new technologies.
 Ladies and gentlemen, last month Egypt has hosted the African preparatory
 meeting for the IGF in cooperation with the economic commission for Africa. 
 The meeting has emphasized the fact that Internet communities of the developing
 world, more than others, need to multiply their efforts and actively
 participate to the Internet Governance process in order to increase their stake
 and overcome the existing divide. This can only be achieved if cooperation and
 participation among all actors is ensured, especially when empowered by the
 support of the international community through the right human resource
 development programs.  The process of the African regional Internet registry,
 AfriNIC, is a great example that illustrates the power of multistakeholder
 cooperation in Internet Governance issues, especially for developing regions
 and emerging markets.  Egypt has been actively involved in this process of
 AfriNIC establishment and is proud to be hosting its mirror site for technical
 operation, while the main site is in South Africa and the headquarter in
 Mauritius and the human resource development programs running in {}.  A truly
 cooperative model. AfriNIC is a success that couldn't have been achieved
 without the strong collaboration among the various stakeholders, government,
 private sector and civil societies of the different African countries and
 without the continued support of the international Internet community,
 especially from the regional Internet registries and from the ICANN.  Today,
 Africa can enjoy the results of this fruitful cooperation. Building upon this
 collaboration, we have been also actively involved with the global community in
 supporting initiatives to drive the Internet towards more internationalization.
 Hosted at one of the private sector data centers in Egypt, we launch a regional
 resolution server mirroring one of the Internet root servers.  We also host the
 ICANN regional office of the Middle East in our newly established technology
 park, the pyramids smart village.  In this respect, I would like to recognize
 the effort recently exerted by ICANN and the U.S. government in taking the
 right steps towards an enhanced autonomy with growing international mandate for
 ICANN, and thus responding to the international concerns on Internet Governance
 that arose at the WSIS in Tunis. Ladies and gentlemen, over the past few years,
 the world has witnessed a paradigm shift in online services and applications. 
 This was articulated by the convergence between fixed and mobile and the
 convergence between telecom and media, blurring the bound trees tween between
 the longstanding separated worlds, thanks to the Internet protocol that has
 stimulated the end-user's need for the always-on Hi high-speed access to
 information, anywhere, anytime.  It has further created innovative business
 models together with new sources of revenues and has imposed new regulatory
 frameworks in order to ensure the stability and sustainability of such a
 convening world. Innovation in the Internet world has triggered convergence,
 not only in technology and services but also in stakeholders and their
 dialogues. Accordingly, new synergies and cooperation models have emerged and
 resulted in cross-fertilization among different actors and parties that did not
 communicate before. Over the coming few days, many workshops are being
 organized through collaboration among various stakeholders in a way that
 clearly illustrates those new synergies.  An example in this endeavor is the
 workshop on multilingualism that Egypt is organizing in cooperation with the
 UNESCO and ICANN. I would like at this opportunity to stress on the importance
 of the global community should be investing more and more efforts and resources
 to adopt a global multilingual e-content initiative.  I personally believe this
 should be one of our main priorities during the coming phase in our venture to
 build a truly diverse and inclusive Internet which can penetrate through new
 segments and expand to completely new horizons. We need to illustrate as a
 community a further success in this endeavor about e-content as we did before
 on the access level. Ladies and gentlemen, the Internet enjoys special
 characteristics which have made it unique worldwide and indispensable.  While
 we introduce new features to the Internet and in our attempt to strengthen its
 outreach, it is vital to ensure that this unique character and irreplaceable
 structure of the Internet is preserved, maintained and built upon.  Security
 and stability of the Internet should not be affected at any level and the
 integrity of one Internet for all should always be kept ahead of us. Our
 expectations from the IGF and for the IGF are endless.  It should create a
 space for deepening dialogue among various stakeholders.  It should lead reform
 built on the development of existing structure and make use of all available
 resources.  The first IGF agenda certainly enhances aspiration of those
 stakeholders who are also expecting agreement on the future functioning of the
 forum as well as substantive priorities and roadmap.  A developmental handling
 of the wider scope of the themes of Internet governance is really vital. Ladies
 and gentlemen, our deliberations today need to be inclined towards the future. 
 How do you foresee the Internet in ten years from now?  How can the Internet
 benefit -- How can the Internet benefit the coming generations and act as a
 revolutionary agent for enhancing people's quality of life, especially in least
 developed areas?  How should our societies better utilize the Internet and rely
 on its innovation to further develop and prosper? Similar questions should
 guide our work and map for the IGF and should inspire our plans for Internet
 Governance during the coming phase. I am certain that this meeting will
 provide, throughout the coming four days, positive and constructive input from
 all actors on the issues under discussion. I am also confident that our
 deliberations and discussion will make this event a successful starting point
 for the IGF process. Finally, allow me to conclude by expressing my personal
 delight to be participating in this historic event, not only because I am
 confident that it will present an additional milestone in the cooperation among
 the global Internet community, but also because I find myself sharing this
 panel with Internet pioneers to whom the development and advancement of the
 Internet is attributed. I therefore recall the words expressed by U.N.
 secretary-general secretary-general during his speech at the globe forum on
 Internet Governance in March 2004 that, "In managing, promoting and protecting
 the Internet presence in our lives, we need to be no less creative than those
 who invented it." Finally, I wish you a fruitful and successful event and look
 forward to welcoming you all in Egypt for the fourth Internet Governance Forum
 in 2009. Thank you very much.

 [ Applause ] >>MINISTER MICHALIS LIAPIS:  Thank you very much, Mr. Kamel, for
 the very interesting points you have been making.  I would also like to thank
 you for updating us on what is going on in your country, and we recognize that
 Egypt has made every effort in order to overcome the Digital Divide. Now, at
 this point, it is an honor for us to give the floor to the E.U. commissioner
 for the Information Society, Mrs. Viviane Reding.  Madam commissioner, you have
 the floor.

 [ Applause ] >>COMMISSIONER VIVIANE REDING:  Colleague ministers, special
 representatives of the United Nations Secretary-General, Secretary-General of
 the ITU, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, let me start by saying that I am
 honored to feel here the possibility to address the participants in the first
 meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, not least because this forum is held
 here in Greece at the invitation of the Greek government in this beautiful and
 historic city of Athens, but also because of the importance that the European
 Union has placed on the development of Internet. On behalf of the European
 Commission, let me also thank the United Nations in making the necessary
 preparatory arrangements to ensure that the IGF will be a success. I'm, of
 course, particularly glad that a city in European Union has been chosen as a
 place for this first meeting of the Internet Governance Forum. And it is
 fitting that it is here in Athens, the ancient cradle of democracy, where
 citizens and officials from all over the world meet in order to debate an issue
 of governance. And I have no doubt that this event will contribute to the
 democracy of the Internet and to the virtues of governments. So will dialogue,
 cooperation, and respect. And I therefore am a strong supporter of the Internet
 Governance Forum and the open, global, and multistakeholder approach it
 represents. Now, the IGF will be one important pillar of the new model of
 enhanced cooperation between all stakeholders agreed upon in Tunis last year.
 It does not replace negotiations between governments on the enhanced
 cooperation model, but it is complementary as a process. And I expect that it
 will generate a lot of ideas, a lot of solution, and these ideas and solutions
 I intend to introduce them into the talks between governments. And in this
 respect, I have, for instance, seen a very promising contribution on an
 improved model for DNS management. Ladies and gentlemen, the Internet
 Governance Forum is a direct result of the World Summit. And for -- this is a
 new step forward on an international consensus on governance issues, based, of
 course, on the principles of freedom, multistakeholder dialogue, accountable
 private sector management. And here in Athens, we are now translating one of
 those Tunis elements from words into action. Well, as we all know, the two main
 elements of Tunis were ICTs for development and Internet governance. These two
 elements are present in, for instance, a debate on Internet governance for
 development. And I very much look forward to the discussions on these key
 issues of openness, security, diversity, access. These issues are truly global.
 And the responses they call for will be of crucial importance equally for
 developing countries and for those which are already economically developed.
 Let me recall the overreaching principles that shaped the process of Tunis and
 which should guide us through our discussions in the next coming days. Firstly,
 and perhaps most importantly, the need to respect fundamental human rights and
 the need to protect freedom of expression. In just a few years, the Internet
 has turned into one of the most dynamic communication tools the world has ever
 seen. The flow of information that it facilitates strengthens democratic
 processes, stimulates economic growth, allows for cross-fertilizing exchanges
 of knowledge. But, but, too often, this very freedom is under attack from those
 that do not value freedom of expression or disregard the economic and social
 benefits of allowing a free flow of information within and across borders.
 Freedom, ladies and gentlemen, is sometimes seen as a threat to those who do
 not value human rights or want to impose their vision of the worlds or their
 religious belief. But the key element for the European Commission is,
 therefore, to keep the Internet as open and as censorship-free zone, where all
 the world's citizens can communicate freely with each other without needing to
 seek the permission of anyone else, not least, their governments, in line with
 internationally recognized fundamental rights. Secondly, we should acknowledge
 the benefits of Internet to development policies. Tunis has taught us a lot in
 this respect, because the benefits of the Internet must be shared by all world
 citizens, not just those in northern Europe, in northern America, and southeast
 Asia. In other words, the digital divide needs to be bridged. Much of this will
 have to do with improving access to the necessary hardware, software,
 connectivity in developing countries, because Internet is for all and has to be
 for all. And this is why the European Union, which is already the largest world
 donor of development aid, will continue to work on bridging this digital
 divide. And I believe that mobile telephony and satellite communications offer
 very promising solutions in that respect. Let me add a point. Bridging the
 digital divide is not just a matter of screens and cables to all parts of the
 world. Important, they are. It is equally important to recognize the extent and
 the value of cultural diversity within the global village created by the
 Internet. And that is why multilingualism is a theme that very often, and
 rightly so, comes up in this context. Because by its very nature, it promotes
 culturally and linguistically diverse content on the Internet. Take for
 instance the IDNs, which are sometimes wrongly seen as a technical issue.
 Notwithstanding the important consideration on stability that needs to be
 addressed, there is, above all, a legitimate political imperative for the
 Internet to offer different language scripts. Users would want to be able to
 use, for instance, China's ideograms, Arabic scripts. And there is a real
 danger that prolonged delay in the introduction of IDNs could lead to a
 fragmentation of the Internet's name space. At the same time, I believe we
 should also think about multilingualism in Internet governance mechanisms
 themselves. The Internet that we know today and that we value very much has its
 roots in the developed world, particularly in Europe and in United States. And
 English has been and will continue to be a very useful lingua franca, most of
 all for worldwide communities. But today the Internet has outgrown the original
 academic network. Today, the people's Internet moves towards Web point zero, in
 which every Web citizen will become a creator of Web content. And those
 individuals thus have an increasing interest in participating in the debate
 over how the Internet can and should be run, including security issues and the
 participation of citizens and businesses in a more efficient chain of
 responsibility. Ladies and gentlemen, spam is one example that affects us all.
 And in particular impedes success for developing countries. We have to work
 together to maintain and reinforce the dependability of the Internet. And that
 is exactly what people expect from us. That is exactly what we should discuss
 about. And that is exactly what we should do during these two days to come. And
 that is also what the Internet Governance Forum is about, bringing the civil
 society from across the world into the debate. So far, too often, thee debates,
 you agree with me, are restricted to a limited group of actions. So it is very
 important to open this debate. And I congratulate the organizers of today's
 event for providing the opportunity for participants of many countries to meet
 and utilize many languages. And I call on the Internet governance bodies around
 the world to follow this good example of the IGF and to consider how they can
 also bring more people from different linguistic groups into the debate. Ladies
 and gentlemen, ministers, to conclude, I would like to wish all the
 participants a very big success. May the democratic heritage of Athens inspire
 us, guide our debates, even if they are controversial. Because the future of
 the Internet will very much depend on such an open dialogue and on the
 willingness of all interested parties, whether from these civil society, from
 industry, or from governments, to cooperate, but to cooperate in the spirit of
 mutual understanding. I wish all of us very fascinating days here in Athens.

