The Evolution of the ITU's Views on Internet Governance (2006-2012)

Someone was talking the other day about the ITU and what they think about the issue of Internet Governance. I know what the ITU Secretariat wrote in a paper some years ago (Bulgaria was one of the governments heavily criticizing the errors and flaws), but also decided it might be interesting to show how this question has evolved in the words of the ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure, by finding out how his positions on that issue, and on the role of the ITU have changed through the years. Here are some statements, which will make it easier for you to reach your own conclusions.

1. In 2006:

    “I wouldn’t want to see the I.T.U. trying to take over Internet governance.”, he said at his first news conference.


    Mr. Toure, who has served since 1998 as director of the agency’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, stressed that he was intent on protecting the agency from the political football Internet governance had become. “We are not talking about the I.T.U. taking over governance here,” he said. “We’re talking about the I.T.U. continuing the mandate that it has been doing in contributing to the growth of the Internet over all of these years.”

2. In 2011 Mr. Toure’s put openly to Russia’s then Prime Minister Putin the idea for establishing international control over the Internet by the ITU (yes, it was Mr. Toure’s idea, not Mr. Putin’s, as western media presented it, and the ITU press message tried to completely ignore it). But see for your self in the transcript of the meeting at the Russian government site.

    V.Putin, in talking to Mr. Toure: “We are thankful to you for the ideas that you have proposed for discussion. One of them is establishing international control over the Internet using the monitoring and supervisory capabilities of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

3. In 2012, Mr. Toure’s gave an interview for BNA Bloomberg, in which he stated:

    “Tour? told BNA, “Internet Governance as we know it today” is about “Domain Names and addresses.”

The conclusions of the Working Group on Internet Governance (in the establishment of which I personally took part) are published in the WGIG report, which clearly states, that:

    10… “Internet governance is the development and application by Governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.”


    “12. It should be made clear, however, that Internet governance includes more than Internet names and addresses, issues dealt with by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN): it also includes other significant public policy issues, such as critical Internet resources, the security and safety of the Internet, and developmental aspects and issues pertaining to the use of the Internet.”

If you know of other statements, which show the evolution, please, leave a comment. We’ll find out more about it at the coming conferences – WTSA, WCIT and WTPF. So, by June 2013, the ITU will perhaps have crystal clear views.

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