Beirut, 11 December (Communication and Information Unit)-- " Who governs the Internet? This is the key question. Internet governance is inextricably linked to daily life and basic human rights, including the rights to development, access to information, freedom of expression, equality, security and safety,” today said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Mohamed Ali Alhakim while opening an expert group meeting on the Second Arab Roadmap on Internet Governance - The Next Decade, at the UN House in Beirut. The meeting was attended by Lebanese Telecommunications Minister Jamal Al-Jarrah.
Also present at the meeting were representatives of the Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications, Ogero Telecom, as well as a delegate of the League of Arab States (LAS), the co-host of the meeting, and a score of Arab experts in the field.
Alhakim noted that the question of “who governs the Internet” has been the subject of wide controversy at the global level. It was raised during the two phases of the World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005), which dedicated a large part of its outcome document to internet governance issues. The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society called for two parallel processes led by the United Nations Secretary-General: enhanced intergovernmental cooperation on an equal footing, and an Internet governance forum to launch an open multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on Internet issues. He added that, since 2003, ESCWA and LAS have intensified efforts and coordinated cooperation in the field of Internet governance, within the framework of regional preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society.
For his part, Minister Al-Jarrah said that the internet governance is a key factor to organize the internet, given the negative impact it might have when it lacks organization. It is adamant that all stakeholders take part in coming up with a roadmap towards internet governance as it protects what has been achieved so far against any misuse or other handicap. Therefore, there is a need at the national and regional levels to come up with a legal framework for internet and for internet governance. However, all efforts exerted so far are still in the early stages.
Al Jarrah announced that Ogero will launch in a few days a fiber optics project which will allow Lebanese people to enjoy a minimal internet speed of 50Megabit per second, compared to a previous maximal 1Megabit per second. He added that this project will move Lebanon to a highly advanced phase in telecommunications.
The ESCWA meeting, which closes tomorrow Tuesday, aims to finalize, adopt and launch the second Arab Roadmap on Internet Governance (ARMIG2), as well as a plan for its implementation in relation with the Arab Internet Governance Forum (IGF) process.
A working group of experts from various stakeholders was formed within the implementation of the ESCWA-LAS AIGF2020 initiative for the development of the Arab IGF process. During the meeting, the working group will be adopting he Second Arab Roadmap on Internet Governance after discussing its main content.
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