 [ Applause ] >>MINISTER MICHALIS LIAPIS:  Thank you very much, indeed,
 commissioner Reding. That was a very interesting speech, and you have given
 some very constructive views, particularly from the point of view of the
 European Commission. At this stage, it will be very interesting to hear from
 the Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Sebban. You
 have the floor. >>SECRETARY-GENERAL GUY SEBBAN:  Good afternoon, ladies and
 gentlemen, excellencies. I am very pleased and very honored to be here in
 Athens for this first Internet Governance Forum. I am very honored also to
 share the podium with such distinguished speakers. As Secretary-General of the
 ICC, I will speak here on behalf of global business. By this, I mean the
 companies from all parts of the world, from developed and from developing
 countries. I would like to thank our kind hosts, and especially Prime Minister
 Karamanlis, transport and communication minister Michalis Liapis, as well as
 the people of Greece. I would also like to thank and congratulate Mr. Nitin
 Desai, chairman of the IGF advisory group, and Mr. Markus Kummer, head of the
 IGF secretariat. Thank you for your great efforts in bringing us together here
 in this historic occasion. The world business organization, I mean ICC,
 represents companies of all sizes in all sectors. We have recently launched a
 new initiative called BASIS, business action to support information society.
 With this initiative, global business intends to contribute its expertise and
 its perspective on developing the information society to reach its full
 potential. Our vision is of an inclusive, people-centered information society,
 one where people can express themselves freely, where people everywhere are
 empowered by the huge amount of information and knowledge made available, and
 by their ability to use it for shaping the future. Thanks to entrepreneurship,
 investment, and a drive to innovate, business has played an important
 pioneering role in the Internet's development thus far. The major contribution
 will continue through the productive resources that companies around the world
 provide to the information society and through working with multistakeholder
 partners. We believe the calls to increase people's ability to participate in
 the Internet's development are really critical. We welcome the opportunity
 provided by the IGF to join other stakeholders on an equal footing, to share
 our respective expertise, and to benefit for a valuable exchange. Building on
 the foundation of the World Summit on the Information Society, the IGF
 represents an important advance. Business experts from many countries are here
 to share, to listen, and to learn, alongside the other stakeholder groups,
 enriching the process. In order to get involved, people need education,
 information, and training. Business believes that human and institutional
 capacity-building are the cornerstones of success in getting more people to
 participate in meaningful, productive deliberations and decision-making bodies.
 This effort of raising people's skill levels, understanding, and participation
 can only be effective if all stakeholders have input and offer their expertise.
 So these multistakeholder discussions facilitated by the IGF are essential to
 moving towards our vision. The expert-based sessions occurring this week will
 allow us as participating stakeholders to enhance our understanding of the
 issues and to return to our national and regional contexts better equipped to
 advance them. Considering these Internet governance issues together will also
 help identify areas in which more progress is needed, ideally, moving us toward
 greater involvement from all stakeholder groups, particularly in developing
 countries. In addition, these discussions can provide a basis for increased
 cooperation among the many organizations working on Internet governance-related
 issues. I would like now to raise two key questions that will be certainly
 addressed during this conference. How could the flow of information and the
 access to knowledge that is available to people be increased in a
 cost-effective manner and in a secure environment? And second quick question.
 How could more and more people with different cultures and different language
 skills take advantage of such an evolution? Following this first forum, we hope
 attendees will take many ideas home to continue the discussion and also to take
 action. This helps build sustainable, effective participation in Internet
 governance activities and promotes informed and constructive national and
 regional discussions. When the IGF closes on Thursday, we hope to hear people
 say the dialogues on these issues were substantive. We hope everyone will have
 learned something new and met new people and organizations to work with in the
 future. We hope that every participant leaves Athens with a vision of how they
 personally can contribute to making the information society more inclusive and
 people-centered. I will finish by saying that the success of the Internet is
 largely due to its ability to link people and empower them with more
 information and knowledge than ever imagined. This IGF stands to succeed on the
 same grounds.  As participants deepen their understanding of key issues,
 identify new ways of cooperating with others, and go on to use what they have
 learned to make a difference at home. Thank you for your attention.

