The EIF preparatory meeting for the Fifth World Telecommunication / ICT Policy Forum (WTPF) on 24 April gathered different stake-holders together to debate and exchange views on the process, the European position as well as on the desired outcome of WTPF.
WTPF, taking place in Geneva next 14-16 May, is a high-level International event to exchange views and information enabling policy-makers worldwide to develop a shared vision on issues arising from the emergence of new telecommunication/ICT services and technologies.
Sabine Verheyen, MEP and EIF Political Member, chaired this breakfast debate and opened the floor for distinguished speakers.
Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was our key-note speaker. He started by recalling the recent World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), which took place in Dubai at the end of 2012. This landmark conference reviewed the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), which had served as the binding global treaty since 1988. A new revised treaty was signed by 89 Member States out of 149 (few EU member states, US, Japan being among those who have not agree to sign the treaty in Dubai).
Mr. Touré continued by noting that the upcoming WTPF is a forum, not a treaty-making conference, for a global debate on key issues in the world of ICTs. He presented the preparatory process for the WTPF and explained in detail the salient points in the draft opinions that will be discussed at the Policy Forum next month. Dr. Touré also addressed the issue of the rapid growth of data, which is putting unprecedented pressure on existing telecom networks.
Click here to listen to Dr. Touré’s speech:
Erika Mann, Board Member of ICANN then commented on the upcoming WTPF conference. She was satisfied that Internet Governance is a part of the WTPF forum as nobody has a right answer to how internet governance should evolve. She encouraged continuing to embrace open and secure internet. Ms. Mann also presented the recent changes within ICANN.
Click here to listen to Erika Mann’s speech:
Larry Stone, President for Group Public & Government affairs at BT was the next speaker and presented a business perspective on global ICT policy debate and WTPF. He advised to keep regulation at the minimum level necessary to meet legitimate public policy goals. He underlined that the multi-stakeholder approach is more important than ever and plead for help to understand what many government bodies at national and supranational levels, NGOs and various other internet bodies involved in this matter is doing.
Click here to listen to Larry Stone’s speech:
The last to take the floor was Linda Corugedo Steneberg, Director for Cooperation at DG CONNECT, European Commission. She also reflected on the WCIT and expressed disappointment that voting had taken place at this conference. Ms. Corugedo Steneberg stressed that WTPF is an important occasion as it will bridge the gap among those countries who signed the treaty and those who did not. Also Ms. Corugedo Steneberg cited Vice-President Kroes’ position that internet governance should continue to follow the multi-stakeholder model and this means that governments are not the only or even the main decision makers.
Click here to listen to Linda Corugedo Steneberg’s speech: