UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova welcomes the announcement from the United States Department of Commerce on the intent to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multi-stakeholder community, involving the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) functions of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).
“This is an important step for the open governance of the Internet Domain Name system as a major critical resource in cyberspace,” said the Director-General.
“This will not only contribute to advancing the distributed technical and infrastructural capacity of the Internet -- it will help facilitate the free flow of information, open access to information and exercise of freedom of expression and other fundamental human rights online, as promoted by UNESCO.”
The foreseen transition is a timely action, relevant to UNESCO’s ongoing work in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)+10 Review Process and the Internet governance issues within the UNESCO mandate, towards post-2015 Development Agenda, as called upon by UNESCO’s 195 Member States.
For UNESCO, it is important that the envisioned transition maintains the openness, robustness, decentralized and interoperable nature of the Internet, while providing the means for a truly multi-stakeholder involvement in its governance.
As mandated by the 37th session of the UNESCO General Conference (Resolution 52), UNESCO has just launched a multi-stakeholder consultation process for conducting a comprehensive study on Internet-related issues within the UNESCO mandate, including Access to Information and Knowledge, Freedom of Expression, Privacy and Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society, and also exploring possible options for future actions.
UNESCO is committed to an Internet that is human rights-based, open, accessible to all and governed by a multi-stakeholder framework, so as to optimize its potential as an essential platform to lay the foundations for lasting peace, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty.
In December 2009, UNESCO signed an agreement with ICANN to help put into operation the first multilingual domain names. This was a significant step towards greater linguistic diversity on the Internet.