WITSA NETmundial intervention (April 23, 2014)

[April 23, 2014]  The following intervention was made by Mr. Tim Conway today at NETmundial in Sao Paulo:

I am Tim Conway, from Australia. I am the member representative of the Australian Information Industry Association to  WITSA - the World Information Technology and Services Alliance.

Congratulations to organizers. Don't envy the task of you in drawing this event to a meaningful conclusion --- in less than 24 hours!!

 I wish to address Institutional improvements and, in particular Meaningful participation

WITSA is a global alliance of 85 national ICT associations.  A key feature of WITSA's membership is that while its membership comprises the major ICT organisations of the developed world, in fact the majority of WITSA's members are drawn from the developing ICT industries of emerging economies. If you go to the WITSA website, WITSA.org, you will see a membership map that strikingly illustrates this. 

It is important to understand the implications of WITSA's membership distribution, and -- especially -- the representation and meaningful participation of the ICT sector from these nations as stakeholders in Internet governance arrangements.

As we said in our content submission, the Internet and the ICT sector are mutually dependent. The presence of the Internet enables the development of the ICT sector, especially in emerging economies, and the development of the the ICT sector in those countries strengthens and extends access and capability of the Internet in those countries.

However, all too often, the ICT sector is unable to participate effectively in multi stakeholder meetings such as this.  Why?  Because many programs to provide support for attendance and participation specifically exclude the private sector.  This is, quite simply, discriminatory, and reflects incorrect perceptions. The private sector in these countries are almost universally start-ups and SMEs.

All stakeholders should be treated equally, and we request this be given priority consideration for all future multi stakeholder meetings.

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