The UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap on Digital Cooperation set out the so-called “IGF+” proposals for strengthening the Internet Governance Forum as a platform for multistakeholder dialogue with in particular greater diversity of participation, multi-year strategic planning, and the aim of delivering more tangible outcomes such as policy recommendations and best practice. In this way the IGF community of stakeholders will advance equitable and secure digital transformation in support of sustainable development and greater social well-being worldwide. This interactive main session at IGF 2022 will have two panels. The first panel will discuss how specific intersessional activities of IGF dynamic coalitions can contribute to the evolution of the “IGF+” eco-system. The second panel will consider how individual dynamic coalitions can contribute to the development of the Global Digital Compact (GDC) to be agreed at the UN Summit of the Future in September 2024; and to the consultations undertaken during the UN General Assembly’s “WSIS+20” Review in 2025.
Speaker 3: Herman Ramos * - Dynamic Coalition on Data Driven Health Technologies (DC-DDHT)
* Participating online
IGF 2022: Report of Dynamic Coalitions Main Session
30 November 2022
This Main Session co-moderated by Markus Kummer and Tatiana Tropina examined two questions:
i. how can the Dynamic Coalitions of the IGF, as autonomous, self-organising diverse groups of experts with a common purpose and active throughout the year, contribute to the strengthened IGF+ model, notably through the enhanced integration of their activities and actionable outputs such as policy recommendations, guidelines, and consensus-based norms and best practices.
ii. what is the potential opportunity for dynamic coalitions to submit inputs into the UN Secretary-General’s proposed Global Digital Compact as the digital track for the UN Summit of the Future in 2024, and into the WSIS+20 Review in 2025.
This interactive session was conducted with two panels comprising representatives of eight of the current 24 IGF Dynamic Coalitions (including the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance - YCIG), the MAG Chair (Paul Mitchell) and the Technology Envoy (Amandeep Singh Gill).
The session brought into focus how the IGF’s autonomous dynamic coalitions in their diverse spheres of focus and specialisms are well-positioned to contribute to strengthening the IGF as it transitions to “IGF +”. This will be a more strategic and inclusive forum-based multistakeholder process that will produce more impactful outcomes that policymakers and decision-takers should take account of. While the session acknowledged that many dynamic coalitions have demonstrated that they produce substantive outcomes, the challenge remains of how these should be recognised through enhancing their cross-setting integration in the IGF eco-system, with greater secretariat support while at the same time preserving their autonomous status.
The session also considered the need for developing effective solutions for closing the gap between the DCs’ self-directed activities and the IGF’s processes of external advocacy for action based on IGF outcomes. It was envisaged that the recently appointed Leadership Panel would potentially have a role.
A consultation of the dynamic coalitions undertaken shortly before IGF2022 revealed that half of the current 24 dynamic coalitions expected to contribute to the multistakeholder phase of GDC development. The Technology Envoy explained in the session that he anticipated two key opportunities for them to do so: firstly, in the current foundational consultations now under way; and secondly at the stage of implementation of the principles and commitments of the GDC following its adoption at the Summit of the Future in 2024.
i. Securing a greater role for Dynamic Coalitions in the “IGF+” model
The MAG Chair noted that the IGF’s Dynamic Coalitions (DCs) aim to achieve synergy towards a common set of goals, in a process similar to developing standards by defining a problem concisely and iterating on what needs to be done to address it, and then offering the solutions or modalities for achieving solutions. In this context, the DCs’ ways of working best fit the “IGF+” model which is primarily about finding ways to implement ideas that have been fermented in a multistakeholder IGF environment.
Examples of how the “IGF+” model should facilitate more effective integration and collaboration amongst DCs were discussed, such as increasing cooperation between dynamic coalitions on cross-cutting issues such as child protection and rights, and creating new mechanisms for greater cooperation between the dynamic coalitions.
Another opportunity provided by the “IGF+” model is filling the knowledge gaps relating to Internet governance, in particular amongst young people. The session was informed that the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance (YCIG) seeks opportunities to support capacity building by enabling young stakeholders to contribute constructively in more areas of policy discussions, so that the voice of “digital natives” can be heard. The YCIG said there is still a long way to go, however, and they hoped that more collaboration with other DCs would help to achieve this.
Another major challenge for the DCs which the session discussed is the lack of a platform or mechanism for both increasing their visibility and facilitating the dissemination of their tangible outcomes to policymakers and decision-takers. This gap often led to a) DC outcomes on what is needed to be done to address opportunities and problems not being taken forward by the Internet community for implementation; and b) to valuable contributions to capacity building not being deployed.
The session proceeded to consider, therefore, how such support for the DCs could be provided and to whom in the “IGF+” ecosystem their outputs should be submitted so that the DCs have a greater opportunity to make a difference through contributing their outcomes to the “IGF+” in its “policy incubator” role that has a constructive impact on digital cooperation and digital transformation.
The Technology Envoy recalled that a common theme in the three governance models proposed as options by the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (including the adopted “IGF+” model) was that a networked approach is necessary to bring together different strands of thinking. He could envisage therefore how the policy incubator role is strengthened through the active participation of the multistakeholder groups of experts in the DCs.
The Technology Envoy also noted that the establishment of the Leadership Panel was relevant in this regard because one of its key advocacy and networking functions is to provide more visibility for IGF outcomes generally.
ii. The opportunities for Dynamic Coalitions to contribute to the proposed Global Digital Compact (GDC)
There was general agreement in the session that the GDC would benefit from inputs by the Dynamic Coalitions (DCs) and it was explained that there were already several initiatives under way to contribute to its development, including those being carried out by schools of Internet governance and the YCIG which ensures that the voices of young people in all regions are heard through a programme of webinars and collaborative youth initiatives in all regions.
The Technology Envoy described two key opportunities for the DCs to contribute. Firstly, there is the current consultation phase led by his office. This will serve to enrich the discussions at the UN in New York through channelling inputs from Internet stakeholder communities.
Secondly, he envisaged the DCs helping to land and implement the GDC’s principles and guidance in practice following the conclusion of the Member States’ negotiations at the Summit of the Future in September 2024. He said that this interface with the networks of the IGF - including the DCs - will be important.
Furthermore, he welcomed commitments by the YCIG to engage across all issues within the scope of the GDC and set the inspirational target of getting a million youth voices into the GDC before the Summit of the Future.
The panel of DC representatives described how their specific areas of thematic focus were relevant to the GDC and accordingly provided substantive opportunities to contribute to its scoping and development, for example on access and connectivity, human rights online, gender issues, online safety, disinformation, digital technologies in the heath sector, the impact of automation on job opportunities, and environmental sustainability.
iii. Overall conclusion
It was acknowledged in the session that there are significant challenges for ensuring that the Dynamic Coalitions (DCs) are recognised by Internet governance leaders as providing important autonomous networks and channels for advancing the diversity of issues in Internet governance, along a common path established by the IGF. The Technology Envoy’s suggestions for how to address these challenges for the DCs - for example with the help of the Leadership Panel, and through actively contributing to the Global Digital Compact - provide valuable considerations for developing these discussions further in the IGF’s consultations on the transition to “IGF+”. The next step will be to agree the modalities for resolving the procedural gap between the DCs’ tangible outcomes and their implementation as substantive IGF outcomes.