 [ Applause ] >>MINISTER MICHALIS LIAPIS:  Thank you very much, Mr. Sebban, for
 these views which you have just presented to us on behalf of a very creative
 segment of the private sector, which has contributed greatly to this forum. I
 will also now give the floor to the director of the women's net, Mrs. Primo.
 And I ask her to take the floor. We will listen to your views with great
 interest.

 [ Applause ] >>MS. NATASHA PRIMO:  Good afternoon, and thank you, chairperson
 minister Liapis. In the best traditions of diplomacy, let me say, all
 protocol's observed. I want to thank the organizers for inviting me to this
 panel and to make this input raising some of the key concerns for civil society
 actors. It is my interest to challenge the IGF to respond valiantly to the
 questions on how to advance the human rights and development agenda and make
 significant impact on narrowing the digital divide for women, for the
 differently abled, for developing countries, and for the poor generally. I will
 structure this input around five challenges I see facing the IGF. One,
 extending the human rights culture within the information society. Two, making
 Internet access universal and affordable. Three, building capacity for
 developing country participation. Four, building an inclusive process in space
 that capitalizes on the knowledge and participation of women. And, five, talk
 about the IGF as a process on the road to Rio. On the first issue of Internet
 governance and the human rights agenda, human rights were central to the WSIS
 process. In the Geneva phase, civil society actors generated significant energy
 and created a broad coalition that lobbied for the centrality of human rights
 in the Geneva documents. In the Tunis phase, civil society drew attention to
 the heavy-handed tactics of the Tunisian government to clamp down the
 activities of freedom of expression of Tunisian human rights actors, using Web
 site filtering and the intimidation and incarceration of journalists, among
 others. Increasingly, content filtering is being implemented on the pretext of
 protecting the safety of vulnerable children -- groups like children, but
 often, also, with the naked agenda of protecting incumbent governments from
 critical engagement by their citizens. Freedom of expression should be
 protected from infringement by government and nonstate actors. The Internet is
 a medium for both public and private exchanges of views and information across
 a variety of frontiers. Individuals must be able to express opinions and ideas
 and share information freely when using the Internet. In the post-WSIS space,
 there's an urgent need to strengthen the laws of human rights enforcement in
 the information society, to enhance human rights [inaudible] of national
 legislation and practices, to strengthen education and awareness on
 rights-based development, and to transform human rights standards into ICT
 policy issues. Two, ensuring Internet access is universal and affordable.
 Bandwidth is the lifeblood of the world's knowledge economy, but it's the
 scarcest where it is most needed, in developing countries, which require
 low-cost communications to accelerate their socioeconomic development. Few
 schools, libraries, universities, and research centers in Africa have any
 Internet access. For those who can afford it, it costs thousands of times
 higher than their counterparts in the developed world. And even Africa's most
 well-endowed centers of excellence have less bandwidth than a home broadband
 user in North America or Europe, and it must be shared among hundreds, even
 thousands, of users. In spite of the reputed rapid spread of the Internet,
 about five of the just over six billion people in the world remain without
 access to the Internet. Access could, therefore, be the single most important
 issue to most people, in particular, in developing countries, where people pay
 up to 15% of earned income on communication costs, compared to 3% of earned
 income spent in developed countries. The Internet is a global public space that
 should be open and accessible to all on a nondiscriminatory basis. In this
 regard, we recognize the Internet as a global public good. Access to it is in
 the public interest and must be a public provision. In order to meet the IGF
 mandate in relation to availability and affordability of the Internet, two
 issues need to be urgently addressed at the level of Internet governance.
 Namely, that of cost and tackling the infrastructure deficit in the developing
 world. The question is how the IGF can perform the task of advising
 stakeholders in proposing ways and means to accelerate the availability and
 affordability of the Internet in the developing world. On the issue of
 capacity-building, the WSIS phase was marked by the asymmetrical and unequal
 participation of developing countries' state and nongovernmental actors, where
 developing country governments were largely absent in the policy and
 decision-making spaces. One of the challenges for the IGF is to remain
 inclusive and apply itself to the question of how it will achieve its stated
 objective to approach Internet governance with the needs and priorities of
 developing countries in mind. To adequately respond to this challenge, the IGF
 has to be meaningful and relevant at the national level by linking
 international processes. Paramount must be a preoccupation with building
 understanding of technical processes as well as facilitating buy-in to human
 rights values among all governments, including developing and developed country
 governments. On the issue of IGF and inclusive participation, the IGF has drawn
 unprecedented and unexpected levels of interest from a range of stakeholders.
 It has gained currency as perhaps the legitimate post-WSIS space in which
 different stakeholders can exchange ideas and best practices intended to
 safeguard and extend the Internet as a global public good and to foster global
 buy-in into shared values like openness, transparency, equality, among others.
 It is a rounding achievement that the IGF has managed to organize a global
 event within a short space of time, with limited resources. It has put much
 space and energy into securing the participation of women in the IGF
 proceedings, especially in this opening panel and the main sessions. Yet,
 despite the best efforts of the organizers, a cursory perusal of the workshop
 programs and its participants and even of this hall confirms that these spaces
 remain unacceptably man-dominated. It is a challenge for all stakeholders to
 engage the question of how to extend and grow the Internet that we also extend
 meaningful participation of all stakeholders, and especially women, who make up
 just over 50% of the world's population. The IGF must apply its mind as to how
 it can provide leadership and guidance in ways to extend the participation of
 overstretched and underresourced women in organizations, interglobal
 discussion, and decision-making spaces on Internet governance. Finally, a point
 on the IGF as institution and process. IGF meetings must be an annual
 punctuation point where all stakeholders come to share lessons and best
 practices gathered at the national and local levels and facilitated through the
 interventions of the IGF. The level of stakeholders in the proceedings of the
 IGF places on it a burden of responsibility. This Athens meeting must be the
 beginning of a process that grows teeth at the same time it finds its feet. We
 hope for a process that will shore up the different multistakeholder actors and
 carry them with enthusiasm to the next meeting in Rio. I thank you for your
 attention.

