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Identifier
Created
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05GENEVA2727
2005-11-09 05:44:00
UNCLASSIFIED
US Mission Geneva
Cable title:  

WSIS PREPCOM III MEETS IN GENEVA; LEAVES KEY

Tags:   ECPS  EU  IO  TS  WSIS 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 GENEVA 002727 

SIPDIS

PLEASE PASS TO IO/T FOR JOYCE NAMDE AND EB/CIP FOR SALLY
SHIPMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECPS EU IO TS WSIS
SUBJECT: WSIS PREPCOM III MEETS IN GENEVA; LEAVES KEY
ISSUES UNRESOLVED


UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 GENEVA 002727

SIPDIS

PLEASE PASS TO IO/T FOR JOYCE NAMDE AND EB/CIP FOR SALLY
SHIPMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECPS EU IO TS WSIS
SUBJECT: WSIS PREPCOM III MEETS IN GENEVA; LEAVES KEY
ISSUES UNRESOLVED



1. Summary: The third meeting of the Preparatory Committee
(PrepCom III) for Phase II of the World Summit on the
Information Society (WSIS) took place in Geneva, Switzerland
on September 19 ) 30, 2005. Over 1,900 participants
attended the PrepCom including 1047 delegates representing
152 states and the European Commission. UN agencies,
international organizations, private sector and civil society
organizations also participated. Major issues from the
PrepCom remain unresolved and negotiations will continue
during the intersessional period and a resumed PrepCom III
scheduled for the three days prior to WSIS, in Tunisia. The
issue of Internet governance was particularly contentious
with the EU moving to the extreme and proposing an alternate
model of management with a high degree of government
involvement. WSIS implementation and follow-up also remain
unresolved with debate centering around which UN body should
coordinate implementation. Many freedom of expression
issues, stemming from Cuban proposals, and debate on
financial mechanisms from PrepCom II also remain open.


2. The output of the Tunis Phase will be a non-binding
document comprising a political part (political chapeau) and
an operational part. The operational part will consist of
four chapters: 1) implementation; 2) financing; 3) Internet
governance; and 4) the way ahead. PrepCom III focussed on
the political chapeau, chapters 1, 3 and 4 and the unresolved
portions of chapter 2 remaining from PrepCom II. Ambassador
David Gross, EB/CIP, led the U.S. delegation which included
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and
Information/Administrator of NTIA, Michael Gallagher and
representatives of State (EB/CIP, EB/CBA IO, DRL, PM, L/EB,
Mission Geneva), USAID, DOC/NTIA, DOC/PTO, Library of
Congress, Institute of Museum and Library Services, DOJ, and
NASA. End Summary.

Key Issues:

Internet Governance


3. The primary issue of PrepCom III was Internet governance.
During Phase I of the WSIS, participants discussed Internet
governance and adopted a series of principles. To further
the discussion, the various WSIS stakeholders asked the UN

Secretary General to convene a working group to consider the

SIPDIS
issue further and to prepare a report in time for discussion
at the September PrepCom. The working group released its
report in July and asked stakeholders to comment. The U.S.
delegation submitted views founded primarily on the
Administration,s principles with respect to the Internet,s
Domain Name and Address System (DNS) as well as long standing
U.S. policy on general Internet issues.


4. The Internet governance debate during the PrepCom focused
on a number of key issues. First, prepcom participants
debated the role of the various stakeholders (governments,
civil society, and private sector). The U.S. argued firmly
that the success of the Internet is due, in large measure, to
the unfettered ability of the Internet community throughout
the world to innovate and add economic value at the edges of
the network. A number of countries, in contrast, supported a
stronger role for governments in both the technical and
policy aspects of the Internet. This discussion quickly
moved into a debate over whether governmental oversight of
the Internet is needed. While most delegations agreed, in
principle, that governments ought not to be involved in the
day-to-day management of the Internet, there are great
differences in what is perceived to be part of the technical
management versus public policy.


5. Second, there was an ongoing debate about the nature of
change in Internet management ) whether this change should
be evolutionary or whether a more revolutionary approach is
warranted. Those favoring an evolutionary approach supported
permitting technological change within existing systems.
Supporters of a revolutionary change are seeking to uproot
the current system and develop a new mechanism for Internet
management, which would then be sent to the UN to oversee.
Supporters of evolutionary change differed on whether
governments should drive change through additional processes
and mechanisms or whether the evolutionary change should be
driven primarily by the technology and new innovation.


6. Third, several delegations expressed dissatisfaction that
a single government, the United States, has an essential role
in the management of the Internet, specifically the role by
the Department of Commerce in authorizing changes or
modifications to the authoritative root zone file of the DNS.
Various formulations were offered as to how to
&multilateralize8 this role. The U.S. defended its unique
role in the system and reiterated the U.S. commitment to
doing its part to ensure the long-term stability and security
of the Internet.


