IGF 2019 WS #265 SDGs in the age of artificial intelligence and digital trade

Organizer 1: Lisa Garcia, Foundation for Media Alternatives
Organizer 2: Francisco Javier Vera Hott, Privacy International
Organizer 3: Pablo Viollier, Derechos Digitales
Organizer 4: Burcu Kilic, Public Citizen

Speaker 1: Burcu Kilic, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Francisco Javier Vera Hott, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Lisa Garcia, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Wanawit Ahkuputra, Government, Asia-Pacific Group

Policy Question(s): 

- What are the impacts of digital trade on SDGs? On specific sectors, such as women?
- How do we increase fairness and accountability of AI technologies?
- How are provisions in new free trade agreements (FTAs)adopting language on cross-border data flows and the ability to audit algorithms and source code of digital products? Considering the language of the e-commerce chapter of most FTAs, how do we hold accountable the different stakeholders involved esp. in the use of data? How do we ensure that there is equitable access to data so that the public may benefit from them?

Relevance to Theme: Technology plays a big role in the achievement of SDGs. New trade agreements that countries enter into to help in their growth and economic development now have chapters on e-commerce that have provisions on the free flow of data, personal information, and use of algorithms and AI. Our rights as individuals flow with our data. Thus, data, including those specified in trade agreements should be scrutinized - where are the data stored, who have access to them, how are they being used, are they being used to benefit the general public without any monetary value attached to them, how do we ensure safety of our personal data?

Relevance to Internet Governance: The proposed session is relevant to the theme and to internet governance. Further, it talks about digital trade, which is not often thoroughly discussed and explained in past IGFs. Considering the development of new free trade agreements, there is a need to discuss the roles of the different stakeholders in trade agreements and determine if there is rights, including digital rights, are promoted and protected in such agreements.


Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

Description: More and more countries are entering into Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) to encourage cooperation to reduce trade barriers and increase the trade of goods and services. However, new FTAs now incorporate new chapters into them, including e-commerce, some provisions of which have nothing to do at all with trade but more with digital rights.
The session is a round table discussion where initially, 4-5 speakers will speak for 5-7 minutes about digital trade and e-commerce policies and how these affect how artificial intelligence (AI) is developed and deployed globally. AI is one of the drivers of digital innovation and development. However, development requires ever-increasing amounts of data and its implementation will lead to dramatic changes in relations between economic and government actors with consumers and the population at large. The session will look at how provisions in new FTAs are adopting language on cross-border data flows and the ability to audit algorithms and source code of digital products.
In the session, we will also discuss the impact of digital trade on SDGs. We will demonstrate the ways in which we must expand our understanding of the impacts between digital trade matters and the SDGs. We will address emerging policy discussions on how to increase the fairness and accountability of AI technologies and the obstacles that digital trade trends may be having on these discussions. We will also look into the gendered outcomes of new trade agreements. Are women’s right to participate in the market erased or promoted?
After the presentation of the speakers, questions and reactions from other participants in the session will be entertained. We expect that there will be sharing from the participants (both onsite and remote) about how they see digital trade affecting the SDGs.

Expected Outcomes: At the end of the session, the participants are expected to have a deeper insight on how the digital economy impacts the SDGs, and how specific sectors are affected as well. From the session, it is also expected that there will be a networking among the participants of the session and encourage more discussions and possibly collaboration on issues related to digital trade and the SDGs.

Onsite Moderator: 

Burcu Kilic, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Pablo Viollier, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Lisa Garcia, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Discussion Facilitation: 

After the speakers, there will be an open forum to encourage interaction and participation. There will be two moderators for the session: one onsite and another online to ensure that participants are given the opportunity to raise questions, give comments or share their own knowledge and experience/s about the topic.

Online Participation: 

An online moderator has been assigned to ensure that questions or comments raised by online participants are given attention to and raised in the onsite workshop

Proposed Additional Tools: Through our social media accounts, we will promote the session so that there are more participants who can benefit from, share their own experiences. We will also encourage remote participation for those who are unable to come in person to the IGF 2019


GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities