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“Internet Governance is at a cross-roads.” There is, “an urgent need for the international community to address growing risks and vulnerabilities faced by Governments, corporations and citizens while still ensuring digital growth and innovation”. So said Ambassador Alexandre Fasel in his opening remarks at the inauguration of the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP) on Tuesday 8th April.
These challenges were well summarised by Richard Hill, who has been working in and on the Internet since the early 90s, in this clip setting out the context for the GIP launch:
His concerns and the importance of neutral institutions of Internet Governance were echoed by Dr Danni Jost of the World Trade Institute, who provided the quotable title of this blog, and who also commented on the importance of the Swiss role in Internet Governance. This latter theme was echoed throughout the event, expressed well here by Michel Chevalier of ICT4Peace in the second part of this clip, taken from interviews during the buzzy Internet Governance Bazaar that opened the event.
The symphony of IG
These themes were elaborated by Philipp Metzger, Director General of the Federal Office of Communication of Switzerland, who reminded the audience of the panel session that, from the beginnings of Internet Governance, Switzerland has always played a facilitating role, even before the WSIS summit in 2003. It has also funded and been a long-term supporter of the Internet Governance Forum. To continue this role Metzger said that, “our vision of the future of Internet Governance, as Switzerland, is of an inclusive, responsive system where all stakeholders can find their needs, where they can make their needs heard, in particular the developing world. We’d like to see processes on Internet Governance that foster freedoms and innovation online and build at the same time a mutual respect and share responsibilities with all stakeholders. Hopefully the GIP will contribute to that, but it is only a tool, one of the elements in the symphony of IG. It is an initiative to support the spirit of cooperation.”