IGF 2019 WS #158 The power of cities to boost trust in digital transformation

Organizer 1: Katarzyna Odrozek, Mozilla Foundation
Organizer 2: Cathleen Berger, Mozilla
Organizer 3: Renata Avila, Fundación Ciudadanía Intelligente

Speaker 1: Adie Marzuki Ariansjah, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Katya Abazajian, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Renata Avila, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 4: Owono Julie, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 5: Francesca Bria, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

More than half of the world’s population lives in a city now. Officials face tough challenges (and divergent interests) when it comes to putting ideals for a healthier internet into practice when harnessing technological opportunities that are meant to improve the lives of their constituents. How can we tap into the power of city governments and civil society to work together to create trustworthy and secure digital environments that represent the public interest rather than solely profit-driven tech solutions?

How can we enable and encourage inclusive civic participation at the intersection of urbanization and technology (both in the public and private sector) to make sure the perspective of people who will be most affected is weighted appropriately in the decision-making process? How can digital solutions and public data enable such participation and how do we make sure they follow the same principles?

How can city governments and civil society around the world work together to set and enforce strong standards on human rights in tech as digital platforms are becoming an integral part of the city infrastructure and services?

Relevance to Theme: Increasing participation and opening up decision-making processes is critical if we want to ensure people trust the technological transformation that touches all parts of their lives. Focusing on smaller, local entities like cities is, on these terms, an important testing ground for mechanisms that boost digital inclusion.

Relevance to Internet Governance: This session will be exploring city-level governance to increase participation and inclusion across stakeholder groups to prepare, take, and implement decisions around the use, deployment, and accountability of digital technologies in cities.


Birds of a Feather - Classroom - 90 Min

Description: Technological change and urbanisation are two megatrends that define the development of the 21st century. Yet, we still have a lot of work to do to understand how these a) go together, b) can be geared to amplify positive change, and c) impact our decision-making capabilities. This session will bring together representatives from city governments, open knowledge and participation activists, policy researchers, and the private sector to explore the power of cities for increasing trust in digital transformation. After a short level-setting introduction, participants will split up to join different subgroups for discussion, including sharing methodologies for assessing and reporting on digital city initiatives; presenting observations and lessons for citizen participation in various regions of the world; leveraging public data to mobilise engagement; using local data to connect communities; and discussing “cities” as potential sources of trust in times of tech-lash, populism, and skepticism of globalisation. Finally, facilitators for each subgroup will share back what has been discussed and open up the last part of the session to identify shared principles for increasing participation and inclusion in city-level decision-making processes.

We are committed to follow-up after the session to make sure the results of the workshop are translated into actions. We'll identify and engage with additional signatories/supporters to the Digital Rights in Cities coalition (it uses the Internet Health Report as methodology for tracking progress)and we'll report and/or conduct an interview series on using open government for strengthening digital rights.

Our partners for this session include Ciudadania Inteligente (Chile), Africa Desk of the Internet Sans Frontières (France), DigiCoop (Indonesia), City of Barcelona (Spain) and the Sunlight Foundation (USA).
We are also eager to coordinate with other workshop organizers to make sure our session is complementary to other workshops in the field.

Expected Outcomes: This session aims to a) support global and local advocacy efforts by sharing methodologies for assessing and reporting digital initiatives (https://internethealthreport.org/2018/); and b) move towards consensus on principles for participation and decision-making on tech-related issues in cities (https://citiesfordigitalrights.org/)

Onsite Moderator: 

Cathleen Berger, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Katarzyna Odrozek, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Katarzyna Odrozek, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Discussion Facilitation: 

The format of the workshop will encourage interaction and participation of all participants: we will be working in smaller break-out groups and then sharing back to the whole group. The facilitators will make sure all participants will get a chance to contribute to the discussion in whatever format they feel most comfortable with (speaking, writing, post-it notes). We plan to gather input from a variety of stakeholders in preparation for the session, too.

Online Participation: 

We will make the use of the tool an integral part of the session. We'll be posting short summaries and questions around the issues to be discussed in the tool and incorporating the answers live into the session so that they find their way (e.g. we'll post the topics of the break-out group and encourage participants to post their opinions).

Proposed Additional Tools: We'll be live-tweeting before and during the session and encouraging questions and comments via this platform. We'll use Twitter to gather input for the session ahead of the IGF from a variety of stakeholders including local civil society groups.


GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities