ICC-BASIS intervention, Ayesha Hassan

  • 25 February 2009

Open Consultation-Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Open Consultation-Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Thank you, Chairman.

Thank you also for having Markus Kummer remind us of some of the questions that had been developed in September.

On behalf of ICC/BASIS and its membership from business and business associations around the world and across sectors, I wanted to provide a few of our initial thoughts and a first contribution about the benefits and opportunities that the IGF provides as a way to help to elaborate those questions as we go forward.

From our perspective, the IGF has initiated substantive discussions on key elements of Internet governance that have fostered the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet. The new session formats used at the IGF in Hyderabad were another step towards building greater human and institutional capacity on these issues, and the policy approaches and choices that impact them.

So as we look forward to building the questions that should be a part of the review process, part of what we should be doing is looking at the objectives of the review process and shaping that process to facilitate a broad range of input from all stakeholders.

The IGF in India also built on the experiences of Rio and Athens, bringing many organizations engaged in Internet-related activities together that dealt with the — that deal with cross-cutting international public policy issues such as the OECD, ITU, UNESCO, IETF, ICANN, ISOC, and many others. And it increased awareness about their work programs and activities.

The status of discussions on many issues, and, for instance, it highlighted issues on the horizon for many of these organizations individually.

We believe that the IGF in India once again brought together several intergovernmental organizations and other Internet-related organizations to exchange on issues that they work on through the open forums, workshops, and main sessions.

Business was very pleased with the increased emphasis on the exchange of best practices and the discussions about policy choices and challenges, and how they have been dealt with by different countries and stakeholders. And we believe that the IGF in Egypt can build on this effort and bring a wider range of scientific, academic, and technical communities from the region around the world.

Again, as we look at the questions that would hopefully be raised through the months ahead, we would be pleased to have the questions facilitate input from stakeholders on these kinds of benefits and opportunities and how they think the IGF can be improved.

For instance, the access discussions have been a productive example of bringing experience and options to stakeholders to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world, with a focus on the governance aspects of these issues.

This is part of the mandate of the IGF, and we look to the mandate of the IGF as also being a good source for elaborating the questions that would be useful through this review process.

Another element of the mandate of the IGF, we have seen several examples of individuals and organizations who are involved in other organizations and came to an IGF and are now involved in the IGF, and vice versa.

We have also seen examples of people who have connected at the IGF or learned about how they can participate in other organizations’ work of interest to them who are now participating actively in those activities.

Likewise, we have seen relationships formed between national governments, business, and other stakeholders from countries meeting at the IGF and forging new communication.

This is an important value-add for all, and these examples come from both developing as well as developed countries.

In the emerging issues session, we see another element of the IGF mandate fulfilled. The emerging issues sessions have been excellent opportunities to highlight the policy issues and challenges on the horizon. These sessions have been complemented by issues raised in workshops and main sessions and other dialogues on several topics.

And then in 2008, we saw the launch of several new national and regional Internet governance related initiatives and IGF awareness-raising events. We have applauded these initiatives and believe that they will serve to strengthen the involvement of local sources of knowledge and expertise in Internet governance issues at national, regional, and international level. This is hands-on capacity building or development, as my colleague from Diplo has underscored, and an excellent way of bringing developing countries’ interests into the global discussion.

We believe that more efforts to support the participation of local experts at the national, regional and international level should be a topic of further discussion, and this would ensure that this trend can continue on a positive and productive track.

We also saw that at the IGF in India, that we built on the discussions on critical Internet resources which had begun in Rio and several workshops and forums also contributed to the exchange on these issues.

This year, there were important discussions on key security and privacy issues, which raised awareness about what many organizations are doing on these matters.

The issues of use and abuse of the Internet and concerns of everyday users will continue to be matters that the IGF can play a real role in facilitating exchange of information, best practices, challenges, policy options, and emerging issues in this area.

We look to another element of the IGF’s mandate, and we see that the real-time transcripts of the sessions, the chairman’s report along with substantive inputs and synthesis papers, have been excellent substantive records of the discussions and proceedings.

By going through these elements, I hope I have contributed on behalf of ICC/BASIS some of the areas where we see the questions can be elaborated as we move this review process forward.

Thank you.