ICC BASIS remarks at CSTD 9 May 2016
High-Level Policy Discussion: Progress made in the implementation of and follow-up of WSIS outcomes at the regional and international levels.
ICC intervention – ICC HL Speaker: Stefano Bertasi, Executive Director ICC Policy and Business Practices
ICC is the world business organization founded in 1919 with the aim of promoting peace and prosperity through world trade. Today ICC’s networks include more than 6,5 million member companies in over 130 countries, spanning large multinational companies, Small and Mediumsized Enterprises, as well as chambers of commerce and business and trade associations from all regions of the world and across all sectors of economic activity.
ICC convened business during WSIS in Geneva and Tunis and its preparatory processes. Through ICC’s Business Action to support the information society (ICC BASIS), it has since contributed business experience and expertise to the post-WSIS activities including the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the WSIS action lines forum and this Commission, among others.
1) Encourage policy approaches that enable ICTs for development
Enhancing the contribution of ICTs to bridging divides between and within countries, to fostering development and to the realization of the SDGs is contingent on an enabling policy environment, including appropriate legal frameworks and respect for human rights. APEC has developed a useful “six Is digital prosperity checklist” that outlines the necessary and interdependent elements for fostering digital development:
- Infrastructure: Physical, logistical, technical and regulatory.
- Innovation: the ability to invent, support and protect innovation.
- Intellectual capital: the skills of the population – linguistic, technical, entrepreneurial, management, etc.
- Investment: from encouraging domestic and foreign direct investment to venture capital to microfinance to crowd funding
- Information flows: data as the new currency of the global economy and the need to ensure open data flows across borders
- Integration: meaning trade at, across and behind the border.
2) Foster continued multistakeholder cooperation
The multistakeholder approach has been a unique feature of Internet governance thanks to the WSIS vision.
The collective investment, engagement and partnership of governments, business, the technical community, academia and civil society attests to the ways in which the multistakeholder community has truly shared responsibility and leadership in Internet governance.
While the concept of varying roles and responsibilities across stakeholders is appreciated, the cooperation of all stakeholders as equal actors needs to continue in order to accomplish the ambitious goals set by WSIS and the 2030 development agenda. To foster further commitments towards these objectives, the Secretary-General and international organizations with a role in WSIS follow-up should intensify their efforts to develop effective mechanisms for partnership with non-governmental stakeholders on an equitable and transparent basis to integrate their activities more fully within development frameworks.
3) ICTs can play a valuable role in achieving the SDGs
The majority, if not all, of the sustainable development goals can benefit from the application of ICTs, both using emerging and existing technologies.
Relevant areas include agriculture, education, environment, sustainable consumption, smart cities, urban and rural planning, and e-government/citizen services.
Every country has specific gaps to overcome in striving for the SDGs and will need to determine what policies will best leverage ICTs in support of the Goals to fit their particular circumstances.
- Multistakeholder collaboration is essential to maximising the potential of ICT while addressing issues that are relevant locally and respecting local cultural and social norms.
- Business acknowledges that greater efforts still are needed to improve affordable access to ICTs in developing countries.
- The WSIS process and the underlying principles of the Geneva Declaration and Tunis Agenda have created an atmosphere for dialogue and action that have preserved and promoted the flexible Internet that allows for the freedom to innovate and connect.