IGF 2020 WS #148 Building collaboration among actors in cyber policy making


Organizer 1: Civil Society, African Group
Organizer 2: Civil Society, African Group

Speaker 1: Adeboro Odunlami, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Thoko Tembo, Government, African Group
Speaker 3: 'Gbenga Sesan, Civil Society, African Group


Break-out Group Discussions - Round Tables - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

Building collaboration among actors in cyber policy making: 1. How can policymakers better collaborate with stakeholders for robust and inclusive cyber policies? 2. How can policy makers move from 'secrecy' to create a culture of openness and information sharing on cyber policy developments? 3. what capacity building interventions can best help policymakers increase their cyber policy making knowledge to match a fast-changing technological environment?

- lack of multistakeholder collaboration in cyber policy making at national level - lack of transparency and information sharing on crucial policy developments - limited capacity of legislators in cyber/technology related policy issues


GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Goal of the session: 1.To highlight the main takeaways from the Parliamentary workshop held with lawmakers from East and Southern Africa in October 2019 and the legislative experience with the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill in Nigeria 2. Map out a strategy for improved engagement with lawmakers in a way that creates an environment of openness, collaboration and discourages a ‘them versus us’ approach For time in memorial, civil society actors have been seen as being defiant in their approach to advocacy on many human rights issues. This has created a ‘Them vs Us’ closed culture which has led to many noble causes being lost because the two parties could not find a meeting point. Similarly, with technological issues, which are exacerbated by the fact that the field is relatively new to many and occurs in a fast-changing manner, lawmakers who are tasked with creating legislation are faced with enormous challenges. Challenges such as the lack of capacity to create new and synergize existing laws that govern digital technologies and respect human rights, keeping in mind that technology involves not just computers but human agents as well. Over the year’s Paradigm Initiative has helped civil society actors across Africa to strengthen their advocacy skills and competencies on digital rights, and in the year 2019, the organization kick-started a series of projects to build lawmakers’ capacity to create human rights-based technology laws. Subsequently, a Coalition of Parliamentarians for Human Rights was born out of the organization's Digital Rights workshops. One aspect that was evident during some of these capacity-building engagements is the lawmakers’ commitment and willingness to protect and ensure the respect of digital rights, however, admitted to lacking the technical knowledge and capacity to enact appropriate laws that also adjust to the fast-paced nature of technology. Additionally, lawmakers lack the appropriate civil society and public sector networks whom they can consult on such issues. The session will host parliamentarians, activists and civil society speakers to discuss their challenges and perspective concerning digital policy formulation and cybersecurity. As well as allow for the sharing of opportunities for improved collaboration between lawmakers and other stakeholders. There has been a notable trend across Africa in passing legislation with little to no consultation with other stakeholders whom these laws will govern and ultimately affect in the long run. It is no secret that laws are made for the people and by the people; however, this has not been the case in East, West and Southern Africa where Paradigm Initiative works to improve the state of digital rights. In Zambia, the government has been criticized for the secrecy in which it created the Cybersecurity Bill of 2017, which up to now has not been availed to the wider public or put forth for public consultation and scrutiny. Similarly, in Tanzania, the Cybercrime Act of 2015 was treated with a similar mystery. In addition, the session seeks to share insights from the legislative experience with the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill in Nigeria and work by the Parliamentary Coalition on Digital Rights for East and Southern Africa. The session also seeks to highlight some of the challenges, opportunities and map out a strategy on how stakeholders can best collaborate with lawmakers to draft cybersecurity and human rights centred ICT legislation and amend existing laws. The proposed speakers will share 5-minute regional snapshots of the status of digital rights legislation, their experiences engaging with lawmakers or the lawmaking process and any other relevant developments. The session will culminate into a participant-led and consultative session, drawing on the knowledge and experience of the experts present in the room. Ultimately, the session will draft a strategy that will be refined and shared with the network to kick start post-conference engagements.

Expected Outcomes

1. An advocacy strategy for improved engagement among stakeholders with lawmakers in a way that creates an environment of openness, collaboration and discourages a ‘them versus us’ approach 2. A network of organizations, activists and individuals interested in working closely with lawmakers to draft and improve ICT legislation 3. A capacity needs assessment for legislators working on cyber policies

The session is in roundtable format. It will start off with a brief introduction of speakers and the topic at hand. The session will use leading questions to get insights from speakers and participants. the session aims to be a participant-led and interactive dialogue session so as to gather maximum input from attendants and to meet its objectives.

Relevance to Internet Governance: The session is relevant to Internet Governance because legal and regulatory frameworks provide for the internet's existence and survival. Through progressive legal and regulatory frameworks, the internet becomes a place for innovation, development, realisation of digital rights (free expression, access to information, freedom of assembly)and lively digital economy. Policies especially at national level also spur digital inclusion through increased internet infrastructure, bridged digital divide and promotion of access rights for the marginalised. For all this to happen, lawmakers and other stakeholders need to come together to craft the most suitable frameworks that not only increase access or improve the internet but promote cybersecurity and a healthy internet environment where users and organisations can exit with minimised exposure to threats.

Relevance to Theme: This session is relevant to the thematic topic of Trust because policy provides a framework for cybersecurity and ensuring the security of users and the nation starts with sound legal and regulatory frameworks. The session also dialogue and collaboration in policy formulation between lawmakers and stakeholders such as internet users, activities , businesses, innovators etc. Dialogue creates trust and builds confidence among parties because it promotes information sharing, transparency and allows actors to have an input in how policy can best capture and represent unique interests and perspectives. Further, the session maps out capacity challenges faced by lawmakers in creating relevant cyber policies that protect users and national security.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: We plan to disseminate official IGF remote participation platform links to our networks using social media and emails.