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A multistakeholder discussion on India’s Position in the UN for Internet Governance UN Committee for Internet Related Policies (UN-CIRP)

by Prasad Krishna last modified Sep 17, 2012 09:49 AM
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) is hosting this event in New Delhi on September 19, 2012 from 10.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. Sunil Abraham has been invited as a panelist.

Discussions and debate on the issue of internet governance has increased over the past few years. The entire issue of internet governance has become strikingly important for the internet users, government, Indian industry, mobile and internet service providers, internet companies, social media, civil society, academia as well as youth and women on account of the fact that internet subscriber base has already reached the 125 million mark, and is expected to increase dramatically under the targets established in NTP 2012. Unlike in telecommunications, issues related to internet and data penetration requires not just discussion between government and service providers but cooperation and dialogue amongst a host of other stakeholders – commonly known as Multistakeholder Groups.

International discourse

At a global level, after the declaration of the 2005 Tunis Agenda, there is a general agreement that internet governance structure should be dispersed, multistakeholder and bottom up rather than top down, and not controlled by a single entity. There are a number of proposals pending which seek to address internet governance issues through a multistakeholder process including at the UN, IGF and Council of Europe.

Our role as stakeholders in internet development will ideally involve a domestic perspective as well as a need for global engagement to shape the international dialogue.  The decisions that are being made over the next few months at international fora, will have a deep and lasting impact on our businesses, operations, architecture, revenue streams at one level and access, diversity, cyber security, content regulation, multilingualism and management of critical internet resources at another. Government, in close collaboration with other stakeholders, has a critical  role, especially relating to policy making, cyber security, spam, crisis management, digital piracy, and dispute resolution to name a few.

India’s proposal in UN for internet governance

In October 2011 the Government of India submitted a proposal for establishment of a new institutional mechanism for global internet governance by way of the United Nations Committee on Internet Related Policy (UN-CIRP).  The UN-CIRP’s mandate will include inter alia tasks such as developing and establishing international public policies relating to global issues of internet; coordinating and overseeing bodies responsible for the technical and operational functioning of the internet; facilitating negotiation of treaties, conventions and agreements on internet related public policy; address developmental issues, promote and protect human rights, including the right to development; undertake arbitrations and dispute resolution where necessary and crisis management (detailed statement attached for your ready reference.)

The CIRP which finds its mandate in the Tunis Agenda 2005 (copy attached) under the process of Enhanced Cooperation will comprise of 50 member states chosen on basis of equitable geographic representations, supported by the regular budget of the United Nations, serviced by UNCTAD secretariat, reporting directly to the UN General assembly.  It will ensure participation of all relevant stakeholders by establishing four advisory groups - one each for civil society, private sector, intergovernmental / international organizations, and the technical/academic community. It will also have its own research wing and keep close links with the IGF – for policy consultations and inputs.

Other countries have taken views keeping in mind their own best interest, including some who wish to continue with the existing governance process, others who seek an improvement in the existing process and those who seek a greater involvement of UN ITU in issues related to internet governance.

Multistakeholder Consultation

To have a detailed multistakeholder discussion FICCI has invited some of the most influential and informed voices for a panel discussion and interactive session with experts from 10:30 AM. to 01:00 PM. on Wednesday, 19th September 2012, at FICCI, Federation House, Tansen Marg, New Delhi.

The panel and audience, apart from being experts will represent a multistakeholder group across various functions of the government, private sector, telecom and internet eco-system related companies, civil society, academia, legal experts, media organisations, technical community, and students and women.  An equal number of experts will also intervene from the audience.  The session is aimed at discussing in detail India’s proposal of UN-CIRP and provide multistakeholder inputs which will help inform and guide further dialogue at the upcoming international fora such as the 67th UN General Assembly from September 26th to 6th October 2012, in New York, IGF from 6th to 9th November 2012 in Baku, and WCIT from 3rd to 14th December 2012, in Dubai.


Registration and Networking
Introduction and Agenda Setting - by
Mr. Virat Bhatia, Chairman, FICCI Communication & Digital Economy Committee
Panel Discussion
Taking stock, next steps and wrap-up by Mr. Virat Bhatia, Chairman, FICCI Communication & Digital Economy Committee

Proposed Panelists

Sl. No.Name / TitleRepresenting
1. Mr. Nitin Desai, Special Advisor to UN Secretary General on Internet Governance and Chairman of Multistakeholder Advisory Group for Internet Governance Forum (Formerly) Internet Governance  specialist
2. Ambassador A Gopinathan, India’s Permanent Representative to UN in Geneva (Formerly)
Leading Diplomat Internet Governance
3. Senior official from Department of Electronics & IT, Government of India * Government
4. Mr. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, President, Foundation for Media Professionals, India Media
5. Mr. Parminder Jeet Singh, Executive Director, IT for Change Civil Society
6. Mr. Sunil Abraham, Executive Director, Center for Internet and Society Civil Society
7. Mr. Rajesh Chharia, President, Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) 
8. Mr. Naresh Ajwani, Member, NRO NC-Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC)
9. Member of Parliament* Politics
10. Mr. Rajan Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) 
Mobile Operators

* Invited. Confirmation awaited.

See India's Statement Proposing UN Committee for Internet-Related Policy
See the Tunis Agenda

Filed under:
ASPI-CIS Partnership


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