The Group of Twenty (G20), the premier forum for its members' international economic cooperation and decision-making, is just completing its Summit work in Antalya, Turkey. Its membership comprises 19 countries plus the European Union. G20 leaders meet annually to discuss ways to strengthen the global economy, reform international financial institutions improve financial regulation and implement the key economic reforms that are needed in each member economy. The three main themes of this year's G20 Summit were chosen as "inclusiveness, investment and implementation" based on the Turkish Presidency's priorities.
I had the privilege to be invited, as a representative of ICANN, to attend some G20 sessions, serving on a panel to discuss innovation at the invitation of the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), an independent think tank in Ankara. TEPAV coordinated the T20 activities -- an "ideas bank" for G20 governments, bringing innovation to the G20 agenda. In this role, T20 develops new policies, new ideas, new initiatives, and new projects to support the agendas of G20 policymakers and other official G20 engagements groups. The T20 Summit was held alongside the G20 Leaders' Summit in Antalya on November 15-16, 2015. http://www.t20turkey.org/images/t20-brosur-con.pdf [PDF, 1.21 MB]
In the panel on "Information Technologies in Sustainable Development" I talked about the role of ICANN and the Internet's domain name system and our activities to ensure that the Internet is stable, secure and interoperable. Though a technical organization, our coordination efforts can facilitate innovation through the recent expansion of generic top-level domain names to offer more global Internet presence to people for communications, business, or research purposes and the use of internationalized domain names in different scripts to cover many languages, such as Russian, Chinese, and Arabic to name a few. I also shared the finding of two research reports done by the Boston Consulting Group:
- Easy access and use of the Internet can dramatically affect the growth of national economies, according to research by The Boston Consulting Group. The research, described in a new BCG report, measured the constraints on Internet use in 65 countries and found that those with fewer limitations on online activity can have larger digital economies.
- Reducing e-friction – or a country's obstacles to full participation in the global digital economy – can deliver benefits to national economies and business, particularly in developing markets. BCG findings show a potential 2.5% increase in GDP and 7% increase in SME revenues as e-friction scores improve.
Multistakeholder Model at Work within ICANN and at the G20
Finally, I noted that another reason the Internet can expand so quickly is because of the multistakeholder model, involving governments, businesses, academics, technical experts, individual Internet users, non-governmental organizations, and other segments of society, to set the policies for the Internet's development. It is a core part of ICANN's policy development and related activities.
So I was pleased to see a similar trend with the G20 and its engagement groups. The G20 works closely with non-government groups from across the global community. The G20 engagement groups for 2014 are the B20 (Business 20), C20 (Civil Society 20), L20 (Labor 20), T20 (Think 20), I20 (Innovation 20), W20 (Women 20), and Y20 (Youth 20).
So the G20 may also be appreciating the growing value of a multistakeholder approach and its relevance in global governance of the 21st century. Future G20 agendas may soon include a range of issues cutting across existing G20 agenda items such as the transformative aspects of technological development, including the Internet, on economies and societies.
China will assume the 2016 G20 Presidency and organize the next G20 Summit.
David A. Olive
Senior Vice President, Policy Development Support