Tuesday, November 15, 2005

World Summit on the Information Society Opens in Tunis

Speaking at the opening of the "World Summit on the Information Society" in Tunis, Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), urged world leaders to put information and communication technologies (ICTs) at the heart of their national economic and social development policies. Utsumi spoke passionately about the unprecedented opportunities offered by new technologies, and warned of the threat of increasing global inequality if access to these powerful tools for economic growth remained predominantly in the hands of the world's richest nations.

A central issue for the conference was whether the United States' government should retain control of the Internet's addressing system through the semi-independent Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In a last minute deal, delegates agreed that the U.S. should retain its control for the time being and that a new international Internet Governance Forum (IGF) forum should be set-up within the existing organization to discuss Internet governance issues. A first meeting of this Forum will be convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations by the second quarter of 2006 and take place in Greece. The texts agreed in Tunis also include language that will allow for enhanced cooperation among governments, on an equal footing, on public policy issues. Such cooperation should include the development of globally applicable principles on public policy issues associated with the coordination and management of critical Internet resources.

Other speakers at the event included UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Intel Chairman Craig Barrett.

See also