Internet Universality

25 October 2013 - A Workshop on Multistakeholderism in Bali, Indonesia

Internet Governance Forum 2013

Workshop # 97 Report

Internet Universality

Organizer Name 

Hu Xianhong

Organizer Entity 

UNESCO

Workshop Theme 

Principles of Multi-stakeholder Cooperation

Consise description 

 

Building on previous literature and ongoing initiatives and given the unprecedented pervasiveness of Internet in modern society, UNESCO perceives a need for a more consolidated conceptualization and holistic approach to address the ever-increasing complexity of the ecosystem of the Internet and its governance.  UNESCO is thus canvassing a new concept of “Internet Universality”, which could be understood as a heuristic to highlight the interdependence of the components of this uniquely open ecosystem - the normative, technical, social, etc. and the inseparability between issues of access, use and expression.

UNESCO envisages this concept to highlight an Internet that is free and rights-based, open, accessible for all, and nurtured by multi-stakeholder participation, and therefore serving as an overarching framework and shared approach to shape the future of global Internet governance and facilitate international multi-stakeholder cooperation.

 

In a nutshell, the concept highlights the Internet for the people (the utility of the facility for global humanity), by the people (the growing number of stakeholders who create and use the Internet), and of the people (governance norms should be shared, and not vested in one single constituency). 

 

For this aim, it is important to trigger debate and reach consensus at IGF meetings on the key components of the concept of Internet Universality: i) free and right based, (ii) open, (iii) accessible and (iv) multi-stakeholder driven.  The discussion will be convened in following areas at the session:

- sharing of existing initiatives and challenges of Internet Universality as an overarching concept

- exploring the harmony of Internet access and use with the principles and the freedoms asserted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

- examining the engagement of international organizations within the framework of this concept

- identifying the implications for multi-stakeholder dialogue and collaboration under such a conceptual framework

The Concept paper (summary and full version) is available at the link:

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/resources/news-and-in-focus-articles/all-news/news/open_consultation_on_unesco_new_concept_internet_universality/

 

 

Agenda 

9:00 Opening Remarks by Chair 5’ Mr Janis Karklins, Assistant Director General for Communication and Information, UNESCO 9:05 Introduction of UNESCO draft new concept of Internet Universality 10’ Mr Guy Berger, Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, UNESCO 9:15 Comments by panelists (5 minutes each) Mr Lee Hibbard, CoE Ms Anriette Esterhuysen, CEO, Association for Progressive Communications, South Africa Ms Constance Bommelaer, Director, Public Policy, The Internet Society Mr Singh Parminder Jeet, Internet Governance Caucus, India Mr William Echikson, Google’s Head of Communications and Public Affairs for Free Expression in Europe, Middle East and Africa Representative from OECD (TBC) Representative from Internet Society of China (TBC) 9:50 Questions and Answers (40 minutes, also open to remote participation) Name of Moderator: Janis Karklins, ADG/CI, UNESCO Panelists 1 Guy Berger, Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, UNESCO 2 Lee Hibbard, CoE 3 Ms Anriette Esterhuysen, CEO, Association for Progressive Communications, South Africa 4.Ms Constance Bommelaer, Director, Public Policy, The Internet Society 5.Singh Parminder Jeet, Internet Governance Caucus, India 6.Mr William Echikson, Google’s Head of Communications and Public Affairs for Free Expression in Europe, Middle East and Africa Name of Remote Moderator(s) Xianhong Hu, UNESCO The Concept paper (summary and full version) is available at the link: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/resources/news-and-in-focus-articles/all-news/news/open_consultation_on_unesco_new_concept_internet_universality/

Moderator 

Janis Karklins, Assistant Director General for Communication and Information, UNESCO

Remote Moderator 

Xianhong Hu, UNESCO

Have you organized workshops at previous IGFs?

No

Workshop format 

Roundtable

Workshop Transcript 

Transcript

Brief substantive summary of the workshop and presentation of the main issues that were raised during the discussions 

The session aims to trigger debate at IGF on the key components of UNESCO draft concept of Internet Universality and Its four norms: for the Internet to fulfill its historic potential, it needs to achieve fully-fledged “Universality” based upon the strength and interdependence of the following: (i) the norm that the Internet is Human Rights-based, (ii) the norm that it is “Open”, (iii) the norm that highlights “Accessible to All”, and (iv) the norm that it is nurtured by Multi-takeholder Participation. The four norms can be summarized by the mnemonic R – O – A – M (Rights, Openness, Accessibility, Multi-stakeholder).

The discussion focused in following areas at the session:
 
- comparing of existing initiatives and challenges of Internet Universality as an overarching concept
- exploring the harmony of Internet access and use with the principles and the freedoms asserted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
- examining the engagement of international organizations within the framework of this concept
- identifying the implications for multi-stakeholder dialogue and collaboration under such a conceptual framework

 

Conclusions drawn from the workshop and further comments 

Panelists from governments, IGOs, private sector and civil society shared their existing initiatives and agree that ROAM principles is compatible with those values and standards they are promoting.

Panelists recognizes this conceptual exploration well feed into ongoing global debate on Internet governance principles and core values at the 8th Internet Governance Forum in Bali. As Mr Guy Berger emphasized: Internet Universality could be understood as an umbrella concept to highlight the interdependence of the components of this uniquely open ecosystem - the normative, technical, social, etc. and the inseparability between issues of human rights, openness, accessibility and multistakeholderism in the context of Global Internet governance.
Panelists agreed that  real challenge for UNESCO is to make citizens understand what benefit of international work on the Internet is. It was suggested that further work needs to be done to contextulize the concept in international law and human rights grounding and global civil framework.

 

Reported by 

Xianhong Hu

Estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session 

About half of the participants were women

To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowerment? 


It was raised by one or more of the speakers as an important aspect of the session's theme

Discussion affecting gender equality and women's empowerment 

Universality concept highlight women and girls empowerment to use Internet.

Workshops Staticals 
Number of FEMALE participantsNumber of MALE participantsNumber of Young participantsNumber of Developing Countries ParticipantsNumber of Developed Countries ParticipantsNumber of LDCs participantsNumber of TOTAL Participants
10 10 1 8 12 0 20