¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 1. Recalling the request in paragraph 111 of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society to the General Assembly to undertake the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2015, and in this regard reaffirming the centrality of the General Assembly to this process;
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 2. Recalling that the General Assembly, in its resolution 68/302 of 31 August 2014, decided that the overall review would be concluded by a two-day high-level meeting of the General Assembly, preceded by an intergovernmental preparatory process that also takes into account inputs from all relevant WSIS stakeholders;
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 3. Welcoming the constructive and diverse inputs from all governments and stakeholders in taking stock of the progress made in the implementation of the outcomes of the WSIS and addressing potential information and communication technology (ICT) gaps and areas for continued focus, as well as challenges, including bridging the digital divide and harnessing ICT for development;
¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 4. Building on the ten-year WSIS reviews conducted by the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) in May 2015; the UNESCO-hosted multistakeholder conference Towards Knowledge Societies for Peace and Sustainable Development, held in February 2013, and its outcomes; and the multistakeholder WSIS +10 High Level Event hosted by ITU in June 2014, including its outcomes;
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 5. We reaffirm our common desire and commitment to the WSIS vision to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, including sovereign equality, territorial integrity, rule of law, and non-interference in internal affairs of other states, and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
¶ 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 6. We further reaffirm our commitment to the Geneva Declaration of Principles, the Geneva Plan of Action and its Action Lines, the Tunis Commitment and the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.
¶ 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 7. We moreover reaffirm the value and principles of multi-stakeholder cooperation and engagement that have characterized the WSIS process since its inception, recognising that effective participation, partnership and cooperation of governments and all stakeholders, in their respective roles and responsibilities, especially with balanced representation from developing countries, has been and continues to be vital in developing the Information Society.
¶ 9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 8. We welcome the remarkable evolution and diffusion of ICTs, unforeseen 10 years ago and underpinned by the contributions of all stakeholders, which have seen penetration into almost all corners of the globe, restructured social interaction and business models, and contributed to economic growth and development in all other sectors.
¶ 10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 9. We recognize that increased ICT connectivity, innovation, and access have played a critical role in enabling progress on the Millennium Development Goals, and we call for close alignment between the WSIS process and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, highlighting ICT’s cross-cutting contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and poverty eradication, and noting that access to ICTs has also become a development indicator and aspiration in and of itself.
¶ 11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 10. We note, however, that there are still critical digital divides, such as between and within countries and between women and men, which need to be addressed through strengthened enabling policy environments and international cooperation to improve affordability, education, capacity-building, multilingualism, and appropriate financing.
¶ 12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 11. We acknowledge that particular attention should be paid to address the ICT challenges facing developing countries, including African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing states, middle-income countries, countries under occupation, and countries affected by conflict or natural disasters, and middle-income countries. Particular attention should also be paid to address the specific ICT challenges facing children, youth, persons with disabilities, older persons, women, indigenous peoples, refuges and internally displaced people, migrants and remote and rural communities.
¶ 13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 12. We recognize that the Internet is a global resource that must be managed in an open and inclusive manner, which serves the public interest. We further reaffirm that the international management of the Internet should be multilateral, transparent and democratic, with the full involvement of governments, private sector, civil society and international organizations.
¶ 14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 13. We further recognize that to achieve the WSIS vision, the treatment and use of ICTs must fully reflect that the same rights offline apply online, and that building confidence and security in ICT use must be a priority, especially given growing abuse of ICTs for harmful activities from harassment to crime.
¶ 17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 14. We commit to harnessing the potential of ICTs to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other internationally-agreed development goals, noting that ICTs can accelerate progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in addition to its specific reference in SDGs 4b (education and scholarships), 5b (women’s empowerment), 9c (infrastructure and access), and 17.8 (technology bank and capacity-building). We accordingly call on all governments and all other stakeholders to integrate ICTs in their implementation approaches to the SDGs, and for UN entities facilitating the WSIS Action Lines to contextualize their reporting and work within the 2030 Agenda.
