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Statement by APC member Avri Doria at WSIS+10 High Level Meeting

Thank you Madam President,

To the excellencies and delegates of the member states and among the participants of all stakeholder groups.

I want to thank the member states who have produced an outcome that not only does no harm to the Internet but offers opportunities for us to reinforce the global Internet as a resource that is to be shared equitably by all people.

Since I was young, I have had great love for the United Nations in its role of bringing people together to talk. Over the last decades, the multistakeholder movement in Internet governance, as well as in other areas, has contributed to participatory democracy within international organizations and in small measure within some intergovernmental organizations. I thank the co-facilitators for having allowed a measure of stakeholder participation and for giving us a peek inside a largely opaque process. I thank those governments who have included stakeholder voices within their delegations, allowing them to participate and to observe the full process. A hope is that when it comes time in 10 years to review the work enabled by these outcomes, we will have a full multistakeholder process which goes beyond allowing us to peek behind the curtain.

Now it is important to use the Outcome to create and implement policies and practices that reinforce and expand an open people centered Internet that serves the goals of the SDGs. While the SDGs may not fully realize the importance of ICTs and the Internet in their efforts, those involved in the WSIS and its follow-on are aware of what we can do to help. It is up to us.

I am heartened to see the focus that is put on human rights in the Outcome during a time when so many organizations fear implementing human rights policies and some member states violate them in their treatment of women, indigenous populations and endangered populations. It is good to see that when member states come together, they are still able to respect the importance of human rights. In dealing with human rights, I need to single out two areas that need special attention: violence against women, something that is already endemic in society that has found new expression on the Internet, and the fact that the Internet is being used as a means to incite violence against the gay community in many countries around the world. When people talk about security on the Internet, it is endangered populations that are my great concern. Within their roles and responsibilities, governments and others must refrain from using the Internet as a weapon against minorities.

It is good the IGF has been renewed for at least 10 years. I am grateful that the barrier between Enhanced Cooperation (EC) as a goal, and the IGF as a space for working on such goals, has been lessened somewhat. The IGF has already been used for bilateral as well as multistakeholder discussions. The IGF is part of the UN system, and thus can be used for multilateral discussions on EC as necessary, in addition to its norm of fully multistakeholder discussions. And while some decisions will continue to rest in the hands of the member states, I hope that over time the member states realize that inclusive and democratic stakeholder participation, in both national and international settings, is essential for developing public policy and for implementing it.

In closing I thank the United Nations for the work it has done to contribute towards the continued growth of an open people centered Internet. Now there is much work for all of us to do, together as participants on an equal footing, despite our different roles and responsibilities. Thank you.