Closing Ceremony

2 November 2006 - A Main Session on Other in Athens, Greece

Agenda

 
 Internet Governance Forum 2 November 2006 Closing Ceremony

Note: The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the
 The Inaugural Meeting of the IGF, in Athens. 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.
 
 
 >>MINISTER LIAPIS:  Could I please ask you to take your seats. Ladies and
 gentlemen, I would like to welcome you to this final session of the IGF. And it
 is an especially pleasure for me, because it has, I think, been agreed by all
 that this forum was very successful. All of the stakeholders, governments,
 private sector, information society, academic and research communities all had
 the opportunity to come into contact with each other, to express their views,
 and to submit proposals and questions, as well as setting down very firm
 foundations for establishing democratic institution which the Internet should
 be shaped into. So, once again, it remains for me to thank you most warmly. I
 will call upon special advisor to the United Nations, Mr. Desai, to give you
 his views. Mr. Desai, you have the floor.

 >>CHAIRMAN DESAI:  Thank you, Mr. Minister. Mr. Minister, fellow panelists and
 friends, we are now coming to the end of what has been, I think, four very
 exciting days. We've had a lot of substantive discussions, and this is not the
 time to get into these issues of substance, but I think it's very important to
 recognize what is it that contributed to making this event, in my terminology,
 an outstanding success. And the --

 [ Applause ]

 >>CHAIRMAN DESAI:  And let me begin first by a very big word of thanks to you,
 minister, through you, to the Secretary-General of the ministry, to George,
 where is he, George Papadatos, who has been ready and coping with all of our
 inordinate demands, all of the people on his side, I cannot possibly name all
 of them, but we will be meeting a little later in the evening when I hope to
 express my thanks much more extensively. The many other people in the Ministry
 of Foreign Affairs also who have been involved in this whole exercise, the
 people outside in Athens, the police, the -- most of all, the technical staff,
 who have coped with our changing demands manfully when we have had this problem
 with Internet access, they fixed it fast and managed to do it. The people in
 the hotel, and all of these people who have helped to make the logistical
 arrangements for this, the substantive arrangements for this, and most
 important of all, Mr. Minister, your political commitment to this process and
 your willingness to take a risk with a forum whose size, shape, orientation,
 impact was totally unknown. I truly appreciate the fact that you decided to
 take this risk and invite us here. And that, I think, is the most profound
 thing that I have to thank you for. Because it was a risk, but I hope you think
 that it was a risk that was well taken. Many people have expressed their thanks
 to me and Markus, but I really would like to share these thanks with the many
 people in the U.N. who have been involved. I really must thank the United
 Nations office in Geneva, who have been very generous with us, have given us a
 great deal of time. We lose sight of the fact that, actually, we can function
 with all of these languages and so on, essentially, because the United Nations
 office in Geneva is able to make these facilities available to us, even though
 we do not have a U.N. budget. They're doing this by squeezing out some
 resources here and there. And I'm truly grateful to them and their staff for
 all they have done. There are a whole group of them who are arrayed patiently
 at the back who I really have to thank. Omar Abou-Zahr, who retired recently,
 is a retiree like me, and is helping out in that capacity; and Daniel Dufour,
 his -- how shall I say?  -- his Sancho Panza so the two of them have really
 taken on the importance of conference organization. Then Janick Mangin and his
 group of security people who had to cope with the accreditation and all of the
 other security arrangements. Security is all very discreet and you don't know
 all of the work that they do, and they have coped manfully. The interpreters
 who have come from Geneva and some from here, who have coped with us, our
 strange requirements, including, you know, sort of international connections
 which occasionally go off, and who have coped with our incapacity for keeping
 to our closing time. I hope to be able to make up for it today by closing
 before -- having this session close before 6:00. We have the scribes, who have
 been sitting there. We have all been watching what has been going up, and I
 think it's an extraordinary job the two of them have been doing, putting up
 every word we say with no errors, as far as I can see, up on that screen. And
 it is a permanent record which will always be available of what we have done
 here. I think I would really want to recognize here the huge contribution made
 by the members of the advisory group. I think the term "advisory" has become
 redundant. They have really become members of a support group. All of them have
 pitched in. You have seen them sitting in the back, helping in each of the
 sessions in many different ways, without any thought as to whether this is
 something that is commensurate with their dignity or not, including going and
 getting copies made and things like that. And I really want to thank them for
 the way in which they have functioned as a team, supporting this whole
 exercise. I think all of these people contributed to this. And I really -- also
 Chengetai, I think he is probably fixing some problems somewhere. And I waited
 for last for the most important person who is really responsible for all of
 this, who has been working away at this not only now, but for quite some time.
 And I really don't think we could put this together without the diligence, the
 dedication, the commitment, and the huge effort that Markus Kummer has shown.
 And I'm sure all of you will join me in here thanking Markus Kummer.

