IGF 2012: Global business says future economic growth depends on multistakeholder Internet policy

  • 9 November 2012
ICC digital growth

As the seventh Internet Governance Forum (IGF) draws to a close in Azerbaijan today, ICC BASIS members highlighted that market-focused enabling policy frameworks are key to driving Internet innovation and economic growth.

Highlighting a need to enrich the Internet governance debate, business believes that inclusive participation and the multistakeholder approach are the most effective ways to promote and protect these policies.

Speaking during the Forum’s closing ceremony, ICC BASIS (Business Action to Support the Information Society) member Jeff Brueggeman, VP Public Policy and deputy Chief Privacy Officer, AT&T, said: “The Internet is a hugely powerful economic force and has a direct, positive impact on job creation, trade, competitiveness, and economic development – both for small and large enterprises, and for mature and developing economies.”

“Other models for shaping the way in which the Internet is governed would impact the positive effects of the collaborative policy-making process we have in place today and would potentially threaten the openness which has defined the Internet from the outset and which has enabled it to become such a strong tool for positive change,” he continued.

Under the theme ‘Internet governance for sustainable human, economic and social development,’ some 2,000 registered participants met in Baku to join open discussions on some of the most pressing challenges pertaining to Internet governance today – from privacy, infrastructure deployment and innovation in mobile technologies to the free flow of information online.

Underscoring the importance of protecting the IGF’s format and fundamental principles during his speech at the closing ceremony, Mr Brueggeman reiterated the primary business belief that Internet governance issues require the participation and active input of all relevant stakeholders.

“Business leaders have applauded the IGF for its unique opportunity to discuss policy issues on an inclusive, equal footing and inform policy-making around the world at national, regional, and international levels. In fostering dialogue, and addressing the policy-making process with diverse stakeholders, and those with decision-making power, IGF 2012 has illustrated how integral this approach is in protecting and enhancing the social and economic value of the Internet,” said Mr Brueggeman.

With forthcoming UN deliberations in the General Assembly in mind, Mr Brueggeman highlighted that the IGF is a model for positive, effective collaboration and that this multistakeholder process is key to maintaining a transparent Internet. Noting that multistakeholder participation in the WSIS +10 review process is critical to continuing open dialogue, he concluded that now is the time to enrich the debate about participation in Internet governance if the Internet is to remain ‘one of the world’s greatest human, social and economic resources’, and that, through innovation, investment, and enabling policy frameworks, the Internet can continue to enrich the lives of billions of people globally.