ICC intervention Experts Meeting UN, NY, 8 June 2015

  • 25 January 2017

ICC BASIS intervention at the UN Experts Meeting Advancing a Sustainable Information Society for All, 8-9 June 2015, New York.

ICC is the world business organization founded in 1919 with the vision of fostering business and trade between nations to promote peace and prosperity. Today it represents thousands of member companies in over 120 countries. ICC membership spans large multinational companies, SMEs, as well as chambers of commerce and, business and trade associations from all regions and across all sectors.

ICC convened business during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva and Tunis and the preparatory processes, and through ICC BASIS has since ensured business experience and expertise contribute to the post-WSIS activities including the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the WSIS action lines forum and the CSTD, among others.

ICC BASIS thanks the organizers for the opportunity to participate in this important discussion. Our input for this meeting is an ICC document entitled, ICT’s and the Internet’s impact on job creation and economic growth (2012), that draws on ICC policy recommendations and economic data to help policy makers better realize opportunities for economic growth. The paper also provides some relevant examples and case studies, including on the green economy.

Reflections from a business perspective on the Advancing Sustainable Information Society for All background paper

At the outset, one must note that framing the question, What are the principal risks to sustainable development which are posed by in the context of the information society?, in negative terms is erroneous. ICTs and the information society must be evaluated holistically within the context of sustainable development as their role as essential elements to furthering sustainable development has been repeatedly demonstrated.

ICTs are merely tools that can be used or implemented – well or badly. Many factors are at issue in the selection of technology, its implementation and various considerations across its lifecycle and disposal. The most important concept was highlighted in the background paper for this conference in the ICT4D applications paragraph:

Experience has shown that the appropriateness of different tools depends substantially on contextual factors such as available resources and those changes rapidly as resources change.

Context is undoubtedly important, however, the nature and availability of resources is only one factor that makes up context. APEC developed a matrix of factors which collectively determine the potential of a country to be successful in the Digital Economy and Information Society. The matrix: The Digital Prosperity Checklist (DPC) was endorsed by APEC leaders in 2008. The DPC matrix consists of the following factors termed the Six I’s:

  1. Infrastructure: Physical, logistical, technical and regulatory.
  2. Innovation: the ability to invent, support and protect innovation.
  3. Intellectual capital: the skills of the population – linguistic, technical, entrepreneurial, management, etc.
  4. Investment: from fluid capital markets to venture capital to microfinance to crowd funding
  5. Information flows: data as the currency of the digital economy or new oil, what is your countries ability to use if locally and across borders
  6. Integration: meaning trade at, across and behind the border.

Each country is at different levels of maturity across these factors and all factors continue to evolve. Success and accomplishment across these factors has to be gauged on a continuum with improvement across the factors being very important. Possibly the most important concept is that of the matrix and that actions on one factor impact the others; they are highly interdependent.