CSTD articles

The United Nations' Commission on Science and Technology for Development, or CSTD, is designed to provide the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with high-level advice on relevant science and technology issues.

It was established in 1992 following a restructure of the UN to put more focus on economic and social fields. It's membership and work methods were revised in 1998. The CSTD is based in Geneva. In the Internet governance context, the CSTD was chosen as the venue for a review of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

.Nxt has a specific CSTD resource page. Its official website can be found at: http://www.unctad.org/cstd.

5 June 2012
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A draft resolution on WSIS was an exercise in frustration

You'd never know it from the disproportionate amount of time spent discussing Internet governance during the drafting of the CSTD resolution [pdf] last month, but the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was about a lot more than Internet governance.

It includes action lines on media, cultural diversity, capacity building, and ICT applications (including e-health, e-science, and e-agriculture).

But just as the original summit process in 2003-5 became about finding a replacement for ICANN, so many countries continue to try to find ways to advance their cause in the texts of UN agency resolutions.

Polar opposites

Given the global reach of the Internet, many Member States have serious concerns about the concentration of Internet management related activities in the USA, particularly the possibility of the US government withdrawing country code top-level domains or revoking IP address blocks through its IANA contract.

29 May 2012
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Major divisions lead to late-night discussions and bland text

The 15th session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) in Geneva last week produced two draft resolutions to be presented to the ECOSOC meeting in July:

  • Assessment of the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
  • Science and technology for developments

The WSIS draft resolution was by far the more controversial, containing text on Internet governance matters. In fact, it almost didn't happen at all, with the chair of the drafting group suggesting late on the Friday night that perhaps they needed to report that they couldn't reach agreement on a way forward. The lack of a resolution would reflect badly on all States involved, and so a draft resolution was eventually agreed to that consisted mainly of text from the previous year, with very little in the way of recommendations for going forward.

5 April 2012
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The group tasked with deciding on changes to the annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has finally released its report, complete with 56 recommendations.

The Commission on Science and Technology for Development's Working Group (CSTDWG) improvements report is due to be discussed at the 15th Session of the CSTD on Tuesday 22 May at the United Nations in Geneva.

The working group began with a hostile and combative environment at its first meeting in Montreux, unable to bridge ideological differences separating initial proposals submitted to the WG. But skillful chairing, the movement of divisive discussions on "enhanced cooperation" to a separate venue, and increased levels of trust built between the stakeholder groups over six meetings finally helped produce recommendations that all members could live with.

27 March 2012

[Copy of transcript and audio available on 12 March 2012 ICANN and the Internet Governance Landscape session page]

Bill Graham: I think we should get started, I’m very pleased to see such a large group here for this interesting, I hope, I’m sure will be an interesting session. I want to congratulate all of you who found the place, because I know there’s been confusion about the time and the room, and I truly apologize for that. But some last minute changes were required and that has been the result. But anyway you’re here and I’m very pleased to see you.

I am Bill Graham; I am a Director on the ICANN Board. Markus Kummer beside me is the Vice President of Public Policy for the Internet Society, and we will be co-chairing this event.

9 February 2012

The Internet governance dance card gets fuller every year as each stakeholder group adds its own meetings on various isssues to the mix. Below is a list of 12 meetings within the global inter-governmental space to keep an eye on in 2012.


1. Panel discussion on freedom of expression on the Internet

To be held during 19th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC).
When: 27 February - 23 March
Where: Geneva

28 January 2012

Both the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and the idea of “enhanced co-operation on public policy issues pertaining to the Internet” are outcomes of the 2005 WSIS document, Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.

Since the Tunis Agenda was adopted by UN Member States, there have been six IGFs, involving thousands of participants, linking stakeholders in different Internet governance areas from around the world, and spawning a number of national and regional IGF initiatives.

CSTDWG chair Peter Major talks with member Izumi Aizu. Photo: Sam Dickinson

In that same time period, there have been sporadic consultations on what "enhanced co-operation" is and should be, with no agreement amongst stakeholders on whether enhanced co-operation is a governments-only co-operation mechanism or is about broader co-operation between governments and all other stakeholders in Internet governance.