Statement by Guy Sebban, International
Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The WSIS organizers invited the
International Chamber of Commerce to create a vehicle to
coordinate private sector input. The result is CCBI, a
network of business organizations whose members include
companies of all sizes, in all sectors, from all over the
world. The Coordinating Committee of Business Interlocutors
(CCBI) is the voice of business at WSIS.
The private sector comes to WSIS in a
spirit of cooperation, ready to lend our significant
expertise in order to spread the benefits of an information
society to as many people as possible.
The first part of the summit, in Geneva
two years ago, produced many good ideas. The focus of this
summit here in Tunis and the path forward should be on the
realization of those ideas. Tunis must be about turning
words into action.
Action will most effectively be realized
if full use is made of the multistakeholder approach.
Each of the stakeholders have a role to
play in the creation of an information society. Each of us -
whether we represent business, government, civil society -
have specific talents, expertise and capacities. What we
need is the freedom to properly execute those roles to their
What business brings to the table is a
vast resource of invaluable market experience, built up over
years working in the field. We know what works and what
Moreover, creating an information society
for all will rely heavily on the financial and technical
capacity the private sector has especially in investment
matters and R/D.
The role of governments is also
particularly crucial. Without the appropriate enabling
environment at a national country level, many of the high
ideals of this summit will simply never be achieved.
Governments need to recognize that ICTs
have transformative qualities for economies. They need to
understand that ICTs will only flourish in certain
conditions - among which are a transparency of institutions,
a predictable legal system, a commitment to the
liberalization of the marketplace, and generally speaking
Both developing and developed countries
need to take stock of the entrepreneurial environment in
their countries and wherever possible, streamline procedures
and bureaucracies which otherwise inhibit innovation.
This spirit of flexibility should guide
all of us here when we take position on Internet governance.
The genius of the Internet - and the
underpinning of its remarkable potential as a tool for
development - is its decentralized nature. The fact that it
is not controlled by anyone or any single institution.
If we want it to perform to its optimum,
if we are serious about it being used as a tool for economic
growth and poverty reduction - the Internet must be allowed
to continue to develop as it has to date: open and
unencumbered by unnecessary bureaucratic interference.
Under its current, distributed governance
structure, the global number of users of the Internet has
grown in the last seven years from 106 million to over one
billion - a remarkable growth rate by anyone's standards.
For the sake of all of those in the world
currently exploiting the myriad benefits of the internet,
and, more crucially for those who are yet to be exposed to
its remarkable transformative qualities, the current
security, stability and consistent functioning of the
Internet must not be jeopardized.
Business welcomes the development at this
Summit which will see the convening of an international,
multi-stakeholder forum to discuss issues of importance to
the Internet. Moreover, we look forward to contributing to
its creation and eventual work.
As a complement to existing
organizations, such a forum can further enhance the level of
debate about the Internet, facilitate the exchange of ideas
and experiences and finally, contribute to the ultimate aim
of this Summit - the spreading of the many benefits of the
Internet to as many of the world's inhabitants as possible.
Fundamental to the creation of a truly
inclusive information society is so-called "capacity
building" - both human and technical.
Education and training programs - jointly
created and implemented by governments, the private sector
and civil society - are crucial to ensuring those who log on
are able to properly exploit the full potential of the tool
to which they have been given access.
It is clear there needs to be a greater
diversity of users - more people from more parts of the
world logging on more regularly. Business hears this
message, understands its importance and pledges to work with
governments and other stakeholders to develop and
disseminate the education and training which is vital to
greater global participation in the internet.
The scientific community was instrumental
in the Internet's creation, the business community has been
crucial to its development and expansion, now both
communities stand ready to help governments in its
Let's not waste this historic chance to
ensure the Internet, with all of its enormous potential,
remains a potent tool for development. It must be delivered
into the hands of those whose lives will be the most
impacted by its evolution.
Thank you for your attention.