Internet governance and global goals – strength in diversity Elizabeth Thomas-Raynaud is Senior Policy Executive at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Director, Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS), an ICC initiative In today’s interconnected global economy, it is widely acknowledged that inclusive digital connectivity has a pivotal role to play in advancing the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in September 2015 as a path to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Discussions at the Internet Governance Forum, which took place in Guadalajara, Mexico 6-9 December, endeavoured to contribute to better understanding of the role the internet can play in achieving these Global Goals. Internet-enabled technology is not a goal but rather an important enabler for most if not all the 17 SDGs. Simply put: if we want to help people feed, heal, educate and employ themselves, we need to ensure they can benefit from the internet and not just use, but also create related technologies and services that are relevant to themselves, their communities, and their countries. Recognizing the potential of information and communication technologies (ICT’s) to catalyse sustainable development brings into view the importance of efforts to ensure that digital economy growth is not only sustainable but also inclusive. Despite significant advances in the last 10 years, more must be done to ensure internet access for everyone, and to facilitate use of the internet as a means of empowerment to transform lives and economies. The challenges ahead The challenge of connecting the world will require us to better understand persistent barriers and focus actions on overcoming them. Private sector investment and innovation has transformed the internet from an information exchange network to the platform for sustainable, social and economic development we recognize it to be today. And the engagement of business, with its own unique voice, will be vital to connect people, communities and things to unleash and leverage the full potential of technology – to achieve our common goals in the development of vibrant digital economies and to have inclusive information societies that deliver societal benefit. Connecting the world is a vital first step: but common action must also be taken to build a secure and trustworthy internet. This requires promoting a global culture of cybersecurity – further developed and better implemented in cooperation with all stakeholders and international expert bodies. The growing number of multistakeholder initiatives dedicated to cybersecurity capacity building at the local, national, regional, and global level are worthy of noting for their significant potential to enable a new global culture of cybersecurity. On December 16, 2015, the UN General Assembly extended the mandate of the annual Internet Governance Forum until 2025. The IGF is an open, representative forum, playing an important role in fostering the capacity building and policy discussions necessary for realizing the Internet’s global social and economic potential. It has emerged as a unique forum for identifying issues and solutions relevant across stakeholders and economies, with a special focus on those addressing developing world concerns, through a collaborative approach, on an equal footing and in an unfettered and open environment. If we are to maximize the potential of ICTs to promote sustainable and inclusive development, it is crucial that the future of the forum continues to be shaped through an open, inclusive and truly multistakeholder process. Better together Business remains engaged in implementing improvements to the IGF to build on its unique strengths and to enhance the ability to continue addressing complex problems and future challenges. But it will also take unprecedented cooperation to achieve unprecedented progress. Continuing cooperation among all internet stakeholders and a flexible policy environment are indispensable for attaining sustainable development goals. Such multistakeholder efforts are essential for continued support of capacity building initiatives that seek to empower individuals and businesses locally as content producers. They are also needed for developing business models that are unique and relevant to national economies. Together, we must work to ensure that frameworks for enabling internet connectivity are based on light touch ICT policy and regulations. This will not only enable competition and the entry of new players into the ICT ecosystem, but promote new and innovative business models. In short, the ability to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a 15-year time-frame depends greatly on global development cooperation, domestic resource mobilization, private sector engagement, and well-functioning legal frameworks. The 2016 IGF saw an increased participation by business representatives and stakeholders from developing economies, ensuring the sharing of information globally on the practices that have successfully addressed challenges of sustainability and inclusivity to align with the 2030 agenda. As the world’s largest business organization, ICC and members of our Business Action to Support the Information Society initiative worked to mobilize business participation at the IGF, demonstrating the value of the private sector’s role and engagement in policy discussions and ensuring that governance of the internet remains open, secure, stable and 
inclusive.
Continuing cooperation among all internet stakeholders and a flexible policy environment are indispensable for attaining sustainable development goals

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