Priorities set for upcoming Internet Governance Forum in Rio

  • 5 September 2007

Business is well represented this week in Geneva during the latest round of preparatory meetings for the next session of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

The IGF, which will convene in Rio de Janeiro from 12-15 November, was established in 2006 by the UN Secretary-General to discuss issues of crucial importance to the global development of the Internet. ICC is engaged at the IGF through its initiative, Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS).

On Monday, business representatives participated in the final round of open consultations, which are part of a broad-based consultative process that is open to all stakeholders and led by the UN to lay the groundwork for the IGF programme in November.

A special multistakeholder advisory group met Tuesday and will continue its talks today. The 47 members of the IGF Advisory Group were confirmed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon last month and include a number of key business representatives. ICC’s Executive in Charge of Information and Communications Technologies Policy, Ayesha Hassan, and other BASIS members are part of the advisory group, which also includes government, civil society and technical community representatives from all regions of the world.

During the open consultations, business supported the current balance and format of the advisory group and called for a balanced approach to the discussion of substantive topics at the IGF.

Looking at the plans for the IGF session on critical resource issues, Ms Hassan recommended: “The session can be organized into three parts: (i) defining critical Internet resources, (ii) information about the range of issues involved, and (iii) skills development and other resources that are necessary to get the world online”.

Peter Hellmonds, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Nokia Siemens Networks, highlighted points to complement the written contributions submitted by ICC-BASIS for the revised IGF programme. “We recommend that part of the access discussion should be on access to education, information, and knowledge, and that it address the cross-cutting theme of human and institutional capacity building. All of these issues are important for development along with diversity, openness, and security,” said Mr Hellmonds.

India and Egypt are scheduled to host the IGF in 2008 and 2009, respectively.