Business heads to e-summit as key provider of solutions

  • 17 February 2003

Business is ready to reprise its role as the "key provider of solutions" at the upcoming UN Summit on the Information Society but only if governments play their part, ICC Secretary-General Maria Livanos Cattaui said today.

Speaking before a press conference at the summit’s preparatory meeting, Mrs Cattaui said business had already proven its “implementor” credentials at two previous UN Summits (UN Summit on Financing for Development, Monterrey, March 2002 and World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, September 2002) and was ready to do so again at the upcoming summit in Geneva.

“Business comes to Geneva in the same spirit of partnership with which it attended Monterrey and Johannesburg,” said ICC Secreatary-General Maria Livanos Cattaui. “We were encouraged at these two previous UN Summits by the recognition by governments that business is part of the solution.

“Business is at the implementation end of this equation – no one else has the experience, wherewithal or means to take the concept of an information society out of the realm of cyberspace and into the realm of the everyday.

“Its entrepreneurial skill, its international reach, its ability to mobilise both people and capital with relative ease, makes business a vital player in this process.”

But Cattaui added that the ultimate responsibility for creating the right conditions for an information society rested with governments.

She stressed that a pre-requisite for any information society was strong, local economies.

“There is a simple equation at work here which cannot be ignored,” she said. “An informatio n society will only exist where there is a stable local economy. Stable economies require dedicated business investment. Business will only invest where it makes sound financial sense to do so.

“It is incumbent on governments to recognise this and create pro-competitive policy and regulatory frameworks and sound legal and governance structures such that their countries are attractive to private sector investment.”

ICC – the International Chamber of Commerce ( – is the official coordinator of the business contribution to the UN World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva, December 10-12).

ICC is the world business organization. It is the world’s largest, most representative private sector association with member companies across 140 nations.