ICC brings together business leaders at first-ever virtual Internet Governance Forum

  • 29 October 2020

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is virtually convening business leaders to participate in the 15th annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to discuss pressing issues, like digital inclusion, data governance, trust online, environmental sustainability, and more.

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was launched in 2006 by the United Nations (UN) Secretary General to serve as a multi-stakeholder dialogue on key legal, political, social, and technical issues related to the Internet. Since the first forum held in Athens, Greece, the IGF has pioneered a new avenue for policy cooperation bringing people together from various stakeholder groups (governments, business, technical experts, and civil society), to consider public policy issues relating to the Internet.

ICC, through its Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) initiative, is the primary source for business input on the issues that matter in Internet governance discussions. ICC BASIS convenes business for the preparation of these important discussions, collects business inputs, places business speakers and leads a delegation to promote policies on these topics that impact all sectors of business everywhere in the world today.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s IGF is going fully virtual for the first time from 2-17 November 2020. Taking place under the theme of “Internet for human resilience and solidarity,” this year’s programme will develop around four thematic tracks: data, environment, inclusion, and trust. During the Forum’s first phase (2-6 November), delegates from over 160 countries will participate in pre-events newcomer and introductory sessions, as well as open forums hosted by national governments and international organizations, collaborative sessions by the various National and Regional IGF Initiatives (NRIs) and Dynamic Coalitions. As part of the Forum’s second phase (9-17 November), over 3000 delegates are expected to take part in more than 150 workshops, main and high-level sessions and a parliamentarian roundtable.

As with past editions, this year’s IGF will feature high-level participants from all stakeholder groups from around the globe, including, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres; Doris Leuthard, the former President of Switzerland; Jeffrey Sachs, Professor at Columbia University; Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly; and Latha Reddy, Co-Chair, Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace.

Here’s how ICC will be contributing to this year’s IGF:

The voice of business on the main stage

As the primary source for business input at the IGF, ICC is set to contribute to several main and high-level sessions throughout the forum. Most notably, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO will speak on the High Level Leaders Track on Security implications of the role of Internet governance in the age of uncertainty on 13 November from 18:30-20:00 UTC. The session will examine the resilience of the world’s online environment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In her capacity as a member of the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group, Timea Suto, Knowledge Manager, ICC Innovation for All,  is organising the IGF Main Session on Environmental issues in the era of digital transformation. Taking place on 9 November from 15:40-17:10 UTC, the session will explore how technologies are used and developed throughout the world to measure, understand, and fight the impacts of climate change and mobilize to keep the globe from warming above 1.5 °C. Panelists from both the private and public sector will discuss and exchange their views on solutions and commitments for climate action.

Workshops and pre-event activities

ICC will host a pre-event on AI and business: from principles to action. The session will bring together international and regional organisations that have developed or are in the process of developing AI guidelines. In particular, the session will consider how the private sector contributes to the development of these guidelines and how businesses, as primary developers and users of AI are impacted by their implementation. This session will take place on Tuesday 3 November from 16:5018:50 UTC. Register now.

Delegates are also invited to join ICC’s workshop on Global crises and responsible data response, which will take place on 9 November 11:00-12:00 UTC. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, both public and private sector organisations have launched data sharing initiatives to pool together pandemic-related data and information and help mitigate the crisis. This workshop will address how collaboration through responsible data-sharing could provide organizations (both public and private) around the world with access to the variety, quantity and quality of data to enable further progress in all areas, including research, new products and services, as well as policy development. Register now.

Making technology work for all has never been more relevant

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, ICC’s make technology work for all campaign has never been more relevant for business, government, civil society, and the technical community. Launched on the side-lines of last year’s IGF in Berlin by ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO, ICC’s make technology work for all campaign advocates for policies that ensure the free flow of data across borders, safeguard freedom of expression, and provide for robust data protection. One-year on since the launch of this campaign, ICC is prepared to work together with stakeholders at IGF 2020 to meaningfully improve digital access for all.

Find out more about ICC’s involvement in the IGF process.