Business wants Internet governance to remain in the hands of all stakeholders

          • Nairobi, Kenya, 30 September 2011

          As the sixth Internet Governance Forum (IGF) draws to a close in Kenya today, ICC Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) members have highlighted the essential role of the private sector in driving continued Internet development.

          Cooperation key to maximizing Internet and ICTs, ICC tells UN Commission

          Speaking during the forum’s closing ceremony, Herbert Heitmann, Executive Vice President, External Communications, Royal Dutch Shell and Chair of the ICC Commission on E-Business, IT and Telecoms said: “As a dynamic innovator, investor and user, business contributes to the development of the Internet through education initiatives, promoting innovation and creativity, public – private research and development partnerships.”

          “However, for the private sector to continue to drive development, it’s important to achieve the right policy environment. The way to address these matters and to bring the benefits of the Internet to the next billion users is through cooperation, collaboration, joint dialogue and action from all kinds of stakeholders."

          Under the theme “The Internet as a catalyst for change,” topics discussed at this year’s forum ranged from cloud computing and data security to access and the mobile Internet, reflecting the fast-paced and advancing nature of the Internet which raises new policy choices and challenges.

          Mr Heitmann said: “Business is very concerned about recent calls to create new or change existing UN bodies to coordinate or oversee institutions responsible for the functioning of the Internet and development of Internet policy.” He added: “This is contrary to the Tunis Agenda which calls for multistakeholder cooperation in Internet policy development processes and non-duplication with existing processes. Business hopes that all stakeholders continue to recognize the well-established and growing multistakeholder collaboration, and continue to support the open Internet, its existing organizations, and those that have built the Internet that serves all users so-well.”

          Mr Heitmann also called on the host country, Kenya, to convey this concern to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and to the President of the General Assembly in their report on the IGF proceedings. During his speech at the closing ceremony, Mr Heitmann underlined the importance of protecting the format of the forum and its founding principles.

          “The IGF is a proven model that leads to better informed decision-making and ensures we make genuine progress towards addressing some of the most important global economic and social Internet issues.”

          “Moreover, we must work to capture the rich guidance, best practices and impacts of the IGF in a more creative and accessible way and any improvements to the IGF should be discussed again in a multistakeholder setting.” he said.

          BASIS member Jeff Brueggeman, Vice President of Public Policy, AT&T, said: “BASIS believes the IGF provides a great opportunity for the generation of new ideas, sharing of best practices and discussion on key challenges, all vital elements when informing productive and progressive policymaking. This approach helps us to address continuous changes in the technology landscape and to always be looking ahead at the next issue."

          Every year at the IGF, BASIS serves as the voice of global business in the international dialogue on how the Internet and information and communication technologies can better serve as engines of economic growth and social development.
          To read Herbert Heitmann’s full closing ceremony speech, click here

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