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Wednesday, 11 February 2015 - Strasbourg
Renewal of the mandate of the Internet Governance Forum

European Parliament resolution of 11 February 2015 on the renewal of the mandate of the Internet Governance Forum (2015/2526(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 June 2005 on the information society(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2006 on a European information society for growth and employment(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2008 on the second Internet Governance Forum(3),

–  having regard to the Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), adopted in Geneva on 12 December 2003,

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Towards a Global Partnership in the Information Society: Translating the Geneva Principles into Actions’ (COM(2004)0480),

–  having regard to the Tunis Commitment and Agenda for the Information Society, adopted on 18 November 2005,

–  having regard to the Commission communication following the WSIS in 2006 (COM(2006)0181),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 June 2010 on Internet governance: the next steps(4),

–  having regard to the NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement presented on 24 April 2014,

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Internet Policy and Governance – Europe’s role in shaping the future of Internet Governance’ (COM(2014)0072),

–  having regard to the joint statement by the EU delegation to the Internet Governance Forum held from 2 to 5 September 2014 in Istanbul,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the purpose of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is to carry out its mandate from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) with regard to convening forums for democratic, transparent and multistakeholder policy dialogue;

B.  whereas the main role and function of the IGF is to discuss a wide range of issues related to internet governance and, where appropriate, to make recommendations to the international community;

C.  whereas on 20 December 2010 the UN General Assembly decided to extend the mandate of the IGF for a further five years;

D.  whereas the discussion and decision on renewing the mandate of the IGF further will take place in 2015 at the UN General Assembly;

E.  whereas Parliament sent an ad hoc delegation to the WSIS in 2005 and has done so for every annual meeting of the IGF since then;

F.  whereas the ad hoc delegations Parliament has sent have played a pivotal role regarding the promotion of European values and the interaction with civil society organisations and representatives of national parliaments present at these events, in cooperation with the Member States and the Commission;

G.  whereas the top priorities for the European Union during the ninth IGF held in September 2014, with the overarching theme ‘Connecting Continents for Enhanced Multistakeholder Internet Governance’, were: expanded internet access globally; maintenance of the internet as a global, open and common resource; non-discriminatory access to knowledge; greater accountability and transparency in the multistakeholder internet governance model; rejection of the idea of a state-controlled internet; and recognition that our fundamental freedoms and human rights are not negotiable and must be protected online;

H.  whereas on 27 November 2014 the EU transport, telecommunications and energy ministers approved the Council conclusions underlining the importance of a coordinated European position on internet governance and of support for strengthening the IGF as a multistakeholder platform;

I.  whereas in March 2014 the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intention to transfer the internet supervision functions of the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) to the global multistakeholder community before the expiry of the current contract between the NTIA and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in September 2015; whereas a balanced solution for this transition has to be found in time and should result in a system that cannot be subject to capture and manipulation, thereby continuing to ensure a stable internet;

J.  whereas in April 2014 the NETmundial-Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the future of Internet Governance drew up a set of principles for internet governance and a roadmap for future development of the internet ecosystem;

K.  whereas growth related to the internet economy is forecast to be almost 11 % in the EU, with a contribution to GDP expected to rise from 3,8 % in 2010 to 5,7 % in 2016,

L.  whereas the internet constitutes a fundamental pillar of the Digital Single Market, and fosters, inter alia, innovation, growth, trade, democracy, cultural diversity and human rights;

M.  whereas in an open internet all the rights and freedoms that people have offline should also apply online;

1.  Calls on the UN General Assembly to renew the mandate of the IGF, and to strengthen its resources and the multistakeholder model of internet governance;

2.  Considers that, although the IGF will not adopt formal conclusions, the European Union’s responsibility is to support this process and to raise the impact of these exchanges in policy discussions, as it offers a positive and concrete context for the shaping of the internet’s future on the basis of a multistakeholder approach;

3.  Calls on the Member States and the EU institutions concerned to keep the IGF high on their agendas and to continue to support the IGF and its secretariat, and to contribute to the development of an efficient and independent organisation capable of exercising its mandate and contributing to the evolving model of internet governance;

4.  Stresses that Parliament should continue to participate in future IGF meetings with a substantial delegation in order to contribute effectively to formulating an EU approach on internet governance together with the Member States and the Commission;

5.  Stresses the need to improve internet access all over the world; underlines that the IGF should increase the inclusive participation of all stakeholders;

6.  Stresses that it is firmly committed to the multistakeholder model of internet governance; calls upon the Member States, the Commission and all relevant stakeholders to further strengthen the sustainability of this model by making actors and processes at national, regional and international levels more inclusive, transparent and accountable;

7.  Emphasises the importance of completing the globalisation of the internet’s core functions and organisations; welcomes the commitment made by the US Government in March 2014 for the transfer of stewardship over the IANA functions; emphasises the importance of the full accountability and transparency of ICANN;

8.  Underlines the existence of a firm deadline for completion of the negotiations on IANA functions that will provide a long-term solution for the stability and security of the internet, as in September 2015 the current agreement between ICANN and the US Government on the supervision of the IANA function will expire;

9.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to increase their efforts to support the conclusion of this new timely agreement;

10.  Calls on the EU institutions concerned to propose the EU itself as a first international partner with ICANN as regards IANA functions, including a role on equal grounds with the US and other states in the affirmation of commitments that are currently regulating IANA services; considers this an important step in ensuring the complete neutrality of ICANN;

11.  Stresses that lessons can already be learnt from the fruitful exchanges held in the context of the IGF up to now, and can be acted upon, in particular as regards regulatory aspects of electronic communications, and data security and privacy issues; considers that further discussions are needed within the IGF on issues related to cybersecurity and cybercrimes, ranging from solutions to improve the security of critical infrastructures to giving the appropriate tools for secure communication to individuals and small businesses, notably e-authentication and encryption; underlines the need to secure an open and independent internet as a global, common resource, together with non-discriminatory access to knowledge in the future, based on the initiatives and needs of the stakeholders, as well as freedom of expression;

12.  Stresses that it is crucial to continue efforts to ensure legal protection of net neutrality, which is an indispensable precondition for safeguarding freedom of information and expression, boosting growth and jobs by developing innovation and business opportunities related to the internet and promoting and safeguarding cultural and linguistic diversity;

13.  Stresses that fundamental freedoms and human rights are not negotiable and must be protected both online and offline; regrets that some states attempt to curb the global connectivity of their citizens by censorship and other restrictions; strongly rejects the idea of a state-controlled internet and mass surveillance of the internet;

14.  Stresses the economic and social importance of online rights for privacy and of users’ control of their personal data; considers such rights to be fundamental for democracy, an open and neutral internet and a level playing field for businesses on the web;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Member States and the national parliaments.

(1) OJ C 133 E, 8.6.2006, p. 140.
(2) OJ C 291 E, 30.11.2006, p. 133.
(3) OJ C 41 E, 19.2.2009, p. 80.
(4) OJ C 236 E, 12.8.2011, p. 33.

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