Internet Governance and Sustainable Development

In class we discussed Multistakeholder Internet Governance and Sustainable Development. This week I will discuss what Internet Governance (IG) and Mulistakerholder Internet governance is and how both of these play out in the context of sustainable development. I will also define what NETmundial is and how NETmundial contributes to sustainable development.

The Number Resource Organization (NRO) defines Internet governance as “The evolving policies and mechanisms under which the Internet community’s many stakeholders make decisions about the development and use of the Internet. Internet governance covers a wide range of issues, from day-to-day technical and operational workings of the Internet to public policy issues such as combating crime on the Internet. Discussions occur in many forums and technical and operational Internet governance discussions have long been discussed in multi-stakeholder bodies developed for these purposes.”[1] The Internet is still a relatively new technology that has revolutionized the world and it is important that the world leaders and other major global stakeholders keep-up and ensure the Internet is a positive towards development and not a negative.

Multistakeholder Internet Governance is the same as Internet governance except that it really focuses on the integration of collaboration when it comes to Internet governance (IG). The Internet Society defines Multistakholder Internet Governance as, “The multistakeholder governance framework is informed by three components: a) opened-ended unleashed innovation (infrastructure), b) decentralized governance institutions (governance) and, c) open and inclusive processes (human).” This is more of a framework and guideline as apposed to a solid definition. Since the Internet is ever changing, this framework will have to adapt to it, but ensuring that all the major players in the internet and development work together is the best way to achieve IG.

NETmundial is a collective of organizations that work towards effective multistakeholder IG. “NETmundial identified a set of common principles and important values that contribute for an inclusive, multistakeholder, effective, legitimate, and evolving Internet governance framework and recognized that the Internet is a global resource which should be managed in the public interest.”[2] This collective is a major multistakeholder group that is making great strides to ensure that the Internet is an inclusive place and that governments all over the world ensure that people’s rights are respected. NETmundial describes why this is so important for sustainable development:

Human rights are universal as reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that should underpin Internet governance principles. Rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in accordance with international human rights legal obligations, including the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Those rights include, but are not limited to: Freedom of expression, Freedom of association, Privacy, Accessibility, Freedom of information and access to information, and Development.[3] It is important to note that it is not true inclusive sustainable development unless there are stakeholders for persons with disabilities.