 [ Applause ]

 >>CHAIRMAN DESAI:  Mr. Chairman, we came here four days ago, there were 1,300
 of us who registered for this forum, I suspect that a very large proportion of
 the ones who came were a little apprehensive as to what was going to happen. I
 think, by and large, what has happened has been something that the reactions
 range from a really substantial who have come to me and been full of praise,
 have been very enthusiastic, have basically said, this is good, this is what we
 want, we are going to come again. Some perhaps were a little less comfortable
 with the way things have gone, but nevertheless participated with commitment
 and dedication, in fact, I think everybody did. And the overall assessment that
 I have sensed from people is that, basically, the forum has worked. And one
 reason why it has worked is the nature of the Internet itself. I think the very
 -- somehow, the Internet philosophy of bottom-up, of people of diverse cultures
 from different countries working together informally in order to make things
 work somehow seems to have percolated through even into our debates and our
 deliberations. And in many ways, what we are seeing is really one of the great,
 potentially greatest, impacts of the Internet, the way in which it can bring
 people together from different parts of the world and make them feel that they
 are part of a single community. I think this is truly extraordinary. This
 borderless characteristic of the Internet and the way in which we communicate,
 when I send an e-mail, I don't have to put any country code or anything in it.
 It essentially just goes to the person with an e-mail address. There's no
 stamp, no national stamp, nothing of that sort is involved.  And this
 borderlessness, this capacity of the Internet, because of the way in which you
 use it, because of the active involvement you have to have as a user in using
 this Net, is what I think underlies also the way in which this group came
 together virtually like a community. And I think we should -- this,
 potentially, is the greatest impact the Internet can have down the line. There
 are many other things one could say on the substantive agenda. I have said much
 of that in the morning session. So I have -- there's no need for me to repeat
 it. I -- basically, Mr. Chairman, minister, I really want to end with a story.
 As you know, the country I come from, India, and your country have had a long
 history of association. And there was one particular association 2300 years ago
 when there was an Indian emperor. He was in communication with one of the Greek
 kings, who was a successor king to Alexander. We called him Salukis Nicator.
 And he wrote to this king and says that he had heard a great deal about Greek
 culture, and could Salukis Nicator please send him a jar of Greek wine, a Greek
 woman he could acquaint himself with, and a philosopher. The reply he got was
 that, yes, we can send the jar of Greek wine, we can certainly send a Greek
 woman who he can get to know. But the Greek law would not permit them to send a
 philosopher. Since you will not send your philosophers out, we decided to come
 to Greece to imbibe some of the democracy which is embedded in the stones of
 Athens and more particularly in the Acropolis. And in many ways what we have
 done here is, in effect, to repeat the agora of ancient Athens. And the message
 that we are sending out is that this -- the one thing this agora wants is an
 Internet for all, an Internet for all, the poor, the disabled, women, people in
 remote areas, people who do not use English as a language, people who are not
 familiar with the Latin script, and that if the Internet is to realize its full
 potential, it must be an Internet which truly is accessible, usable, and safe
 for all. This, I think, is the basic message that we have got from this forum.
 And I thank all of you, most of all, because it's you who finally made this
 forum what it was. Not even -- not -- the Greek hosts facilitated it, the U.N.
 and advisory group helped it along, a lot of the staff helped with the
 logistics. But in the end, the success of the forum was a success because all
 of you participated with commitment, with sincerity, with enthusiasm, and I
 believe with a certain commitment to have a dialogue of good faith. So I thank
 you most of all, and I look forward to meeting all of you and many more when we
 meet a year from now in Rio. Thank you very much.

 [ Applause ]

 >>MINISTER LIAPIS:  Thank you very much, Mr. Desai. Now, I do hope that you
 will have tried during your stay our good wine. I'm not going to ask you about
 whether you've tried the other two.

 [ Applause ]

 [ Laughter ]

 >>MINISTER LIAPIS:  I would, however, like to thank you for your very active
 participation. Thanks to Markus, too, who was with us to help us at any point
 in time we needed him, as well as the representatives and your coworkers in the
 United Nations. I would now like to give Mr. Augusto Cesar Gadelha Vieira the
 floor. He is the National Secretary of Information Technology, and he is the
 head of the Brazilian network, and will be, in fact, presiding over our next
 meeting. You have the floor.

