IGF 2018 WS #326
Digital Policy for All:building capacity in the Global South

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Organizer 2: Civil Society, African Group
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Speaker 1: Anri van der Spuy, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Judith Mariscal, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Elonnai Hickok, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Gus Hosein, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Masashi Nishihata, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Round Table - 90 Min


The moderator will prioritise an interactive discussion with not only fellow panelists but also the broader audience. The speakers will each reflect on their experiences in developing research to policy from their respective regions and highlight shared experiences in challenges and opportunities faced in shaping national and regional digital policy that contrast and compliment global policy approaches. Speakers will represent a diversity of regions, perspectives and approaches in terms of knowledge building for digital policy making.


The proposed panelists reflect diversity in terms of gender, geography (including people from developed and developing regions in both the Global North and Global South), stakeholder groups and policy perspectives. Where diversity is often difficult to achieve due to resource restraints involved in bringing people to the IGF, Global South perspectives are highlighted in this workshop and will presented during the session through a comparative analysis of developing research agendas within both specific regional and global contexts.

Rates of information and communications technologies (ICT) adoption in the Global South have grown at an accelerated rate over the past 10 years, resulting in significant obstacles for national policy-makers and regulators in developing effective and adequate policies that promote and protect digital rights while enabling digital innovation. As the number of Internet users in the region expand and innovations in ICT continue to emerge, local, national and regional policymakers in the Global South need to understand the implications of a dynamic cyber policy environment and create the capacity to respond with appropriate regulations that enforce legislation, protect users and promote effective adoption and innovation. Thus, a key challenge in the Global South regarding cyber policy is creating an inclusive digital society that fosters digital rights, network openness, cybersecurity and promotes economic growth.

Academic research institutions and independent think tanks in the Global South face the challenge and opportunity to provide evidence-based research and recommendations to shape policy discussions across public, private and civil society sectors.

The proposed workshop will enable an interactive discussion on the development of national, regional and global approaches to digital policy development while focusing on priorities of the Global South. It will focus on how the support of research, and the establishment of dedicated regional cyber policy centres, can contribute to the production of evidence-based and informed policymaking to support the development of an Internet that is free (based on and supportive of human rights), trusted (based on sound cybersecurity measures), and innovative (based on enabling policy environments).

Each of the organizing panelists, invited from regional digital policy centres based in Africa (South Africa), Asia (India) and Latin America (Mexico) respectively, will share their experiences of developing regionally relevant research agendas that respond to digital policy challenges that are globally relevant. Thereafter, a selection of international stakeholders from various sectors will discuss the interactions between Global North and Global South regional cyber policy challenges and how to improve collaboration to bolster human rights-based digital policymaking within a global context.

The moderator will prioritise an interactive discussion with not only fellow panelists but also the broader audience. Each panelist will be given a maximum of three minutes to talk about his or her work. The remaining time will be used for an interactive discussion between all participants to report back and discuss ways forward.

Digital policy challenges in the Global South must be addressed in locally relevant ways in order to take due cognizance of the various policy dimensions that inevitably impact its digital environments. Therefore, digital policy challenges of the Global South must be approached within a global context, as the Internet knows few borders and national challenges have global implications and are shaped, in part, by global developments. But how is this done in practice, when much of the discussion is often dominated by actors from the Global North? How can evidence based research help decision makers in the global south respond effectively to digital policy challenges, drawing upon international experiences but also reflecting local needs and challenges?

This session will build upon prior discussions at the IGF that have focused on Global South research on a specific topic (such as IGF 2017 WS # 188 Let the people speak: using evidence from the Global South to reshape our digital future). The session will seek to broaden this discussion to focus on research approaches and strategies to bridge this divide through local, regional, and international efforts and collaborations.

Online Participation

As suggested by the MAG, the session will train a specific online moderator who will assume responsibility for giving online attendees a separate queue and microphone, which will rotate equally with the mics in the room. The workshop moderator will keep the online participation session open and will be in close communication with the workshop’s trained online moderator to make any alterations necessary as they arise.