Home / News & Speeches / ICC BASIS opening remarks at the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), Geneva

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

[Introductory comments]

  • Excellencies, distinguished participants
  • It is an honour and pleasure for me to join all of you here today at the beginning of an important session of the CSTD
  • 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 is the world business organization. Representing thousands of member companies in over 120 countries. ICC was founded in 1919 by a group of businessmen who believed that business and world trade offer a path to world peace and prosperity. The membership spans fortune 500 companies, SMEs, as well as chambers of commerce, business and trade associations.
  • After coordinating business input to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva and Tunis and the preparatory processes, ICC launched the BASIS initiative in 2006 to bring business experience and expertise to the processes and forums established by the WSIS including the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the WSIS action lines forum and the CSTD
  • BASIS members include companies and associations from around the world and across sectors

[Business and the priority themes]

  • The value of science and technology, and information and communication technologies (ICTs), to help address the world’s critical issues
  • The priority themes for this year’s CSTD are a) Science, technology and innovation for sustainable cities and peri-urban communities and b) Internet broadband for an inclusive digital society are important to business
  • Business drives innovation and the development of technologies and invests, 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 [governments, business, the Internet technical community and civil society] that promote innovation for sustainable cities and that will help bring Internet broadband to more people around the world.
  • Internet broadband, the second priority theme, presents important opportunities and raises new issues for policymakers, and users from all stakeholder groups
  • Broadband has enabled new services essential for economic growth and of great societal benefit.
    • Cloud computing has driven down the cost of computing and democratized access to computing for both individual and commercial users.
    • The Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine computing means the world is more interconnected than ever with sensors enabling new interaction between objects, persons and their surroundings.
    • Finally Big Data – that combination of data in greater volume, ever more variety and increasing velocity of information change – coupled with powerful analytics is enabling new insights, treatments and personalization in medicine and health care, new and powerful information about transportation, how we use resources and how we impact our environment to improve urban planning, resource management, agriculture and sustainable consumption.
    • These benefits are not limited to the industrialized countries and some aspects of these applications are within reach of even the least developed countries especially in terms of addressing critical issues of water supply and land planning and management.
  • As Internet broadband becomes more accessible around the world understanding these opportunities and the needed policy approaches to data and related regulatory environments is critical
  • Along with these opportunities come responsibilities; governance and accountability as essential elements of both government and corporate structures.
  • Policymakers can benefit from close cooperation with business and other stakeholders to ensure legal, policy and regulatory approaches implemented will prepare them to maximize the Internet broadband and data opportunities.

[WSIS follow up]

  • Each year the CSTD has an important role in a) addressing science & technology issues that impact economic and social development, and b) follow up of the WSIS
  • These two responsibilities ( 1) Science and tech for development, and 2) assisting with WSIS follow up are inextricably linked and we value the CSTD’s commitment each year to work on them and develop constructive resolutions
  • WSIS +10 review process
    • The first WSIS +10 review event took place in February, organized by the lead facilitators of the action lines [UNESCO, ITU, UNCTAD, UNDP], at UNESCO in Paris
    • We thank Ambassador Janis Karklins and his team, and the Director General of UNESCO for their efforts as well as all of the WSIS action lines facilitators
    • This was a very successful and inclusive event
    • Included all stakeholders in the preparations
    • Substantive discussions took place among all stakeholders on some of the key WSIS goals
    • The outcome document was developed with all stakeholders and we are pleased to see how that process and document went
    • We believe the inclusive nature of this event should be the model for the broader WSIS +10 review process and other events
  • Enhanced cooperation
    • EC has been discussed in the CSTD, IGF, at the WSIS +10 review event in February, and in many other forums and processes
    • The working group on enhanced cooperation established by the CSTD Chair is an important step toward understanding the present status of enhanced cooperation discussions and will have an opportunity to identify examples across all stakeholders’ perspectives of the status
    • Particularly important to business that this group is inclusive of all stakeholders. We thank the Chair of the CSTD from Peru Palomino de la Gala and the CSTD members
    • We believe the participation of all stakeholders in the work of that group will be critical
    • Encourage the working group to focus on helping to assess and document by inviting the global community to contribute examples of EC that exist and identify areas where improvements could be made. This will make the group’s work effective and we call on all stakeholders to actively contribute to this effort
    • As business contributors, we look forward to the working group’s analysis, and publication of any assessments and suggestions on how to address any remaining areas of improvements among all stakeholders to achieve the promise of the Information Society

[IGF]

  • Each year BASIS members participate in the preparations for the IGF, and many participated in the consultation and multi-stakeholder advisory group meetings in May
  • The IGF in Indonesia preparations are off to a very good start and we look forward to an innovative programme with substantive discussions on a range of Internet governance issues
  • We appreciate the efforts of the Indonesian government and multi-stakeholder programme committee and look forward to having strong business participation again this year at the IGF

Conclusion:

The Post-WSIS processes and IGF have played an important role in enabling dialog 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. This structure has enabled Multi-Stakeholder participation to reach levels of meaning and understanding that provide useful understanding and inputs that can support work in other fora that are more deeply mired in document creation. 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. Enhanced cooperation leading to enhanced understanding has the great potential to yield enhanced opportunity in both the digital economy and information society for the greater benefit of all involved. Please don’t underestimate the importance of this work and enhanced cooperation.

Thank you. I wish all a productive week of meetings.