 >>AUGUSTO CESAR GADEHA VIEIRA:  Thank you, minister Liapis. Minister Desai,
 chairman of this IGF meeting, Mr. Kummer, executive secretary of this IGF, Mr.
 Adiel Akplogan, regional Internet registry for Africa, Mrs. Jeanette Hofmann,
 here representing both the civil society and women, and Mr. David Appasamy,
 Chief Communications Officer of Sify Limited in India, ladies and gentlemen, on
 behalf of the government of Brazil, I would like first to express gratitude to
 the government and to the people of Greece, here represented by minister
 Liapis, who have accompanied this meeting in a wonderful way, for the warm
 hospitality we all received in this very nice and beautiful place. Also to
 congratulate you for the organization of this first meeting of IGF, the
 Internet Governance Forum. As the co-chair in charge of hosting the next IGF
 meeting in November of 2007, we will face the difficult task of matching the
 high standards achieved here. I would also like to make public our recognition
 to Mr. Nitin Desai and to Mr. Markus Kummer, and to all the members of the
 advisory committee whose efforts gave shape to this forum in a really
 inclusive, multilateral, and multistakeholder process. It has to be noticed
 that this is a unique experience within the United Nations system. And what a
 wonderful experience happened here. As a country which for some time has
 already adopted a multistakeholder approach in Internet governance within its
 own borders and in the management of its ccTLD, Brazil welcomes this first
 meeting of the IGF as a successful step towards the full implementation of the
 Tunis Agenda. Brazilians are also willing and ready to participate in all other
 initiatives that were agreed upon in the Tunis Agenda. We believe that
 multilateral, transparent, and democratic mechanisms of Internet governance are
 essential to the building of the inclusive, people-centered, and
 development-oriented information society envisaged by the millennium
 development goals. Bridging the digital divide is the greatest challenge before
 us. In the Tunis Agenda, it was recognized that Internet has become a facility
 available to the public and that its governance should constitute a core issue
 of the information society agenda. It's time to extend its availability in
 accessibility to every human being through the reduction of interconnection
 costs and multilingualism. In this regard, we hope the Rio event may fulfill,
 at least in a great extent, all the hopes and expectations that have been
 raised and wonderfully expressed in this event by people from all over the
 world, young and elders, women and men, from many cultural and social
 backgrounds. We would like to make a vow to work hard in order to build in Rio
 a suitable, cozy, and welcoming environment to discuss the important themes we
 considered here and others that need to be faced. Let me mention our special
 interest in taking part of the process of enhanced cooperation, which should
 enable countries on equal footing to carry out their roles and responsibilities
 in international public-policy issues pertaining to the Internet as put forward
 in the article 69 of the Tunis Agenda. We are willing to work towards finding
 venues to achieve the goals set in this agenda while ensuring stability,
 security, and continuity of the Internet. It is in this spirit that we would
 like to invite all who participated in this meeting, as well as all those
 stakeholders around the world, in particular, those from developing countries
 whose struggling is more economically stressing to come to Rio and actively
 participate and help make it another successful IGF meeting. The meeting will
 take place in the beautiful and very pleasant city of Rio, on November 12 to 15
 of next year. We will try to make it a very fruitful, enjoyable meeting. Thank
 you very much.

 [ Applause ]

 >>MINISTER LIAPIS:  Thank you, Mr. VIEIRA. Thank you for your warm words
 addressing me personally, and also to my country. And I would like to wish you
 every success while organizing the next forum, which we expect will be very,
 very interesting. So I wish you every success and good luck with your forum in
 November 2007. I would now like to give the floor to Mr. Adiel Akplogan, who is
 the chief executive officer for the regional Internet registry for Africa,
 AfriNIC, to make a speech with his conclusions from this forum. So you have the
 floor.

