IGF 2021 WS #138
Make digital power unanimously empowers outbreak response

Organizer 1: Madison Wang, China Internet Netwrok Information Center (CNNIC)
Organizer 2: Lang Wang, CNNIC
Organizer 3: Yonglin Yao, CNNIC
Organizer 4: Dong Yang, Renmin University of China

Speaker 1: Katrina Kayibanda, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Luis Chen Puerta, Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Margot Beauchamps, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Dong Yang, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Dong Yang, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Madison Wang, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group


Other - 90 Min
Format description: Best practice sharing and discussion.
This is an online session so no seat format is needed.

Policy Question(s)

Social inequality and the pandemic: What can be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic context about the relationship between digital inequality and social and economic inequality? Similarly, what lessons can be drawn with respect to the pandemic and Internet-related human rights? What does this suggest about policy approaches for digitalisation and digital inclusion?

The pandemic has exacerbated the gap between countries with different levels of digitization. What be learned varied from country to country. Some may learn from it and establish an effective system to response outbreak, some may suffer from the disaster and start to improve Internet accessibility.

We will invite speakers from the Internet-underdeveloped areas and hear their voice on what dilemmas they are facing. Some suggestions might be come up with based on best practice sharing and discussion. Digital development should benefit all, not only the areas with high digital level.

The challenge might be that the best practice are not suitable for Internet-underdeveloped areas and cannot be copied directly. So the discussion part is designed to specific how can we adjust these approaches and make it practical.


10. Reduced Inequalities

Targets: The initiation of this proposal comes from the moment that we found due to the existing digital divide, COVD-19 further exacerbates the gap between countries. Some countries have effectively controlled the epidemic and ensure the operation of society under the help of digital means. However, the areas with low digital level can do very limited in outbreak response. Once the areas suffered this kind of outbreaks, it is difficult for them to recover. An epidemic may stop even regress the society development for decades.

The expected outcome of the workshop is to produce a practical report, which might help the underdeveloped areas to response to this kind of outbreaks thus reducing the gap caused by the epidemic. This is an arduous project. The ability and influence of an organization is very limited, but we still hope to explore how to improve their digital ability and with some adjustments, what digital means can be copied in underdeveloped areas to cope with such incidents. If this workshop is of little use, we can at least understand what is hindering their development of digital capabilities and what they want us to do.


The globally spreading COVD-19 further propels the development of digital economy and will have a lasting impact after the global economic recovery.

In order to prevent the spread of the COVD-19, more and more enterprises and governments have put their business and services online to avoid interpersonal contact. Consumers are seeking new ways of entertainment and shopping during the epidemic period, telemedicine, online office and online education are booming, artificial intelligence technology is helping to find treatment methods in digital means and digital technology is being used in tracking and detecting the virus. The epidemic crisis has increased the efficiency of digital solutions and accelerats the global digitalization. Digital power has shown great potential to transform the world.

However, the epidemic has also exposed a huge gap between Internet users and non-users. With the acceleration of economic digital transformation, those countries with limited access to the Internet, especially the under-developed countries, may be further left behind. Due to the fact that many students in Internet under-developed countries are unable to be connected, their distance education is restricted, thus the education gap in these countries is further expanding also. Utilization of digital technology has hindered the outbreak response in some parts of the world, which has a significant impact on global development. Therefore, it is necessary to take actions to avoid the expanding divide.

The workshop will consist of two parts. The first part is best practice sharing, in which how digital development can effectively help to fight against the epidemic in different industries and regions and help economy recovery will be shared. In the second part, we will invite guests from Internet under-developed areas to put forward the specific problems they encountered in the process of outbreak response in digital ways. All participants to are welcomed to discuss which experiences can be effectively replicated in Internet under-developed areas. A framework of how to response epidemic, and other Black Swan events in digital ways for Internet under-developed areas might be formed.

Expected Outcomes

A report with a following content: 1) Possible dilemmas the Internet under-developed areas may face. 2) Preparedness plans on how to response outbreaks in different fields in digital ways in the future. 3) Suggestions for economy recovery after social shutdown in digital ways.

The session will contain two main parts, best practice sharing and discussion.
【10 mins】 Opening
The opening part will start with storytelling. Participants are invited to share how their lives go during COVD-19 epidemic. This part is designed to break the ice quickly and warm up the session in an empathic way.
【40 mins】 Best practice sharing and related Q&A
In this part, 3-5 speakers from different regions and industries will be invited to share their effort in outbreak response, the range which cover might trigger the interests of participants with different background.
【35 min】 Discussion
In this part, some participants from Internet-underdeveloped areas will be invited in advance by organizers for their voice. They will come up with the obstacles (especially the ones caused by digital gap) they meet when response the outbreak. All the speakers and participants online are welcomed to discuss where the obstacles come from, how to solve them and what experience can be copied after being adjusted to. So the interactions can be fully confirmed.
【5 mins】 Closing
Appreciation for all participants followed by a short summary for the session.

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool.