Internet Governance Forum improvement group names business guests

  • 1 February 2011

Following outcry in December 2010 at a decision to exclude all non-governmental stakeholders from its working group on improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) has confirmed the names of five business representatives who have been invited to serve as special guests in the CSTD Chair’s special working group on IGF improvements.

Invitees Marilyn Cade, CEO and Principal, mCADE- ICT Strategies; Patrik Faltstrom, Distinguished Consulting Engineer, Cisco Systems; Jimson Olufuye, President, Information Technology Association of Nigeria and Vice-Chairman, The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (Sub-Saharan Africa); Christoph Steck, Public Policy Director, Telefonica; and Theresa Swinehart, Director, Global Internet Policy, Verizon, are all members of ICC and its Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) initiative. They will join government representatives and representatives from all Internet interest groups, including the technical community, civil society, and intergovernmental organizations who have also been invited to provide input. Each year, the IGF builds on the experience of previous events to improve the format, agenda, interactions and substantive Internet governance policy discussions that take place. The working group is tasked with proposing enhancements to the IGF and its final report will be reviewed by the CSTD in May 2011. “The IGF provides a unique opportunity for open discussion by all stakeholders on a broad range of Internet governance issues,” said Herbert Heitmann, Chair of the ICC Commission on E-Business, IT and Telecoms and Executive Vice President, External Communications for Royal Dutch Shell. “All come away from the IGF updated on developments and perspectives, more informed about the views, concerns, challenges and opportunities relating to Internet governance issues. This is critical to the informed decision-making required to benefit the future of the Internet and its users.” Mr Heitmann concluded: “As possible enhancements to the IGF are considered, it is essential that the multistakeholder, on an equal footing, nature of the IGF in all its aspects and the fact that it is not a decision-making body remain untouched”. ICC BASIS joined the Internet Society, the Internet Governance Caucus, and what turned out to be hundreds of other organizations and individuals who protested the CSTD attempt last year to exclude non-governmental representatives from the group. “Business, the Internet technical community, and civil society have been instrumental in shaping the IGF to become the all inclusive forum for open debate that it is known for today,” said Subramanian Ramadorai, Chair of the ICC BASIS initiative and Vice Chairman, Tata Consultancy Services. “Business will bring important expertise to this group. We must ensure a level playing field for discussions on the Internet policy issues.” ICC BASIS members are already actively engaged in preparations for the next IGF, which will take place in Nairobi, Kenya in September 2011. To learn more about BASIS, please click here