¶ 18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 15. We recognize with satisfaction that the last decade’s considerable increases in connectivity, use, creation, and innovation have created new tools to drive poverty eradication and economic, social, and environmental betterment. Fixed and wireless broadband, mobile Internet, smartphones and tablets, cloud computing, social media and big data were only in their early stages in Tunis, and are now understood to be foundational contributors to sustainable development.
¶ 19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 16. We reaffirm that the spread of ICTs must continue to be a core focus and outcome of the WSIS process. We are highly encouraged that the number of mobile phone subscriptions is estimated to have risen from 2.2 billion in 2005 to 7.1 billion in 2015, and that by the end of 2015, 3.2 billion people are expected to be online, over 40 per cent of the total world population and of which 2 billion are from developing countries. We also note that fixed broadband subscriptions have reached a penetration rate of almost 10 per cent, as compared to 3.4 per cent in 2005, and that mobile broadband remains the fastest growing market segment, with continuous double-digit growth rates and an estimated global penetration rate of 32 per cent, or four times the penetration rate recorded just five years earlier.
¶ 20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 17. We note that the digital economy is an important and growing part of the global economy, and that ICT connectivity is correlated with increases in GDP. ICT has created a new generation of businesses and jobs, and, while altering and making obsolete others, have also generally increased the efficiency, reach, and ingenuity of all sectors.
¶ 21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 18. We also recognize that ICT is contributing to higher levels of social benefit and inclusion, providing new channels among citizens, businesses and governments to share and augment knowledge, as well as participate in decisions that affect their lives and work. As envisioned by the WSIS Action Lines, we have seen ICT-enabled breakthroughs in e-government, e-business, e-education, e-health, e-employment, e-agriculture and e-science, among others, allowing greater numbers of people access to services and data that might previously have been out-of-reach or unaffordable. We have also seen ICT become central to disaster and humanitarian response. At the same time, we recognize that ICT is fundamentally altering the way individuals and communities interact, spend their time, with new and unforeseen health and social consequences, many of which are positive, and some of which raise concerns.
¶ 22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 19. We recognize that ICTs are also increasingly a means to support the diversity of cultural expression and the fast-growing cultural and creative industries, and we affirm that comprehensive, practical digital strategies are needed for the preservation of and access to recorded information in the digital environment in all its forms.
¶ 23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 20. We further recognise that increasing use of ICTs both generates certain environmental benefits and imposes certain environmental costs, and we call for increased attention to mitigation. We welcome the opportunity afforded by sustainable energy to potentially decouple ICT growth from contributions to climate change, and we also note ICT’s catalytic value for renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart and resilient cities, and Internet-enabled delivery of services, among other abatement options. However, we encourage further action to improve the energy efficiency of ICTs, and to reuse, recycle, and safely dispose of e-waste.
¶ 25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 21. Despite the last decade’s achievements in ICT connectivity, we recognize that many forms of digital divides remain – such as between and within countries and between women and men – and can emerge in the future, slowing sustainable development. Indicatively, we acknowledge that, as of 2013, only around 40 per cent of people globally have internet access (34% in developing countries vs. 80% in developed countries, with significant variations by country), only 37 per cent of women have internet access, and an estimated 80 per cent of online content is available in only one of 10 languages.
¶ 26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 22. We affirm our commitment to bridging the digital divide, and we recognize that our approach must be multi-faceted and include an evolving understanding of what constitutes access, emphasizing the quality of that access. We acknowledge that speed, stability, affordability, language, and accessibility for persons with disabilities are now core elements of quality, and that high-speed broadband is already an essential enabler of sustainable development. We moreover acknowledge that individuals’ capabilities to both use and create ICTs represent a knowledge divide. We note, too, the ambition to move beyond “information societies” to “knowledge societies”, in which information is not only created and disseminated, but put to the benefit of human development. We appreciate that divides may worsen or change with technological and service innovation, and we call on all stakeholders, particularly United Nations entities that are facilitating WSIS Action Lines, to regularly analyse the nature of the digital divide and make their findings available to the international community.
¶ 27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 23. We encourage the further development of local content and services in different languages and formats that are accessible to all people, who also need the capabilities and capacities, including media, information, and digital literacy skills to make use of and further develop ICTs.
