Internet Governance Forum 2016 opening ceremony: remarks by María Fernanda Garza ICC Mexico Chair
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Board Member and Chair of ICC Mexico Maria Fernanda Garza speaking on behalf of the private sector at the opening ceremony of the 11th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Guadalajara, Mexico, on 5 December 2016.
Buenas tardes. My name is Maria Fernanda Garza. I am Chairwoman of the International Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, and a member of the global board of directors. I am also the CEO and founder of several entreprises outside of the ICT sector. I am pleased to be here speaking on behalf of ICC, the World Business Organization, a global network of over 6.5 million companies of all sizes and sectors in 130 countries.
Since 2006, ICC has enabled many representatives from its network to come to the IGF each year, under the umbrella of its Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) Initiative to engage with our colleagues from civil society, government, and the technical community; with the purpose of building common understanding of the opportunities and challenges presented by the evolution of the information society and the digital economy.
The business sector that comes to the IGF each year is committed to the goal of the World Summit of Information Society of “achieving a common vision, desire, and commitment to build a people-centric, inclusive, and development-oriented information society where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information”.
On this context, we see the Internet as:
- a boundless platform for products and services innovation, business opportunities, and social inclusion;
- a critical enabler of social and economic change; and
- a facilitator of greater dialogue and collaboration between governments, businesses, and citizens.
Internet influence on access, diversity, trust, openness, security, rights, and multistakeholder participation will impact our ability to manage socio-economic aspects of Sustainable Development. Therefore, Internet Governance is a critical dialogue to shape the evolution of global communication and knowledge exchange, necessary for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth.
The IGF chose for its 2016 theme: Enabling Inclusive and Sustainable Growth. We cannot think of a more fitting topic for the Internet community to focus its collective energy on. I understand, in this first year of its new 10-year mandate, that the IGF has taken some important steps to pursue inclusivity; in the event itself and in the programme. This has been done both through outreach and active engagement of national and regional initiatives. It has also been achieved through community driven inter-sessional activities and best practice forum work.
In its aim to be more inclusive, the IGF not only faces outward with outstretched arms but also rallies the global Internet community to engage with local communities. This is important to raise awareness and to develop an understanding of why the topics we are addressing here at the IGF are important locally. It also informs on how to engage and be part of the conversation.
I encourage all communities represented here to continue this active effort to bring in new voices that will enrich our discussions.
Last year, ICC acted as the key focal point for business in the many processes that led to the creation of the 2030 Development Agenda and its landmark Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). And we recognized that to reach the SDGs we need to harness the potential of information and communication technologies to accelerate sustainable development.
ICC BASIS wants to celebrate inclusion and share an example of how ICT can contribute to SDG number 10 – reduced inequalities. That is why we have supported the participation of the social entreprise Laboratoria at this year’s IGF. Laboratoria empowers young women from low-income backgrounds, in several Latin America countries, by giving them access to education and jobs in the digital sector.
Internet governance and ICC
The private sector is committed to playing its part in advancing this agenda in collaboration with other stakeholders. This includes helping to ensure an enabling environment for ICT to facilitate inclusive and sustainable development is rooted in:
- A safe and secure Internet; for business, governments, and citizens alike;
- A fully interoperable policy and legal framework;
- Strict respect for human rights, both online and off-line;
- An open and competitive market for Internet and Internet-enabled products and services, vital for many emerging small- and medium-sized enterprises in developing economies; and
- Sound policy development to facilitate the speedy adoption of new technologies that augment the use of Internet as a platform for innovation and economic growth.
ICC is committed to doubling efforts to ensure that the evolution of Internet Governance is good for business and good for society, staying faithful to the tenet that international trade, investment, and a market economy system are cornerstones of raising and spreading wealth.
Thank you for joining us here in Mexico for a new round of dialogue and progress for Internet Governance. We look forward to working with all actors for a more connected, inclusive, and sustainable future for all.