jueves, julio 02, 2015

WSIS+10 Consultation

WSIS Consultation

My participation in the WSIS consultation, Stakeholder Consultations by the President of the United Nations General Assembly on the WSIS+10 process:

Your Excellency Chair of the Session Dr. Indrit Bannerjee, distinguished panellists, respondents, ladies and gentlemen,
Thanks for organizing this consultation. We are glad to have been able to join and will also gladly contribute to an improvement in process for the next round.
We have a Summit Gap, a distance between this discussion and the creative, disruptive, joyous world of Internet and ICT development by youth all over the world. It feels like a 20 year gap to any Howard Rheingold book like “Net Smart”. There is intense life bubbling under our level of aggregation and the risk exists that it will make Summits OBE if all stakeholders don’t act fast and decisively.
In the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Nepal, the members of the Internet Society entered contacts with the members of the ISOC chapter in that country. They are true heroes of selfless dedication and great talent. Within hours of the disaster they had started operations to reinstate electricity and communications. A small but decisive community of international volunteers from the technical community started, using those contacts, to establish a backstage online crisis room with the local volunteers, Internet Service Providers, staff of the State’s regulator, and people outside Nepal involved in humanitarian relief associations as well as Internet-radio-link engineering and deployment. The voluntary and energetic engagement of all parties led to success and progress. Once it stopped being useful this spontaneous task force dissolved. The power of the Internet is in this plasticity of creating but also shutting down response capabilities. The radio engineering and the education are not ephemeral and will continue to grow in place.
The technical community contributes not only its scientific, engineering and operational knowledge; it also provides its experience with large-scale project management and provides a neutral platform on which all other parties can coordinate. The complexities of the interaction of international humanitarian aid, local and subnational governments may not diminish but become far easier to navigate through towards sustainable, scalable solutions.
Summits, governments and organizations are centralized by definition. The technical community does its work every day and everywhere. Therefore support for its development is needed every day and everywhere. CSR is not enough; it does not scale up enough and often has no teeth.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are essential and transversal to all the ways to achieve the Millenium Development Goals up to now, and the Sustainable Development Goals into the future. An open Internet facilitates information exchanges, self- and co-education in all modalities, and the appearance of innovators at every level of geographical granularity. The Internet’s core design principles or “Internet invariants” such as interoperability, openness, permissionless innovation, global reach and accessibility are the most solid basis going forward. A layered analysis of problems helps to separate the technical and the social and provide solutions where the two cross over. Compliance with standards ensures maximum availability of the products of developing-country creativity and expands their business competitively. For example, HTML5 compliance can erase the need for separate Android, iOS etc. implementations; apps walled gardens then are replaced by open Internet. This is working now!
A previous speaker, Mr. Michalewski from Poland, has spoken about the need to confront hate and the induction of violence. These do not originate on the Internet but in society in general. If a new social contract is needed let us use the Internet to reach it in favor of free speech, human development and peace, with a clear vision of what layer problems originate in and In what layers action is useful.

For success in this way forward, education is indispensable. Not only what we refer to as capacity-building specialized for particular, technical tasks, but also fundamental and general skills of critical and mathematical reasoning, when possible knowledge and practice of computer programming, and other ways in which people can take technology in their hands and contribute to local development. Both schools and informal learning spaces such as “maker spaces” and “hackathons” provide opportunities for youth and for adults to engage in new practices and businesses. Engineers with policy understanding and policy-makers with awareness of what makes the Internet what it is, and all with the ability to bring multiple stakeholders to cooperate and produce progress, need to be educated more intensively in order to achieve the SDGs. The Internet technical and policy community will be there to support and contribute.