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Many initiatives have highlighted the ways technology can be leveraged for sustainable economic development. The Internet accounts for a significant and growing portion of global GDP and governments continue to grapple with policy options to ensure benefits are wide-spread and empower local populations.

In pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a people-centered Information Society, policymakers need to improve their understanding of how information communication technology (ICT) works in practice. Without sound knowledge of the ICT ecosystem, roles of relevant stakeholders and important policy issues, countries may miss out on the societal benefits ICT has to offer.

A new policy statement– prepared by the ICC Commission on the Digital Economy aims to raise awareness of the impact that policies on infrastructure, applications, services and user-engagement have on the ICT ecosystem. Greater understanding of these issues can equip policymakers with a framework to identify appropriate policy approaches and leverage ICT for realizing the SDGs.

In the statement, ICC encourages policymakers to:

1. Ensure an interoperable, seamless ICT ecosystem: This is about making sure that infrastructure, applications and services are in place with supporting avenues for user engagement.

2. Encourage the participation of all relevant stakeholders in policy-making processes: By consulting all relevant stakeholders, including business, civil society and technical community, governments will be better informed about issues and policy options.

3. Drive effective policy approaches to support an enabling policy environment: Policy issues can be economic, social/cultural, technical and governance-related; they are interlinked, cross-cutting and all necessary to support digital transformation.

The statement was released at the World Summit on the Information Society Forum taking place in Geneva from 12-14 June 2017. ICC Business Action to Support the Information Society is participating in the event and organised a workshop entitled ‘Connectivity, meaningful access and inclusive growth in developing countries’, on Monday, 12 June.