7. Lastly, discussions focused on whether or not there was a
need to develop some sort of forum to continue the debate on
Internet governance issues broadly. While most delegations
agreed that dialogue should continue, disagreements persisted
over the terms of reference for such a forum. Some
governments such as the U.S. and Australia articulated a
preference to use existing institutions while others called
for the creation of a new organization to fulfill the role.


8. In a surprise move toward the end of the PrepCom, the EU
presented a proposal that would transfer much of the
Internet,s management, both technical and policy-related, to
an intergovernmental oversight body. Iran, Cuba, Brazil,
China and Saudi Arabia, who have long argued for greater
intergovernmental control of the Internet, promptly supported
this proposal. Argentina, with support from Canada, New
Zealand, Singapore, Mexico and others, tabled an alternative
proposal that focused on the need to strengthen and improve
existing institutions, and which called for a forum to
address public policy issues. The U.S. has expressed
interest in the Argentine proposal.


9. While prepcom participants tentatively agreed on
introductory text on the role of stakeholders and some
issue-specific text, they did not reach consensus on issues
related to the authoritative root zone file, Internet
oversight or a new forum dialogue. The Subcommittee chairman
produced a text that sought to bring together the various
proposals. The Chair,s proposal, coming at the end of the
PrepCom, did not help the negotiations; indeed it established
another element that further confused future negotiations.
This document has no status and is not considered a baseline
text by the U.S. The issue of Internet governance will be
discussed further during the resumed PrepCom III in Tunis.


10. Additional Internet governance issues include:
international charging arrangements for Internet services,
cybersecurity, cybercrime, spam:

(a) International Charging Arrangements for Internet Services
(ICAIS)
In the context of measures to promote development,
disagreements persisted over the need for governments to
impose a cost-sharing model on interconnection arrangements
between Internet Service Providers (ISPs), similar to the
model used in traditional international voice
telecommunications. The U.S. continued to advocate that
arrangements for Internet services should continue to be
negotiated commercially and governments should rely on
technology and market forces to support expansion of the
Internet and should not intervene in the process. Text was
agreed that supports: the commercial nature of these
negotiations; the continued development of regional Internet
Exchange Centers; the development of low cost terminal
equipment; and the completion of ITU work on this issue. A
proposal originally tied to existing multilateral trade rules
remains bracketed due to ambiguity in drafting.

(b) Cybersecurity

Russia proposed language on security for the political
chapeau based on that in paragraph 36 of the Geneva
Declaration of Principles. In corridor discussions, the
U.S. worked with Russia to modify that language, which they
accepted, but Iran, Cuba and El Salvador proposed additional
sentences drawn from paragraphs 35 and 36 on social and
economic development and human rights. While all parties had
indicated acceptance for the language, Russia and Cuba placed
the paragraph in brackets. Upon review, the U.S. will
propose inclusion of language on the culture of
cybersecurity, drawn from paragraph 35, to rebalance the
compromise between paragraphs 35 and 36 reached in the Geneva
Declaration of Principles.

Much of the U.S. proposed language on cybersecurity in other
sections was agreed upon. The agreed language promotes a
culture of cybersecurity, with specific mention of
information sharing to develop common standards and exchange
of best practices. In addition, the language highlights the
importance of promoting cybersecurity while respecting
privacy and human rights.

(c) Cybercrime

Prepcom participants agreed to the core U.S. language with a
call for governments to adopt domestic legislation on
cybercrime, taking into account existing frameworks. In
addition, there is a specific acknowledgment of the Council
of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime as an existing framework
for fighting cybercrime. However, the last sentence of new
paragraph 61 is still in brackets as requested by the Russian
Federation. This sentence focuses on the need for
international cooperation on cybercrime enforcement efforts,
but avoids a call for any new international agreement on
cybercrime.

(d) Spam

The core U.S. language was agreed to at PrepCom III. Pursuant
to U.S. policy, the language explicitly acknowledges the
London Action Plan, among other multi-lateral memoranda of
understanding, and calls for a multi-pronged approach to
counter spam that includes policy elements promoted by the
U.S. (consumer and business education; appropriate
legislation; law enforcement authorities and tools; continued
development of self-regulatory and technical measures; best
practices; and international cooperation). In addition, the
language avoids a call for a global agreement on spam.

WSIS Implementation


11. The issues of coordination and implementation of the
outcomes of the WSIS remained highly contentious. Many
States at the PrepCom want the WSIS to designate specific UN
agencies to carry out specific tasks related to the WSIS
outcomes, want the WSIS to specify those tasks and want the
ITU, UNESCO and UNDP to play a &leading role8 in WSIS
coordination and implementation. These States include
Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Russia, El Salvador, Ghana,
Iran, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Nigeria and the Dominican Republic.
The U.S., the European Union (represented by the UK),
Norway, Australia and Canada contend that it is not up to the
WSIS to designate the tasks of UN agencies and that
coordination on implementation should be carried out through
the UN Secretary General within the context of the existing
framework of UN coordination under UNGA Resolution 57/270B
(on integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow
up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences
and summits in the economic and social fields) and within
existing UN mandates and resources. An extensive debate on
this issue was conducted over the course of several days in
PrepCom Subcommittee B (chaired by Lyndall Shope-Mafole of
South Africa) and the attending States were unable reach
agreement on the issue. The issue of WSIS implementation is
inextricably linked to the issues related to Internet
governance and is unlikely to be settled until the issue of
Internet governance is resolved within the WSIS.

Political Issues


12. Freedom of Expression/Role of Media/Unilateral Measures
Language: The U.S., EU, Canada and Australia expressed
strong support repeatedly for reaffirming the commitment made
to human rights in the Geneva Declaration of Principles,
without reopening the language. However, proposals made
primarily by Cuba attempted to reopen language rejected in
Phase I instead of utilizing negotiated language already
agreed. This was particularly the case regarding references
to the &removal of obstacles8 in the Political Chapeau and
the Implementation chapters of the Summit document(s) that
were geared to evoke criticism of the U.S. embargo and/or
U.S. media transmissions to Cuba (Radio/TV Marti). Cuba also
continued to press for inclusion of paragraphs on the role of
the media and the &new world information and communication
order8 that are unacceptable to the U.S. and other
like-minded nations. Although the U.S. delegation was able
to whittle the Cuban proposals down from many paragraphs to a
more limited number, the end result is that all such language
remains bracketed in the text. Cuba is committed to
&operationalizing8 paragraph 46 of the Geneva Declaration
(on unilateral measures) and paragraph 45 of that Declaration
(on legality of management of the radio frequency spectrum).
Twice Cuba agreed to and then reneged on negotiated language
on those issues. Agreement remains a major challenge prior
to Tunis.

Financial Mechanisms


13. Chapter Two on Financial Mechanisms was substantially
agreed at PrepCom II. However, due to lack of time, the few
remaining bracketed passages were never brought to the
Committee for final agreement.

Open Source


14. Paragraphs on open source software (OSS) remain open.
Brazil proposed the addition of the original "Rio
Commitment," reflecting Brazil's (and GRULAC's) promotion of
open source software (OSS) over proprietary software
products. Ghana, speaking for the African Group, also
supported this proposal. The U.S. opposed the addition in
that it lacked the requisite technology neutrality previously
recognized in the Geneva Declaration of Principles and has
proposed technologically neutral language with which Brazil,
GRULAC, and Ghana have indicated they could agree. The U.S.
resisted Brazil's attempts to move the technologically
neutral language within the paragraph, which would have
resulted in promotion of OSS over proprietary software. It
appears that all parties are willing to agree to the U.S.'
original suggested placement of the language. Brazil also
had communicated its desire to eliminate all other references
to OSS anywhere in the final document, in favor of the one
reference to OSS in the Political Chapeau. This possibility
remains an open issue, however, as other references to OSS
already were the subject of working group drafts. Drafting
group participants have not completed work on all the
paragraphs concerned. Australia favored dropping Brazil's
proposal altogether, with which the U.S. would agree. Ghana
has indicated to the U.S., however, that it needs this
provision on OSS in the Political Chapeau to support its
development agenda.

Technology Transfer


15. Technology transfer continues to be an open issue,
although it is not expected to be a fractious one in that
there appears to be general agreement to modify the phrase
with "on mutually agreed terms" or similar modifications such
as "enabling environment." Initial clashes with Saudi Arabia
and Egypt over inclusion of "with mutually agreed terms" were
resolved through several meetings of the drafting group, in
which the U.S. pointed to similar references in the Geneva
Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action and the
parties were able to address their disagreement through the
inclusion of the phrase "enabling environment."

