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Civil Society and the ITU

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  1. Civil Society and the ITU Max Cadet, Head, External Affairs UnitTim Kelly, Head, Strategy and Policy Unit International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ITU/CONGO informal consultation on the participation of relevant stakeholders, Geneva, 18 May 2007 world summit on the information society

  2. Civil Society in the ITU • Opportunities for civil society participation • Through existing membership structure • As observers • Through multi-stakeholder partnerships and MoUs • Arguments for enhanced civil society participation and for maintaining the status quo • What can be done now? • Plenipotentiary Resolution 141 on Study of participation of all relevant stakeholders world summit on the information society

  3. Membership categories • Member States each Member State shall be free to make up its delegation as it wishes (CS No., 1005) • Sector Members • Recognized operating agencies, scientific or industrial organizations, and financial or development institutions (CS No. 229) • Other entities dealing with telecommunications (CS No. 230) • Regional and other international telecommunication, standardization, financial or development organizations (CS No. 231) • Associates • Admitted to take part in a given study group or subgroup (CV 241) world summit on the information society

  4. Examples of Sector Members and Associates that might be considered “civil society” • University of North Carolina • International Telecommunication Academy * • Navajo Nation Telecom Regulatory Authority • TNO Netherlands • International Committee for the Red Cross * • African Diaspora for the Information Society * • DAISY Consortium • Internet Society * world summit on the information society Note: * exempt from fees.

  5. Additional ways of participating • As Observers in WSIS-related meetings • Following WSIS rules of procedure • As Observers in ITU meetings • Provisions updated in Resolution 145 (Antalya, 2006) • As Partners • Multi-stakeholder partnerships include Connect the World, Digital Opportunity Platform, Shaping Tomorrow’s Networks • Through MoUs, e.g., Télécoms Sans Frontières, world summit on the information society

  6. Examples of civil society involvement “We are very pleased to collaborate with ITU. To effectively implement our projects in emergency, prevention and development, we work with governments and other partners, especially from the private sector to leverage available expertise, equipment, financial resources and technical support. ITU is a natural conduit for NGOs like ours.” Jean-Francois Casenave Télécoms Sans Frontières “The role of ICTs in protecting and enhancing the development of children is a fact of life. As Executive Director of Child Helpline International I highly value the partnership and friendship between ITU and CHI. I belief that this bond can lever the power of ICT and can thus provide a lifeline to children and young people in need of care and protection.” Nenita La Rose Executive Director world summit on the information society

  7. Arguments for enhanced civil society participation * • WSIS principle of multi-stakeholder participation for building the Information Society • Diversity and fresh perspectives from civil society entities • Operational field experience, and better representation of special interest groups • Access to resources, financial and human • Closer relationships with academia and with research organizations and standardization bodies world summit on the information society Note: * Based on contributions from Member States at Antalya PP-06

  8. Arguments for status quo * • Civil society can already participate effectively in many parts of ITU’s work and through existing membership structure • Need to demonstrate a genuine interest in telecoms to avoid politicization of ITU’s work • Some civil society organization may be a “front” for state-funded or lobbyist organizations • Managing increase in requests for visa assistance • Large-scale participation may generate additional costs world summit on the information society Note: * Based on contributions from Member States at Antalya PP-06

  9. What steps are already being taken? • Building multi-stakeholder partnerships • Regular consultation meetings with civil society • Apply WSIS participation rules to meetings • Making ITU publications more accessible, e.g., through “free Recommendations online” • Establishing closer relationships with universities (e.g., meeting on 18-19 Jan) world summit on the information society

  10. What additional steps could be taken? • Formal review of which meetings are open to “observers” • Promoting civil society participation, e.g., through a CS portal on website • Streamlining membership procedures and fee waiver • Greater ITU participation in civil society events • Greater openness for documents and webcasts world summit on the information society

  11. Council Working Group (Res 141) • By Resolution 141, Antalya Plenipotentiary established a Council Working Group to: • Establish a set of criteria for defining “relevance” • Analyse the definitions of membership categories • Review existing mechanisms for participation • Identify necessary efforts to ensure effective participation of all relevant stakeholders • Draft possible amendments to the CS/CV • Identify issues that Member States reserve • Consider financial obligations and consequences world summit on the information society

  12. website:www.itu.int/council/groups/stakeholdersSend inputs to: ITU-Stakeholders@itu.int or contact: max.cadet@itu.inttim.kelly@itu.int Thank you world summit on the information society