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VI. PRINCIPLES AND FUNCTIONS OF DIGITAL COOPERATION ‎

In the course of our outreach, many stakeholders suggested ‎principles to which digital cooperation mechanisms should ‎adhere and functions they should seek to serve. Drawing also ‎on work of previous initiatives in these areas, this annex ‎summarises the principles and functions we suggest are most ‎important to guide the future evolution of digital cooperation. ‎

KEY PRINCIPLES OF DIGITAL COOPERATION ‎
‎• Consensus-oriented: Decisions should be made in ways that ‎seek ‎ consensus among public, private and civic stakeholders. ‎
‎• Polycentric: Decision-making should be highly distributed and ‎loosely ‎yet efficiently coordinated across specialised centres. ‎
‎• Customised: There is generally no “one size fits all” solution; ‎different ‎communities can implement norms in their own way, according ‎to ‎circumstances. ‎
‎• Subsidiarity: Decisions should be made as locally as possible, ‎closest to ‎where the issues and problems are. ‎
‎• Accessible: It should be as easy as possible to engage in ‎digital ‎cooperation mechanisms and policy discussions. ‎
‎• Inclusive: Decisions should be inclusive and democratic, ‎representing diverse interests and accountable to all stakeholders. ‎
‎• Agile: Digital cooperation should be dynamic, iterative and ‎responsive to ‎fast-emerging policy issues. ‎
‎• Clarity in roles and responsibility: Clear roles and shared ‎language ‎should reduce confusion and support common understanding ‎about the ‎responsibilities of actors involved in digital cooperation ‎‎(governments, ‎private sector, civil society, international organisations and ‎academia). ‎
‎• Accountable: There should be measurable outcomes, ‎accountability and ‎means of redress. ‎
‎• Resilient: Power distribution should be balanced across ‎sectors, without ‎centralised top-down control. ‎
‎• Open: Processes should be transparent, with minimum ‎barriers to entry. ‎
‎• Innovative: It should always be possible to innovate new ways ‎of ‎cooperating, in a bottom-up way, which is also the best way to ‎include ‎diverse perspectives. ‎
‎• Tech-neutral: Decisions should not lock in specific ‎technologies but allow ‎for innovation of better and context-appropriate alternatives. ‎
‎• Equitable outcomes: Digital cooperation should maximise the ‎global ‎public interest (internationally) and be anchored in broad public ‎benefit ‎‎(nationally). ‎

KEY FUNCTIONS OF DIGITAL COOPERATION ‎
‎• Leadership – generating political will among leaders from ‎government, ‎business, and society, and providing an authoritative response ‎to digital ‎policy challenges. ‎
‎• Deliberation – providing a platform for regular, comprehensive and impactful deliberations on digital issues with the active and effective participation of all affected stakeholders.
• Ensuring inclusivity – ensuring active and meaningful participation of all stakeholders, for example by linking with existing and future bottom-up networks and initiatives.214
• Evidence and data – monitoring developments and identifying trends to inform decisions, including by analysing existing data sources.
• Norms and policy making – building consensus among diverse stakeholders, respecting the roles of states and international organisations in enacting and enforcing laws.
• Implementation – following up on policy discussions and agreements.
• Coordination – creating shared understanding and purpose across bodies in different policy areas and at different levels (local, national, regional, global), ensuring synchronisation of efforts, interoperability and policy coherence, and the possibility of voluntary coordination between interested stakeholder groups.
• Partnerships – catalysing partnerships around specific issues by providing opportunities to network and collaborate.
• Support and capacity development – strengthening capacity development, monitoring digital developments, identifying trends, informing policy actors and the public of emerging risks and opportunities, and providing data for evidence-based decision making – allowing traditionally marginalised persons or other less-resourced stakeholders to actively participate in the system.
• Conflict resolution and crisis management – developing the skills, knowledge and tools to prevent and resolve disputes and connect stakeholders with assistance in a crisis.