Consultations on Enhanced Cooperation on International Public Policy Issues Pertaining to the Internet: Statement by Dr. Janne Taalas, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, New York, 14 December 2010
Finland aligns itself with the statement made by Belgium on behalf of the European Union.
We are very pleased to take part in these open consultations on enhanced cooperation on international public policy issues related to the Internet.
The internet has become a vital element of our modern societies. The transformative power of the Internet is felt at the workplace and in the ways in which we follow global events and relate to our friends. It is our collective task to make sure that this transformation is a force for good.
The development of the Internet is driven by rapid technological changes. Our ideas of governance are challenged by the very pace of innovation. With old-fashioned ideas of international governance, we never seem to be able to catch up with the fast evolving world of the Internet.
We are convinced that we need new, innovative tools and approaches. They need to be inclusive, bottom-up processes and enabling rather than restricting policies. The Internet is, and should continue to be, a multi-stakeholder project, with each stakeholder having their respective roles and responsibilities. This is the best way to preserve the vibrancy of the Internet while maintaining its governability.
This is why Finland very much welcomes the notion of enhanced cooperation. In fact, it is already a reality. The best demonstration of it is the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which allows all stakeholders to get together and discuss the broad array of public policy issues contained in the notion of Internet governance. Finland will continue to be a staunch supporter of the IGF.
There are numerous other examples of enhanced cooperation, such as the UN Group on Information Society (UNGIS); the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum jointly organized by ITU, UNESCO and UNCTAD, the positive developments in the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and the recent decision of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference to explore ways and means to foster cooperation with the Internet community.
Regional and national governance of the Internet must reflect international governance and be based on open multi-stakeholder cooperation. The establishment of regional and national IGFs and other multi-stakeholder processes contribute to the realization of enhanced cooperation. Finland has its own informal and open multi-stakeholder working group on WSIS and internet governance and the first Finnish Internet Forum took place right after the Vilnius IGF meeting in September this year.
Finland considers that the Internet holds huge promise for development. We need to do our utmost to promote innovations and tools designed to enhance poverty reduction, sustainable development, good governance and human rights. The first step is to provide access to the Internet for everyone.
This is especially crucial for the LDC countries. It is also important to support capacity building in local service applications´ development and roll out.
The Finnish Minister of Communications is one of the Commissioners on the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which promotes the adoption of broadband-friendly practices and policies so that the entire world can take advantage of the benefits broadband offers.
Finland also continues to place the ICTs high on our development cooperation agenda. The overall budget for Finnish development cooperation in the ICTs and Innovation for the years 2010-2013 is envisaged to be over 100 million USD. Finland is also the largest financial supporter of the Internet Governance Forum. A large share of this support goes into enhancing participation from developing countries.
To answer your questions, Mr. Under-Secretary-General, we conclude that the past five years have shown significant progress in enhanced cooperation on all levels. There is no need to create new international structures or mechanisms. On the contrary, we should build on what we already have to bring maximum benefit to the entire global community.
We should make a serious effort to keep all stakeholders involved and to engage new people and groups, such as development experts, in our Internet-related discussions and activities.
I thank you.