WSIS +10 High-Level Event 10 June 2014, Geneva
Thank you for this opportunity to speak on behalf of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and its BASIS (Business Action to Support the Information Society) initiative.
Our special thanks to ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré as well as the WSIS Action Line Facilitators – UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP and to all stakeholders at this event.
The International Chamber of Commerce represents business from all sectors in every part of the world. Its global network comprises over 6.5 million companies, chambers of commerce and business associations in more than 130 countries. Around the world, these are the companies – many of which are SMEs – that compete, invest and innovate to build the vast majority of the goods and services that fuel the information society.
Founded in 1919, ICC’s mission is to promote an open global economy that encourages cross-border trade and investment by business to foster job creation, sustainable development and improve living standards.
BASIS, the Business Action to Support the Information Society, was established in 2006 to coordinate the voice and views of business to the post-WSIS activities.
A central theme to the BASIS work is to highlight that policies that promote private sector investment, competition, trade and innovation in and across markets will help the information society flourish. Great ideas know no boundaries, unless restrictions are placed in their path.
Penetration of information and communication technologies from broadband to mobile and developments in cloud computing and the Internet of Things provide opportunities for economic growth, development of new businesses, job creation and societal benefit. These technologies can lower barriers to entry into new economic opportunities, can make useful, real-time information available in rural areas and can be accessed by ever larger segments of the population with increasing mobile connectivity. The private ICT sector enables every other sector of the economy, or government and of education.
Proper consideration and management of Internet governance and related policy issues can provide the needed foundation for these positive economic and societal developments.
WSIS has recognized that the Information Society is about all stakeholders and the important interplay among civil society, business, technical/academia, and government representation. The Information Society requires cooperation and dialogue between policymakers, business and all relevant stakeholders on an equal footing.
Therefore, ICC and BASIS believe that the continued evolution and implementation of the multistakeholder approach is essential for Internet and information policy dialogues as well as for achieving the WSIS Action Line goals.
This includes the continued focus on topics of importance to developing countries. The implementation of the WSIS Action Lines is critical to businesses around the world both in developing and developed countries.
The participation and representation of developing countries is crucial for the contribution of diverse perspectives in Internet governance debates. Furthermore, ICT innovations create unprecedented opportunities and prosperity for developed as well as developing nations.
As per ICC’s policy briefing tool (July 2012), there is a strong link between increased telecommunication penetration (particularly mobile phones) and faster economic and social development to improve living conditions in developing countries in particular. While developing countries are already seizing these opportunities, greater attention needs to be paid to highlighting opportunities and facilitating participation and capacity building for developing countries.
This is also relevant for the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and its national and regional initiatives where participation of developing countries is essential. The IGF is an outcome of WSIS, and was established to be an inclusive and open platform for the discussion of Internet governance policy issues, including concrete experiences and policy challenges.
Business supports the principles contained in the Geneva Declaration of Principles of the WSIS process, calling for cooperation of all stakeholders. The IGF is a unique global public policy forum that provides a key venue for much-needed multistakeholder dialogue and should therefore be strengthened.
The WSIS Action Line Forum has always been a special opportunity for sharing experiences about local and national initiatives. With this event, we are celebrating 10 years of WSIS achievements, and reviewing the progress made in the implementation of the WSIS outcomes to determine how best to build on these achievements.
As WSIS evolves, it has become a motivator for improving connectivity and universal, equal and affordable access to/and of use of ICTs. In its important role of gathering stakeholders’ experiences and information, WSIS is giving people the opportunity to learn how initiatives are working, to identify challenges while putting actions into place, and to explore how to improve and replicate these initiatives.
WSIS is part of a continuum. In this role, business welcomes the continuation of WSIS and strongly encourages the evolution of a WSIS vision beyond 2015 that builds upon its existing achievements.