ICC’s Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) initiative used the event to highlight the importance of formulating policy that supports the free flow of information online. This encourages freedom of expression and creates the right conditions for open trade as well as investment in the Internet and the applications and services that run on it, as a path to future global economic growth and social progress, notably through education and learning. Addressing the multiple stakeholder groups present at the event including ministers and high-level governmental officials, heads of intergovernmental organizations, senior business executives, Internet technical community leaders and civil society, ICC BASIS urged that more be done to ensure the permanence of a free, fair and open Internet characterized by the free flow of information.
As the voice of global business at multistakeholder and UN forums where development of the Internet and information and communication technologies (ICTs) are key topics, ICC BASIS highlighted the strong support by business for policy-making that promotes the free flow of information online as the precursor to free speech and to economic growth. It noted that governments should work together with all stakeholders to develop policies and practices that maximize freedom of expression on the Internet, minimize trade restrictions and barriers to commerce around the world and enable larger segments of the world population to benefit from the Internet’s benefits.
ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier said: “All stakeholders must collaborate more fully in order to bring about the positive policy changes needed to maintain the free flow of information online as the foundation for continued trade and investment in the Internet, and as the path to maximizing its impact on the global economy. Failure to work together across key Internet governance policy areas, with a view to achieving an information society that enhances economic and social prospects across the globe, carries a real risk of diluting the founding values of what has become one of the world’s greatest shared resources.”
Noting the clear correlation between investment in the Internet and other ICTs, and the growth of economic activity, Mr Carrier said: “Since the very first domains were registered, the Internet has proven its economic worth through multiple recessions and downturns. As its reach has increased, it has continued to power growth, create jobs and build economies, communities and industries around the world, becoming an important catalyst in driving the pace of change.”
By calling for increased multistakeholder action and dialogue in light of on-going discussions relating to the future of the Internet, ICC BASIS remains committed to an inclusive approach to developing policies that relate to the Internet and ICTs as the only way to ensure that informed policy choices are made and that the information society continues to grow. As part of its focus on the multistakeholder governance processes, ICC BASIS is hosting two workshops at WSIS+10:
- Multistakeholder Principles (Day 3, 27 February, 09.30-11.00 conference room 8, UNESCO headquarters)
– building on discussions that took place at the 7th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Baku, Azerbaijan
- Enhanced Cooperation: from deadlock to dialogue. Reflections on what
needs to be done (Day 3, 27 February, 14.30-16.00, conference room 8, UNESCO headquarters) – aimed at
enabling frank and constructive dialogue on enhanced cooperation in Internet
governance, co-organized with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and the Internet Society (ISOC)
In addition, several ICC BASIS members will be co-organizing and contributing to sessions on key topics such as local content development, multilingualism, and the free flow of information.
Part of the WSIS review process, this meeting is the first of its kind since the Tunis agenda was signed by heads of state in 2005 and is designed to provide analysis and an assessment of progress made to date in achieving WSIS goals with the participation of all stakeholders. ICC BASIS will also be actively participating in the open consultation and multistakeholder advisory group meetings that will take place at UNESCO after the WSIS +10 review event to prepare the next Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Bali in October 2013.