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Enhanced Cooperation, Internet Governance

Richard C. Beaird, Deputy U.S Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy
Remarks at the Third Internet Governance Forum
Hyderabad, India
December 5, 2008

Thank you very much, Emily. And I'd like to thank the organizers of this panel for the opportunity to be here this morning. And I'd like to also express my appreciation to the previous two speakers for setting a very interesting context for the remarks that will follow.

The subject of this panel is enhanced cooperation, and, of course, by implication, Internet governance. Let me begin first by reviewing my understanding of enhanced cooperation as found in the Tunis documents coming out of the 2005 Tunis phase of the World Summit.

Tunis spoke -- and I should emphasize here, at the highest levels of government -- spoke of the need for enhanced cooperation in the future. It associated enhanced cooperation with international public-policy issues, particularly related to the Internet. In doing so, it looked at enhanced cooperation from the point of view of relevant international organizations. And it called upon these relevant international organizations to develop applicable principles on public-policy issues, again, related to the Internet. But it did so, and it explicitly did so, by emphasizing that these international organizations should maintain their own mandates and operate consistent with those mandates. Nothing of the summit changed any international organizations' mandate. And enhanced cooperation was to create an environment that facilitated the development of public-policy principles.

And then Tunis went on to say that the process -- the goal of enhanced cooperation, is to create a process that will be also responsive to innovation and that as a result, the process that was conceived in Tunis is one, I believe, which is quite broad in its understanding.

Taking that as my point of departure, I would like to assert that since 2005, the process that was envisioned in Tunis has been remarkably successful across many fora and international organizations. Indeed, if you simply look at what has happened since 2005, in a sense, we can turn on its head the definition of Internet governance that was developed in Geneva during the Geneva phase of the WSIS process that spoke about governments and the private sector and civil society acting together to shape the Internet's uses. In fact, what we have seen is that the Internet in its uses has begun to evolve governments, private sector, and civil society into new forms of enhanced cooperation on an unprecedented scale.

Now, there are many drivers of this form of enhanced cooperation that I'm referring to. But I'd like to refer to three of them. Or to -- specifically, to two principal drivers. First, access. Access, since 2005, to the Internet has increased significantly. Not only to the Internet, but of course to all other forms of communications. And those forms of communications, the multiplicity of platforms that have been created, in turn create opportunities for access to the Internet on a remarkable scale. Mobile -- the mobile culture, a phrase that was used this morning, is itself significant in terms of its development since 2005. India alone now exceeds 300 million subscribers to mobile services. And that number itself may have already been exceeded.

We are also seeing significant increases in access to the Internet as a percent of population in the regions of the world. As I give these percents, I want to emphasize that while the end growth is significant, much work needs to be done. Africa now exceeds 5% of population in access to the Internet; Asia 18%; Europe, 42%; America's 41%; Oceania 45%. There's good news in those numbers, but there is also a challenge to all of us to increase access as a percent of population, to bring access to the Internet to our citizens.

There is another driver that I want to emphasize that has brought about, I believe, opportunities for enhanced cooperation. And that is the acceptance of the linkage between economic growth and innovation. As we have seen clearly since 2005, there's now an understanding that, as a function of the economic process, innovation is an important component to that process of economic expansion. And I will come back on that point in a moment when I talk about the OECD.

But let me take, then, two examples of international organizations that represent the kind of enhanced cooperation which I think complements not only the driver of access and the driver of innovation, but also suggests a vision of the future for where enhanced cooperation may take us. My first example is the ITU, which is an organization which is essentially technical. And my second example will be the OECD, which is an organization that is essentially economic.

There are three areas that I want to refer to when I talk about the ITU. First is infrastructure development. Second is cybersecurity. And third is the development of public-policy forums within the ITU for purposes of discussing Internet matters.

First, with respect to infrastructure development. I'm choosing as my principal example next-generation networks and the work that is being done at the ITU in that regard. All of our countries are in some way or another transitioning from -- to the next-generation networks, and, in particular, of course, deploying fully I.P.-based technologies. The ITU is engaged in work that will -- in terms of the global standards initiative that has already begun to develop recommendations for NGN architecture, interface specifications, quality of service, interoperability, security, generalized mobility, and service capabilities. In 2008, we anticipate that there will be at least 100 NGN recommendations coming from the ITU. And that will be -- that will be used as a basis of NGN deployment around the world.

Secondly, cybersecurity. As the Secretary-General Touré has indicated in his presentation, he has launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda. This agenda is, from our point of view, a framework for multistakeholder cooperation in the area of cybersecurity. The projects that are being defined are being currently defined and developed, and measurements for success are also currently being developed as a part of this initiative. Early indications are that the ITU will engage in the development of technical solutions for cybersecurity, particularly in the area of trusted identification; it will provide advice on the development of cybersecurity efforts and structures; it will also raise the awareness and the global community of the scope of the problem of cybersecurity; and to promote global cooperative efforts.

The last example from the ITU deals with public-policy debate on Internet-related matters. The ITU has at its recent world telecommunications standardization assembly adopted a resolution that created a forum for the purpose of public-policy debate and discussion on Internet matters. And many members of the ITU, member states of the ITU, see this as an opportunity within the ITU to focus the debate on public-policy matters related to the Internet. The group has not yet met, as it just has been created. But many, as I say, member states see this as an opportunity for discussion within the ITU on these issues.

The OECD, and here I want to talk about the Seoul Ministerial of June 17-18 of this year. 39 participating ministers, obviously a number that exceeds the membership of the OECD, and including the European Commission, and I should add including India, endorsed the commitment to stimulate sustainable economic growth and prosperity by means of policy and regulatory environments, and support innovation and investment and competition in the information and communications technology sector. In so doing, these ministers pledged to work with private sector civil society. They also pledged to protect the Internet community from developing cross border cooperation.

Two points. First, ministers in Seoul pledged to foster creativity of use of the Internet by maintaining, and I want to emphasize this, by maintaining an open environment that supports the free flow of information. And secondly, and this is particularly important, to encourage universities, governments, public research, users and business to work together in collaborative innovation networks and to make use of shared experimental Internet facilities.

The two concepts -- free flow of information and innovation -- linking these centers of excellence in society which were underscored by the Ministers in Seoul seems to me to be a concept that needs to be brought more fully into the discussion of enhanced cooperation.

I come now to the conclusion. Because of such drivers as expanded Internet access and telecommunications, and because of the now established link between innovation and economic growth, enhanced cooperation is now more widespread, more complex, and continues to be far more than was envisioned in 2005 as a process by which we understand both Internet policy as well as Internet governance. I would also suggest that the IGF is itself a remarkable example of this new enhanced cooperation. I would also add that if we can speak of a multi-factor productivity growth that includes innovation as a kind of new economic model, then we can also speak of a multi-factor governance model for the Internet when referring to the Internet that would include the diversity of examples that we see now in the area of enhanced cooperation.

I would further assert that the Ministerial in Seoul was correct in indicating and in using as its title Internet economy, and indicating that this is the subject that governments, civil society, and the private sector should focus on in the current environment; that Internet economy does represent the complex forms of enhanced cooperation that I have mentioned and that other speakers will allude to.

I will conclude by joining others, and this is important from a policy point of view of the United States, by joining with others in underscoring the importance of a forum like the IGF which offers an opportunity for interests with diverse views; however, which are united by a shared commitment to the constructive evolution of the Internet and its uses. This, by the way, was the original vision of the Internet and of the IGF, I should add, in Tunis in 2005. And it will remain vital, the IGF, if it preserves this original vision.

Thank you very much.

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