27 October, 2006
Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis referred to the goals, expectations and benefits stemming from the first Internet Governance Forum, IGF, to take place in Athens from October 30 to November 2 after his successful efforts to this end during the UN-organized World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Tunis last year.
The overall theme of the UN-sponsored forum to be formally opened by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will be Internet Governance for Development and will be attended by approximately 1,200 representatives of governments, the private sector, the society of citizens, academics and scientists, who will exchange views on Internet governance.
Liapis stated that the goal of the forum, which will be an annual event, is to promote and facilitate an open and multilateral dialogue for the adoption of joint policies and the establishment of an institution that will monitor the Internet’s operation away from government interventions. Also, the forum participants are looking forward to adopting common principles and rules for the orderly and legitimate operation of the internet.
Referring to Greece’s benefits from hosting the forum, Liapis stressed that it is a unique chance for the Greek people to realize that the internet is not just for children to play but it can boost growth in all sectors of social and economic activity. Liapis also referred to the efforts made by the government during the past few years aimed at the development and wider use of broadband services. He admitted that Greece is falling behind other EU states adding, however, that during the past year Greece has topped the list worldwide regarding ADSL access. He stressed that all broadband infrastructure in Greece will be completed in about a year.
Responding to questions by members of the press, he commented that Greece has not only complied with but it has contributed to forming an EU decision on flight safety measures. He also stated that a justice ministry special committee is studying the findings on the phone tapping issue and a ministerial committee will be established soon to select an economic adviser authorized to recommend OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organization) privatization options.
Prime minister Costas Karamanlis will on Monday address the opening session of the Internet Governance Forum, to be held in Athens through November 2.
The birth of the IGF was one of the most significant outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) that took place in Tunis in November 2005, which was the culmination of a series of UN-sponsored WSIS conferences over the two-year-period 2004-2005.
The IGF Greece 2006 conference structure consists of eight main sessions. The Greek Minister of Transport and Communications Michalis Liapis will chair the opening and closing sessions, whereas the other sessions of the Forum will be chaired by a high level panel of speakers from all around the world.
The roles and functions of the Forum are set out in paragraphs 72-79 of the “Tunis Agenda for the Information Society”. Briefly, its main purpose will be to discuss a wide range of issues related to Internet Governance, and, where appropriate, to make recommendations to the international community. The working and function of the Forum will be multilateral, multi-stakeholder democratic and transparent.
Recently, UN Secretary General . Kofi Annan extended invitations to all stakeholders and relevant parties to participate at the inaugural meeting of the IGF. By making use of the World Wide Web he invited all stakeholders: governments, the private sector and civil society, including the academic and technical communities, to attend the first meeting of the IGF in Athens. The overall theme of the meeting will be "Internet Governance for Development". The agenda will be structured along the following broad themes.
Openness - Freedom of expression, free flow of information, ideas and knowledge
Security - Creating trust and confidence through collaboration
Diversity - Promoting multilingualism and local content
Access - Internet Connectivity: Policy and Cost
Source: Athens News Agency