¶ 28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 24. We moreover call for a significant increase in access to ICTs and to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet to all by 2020. We welcome the targets for the growth of access, broadband for all, inclusiveness, innovation and partnerships in ICTs, as adopted under the Connect 2020 Agenda at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in 2014.
¶ 29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 25. We emphasize our concern that only 37% of women have internet access and draw attention to the gender digital divide, which persists in access to and use of ICTs, and also in ICT education, employment and other economic and social development factors. We recognize that ending the gender digital divide and achievement of SDG 5 are mutually reinforcing efforts, and we commit to mainstream gender in the WSIS process, including through a new emphasis on gender in the implementation and monitoring of WSIS Action Lines, with the support of relevant UN entities, including UN Women. We call for immediate measures to achieve gender equality in internet users by 2020, especially by significantly enhancing women’s and girls’ education and participation in ICTs, as users, employees, entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders. We reaffirm our commitment to ensure women’s full participation in decision-making processes related to ICTs.
¶ 30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 26. We moreover note that divides are often closely linked to education levels and existing inequalities, and that policy and financing frameworks also strongly influence quality of access to ICTs. We therefore call for a special focus on actions that improve the enabling environment for ICTs and expand related education and capacity-building opportunities.
¶ 32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 27. We recognize that certain policies have substantially contributed to bridging the digital divide and ICT’s value for sustainable development, and we commit to continue identification and implementation of best and emerging practices for establishment and functioning of innovation and investment frameworks for ICTs. We acknowledge that mainstreaming ICTsin school curricula; open access to data and free flow of information; fostering of competition; creation of transparent, predictable independent, and non-discriminatory regulatory and legal systems; proportionate taxation and licensing fees; access to finance; facilitation of public-private partnerships; national broadband strategies; efficient allocation of spectrum; infrastructure-sharing models; communitybased approaches; and public access facilities have in many countries facilitated significant gains in connectivity and sustainable development.
¶ 33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 28. We recognise that a lack of access to affordable and reliable technologies and services remains a critical challenge in many developing countries, particularly African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing states, and middle-income countries. All efforts should be deployed to reduce the price of ICTs and broadband access, noting that deliberate interventions, including through research and development and technology transfer on mutually agreed terms, may be necessary to spur lower-cost connectivity options.
¶ 34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 29. We request all Action Line facilitators to work with stakeholders and regularly identify and promote specific, detailed actions to support the enabling environment for ICTs and development, as well as provide demand-driven technical assistance to realize them.
¶ 36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 30. We welcome that total public and private spending on ICTs has increased substantially in the last decade, now reaching to the trillions annually, and has been complemented by a proliferation of new financing mechanisms, both results marking progress on paragraphs 23 and 27 of the Tunis Agenda.
¶ 37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 31. We recognise, however,that harnessing ICT for development, bridging the digital divide, and creating enabling environments will require greater and sustainable investment in ICT infrastructure and services, capacity building, and transfer of technology on mutually agreed terms. These mechanisms remain a primary focus for all countries and people, particularly in developing countries.
¶ 38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 32. We commit to prudent public resource allocation to ICT deployment and development, recognizing the need for ICT budgeting across all sectors, especially education. We recommend that capacity development should be emphasised to empower local experts and local communities to fully benefit from and contribute to ICT applications for development. We recognise the potential to improve connectivity, especially in remote and rural areas, through universal service funds, publicly-funded national backbones, and community-owned and managed last-mile infrastructure.
¶ 39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 33. We recognise that official development assistance and other concessional financial flows for ICTs can make significant contributions to development outcomes, particularly where it can de-risk public and private investment, as well as use ICTs to strengthen good governance and tax collection.
¶ 40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 34. We also call for a prominent profile for ICTsin the new technology facilitation mechanism established by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and for assessment of how it can contribute to implementation of the WSIS Action Lines.
¶ 41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 35. We regret the challenges in implementing the Digital Solidarity Fund, which was welcomed in Tunis as an innovative financial mechanism of a voluntary nature. We call for an ongoing evaluation of new innovative financing options in the annual review of WSIS outcomes.
