The President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, today called on United Nations Member States to share their experiences in cyberspace regulation, in order to protect young people from the risks of its misuse.
“We should continue to harness our respective wills to reduce the digital gap and to maximize Internet access to more and more people across the world,” President Martinelli told the 67th UN General Assembly’s General Debate, which started today at UN Headquarters in New York.
“Each step in this direction is key to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015,” he added. “Nevertheless, I am still uneasy about the risks of that the misuse of cyberspace can have boys, girls and adolescents.”
The MDGs – which seek to slash a host of social ills, including extreme hunger and poverty, infant and maternal mortality, and lack of access to education and medical care – were agreed on by world leaders at a summit in 2000. They have a 2015 deadline for their completion.
Noting that the protection of children and young people from such misuse is one of the most important social and ethical challenges the world faces, he pointed out that for this reason Panama has supported initiatives carried out in this area by the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
“I invite all the States here represented to share experiences in order to establish and harmonize, on the basis of international telecommunications criteria, norms that will allow us to guarantee that minors are no longer exposed to the risks and dangers that are disseminated through cyberspace,” the President said.
In his statement to the General Debate, the Panamanian leader also spoke about his country’s commitment to multilateralism, dialogue and negotiation, as well as the use of peaceful means for resolving all international conflicts, in line with the UN Charter and the principles of international law.
In addition to President Martinelli, scores of the world’s heads of State and government and other high-level officials are presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.