Neelie KROES
Vice-President of the European Commission

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Global governance for a global, common, public resource

This blog post is my extended remarks to the opening session of Netmundial 2014. I can only say about 80% of it live because of time limits.

Neelie

***

Netmundial could be an historic gathering.

Are we here to make a change, and live up to the call made by President Rousseff in New York, or are we here to waste time?

 

Netmundial could be an historic gathering.

Are we here to make a change, and live up to the call made by President Rousseff in New York, or are we here to waste time?

Let me, by the way, congratulate the President and the Brazilian Government for the adoption of the “Marco Civil” yesterday. The President is a fighter. She is unafraid to stand up for what she believes in.  And she clearly believes in the potential of a free and open Internet for the future of her country and of her people, and by bringing us here together, we know this is something she hopes the whole world should enjoy.

The Internet is more disruptive than the printing press, electrification and industrialisation combined. The Internet is the quickest, biggest revolution in history.

The Internet is now a global, common, public resource and its governance must be truly global, transparent and accountable.

That means we all have to change. No existing organisation or nation is exempt.

This puts a huge responsibility on us in this room.

This week we must move forward.

If we simply do more talking, use more nice words, we will have wasted the opportunity and failed the global community.

What should we do?

First: we can only create positive change based on what we agree on, not what divides us.

Listening to all the interventions and reading all the contributions to NETmundial has been fruitful. Your work, our work, has produced a large degree of consensus.

We can get all excited about a word here or there in the draft declarations and spend the next 2 days on editing the text, let us not lose sight of the bigger picture.

We can create change based on what we agree on, not what we are divided on.

And within the scope of this conference, it is clear that in most cases we all want the same things:

(1) We agree on the need for an improved multi-stakeholder model with participatory democracy, based in and respectful of fundamental human rights; and a roadmap to get there

(2)  We agree on the need for a process for the transition of the IANA functions involving all relevant stakeholder community be involved

(3)  We agree on  strengthening the Internet Governance Forum;

(4) We agree on capacity building through  tools for information sharing and Internet observatories; the Commission is developing these with and for the community and invites all to support this effort.

(5) We agree that we must address jurisdictional issues on the Internet. because even without a new IG system we need the current system and its individual bodies to perform better: ensuring that all IG bodies adhere to transparent and modern government principles and that they deliver their service to the global community in a fair, accountable and inclusive way. (including conflict resolution and arbitration mechanisms, respecting the rule of law)

So we have challenges. I do not want to trivialise the challenges. But no challenge or obstacle we face is too dififcult for us to clear.

What we need today is showing that this community can move beyond nice words and rhetorics.

The Internet is an incredibly powerful infrastructure with the combined transformative – and let’s be honest, disruptive - power of the printing press, electrification and industrialisation.

But the Internet develops faster and will reach the whole world in a matter of years. This puts a huge responsibility on us in this room, and the three billion people who already use it, to ensure that the Internet is kept open, safe and inclusive.

Let me state clearly that the internet is now a global public resource and its governance must be truly global, transparent and accountable.

2014 is a year of many events dealing with internet governance.

NETmundial is not the final word, but it is the enabler of so much. We need to decide where do we want to be by December 2014; Our work here determines what we can decide in London, in Istanbul, and in Korea.

During these next two days I will be breathing on everybody's neck until we have a discussion on concrete actions.

This is two days of dialogue, not a string of monologues. We all share that right and responsibility.

This is what open and democratic debate should be: we listen, we discuss, and then we reach a real decision.

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  • Chris Conder's picture
    Keep that in mind, we need a fit for purpose connection for everyone. We can't have it whilst obsolete copper telcos are ruling the roost, and companies with ulterior motives are swaying the balance and infiltrating political groups with 'sponsorship'. We need a free and open internet, and in the same way people can cross continents and go about their business so must data be free to flow through a modern infrastructure. Go Neelie!

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