Labour MEP Julie Ward took part in a Delegation of MEPs attending a global internet conference where together with European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip they issued a call for improved internet access all over the world, with open and independent internet as a global, common resource, with fair and open access to knowledge.
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is the most important global forum, where decision-makers and civil society gather under UN auspices to set out the direction of how the internet operates. With so many crucial issues being discussed, from privacy and surveillance concerns, to freedom of expression and net neutrality, access to knowledge and cultural content, the growing digital economy, and cyber-crime and cyber terrorism, the IGF is an event of global significance.
Held in João Pessoa, Brazil, the IGF organised its 10th annual meeting under the title of "Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development". The conference took place from 10 to 13 November 2015. The EU was represented by the European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip and a delegation from the European Parliament composed by members of the Culture & Education committee, and Industry, Research and Energy committees.
On 12 November 2015 a Joint Declaration signed by European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip and Members of the European Parliament on the Delegation issued a statement saying:
“The internet is a common good for humanity and ensuring its good governance will help bring its benefits to all people in the world. We believe Europe has much to contribute to ensure a shared governance of the internet is based on clear, fair, inclusive and transparent rules.”
Julie Ward MEP, Labour culture & education spokesperson for Europe, was sent as a delegate to represent the Socialists & Democrats group in the Culture committee. She said:
"The Internet is a public space that belongs to all of us. How it is governed is therefore hugely important. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have met activists and campaigners from all over the world and hear directly from them about the work they do to ensure the Internet is a force for good. Alongside engagement with civil society my parliamentary delegation has been meeting with key governmental bodies from the USA, Brazil and EU Member States, as part of a multi-stakeholder approach to shape the future of Internet governance globally. The IGF is also an excellent meeting place to learn about best practice, for example the work being done to prevent cyber bullying and gender-based violence by dozens of researchers and campaign groups around the world, the UK Safer Internet Centre who pioneer new methods of keeping children safe, and education networks such as Knowledge Without Borders who develop innovative work with libraries in developing countries as well as Member States. I look forward to continuing the healthy dialogue with civil society at the IGF."
Read the full Joint Declaration here: