Photos: Survival of UN Internet Forum Key to Growth and Stability, Say Business Leaders

October 15, 2009

PARIS, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ — Business leaders from around the world are calling on the United Nations to retain its Internet Governance Forum (IGF), saying it is a crucial component in global policy discussions to ensure continued Internet innovation, and the required conditions to attract investment.

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The IGF, which was set up three years ago as an open platform for businesses, governments, civil society, and technical and intergovernmental organizations to discuss Internet policy issues such as privacy, security and access costs, is under threat as its original five year mandate expires at the end of 2010.

Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS), an initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), has given its full support to the continuation of the forum and is actively involved in the upcoming IGF in Egypt in November.

Comprised of companies and associations from across sectors and geographies, BASIS believes that the IGF provides a unique opportunity for the generation of new partnerships, ideas, discussion of real experiences and challenges, and the sharing of best practices, which are all necessary for the successful development of Internet-related policies.

BASIS leaders point out that innovation in Internet and communication technologies is a central plank to many countries’ economic recovery plans.

“The Internet needs to continue to develop in an environment that encourages innovation that, in turn, will attract investment from the business community. The IGF allows for this innovation by bringing all the stakeholders together in an environment where they can openly exchange ideas,” said Herbert Heitmann, SAP Chief Global Communications Officer and Chair of the ICC Commission on E-Business, IT and Telecoms.

The fact that the IGF enables stakeholders to meet on equal footing to discuss Internet issues, rather than spending time negotiating texts of documents, is a strength, not a weakness, BASIS said.

“The reason the forum is successful is precisely because participants are exchanging ideas rather than negotiating the wording of policy texts,” said Art Reilly, Senior Director, Cisco Systems, a member of BASIS.

“This approach means leaders from all communities leave the IGF with insights and new perspectives to make an impact in our respective regional and local activities,” he added.

However, for the Internet to reach its full potential, action must be taken at country level to implement polices that encourage more people to access the Internet, while ensuring their privacy and security, according to BASIS.

Necessary policies include independent regulators, respect for the rule of law, intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, telecoms liberalization, pro-competitive frameworks, independent courts, promoting entrepreneurship, and the removal of administrative obstacles.

“An environment that enables development is the best way to promote innovation, attract investment and help build infrastructures necessary to improve access,” said Subramaniam Ramadorai, Vice Chairman, Tata Consultancy Services and Chair of BASIS.

“Regulation should avoid hampering companies’ ability to compete, which slows innovation. Instead policies should encourage innovation and competition that are essential to developing an Internet that can reach the next billion users,” he concluded.

BASIS members have actively participated in the IGF since 2006 when it was first set up to facilitate the exchange of information and best practices in relation to accelerating the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world.

The role of BASIS is to raise awareness of what business needs in order to continue contributing to the development of the information society, particularly through more informed policy choices.

This year’s annual IGF meeting will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on 15-18 November. Last year’s meeting in Hyderabad, India, attracted around 1,300 participants from more than 90 countries.

About ICC

The International Chamber of Commerce is the largest, most representative business organization in the world. Its hundreds of thousands of member companies in over 130 countries have interests spanning every sector of private enterprise.

A world network of national committees keeps the ICC International Secretariat in Paris informed about national and regional business priorities. More than 2,000 experts drawn from ICC’s member companies feed their knowledge and experience into crafting the ICC stance on specific business issues.

The United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and many other intergovernmental bodies, both international and regional, are kept in touch with the views of international business through ICC.

For more information please visit: www.iccwbo.org

About the ICC Commission on E-Business, IT and Telecoms (EBITT)

Business leaders and experts drawn from the ICC membership establish the key business positions, policies and practices on e-business, information technologies and telecommunications through the EBITT Commission. With members who are users and providers of information technology and electronic services from both developed and developing countries, ICC provides the ideal platform to develop global voluntary rules and best practices for these areas. Dedicated to the expansion of cross-border trade, ICC champions liberalization of telecoms and development of infrastructures that support global online trade. ICC has also led and coordinated the input of business around the world to the World Summit on the Information Society, Geneva 2003, Tunis 2005, and continues this effort in the activities established in the Tunis Agenda through its initiative, Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS http://www.iccwbo.org/basis)

    Dawn Chardonnal
    ICC Communications Manager
    +33 (0)1 49 53 29 07

SOURCE International Chamber of Commerce

Source: newswire

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