IGF Open Consultation ICC-BASIS statement, Ayesha Hassan

          Internet Governance Forum 2009

          15-18 November, Sharm el-Sheikh

          18 November 2009

          Thank you, Chair.

          On behalf of the members of the International Chamber of Commerce and our BASIS initiative, Business Action to Support the Information Society, we welcome the opportunity to contribute to this important consultation. ICC BASIS members include companies and associations from across sectors and geographies, and of all sizes. Hundreds of companies and associations support this business input.

          Many others wanted to speak at this consultation and are unable to do so because of the limited speaking slots. We respectfully request that written contributions be allowed into the official record for the next two weeks.

          Business around the world fully supports the IGF with its current structures, and we urge for its continuation. The IGF is addressing the items in its mandate in paragraph 72 of the Tunis Agenda, and facilitating multistakeholder dialogue that is inclusive and meaningful. It has also continually evolved and improved.

          I would like to highlight some of these items and incorporate by reference the comprehensive ICC BASIS input to the review questionnaire.

          Substantive discussions have taken place on all issues including those that foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet, and accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world, critical Internet resources, security and privacy issues and the use and misuse of the Internet.

          The IGF is, in and of itself an excellent human and institutional capacity building opportunity on a wide range of complex policy issues, best practices and the policy approaches and choices that impact them. And, every year new issues are being brought into the process.

          One cannot help but come to an IGF and leave having gained insight and knowledge.

          Every IGF brings together organizations engaged in cross-cutting international public policy issues, and participants learn about their work programmes and activities, the status of discussions on particular issues, and those on the horizon.

          A wide range of stakeholders who connected at the IGF are now actively involved in the work of other organizations. This is an important value add for all. Not easy to measure but still very real.

          Many stakeholders have commented that it is a ‘one stop shop’ for them to get information, make contacts, share experiences and develop their understanding.

          Excellent outputs include: the real-time transcripts of the sessions, the Chairman’s report, substantive inputs and the synthesis and background papers.

          This unique forum offers us all a chance to speak, but also to listen; it allows us to discuss all relevant topics candidly. It maximizes all participants’ time by increasing their understanding instead of negotiating texts, which is a major strength.

          The IGF is also a catalyst for change.

          We have become more receptive to each others’ perspectives and concerns. As participants have adapted to this open environment, we have seen rhetoric reduced. In turn, we benefit from more informed decision-making by all.

          We believe that the IGF processes and structures are effective and address the tasks at hand.

          We commend the leadership and hard work of Mr Desai, Mr Kummer, and the IGF secretariat.

          In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that ICC BASIS members support the continuation of the IGF with its multistakeholder approach that leads to more informed policy choices, and business choices.

          The IGF is having impact.

          The IGF has real outcomes.

          The IGF is valuable for all stakeholders, and it provides a unique opportunity for us all.

          Thank you.