IGF 2023 Main Session on GDC: A multistakeholder perspective

Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (02:00 UTC) - Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (03:30 UTC)
Plenary Room

A “Global Digital Compact” is presented to be one of the major outcomes of the UN Summit of the Future, which is to be held in September 2024. The process to come to the GDC has already started and together with the IGF multistakeholder community it is important to assess and take stock of the progress made so far on proposed outcomes and deliberate on the next steps. 

In light of the developments, this session will explore the scope of the GDC, what will be its major elements, including its monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. This session will be divided in the following three sections:

  • The GDC Process: Weigh in on the intersection of multilateralism and multistakeholderism, discussing paths for the meaningful inclusion of relevant perspectives from all regions and stakeholder groups, towards workable outcomes and foster coordination with existing spaces
  • The Identified GDC Content: "Discuss what the broader community should expect in terms of the GDC and Summit of the Future outcomes content wise. 
  • Looking forward to the GDC and Summit of the Future. Expectations on plans and/or structures for continued meaningful inclusion and engagement of the multistakeholder community.

This main session aims to offer itself as a platform to hear from the IGF community on the GDC to date and to express themselves on their expectations from the processor. Here the main goal is to consider the potential impact of the Summit of the Future on the broader Internet and global digital governance discourses.

  • How to improve mechanisms for inclusive and meaningful stakeholder participation, input and feedback for continued timely and relevant meaningful contribution to the GDC?
  • What would be the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation mechanisms for the GDC?
  • How can member states ensure all stakeholders have the necessary buy-in on the GDC?
  • Explore what role the IGF can play to further include voices of the multistakeholder community, e.g. as a facilitator or sounding board for the GDC process?
  • Based on the current direction and taking into account relevant debates suggested over the course of the process and in the recent SG Briefing papers, what should we expect to see in the outcome content-wise? 

Annex Documents/Background Papers




  • Paul Wilson  APNIC , Technical Community WEOG 
  • Valeria Bettancourt, APC  Civil Society, GRULAC   
  • Raul Echeberri   Private Sector, GRULAC     
  • Constance de Leusse, Project Liberty Institute Academia, WEOG  
  • Bitange Ndemo, Ambassador to Belgium, Kenya, Government, Africa
  • Amandeep Singh Gill, USG and UNSG Envoy for Technology

Moderators: Anriette Esterhuysen, Africa & Jorge Cancio, Swiss Government, WEOG

Rapporteur: Muriel ALAPINI

Session Agenda

  • Welcome & Introduction to the discussion by the Moderators (5 mins)
  • Segment1:  The GDC Process (25 minutes)

    - Views from speakers and audience on the process so far, and to what extent it  combines multistakeholdersim and multilateralism, and to what extent it serves the goal of producing an impactful and relevant GDC. ( 2 mins per speaker)

      - Q&A with audience (10-15 mins)
  • Segment 2: The Content of the GDC (25 minutes)

    - Based on the policy brief and, especially, on the recent “issues paper” prepared by the co-facilitators of the GDC (both attached). Views from speakers and audience on the relevance of the topics included especially in the “issues paper”: what is relevant, what is not, what is lacking, where should the GDC introduce substantive developments? (2 minutes per speaker)

     - Q&A with audience (10-15 mins)
  • Segment 3:  Looking forward after the GDC (25 minutes)

     - Post GDC Process, especially regarding possible follow-up and review mechanisms for the GDC. Views from the speakers and audience on what should happen with and after the GDC, and, in particular, how any potential follow-up and review mechanisms should look like, and which purposes they should serve.(2minutes per speaker)

    - Q&A with audience (10-15 mins)
  • Personal take-aways or “messages” from speakers (5 mins-  I min per speaker)
  • Closing by the moderators


Global Digital Governance & Cooperation
Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)
There is a need to ensure the GRD process open for all stakeholders to participate. There needs to be regular and accessible updates on the GDC process so that the entire community can participate. IGF is the most suited platform that can be monitor the processes for better results and there is no need to create duplicative structures.
Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)
Discussions of the Global Digital Compact and Summit of the Future must not be limited to just member states but involve all stakeholders. There is a need to put in place processes that can be monitored for better results and IGF is best suited for this. The WSIS must not be forgotten but must serve as a basis for advancing discussions related to internet governance.
Session Report (* deadline Monday 20 December) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

The main session "The GDC and Beyond:  A Multistakeholder Perspective" discussed issues related to the Global Digital Compact in three segments: the process; the content; and the post GDC way forward.

For the GDC to be successful, it is imperative to recognize the success of the multistakeholder global cooperation for the last 20 years, strengthen and evolve this cooperation further. The GDC could replicate the WSIS model, in which the primary participants were governments, but allowed engagement of other stakeholders in the preparatory and negotiates process.

In terms of process, there is a need for more clarity on what the whole process:  its format and outcomes will be for the GDC. For example, how inputs will be provided and how the inputs provided will be used. There is a need for improving governance in the GDC process by bringing in more accountabilities, enshrining it in human rights and feminist principles, provide timely information and creating a provision for a meaningful engagement and participation for all stakeholders including civil society actors, better awareness creation for small nations, LDCs on the process. Further, the final stages of the negotiations on the GDC in the United Nations need to be open to multistakeholder contributions. 

In terms of objective, the GDC could aim to establish clear linkages with other existing and ongoing processes and spaces in the midst of a rapidly changing context in which the scope of internet-related public policy issues keeps expanding and the separation of digital from nondigital is diffused. The GDC, is an opportunity to push the multistakeholder paradigm into new areas, new venues, and enhance participation. There is a need to take the ecosystem to the next level of agility, dynamism, responsiveness.

In terms of content, since there are similarities in the list of issues in the issues paper from the GDC and list of issues and the topics being discussed at the IGF, it clearly indicates that the IGF is a very valuable venue to discuss those issues. Further, IGF can play an important part not only in the GDC but also in the Summit of the Future and the SDG goals.

Following the Summit of the Future next year, the IGF should have a central role in the implementation of the Compact's principles and commitments to action for achieving an open, free, inclusive, secure and sustainable digital future for all. There is a need to renew and strengthen the IGF and its mandate and avoid the creation of duplicative structures.

In terms of expectation from the GDC, there is a need to create an enabling environment for not just dealing with current challenges, but also emerging challenges. Any framework of the GDC should be set up for equity and for fairness so that all can benefit form digitalization.  The principles of the GDC needs to ensure an open, free and secure digital future need to be infused with a feminist and intersectional approach if we are going to ensure gender just world.