Global governance

Cooperation key to maximizing Internet and ICTs, ICC tells UN Commission

  • 23 May 2011

When it comes to development of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs), business stands at the forefront – as a dynamic innovator, investor and user, Herbert Heitmann, Chair of the ICC Commission on E-Business IT and Telecoms (EBITT), and Executive Vice President, External Communications, Royal Dutch Shell, told the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) today in Geneva.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the fourteenth session of the CSTD, Mr Heitmann said: “From fast tracking literacy rates to enhancing agricultural productivity, every day the products and services business develops are helping to empower and improve the lives of millions of people around the globe.”

Mr Heitmann told delegates that when the right conditions are put in place, the private sector can play an important role building infrastructure and delivering required goods.

“Business contributes to establishing enabling environments through education initiatives, promoting innovation and creativity, public – private research and development partnerships,” he said.

Mr Heitmann also emphasized the crucial need for cooperation to put in place the conditions that allow business to innovate and in turn, societies to prosper.

He cited the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) joint venture, which sponsored the development and deployment of skooolNigeria, an interactive web-based solution for the teaching and learning of mathematics and science subjects in Nigerian primary and secondary schools. The skooolNigeria website maintains an interactive learning platform for both students and teachers of primary, junior and senior secondary schools.

Referring to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) – a multistakeholder forum for policy dialogue on issues of Internet governance – Mr Heitmann stressed that improvements to the IGF should be discussed in a multistakeholder setting. He urged the CSTD to give more time to the working group on IGF improvements to ensure that the dialogue can continue with all stakeholders and that further progress could be made on areas such as IGF outcomes, funding, and increasing participation of a broader range of stakeholders, particularly from developing and less-developed countries.

“Despite the concerns of some stakeholders that the IGF does not produce written declarations or recommendations, the substance for recommendations do emerge at each IGF,” Mr Heitmann said. “It is incumbent upon us to find more ways to capture the range of recommendations and further inform policymaking around the world at the national, regional and international levels.”

In 2006, ICC launched its Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) initiative to bring business experience to the processes and forums established by the WSIS summits, including the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The IGF  brings together all relevant stakeholders on an equal footing to discuss and exchange experiences on Internet policy issues. The question of whether a special group established by the Chair of the CSTD to explore IGF improvements should be given more time to complete its work is a key decision before the 14th session of the CSTD.