ICC BASIS Chair Ilham Habibie’s opening remarks, Istanbul 2-5 September 2014
- On behalf of the International Chamber of Commerce and its BASIS initiative (Business Action to Support the Information Society), I would first like to take a moment to thank our host country, Turkey, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) secretariat, and UN DESA for the opportunity to address you today.
- I would like to also extend my thanks to everyone else in attendance today and those who are joining us remotely. At this ninth IGF, the many stakeholders participating in discussions over the next few days are playing an invaluable role in contributing to the strength of the IGF as an open, representative forum for debate, and sharing experiences, regarding Internet governance.
- Its inclusive nature makes the IGF an ideal venue for enriching the discussion on policy creation – conversations that can contribute to bringing economic and social benefits to more people around the world.
- As the new Chair of ICC-BASIS, I thought it might be appropriate to provide a bit of my background, which will offer a better context to my remarks. I am a businessman, being also active in NGOs through which I am promoting a concept called ‘meaningful broadband’ for Indonesia, which I will explain later.
- In January 2014, I was also appointed by the Indonesian President to head the working team of Indonesia’s National ICT Council.
Comments to the multistakeholder model
- The unique IGF global public policy forum provides an important opportunity for much-needed multistakeholder dialogue. It is crucial that we continue to invest in the value that the IGF delivers.
- That means ensuring the multistakeholder model – of which the IGF is a prime example – is continually evaluated and strengthened to remain relevant and effective in the evolving Internet governance landscape.
- Many of you will have closely followed this year’s NETmundial meeting in Brazil, which marked an important moment in the discussion of Internet governance. One of the takeaways was NETmundial’s emphasis on the importance and validity of existing mechanisms, including the IGF – but equally, the need for constructive dialogue on how to strengthen the existing mechanisms.
- Improving multistakeholder accountability and the effectiveness of the IGF should have at its core the goal of enhancing the security, stability, privacy, resilience, and interoperability of the global Internet, and the ability to obtain its economic and social benefits while ensuring compliance with the rule of law.
Economic growth and equality
- ICC BASIS recognizes that businesses today, small and large, depend on a thriving Internet to operate in a variety of industry sectors and markets throughout the world. Henceforth, we must not lose sight of the continued need to focus on creating pro-growth, socially proactive policies designed to keep the Internet open for future generations.
- However, growth is only one economic parameter to be measured. As important is whether there is an opportunity for broad sharing of the economic and social benefit; how do various members of an economic community benefit from economic growth?
- As already indicated in my introductory remarks, in Indonesia we are using a concept called ‘meaningful broadband’, which was introduced by an organization called Digital Divide Institute through collaboration with Indonesian NGO’s and universities. This concept ensures that all members of our nation are not only well connected but can also use broadband in a meaningful, which should be a usable, affordable and empowering way.
- Only the right Internet governance principles and the right design of the national broadband ecosystem (infrastructure, tools, content etc.) ensures that the already existing economic disparity within our country is not amplified by a broadband gap, meaning that citizens benefit from the Internet in a different way, which would decrease economic equality.
- The right design of that broadband ecosystem will also enable governments to deliver their services in a better, faster and also more cost-efficient way.
Enhanced global and local cooperation
- Any discussion about Internet governance principles, frameworks or processes must be conducted in a multistakeholder format with all stakeholders appropriately represented in a transparent and accountable decision-making process.
- It is fundamental that we promote greater cooperation among existing organizations, including private sector-led, multistakeholder and intergovernmental (IGOs) to strengthen our existing Internet governance processes.
- I would like to point out that recent discussion events have been held in populous, strongly emerging countries (Indonesia, IGF 2013; Brazil, Netmundial 2014; Turkey, IGF 2014).
- These countries have been described as ‘political swing states’ (for the world economy) and can be categorized as having similar political and economic systems. It is possible that those countries will benefit in a similar positive way from well-designed Internet policies and broadband ecosystems and thereby could influence others to follow their example.
- In Indonesia, we are currently developing meaningful broadband ecosystems designs and policies through prototyping those in mid-level, ICT-capable test-markets (which are a stepping stone for development for other markets with lower ICT-capabilities) where (local) government, academia and businesses cooperate with one another.
- Business applauds the growing number of national and regional initiatives that have stemmed from the IGF. The strength of the current distributed, bottom-up Internet governance process is not only in its open and inclusive model – but in its ability to rapidly adapt to changing technologies and issues.
- Enabling the continued existence of an open and sustainable Internet does not come without challenges. The IGF provides us with a platform to work towards this goal and we must all take advantage of that opportunity this week.
- Good Internet governance is indeed mutually beneficial for all stakeholder of any country, including governments, academia and businesses and their respective organizations.
- As important, is to design and implement the appropriate broadband ecosystem, which should be meaningful (useable, affordable and empowering).
- If both are delivered well, all visions and missions of all stakeholders can be achieved with higher quality, faster delivery and more cost efficiency to reach a higher standard of life in the world.