European Commission: Enhanced cooperation: who does what on Internet related public policies issues?

8 November 2012 - A Open Forum on Enhanced Cooperation in Baku, Azerbaijan


On 18 May 2012, the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) organised a one-day meeting at the office of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva. The meeting was called pursuant to Resolution A/RES/66/184 on Information and communications technologies for development, in which the UN General Assembly asked the Chair of the CSTD to convene a one-day open, inclusive and interactive meeting, involving all Member States and other stakeholders, particularly those from developing countries, including the private sector, civil society and international organisations, with a view to identifying a shared understanding about enhanced cooperation on public policy issues pertaining to the Internet, in accordance with paragraphs 34 and 35 of the Tunis Agenda.

A number of positions were expressed, ranging from direct requests for a new body within the UN system, to maintaining the status quo (on the basis that existing mechanisms are more than sufficient to address the needs of governments with regards to their Internet-related public policy activities), to calling for a more thorough analysis of the current "ecosystem" of processes / mechanisms / fora through which governments/public authorities can already engage in "enhanced cooperation", and in so doing maybe identify the possibly few policy areas in which such mechanisms are weak or lacking.

The intention of the European Commission is to use the opportunity of this Open Forum is to facilitate a discussion among global stakeholders to find common grounds on the following themes:

what aspects of existing "enhanced cooperation" exist already and/or have potential for further development?
Can we identify areas in which such mechanisms are weak or lacking and need "correction" or improvement?
Which existing structures can be used to operationalize "enhanced cooperation", if necessary by improving them (and if so, how)?
What is the role of the Internet Governance Forum in this discussion, taking into account that paragraphs 67-72 of the Tunis Agenda are interpreted by some parties as putting responsibility for Enhanced Cooperation squarely within the IGF?
Would a new structure be appropriate/necessary, whether hosted by/linked to the UN, to operationalize "enhanced cooperation"? What would be the pros and cons of having a new structure in place?

The open forum will also be an opportuntity for the European Commission to present its own reflections on the matter.