IGF 2023 Networking Session #170 Network Session: Digital Sovereignty and Global Cooperation

Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (07:30 UTC) - Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (08:30 UTC)
Room I

United Nations University Insitute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)
Sophie Hoogenboom, UNU-CRIS,VUB, Academia, WEOG Jamal Shahin, UNU-CRIS, VUB, UVA, Academia, WEOG



Onsite Moderator

Sophie Hoogenboom

Online Moderator

Jamal Shahin


Sophie Hoogenboom





After an initial debate amongst the organisers, that will launch the debate, the participants will be divided into four breakout groups and will be given five minutes to briefly introduce themselves through means of an icebreaker exercise. They will discuss one or two guiding questions which are formulated by the organisers for 10 minutes. The participants will come together again and will be split into new groups of four in order to meet new people and perspectives, whilst reporting back on their previous discussion. This will be repeated once more, before resuming in plenary to feed back to the entire group. The goal of this format is for participants to meet others, learn from each other and to understand how to present the tensions inherent in both multilateral and multistakeholder models of digital governance.

Duration (minutes)

Digital sovereignty is a concept that is often found in debates, policies, and research concerning digital and internet governance. However, the ways in which the concept and its importance are perceived, understood and defined differ greatly among different stakeholders across the world. Some see this as a way to foment borders across national lines, others see this as a way to manage interdependencies. At the UN-level, two strands of discussion appear to be dominant: one towards global cooperation, and the other toward effective multilateralism. How these fit together is an interesting part of the story around digital sovereignty. Given the importance of ‘sovereign actions’ in policy debates and initiatives, it is crucial to bring these perspectives together to learn about the different ideas, concerns and levels of importance the concept has for different stakeholders. This networking event is designed to introduce different stakeholders, for which digital sovereignty plays a role to each other, discuss their perspectives on digital cooperation and effective multilateralism, and raise their (potential) concerns about the concepts that are being used to justify policy in this space. The action points stemming from this discussion should present potential avenues for cooperation amongst both like-minded and less-like-minded partners who are engaged in research and policy on the topic.

This networking session will be hybrid and will allow participants on-site to network with those participating online. Those who will be attending the session online will be put into break-out rooms, each consisting of 4 people. After around 15 minutes these will be divided again in different groups consisting of 4 people. If the number of participants online are limited, participants on-site will be asked to participate with their laptops, if possible. We shall make use of mentimeter to enable participants to voice their opinions throughout the session, especially for those who feel less comfortable in speaking in public.