Submitted Proposals

Organization: ICC
Title :
3. Digital convergence beyond technology: socio-economic benefits, SMEs & public policy
Provide a concise formulation for the proposed workshop theme including its importance and relevance to the IGF.

An interactive workshop to discuss the evolving definition of digital convergence as well as the benefits and opportunities to key stakeholders - with a special focus on SMEs. Digital convergence refers to the evolution of previously distinguishable digitalized information formats, services, applications, networks, and business models in ways that reduce or blend the distinctions. Convergence is driven by the rapid development of digital technology and new Internet-enabled business models. As convergence has evolved, the idea of globally distributed and networked business has also evolved. These developments have significantly expanded where and how customer services and support are provided. In turn, it has generated overall cost savings for companies and consumers, and provided employment, skills transfer and capacity building for less developed economies. Convergence also has dramatic implications for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the developing world. Thanks to Internet-driven innovation and evolution, businesses previously constrained by local markets have the cost effective means to compete globally and draw revenue from outside the domestic economy. These developments impact the use and evolution of the Internet which is directly relevant to the IGF discussions.

This workshop will focus on what kind of information and skills various stakeholders must have to address digital convergence issues and the implications for the policy environment, users and enterprises of all sizes. Panellists and the audience will have an open discussion on questions like:

  • What is digital convergence and what does it mean today?
  • What are the implications of convergence and Internet governance issues for the future?
  • What kind of human and institutional capacity building can help policymakers, regulators, business and users develop appropriate policy approaches, and effectively address training and qualifications?
  • What are the conditions conducive to entrepreneurship in this era?
  • What are the conditions that are necessary to attract investment in the converged environment?

The interactive discussion will also highlight policy framework models that are working well, the challenges faced in putting them in place, and how those challenges were overcome, for example, the Irish and Finnish cases in Europe.

Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite. Describe the main actors in the field and whether you have you approached them about their willingness to participate in proposed workshop.

  • Herbert Heitmann, Chair, ICC Commission on E-Business, IT and Telecoms; Head of global communications, SAP, Germany


  • N.Sivasamban, Tata Consultancy Services, India
  • Jyrki Kasvi, member of parliament and vice chair committee for the future, Finnish Parliament, Finland
  • Helani Galpaya, Director Strategic Development, LIRNEasia, Sri Lanka
  • Malcolm Harbour, Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands, European Parliament, United Kingdom


Elizabeth Thomas-Raynaud, Policy Manager, ICC Secretariat, Paris

Provide the name of the organizer(s) of the workshop and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups. Describe how you will take steps to adhere to the multi-stakeholder principle, including geographical diversity.
The co-sponsorship of this workshop by ICC/BASIS and the Government of Finland will be consistent with the multi-stakeholder principle, and the workshop will include representatives from business, governments, the technical community and civil society. Geographic diversity will be represented. See descriptions of anticipated speakers above.
Does the proposed workshop provide different perspectives on the issues under discussion?
The perspectives of participating stakeholders and the interactive exchange will bring in a balance of views and most importantly integrate a human and institutional capacity building thread and emphasis on issues that are of importance to developing countries and stakeholders. The panellists will outline key work in progress in various organizations and forums; best and worst practices, policy recommendations and technical solutions. This workshop will also help participating stakeholders to understand each others' needs and perspectives better. Outreach to focal points in civil society, government groups, international and intergovernmental organizations, technical and academic communities has been initiated.
Please explain how the workshop will address issues relating to Internet governance and describe how the workshop conforms with the Tunis Agenda in terms of substance and the mandate of the IGF.

A working definition of Internet governance developed by the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) and contained in paragraph 34 of the Tunis Agenda states: “34.A working definition of Internet governance is the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.”

Convergence of technologies, services, and applications (and other elements outlined in the response to the second question in this proposal) are at the heart of shaping the evolution and use of the Internet. The policy approaches towards the new converged opportunities for using and accessing the Internet are directly linked to the Tunis agenda’s overarching theme of bringing the benefits of the Internet, and ICTs in general to more people around the world. Convergence today is critical to that objective, and understanding the challenges and opportunities and how to manage them in an effective manner is in full conformance with the Tunis Agenda and Commitment.

List similar events you and/or any other IGF workshops you have organized in the past.
ICC/CCBI, the predecessor to BASIS, organized several events throughout the WSIS processes, and at the Summits in Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005. ICC-BASIS organized a workshop at the first IGF in Athens with the Government of Canada called “Building human and institutional capacity for meaningful participation in Internet governance issues”. At the IGF in Rio in 2007, ICC-BASIS and the Oxford Internet Institute organized an interactive workshop on “Managing security issues: authentication at the transaction level”, and was a co-organizer of the workshop on “Multi-stakeholder Policy Development: lessons from actors engaged in existing institutional processes” with the French Foreign Ministry, Swiss government, CONGO-The Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations, and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). ICC has also organized many events on security and the role of technology, and global data protection regimes. ICC/BASIS members from companies and associations, have extensive experience in organizing events.
Were you part of organizing a workshop last year? Which one? Did you submit a workshop report?
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS, an ICC initiative) and the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) co-sponsored an interactive workshop at the IGF 2007 titled: “Managing security issues: authentication at the transaction level.” This workshop provided a truly multi-stakeholder discussion of important issues regarding identity management and authentication, which are fundamental to transactions between businesses and consumers, between businesses, and for governments. ICC-BASIS and OII were pleased to provide an opportunity to delve deeper into these technical and policy issues. The interactive discussion with the audience highlighted facets of the challenges with which stakeholders are grappling and demonstrated the need for continued multi-stakeholder capacity building and dialogue. A report for this workshop was promptly submitted to the IGF secretariat on 29 November 2007. ICC-BASIS was a co-sponsor of the “Multi-stakeholder Policy Development: lessons from actors engaged in existing institutional processes” workshop at the IGF in Rio, and a workshop report was submitted by the lead organizer for this event.