Internet Governance Forum 2015: Opening speech by Ellen Blackler

  • 10 November 2015

Internet Governance Forum 2015: Opening speech by ICC BASIS member Ellen Blackler of The Walt Disney Company, Joao Pessoa, Brazil 10 November 2015

Internet Governance Forum 2015: Opening speech by ICC BASIS member Ellen Blackler of The Walt Disney Company, Joao Pessoa, Brazil 10 November 2015

Boa Tarde. My name is Ellen Blackler. I work for The Walt Disney Company and am speaking on behalf of the BASIS initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce whose global network reaches 6 million companies of all sizes and sectors across 130 countries.

Representatives of the private sector come to the IGF each year to engage with our colleagues in civil society, government and the technical community;  build common understanding of the opportunities and challenges presented by the evolution of the information society and Internet economy – and identify policy options to address those challenges and leverage those opportunities.

ICC and the individual businesses that travel to the IGF each year are committed to the goals of the WSIS and to creating a path for continued, sustainable and inclusive growth for the digital economy.

These goals can be best achieved by working cooperatively across all stakeholders.  We support and advocate for effective and impactful multistakeholder approaches to Internet governance.  Progress towards our joint goals will be most successful when business, the technical community, government and civil society each have an active role in the development and assessment of policy issues and solutions.  This inclusion lowers the risk of unintended consequences, increases legitimacy and facilitates implementation.

Critical to our ability to deliver on the potential for inclusive and sustainable growth of the digital economy is our ability to create an enabling environment for investment, creativity and innovation in the development and deployment of broadband infrastructure and the products and services which use it.

Key elements of that enabling policy environment are:

  • Interoperable policy and legal frameworks rooted in the rule of law,
  • Respect for human rights
  • The encouragement of open and competitive markets throughout the digital value chain
  • A safe and secure ecosystem that engenders confidence of all users in   network availability, reliability, and resiliency, – one that protects business, consumers and other users from crime – and delivers effective cyber security practices and policies.

Where those components are in place, we are best positioned to advance an inclusive, open Internet that serves sustainable development goals.

  • This enabling environment as well as a strong recognition of the important role of voluntary commercial agreements and policies that promote efficiency through engineering-driven design, such as the creation of IXPs, will best drive investment and improve the availability of the infrastructure for connectivity  – a central need for developing economies looking to create a sustainable broadband ecosystem.
  • It will also best encourage continued innovation in the services, technologies and business models that will further reduce costs, increase bandwidth and drive adoption.
  • A positive enabling environment will increase the creation and availability of locally-relevant content, resources and tools in all the world’s languages, increasing adoption and allowing more users to realize the full potential of participating online.  Protections for the freedom of expression, the press, privacy and intellectual property, the development of e-commerce infrastructure, consumer protections, and trusted online payment systems are all important elements of the enabling environment for investment in that content.
  • This positive enabling environment is critical for greater progress towards full participation in the Digital Economy for the one billion people around the globe living with a disability who continue to experience a variety of barriers to accessing ICTs; and for women and others who find themselves on the wrong side of persistent digital divides; for the protection of children and for increased efforts to deliver capacity building and skills development.

The private sector is a critical partner in our efforts to reach these goals and we look forward to thoughtful and informative dialogue around connecting the next billion –  this week and at future IGFs for more years to come.