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I attended last week’s NETMundial conference in Sao Paulo, a conference focusing on the elaboration of principles for Internet Governance and on the proposal of a roadmap for the future development of this ecosystem. The goal was to consolidate a scheme based on these two topics. NETmundial represents the beginning of a process to construct such policies in a global context, based on the input of all the stakeholders involved.

And there were many of them in Sao Paulo – some 800 stakeholders from all over the world, representing government, industry, civil society and the academic and technical community. However, it wasn’t just those who were present at the conference who were preparing what became the NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement. The initial draft document was open for comments ahead of the conference, receiving over 1300 comments and suggestions, and the conference itself was viewed online through remote hubs all over the world.

The result? A 12-page document, carried by a “broad consensus”, featuring two sections:

  1. Principles based on human rights and shared values; protection of intermediaries; culture and linguistic diversity; unified and unfragmented space; security, stability and resilience of the Internet; open and distributed architecture; enabling environment for sustainable innovation and creativity; open standards.
  2. Roadmap outlining steps forward in terms of issues that deserve the attention of all stakeholders in the future evolution of Internet Governance; issues dealing with institutional improvements; issues dealing with specific Internet Governance topics (security and stability; mass surveillance; capacity building); points to be further discussed beyond NETMundial.

It should be noted that all those involved agreed this outcome to be far from perfect – hence the “broad consensus”. It was therefore referred to as the start of a process and the document (which is non-binding) will mainly serve as input for future discussions on Internet Governance.

Neelie Kroes commented on her blog that she “will continue to push all parties in the coming months, based on the Sao Paulo Multi-stakeholder Declaration, to deliver on the concrete actions identified. We now have a clear set of issues that must be addressed to strengthen and refine models for Internet governance”.

I’m very much looking forward to the Internet Governance discussions following the NetMundial conference and I hope to contribute to delivering some of the key issues addressed.

Wout Van Wijk, EU Public Affairs Manager responsible for all matters related to cyber security

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