ICC BASIS recommends competitiveness, openness, and security to capitalize efforts in reaching the SDGs and get the next billion online

  • 4 December 2015
ICC digital growth

In an Internet Governance Forum (IGF) main session on Internet economy and sustainable development, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) members underscored the need for accountability and transparency.

ICC BASIS members underscored the need for accountability and transparency in reaching the sustainable development goals and emphasized the value in cross stakeholder partnerships in mobilizing the power of information communication technologies (ICTs) for sustainable development.

Secretary General United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), Mr. Lenni Montiel opened the session by noting the timely presence of sustainable development in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) +10 review currently being undertaken by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). “The role of ICTs and the Internet as an enabler of sustainable development has been repeatedly emphasized by both developed and developing countries, by state, by governments and stakeholders alike” he said.

Moderator of the session, ICC BASIS Officer Joe Alhadeff of Oracle invited participants to consider how they foresaw the information economy moving towards 2030, and what trends were present in that direction from 2015.

Sergio Quiroga da Cunha, Head of Latin America at Ericsson provided examples of where partnerships between government, private sector and academia are needed to improve ICT training for public officials, ICT based delivery systems, healthcare, education, and infrastructure. “Business-as-usual will not be sufficient to achieve the sustainable development goals. We need partnerships” Mr Quiroga da Cunha said.

Echoing points made on the importance of developing the right business and investment ecosystem for local players, Adjunct Professor at Division of Finance and Economics at the Columbia Institute of Tele Information Raul Katz said “We need to create the right conditions for the private sector to intervene, to accelerate their investment to be willing to take risks in these new environments for developing applications and services.”

The session heard how ICTs were relevant across all sustainable development goals (SDGs) and ICC BASIS members offered plentiful examples of private sector engagement in sustainable development.

Business-as-usual will not be sufficient to achieve the sustainable development goals. We need partnerships.

Chair of Africa ICT Alliance (AfICTA) and ICC BASIS member Jimson Olufuye called for more transparency, and accountability, going forward in efforts to meet the SDG targets. “It needs to be easy for everyone to see the outcome of the huge resources that will be budgeted into this focus” he said. Mr Olufuye went on to share efforts Nigeria has undertaken to encourage inclusive multistakeholder initiatives.

Panelists explored how public policies, both at national, regional and global levels, can use the transformative power of technology to meet the SDG targets. Stressing the importance of policies empowering access ICC BASIS Officer Hossam El-Gamal said “We need competitiveness, transparency, security, and openness to encourage investment and to bring the next billion online”.

A recurring point of discussion surrounded opportunities for local content and many interventions from the floor called for synced efforts by all stakeholders to get more people online. “We are developing these applications, we are looking at projection, looking at beneficial solutions that are going to be applied in a local area and obviously the development of local content and local application plays an important role,” said Mr Alhadeff.

Underlining ICTs as relevant across all SDGs and pillars of sustainable development, discussion explored synergies between the SDGs and WSIS action lines, and the practical measures towards their implementation. Panelists highlighted the importance of having practical and accountable mechanisms for measuring the implementation of the SDGs and noted how technology itself will be key in assessing progress made.

The IGF main session on the Internet Economy and Sustainable Development was co-facilitated by ICC BASIS Officer and IGF multistakeholder advisory group (MAG) member Hossam El-gamal.

The recording and transcript can be found here.

A video recording of the session can be found here.