IGF 2023 WS #224 Opportunities of Cross-Border Data Flow-DFFT for Development

Monday, 9th October, 2023 (06:15 UTC) - Monday, 9th October, 2023 (07:45 UTC)
WS 4 – Room B-1

Data Governance & Trust
Cross-border Data Flows and Trust
Data Free Flow
Data Localization, Data Residency, and Data Sovereignty
Data Privacy and Protection

Organizer 1: ATSUSHI YAMANAKA, 🔒Japan International Cooperation Agency
Organizer 2: Kathleen McGowan, Digital Impact Alliance
Organizer 3: Jean-Jacques Sahel, 🔒Google
Organizer 4: Chrissy Martin Meier, UN Foundation
Organizer 5: Priya Vora, Digital Impact Alliance

Speaker 1: Hon. Neema Lugangira, Government, African Group
Speaker 2: Jean-Jacques Sahel, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 4: Mayumi Miyata, Government, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 5: Kathleen McGowan, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Additional Speakers

Tojima Hitoshi, Chief Digital Officer, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)


ATSUSHI YAMANAKA, Government, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Chrissy Martin Meier, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Priya Vora, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. How can we ensure free flow of trusted data without compromising privacy and national security? What would be the governance frameworks necessary for that? How could different stakeholders involve in the development of best practices to enable free flow of trusted data? 2. How could development partners, private sectors, and civil societies/academia support developing countries to create conducive mechanisms to take advantage of cross-border data flow? 3. Should the concept and mechanism of free flow of trusted data beyond national boundary be incorporate into the discussion of DPI? If so, how best could the multi-stakeholder communities support that?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants of the workshop will gain insights into current global debates over challenges and opportunities, as well as operationalizing free flow of secured data beyond national border from subject matter experts and practioners from Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Global regions. The workshop participants will also have an opportunity to join and provide inputs into the discussions about how could government, private sectors, civil societies, and development partners could support developing countries to maximize the opportunities brought about by the free flow of secured data beyond national border. Moreover, the participants could also receive expert perspectives of whether the concept of the DFFT should or could be incorporated into the current global discussion of expanding Digital Public Goods and Digital Public Infrastructure, and if so how the different stakeholders could support the initiative.


It is widely recognized that the free flow of trusted data is key to facilitate socio-economic-political transformation and to advance well-being for all. It is important that countries capitalize the benefits of cross-border data flows such as adding values for commerce/trade, enhancing health-care services, taking advantages of computing and storage prowess of global cloud environment, securing critical national data against cyber-attacks (as in the case of Ukraine), utilizing data to mitigate global challenges such as climate changes, etc. The concept of enabling such free flow of secured data, the DFFT was introduced by Japan at G-20 Osaka summit and the global discussions to operationalizing the concept is ongoing. It also became a major action item at this year’s G7 Digital &Tech Ministers’ Meeting which called for operationalizing the DFFT across different sectors and across IOT devices. Some countries, however, are hesitant about enabling cross-border data transactions out of concern for data privacy, data security, data oligopoly, and even data colonization. These countries worry about placing domestically collected data outside of their boundaries as they may not exert proper jurisdiction for the data. It is important to create proper safeguarding mechanism and institutions to allow the operationalization of the DFFT. The workshop will invite experts from the Government, private sector, international organization, and civil society of from both developed and developing countries. It will focus on the opportunities and challenges of cross border data flow to allow co-creation and co-development between developed countries and developing countries, roles of different stakeholders such as government, private sectors, civil societies, and development partners to support operationalizing the DFFT, discuss how to capitalize the DFFT for development, etc. It is hoped that these discussions will become valuable inputs to support to operationalization of the DFFT in multilateral, multi-stakeholder, and multi-disciplinary ways.

Expected Outcomes

The Workshop expects to receive valuable multi-stakeholders inputs to support operationalization of the DFFT. It will facilitate the understanding of the challenges and opportunities of trusted data flow beyond national border by the participants, which would contribute to shaping potential norms for cross-border data flows to enable socio-economic development and co-creation among different stakeholders. The Workshop is also expected to shape idea for support initiatives for the developing countries which may include implementing capacity building initiatives for developing countries, creating policy recommendations for the government and stakeholders to pursue, and initiating other initiatives to operationalizing the DFFT which would benefit IGF communities as a whole.

Hybrid Format: The workshop will have an onsite moderator and an online moderator to facilitate the workshop. These moderators are responsible for moderating the onsite and online speakers and attendees. Both these moderators will ensure all speakers and participants, regardless of their modes of participation, will have opportunities and be encouraged to engage, raise questions and provide inputs at the workshop. The workshop will commence with speaker presentations; upon completion the facilitator will ask policy questions which will facilitate active discussions. In order to ensure both offline and online participants to actively engage in the discussions, the workshop will secure ample time (Q&A session will be 30 minutes+) to ask questions to the speakers and provide inputs to the discussion. Online participants will be encouraged and given priority to pose questions. The onsite and online moderator will summarize the findings and recommendations of the workshop and compile future actions.