ICC Document & publication

ICC BASIS Key Messages for IGF 2016

The overarching theme for IGF 2016, Enabling inclusive and sustainable growth, draws on the crucial links between the digital economy and sustainable development.

Speaking on behalf of enterprises in all sectors in more than 130 countries, ICC convened business in the early 2000s during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva and Tunis.

Since then, ICC Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) has ensured business experience and expertise contribute to the relevant UN and multistakeholder activities in particular the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), WSIS Forum, WISIS+10, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) among others. In the frame of the 2030 agenda there is a natural linkage between that and the WSIS information communication technology (ICT) for development agenda.

Inclusive, sustainable growth and Internet governance

The global economy is increasingly a “digital‟ economy. Whether government, education, health care or sectors as wide-ranging as manufacturing, agriculture, logistics, and finance, all of these rely in varying degrees on information and communication technologies (ICTs) and a secure, stable, and resilient Internet. The overarching theme for IGF 2016, Enabling inclusive and sustainable growth, draws on the crucial links between the digital economy and sustainable development.

ICTs specifically, and science and technology generally, have been shown, through repeated examples, as key enablers of development. Direct references to the catalytic power of ICTs for development are cited as specific targets in only four of the 17 goals (in targets related to education, gender empowerment, universal affordable access to ICTs/internet in LDCs and as a means of implementation). However, business considers the majority, if not all, of the sustainable development goals would be served by the application of ICTs, both using emerging and existing technologies. For example, in the area of health and well-being the use of even basic communication technologies can supplement rural diagnostics and treatment of disease as well as the causes of disease which may come from issues of livestock, environment etc.

The acknowledgement of ICT’s catalytic power for sustainable development highlights the importance of efforts to ensure the digital economy’s growth is inclusive as well as sustainable. IGF 2016 has embarked on an important agenda to share perspectives on how the international community can foster inclusivity in development initiatives and Internet governance and ICC BASIS has been at the heart of promoting knowledge sharing on this as a co-organizer of relevant workshops and the main session on this theme at the 2016 IGF.

Governance, accountability and cooperation

Along with opportunities of the digital economy come responsibilities; governance and accountability are essential elements of both government and corporate structures. Policymakers can benefit from close cooperation with business and other stakeholders to ensure that the legal, policy and regulatory approaches implemented will drive necessary investment and capacity building and maximize Internet connectivity and data opportunities.

Multistakeholder collaboration on Internet governance issues is essential to maximizing the potential of ICT while addressing issues that are relevant locally and respecting local cultural and social norms. Business views continued cooperation and a flexible policy environment as critical in empowering sustainable development.

Looking forward to IGF 2016, ICC BASIS highlights the following key messages to share global business perspectives and recommendations on Internet governance and policy issues that are central to promoting sustainable and inclusive growth.