Opening Ceremony

12 November 2007 - A Main Session on Other in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Note: The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the The 2nd Meeting of the IGF. 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. >>MARKUS KUMMER: Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. The Under Secretary-General for economic and social affairs, Mr. Sha Zukang, will address the meeting. Thank you. >>SHA ZUKANG: Good morning, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. It is my honor on behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General to be with you today and to deliver his message to this Internet Governance Forum. I quote: Allow me to convey warm greetings to all those gathered for this important forum and to thank the government and the people of Brazil for this generous hospitality. The venue of Rio is particularly auspicious as it was the home of the 1992 conference on the environment and development. Today, in another landmark event, it is the issue of Internet governance that brings people from all over to Rio. The Internet has become the backbone of our globalized world. For the United Nations, it has become a powerful tool in our mission to promote peace and security, development, and human rights, particularly in the flows of information and knowledge that it enables. The United Nations does not have a role in managing the Internet, but we do embrace the opportunity to provide, through this forum, a platform that helps to ensure the Internet global reach. With our estimated one billion Internet users today, some five billion people still do not have access to this empowered tool. The Internet Governance Forum is not a traditional United Nations meeting. It is a new model of international cooperation. And just like the Internet, it is in constant evolution. Its purpose is to bring people together from all stakeholder groups. You meet here as equals, not to make decisions or to negotiate, but to discuss, exchange information, and share good practices and lessons, if you have any. The forum can develop a common understanding of how we can maximize the opportunities the Internet offers, how we can use it for the benefit of all nations and peoples, and how we can address risks and challenges. One particular area of hope, but also concern, is the relationship of children and young people with the Internet. The Internet has opened new doors to them, to knowledge and culture. Yet, it can also present a threat to their safety. The program of this year's meeting has a strong focus on the protection of children. And I hope that it will contribute to making them safer. This forum is modest in its means, but not in its aspirations. It may have no power to make decisions, but it can inform and inspire those who are in a position to make them. May your deliberations contribute to the further evolution of the Internet as an effective tool for building a more secure and just world. This concludes the message of the Secretary-General. The following is my message, if you don't mind. Please permit me to join him in thanking our fine hosts and to make a few remarks as head of the United Nations main development department, that is, Department for Economic and Social Affairs. This second meeting of the Internet Governance Forum underlines the important role being played by the United Nations in shaping dialogue in key policy areas of the world today. The growing interest in Internet governance is reflected by the large audience here today. It also highlights the role of the United Nations as a convenor in which it can bring together the key stakeholders. Throughout the debate on Internet governance, development has been one of the key priorities and cross-cutting themes. The Internet is capable of delivering economic opportunities for all. But much remains to be done. And I hope your debate here is rewarding and insightful. The new economic opportunities that Internet offers have also a clear link to the social world, particularly in terms of freedom of expression and free flows of information and ideas, the social production of content, the widespread input from individuals into the media, and the instantaneous distribution of such content are reshaping the way we see and understand events around the world. These new insights bring greater understanding between the peoples of the world, thanks to the Internet. The Internet Governance Forum is a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to develop an innovative dialogue and auspicious of the United Nations, a dialogue free from the constraints of negotiating text. The forum is also unique in that it brings together people who normally do not meet under the same roof. This includes some of us who are not physically here, but who are engaged, instead, through remote participation. Looking at the conference program, the main sessions and a wide variety of workshops and other events, it is clear that this notion of multistakeholder involvement and partnership is being embraced by the forum participants and turned into reality. The core themes -- critical Internet resources, access, diversity, openness, security -- will help structure a rich debate which should rebound to the benefit of all, especially to young people and children. I wish you well this week and look forward to participating in many of the forum events. While I have the floor, let me say, on the agenda item of taking stock and a way forward, I hope you will be able to reflect upon the issue of selection and appointment of advisory group and the possible ways and means of financing for IGF. Sorry to be very specific. In accordance with the custom of the forum, the host country chairs the IGF session. Therefore, now it is my honor and pleasure to invite minster Sérgio Rezende to assume his responsibility. Mr. Rezende, the floor is yours. [ Applause ] >>SÉRGIO REZENDE: Good morning, everyone. I would like to (No audio) Secretary-General for economic and social affairs of the united nation organizations. I would like to greet Mr. Mangabeira Unger, minister for strategic affairs of the Brazilian government. I would like to greet Mr. Gilberto Gil, minister of culture of Brazil. I would like to greet Alexander CARDOZO, state secretary for science and technology of the state of Rio de Janeiro, here representing the governor, Sérgio Cabral. I would like to greet Mr. Nitin Desai, special advisory to the Secretary-General for Internet governance. Mr. Markus Kummer, executive secretary of the IGF. And I would like to greet Augusto Gadelha, the chairman of the steering committee of the Brazilian Internet committee. It's my pleasure to welcome you all to Brazil, especially to Rio de Janeiro, for this very important forum for the Internet. The Internet, which you all know very well, is the most revolutionary invention of mankind, of our recent times. And this is the instrument which made possible this phase of globalization. Globalization has taken place in the planet in different phases, but this one is a definite one. And, of course, the Internet is the means that provided this to happen. So for Brazil and for Rio de Janeiro, is an honor to hold this forum, the forum of the IGF. And I would like to thank the United Nations for choosing Brazil and Rio de Janeiro to hold this second forum of the IGF. You are going to have, certainly, a very busy week discussing many themes which are important for the evolution, for the improvement of the Internet, as the Under Secretary-General has mentioned. Many themes, some of them are challenges to all of us to decide and to recommend what to do so that this great invention of our times continues to improve and continues to be used wisely and widely, more widely, so that we have a better distribution of wealth over this planet, so that more people have the opportunity to become citizens of the world. And many, many of the people who have contributed to the Internet so far are here, and they have good ideas. And they will, I am sure, contribute, so that the Internet continues to evolve. All I would like to do now is to wish you a very good week and work in the remainder of the week. And I'm sure that the results of this forum will be very important and helpful to all of us. Thank you very much, and good morning. [ Applause ] >>MARKUS KUMMER: The next speaker to address the meeting is Mr. Mangabeira Unger, extraordinary minister for strategic affairs. >>ROBERTO MANGABEIRA UNGER: Ladies and gentlemen, the Internet is a tool which is partial but very powerful. The tool. (Audio problem). >>ROBERTO MANGABEIRA UNGER: -- in many aspects, (Audio problem) it is a means to overthrow all dictatorships to free from the power of money and cultural authority. For this revolutionary potential to be fully used, an institutional design needs to be developed for Internet governance according to two principles. First principle is that of antihegemony. The Internet governance must not reflect the overpowering preponderance of any specific national state. ICANN had an essential historic value in the development of the Internet. However, we are past the time for it to pass on its power to a more including organization, without confrontation and without any problem. The second principle is the principle of limitation on the influence of the state and the influence of money. The mere transfer of ICANN's power to universal association of states would not be accepted by those who control the Internet today, and should not be accepted by mankind. The governance alternative must also give power to the world civil society. And for that, we need an institutional design which may replace in the property system the logics of -- the power of the owner with the logic of the agreement between users. And that should add traces of representative democracy and of participative democracy and should apply the result of this combination to sectors where these principles were never applied before. You will say that the premise for this initiative is still lacking. The world of civilian society is still not organized. But it is beginning to organize itself, and the development of the Internet does not have the organization of the world civil society as a precondition. On the contrary, it is a provocation for it to organize itself. So you here who are involved with the Internet, those of you who study and discuss the Internet, you are the avant-garde of this world movement. And it is based on the associations represented here that this participative movement to change governments has to start. It has to start with you. So the realists will ridicule this initiative. But they are the ones to sink in an anti-pragmatic pragmatism, forgetting that mundane people do not change the world. Ladies and gentlemen, courage, courage to attain what is necessary via what is improbable; courage to turn the Internet into a practical, universal tool to work for freeing imagination. Thank you. [ Applause ] >>MARKUS KUMMER: Okay. This closes the opening ceremony. The meeting is now adjourned for ten minutes so we have time to rearrange the podium. And we will start at 11:00 sharp with the opening session. [ 10:42 a.m. ]