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Child Online Protection taken to new level

by david.nunes

President of Costa Rica and ITU Secretary-General announce action phase for initiative

Geneva, 17 November 2010 – A new phase of concrete activities for ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) initiative will encourage the development of national COP centres, awareness campaigns and community forums to create a safe environment for young users of the Internet. The COP Global Initiative was announced today by the Patron of COP, HE Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica and ITU Secretary- General, Hamadoun Touré at a ceremony in San Jose, Costa Rica. It will provide a framework for coordinating existing global efforts and implementing a series of safety training and prevention activities.

The COP Global Initiative will build on Guidelines developed by ITU and partners from industry, civil society, governments, UN agencies and other stakeholders. The announcement will see COP shift from the production of these guidelines to the development of industry codes of conduct; the establishment of national hotlines; the development of national roadmaps and legislative toolkits; training for parents, guardians and educators and harnessing the power of multistakeholder collaboration through resources such as an online platform for sharing advice and information.

The COP Global Initiative will give regulators the tools to build on the experience of others in the development of national plans for protecting children online. For industry it will promote self-regulation for full and positive participation in online communities. A key aim will be to equip parents with an understanding of the risks involved. For children the Global Initiative will aim to generate a safe environment while not diminishing the benefits offered by the online world.

ITU Secretary-General, Hamadoun Touré: “The support for COP has been overwhelming and today we announce an exciting new phase moving from strategy to action. Guidelines for regulators, industry, parents and children themselves have been very well received but we have been asked for more. With the patronage of Her Excellency, President Chinchilla I am proud to offer this call to action to the global community. The Internet reflects the diversity of global peoples and its many benefits include the potential to offer real development opportunities. However in the march towards creating knowledge economies we must not lose sight of the most vulnerable users of the Internet.”

HE Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica: “I am honoured to be the Patron of Child Online Protection and this new initiative. We live in a world of marvelous opportunity much of it created digitally. This new initiative will foster a culture of prudence and a sensible and practical attitude to the further development of the digital world. Children have a remarkable ability to master computers from an early age, which is, at the same time, both astounding and frightening for parents. We have the global will to provide a safe environment and I determined that with today’s announcement we will attract increased support and achieve our aim.”

Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Science and Technology for Costa Rica, Ms. Clotilde Fonseca, drew attention to the launch of a National Plan for Online Security and the establishment of a National Commission on Online Safety. “Thanks to this effort the initiatives that were already in place in our country will be coordinated and enhanced and new lines of coordination, resource management and joint work will be launched to allow us to fill gaps and promote new initiatives,” she said. Fonseca also highlighted the significance that the visit of ITU’s Secretary-General has for Costa Rica: “This is a clear sign of the importance of President Chinchilla’s participation as global sponsor of this important initiative,” she said.

A joint letter signed by ITU’s Secretary-General and the President of Costa Rica addressed to COP Members, UN agencies, Governments, Industry, Civil Society will invite partners to contribute to implementing the deliverables of the COP Global Initiative.

The COP Global Initiative harnesses the power of ITU and multi-stakeholder partnerships generated by its Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA), as well as the experience and expertise of all ITU sectors to facilitate the development of local and international partnerships and creative solutions. This initiative will draw together members of existing initiatives, provide guidance for stakeholders of every shape and size related to both capacity-building and awareness raising and foster cooperation and collaborative thinking between all those involved in the provision of services to children and young people.

ITU’s Child Online Protection initiative was announced in November 2008 with support from the UN Secretary General who urged all states to support it. COP brings together partners from all sectors of the international community with the aim of creating a safe and secure online experience for children everywhere. In 2009, a multi-stakeholder group of COP Members developed global COP guidelines for children, parents, governments and industry.

At the time of the launch it was estimated that 1.5 billion people were online. In the space of just two years since then, ITU predicts that by the end of 2010 the figure is expected to be almost 2 billion, many of whom will be young people.

For more information, please contact:Sarah Parkes
ITU Media Relations +41 22 730 6039
+41 79 599 1439
[email protected]
Toby Johnson
Senior Communications Officer, ITU +41 22 730 5877
+41 79 249 4868
[email protected]

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