ITU Council meeting – October 2011
Posted by ISOC.BG News on October 26, 2011
ISOC-Bulgaria friend Kieren McCarthy has published three articles, dedicated to the just finished ITU Council meeting in Geneva.
Titled, ITU Council edges slowly, painfully toward the Internet, ITU Council sways back toward member states in final text, and ITU Council decisions summary, they provide a relatively good coverage of the events in Geneva, as people, who were present at the meeting confirmed.
We are reprinting, with permission from dot-nxt, portions from two of the articles, and encourage you to read the originals at the above urls.
… The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is continuing its difficult journey toward the 21st century in Geneva this week.
Picking up where the organization’s Plenipotentiary in Guadalajara a year ago left off, the ITU Council has been considering a number of proposals concerning the Internet and, not for the time, has hit the Internet’s culture of openness head on.
Following literally days of discussions spent trying to bridge the gap between a closed inter-governmental culture and the Internet’s open approach to policy, a series of odd compromises has been struck.
Key among them is future discussions of the “Dedicated Group on international Internet-related public policy issues”. The DGIRPPI (the worst acronym we’ve seen for a while) is transitioning to a more formal Working Group designation and is the hub of most of the work that emerges with respect to the Internet…
… as some country representatives pointed out, having an open consultation but a closed Working Group was a bit of a contradiction. Bulgaria noted for example that if the actual decisions and discussions are closed, it may discourage non-governments from bothering to take part in the open consultations. That argument was not accepted, nor was the subsequent suggestion that the Working Group documents at least be made public.
Almost all ITU documents – including all the ones for this Council discussion, including the agenda – are behind password protection, something that is a constant and stark reminder of the organization’s closed nature…
…Another main issue under discussion when it came to the Internet was discussion surrounding a meeting in 2013 that would discuss Internet governance.
There was a concerted effort to hold the meeting, despite subject and budgetary concerns, and to ensure that the meeting was a “forum” to give it some official weight. There was push back but again the inter-governmental voices prevailed.
The World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF) will take place in Geneva in mid-2013, be linked with the WSIS Forum, and focus on ITU resolutions 101, 102 and 133 – all the key Internet texts agreed at the Guadalajara Plenipotentiary.
The intent is clear – the ITU Council and Working Group on International Internet-related Public Policy Issues will work at scaling back the move toward a more open, multi-stakeholder model and then using the 2013 WTPF to redraw the resolutions that incorporated Internet organizations into the ITU’s processes, with the ultimate aim of having those resolutions edited in Busan.
The WTPF cannot produce binding, regulatory outcomes but it will produce reports and provide consensus opinions that will then be used to inform the Plenipotentiary discussions.
From the perspective of the Internet organizations that have viewed the ITU with anything from suspicion to contempt, this will be a worrying development.
ISOC-Bulgaria will continue its Internet governance project through 2012, and will continue to inform its readers, members and friends on the latest developments in that area. See the Internet governance section on our blog for more information.