Cross stakeholder cooperation a must for reaching global sustainability goals, IGF hears

  • 26 November 2015
ICC Conference and events

The ways in which cooperation across stakeholders can drive sustainable development was the focus of discussions during an Internet Governance Forum (IGF) workshop that brought together representatives from business, government, the technical community, civil society and academia in João Pessoa, Brazil.

Setting the scene workshop moderator Paul Mitchell of Microsoft noted 2015 as an important year to take stock of the progress made in reaching the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) action lines and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Under the theme of empowering sustainable development, the 2015 IGF brought to the forefront plentiful examples of how multistakeholder collaboration was primordial in advancing on the path towards the 2030 Agenda.

Representatives from the World Bank, the Government of Argentina and Facebook identified some of the important challenges organizations and individuals face when developing sustainable development initiatives and highlighted the ways in which they could be overcome with the support of multistakeholder collaboration.

Participating remotely in the session, Andrew Wilson of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), underscored the importance of building trust to create more balanced public-private dialogues. “Governments are not always prepared to dialogue with private sector, especially in emerging markets,” he said. “There is a big trust issue to overcome but once policymakers understand there is a win-win situation, progress is made.”

During the discussions, speakers highlighted how the IGF provides a unique opportunity for stakeholders from diverse sectors and regions of the world to exchange views and share best practices, and called for further support for the IGF mandate in the 10-year WSIS review process which concludes next month.

Matthew Shears of the Center for Technology and Democracy said that now that the SDGs had been approved there was an ideal opportunity to align with the WSIS goals.

BASIS member Ankhi Das of Facebook India explained how Facebook’s strategy was to look at the partnership model, explaining barriers to entry as infrastructure, affordability and, once online, access to relevant services.

There is a big trust issue to overcome but once policymakers understand there is a win-win situation, progress is made.

Josie Brocca from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development underscored the importance of continuing to bring the voices of all stakeholders to discussions. “It is important that the different stakeholder groups continue ensuring their views are shared,” she said. “Then we’ll see an evolution in what we’re calling multistakeholderism.”

Remote participant Segun Olugbile from Continental Project Affairs Associates, Africa ICT Alliance (AFICTA) said that good governance was imperative to laying the foundations of the SDGs. “Good governance stimulates positive development and the Internet plays a key role for multistakeholder convergence for good governance,” he said.

Highighting how the Internet has acted as a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity, the workshop, Multistakeholder practices enabling sustainable development, was hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS), the International Centre for Democracy and Technology, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Global Partners Digital, the Government of Egypt, the Internet Society (ISOC) and NetHope.

For more information on this workshop and to view the workshop report please click here.