IGF 2019 WS #377 A need for an international digital charter?

Organizer 1: Hartmut Glaser, Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br)
Organizer 2: Salwa Toko , French Digital Council - Conseil national du numérique
Organizer 3: Nicolas Chagny, Internet Society France

Speaker 1: Theodore CHRISTAKIS, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Flávia Lefèvre Guimarães, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Luiz Fernando Martins Castro, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Policy Question(s): 

Do we need an international digital charter?
What are the fundamental digital rights and freedoms?

Relevance to Theme: Discussions on the need to an international digital charter have impact on the three themes. Nevertheless, at the moment where net neutrality is threatened, it appears important to focus this discussion on the debate on the theme Security, Safety, Stability & Resilience.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Digital transformation represents a vector of progress for humanity, opens up new forms of social interaction and plays an important role in the exercise and awareness of fundamental rights. It also brings in unprecedented innovations that are drastically changing democracy, economy and social interactions. As a common good, steps must be taken to ensure that the Internet operates and evolves in a manner that fulfil human rights to the greatest extent possible.
The realization and upholding of human rights in the digital environment require an inclusive dialogue mobilizing various stakeholders, including the civil society. In this panel, we invite the participants to debate on the protection of fundamental rights in the Digital Age, to envisage forms of guarantee human fundamental rights internationally and mechanisms to ensure the involvement of the civil society in this debate. In this panel, an international charter will be considered to the debate as well.


Birds of a Feather - Auditorium - 90 Min

Description: This panel will debate the protection of fundamental rights on the Internet, consider an international charter to ensure the guarantee of these rights and envisage some mechanisms to allow the involvement of the civil society.

We will first start this panel by each participant, the French Digital Council, the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee and iRights International, doing a brief presentation about its institutional framework and scope. This first step will allow us to be familiar with each institution and its expertise.

The panel will then focus on fundamental rights in the Digital Age. A first question raises for this debate: Is there a need for an international digital charter in order to ensure fundamental rights on the Internet? We propose to reflect about whether or not an international charter is envisageable and necessary to uphold and advance fundamental rights for the online environment. Jointly with the discussions about a charter, we will also reflect on which rights and principles should be brought to light. This section also invites the participants to think on what form this charter should take shape by defining its aims and willingnesses. In other words, what type of charter do we want? A charter as a reference point for dialogue and cooperation? An authoritative document that can frame policy decisions and emerging rights-based normas for local, national and global dimensions of Internet governance? A policy-making and advocacy tool?

This panel will then focus on representativeness. Bearing in mind that Internet is a common good, how to engage stakeholders, notably civil society, in the debate? What methods, tools and means we can be implemented to coordinate and ensure their participation?

At the end of the panel we will present a brief summary of conclusions and open the debate for a Q&A session.

- Introduction (10 min) by [organizer]

Part I. Presentation of each institution (30 minutes): institutional framework, composition, scope
CNNum (15 minutes)
CGI.BR (15 minutes)

Part II. Debate around the following questions:
How to protect fundamental rights in the Digital Age? Is there a need for an international digital charter? How do we conceive this charter? What principles should be stated? (40 min)
How to bring representativeness to this charter? (15 min)

Part III.
Conclusion (5 min)
Q&A moderated (20 min)

Expected Outcomes: The but of this session is to propose a draft on an international digital charter.

Onsite Moderator: 

Nicolas Chagny, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Salwa Toko , Civil Society, African Group


Nicolas Chagny, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Discussion Facilitation: 

The list below provides examples of the ways discussion and presentation will be facilitated amongst speakers, audience members, and online participants and ensure the session format is used to its optimum: Seating: The panel of experts will debate share their expertise and their vision on Internet regulation sitting at the same table so the participants can see and hear them. It will be an effective way to compare and contrast the various positions of the panel. The moderator will open the discussion with a general review of the policy question and then speakers will provide their remarks on the question and then address questions from the moderator. At least 30 minutes will be allowed for questions/comments from the audience.

Media: The organizers will explore the use of visuals (i.e. PowerPoint slides, images,) to animate the session and aid those whose native language may not be English. Experts who have short video material to share will be encouraged to help animate discussion and debate on these examples. Video material may also be considered to help engage remote participants.

Preparation: Several prep calls will be organised for all speakers, moderators and co-organisers in advance of the workshop so that everyone has a chance to meet, share views and prepare for the session. Cgi.Br and CNNum will met during ICANN at Marrakech to discuss on this panel.

Moderator : Nicolas Chagny is an expert in digital policy and experienced in animating multistakeholder discussions. He has been appointed in 2019 in the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH).

Online Participation: 

The remote moderator will be involved throughout workshop to include participation from online viewers. The onsite moderator will frequently communicate with the remote moderator during the session to ensure remote participants’ views/questions are reflected and integrated to the discussion, specially suring the Q&A sequence. This will ensure remote participations are given the opportunity to interact with multiple experts remotely. Organizers have specially invited a participant to act as the remote moderator and will share information with the remote moderator about training sessions for remote participation at IGF and ensure they have all the necessary information. Co-organizers will ensure that the workshop is promoted in advance to the wider community to give remote participants the opportunity to prepare questions and interventions in advance. We can include the intervention from youth participants from Latin America and Africa to increase diversity and bring fresh opinions and questions to the debate. Any handouts prepared in advance for the panel will be shared with remote participants at the start of the session so that they have the necessary material to participate.

Proposed Additional Tools: Given the varied background of discussants and audience members, organisers will explore introducing questions to animate discussion on social media in the run up to the workshop. This will introduce the subject, encourage conversation and create links to other dialogues on digital skills taking place in other forums to create awareness and help prepare in-person and remote participants for the workshop.


GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 2: Zero Hunger
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 12: Responsible Production and Consumption
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 14: Life Below Water
GOAL 15: Life on Land
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals