1. The High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation convened by ‎the UN Secretary-General will advance proposals to strengthen ‎cooperation in the digital space among Governments, the ‎private sector, civil society, international organisations, the ‎technical and academic communities and all other relevant ‎stakeholders. The Panel’s report and its recommendations will ‎provide a high-level independent contribution to the broader ‎public debate on digital cooperation frameworks and support ‎Member States in their consultations on these issues. ‎
  2. The Panel will consist of 20 eminent leaders from ‎Governments, private sector, academia, the technical ‎community, and civil society led by two co-chairs. Its ‎composition will be balanced in terms of gender, age, ‎geographic representation, and area of expertise. The Panel ‎members will serve in their personal capacity. ‎
  3. The Panel shall meet in person at least once. Additional ‎interactions shall be organised for the Panel as a whole by ‎electronic means or through ad hoc group consultations. The ‎Panel will engage and consult widely with governments, private ‎sector, academia, technical community, civil society, and inter-‎governmental organisations across the world. It shall be agile ‎and innovative in interacting with existing processes and ‎platforms as well as in harnessing inputs from diverse ‎stakeholders. ‎
  4. In its report to the Secretary-General, the Panel shall identify ‎good practices and opportunities, gaps and challenges in digital ‎cooperation. It shall also outline major trends in the ‎development and deployment of emerging digital technologies, ‎business models, and policies and the possibilities and ‎challenges they generate for digital cooperation.
  5. In particular, the report shall: ‎
    - Raise awareness among policy makers and the general public ‎about ‎ the transformative impact of digital technologies across society ‎and the ‎ economy; ‎
    - Suggest ways to bridge disciplines on digital cooperation by ‎identifying ‎ policy, research and information gaps as well as ways to ‎improve ‎ interdisciplinary thinking and cross-domain action on digital ‎ technologies; ‎
    - Present recommendations for effective, inclusive, accountable ‎systems ‎ of digital cooperation among all relevant actors in the digital ‎space. ‎
  6. ‎The recommendations in the report shall seek to maximise ‎the potential of digital technologies to contribute inter alia to the ‎achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ‎and to support progress across a range of themes, including ‎digital empowerment, inclusive finance, employment, ‎entrepreneurship, trade and cross border data flows. ‎
  7. They shall also contribute to raising individual and systemic ‎capacities to ‎​maximise the benefits of emerging digital technologies; to ‎facilitating the participation of all stakeholder groups, especially ‎youth and women, in the digital sphere and; to enhancing ‎implementation of existing digital policies as well as norms. ‎
  8. The Panel shall avoid duplication with existing forums for ‎digital cooperation. It shall fully respect current UN structures as ‎well as national, technical community and industry prerogatives ‎in the development and governance of digital technologies.
  9. The Panel will complete its deliberations and submit its final ‎report, including actionable recommendations, within a nine-‎month period. ‎
  10. The deliberations of the Panel will be supported by a small ‎secretariat and funded by donor resources. The Secretariat shall ‎seek to leverage existing platforms and partners, including UN ‎agencies, working in the related domains. ‎


Co-Chairs ‎
‎• Melinda Gates (USA), Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ‎
‎• Jack Ma (China), Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group ‎

Members ‎
‎• Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi (UAE), Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the ‎
Future, UAE ‎
‎• Yuichiro Anzai (Japan), Senior Advisor and Director of Center for Science ‎
Information Analysis, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science ‎
‎• Nikolai Astrup (Norway), Former Minister of International Development, ‎
now Minister of Digitalisation, Norway ‎
‎• Vinton Cerf (USA), Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google ‎
‎• Fadi Chehadé (USA), Chairman, Chehadé & Company ‎
‎• Sophie Soowon Eom (Republic of Korea), Founder of Adriel AI and ‎
Solidware ‎
‎• Isabel Guerrero Pulgar (Chile), Executive Director, IMAGO Global ‎
Grassroots and Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School ‎
‎• Marina Kaljurand (Estonia), Chair of the Global Commission on the ‎
Stability of Cyberspace ‎
‎• Bogolo Kenewendo (Botswana), Minister of Investment, Trade and ‎
Industry, Botswana ‎
‎• Marina Kolesnik (Russian Federation), senior executive, entrepreneur ‎
and WEF Young Global Leader ‎
‎• Doris Leuthard (Switzerland), former President and Federal Councillor of ‎
the Swiss Confederation, Switzerland ‎
‎• Cathy Mulligan (United Kingdom), Visiting Researcher, Imperial College ‎
London and Chief Technology Officer of GovTech Labs at University ‎
College London ‎
‎• Akaliza Keza Ntwari (Rwanda), ICT advocate and entrepreneur ‎
‎• Edson Prestes (Brazil), Professor, Institute of Informatics, Federal ‎
University of Rio Grande do Sul ‎
‎• Kira Radinsky (Israel), Director of Data Science, eBay ‎
‎• Nanjira Sambuli (Kenya), Senior Policy Manager, World Wide Web ‎
Foundation ‎
‎• Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah (Australia), Chief Executive, Oxfam GB ‎
‎• Jean Tirole (France), Chairman of the Toulouse School of Economics and ‎
the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse ‎

Ex officio
‎• Amandeep Singh Gill (India), Executive Director, Secretariat of the High-‎
level Panel on Digital Cooperation ‎
‎• Jovan Kurbalija (Serbia), Executive Director, Secretariat of the High-level ‎
Panel on Digital Cooperation


Panel Secretariat ‎
‎• Isabel de Sola, Senior Adviser, Engagement ‎
‎• Amandeep Singh Gill, Executive Director ‎
‎• Jovan Kurbalija, Executive Director ‎
‎• Ananita Maitra, Project Officer, Policy and Engagement ‎
‎• Chengetai Masango, Senior Adviser (on loan from the IGF Secretariat, ‎
July-October 2018) ‎
‎• Lisa McMonagle, Intern ‎
‎• Madeline McSherry, Project Officer, Engagement ‎
‎• Claire Messina, Deputy Executive Director ‎
‎• AJung Moon, Senior Adviser, Research & Industry ‎
‎• Athira Murali, Intern ‎
‎• Anoush Rima Tatevossian, Senior Communications Officer ‎
‎• Talea von Lupin, Intern ‎
‎• Andrew Wright, Writer ‎

Sherpas and Support Teams ‎
‎• Co-Chair Melinda Gates: Gargee Ghosh, John Norris ‎
‎• Co-Chair Jack Ma: James Song, Jason Pau, Sami Farhad, Yuan Ren


The Panel gratefully acknowledges the financial and in-kind contributions of the following governments and partners, without whom it ‎would not have been able to carry out its responsibilities: ‎
Robert Bosch Stiftung ‎
Government of the People’s Republic of China ‎
Government of Denmark ‎
Government of Finland ‎
Ford Foundation ‎
Global Challenges Foundation ‎
IGF Secretariat ‎
Government of Israel ‎
Government of Norway ‎
Government of Qatar ‎
Government of Switzerland ‎
Government of the United Arab Emirates ‎
UN Foundation ‎


As per its terms of reference, the Panel engaged widely with ‎governments, private sector, academia, the technical ‎community, civil society, and inter-governmental organisations ‎across the world. The aims of its engagement strategy were to ‎provide stakeholders with an opportunity to contribute ‎meaningfully to the reflection process of the Panel; catalyse ‎multi-stakeholder and interdisciplinary cooperation on digital ‎issues; and co-create the report’s recommendations with ‎stakeholders, with a view to building buy-in for their ‎implementation. ‎

The engagement strategy was guided by three main tenets: ‎
‎• Breadth and inclusivity: The Panel aimed to consult as ‎broadly as ‎
possible across regions, demographics, topics, sectors and ‎disciplines. ‎
The process strove to be as inclusive as possible of diverse ‎groupings. ‎
‎• Depth: The Panel worked with experts and conducted ‘deep ‎dives’ on ‎
specific focus areas through virtual or in-person consultations ‎as well as ‎
bilateral interviews. ‎
‎• Interdisciplinarity: Many digital challenges are currently ‎addressed in ‎
policy or agency silos; to promote more holistic approaches, the ‎Panel’s ‎
activities invited interdisciplinary and multisectoral perspectives ‎to the ‎
table. ‎

The Panel was conscious of the importance of avoiding ‎duplication of efforts and ‘consultation fatigue’ amongst digital ‎stakeholders. Building on existing networks and policy forums, ‎engagement activities took place as close as possible to ‎stakeholders on the ground. The Panel also consciously ‎assumed the learnings of previous commissions and existing ‎working groups while also harnessing opportunities to connect ‎the issues in new ways. ‎

Conducting a global consultation in the span of few months ‎would not have been possible without the immense support of ‎dozens of organisations and governments worldwide who lent ‎their resources and networks to the Panel. ‎

Engagement proceeded in two phases: in the ‘listening’ phase, ‎in the autumn of 2018, the Panel actively collected stakeholders’ ‎concerns and ideas on digital cooperation. Feedback from ‎stakeholders was fed into the Panel’s scoping of its work and ‎formed the basis of the nine “enablers of digital cooperation” ‎articulated mid-way through the Panel process. In the spring of ‎‎2019, the focus shifted to ‘road-testing’ the Panel’s emerging ‎recommendations. Stakeholders from across sectors were ‎invited to comment on and critique the draft recommendations ‎with a view to improving them. ‎

Overall, the Panel and its Secretariat carried out 125 ‎engagement activities; these included participating in 44 digital ‎policy events and organising 10 thematic workshops (on ‎subjects such as values and principles, digital trust and security, ‎data, digital health), 28 briefings to various stakeholder ‎communities, 11 visits to digital hubs and capitals, 22 virtual ‎meetings with subject-matter experts, and 10 townhall meetings ‎open to the public. In addition, the Panel held a large number of ‎bilateral meetings with a variety of stakeholders. ‎

A virtual window for consultation was opened via the Panel’s ‎website. In October 2018, an open Call for Contributions was ‎launched; by January 2019, when the call closed, 167 ‎stakeholders had sent written submissions. Additionally, an ‎informal public opinion survey was set up to capture the views ‎of stakeholders on the digital issues of greatest concern. ‎

In total, the Panel and its Secretariat engaged with over 4,000 ‎individuals representing 104 states, 80 international ‎organisations, 203 private sector companies, 125 civil society ‎organisations, 33 technical organisations, and 188 think tanks ‎and academic institutions. ‎

Our analysis of approximately 1200 core participants in our ‎engagement process finds that 40% were women; 3% were ‎aged under 30; and the regional breakdown was 20% North ‎America, 19% Europe, 13% Sub-Saharan Africa, 8% Latin ‎America and the Caribbean, 7% South and Central Asia, 7% ‎Southeast and East Asia, and 4% Middle East (the rest had a ‎global remit). ‎

These results show that we did not wholly avoid a skew towards ‎male and Western voices, though they compare favourably with ‎many such exercises in the technology sector. They indicate the ‎continuing need for digital cooperation mechanisms to make ‎specific efforts to ensure inclusivity, and highlight in particular ‎the challenge of bringing the “digital native” youth generation ‎into digital policymaking. ‎

The Panel would like to thank the following partners for their ‎generous assistance and support to its engagement process: ‎

Access Now ‎
African Union Commission ‎
Alibaba Group ‎
APEC China Business Council (ACBC) ‎
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Argentina ‎
Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) ‎
Association for Progressive Communication (APC) ‎
Government of Benin ‎
Botnar Foundation ‎
Business Council for the United Nations ‎
Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco ‎
China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC) ‎
Data2x ‎
Digital Empowerment Foundation ‎
Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) ‎
Diplo Foundation ‎
Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations and ‎Other International Organisations in Geneva ‎
Direction interministérielle du numérique et du système ‎d’information et de communication de l’Etat, France ‎
Freedom Online Coalition ‎
Gateway House ‎
Geneva Internet Platform ‎
Global Commission on Stability of Cyberspace ‎
Global Partners Digital ‎
Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data ‎
Global Tech Panel ‎
GSM Association (GSMA) ‎
Hangzhou Normal University ‎
Impact Hub Basel ‎
Infosys ‎
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)‎
International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ‎
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) ‎
iSPIRT ‎ ‎
JSC National ICT Holding Zerde ‎
Government of Kazakhstan ‎
King’s College London ‎
Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy ‎
New America Foundation ‎
Nokia ‎
Observer Research Foundation ‎
Office of Denmark’s Technology Ambassador ‎
Omidyar Foundation ‎
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development ‎‎(OECD) ‎
Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) ‎
Schwarzman Scholars, Tsinghua University ‎
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore ‎
Stanford University ‎
Tata Consultancy Services, Mumbai ‎
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development ‎‎(UNCTAD) ‎
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and ‎the Caribbean (ECLAC) ‎
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ‎‎(UNESCO) ‎
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ‎
United Nations Global Pulse ‎
United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) ‎
United Nations Office at Geneva ‎
United Nations University ‎
University of California, Berkeley ‎
University of Geneva ‎
Verizon Wireless ‎
Web Summit ‎
Western Balkans Digital Summit ‎
Wonder Ventures ‎
World Bank ‎
World Economic Forum ‎
World Economic Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial ‎Revolution, San Francisco ‎
World Government Summit, Dubai ‎
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ‎
World Internet Conference ‎
World Summit AI


In the course of our outreach, many stakeholders suggested ‎principles to which digital cooperation mechanisms should ‎adhere and functions they should seek to serve. Drawing also ‎on work of previous initiatives in these areas, this annex ‎summarises the principles and functions we suggest are most ‎important to guide the future evolution of digital cooperation. ‎

‎• Consensus-oriented: Decisions should be made in ways that ‎seek ‎ consensus among public, private and civic stakeholders. ‎
‎• Polycentric: Decision-making should be highly distributed and ‎loosely ‎yet efficiently coordinated across specialised centres. ‎
‎• Customised: There is generally no “one size fits all” solution; ‎different ‎communities can implement norms in their own way, according ‎to ‎circumstances. ‎
‎• Subsidiarity: Decisions should be made as locally as possible, ‎closest to ‎where the issues and problems are. ‎
‎• Accessible: It should be as easy as possible to engage in ‎digital ‎cooperation mechanisms and policy discussions. ‎
‎• Inclusive: Decisions should be inclusive and democratic, ‎representing diverse interests and accountable to all stakeholders. ‎
‎• Agile: Digital cooperation should be dynamic, iterative and ‎responsive to ‎fast-emerging policy issues. ‎
‎• Clarity in roles and responsibility: Clear roles and shared ‎language ‎should reduce confusion and support common understanding ‎about the ‎responsibilities of actors involved in digital cooperation ‎‎(governments, ‎private sector, civil society, international organisations and ‎academia). ‎
‎• Accountable: There should be measurable outcomes, ‎accountability and ‎means of redress. ‎
‎• Resilient: Power distribution should be balanced across ‎sectors, without ‎centralised top-down control. ‎
‎• Open: Processes should be transparent, with minimum ‎barriers to entry. ‎
‎• Innovative: It should always be possible to innovate new ways ‎of ‎cooperating, in a bottom-up way, which is also the best way to ‎include ‎diverse perspectives. ‎
‎• Tech-neutral: Decisions should not lock in specific ‎technologies but allow ‎for innovation of better and context-appropriate alternatives. ‎
‎• Equitable outcomes: Digital cooperation should maximise the ‎global ‎public interest (internationally) and be anchored in broad public ‎benefit ‎‎(nationally). ‎

‎• Leadership – generating political will among leaders from ‎government, ‎business, and society, and providing an authoritative response ‎to digital ‎policy challenges. ‎
‎• Deliberation – providing a platform for regular, comprehensive and impactful deliberations on digital issues with the active and effective participation of all affected stakeholders.
• Ensuring inclusivity – ensuring active and meaningful participation of all stakeholders, for example by linking with existing and future bottom-up networks and initiatives.214
• Evidence and data – monitoring developments and identifying trends to inform decisions, including by analysing existing data sources.
• Norms and policy making – building consensus among diverse stakeholders, respecting the roles of states and international organisations in enacting and enforcing laws.
• Implementation – following up on policy discussions and agreements.
• Coordination – creating shared understanding and purpose across bodies in different policy areas and at different levels (local, national, regional, global), ensuring synchronisation of efforts, interoperability and policy coherence, and the possibility of voluntary coordination between interested stakeholder groups.
• Partnerships – catalysing partnerships around specific issues by providing opportunities to network and collaborate.
• Support and capacity development – strengthening capacity development, monitoring digital developments, identifying trends, informing policy actors and the public of emerging risks and opportunities, and providing data for evidence-based decision making – allowing traditionally marginalised persons or other less-resourced stakeholders to actively participate in the system.
• Conflict resolution and crisis management – developing the skills, knowledge and tools to prevent and resolve disputes and connect stakeholders with assistance in a crisis.