 >>ADIEL AKPLOGAN:  Thank you, minister. And I would like to use this
 opportunity, too, to thank the government of Greece and Greece for its
 hospitality in hosting this successful forum. And we really thank you for this.
 I would also like to thank Mr. Nitin Desai, who has led the advisory group to
 this success, and also to -- okay, thanks. -- and also Markus Kummer for his
 great job. I will talk here in the name of the technical community attending
 this forum. And for us, it has been a pleasure for us to participate in this
 forum, and delighted also to facilitate the participation for several people
 from this community. And we believe, really, that this new stakeholder space
 for dialogue has been a success. For us, what we have started here, it's the
 way for something great in front of us. The dynamic which we have seen here,
 which requires dialogue, cooperation, and experienced chairing, it's what we
 want for the whole governance and management of the Internet. The Internet
 community as a whole see this first IGF meeting as an important step in
 facilitating a better understanding of the Internet-related issues. We trust
 and we are calling for this dialogue to continue among stakeholders. But this
 has to be done at several levels -- locally and regionally -- that will allow
 us to have greater global event like this one. Dialogue is dependent upon
 commitment and capacity-building, capacity-building not only for individuals,
 but also capacity-building for institutions. What happened this week, allow me
 to add that it reminds me, the setup of the organization, the head of AfriNIC,
 we have gone through quite the same similar process where we have to put
 together all stakeholders in our region to work together upon the setup of this
 organization which addressed one of the issues we were facing in Africa. This
 fundamental principle, which is cooperation and collaboration, on which AfriNIC
 was based, is true for all other Internet community organizations. But the
 ability for people together to work in a multistakeholder way, it's not only
 the issue. As we have seen throughout this week, the Internet is there. But as
 the previous panel has said, access to access is key. Access to Internet and to
 the information on the Internet, to the knowledge, to the skill, is fundamental
 for the future development of Internet, and especially for us, from developing
 country, because without access, we cannot achieve what we are working on. The
 multistakeholder dialogue and the focus on access and capacity-building, we
 think it should continue toward the Rio meeting. We wish success for the new
 Rio meeting, and we think what we have started here will also continue in Rio.
 Thanks.

 [ Applause ]

 >>MINISTER LIAPIS:  Thank you so much, Mr. Akplogan, for what you have said and
 for all your views. We do agree to what you have said. We should really
 increase participation to the forum for people from developing countries. And
 we'd also like to underline the great importance of bridging the digital
 divide. I will now -- I would now like to give the floor to Mr. Appasamy, CEO
 of Sify Limited, from India. Thank you, you have the floor.

 >>DAVID APPASAMY:  Thank you, Minister. Good evening. I am David Appasamy, from
 Chennai, India. I am very pleased to be speaking on behalf of BASIS, the
 Business Action in Support of the Information Society and the international
 chambers of commerce. I would like to start by recognizing the contribution of
 all who invested themselves in this process. That's a long list, including all
 the members of civil society, especially the youth, those from business,
 academia, the technical experts, and the representatives of government, in
 addition to our generous Greek hosts, and, of course, the IGF advisory group
 and secretariat. As I acknowledge all these people, it reveals how
 extraordinary this event has been.  Not only do the number of participants
 surplus expectations, but the great diversity of groups and perspectives has
 actually ensured its success. As you know, the last ten years have been a time
 of hectic expansion of the Internet.  Opportunities have appeared.  Problems
 have emerged.  Technology has advanced.  And interests have crystallized. This
 forum has been an opportunity for all of us to reflect, to take stock, and to
 catch our breath. In doing so, this first IGF has done exactly what was
 proposed a year ago hoped it would do.  It has brought us all together on an
 equal footing. This precious feature of the IGF is essential in ensuring the
 most constructive process going forward. Over the last four days, we have
 exchanged perspectives, discussed best practices, and shared our thoughts about
 the way forward. We have had the opportunity to present our understanding of
 what is being done, what has to be done, and how best to do it. On Monday we
 said, if people leave this event having learned something new and of value,
 this inaugural IGF would have succeeded by this benchmark. It certainly has.
 What's more, coming together has been a way to break down walls and to build
 bridges to others who share common goals. As we look ahead to the next IGF, we
 see the need to focus even more on the discussion on development.  That's
 because while we can be proud of the capacity building that has been started
 this year, the many challenges of development need greater attention.  And in
 the last session, that was more evident than ever. These are not just lofty
 ideals.  They are opportunities to change lives. Making real progress in this
 area is important.  To every six-year-old in Ghana who wants to learn to read,
 to every 30-year-old in India who can expand the scope of business online, and
 to every rural village that wants to create opportunities to secure its future.
 We all have a responsibility in making these a reality.  In India, we see the
 Internet as a powerful catalyst for economic and social change.  Business helps
 this process through its investment, expertise and innovation. However, as many
 existing partnerships demonstrate, pooling resources and expertise with other
 stakeholders can strengthen efforts and expedite progress. While some of the
 challenges may seem daunting, we must rise up together to meet them by
 remaining committed, creative, and cooperative.  Otherwise, as Mr. Desai has
 pointed out, there will be profound consequences, and painful missed
 opportunities. We have made progress in India, but I see firsthand how much
 more there is to do.  The IGF dialogue has just started.  There are more people
 to involve, and a long way to go.  The discussions this week have made one
 thing very clear:  No single group with manage or resolve all the challenges by
 itself. So it must continue to be a multistakeholder commitment where we all
 work together to succeed. Some have asked where the action is, and what
 tangibles have been achieved.  Well, the wisdom and experience gained are of
 great value in and of themselves. If we go to plant these seeds at the national
 level and cultivate them by working with all stakeholders at this level, they
 are certain to bear fruit. When we come together again next year in Rio, we
 hope to see even greater involvement from all stakeholders, particularly those
 in developing countries. The second IGF can be the opportunity to drill deeper
 into the issues identified, and perhaps to offer workshops focused on practical
 skills that can be used to further national ICT strategies. This first IGF has
 laid the foundation.  It is a start of a legacy we all have a stake in
 building, one that will ensure the inclusive, people-centered Information
 Society to which we all aspire. Thank you.

