Harness power of ICTs and Internet to accelerate Global Goal, annual governance forum hears

  • 7 December 2016
ICC digital growth

The 11th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) got underway in Guadalajara, Mexico on Tuesday, the first edition of the annual meeting to take place since a United Nations’ 10-Year Review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS +10), in 2015, extended the IGF mandate for a further 10 years.

Each year the IGF brings together representatives of all sectors for open, multistakeholder discussions on Internet governance policy issues.

Enabling business participation

Speaking on behalf of the private sector during the Forum’s opening ceremony, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Board Member and Chair of ICC Mexico Maria Fernanda Garza said: “Since 2006, ICC has enabled many representatives from its global network to come to the IGF each year – under the umbrella of its Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) Initiative – to engage with our colleagues from civil society, government and the technical community…with the purpose of building common understanding of the opportunities and challenges presented by the evolution of the information society and the digital economy.”

The four-day forum is dedicated to knowledge sharing, best practice exchange and capacity building aimed at arming policymakers with the information they need to make informed decisions relating to Internet governance. Discussions this year take place under the broad theme of Enabling Inclusive and Sustainable Growth.

“Internet governance dialogue is critical to shape the evolution of global communication and knowledge exchange necessary for inclusive and sustainable growth,” Ms Garza said.

Private sector SDG commitment

Ms Garza added: “Last year, ICC acted as the business focal point in the many processes that led to the creation of the 2030 Development Agenda and its landmark Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). And we recognised that to reach the SDGs we need to harness the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to accelerate sustainable development.”

Outlining contributing factors for ensuring an enabling environment for ICTs to facilitate inclusive and sustainable development, Ms Garza said that the private sector was committed to continuing to play its part in advancing the 2030 agenda in collaboration with all stakeholders.

Reducing inequalities

To highlight a concrete example of how ICT can contribute to SDG number 10 – reduced inequalities – ICC BASIS is supporting the participation of social enterprise Laboratoria at the 2016 IGF. Laboratoria empowers young women from low-income backgrounds, in several Latin American countries, by giving them access to training and jobs in the digital sector.

Delivering a message on behalf of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during the opening ceremony, Lenni Montiel, Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) said: “Internet and ICTs can empower women, generate efficiencies in industrial and agricultural production, and safeguard the environment. Let us address the challenges we face by empowering people everywhere with transformative technologies so that they can help build a better future for all.”