BASIS input for the UNGA WSIS plus 10 Review
General Assembly’s overall review of the implementation of WSIS outcomes (Official Form for Written Submissions )
ICC BASIS contributions serve as primary resources for business expertise for governments, international organizations and other stakeholders.
The organization has demonstrated a consistently strong commitment to both voice the perspectives of businesses worldwide and to work cooperatively across all stakeholders to support and advocate for effective and impactful multistakeholder approaches to Internet governance issues.
We welcome the opportunity to share our reflections on your questions and look forward to subsequent discussions as deliberations on the input are undertaken.
1. To what extent has progress been made on the vision of the people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society in the ten years since the WSIS?
Substantial progress has been made on the WSIS vision as noted in the May 2015 Implementing WSIS Outcomes: A ten-year review report of the CSTD, the June 2014 WSIS+10 High Level Event Outcome document facilitated by the ITU, and UNESCO’s 2014 review of action implementing the WSIS outcomes, Building Inclusive Knowledge Societies document.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have had an enormous impact on social and economic development since 2005. Some of the developments of note where business has been actively participating and/or driving include:
- Dramatic improvement in global connectivity and access to ICTs
- Capacity and innovation improvements
- Knowledge sharing and tools
- Inclusive information society
- Shift of participation and focus from the Global North to the Global South countries
2. What are the challenges to the implementation of WSIS outcomes?
ICC BASIS notes the challenges outlined in the CSTD’s May 2015 Implementing WSIS Outcomes report. Rather than further elaborating on these here, we will instead focus on selected areas that can be overcome through continued multistakeholder efforts. Enabling environments are essential for continued fulfilment of the WSIS outcomes and ICT for development goals. Market barriers and investment barriers will result in businesses being unwilling to risk the capital necessary for implementation.
Governments have a role to play in securing necessary policy conditions (such as ensuring rule of law, competition, intellectual property protection) for the private sector to continue to drive innovation to bring the Internet’s promise to more communities, and to help communities that are already online to take better advantage of that access. Realising WSIS outcomes will require that the necessary legal, policy and regulatory frameworks and approaches that are in place at national levels continue to promote investment in ICTs and infrastructure, foster entrepreneurship and innovation. The discussion above shows that when governments work together with other stakeholders, significant progress can be made in raising capacity, knowledge, and understanding of the issues. Policy making and outcomes can also be improved in many instances due to the inclusion of business, technical community and civil society in the assessment of policy issues and solutions. This inclusion can lower the risk of unintended consequences and increase legitimacy and adoption. This collective and cooperative approach is essential for furthering the progress and ensuring the on-going stability and continuity of an inclusive, people-centred Internet that can attain the WSIS vision beyond 10 years to foster ICTs for knowledgeable societies and sustainable development.
3. What should be the priorities in seeking to achieve WSIS outcomes and progress towards the Information Society, taking into account emerging trends?
Again, ICC BASIS supports the priorities outlined in the conclusions of the CSTD Implementing WSIS Outcomes report and notes the actions to focus on explained in question 2 are the keys to addressing these priorities. From the above list, see emphasized here three important priorities from the private sector perspective:
- It is critical to foster the creation of a sustainable broadband ecosystem that attracts investment and promotes the use, development and deployment of broadband and related products and services, while ensuring the enabling environment and capacity building that is required for society to reap the maximum benefits.
- All stakeholders should recommit both to the principles of WSIS and to working together to ensure the current model of Internet governance continues to evolve in-keeping with the Internet and ICT innovation so that the way forward remains accountable and inclusive of all stakeholders. Continued improvement of the current model of governance should enable all stakeholders, particularly those from developing and least developed countries, to meaningfully contribute to the Internet governance process and that process should facilitate all stakeholders’ participation.
- Renewal of the IGF mandate to enable continuation of the valuable interactions amongst the stakeholders on issues relevant to implementing the WSIS outcomes and the evolving technological challenges. The growth of the regional and national IGFs has increased awareness of how the Internet can help achieve sustainable economic development and has further enabled knowledge sharing.
4. What are general expectations from the WSIS + 10 High Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly?
The WSIS + 10 High Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly should reaffirm the vision of the Tunis Agenda, noting a renewed commitment to the multistakeholder approach and recognizing the value of the Action Lines both in focusing attention on what needs to be done, and in demonstrating where there is more work to do.
The WSIS + 10 review provides an important opportunity to recognize and learn from the significant progress that has been achieved, while safeguarding an open, secured, stable, resilient, and globally interoperable Internet. It is the timely occasion to set a clear path applying the WSIS vision beyond 2015 for alignment and implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The considerable progress that has been made since the WSIS has been possible in large part because of the forward looking framework established by the WSIS principles and action lines. ICC BASIS considers that a clear lesson from the last ten years is that the best formula for success is for all stakeholders to work collaboratively toward common goals.
5. What shape should the outcome document take?
Concise statement of high-level principles – ICC BASIS believes the outcome document should be crafted in a manner that is readily usable and accessible to all stakeholders – but particularly to those from emerging economies. The document should have enduring value and provide stakeholders with a concise framework for Internet governance that enables all to understand foundational elements needed to create an enabling environment that unleashes the power of ICTs to realize the SDGs. The statement cannot anticipate how Page 9 of 9 technology will evolve, but it can provide an approach to Internet government for governments and stakeholders that respects the flexible nature Internet-based innovation.