 [ Applause ]

 >>MINISTER LIAPIS:  Thank you, Mr. Appasamy, for sharing your views with us. 
 We do hope you will continue actively in the IGF. Now I would like to give the
 floor to Jeanette Hofmann, a researcher from the social science research center
 in Berlin.  I would like to hear your impressions. You have the floor, Ms.
 Hofmann.

 >>JEANETTE HOFMANN:  Thank you, Minister.  Thank you Nitin Desai, Markus
 Kummer, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to share with you a little story
 that I will take home from the forum. It happened on Tuesday when I was
 moderating a workshop.  Although it was late, the room was nonetheless packed
 and all chairs were taken. Then somebody from the German foreign office walked
 into the room, and since no chair was left, she chose to sit on the floor. On
 the floor, I should add, of at least temporary U.N. territory.

 [ Laughter ]

 >>JEANETTE HOFMANN:  So what makes this incident a symbolic incident? I think
 it is the striking difference to the seating order that we are used to from
 WSIS, but also from other intergovernmental processes. The forum has no seating
 order.  There are no tables for delegations with name plates on it, and above
 all, there are no time slots for nongovernmental actors. Governments have
 queued jointly with civil society and private sector in order to take the
 floor. The forum offers the great opportunity to experiment with new formats of
 communication and consensus building across all sorts of geographical,
 cultural, sexual and political boundaries. The Secretariat and the chair are
 taken great effort to maximize the speaking time not only for panelists but
 also for the audience.  I think everybody who really wanted to take the floor
 had the chance to do so, and this is nothing we should take for granted.  I
 think it's quite unusual for a conference, a meeting of that size. The great
 innovation we have been witnessing here is the setting up of a global talk shop
 in the most constructive sense. The fact that the forum has no mandate to make
 binding decisions is the very pre-condition for equity among all stakeholders
 who attend this meeting. However, in order to make good use of the forum, it is
 vital that all stakeholders recognize and adopt this new venue as an innovative
 place of policy making. While it is good that governments attend the forum with
 the intention to listen, as has been pointed out several times, it is important
 that they also practically engage with civil society and private sector and
 work on concrete solutions. And while it is good that the private sector is
 present and shows its willingness for dialogue, we hope that industry will also
 reach out to other corporations and strengthen particularly participation from
 developing countries. And while it is good to meet again so many friends from
 WSIS -- from the WSIS process here in Athens, we need to keep in mind that
 there will be many more people attending also from civil society if we could
 provide them with funding. In order to make the forum a truly open space for
 participation, it is necessary for all of us to find financial support for
 those who lack the means to come here. In closing, I would like to bring to
 your attention a few thoughts regarding the future forum meetings that have
 been -- that we have been considering among civil society participants.  We
 have been wondering how to strengthen the output orientation of the forum, and
 how to make sure the forum will become practically relevant. Another thing, it
 has been recommended to lessen the number of themes and focus on specific
 issues such as capacity building and access. Also, the forum should provide
 sufficient space to get into these issues, and the forum should encourage the
 development of practical solutions, both in workshops but also in dynamic
 coalitions that are about to form. Such practical solutions should be put on
 public record of the forum. In so doing, the bottom-up process can gain some
 official recognition which, in turn, may make it easier for all stakeholders to
 participate and to learn as Nitin put it so nicely, holding hands also between
 your meetings of the forum. While it's unlikely that civil society ever
 embraced the idea of arranged marriages -- (Laughter.)

