Internet Governance Forum 2015: opening remarks by ICC BASIS Chair Ilham Habibie

  • 9 November 2015

ICC BASIS Chair Ilham Habibie’s opening remarks, Joao Pessoa, Brazil 9 November 2015

ICC BASIS Chair Ilham Habibie’s opening remarks, Joao Pessoa, Brazil 9 November 2015

Thank you honourable Ministers, our host country Brazil, and distinguished participants.

I am here on behalf of the International Chamber of Commerce whose global network reaches over 6 million member companies and associations in 130 countries.

I am Chair of Business Action to Support the Information Society, best known here as ICC BASIS. I encourage those of you interested in knowing more about us to visit us at our booth, or online.

At this significant 10-year juncture of the IGF – we welcome this chance to consider the evolution of Internet governance: in particular to concentrate our collective talents, expertise and experience on how Internet policies can advance the sustainable development goals.

I want to first take a moment to recognise the extraordinary investment, of time and energy that is made each year by the volunteer members of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group as well as by the Chair, host country organizers, the IGF secretariat and UN DESA.

Witnessing the enthusiasm and participation of so many stakeholders, you can pride yourselves on building the IGF as it was intended – a representative and inclusive forum on Internet governance.

Over 10 years the IGF has evolved into an increasingly well-formatted opportunity to draw in diverse views.

These perspectives enrich debates about governance OF the Internet along with issues regarding governance ON the Internet.

The IGF does not produce treaties or negotiated outcome documents. It contributes enormously to developing a deeper understanding and dialogue that nurtures policy decisions that are more informed, more legitimate, and that avoid unintended consequences.

It is important that we continue to invest in the value that the IGF delivers and build on its strengths. This includes augmenting the voice of stakeholders from developing economies and strengthening the nascent links between this annual event and regional and local IGFs to leverage more detailed insight and emerging issues to make this forum more in tune and more relevant than ever.

As we all know, the Sustainable Development Goals were launched in September by the United Nations.

The 17 targets aim to secure a safer and more prosperous future for generations ahead, with a higher quality of life for everyone.

Attainment of all 17 goals will rely, in varying degrees – on ICTs both connected over the Internet and in back end-systems.

Private sector investment into technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, has transformed the Internet from an information exchange network, to the platform for sustainable social and economic development it is today.

From e-health services or water distribution projects, to providing solutions for reducing carbon footprints, the private sector leverages the Internet every day to:

  • improve the living conditions of people,
  • bridge the gaps that create inequalities,
  • and protect and renew the planet’s resources.

Business engagement with other stakeholders is prerequisite to advance the UN goals in an economically viable manner. With continuing cooperation and the right policy environment, we can do much more to address remaining gaps and connect the next billion, and in the end, in a hopefully not too distant future, everybody on the planet.

Today, just weeks away from the UN General Assembly high-level meeting that will mark the conclusion of the 10-year review of WSIS, we applaud the strong support expressed by many governments and stakeholders for an inclusive, open multistakeholder approach to Internet governance and a 10-year extension of the IGF.

We appreciate you recognizing the value of the engaging non-governmental stakeholders. Already, there are so many projects and activities that have benefitted from this stakeholder cooperation.

While there is no time right now to list the countless examples, I can say with great confidence that over the coming 4 days in workshops and main sessions, you will hear many ways in which these collective efforts bear fruit.

We have come a very long way on the Internet governance road.

At this crucial milestone let us reaffirm our commitments and refocus our efforts to meet the development aspirations set out in the Geneva and Tunis agendas when the WSIS began.

Thank you.