Explanation of Position by Terri Robl, Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC, at the 68th UNGA Second Committee on Item 16 Information and Communication Technologies for Development, December 11, 2013

Teri Robl
U.S. Deputy Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council 
New York, NY
December 11, 2013




AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would first like to thank the Facilitator, Ms. Tishka Francis of the Permanent Mission of the Bahamas, for her hard work and professionalism that helped all parties reach consensus on this resolution.

The United States is pleased to join consensus on the “Information and communications technologies for development” resolution, which promotes the dynamism of ICT as a force for economic growth and bridging the digital divide.

The United States appreciates the steps taken, both within and outside the UN system, to follow through on commitments made at the World Summit on the Information Society to make available the benefits of new technologies, including ICT, to bridge the digital divide. We look forward to working with the co-facilitators that the President of the General Assembly will appoint to marshal consensus among Member States to finalize the modalities for the overall review by the General Assembly of the implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society, or “WSIS”, in accordance with paragraph 111 of the Tunis Agenda.

Any modalities for the review should incorporate a series of independent evaluations and reports that are conducted by the UN agencies with WSIS Action Lines, as agreed by the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council. Consistent with these agreements, the Commission on Science and Technology for Development will review the progress towards achieving the goals that were set at WSIS, including implementation of the 11 Action Lines, and report to the General Assembly for its consideration of next steps in the fall of 2015. We deeply respect and value the role of the General Assembly in this review process and believe that it should be coordinated with these independent assessments by UN agencies. Our main focus and application for resources should remain on implementation of the World Summit action lines. We do not believe a new Summit is necessary to complete the review process, and in any case, a decision whether to hold one should not distract us from implementation responsibilities of pre-judge the review outcomes.

We also strongly believe in promoting the multi-stakeholder character of the WSIS reviews and supporting multi-stakeholder initiatives, such as the Internet Governance Forum, that are fostering affordable Internet access for people around the world. We would, therefore, like to echo this resolution in welcoming the offers of Turkey, Brazil, and Mexico to host Internet Governance Forums in 2014, 2015, and 2016, respectively. We look forward to the extension of the IGF’s mandate at the next opportunity.

While the United States believes that the Human Rights Council and Third Committee are more appropriate venues for the discussion of human rights issues, we agree wholeheartedly with the reaffirmation in this resolution that States must respect online the same rights that their people have offline, which includes privacy rights and the right to freedom of expression, as set forth in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We remain committed to working in the Human Rights Council and Third Committee with all Member States to promote freedom of expression and privacy online so that people all over the world are able to use the Internet and online resources to exercise their rights freely.

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PRN: 2013/266