IGF 2023 WS #260 Creating digital public infrastructure that empowers people


Global Digital Governance & Cooperation
Harmonising Global Digital Infrastructure

Organizer 1: Heiko Wildner, 🔒
Organizer 2: Torge Wolters, 🔒
Organizer 3: Aishwarya Salvi, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Organizer 4: Luiza Ferreira, GIZ

Speaker 1: Pramod Varma, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Maksym Shkilov, Government, Eastern European Group
Speaker 3: Michael O. Odhiambo, Government, African Group
Speaker 4: Heiko Wildner, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Aishwarya Salvi, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization

Online Moderator

Luiza Ferreira, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Torge Wolters, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Panel - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. What does the ecosystem for implementing DPI look like in different countries? What is the role of the state, private actors and civil society in operationalizing DPI that empowers people? How can cross-sectoral partnerships be leveraged to accelerate DPI implementation?

2. What lessons can be drawn from DPI implementations in different countries? What was the rationale behind the approaches chosen, considering local needs? How to balance the interests and needs of different stakeholders while ensuring DPIs are trustworthy, inclusive, and interoperable?

3. What is the role of international cooperation in fostering the interoperability of DPIs and promoting peer learning?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants will gain a better understanding of how DPI can be implemented in different contexts and what roles different actors play in the DPI ecosystem.

Participants will learn from the experiences and insights of experts and practitioners from different countries who have been involved in developing or using DPI.

Participants can identify key challenges and opportunities of different approaches for implementing DPI in their own contexts.


Countries around the world have made investments into digital public infrastructure (DPI) that supports vital society-wide functions. These foundational digital platforms include digital identification, digital payments and data exchange and information systems. The platforms improve the lives of citizens as they can easily access government services and use payment systems from any part of the country. These platforms have also enabled interoperability and easy exchange of information between public and private sector actors. While some nations have built mature DPI ecosystems, others struggle to implement DPI due to a lack of technical capacity, low community buy-in or insufficient coordination across entities.

Governments adopt different approaches to implementing DPI based on the availability of financial resources, engagement with the private sector, support from international organisations and interaction with civil society and citizens. Whatever approach countries opt for, it is important to strike a balance between the interests and needs of different stakeholders to ensure DPIs are sustainable and serve the public good. For instance, IT companies need a return on investment to be incentivised to participate in the DPI ecosystem. Data-driven business models can drive innovation and profits, but at the same time raise privacy-related risks for citizens and could lead to the exclusion of marginalised groups from public services.

Countries can learn from one and another on how to reconcile interests of various stakeholders, avoid inefficiencies and protect citizens’ rights in the process of building DPI. International platforms also have a role to play in catalysing interoperability of DPI through standard-setting and knowledge exchange.

Using a multi-stakeholder approach, this session therefore aims to facilitate open discussion, peer learning and foster international cooperation to help countries overcome challenges and create trustworthy and inclusive DPI for delivering key public and private services.

Expected Outcomes

Shared lessons can be used by participants involved in shaping DPI in their own countries and provide space for collaboration and business opportunities.

Learnings from the session feed into further discussions on DPI in international cooperation fora (such as G7, G20, future IGF sessions and bilateral “Digital Dialogues” between participating countries).

Hybrid Format: 1. The session will be moderated on site. The moderator will engage both the on-site and online speakers by asking questions and inviting on-site and online attendees to contribute to the discussion by making statements. An additional online moderator will monitor and moderate the chat and will be in direct contact with the on-site moderator to guarantee that the Q&A involves both on-site and online attendees.
2. Online interaction in this session will be facilitated by incorporating the thoughts and questions of the audience expressed in the chat in real time. The online moderator will encourage the online audience to use the Q&A function of the platform provided for the session.
3. Usage of IGF Official Tool and online polling tools such as Wisembly or Mentimeter to engage audience and to gather input for session.