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ICC BASIS opening ceremony remarks at the WSIS Forum Geneva, 26 May 2015.

Outline of remarks by ICC Commission on the Digital Economy Chair Joseph Alhadeff, Chief Privacy Strategist and Vice President for Global Public Policy at Oracle Corporation

[Introductory comments]

  • Excellencies, distinguished participants
  • It is an honour and pleasure for me to join you here today at the Opening of this 2015 WSIS Forum.
  • I am speaking today on behalf of the International Chamber of Commerce, its Commission on the Digital Economy and its BASIS initiative, Business Action to Support the Information Society.
  • ICC membership spans large multinational companies, SMEs, as well as chambers of commerce, business and trade associations from all regions and across all sectors across 120 countries.
  • ICC convened business during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva and Tunis and the preparatory processes, and through ICC BASIS has since ensured business experience and expertise are part of the post-WSIS activities including the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the WSIS action lines forum and the CSTD, among others.
  • Business investment is an important engine in the growth of the economy that is made possible where the right policy environments are in place. Such policy environments enable emerging economies to benefit from new technologies like cloud, IOT and Big Data.
  • ICC believes that the WSIS process has fueled significant progress in realizing the “people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society” envisaged in the Geneva Declaration of 2003.
  • IGF’s commitment to inclusion, innovation and partnership has enabled all stakeholders to work together to advance the knowledge society. We are still on the path to our shared goal of fully realising that vision. Our task now should be to understand where further advances can be achieved from all that we have learned over the last ten years. ICC BASIS considers that a clear lesson from the last ten years is that the best formula for success is for all stakeholders to work collaboratively toward common goals.
  • The IGF has become an evolving laboratory in multistakeholder participation that is neutral, non-duplicative, and non-binding, enabling much-needed bottom-up dialogue as the digital economy, exchange of best practices, and the building of invaluable interpersonal relationships. Perhaps most important, the IGF has demonstrated to policy makers and decision makers in governments, in particular, the benefits of a forum enabling multistakeholder discourse. Discussion is an essential element to creating outcomes and the IGF is a unique forum for such foundational discussions.
  • ICC BASIS believes that the renewal of the IGF is a key component in ensuring that the multistakeholder community effectively engages in the effort to foster ICT for sustainable development and post-2015 realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • ICC BASIS remains ready to assist in facilitating ways in which all stakeholders, and in particular the business community, can continue to provide input into the important UNGA consultations on the WSIS+10 Review and more broadly in identifying how the Internet economy can be enabled to best advance the global SDGs.
  • Business drives innovation through the development of technologies and new business models and thus has an essential role in addressing these goals.
  • We believe that at the heart of achieving these goals is the multi-stakeholder approach to developing policy, legal and regulatory frameworks with the input and cooperation of all stakeholders that promote innovation for sustainable development and that will help bring Internet access and capacity to people around the world.

The Post-WSIS processes and IGF have played an important role in enabling dialogue with other stakeholders in productive fora not bound by the limitations of topics or conversations that invariably occur in the process of statement or document negotiation. Dialog is an essential outcome in and of itself and the first step towards any more portable and practical solutions. Furthermore, the regional initiatives and meetings supporting these processes have provided an opportunity for more direct engagement with local stakeholders in the regions that can make use of this enhanced understanding. Thank you. I wish you all a very fruitful exchange this week.