Cultural diversity


16. Several paragraphs relating to cultural diversity/the
diversity of cultural content and artistic expression appear
in the political chapeau. The U.S. agreed to language on
&respecting cultural and linguistic diversity8 in paragraph
13; however, debate remains open on paragraph 35 around
language on the &promotion and protection of cultural
diversity and identity,8 which the U.S. does not support. A
working group of Egypt, Ghana, Honduras and the U.S. proposed
an alternative, which removed reference to protecting
cultural diversity, which Egypt later rejected. The working
group reconvened with the EU, Australia and Guatemala also
participating to develop the following language which will be
submitted at the intersessional PrepCom meeting: &We
reaffirm our commitment to promoting the involvement of all
peoples in the information society through the development
and use of local languages in ICTs, thereby promoting,
affirming, and preserving diverse cultural identities and
languages.8

Tunisia


17. At the closing plenary of the WSIS PrepCom III, the
issue of respect for human rights resurfaced in a dramatic
way. The Canadian delegation read a statement on behalf of
the EU, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia/Montenegro,
Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, Iceland, Monaco, Australia
and the U.S. that emphasized, while their governments are
dedicated to achieving a successful WSIS Summit in Tunis,
they remain deeply concerned about the human rights situation
in Tunisia, particularly with recent incidents and issues
involving limitations on freedom of expression and
participation by some groups of Tunisian civil society. The
statement noted that they expected Tunisia to demonstrate its
commitment to freedom of expression and opinion as host of
the Summit.


18. Tunisia responded vehemently by saying that it had
spared no effort to make WSIS a success and that it had
provided the conditions for an open and inclusive summit, in
line with the UN rules and procedures. The GOT also said
there was no reason for further concern and that there was no
reason to raise this issue at the Plenary and that it
regretted hearing such a statement.


19. Saudi Arabia (on behalf of the Arab Group), Pakistan (on
behalf of the Asia Group), Ghana (on behalf of the Africa
Group), and Cuba spoke in support of the Tunisian efforts to
hold a successful summit. Saudi Arabia, in particular,
deplored that this issue was raised in Plenary. ITU
Secretary General assured the Plenary that the UN rules would

SIPDIS
apply to the Tunis Summit and that the inclusive nature of
WSIS would be upheld. He claimed that the host country
agreement, just signed by Tunisia and the ITU, will ensure
the openness of the summit, in accordance with the UN rules.
The tension surrounding the issue was clear and the dividing
lines in the plenary hall were evident.

Accreditation


20. Contentious human rights issues served as the bookends
for PrepCom III, opening and closing the meeting. During the
opening plenary, the United States raised the issue of the
accreditation of U.S.-based NGO Human Rights in China (HRIC)
and requested an explanation from the WSIS Secretariat as to
why HRIC was not accredited for this meeting, given they had
submitted all necessary paperwork, including audited
financial statements showing they received no government
support. This concern was echoed by Canada and the UK on
behalf of the EU. Following the Secretariat's explanation
that HRIC was denied accreditation because it failed to
disclose information about its anonymous donors, the U.S.
moved that the HRIC be accredited. A lengthy procedural
discussion followed in which China strongly objected, stating
that discussing a single NGO after the Secretariat had not
recommended their accreditation would break with standard
procedures and that all NGOs rejected for accreditation could
also need to be discussed. China raised a procedural point
that the PrepCom should not take up the discussion of NGOs
not recommended for accreditation by the Secretariat. In an
intervention, Cuba supported this position.

21. Ambassador Karklins, President of the PrepCom, proposed
postponing the discussion on HRIC to allow time for greater
examination of the issue and to save precious plenary time.
However, China expressed concern that, by doing this, a
precedent would be set and also argued that HRIC does not
work for the protection of human rights in China. China then
called for a roll call vote on its proposal to not discuss
the issue of NGOs denied accreditation. Acknowledging that
there was no guiding precedent in WSIS for this issue,
Ambassador Karklins called a roll call vote with the
following results: 52 countries supported China,s proposal,
35 voted in favor of discussing the accreditation issue, 35
countries abstained and 70 countries were declared absent,
primarily because they chose not to respond to the roll call
(many of them were in the room). Following the vote, which
prevented the U.S. motion to accredit HRIC from being
considered, the U.S. expressed disappointment that the WSIS
process would not be as transparent and inclusive as the U.S.
had hoped.

Conclusion/Comments


22. PrepCom III will be remembered as the international
meeting where the EU dramatically shifted its support from
the current system of Internet Governance to one it has
characterized as &a new cooperation model.8 In so doing,
the EU not only moved away from supporting a system it was
instrumental in helping to create but in so doing, it clearly
appeared to rebuke the U.S. and its historic role in the
management of the Internet system. This dramatic shift --
reflecting the views of Commissioner Viviane Redding -- is in
sharp contrast to the policies advocated by her predecessor
Commissioner Erkki Liikonen. The summit will now be
remembered for the outcome of the US/EU differences over
Internet Governance. Consequences of these differences, and
how they will be dealt with at the Summit, will echo across a
number of upcoming international meetings, particularly
during the ITU,s Plenipotentiary Conference to be held in
Turkey in November 2006.
Moley