 >>JEANETTE HOFMANN:  -- all people I have been talking to in the last days see
 great potential in the forum for developing concrete solutions for all the
 challenges we see in the field of Internet Governance. Personally, I am very
 proud of having been part of this process. On behalf of civil society groups,
 I'd like to thank the host country to have made this meeting possible, but also
 the Secretariat and the chair for all their hard work. We are looking forward
 to fruitful dialogue, both online and face to face, in the year to come, and
 also to the next forum meeting. Thank you very much.

 [ Applause ]

 >>MINISTER LIAPIS:  Thank you very much, Ms. Hofmann, for your speech and also
 for your particularly interesting views on behalf of the research community.
 Ladies and gentlemen, it's quite true the points which were raised during the
 forum were particularly interesting.  And I'd like here to include questions
 from children of the five continents which we heard at the inaugural meeting.
 So I would like to give the floor to Mr. Kamaras to give the answers to the
 questions we heard then.

 >>MR. KAMARAS:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  Some of you may recall that when the
 children's questions were introduced during the opening ceremony, there was a
 mention that these questions could be said to constitute an informal agenda,
 one that was full of substance. We have created a little video to remind you of
 these questions and to include some of the images from the Athens Internet
 Governance Forum. So we could have the video, please. Well, technical --

 >>MINISTER LIAPIS:  You have to push the button, HU?

 >>mr. kamaras:  Technical problems are always most likely to happen at Internet
 conferences.

 (Playing video.)


 >>MR. KAMARAS:  Well, the children who posed the questions are here with us
 again this afternoon, and I have to say that listening to the discussions over
 the last four days, our impression, mine and our colleagues from the Greek
 organizing authorities, is that these questions can be, perhaps, tentatively
 answered as follows. With regards of how will the Internet be five years from
 now, one can only say that the Internet is a child, just like you, and is
 expected to change rapidly within the next five years. Now, the IGF will
 contribute to the development of the Internet through its capacity building
 process, and the reinforcement and enhancement of the fundamental principles of
 democracy, transparency, and respect for other's rights. With respect to
 question number two, with Internet development, could each country maintain its
 national identity, the active participation in the Internet of every country
 and all peoples will not only preserve national identities but will also
 facilitate their spread all over the world. In an era where globalization is
 presented as a unique opportunity, a window to the world, so all national
 identities can flourish, interact and prosper. In question number three, in
 what way can this forum contribute to creating a multilingual environment on
 the Internet.  Multilingual is definitely among the forum's top priorities.  It
 will be encouraged and fostered through the increased support of local content,
 the expanded use of local languages and dialects, and by preserving automatic
 indexing.  Furthermore, new technological achievements should be permitted to
 support natural speech and communication as well as continuous innovation in
 the area of search. With respect to question number four, how can Internet
 access become a reality for poor people, there are plenty of things we can --
 indeed, we must do, to make sure that the Digital Divide is transformed into a
 digital opportunity. Funding by government and/or international bodies is
 crucial, of course.  However, the constant exploration of new technologies as
 well as the promotion of best practices will also be a critical step that this
 forum must undertake. Indeed, we expect that within the next couple of years,
 the first concrete efforts should materialize and relevant results should be
 reported. And finally, how can the forum protect the young children's rights as
 far as the Internet is concerned? The forum, the whole global community,
 surely, puts the utmost importance on children's rights. Over the last four
 days we have sought to highlight all possible actions that should be
 undertaken, notably the education of users, especially children and parents,
 technological innovation, and one might call it enlightened Regulation. This
 ensures that your rights are respected and protected, and at the same time does
 not hinder in any way your access to the wealth of content and knowledge
 available online. Mr. Chairman.

 [ Applause ]

