ICC Secretary General addresses UN Global Youth Forum

  • 24 September 2007

ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban today gave a speech at the opening ceremony of the Global Forum on Youth and ICT for Development: Youth and ICT as Agents of Change in Geneva, organized by the United Nations Global Alliance on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Development.

The forum is seeking ways to spark the creativity of youth in using ICTs to the benefit of the local and global community by engaging young people and concerned stakeholders in lively discussion and raising awareness about how ICTs can benefit more young people around the world. The UN sees ICTs as an important instrument to help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals, a set of plans to reduce poverty by 2015.

In his speech, Mr Sebban, who is also a member of the GAID steering committee chaired by Intel Chairman of the Board Craig Barrett, emphasized the importance of youth involvement in the development of ICTs and the Internet. “In the past, young people have traditionally learned from adults. In the new model, especially concerning ICTs and the Internet – it is adults who learn from youngsters,” said Mr Sebban.

Mr Sebban stressed that young people are the business leaders of tomorrow and outlined three important elements young people need to succeed as entrepreneurs. “ First, we need governments to put in place policy, regulatory and legal structures that promote investment, foster entrepreneurship and stimulate innovation,” said Mr Sebban. “Second, we need companies to give young people a chance to prove themselves, and for companies to provide skills training. This ensures that young people can evolve professionally and adapt to new technologies and innovations. Third, we need government and business to communicate and to work together at the national level to develop the policy frameworks that will support the growth and integration of ICTs into the fabric of everyday commerce.”

Mr Sebban was also representing world business at the forum on behalf of ICC’s initiative Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS). ICC and BASIS support a main objective of GAID, which is to continue to build a people-centred information society. Business has an important role to play in making this a reality for more people in more countries.
The forum’s keynote speaker was Suzanne Mubarak, First Lady of Egypt. Other speakers included: Ali Abbasov, Azerbaijan’s Minister for Communications and Information Technology; Nerses Yeritsyan, Armenia’s Minister of Trade and Economic Development; Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, Malaysia’s Minister for Youth and Sports; and Hamadoun Toure, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union.

Private-sector participants came from Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Google, Intel, Microsoft, STMicroelectronics and Telecom Italia, among others. Civil society was represented by the Development Gateway Foundation, the Digital Solidarity Fund and One World Youth Project, among many others.