Ministerial meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy - Seoul

The OECD ministerial meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy took place last 17-18 June in the Korean capital Seoul.

Ministers from nearly 40 countries attended, with the discussion focusing on five theme topics:

  • Improvement of economic performance and social development;

  • Benefitting convergence;

  • Promotion of creativity and highlighting the internet economy's role as a source and tool for boosting innovation and growth;

  • Network security;

  • Increased opportunities for global economic and social development.

The world's economic leaders, experts and academics in the technical area (a total of about 2,200 delegates from 68 countries were present) tried to agree on ways to improve co-ordination and co-operation at global level. In this regard it was noted that although the number of broadband internet users has not stopped growing worldwide, the numeric fracture has also increased, whereby efforts should be made to augment the internet access network, specifically for the mobile internet, given that the latter is now expanding in the developing countries.

Ample coverage was also given to the topics of identity theft, data privacy and network security, as that is top concern of internet users. The growing interest in environmental questions and the benefits that internet use can bring were likewise considered in depth.

The conference culminated with the adoption by the OECD countries, European Commission and the ministers from Chile, Egypt, Estonia, Indonesia, Israel, Latvia, Senegal and Slovenia of a Declaration embodying the respective commitments to work together to boost innovation, competition and investment in information and communication technologies (ICTs). The Seoul Declaration is meant to be a roadmap for modernisation of the communication policies that have helped make the internet the economic driving force it has become and to facilitate its future development.

Also, during the closing session the OECD committed itself to improving/fine-tuning the statistical indicators for measuring the use of internet access and respective networks. Lastly, note that the ministers who took part in this event recognised the importance of the OECD report on ''Preparing the Future of the Internet Economy'' and recommended that governments take same into consideration when implementing their domestic policies.