Netherlands Intervention WSIS High Level Meeting
Statement by Prof. Uri Rosenthal Special Envoy for International Cyber Policy at the High Level Meeting – WSIS+10 Review Process New York, 15 December 2015
Mr President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I asked myself: why is the WSIS agenda such an important one?
First, because there is still large inequality between the group that has access and the group that does not. The WSIS vision to building a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented information society still has a long road ahead. Major challenges remain to enable all to benefit from universal access to information and knowledge. At the same time this inequality is deepened because the implications of this digital divide keep increasing. The Netherlands deems it essential that as we all become more dependent on the internet for economic growth, innovation and development, the pre-conditions for a free open and secure internet are in place on a truly global level. This is the vision that was central to the Global Conference on Cyber Space that took place in The Hague on 16/17 April of this year.
The realisation of and respect for human rights is another prerequiste for sustainable development and the protection of human rights online is vital to building an inclusive information society. In 2011 the Netherlands founded the Freedom Online Coalition with partners from all over the world because we noticed the importance of a joint effort to support a free and open internet. Because ICTs and especially the Internet have far reaching implications in all domains - human, as well as a political, economic and security - there is a need to develop a holistic approach enabling an internet that is free, open and secure .
The second reason why the WSIS is an important process is the fact that it embraces the multistakeholder model which acknowledges the benefits of effective participation, partnership and cooperation of all stakeholders involved. It thereby provides an important precedent for all processes shaping the Internet and ICT policies. The Netherlands is glad the centrality of the multistakeholder approach to achieving a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented information society is strongly emphasized in the outcome document. We firmly believe that the challenges and set-up of ICTs are such that the responsibility to ensure a secure and trusted cyber space is an obligation to be shared by all stakeholders within their respective roles and responsibilities. At the same time we acknowledge that more work needs to be done to elaborate these roles and responsibilities in the different relevant fields.
Also, the Netherlands has a positive view on the explicit recognition in the outcome document of the role ICTs can play during humanitarian crises in the outcome document. A good example is the responsible use of big data in responding to humanitarian crises, which is an issue the Netherlands champions together with partners such as UN Global Pulse because we are convinced that this can considerably improve the global response to humanitarian crises. The Netherlands will push for more awareness about this issue during the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit. To benefit from the expertise that is available worldwide in this area, the Netherlands is exploring a cooperation with UNOCHA to establish a Data Centre in The Hague that can provide guidance and training to help overcome the challenges in using big data and how to profit from the benefits it provides in responding to the humanitarian crises of today and tomorrow.
Finally, the pursuit of truly resilient cyber domain requires global engagement and better ways to work together to address the currently existing significant digital divides worldwide and to ultimately realize a free, open and secure cyberspace for everyone. Building partnerships for capacity building is the key to advancing both development and resilience. The Netherlands, as your partner for peace, justice and development, invests in the development of cyber capacities around the globe. We are proud to be one of the founders of the Global Forum for Cyber Expertise which was founded in April 2015. The GFCE brings together public and private partners from both developed and developing countries to strengthen cyber capacity and expertise globally. To achieve this, members share experience, expertise, best practices and assessments on key regional and thematic cyber issues. In addition, the GFCE aims to mobilise additional resources and expertise to build global cyber capacity. We sincerely hope to see more UN members, international organizations and companies joining the GFCE in the future.