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Fifth Publication of the UN ICT Task Force Series

The following is the introductory excerpt from the United Nations ICT Task Force's recently published "Internet Governance: A Grand Collaboration". This publication offers a collection of works from the March 2004 meeting.

The United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force convened a Global Forum on Internet Governance in New York on March 25-26, 2004. In addition to the members of the Task Force, the forum was attended by more than 200 representatives of the private sector, civil society, national governments and international organizations. The purpose of the forum was to allow participants to exchange views on issues that should be considered by the United Nations Secretary-General's Working Group on Internet Governance, which will be established as a result of decisions taken at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva in December 2003.

To help prepare the forum, the Task Force Secretariat invited written contributions from the international community. More than thirty papers were submitted in response to this request, by independent experts, Internet practitioners, and different stakeholder groups. Together, these papers cover a wide range of the most important technical regulatory, public policy and development issues related to the web site of the United Nations ICT Task Force. The aim of this collection is to present a selection of these contributions in relation to some of the main themes that emerged at the global forum and to highlight their essential messages.

To this end, contributions to the global forum have been organized into six sections, which deal with the following themes:

  • understanding the challenge;
  • the evolition of the Internet governance debate;
  • frameworks and definitions;
  • public policy issues;
  • technical issues;
  • the way ahead.

In each of these sections, contributions are grouped into three categories:
  • background papers, which provide comprehensive information and analysis in relation to the theme of the section;
  • comments, which focus on a particular aspect of the theme and present the views of individual authors;
  • stakeholder perspectives, which present the views of business, civil society, governmental, and intergovernmental organizations — either on the theme as a whole or on specific issues related to it.

Papers that deal with Internet governance issues in terms that are easily accessible to a wide international audience have been presented in their entirety. Papers that deal with issues other than Internet governance, that contain detailed technical information, or that present specific proposals for action by national or international organizations have been edited to highlight their most salient contributions to general discussion about Internet governance.

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