Submitted Proposals

Organization: Global Information Infrastructure Commission
Title :
52. ICTs and an Environmentally Sustainable Internet: Another Challenge of Connecting the Next Billion Internet Users
Provide a concise formulation for the proposed workshop theme including its importance and relevance to the IGF.

The challenge of connecting the next one billion users to the Internet should also include a discussion about how this can be done in an environmentally sustainable way. Overall, impact of ICTs and the Internet on the environment need to be fully explored. ICT has had the greatest benefit/effect on business and economic structures, such as efficiencies in business processes and the shift away from manufacturing toward the delivery of services.

The Internet services and applications provide new ways to communicate and transfer information, including voice, data and video services. These services can facilitate telecommuting, teleconferencing, e-commerce, telemedicine and other applications that will save consumers and businesses travel expense, traffic congestion and time, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

A main environmental impact has been the increasing power needs of ICT products as the production of electricity to support the spread of ICT and greater Internet can add to Green House Gases (GHGs). Another concern is that the 'rebound effects' of the greater efficiencies in businesses processes and transportation enabled by the Internet and ICTs, lower prices and increase demand for materials and energy, thereby offsetting environmental gains and resulting in neutral or even negative impacts).

The discussion will focus on how to ICT and Internet use can address environmental problems, and what kinds of complementary actions may be needed to maximize potential benefits by minimizing rebound effects.
The workshop will also highlight data, policy, and directed research in areas where ICTs can help with climate change solutions (in a way similar to ICTs' effects on communications and business) while providing an environmentally sustainable Internet for the next one billion users or more around the world.

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.

  • IISD -- Heather Creech, Director of Knowledge Communications, The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
  • Keidanren Representative
  • GIIC - Mr. Gopal Rajagopalan, Chairman, Cobalt Venture Advisors (India)
  • WITSA - Mr. Phil Bond, President 
  • Graham Vickery of OECD
  • Arthur Levin, Head of Telecommunications Standardization Policy Division, ITU
  • Sangeeta Gupta, Director, Information Technology and Services Division, The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI)

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 Global Information Infrastructure Commission (GIIC) –an initiative by ICT industry leaders to promote the infrastructure for the advanced information society.
  • The World Information Technology and Service Alliance (WITSA), an alliance of over 70 national IT Associations facilitation the use of ICT.
  • The Nippon Keidanren – the influential Japanese Business Federation with the mission to accelerate growth of Japan's and world economy.
  • The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) contributes to sustainable development by advancing policy recommendations on international trade and investment, economic policy, climate change, measurement and assessment, and natural resources management. Through the Internet, we report on international negotiations and share knowledge gained through collaborative projects with global partners, resulting in more rigorous research, capacity building in developing countries and better dialogue between North and South.
Does the proposed workshop provide different perspectives on the issues under discussion?
With the diverse group of speakers, the workshop is intended to represent various different multi-stakeholder groups with an interest in ICT and the Environment.  Multi-stakeholder group represented in the workshop include NGOs; international organizations; and the business community.
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.

Internet governance as described 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.” 

  • Exploring issues, policies, and activities needed to provide an environmentally sustainable Internet for the next one billion users or more around the world falls within the Tunis Agenda’s definition of Internet governance and developments  that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.
List similar events you and/or any other IGF workshops you have organized in the past.
The listed groups have been involved in organized several events throughout the WSIS processes, and at the Summits in Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005.  At the first IGF in 2006 in Athens the GIIC and WITSA  organized a workshop entitled,  “Enhancing Multi-Stakeholder Participation in Policy Making”. The discussion examined new forms of public-private partnerships that have broken down policy, political, and other barriers to access to and use of ICTs and the Internet. Examples were cited of how the ICT industry has organized, developed strategies, and collaborated with other stakeholders to overcome barriers to the deployment and use of ICTs. At the IGF in Rio in 2007, the GIIC, WITSA, and Keidanren organized a workshop entitled, “Qualifying, Quantifying, And Meeting The Challenges Of Internet Access Costs.” The discussion highlighted the fact that access to the information infrastructure and ICT and Internet capabilities is one of the most fundamental measure of a society’s ability to grow its economy, enhance its social well-being, and integrate itself with the global economy. All stakeholders must work together in countries so that the right policies are in place to ensure access to the Internet.  Many of the organizers have supported the ICC and its events at the  WSIS and IGF meetings. These associations have extensive experience in organizing events.
Were you part of organizing a workshop last year? Which one? Did you submit a workshop report?
GIIC, WITSA, and Keidanren helped organize the workshop on access entitled “Qualifying, Quantifying, and Meeting the Challenge of Internet Access Costs.” A summary report was issues and is posted on the IGF website.