This session emphasized linkages between different areas of digital policy, from the fundamentals of connectivity, to the governance of data, to understanding and mitigating the risks raised by AI. The panel stressed the importance of cross-ecosystem collaboration, with one panellist summarising the conversation by saying that all stakeholders are part of the same ecosystem, and the value of partnerships between the public and private sector.
International Chamber of Commerce
- Ms Timea Suto, Global Digital Policy Lead, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Private Sector, Eastern European Group
- Ms Rose Payne, Digital Policy Manager, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Private Sector, Western European and Other Group
- Ms Meni Anastasiadou, Digital Policy Adviser, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Private Sector, Western European and Other Group
- Ms Natasha Crampton, Vice President, Chief Responsible AI Officer, Microsoft, Private Sector, Western European and Other Group
- Mr Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), US Department of Commerce, Government, Western European and Other Group
- Mr David Fairchild, First Secretary, Digital Policy and Cybersecurity, Global Affairs Canada, Government, Western European and Other Group
- Mr Alessandro Gropelli, Deputy Director General, European Telecommunications Network Operators Association (ETNO), Private Sector, Western European and Other Group
- Ms Renata Mielli, Coordinator of the Internet Steering Committee, Government of Brazil, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group
- Mr Thomas Volmer, Head of Global Content Delivery Policy, Netflix, Private Sector, Western European and Other Group
- Mr Makoto Yokozawa, Ambassador to Asia Region, Global Digital Economy Commission, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Ms Timea Suto, Global Digital Policy Lead, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Private Sector, Western European and Other Group
Ms Rose Payne, Digital Policy Manager, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Private Sector, Western European and Others Group
Ms Meni Anastasiadou, Digital Policy Adviser, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Private Sector, Western European and Others Group
Targets: Digital technologies, can be a formidable engine of innovation, competitiveness, and sustainable economic growth, as well as a powerful catalyst to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. This roundtable will aim to bring government and industry representatives together to discuss mutual priorities on advancing sustainable development through partnerships, as described in Goal 17 of the SDGs.
The session will follow a Roundtable – U-shape format, combining in-person and virtual discussions to facilitate collaborative dialogue and engagement among participants. The hybrid nature of the roundtable will allow for a diverse range of participants to join and will enable more inclusive discussions. An in-person moderator will foresee the discussions and address questions to the diverse panel while ensuring a constructive and solution-oriented dialogue between participants.
Our world has become digital, and so has the economy, with new technologies and business models transforming industries and economies worldwide. Whether it’s in the underpinning infrastructure for economic and social progress or in providing solutions in sectors as varied as agriculture, energy, healthcare, manufacturing or education, the value of ICTs and digital technologies cannot be understated.
In turn, while digitalisation has opened up a host of opportunities for innovation and sustainable development, unilateral policy approaches and ineffective governance run the risk of exacerbating existing divides and be disruptive to global economies. This can lead to further mistrust of digital technologies and related business models, and erode public confidence in the security of the digital environment and the inclusiveness of efforts to advance digitalisation, resulting in further global fragmentation of the international policy space.
A number of global, multilateral and multistakeholder structures aim to bridge fragmenting policy approaches and work towards global, interoperable solutions to help understand and govern constantly evolving technologies and harness their power for continued sustainable and inclusive social and economic growth. Such efforts are the fundamentals of the IGF, characterize the work of the G7, G20 and represent the objectives of the Global Digital Compact as proposed by the UN Secretary-General – to just name a few.
This roundtable will focus on the state of global digital policy, taking stock of policy discussions and recommendations in key global fora throughout 2023 including the G7, G20, and the Global Digital Compact (and potentially other, regional policy fora), and discussing issues of mutual priority, such as data flows, AI, and connectivity, while exploring areas for partnership and collaboration. The session will consider in particular the role of the IGF in informing and actively contributing to these processes and facilitating the implementation of their outcomes.
In addition to contributing to substantive policy discussions, the aim of this session is also to incentivise increased participation in the IGF by businesses and governments – traditionally the most underrepresented stakeholder groups in IGF sessions.
Moderated by Ms Timea Suto, Global Digital Policy Lead of the International Chamber of Commerce, the roundtable will convene representatives from governments (members of the G7 and G20, and governments from across the globe actively involved in the GDC process) and industry (representing diverse business sectors, company sized and geographies), to facilitate a constructive dialogue on issues of mutual concern pertaining to the global digital economy.
Introduction and key takeaways
Our world has gone digital, transforming industries and economies globally. While this digital shift offers innovation and sustainable development opportunities, unilateral policies and governance can deepen inequalities and disrupt global economies, eroding trust in digital technologies. Numerous global organizations, involving multiple stakeholders, are dedicated to connecting divergent policy approaches and striving for worldwide, adaptable solutions. Their mission is to comprehend and regulate evolving technologies and leverage their potential for sustainable, inclusive socioeconomic progress.
The session brought together government and industry representatives to discuss mutual priorities for advancing sustainable development through partnerships, as described in Goal 17 of the SDGs. It was arranged around three topics: AI and global AI governance, cross-border data flows and global data governance, and connectivity and digitalisation for development.
The session started with panellists sharing views on the governance of AI. The conversation opened with the United States’ approach to addressing risks, both long-term risks (safety, security, threats to human existence) and short-term risks raised by current uses of AI (privacy, discrimination, disinformation, labour market). This includes securing voluntary commitments from leading companies. In turn, speakers stressed the need for domestic efforts to align with international initiatives like the Global Partnership on AI, the OECD, and the G7 Hiroshima Process – highlighting the importance of multistakeholder spaces of collaboration.
The conversation then moved onto how the private sector is addressing those risks, with panellists highlighting the need for a robust governance framework, while running through some of the practical measures companies take to address AI risks. In addition, panellists suggested that the world is looking to both policymakers and businesses to respond to those risks, as action needs to be accelerated. In particular, panellists suggested that action was needed on three simultaneous fronts: global harmonised principles, standards and voluntary measures, and concrete regulation on a national level.
The next segment of the session covered data governance, with panellists discussing how to create a world where data benefits everyone, including the challenge of aligning data governance with economic development. Other panellists highlighted private sector efforts for data free flow with trust and advocated for principles, privacy protection, and investment-friendly policies. The discussion underscored the importance of inclusive data governance to support a global digital economy.
In the final segment of the session, speakers discussed connectivity and digitalisation for development. Government panellists emphasised the need for a multistakeholder approach in shaping the global connectivity policy agenda. Other panellists highlighted private sector efforts, suggesting that to meet ambitious connectivity goals we need greater investment and an enabling policy environment. Panellists also reflected on changing market dynamics and their impact on affordability and choice for consumers. The panel stressed the importance of cross-ecosystem collaboration, with one panellist summarising the conversation by saying that all stakeholders are part of the same ecosystem and rely on one another to connect everyone, everywhere.
Ultimately, this workshop highlighted that there are many areas where governments and the private sector are forging great partnerships to resolve fundamental questions about how to govern digital technologies.
Call to action
The panellists underscored the need for cross-ecosystem development and an approach to policymaking which appreciates the interconnections and dependencies between different areas of digital policy. There was a consensus on the importance of securing voluntary commitments to address the risks associated with AI while ensuring the development of globally harmonised principles. With regards to data governance, the discussion emphasised the creation of data governance frameworks that are inclusive, transparent and build on trust. The speakers also agreed on the importance of the multistakeholder approach in shaping global policy related to digital technologies. Finally, speakers underlined the need for increased investment in connectivity, the establishment of an enabling policy environment, and the promotion of cross-ecosystem collaboration to connect everyone, everywhere.