Statement by Shri Dilip Sinha, PR Geneva, at the UN Committee on Science & Technology for Development (UNCSTD) open meeting on Enhanced Cooperation pertaining to the Internet, Geneva, 18 May 2012.
1. Internet is a living entity, expanding, changing and evolving continuously. It has already become a critical resource affecting all activities of mankind.
2. It is evident from the interventions today by various stakeholders that we all share a common goal for the internet to foster free expression, innovation and expansion to enable it to respond to growing demands. India is committed to tapping the tremendous potential of cyber space and the tremendous opportunity it provides and to creating a citizen-centric and business-centric environment to connect all human beings to the information highway. However, given the nature of IT networks, continuous coordination is required by all stakeholders including governments to maintain its open character. India wishes to emphasise the need for global coordination to ensure that internet continues to be a free and secure medium for the whole world.
3. The World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) has recognized the need for an open and inclusive process involving all stakeholders, including countries and communities to voice concern on the international public policy issues pertaining to Internet and its Governance. WSIS has also mandated the process for Enhanced Cooperation to enable Governments on an equal footing to carry out their roles and responsibilities pertaining to the Internet.
4. The process of Enhanced Cooperation has been brought up in various for a by several countries including India, Brazil & South Africa (IBSA), reflected in the IBSA Joint Statement at the Open consultations on Enhanced Cooperation on December 14, 2010, and the G77 in the various meetings of the UN, including the annual session of the UN Committee for Science & Technology Development (CSTD) under the COSOC and the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
5. The Tunis Agenda mandates that Internet Governance should be multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic and transparent. It aims at keeping the Internet sustainable, robust, secure and stable and at promoting developmental agenda through the Internet.
6. There are major cross-cutting public policy issues such as internet freedom, cyber security, privacy of data, reliability of internet service, accessibility to trouble shooting, content, piracy, etc. that need to be discussed and addressed at some platform involving all stakeholders, if the objectives of the Tunis Agenda are to be attained.
7. India had made a statement during the 66th session of the UNGA, where we had made a proposal for setting up of a Committee on Internet related Policies (CIRP). This proposal may be seen in the light of the mandate enshrined within the Tunis Agenda.
8. India believes in the freedom of Internet and free deliberations on public policy for Internet Governance. In the light of the strategic nature of the Internet and its expansion, taking a global view in the overall interest of the global community on the issues of the public policy for Internet Governance would be the right approach. India would be pragmatic and flexible in its approach.
9. We would like a discussion on all aspects of internet governance that have been raised so far, without prejudicing the outcome. We consider that the setting up of a Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation will be an important step forward and we would like this to be included in the UN SG’s report to the UNGA later this year.
10. The internet can and should be effective medium to inclusive growth in all countries, particularly developing countries. E-governance, e-commerce, infotainment, resource mapping and meteorological and other essential services are extremely useful tools for development and should be made accessible to all countries.
11. The ability of the existing internet infrastructure to be used globally for delivering programmes for development requires a free and secure internet. Creating a democratic internet governance structure will ensure a balance between private commercial and public policy interests and address developmental concerns.