INFO: 5th ITU World Telecommunication Policy Forum in May 2013 #ITU #WTPF @InternetSociety

Internet SocietyThe Internet Society (ISOC) is preparing its engagement in the fifth ITU World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF) that will be held in Geneva from 13 to 16 May 2013. This WTPF Info Doc for Members gives an overview of this conference, its preparatory process and schedule. Engagement with the ISOC community will be an important part of our preparation.

In a letter to the ITU’s Secretary General, ISOC expressed its desire to join the WTPF’s Informal Expert Group (IEG) – appointed to prepare the Forum – and were recently informed that this request has been approved. With regards to the theme of the Forum, several delegations have contributed suggestions for themes or opinions that the WTPF should consider. The Internet Society proposed that “Strategies for increasing affordable global connectivity: the critical role of IXPs” be chosen as the main theme and core topic for the Secretary General’s initial report and as the focus for discussions at the fifth WTPF in 2013.

Indeed, the Tunis Agenda (paragraph 50.b) clearly emphasizes the importance of this issue: “We acknowledge that there are concerns, particularly amongst developing countries, that the charges for international Internet connectivity should be better balanced to enhance access. We therefore call for the development of strategies for increasing affordable global connectivity, thereby facilitating improved and equitable access for all, by: (…) Setting up regional highspeed Internet backbone networks and the creation of national, sub-regional and regional Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).”

Experience in participating in the 2009 WTPF shows that input from sector members is, to some degree, less taken into consideration by the Secretariat than Member States’ contributions. However, our past submissions were highly valued by many Member States’ delegations.

The first meeting of the WTPF Informal Expert Group will be held on 5 June, in Geneva, where we expect the theme of the Forum to be decided. Look for an update around that time. Following this meeting, it will be possible to provide comments and suggestions on the organization of the Forum and the topics open for discussion.