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Early thoughts on WSIS

Not much has been going on in Nations this week: Even acknowledging that we may be attending at the beginning of an historical process, the initial enthusiasm falls quickly into the slow rhythm and slumber of government negotiations and discussions. At the same time I am writing these lines, Ambassador Kahn [Chairman of the Subcommittee A on Internet Government] promises the government delegates an aggressive agenda for the next week, given the concerns of many participants.

The lack of consensus on much the WGIG report is evident. One of the few ideas that seem to have some consent among the different governments and stakeholders is the so-called Forum for dialogue. The idea to have a place for discussions and debate around those issues that exceed the scope of the existent organizations is getting bigger. However, and having participated yesterday in the Civil Society brainstorming session on the forum, we notice that this is only an early idea, and the implementation of such a recommendation will not be easy or smooth.

We also attended the presentation of a new book, edited by Wolfgang Kleinwächter that contains different views about this process and some historic review. Vinton Cerf has a chapter there, and a lot of people have participated. I will let you know my views on the book later on!

Some of the things that are not happening yet, is the much needed debate about connectivity, and more precisely interconnection costs. APC has been distributing a paper on this issue yesterday, but, even when it is on the agenda, there haven’t been significant discussions on this topic. Same applies to capacity building programs, education and training and the digital divide.

The Internet Society made an important statement today. We ought to be considered as a different stakeholder, in the recognition of the special nature the Internet community has. The contribution made so far, not only by the Internet Society, but by the whole Internet Community, inter alia [a widely used expression these days] , the IETF, WC3, ICANN and its constituencies, etc., has been enormous, and must be acknowledge. As the statement reads, “…These entities have the expertise, the experience, the legitimacy, and the broad support of those building and running the Internet. In addition, many of these organizations have been instrumental in capacity building through assisting developing countries to “come onlineâ€? over the last 15 years …â€?, But it is not only a matter of history, the participation of the Internet community in this process is a key issue for the future : “…The Internet cannot function without this Community. Its contribution, value and importance to the future of the Internet should be clear. The long-term stability, security, adaptability of the Internet is fundamentally dependent upon the continued and integral engagement of the Internet Community in all governance discussions…â€?

We look forward to be really included in this process.

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