 >>MINISTER LIAPIS:  I would also like to thank the children, because I found
 that these were excellent questions.  I don't know if our answers were equally
 excellent.  Well, only the future will be able to tell. Now I'd like to draw
 this conference to a close and give you my conclusions from the first IGF. The
 objective of the IGF in Athens was to create a forum for dialogue between civil
 society, the academic community, the private sector, and governments. Our
 desire was to take note of all ideas and reflections, and these could become
 the basis for their implementation on the way to the next forum in Brazil. So
 in Athens at the IGF, we inaugurated a procedure where we would like to deal
 with the challenges by the Internet, and we created a dialogue platform for the
 multistakeholder society, a pluralist platform. And from the conclusions, I can
 say that the first IGF was not just a meeting point for participants, but also
 it evolved into a forum which really improved coordination and cooperation
 amongst participants. It offered us all the opportunity to share a common
 vision and to make common progress. So we shouldn't think of the forum as a
 single event.  No, it became part of an ongoing dialogue of cooperation that
 will allow us to connect better and to have more national and regional
 coordination. We are convinced that the IGF was open and inclusive.  It
 promoted the participation of people from all groups and from all parts of the
 planet. We also think that IGF activities should be generally oriented towards
 creating and promoting the infrastructure which will allow better access to the
 Internet for all people in the world. Undoubtedly, the creation of these
 structures will allow all institutions to participate in democratic governance
 of the Internet.  And this will guarantee that the resources and services will
 be shared out equally between the people of the world. Now, on the various
 parts and pillars of the IGF and the issues, well, openness for example.  The
 open character of the Internet is part of what makes it unique and could be a
 tool to further develop our societies. Internet users exchange ideas,
 experiences, information, and that way contribute greatly to making us all more
 knowledgeable about what's going on. And this multiplies the value of the
 Internet for citizens, societies, businesses and governments. And this
 multiplies the value of the Internet for citizens, societies, businesses, and
 governments. Now, the issues which are linked to the open character of the
 Internet is free flow of information and also guaranteeing freedom of
 expression. These are two vital issues for all democratic societies. The power
 of the Internet and its resonance can be found in its democratic nature. And
 this is what the IGF has been promoting. Strengthening free access to
 information and education, we are strengthening the information society, and we
 cohesively promote social development. Within the context of the 2006 IGF in
 Athens and on the specific issue of openness, we discussed what would be the
 adequate regulatory political and legal framework which would improve and
 guarantee the open character of the Internet. We had many points heard during
 our discussions. First of all, it's a public means of communication, which
 means free expression for all citizens. But do we have limits to freedom of
 expression? And where should we draw the line? Secondly, laws of the market and
 citizens' rights. What about software and hardware manufacturers? The Internet
 and ICT technology? These give people the right tools to create content. So
 you're also a consumer, and at the same time, a creator. Do we have copyright
 in this case? We have specific issues related to intellectual property when
 talking about the Internet, because we should protect the creative information,
 but we should also allow access to information. So we need to find new
 copyright rules, which will be adapted to the working of the Internet. The role
 of service providers, who have the ability to design and decide how users have
 access to the Net. The Internet is both a great opportunity for freedom of
 expression, but it also is a threat for the abuse of human rights. So the IGF
 should examine how we can guarantee freedom of expression, but also guarantee
 citizens' rights. Sometimes there is a contradiction, and national governments
 go against the ecumenical character of the Internet. This does happen on
 occasion. The second specific issue is security. We have made progress, but
 it's not enough to guarantee security and safety over the past five years. So
 it has been suggested the next IGF should consider again security on the Net.
 We should exchange legal and regulatory experiences between countries and the
 relevant international bodies. Secondly, we should coordinate between existing
 working bodies at the international level, so they should regularly either
 institutionalize new practices or communicate to us their new practices. And
 this is also imposed by the developing nature of the Internet. Thirdly, a
 reference to technological developments and security on the Net. What does this
 mean? For example, how can we integrate in national legislation the
 international convention on cybercrime? Other issues raised were the following:
  Cooperating with countries which have advanced more in legally dealing with
 the protection issue of the Net. Australia, Canada, and Japan were some of
 them. And also methods whereby we would in fact be able to establish any sort
 of common optimum practices. By way of illustration, perhaps I can say that it
 has been said we should have best practices actually awarded a prize to IGF,
 2009, Egypt. And the way in which we actually manage crucial information, for
 example, what about medical records, what about national security issues of
 countries? And I think that the visible advantage of Athens IGF has been that
 we have actually broadened the circle of the various factors which are being
 discussed and how we can, in fact, decide as to what sort of national or
 academic issues will be examined. And I do think that we have also been able to
 see the participation of all taking place, with nobody being excluded. And I
 think there was also very good bilateral contact. The third issue, that of
 diversity. What we have discussed is the differences that we have on the
 Internet in the three different dimensions, the linguistic, the cultural, and
 also technological differences we talked about multilingualism on the Internet,
 and we did have very good discussion as to which direction we should take here
 in looking at public policy at the government level, at the national level, at
 the international level, at the level of users, but also at the level of
