Dear Colleagues and Members,
Over the past year we have made a major impact in representing global business in a series of key international processes—from the G20 through to the launch of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The past month has seen us leading business representation at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21), a major UN summit on the future of the Internet, and the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 10th Ministerial Conference.
Business engagement was a central and defining theme of COP21, with the landmark conference seeing an unprecedented mobilization of the private sector on the climate agenda. In our outreach as the designated business “focal point” for COP21, we emphasized the defining role that business will play in meeting the climate challenge: making the case for a global deal that works with business and markets. A message that—with your help—we were successful in communicating to senior policymakers and other stakeholders in advance of and throughout COP21.
It will take time to assess the full technical details of the deal struck just over a week ago, but in general terms we believe that the Paris Agreement provides important long-term certainty to support investment and innovation in climate solutions. The emphasis placed on market-mechanisms and cooperative approaches is clearly welcome and broadly aligns with our strategic messaging during COP21.
In the coming weeks we will be engaging with the UNFCCC to ensure that business is centrally positioned in the considerable work ahead to develop and implement the Paris agreement. We look forward to working with you on this important agenda in 2016.
ICC welcomed the outcome of last week’s 10-Year Review of theWorld Summit on the Information Society (WSIS +10) at the UN Headquarters in New York. The High-Level Meeting endorsed the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance and, in doing so, extended the mandate of the Internet Governance Forum for another 10 years.
This is an important step forward in terms of ensuring that the Internet is able to drive growth and development the world over. In my remarks at the High-Level Meeting, I emphasized the vital role that information and communication technologies will play in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals—noting the need for governments to support private sector efforts to enhance Internet connectivity and promote a global culture of cyber security. These are vital themes that will be key priorities for ICC in 2016.
The WTO’s 10th Ministerial Conference (MC10) concluded on Saturday in Nairobi. From a business perspective, the key outcome of MC10 was the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement—a deal that eliminates tariffs on a broad range information technology products and services. Once implemented, the agreement—which has long been championed by ICC as part of our World Trade Agenda—is expected to inject US$190 billion into the global economy, making it one of the largest trade agreements in history.
The fate of the long-stalled Doha Round of trade negotiations was another key theme of the Ministerial. Here the outlook is uncertain: some governments remain committed to continuing the negotiations, while others have made it clear that they wish to pursue other means of liberalizing trade under the WTO. The likely result is an acceleration of the trend towards plurilateral agreements. It remains vital for business to continue to engage with the WTO to help shape an agenda which responds to 21st Century business needs.
During MC10 we were delighted to launch the new Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation along with the World Economic Forum and the Centre for International Private Enterprise. The Alliance will work to speed effective implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement and its launch was welcomed by WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo as an important initiative to help realize the benefits of this landmark agreement.
Finally, I would like to thank you all for your support for ICC activities over the past year. I wish you all the very best for the holiday season and look forward to working with you to make 2016 a successful year for world business.
With best wishes,