Defending the Multistakeholder Model at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference

The 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will meet on October 29. This Plenipot will elect the organization's senior management team, the Member States that will constitute the next ITU Council, and the members of the Radio Regulations Board. In addition, it will discuss modifications and/or new regulations to decide on the future role of the organization.

As customary, each region has held meetings to discuss possible modifications to various resolutions and mandates, as well as the addition of new texts or proposals that will now be discussed during the three weeks of work in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. As expected, many of these are related to Internet issues.

While it is true that the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference is the space for Member States to discuss these issues, such discussions do not allow for multistakeholder participation and not all the voices that are part of the Internet ecosystem can be heard. Consequently, these spaces are not inclusive but are instead based solely on the decisions of a single sector, namely, the government sector.

Surely, an analysis of ITU resolutions will show different mandates urging that issues relating to the Internet, the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, domain names, IoT, etc. be addressed using the multistakeholder (MSH) model. This discussion mechanism, however, is not reflected when modifications are proposed or when new resolutions are created at plenipotentiary meetings or at the different conferences that are organized in the field of Development, Standardization and Radiocommunications.

ITU associate members can participate in the discussion process, but do not have the right to vote on the decisions. This is where an improved and inclusive process should be proposed, one where all stakeholders can participate actively and on an equal footing, with a diversity of ideas and criteria that serve as input and provide mutually agreed benefits on Internet related issues.

Conversely, in the case of Internet-related discussions —whether within the IETF environment, at ICANN events, or at the RIRs' own events— any interested party can participate in the creation, proposal or modification of the rules that define how Internet-related decisions are made, regardless of whether they are members or not. 

LACNIC advocates for an open, stable, secure Internet, where 100% of the population has quality access. To make this possible, it is necessary to improve multistakeholder participation models and that we all contribute to decision-making on Internet-related issues.

New technologies require different skills and knowledge. If decisions are made unilaterally, there is a risk that they will be not be sustainable and will have a negative impact on the development of societies.

From LACNIC, one of the five Regional Internet Registries and a member of the technical community, we will follow the discussions and/or modifications proposed during the Plenipotentiary Conference. We will continue to promote the multistakeholder approach to discussions and that whatever is decided is for the tangible benefit of all.