¶ 43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 37. We recognize that human rights have been central to the WSIS vision, and that ICTs have additionally strengthened the exercise of human rights, enabling access to information, greater freedom of expression, and new forms of assembly and association, among other benefits.
¶ 44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 38. We note however, that there are concerns about freedom of expression and plurality of information in many parts of the world, and we call for the protection of journalists, bloggers, and civil society space.
¶ 45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 39. We moreover reaffirm, as an essential foundation of the Information Society, and as recognised in General Assembly resolution 68/167, that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online.
¶ 46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 40. We also reaffirm the commitment set out in the Geneva Declaration and the Tunis Commitment to the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development as enshrined in the Vienna Declaration.
¶ 47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 41. We further reaffirm the principle outlined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. We underscore the need for respecting freedom of expression and the independence of media. We believe that communication is a fundamental social process, a basic human need, and the foundation of all social organization, and is central to the Information Society. Everyone, everywhere should have the opportunity to participate, and no one should be excluded from the benefits the Information Society offers.
¶ 48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 42. We emphasise that no person shall be subject to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home, or correspondence, consistent with countries’ applicable obligations under international human rights law, as recognized in General Assembly resolution 69/166. We call upon all States to review their procedures, practices and legislation regarding the surveillance of communications, as well as their interception and collection of personal data, including mass surveillance, with a view to upholding the right to privacy by ensuring the full and effective implementation of all their obligations under international human rights law.
¶ 49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 43. We reaffirm our commitment to the provisions of Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of their personality is possible, and that, in the exercise of their rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. These rights may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. In this way, we shall promote an Information Society where human dignity is respected.
¶ 51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 44. We affirm that strengthening confidence and security in the use of ICTs is a prerequisite for the development of information societies and the success of ICTs as a driver for economic and social innovation.
¶ 52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 45. We welcome the wide variety of initiatives to achieve this component of the WSIS vision, and we encourage all stakeholders to participate, including in the work of ITU, the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Expert Group on Cybercrime, and the Group of Government Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security. Computer Security Incident Response Teams have been established around the world and there is growing collaboration between them at both regional and local levels. We also take note of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. We recognise the need for governments, which have responsibility for national security and the personal safety of their citizens, to play a leading role in ensuring cybersecurity, alongside other stakeholders in their respective roles and responsibilities, in a manner consistent with human rights.
¶ 53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 46.We reiterate the importance of cyber-ethics in establishing a safe, secure, tolerant and reliable cyberspace and strengthening the role of ICTs as enablers of development, as emphasised in paragraph 43 of the Tunis Agenda and mentioned under the Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society of the Geneva Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action. We recognise the need for special emphasis on the protection and empowerment of children online, incorporating regulatory, selfregulatory, and other effective policies and frameworks. In this regard, governments and other stakeholders should work together to help all children to enjoy the benefits of ICTs in a safe and secure environment. The growing threats of cyber-violence and online abuse, which are particularly aimed at women and girls, must also be comprehensively addressed.
¶ 54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 47. We recognize the central importance of the principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter in building confidence and security in the use of ICTs, particularly the political independence, territorial integrity and sovereign equality of states, non-interference in internal affairs of other states and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
¶ 55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 48. However, we are concerned about certain and growing uses of ICTs that threaten security and development benefits, including terrorism and cybercrime, and we acknowledge concerns that existing legal and enforcement frameworks may not have caught up with the speed of technological change and application. Furthermore, we note concerns that attacks against States, companies, other entities, and individuals are now being undertaken through digital means. We reiterate our belief that a global culture of cybersecurity needs to be promoted, developed, and implemented in cooperation with all stakeholders and international expert bodies in order to foster trust and security in the Information Society.
¶ 56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 49. We call for increased global efforts and cooperation in combating cybercrime, including by terrorists, and in countering cyber-threats, such as through UN processes and including discussion forums, information-sharing, elaboration of national cybersecurity strategies, improved indices for measuring cybersecurity; and cooperation on cybersecurity standards and technical specifications. We call in particular for greater capacity-building and technical assistance for ICT security, especially in developing countries. We acknowledge the call for a convention against international cybercrimes. We recognise that approaches to cybersecurity should be fully compatible with human rights and fundamental freedoms.
