ICC urges focus on economic development issues at Internet Governance Forum

  • 14 May 2009

ICC/ BASIS stressed the importance of Internet governance issues that will promote economic growth, build human and institutional capacities, and address development needs at the open consultations of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

ICC/BASIS also reiterated its support for the IGF in its current format as an essential global opportunity for an open dialogue among all stakeholders concerned with Internet governance issues.

The open consultation session in Geneva this week continued preparations for the upcoming IGF in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.

“With the range of relevant stakeholders participating, the IGF is a unique opportunity to exchange best practices and experiences and complements discussions on these Internet governance matters at national and regional levels and in other forums,” said Ayesha Hassan, Senior Policy Manager of the ICC Commission on  Electronic Business, IT, and Telecommunications.

“This year’s IGF should build on the fruitful interactions of the past three years and emphasize issues that will address development needs in particular,” she added.

The Forum brings together  experts from many technical groups, governments, civil society, and business and provides a space for interactive exchanges in a non-negotiating setting. It was created   to support the United Nations Secretary-General in carrying out the mandate from the World Summit on the Information Society.

ICC established Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) in 2006 as the voice of global business in the international dialogues on Internet governance and how information and communication technologies can better serve as engines of economic growth and social development.

“Since its inception IGF has served as a unique catalyst to governments, technical bodies, regulators and businesses in creating awareness and interest in enabling socio-economic growth and empowerment through faster penetration in the Internet,” said David Appasamy, Chief Communications Officer, Sify Technologies Limited of India.

“ The role of the IGF in these challenging times is more important than ever, as the Internet will play an increasingly crucial role in economic recovery by fostering growth in global trade and commerce,” Appasamy added. “The faster countries are able to facilitate Internet penetration and growth, the sooner they will benefit from the socio-economic growth that this will enable.”

ICC/BASIS believes that the upcoming IGF in Egypt should focus on human and institutional capacity building and deepen the discussion of development issues through the exchange of best practices and experiences building upon the IGF in Athens in 2006, Rio de Janerio in 2007 and Hyderabad, India, in 2008.

“The IGF provides a unique forum for all Internet stakeholders to discuss cutting edge policy issues and share best practices,” said Jeff Brueggeman, Vice President Public Policy for AT&T.  “As the IGF continues to evolve and mature, its positive impact on policy development and multi-stakeholder dialogue continues to grow.”

The Internet and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) generally are key elements in economic recovery and growth. The IGF can help many countries, businesses, and users take the most productive policy, legal and regulatory choices to maximize their economic benefits. The Forum can also facilitate exchanges between companies from divergent sectors  and geographic areas to discuss specific steps they can take in this effort.

In addition, ITC’s can play a major role in addressing climate change challenges, improving energy efficiency, and expanding health care options and delivery.