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Panel 3: The way forward: Harnessing information and communications technologies for development

Panel 3: The way forward: Harnessing information and communications technologies for development

Comments of Joseph Alhadeff, Oracle, Chief Privacy Strategist, Vice President, Global Public Policy

Excellencies, distinguished panelists, and delegates my name is Joseph Alhadeff, I am Oracle’s Vice President for Global Public Policy and the Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce’s Digital Economy Commission. I want to thank the UN and the organizers for the opportunity to participate in this forum. The expertise that stakeholders can provide to this process will help continue to foster the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines and the related Sustainable Development Goals

ICC represents thousands of member companies in over 120 countries spanning multinational companies, SMEs, as well as chambers of commerce, business and trade associations. After coordinating business input to the WSIS, ICC launched the BASIS initiative to bring business experience and expertise to the processes and forums established by the WSIS including the IGF, the WSIS Forum, the CSTD, and meetings related to the WSIS 10-Year Review. Oracle actively participates in both ICC and BASIS.

As a global Information Technology company, Oracle has a long experience in implementing hardware and software solutions and services that support enhanced operations, effectiveness and efficiencies across sectors including health, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, retail ,utilities, education, and government as well as across functions including operations management, human resources management, skills development, resource management, sustainable consumption, tax, treasury, and citizen services by working in strategic partnership with organizations in both developed and developing economies.

I highlight the breadth, depth and nature of our engagements because it addresses some essential elements that answer the question: what is the way forward to best harness ICTs for development.

  • ICTs are relevant across virtually all sustainable development goals. The broad range of technology solutions must be considered – high and low tech. Technical solutions need to work in the environment in which they are deployed. That being said, it must also be noted that emerging technologies like Cloud and the Internet of Things as well as the data analytics that support them can usefully be applied to maximize agricultural yields, improve food safety and security, help manage natural resources, support efficiencies in utilities, improve rural health delivery, enhance environmental protection, enable citizen services, develop smart cities and enhance economic growth and provide other societal benefits.
  • ICTs are a means not an end. How do we work collectively to better define the problems that need to be addressed and find the technology, policy and process solutions best tailored to solve them?
  • As noted above, technology plays a large role, but must be appropriately supported by people, policies and processes in implementation to be successful. All participants need to work collaboratively to address this more holistic approach to ICT projects.
  • There needs to be a facilitating policy environment (regulatory framework, range of financing and investment opportunities, information flows, etc.) in place to enable the companies to innovate, invest and operate; these needs exist across companies from Multinationals to SMEs.
  • Technologies require certain infrastructure in terms of electricity and communications, but business may also require roads, transport and logistics as well as linguistic, entrepreneurial and technical skills in the workforce. We need to work cooperatively to define and address these needs.
  • Finally, moving from pure vendor relationships to more strategic partnerships enables business to more effectively participate in needs definition as well as operating in public private partnership to help foster identified skills development and capacity building needs, through new as well as existing initiatives

Over the last ten years technologies have developed that can create substantial enhancements and efficiencies across sectors and applications. Furthermore technologies are also becoming more accessible to users; both in terms of needed skills and disabilities, thus providing the potential to enhance user empowerment and inclusion. This is what the technology has the potential to do. It must be implemented correctly and in a way appropriate to the need it’s addressing to deliver on this promise. The concepts outlined in the bullets above help address some of the needed foundations for success. We need to better share information about lessons learned from implementations as well as existing initiatives that can help develop needed skills and capacities.

The IGF, and its regional and national supporting counterparts, provides a valuable and unique forum to learn about these solutions, discuss the challenges to their beneficial implementation, discover the needed policy environments and exchange information on case studies and related practices. Continuing the IGFs funding and mandate, while improving the portability of this knowledge and experience, will help further the Sustainable Development Goals and foster continued implementation of the relevant WSIS action lines.

Business looks forward to continued engagement on these important issues, and I thank you again for the opportunity to share these views.