Home » News & Speeches » ICC Chair Maria Fernanda Garza appointed to UN Internet Governance Forum Leadership Panel

The recently elected Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Maria Fernanda Garza has been appointed to serve on the United Nations Secretary-General’s inaugural Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Leadership Panel.

In line with the mandate of the IGF and as recommended in the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, the UN Secretary-General established a new Leadership Panel as a strategic, empowered, and multi-stakeholder body to support and strengthen the forum.

ICC Chair Maria Fernanda Garza and nine other distinguished members were appointed to the inaugural panel following an open call for nominations to address strategic and urgent issues and highlight forum discussions and possible follow-up actions, in order to promote greater impact.

Hailing from all regions of the world and serving a two-year term during the 2022–23 IGF cycles, the complete, inaugural panel is as follows:

  • Maria Fernanda Garza, Mexico
  • Vint Cerf, United States of America
  • Hatem Dowidar, Egypt
  • Lise Fuhr, Denmark
  • Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Estonia
  • Maria Ressa, Philippines and United States of America
  • Mr. Alkesh Kumar Sharma, India
  • Ms. Karoline Edtstadler, Austria
  • ‘Gbenga Sesan, Nigeria
  • Lan Xue, China

Recognised as one of the most significant outcomes of the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the IGF annual event brings together the global Internet governance community and is a unique platform for candid and open discussion on the future governance of the Internet. The 17th edition of the forum is set to take place from 28 November to 2 December 2022, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Reacting to her appointment, Ms Garza said: “The Internet and digital technologies are key enablers of international trade, economic development and innovation. Global leaders must continue to work together to promote a globally connected, stable and unfragmented Internet, expand connectivity, enable data free flows, increase efforts to strengthen cybersecurity, and preserve the multi-stakeholder model for Internet governance. I look forward to contributing to the Leadership Panel’s important work at a critical moment for the future of Internet governance.”

ICC’s Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) is the primary source for business input and has been the de facto focal point for business since the IGF was launched. This has enabled thoughtful discussion and dissemination of best practices for the express purpose of enabling more countries to realise the economic and societal benefits of digital transformation.

As the leading private sector representative, ICC BASIS ensures business is represented in relevant discussions at all levels to exchange perspectives with governments and other stakeholders on recent developments. Its goal is to demonstrate the value of business’ role and engagement in policy discussions and to ensure that governance of the Internet remains open, secure, stable and inclusive.

Recently appointed as Chair of ICC, Ms Garza is CEO of Orestia, a small manufacturing home improvement solutions company based in Mexico, with exports to the USMCA region, Latin-America and Asia. She is a lifelong advocate for small and medium businesses in her home country and around the world.

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