 industry and technology. And from the discussions, it emerged that the language
 hiatus is linked up with the digital divide. And here we discussed how we could
 perhaps approach that issue. We also discussed issues pertaining to technical
 and political problems, such as that of developing the contents and the
 appropriate management of contents, so that local languages and dialects could
 also manage this information. And then there was some reflection upon the
 rights and the copyright to such use. And also we looked at systematic
 documentation of languages for which perhaps there is not a structured system
 for them to actually be written. And the use of Internet by individual
 communities was also looked at. So what about local traditions and knowledge
 being protected vis-a-vis the assimilatory effect of the Internet, as well as
 the effect of automatic translation, how UNESCO and others might contribute to
 the developing of this system. So there were many interesting proposals as to
 how you can in fact preserve and also enhance some things on the Internet, for
 example, research on new technological tools which would enable one to support
 and promote natural communication, we were looking at the diversity on the
 Internet, which has to be linked with the three pillars of modern democracy and
 of modern society, which is democracy, viable development, and also the
 provision of equal opportunities, but also equal relations vis-a-vis also other
 minorities. Now, by being able to promote diversity, we will thereby open up
 the possibilities and horizons for individuals to be able to create knowledge
 and not simply consume knowledge. It was also said by many that multilingualism
 can, in fact, this language gap into a factor of multilingualism, and will
 thereby also enhance local traditions and local cultures and will help in terms
 of local development in the economy. Fourthly, access. The need to disseminate
 and link up many parts of those who are considered to be digitally homeless and
 to bring them under the same roof. I know that it's possible to have access to
 the Internet. But we have to look at the cost and how that is applied, to look
 at how we can have open appropriates, how can we have accessibility to the
 various services. What about regulatory issues in terms of access by citizens
 to the Internet, developing the skills that are necessary between citizens for
 that purpose, as well as looking at access to the Internet, access, thereby, to
 structures and knowledge is something which has to be looked at for all
 citizens of this world. And you can link this up to the access of citizens to
 the labor market and to employment. Thereby, access of world citizens to the
 Internet must be the top priority for any national or international
 organization respectively. And during the course of discussions here, it became
 clear that there are broad differences between how access to the Internet is,
 in fact, provided from country to country, from continent to continent. And it
 was seen here that we find in Africa that the access percentage is very low. 
 And that is disquieting. Now, during the Athens IGF, we're talking about access
 to the network.  There were other issues discussed, such as the following.  The
 role of governments via their policies, actions, and the regulatory framework.
 Also, this role is added to by the role that the particular bodies in this
 special sector and which are active have to play, as well as what the private
 sector is doing. Also the role that the academic and research communities are
 called to play. And they can, in their own way, promote access of users to the
 Internet, as well as the quality of the actual services provided and the
 development of technological knowledge and capacity building as we referred to
 it. And then we talked about the bottlenecks in terms of local access.  This is
 something which does impede to a great extent the extension of infrastructure
 and services and thereby leads to blocking the possibility of people to access
 the Internet. And I think that solutions can be provided to many of these
 problems by technology.  You can have a wireless network.  You can have
 satellite services provided. But we also talked about the need to have
 effective, in terms of cost, infrastructure, which will enable the users to, in
 fact, have these access services at an accessible price. And these
 infrastructures should be linked with how you deal with basic issues in the
 developing world, where you do have poverty, a lack of basic infrastructure, as
 well as a lack of education of the citizens. We have to look at development of
 best practices in order to cover the gap in terms of Internet access. And the
 basic axes of the European Commission in terms of best practices which might be
 implemented, including development of infrastructure as well as policies which
 are based on open prototypes and open bases, and being able to have neutrality
 throughout. As well as the role of the patent (inaudible) software and what
 sort of advantages might ensue, as well as the role of the 2.5 billion users of
 cell telephony and mobile telephony. And then, of course, we talked about
 bridging the gap between access to the Internet within societies. And we ought
 to stress here facilitating access to the groups in society which are
 considered to be the most needy or the most sensitive. Well, ladies and
 gentlemen, the words tele, analysis, synthesis, dialogue, democracy, these are
 all words that come from ancient Greek and are used in our modern Greek
 language.  And these concepts behind the words have prevailed in the work here
 during the course of the forum and have acted as pillars along which we can
 move to future development. So I think that the Athens IGF has shown that we
 can, in fact, implement many small successful steps moving towards the ultimate
 victory.  And in Athens, we have actually put down the first stepping stone. 
 And it has been proven that this is a very good beginning. I think we set down
 the foundations for a very productive and creative continuation of this effort.
  And I feel that both we, as well as all participants in the forum, will
 continue to work towards that end. So it remains for me, once again, to extend
 a very warm thanks out to all of you who have worked so hard and so
 constructively to making this forum a success.  And I would like to thank all
 of you that have helped in making it a successful event. May I wish you good
 luck, Brazil, for the next forum meeting. So our meeting next November will be
 in Brazil.

 [ Applause ]

 >>MINISTER LIAPIS:  The forum is now over.  Thank you.

 

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