 [ Applause ] >>MINISTER MICHALIS LIAPIS:  Thank you, Mrs. Natasha Primo, as
 representative of an important member of the civil society, you have expressed
 some interesting views there, especially on bridging the Digital Divide. Ladies
 and gentlemen, we have two remaining speakers on this morning's agenda who are
 known as the fathers, one of them is the father of the Internet.  We have got
 Vinton Cerf and Dr. Bob Kahn. In 1990 -- '74 they started work on this and we
 now have the protocol in Internet use.  We have TCP, the protocol there, and
 IP. An awful lot of steps have been taken, and in November 2005 they were given
 -- awarded honors as American citizens. We would like to honor these two
 personalities today by inviting them to the floor, and I would like at this
 stage to ask Mr. Cerf, please to speak to the audience today.  You have the
 floor.

 [ Applause ] >>MR. VINTON CERF:  Minister Liapis, Chairman Desai,
 Secretary-General Utsumi, Minister Kamel, Commissioner Reding,
 Secretary-General Sebban, Ambassador Markus Kummer, Executive Director Primo,
 my good friend and colleague Robert Kahn, distinguished attendees and guests,
 ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to have this opportunity to address you
 and to participate in this convening of the Internet Governance Forum. I think
 30 years ago when Bob Kahn and I were working on the design of the Internet it
 would not have occurred to us that 30 years later we would be sitting in Athens
 with a roomful of people discussing global Internet Governance. In the 33 years
 since the concept of the Internet first took shape, it has become a global
 infrastructure of increasing value in many dimensions.  Its ability to absorb
 new technologies and to support an increasing variety of applications are
 indicators of the power of its simple, clear, and well-defined technical
 specifications and openly accessible capabilities at all layers of its
 architecture. We've reached this stage as a consequence of the voluntary
 cooperation and coordination of literally hundreds of millions of participants,
 users, service providers, standards developers, application software
 programmers, operating system vendors, and a host of others. The influx of
 information on the Internet with the advent of the World Wide Web has fired our
 imagination and given substance to the possibility that all the world's
 knowledge may someday be accessible to every person on this planet and perhaps
 others, with the touch of a fingertip or the utterance of a few well chosen
 words. During the World Summit on the Information Society we learned from one
 another that there is still a great deal of work to be done to realize such a
 dream. There are only an estimated one billion users on the Internet today. 
 That number might actually be larger if one considers that some of the two and
 a half billion mobiles in use are also Internet-enabled, and may be the sole
 means of accessing the Internet for some of the user population. We still have
 to provide several billion more users with access, preferably at the highest
 speeds technically feasible and affordable. Moreover, as the general public has
 become the dominant base of users on the Internet, we're finding that there are
 some who abuse this medium as other media have been abused. One can find fraud,
 harassment, illegal copying, material unsuited to children, content that's
 rejected in civilized societies and a range of other troubling behaviors
 intermingled with a massive use of useful content and services on the net. Nor
 are these matters simply confined to national boundaries.  The Internet is a
 global system designed to allow everyone to interact with everyone else.  And
 many of the problem behaviors are international in scope. These concerns will
 need to be addressed at local, national, and international levels and will call
 for cooperative technical, political, and legal efforts for their solution. The
 Internet Governance Forum is the latest in the potential forums in which many
 of these issues can be addressed and directional concepts shared. On the more
 positive side the Internet is already the largest distributed collection of
 historical and current information ever in existence.  It is becoming a major
 facilitator of global commerce, an innovative source of education and
 entertainment and a powerful conduit for collaborative and coordinated
 personal, enterprise, and government activities. Putting into place a legal and
 technical framework that enhances the effectiveness of these capabilities in a
 global setting will further increase the value of the Internet investments made
 thus far and to be made in the future. Already, a variety of organizations
 already at work are helping to standardize or coordinate some of the efforts
 needed, often at the technical level, such as the Internet Architecture  Board,
 the Internet Engineering Task Force, the World Wide Web Consortium, the
 Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and the International
 Telecommunication Union.  Other organizations are contributing towards a deeper
 understanding of the cultural and practical implications of this global and
 growing network such as the Internet Society, the World Intellectual Property
 Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
 Organization, among many others. The Internet Governance Forum can serve as a
 platform for identification of important Internet-related issues and which
 potential organizations already equipped to deal with them. As increasing
 amounts of information find their ways into the Internet's archives, it is
 vital that we preserve their accessibility, renderability and interpretability.
  Digital documents often need to be interpreted by special software packages to
 be rendered in understandable form. We will need to assure that the bits we
 preserve on digital media can also be read and understood not only by people
 but by computers programmed to help us manage this ocean of information. Steps
 are needed to assure that the information we accumulate today will be usable
 not merely decades but centuries and even millennia into the future. We need to
 preserve access to application software, operating systems, and perhaps even
 hardware or simulators so as to retain the ability to make effective use of our
 digital archives. It is equally important that we preserve the global
 interoperability of the Internet even as we strive to make it more inclusive of
 all the world's languages.  Already, Unicode is helping us to record and
 present information in many of the world's languages on Web pages and in
 massive databases. There is a strong interest in the existing and nascent
 Internet community to have the ability to register domains written in the
 characters used in their preferred languages, and therein lies a huge technical
 challenge.  Such domains are sometimes called Internationalized Domain Names,
 or IDNs for short. One of the most important aspects of the Internet is the
 ability for every user to make unambiguous references to every registered
 domain name. Historically, this global feature has been achieved in part by
 restricting host domain names to be expressed in a small subset of the Latin
 characters A through Z, digits zero through nine and the hyphen.  It is
 understood that this will not suffice for users whose native language use
 characters other than these.  At the same time, it is vital to preserve the
 global ability to refer to and to use every domain name.  This global
 interoperability needs to be preserved especially as new languages are
 supported by the Unicode system through the addition of new characters needed
 to express them. It is utterly critical to appreciate that domain names are not
 general natural language expressions.  They are simply identifiers that help
 users uniquely reference information in the Internet using strings of
 characters grouped into a sequence of labels that make up domain names.  They
 must be unique, and names registered today must continue to work into the
 distant future no matter what new characters are added to the Unicode to
 support the expression of additional written languages.  To assure this
 stability and global interoperability, it is necessary to permit only a
 carefully chosen subset of all possible characters in Unicode to be used in
 domain names.  Work in this area will be discussed in other sessions during
 this Internet Governance Forum so I will simply underscore here that the work
 is technically challenging and will require extraordinary expertise. It is
 understandable that the proponents of IDNs are eager to make progress.  ICANN
 is already conducting tests to determine the readiness of the root zone file
 and its associated root servers and resolvers to house or work with
 internationalized top level domains.  Adding IDNs at all levels in the domain
 names system potentially affects every application that makes use of domain
 names.  The mechanisms of the domain name system make demands on the
 normalization and matching of domain name strings that far exceed the simpler
 requirement that natural language strings be renderable using Unicode.  A miss
 step in the specification of the IDN rules could easily and permanently break
 the Internet into non-interoperable components.  New work in the Internet
 Engineering Task Force and the ICANN committee on IDNs among others is pointing
 the way towards specific solutions. Much work is still to be done to assure the
 stability and security of the Internet's addressing and routing system.  To
 expand the address space from the present maximum of 4.3 billion unique
 addresses to 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses. The potential scale of
 such a network brings with it huge challenges associated with the management
 and efficiency of the Internet's low level routing tables.  Accurate and
 verifiable records of IP address assignments are increasingly important in
 assuring stability of this vital part of the Internet's technical design.  We
 have much work to do to improve the resistance of the network and its attached
 computers to a wide range of denial of service or other attacks.  The
 incorporation of signed domain name zone files is but one of the many efforts
 underway to increase the ability of the Internet and its components to resist
 attacks by would-be disruptors. In addition to these technical challenges we
 need to join together to identify the non-technical but equally important
 operational frameworks in which the Internet's resources can best be deployed
 and applied. The openness of the Internet, the ability of its users to invent
 and test new applications, the freedom of virtually any computer on the network
 to interact with any other within the limits of safety and resistance to abuse
 have all contributed to its vitality and innovative character. Despite its
 operational existence since 1983, the Internet's application space has barely
 been explored.  There seem to be an endless array of potential ideas left to be
 considered, limited only by the imagination, and our ability to produce the
 necessary software to make these ideas real. Together with my colleagues at
 ICANN and elsewhere, I am personally dedicated to helping to realize the
 potential of this remarkable system.  I hope that all who gather in this forum
 will share this same desire and will work together to achieve for ourselves and
 those who come after us a stable, secure, global, evolving, and richly
 functional Internet. Thank you very much

 [ Applause ] 
 
 >>MINISTER MICHALIS LIAPIS:  Thank you very much, Mr. Cerf, for
 this particularly interesting presentation that you have just given us, and
 also for your forecast for the future. I would now like to ask the next
 speaker, Mr. Robert Kahn, to take the floor. Thank you.

 [ Applause ] 
 
 >>MR. ROBERT KAHN:  As the last speaker in this morning's opening
 session, I know I stand between you all and lunch.  And so the job is on me to
 end as close to on time as possible. I know it's already past the ending time,
 so I wonder if that means I need to speak backwards

 [ Laughter ] 
 >>MR. ROBERT KAHN:  Mr. Chairman, distinguished speakers and
 guests, ladies and gentlemen, on the occasion of this first Internet Governance
 Forum, it is only fitting and proper to acknowledge the many contributions of
 individuals, private sector organizations and governments to making the
 Internet what it is today. As an evolving entity, the Internet will benefit
 from continued improvement and innovation.  And through the discussions that
 take place here and over the next few days, we have all have an opportunity to
 help shape and form it better to meet our needs for the future. I specifically
 would like to thank the organizers of this forum for inviting me to share my
 thoughts with you at this opening session today.  It is, indeed, a great honor
 for me as it surely must be for my colleague, Vint Cerf, to be so recognized in
 this way with the other distinguished speakers. I would also like to
 specifically thank them for the many years of sustained and productive
 collaboration that we have had.  I agree that it would have been very hard for
 us to imagine this meeting in Athens when we first sat down to write the specs
 for the Internet protocol some 30 years ago at the cabana Hyatt in Palo Alto.
 Although this forum is focused on the development aspirations of the world
 community, it's really about starting an informed discussion, indeed a
 continuing multi-party dialogue, among those most interested in the Internet
 and how it can best serve the needs of people everywhere. What the forum can
 provide us is valuable insight into the Internet and its possible applications,
 it can enable an ongoing discussion about how we should manage our many
 collective activities in a constructive fashion, and it can uncover issues for
 which such discussion will be most fruitful.  As an evolving infrastructure,
 the Internet should not be viewed only on the basis of existing technology, as
 that will surely constrain, even diminish, its future possibilities.  Rather,
 we need to be continually open to and solicitous of new ideas, new technology,
 and even new social processes to sustain that.  We've heard that from some of
 the other speakers today. This task will require both insight and discipline to
 allow the new approaches an opportunity to compete against older entrenched
 technologies, processes, and systems.  As in other areas, healthy competition
 of ideas will be our best companion going forward. From the early days of the
 Internet, we were well aware that the open architecture model that Vint and I
 developed would present challenges to the status quo in the telecommunications
 world. Recent history has illuminated the profound importance of the Internet
 to so many of us on a daily basis. In my opinion, the two essential
 characteristics of the Internet which allowed it to take hold in so many
 countries around the world were the removal of central control from the overall
 operation of the system through the use of open architecture, and the active
 participation of the research community from the start.  Those attributes
 opened the door to participation by many other organizations and individuals
 from around the world. We are now witnessing a continued technological
 revolution.  Increases in bandwidth, combined with the number of new devices,
 access methods, and mobility, and the introduction of new information
 management technologies are placing difficult and sometimes competing demands
 on the infrastructure to support them in an integrated fashion. We need to
 think carefully about how best to handle this growing diversity of options
 going forward. New services will not appear everywhere within the Internet all
 at once.  And our goal should be to work toward seamless integration of such
 services in the Internet over time so as not to result in fragmentation. In
 this context, it is essential that external network specifications be made
 available for such new services so that others can choose to participate based
 on their compliant implementations of those specifications. This is a role for
 the relevant standards bodies to consider.  And in this context, the
 relationship of this forum to the relevant standards bodies is itself a
 worthwhile subject for consideration. The free flow of information as has been
 discussed by others may be impeded by complications that arise from diverse and
 perhaps contradictory policies developed independently around the world.  I
 need only mention security concerns to highlight one area that will continue to
 be critical here. Increasingly, governments and private sector organizations
 may be called upon to coordinate such policy choices, perhaps on a bilateral
 basis to begin with, in order to avoid unplanned and unwanted outcomes that
 affect how the Internet is actually used in practice. Identifying emerging
 issues could be an important contribution of this forum. To assist in the
 process, I drafted a short list of topics that may prove useful to consider
 along with the many other important issues that will be discussed in this and
 subsequent meetings. The topics on my short list address, one, the information
 infrastructure needed to enable systems of linked metadata registries and
 interoperable collections of information, such as digital libraries and
 archives.  This infrastructure may also permit the logical combination of such
 capabilities into integrated information services. For example, distributed
 learning environments could be one possibility.  Another example, containing
 private information would be systems of health records.  In addition to being
 accessed by others, with appropriate permissions of course, the possibility
 should exist to preserve this information over time along with a method of
 verifying its continued authenticity.  Other parties who are primary
 responsibility in the creation and maintenance of the actual information would
 have a role to play here, too. Second would be a cost effective and technically
 advanced means of engaging interested parties in both formal and informal
 meetings and other collaborative efforts conducted over the Internet so that
 not everyone would need to travel to far-away places to participate. Perhaps
 one day we can get to a point where there is no longer a need for a meeting to
 have a physical presence at a specified location other than "on the Internet."
 I would seek to employ advanced language translation capabilities in the
 process, wherever possible, so all could participate on an equal playing field.
 Another area for discussion is how best to describe and accredit organizations
 and services on the Internet in a globally effective way, without an unduly
 intrusive certification process.  Such a capability can provide a degree of
 certainty in various transactions.  While each country may elect to have its
 own means of handling this situation, transparency as well as interoperability
 will be important so as to enable rather than impede certain Internet
 transactions. The early selection of the domain name system which I had a role
 in as a means of managing IP addresses in the Internet has proved to be helpful
 over time.  While the DNS will continue to play an important role in the coming
 years, newer mechanisms with enhanced capabilities for providing identifier and
 resolution services should also be considered in these discussions. For
 example, the Handle System is widely used for this purpose around the world. 
 It supports multilingual capabilities and security, and I would recommend that
 you consider the application of both identification and resolution services in
 the context of a more general digital object architecture of which the Handle
 System is one implementation of a key part. I recently addressed this subject
 within the U.N. ICT task force and with other U.N. bodies. The utility of this
 architecture ranges from traditional print material represented in digital form
 to its use more widely in commerce.  For example, consider data structures that
 represent value.  Here I am thinking of digital entities such as bills of
 lading as might be used in shipping or commerce, or stock certificates which
 have utility in commerce where transferrability and authenticity are key
 attributes. I would like to close on a more personal note.  The work we did on
 the Internet has been augmented and improved upon by the contribution of many
 others over the past 30 years, and this trend will no doubt continue. In large
 part, this has happened by design, yet some of the most important contributions
 that we made, both Vint and myself, were not purely technical.  We had a
 relatively free hand in the early days in making key decisions about the
 Internet and both of us have continued to participate in its continuing
 evolution. Along the way, we had to create many of the critical social
 processes that have served us well over the years. Hopefully, the Internet
 Governance Forum will be another important social contribution in that
 tradition that we can all take credit in creating. What started as a U.S.
 government supported and managed research activity has long since been
 transformed into a multi-stakeholder activity with private sector initiatives
 driving development and governments around the world engaged in oversight,
 policy development, and even funding. What began as a research activity has
 long since moved into a much larger context.  The Internet will require
 continued input from the research community to keep it rejuvenated with fresh
 ideas that can be implemented in commercial products and services and reflected
 in supporting government policies. Although the focus at this forum is
 primarily on the Internet itself as infrastructure and its role in development,
 increasingly our attention will need to accommodate newly developed
 applications and services and their benefits, along with the many existing
 applications and services on the net. And we should do so in a way that has the
 potential to bring these benefits to all nations of the world, and to empower
 individuals and organizations everywhere to contribute and to take advantage of
 them. The opportunities for the future of the Internet are as great, if not
 greater, than they were when we began this adventure.  And I trust that current
 and future generations will continue to build upon and enhance the many
 contributions of the past. The Internet Governance Forum can play an important
 role in this process. Thank you for your attention and have a great time at
 this forum.

 [ Applause ] >>MINISTER MICHALIS LIAPIS:  Thank you very much, indeed, Bob
 Kahn, for the particularly interesting points you just put to us and for this
 speech which rounds off this morning's meeting. Just let me add a couple of
 comments. Well, we will have a presentation afterwards which deals with the
 Internet as a means of modern-day communication which has taken on major import
 mainly for the younger generation.  And we have representatives of them amongst
 us today.  So they will be raising questions which will be discussed and we
 will be thinking about this and we would like to have a constructive dialogue.
 In the same framework, we think that the children throughout the world should
 be able to hear your views and questions about the Internet. So in this forum,
 we will be dealing with this, and Mr. Kamaras Will be also introducing this
 event to us now.


 >> Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman.  There are billions of people on the planet
 and they all use the Internet, not just to communicate amongst themselves today
 but also as the communicators of the future, and of course I mean children.  So
 we should give them the opportunity to take part in the IGF, especially give
 them the opportunity to watch and comment on the inaugural meeting of the IGF. 
 So I give the floor to the future.  Thank you.

 [ Applause ]


 >> I imagine that you all agree with me, the questions raised by these children
 will be discussed over the next four days. And they will be the unofficial but
 very important agenda of our meeting now. Now I give the floor to the minister.
 
 >>MINISTER MICHALIS LIAPIS:  Before I continue and before we close this
 morning, I would like to ask Mr. Kummer whether he has any housekeeping points
 he would like to put to us. Mr. Kummer. 

 >>SECRETARY KUMMER:  Yes, thank you,
 Mr. Chairman. Two points. If the moderator and all panelists of this
 afternoon's sessions are kindly asked to meet for a preparatory meeting at 2:00
 at the room Aphrodite. There will be a reception tonight hosted by minister
 Liapis at the palace at the Westin Athens at 8:30. There will be buses
 organized from all hotels to the venue. The buses will depart from the hotels
 at 8:00. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

 >>MINISTER MICHALIS LIAPIS:  I would like to
 thank you all for being here today and for participating. I wish you every
 success over the next few days. And I will bring this meeting to a close for
 this morning. For the afternoon, we should be back here at 3:00. Thank you.