General ICC BASIS intervention on IGF Rio topics – Geneva, Switzerland

  • 23 May 2007

by Ayesha Hassan

Thank you, Mr. Chairman; my name is Ayesha Hassan representing the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and its initiative, Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS).

We very much appreciate this opportunity to provide our views at this informal Consultation for the November 2007 Internet Governance Forum on how we believe the Forum can be structured and conducted. These build upon our comments of January 12, 2007 on the format and practical recommendations, entitled “ICC/BASIS Feedback on IGF Athens” that are attached to our written contribution to this meeting that can be found at the back of the room, and on the IGF and ICC websites.This first ICC/BASIS intervention will provide some general views regarding the 2007 IGF and our desire to have it contribute to creating an open, inclusive, people-centric, development oriented Information Society. Later we will discuss our thoughts on some of the specific topics that have been proposed for the meeting in Rio de Janeiro and how they might seek to achieve that objective.

Business once more re-iterates its strong belief that the IGF should focus on helping to spread the benefits of the Information Society to more people and involving more people in Internet related issues at the national, regional and international levels. In addition, given the IGF time constraints, it should allocate its time on matters that can benefit from the opportunity to share information about activities underway in many organizations.

We think that the first IGF was successful in this regard, and part of that was due to the form and format, one being having sessions addressing broad topics that related to the ability to provide an inclusive people centric information society, and two by having a format that stimulated free and open discussions recognizing that there would not be a need to prepare and negotiate a text, as has been noted in the written contribution of the Internet Society which states “Athens worked because it was multilateral, multistakeholder, democratic and transparent. And, it was an open environment free of the intergovernmental pressures of negotiated texts and political manoeuvring. Suggestions that might change the structure and nature of the IGF for Rio or future meetings need to be approached with great caution and carefully measured against both the IGF’s mandate and paragraph 77 of the Tunis Agenda.” ICC/BASIS joins this approach.

The ICC/BASIS, therefore, suggests that the following questions should be answered positively, and to add value for participants, in considering candidate topics for the November 2007 IGF:

ICC/BASIS believes that the answer to all of these questions should be “yes” regarding a topic before it is placed among the topics on the agenda for the second IGF.

In addition, ICC/BASIS makes the following general observations and proposals to assist in planning the November 2007 IGF meeting since the format of the main sessions will have an impact on how the topics are approached, and on the value provided to participants:

Mr Chairman, ICC/BASIS members believe that the general observations and proposals that we have just offered should allow the November IGF in Rio de Janeiro to build upon the success of the first IGF in Athens. Furthermore, we think that the questions that we have identified and proposed are important to answer positively in considering topics for the second IGF to ensure that it achieves the important objective of contributing to an open, inclusive, people-centric, development-oriented Information Society.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman