IGF 2020 DCs Main Session: Socio-economic recovery after the Covid19 crisis – Dynamic Coalitions’ role

Wednesday, 11th November, 2020 (12:30 UTC) - Wednesday, 11th November, 2020 (14:00 UTC)
Room 1
About this Session
The focus of the session is on altering the thinking from scenarios of a global recession to scenarios of a post-covid upliftment, not merely an economic boom, but an all-round upliftment in the way we govern, do business and live. Speakers representing Dynamic Coalitions at the IGF will engage with participants in a contextual debate on the role of the DCs and the relevance of their work during the pandemic and after the pandemic, to help cause a socio-economic renewal.

The magnitude of the role of the IGF calls for macro deliberations at the IGF in the current situation of the pandemic which is global, and threatens to affect the way we live.

The session will address the following issues:

  • The visible and unseen role of the Internet
  • The role of Internet in Recovery and Renewal
  • The role of the IGF and the DCs in causing quantum changes

The session will be structured in 4 phases:

Phase 1: Digital Divide

Subtheme Speakers
Access Smita Vanniyar (DC Gender)

Gerry Ellis (DCAD)

Valensiya Dresvyannikova (DC-PAL)

June Parris (IPRPC)

John Carr (DC COS)

Olivier Crepin-Leblond (DC-CIV)
Discrimination Smita Vanniyar (DC Gender)

Gerry Ellis (DCAD)

Phase 2: Education

Subtheme Speakers
Education Gustavo Paiva (YCIG)
Data protection, privacy June Parris (IPRPC)

John Carr (DC COS)
Child protection John Carr (DC COS)
Freedom of expression June Parris (IPRPC)

Olivier Crepin-Leblond (DC-CIV)

Michael Oghia (DC-Sustainability)

Smita Vanniyar (DC Gender)
Freedom of information Michael Oghia (DC-Sustainability)

June Parris (IPRPC)

Phase 3: Digital Divide

Subtheme Speakers
Awareness Gerry Ellis (DCAD)

Christopher Yoo (DC-Connecting the Unconnected)

John Carr (DC COS)
Supporting learning & research Stuart Hamilton (DC-PAL)

Muhammad Shabbir (DCAD)

Phase 4: Future of IGF


  • Olivier Crepin-Leblong (DC-CIV)
  • Eileen Cejas (YCIG)

All substantive papers delivered by Dynamic Coalitions to prepare for the session are available at:

Policy questions to be addressed by speakers from DCs:

  1. What needs to be done to make Digital Inclusion a first priority of governments worldwide?
  2. Looking at the wider policy and legal environment, what other priorities for policy change may there be other than expanding connectivity infrastructure/coverage if we are to close the digital divide?
  3. What new insights or lessons about digital inclusion and the digital divide have been learned during the rapid digitisation of society during the pandemic – and how do these affect our thinking about future digital inclusion efforts?
  4. How can barriers to accessing digital rights and Internet governance spaces be alleviated for gender-diverse persons and persons from countries whose passports are not privileged?
  5. What could the IGF Community do to be of help in causing Quantum Changes in the process of post-pandemic renewal by working through the IGF and other organisations at an elevated level to organise collaborative processes to design global solutions?
  6. Is the role digitisation of society plays in times of crisis already reflected in the role Internet Governance plays in national and international politics?
1. Key Policy Questions and related issues
What are the first priorities that the government should tackle when it comes to addressing the issue of digital divides in the context of COVID‑19?
What effect has the COVID-19 pandemic had on the ability of children to continue their education and what barriers need to be overcome to prevent this happening in future?
How has COVID-19 pandemic affected people’s ability to exercise their fundamental rights and freedom online and what ramifications does this have for people and societies post-COVID-19?
2. Summary of Issues Discussed

Digital Divide

  • There was broad agreement that the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened existing inequalities and divides.


  • There was agreement that Internet governance capacity building is becoming increasingly relevant worldwide as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Education on Internet Governance must become widespread.
  • There was agreement that education and youth as a whole were harmed by national political crisis originating from mismanaged responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Fundamental rights

  • There was agreement that online accessibility benefits far more than just persons with disabilities. Live transcripts were provided as an accessibility measure originally targeted at people with hearing impairments, but now a vital resource for data mining after events for people both with and without disabilities.
  • The need for fundamental rights online was linked to the issue of education: without access to connectivity, freedom of speech, and basic human rights, education opportunities, particularly during the time of COVID-19, cannot be equally and fairly available to all.

Future of IGF

  • There was strong consensus that, just as the BPFs and NRIs are already widely recognised to be, the Dynamic Coalitions are a vital component of the IGF and its intersessional processes. Support for Dynamic Coalitions, and collaboration between Dynamic Coalitions, should be strengthened as part of the IGF+ model and the DCs can, in turn, contribute to developing the IGF+ model.
  • It was reported that at the Parliamentarians Roundtable (10 November), parliamentarians expressed interest in engaging with the Dynamic Coalitions intersessionally. Dynamic Coalitions were encouraged to make use of this opportunity, to advocate on issues that Dynamic Coalitions are working on directly with lawmakers. 
  • It was noted that it is essential to have representation of youth in IGF intersessional activities as youth should be involved in decisions affecting their future and active youth involvement helps to avoid tokenism in multistakeholder discussions.
3. Key Takeaways
  • COVID-19 has exacerbated underlying inequalities and problems. Lack of meaningful, equitable access to online resources during the pandemic have affected education, people with disabilities to access online shopping services and led to increased online gender-based violence.
  • As so much moved online during the COVID-10 pandemic, it has demonstrated how important it is to provide the necessary capacity building and education needed to ensure everyone has the skills and knowledge to have meaningful access to Internet-based services and information.
  • Access to information is a fundamental human right, for people of all ages, including children. There has been an increased demand for information and resources from libraries and from the media during the pandemic, but these sources of information are under pressure from both the erosion of journalism through reduction in revenues, and restrictions placed on digital information sources available from libraries, such as the number of simultaneous users able to access a resource.
  • Capacity building and support programs are needed to enable greater visibility and direct participation of underrepresented groups, including youth and persons with disabilities, in discussions that are shaping the future of Internet governance.
6. Final Speakers


  • Tatiana Tropina
  • Hanane Boujemi


  • John Carr (DC COS)
  • Olivier Crepin-Leblond (DC-CIV)
  • Valensiya Dresvyannikova (DC-PAL)
  • Gerry Ellis (DCAD)
  • Stuart Hamilton (DC-PAL)
  • Michael J. Oghia (DC-Sustainability)
  • Gustavo Paiva (YCIG)
  • June Parris (IPRPC)
  • Muhammad Shabbir (DCAD)
  • Smita Vanniyar (DC Gender)
  • Christopher Yoo (DC-Connecting the Unconnected)
  • Eileen Cejas (YCIG)
7. Reflection to Gender Issues

Gender issues were discussed in the session. Online gender-based violence as well as the role that gender-related inequalities have played in increasing inequalities and access to online services during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also noted that gender divides are not binary (male/female), but discussions to close gender divides need to consider the wide spectrum of gender identities and the inequalities and exclusions they face.