¶ 58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 50. We reaffirm that the governance of the Internet as a global resource should be multilateral, transparent and democratic, with the full involvement of all stakeholders. We reiterate the working definition of Internet governance set out in paragraph 34 of the Tunis Agenda, as ‘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’.
¶ 59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 51. We reaffirm the principles agreed in the Geneva Declaration that the management of the Internet encompasses both technical and public policy issues and should involve all stakeholders and relevant intergovernmental and international organizations, within their respective roles and responsibilities as set out in paragraph 35 of the Tunis Agenda.
¶ 60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 52. We recognise that there is a need to promote greater participation and engagement in Internet governance discussions of all stakeholders, from developing countries, particularly African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states, and middle-income countries, and we call for strengthened stable, transparent, and voluntary funding mechanisms to this end.
¶ 62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 54. We acknowledge the unique role of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) as a multistakeholder platform for discussion of Internet governance issues. We support the recommendations of the report of the CSTD Working Group on improvements to the IGF, which were approved by the General Assembly in its resolution 68/198, and we call for their accelerated implementation. We extend the IGF mandate for another 10 years with its current mandate as set out in paragraph 72 of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society. We recognize that during this period, the IGF must show progress on outcomes, working modalities, and participation of relevant stakeholders from developing countries. We call on the CSTD, within its current reporting, to give due consideration to fulfilment of its Working Group report recommendations.
¶ 64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 55. We acknowledge that various initiatives have been implemented and some progress has been made in relation to the concept of enhanced cooperation, detailed in paragraphs 69 to 71 of the Tunis Agenda to enable governments, on an equal footing, to carry out their roles and responsibilities, in international public policy issues pertaining to the Internet, but not in the day-to-day technical and operational matters, that do not impact on international public policy issues. We note the reports by the Secretary General on enhanced cooperation (A/66/77; E/2009/92) and the work of the Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development.
¶ 65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 56. We note, however, persistent concerns by some Member States that full implementation of enhanced cooperation, as envisioned by Tunis, has not been achieved. We call for strengthening enhanced cooperation. We further request the Secretary-General to provide a report to the 71st session of the General Assembly on implementation to date and options to hasten progress on enhanced cooperation, including an intergovernmental working group with participation and input from all stakeholders. The report may form the basis for discussion within the framework of a special session of the General Assembly on enhanced cooperation.
¶ 66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 5.7 We note that the ongoing implementation of WSIS outcomes will require the continued commitment of all stakeholders – including governments, United Nations agencies, international organisations, the private sector, civil society, the technical community and academia – and that regular review of progress will be essential to achieving the WSIS vision.
¶ 67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 58. We call for the continuation of annual reports on the implementation of WSIS outcomes through the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), noting again the need for close connection to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We encourage the United Nations Group on the Information Society (UNGIS) members to contribute to these reports.
¶ 68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 59. We also call for the continuation of the work of the UNGIS in coordinating the work of United Nations agencies, and we urge United Nations Regional Commissions to contribute to reviews of WSIS Action Line implementation.
¶ 69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 60. We recognize that the WSIS Forum has been a valuable platform through which all stakeholders can review the implementation of WSIS outcomes, and should continue to be held annually.
¶ 70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 61. We call for increased efforts to improve the extent of data collection and analysis, including quality of connectivity and the impact of ICTs on development, based on international standards and definitions; the inclusion of ICT statistics in national strategies for the development of statistics and in regional statistical work programmes, and the strengthening of local statistical capacity by assessing capacity needs and delivering targeted training on ICT statistics. The activities of the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development have made a valuable contribution to data gathering and dissemination and should be continued.
¶ 71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 62. We recognize that, in the preparation of this review, a number of challenges and opportunities have been identified, requiring longer-term consultations to determine appropriate responses, and that the pace of the development of ICTs necessitates higher-level consideration of progress achieved and future action. We accordingly agree to hold a High Level Meeting on the Information Society in 2025, which involves the inputs and participation of all stakeholders, including in the preparatory process, and takes stock of progress on WSIS outcomes, as well as identifies both areas of continued focus and solutions to enduring and emerging challenges. We designate its outcome as an input into the review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.