IGF 2023 Open Forum #109 Leveraging the FOC at International Organizations

Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (23:30 UTC) - Thursday, 12th October, 2023 (00:30 UTC)
WS 7 – Room K

Panel - 60 Min


As Internet Freedom continues to decline globally, the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) has a vital role to play in promoting values of democracy and human rights online. The FOC, established in 2011, is a group of 37 countries committed to protecting and promoting human rights online, including freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, and privacy rights. The FOC, the only multilateral organization solely dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights online, facilitates multistakeholder engagement at the intersection of technology and human rights by bringing government members into dialogue with technology companies, civil society organizations, and academics through the FOC Advisory Network (FOC-AN). The FOC is thus uniquely positioned to empower a diverse range of stakeholders to collaborate in ensuring the Internet and digital technologies remain free, open, interoperable, secure, and reliable. In this session, Canada, the U.S. and the incoming 2024 Chair, the past, current, and future government Chairs of the FOC, will be joined by two non-governmental FOC-AN stakeholders to discuss opportunities and challenges of using the FOC to advocate for human rights defenders (HRDs), civil society, journalists, and other stakeholders in multilateral institutions and processes. FOC advocacy tools include issuing joint statements and engaging in international organizations and multilateral processes and fora. Canada, the 2022 FOC Chair, will speak to the FOC’s engagement at the United Nations (UN), including in shaping UNESCO’s recommendations for “Ethics of Artificial Intelligence.” The United States, as the current chair of the FOC, will highlight capacity building efforts within the FOC to strengthen existing coordination efforts in diplomatic networks. Next year’s TBC FOC Chair will reflect on how to use the lessons learned over the past two years to enhance the FOC’s ability to shape global norms. FOC-AN stakeholders will share their perspectives from the civil society and/or private sector on the FOC’s advocacy efficacy within the UN system. Participants will be invited to pose questions following the panel discussion.

The 2023 IGF will be a hybrid event, meaning that people should be able to participate fully, whether onsite or online. The IGF Secretariat and the Host Country will provide the technical tools to support this. It is vital that workshop organizers are aware of this, and that providing for hybrid accessibility and interactive engagement is central to all session planning. Organizers should make every effort to ensure that any session speakers or organizers that will be participating online have sufficient connectivity to participate in a hybrid session. 1) How will you facilitate interaction between onsite and online speakers and attendees? On-site support staff and online moderators will ensure that there is a seamless level of interaction between panelists present at the venue and those participating through a virtual meeting platform. Attendees both in-person and online will also be invited to ask questions through the available platforms. Ample time will be carved out for engagement from audience members. 2) How will you design the session to ensure the best possible experience for online and onsite participants? We will aim to set rules of engagement for all attendees (inform them about the different ways they can interact during the event with the speakers and fellow participants, both online and offline, let online attendees know how they should use the chat feature, help them understand when to stay muted/unmuted, advise all participants on how and when they should ask questions, tell them who to contact in case any technical or practical issues arise). We would also assign designated online and on-site moderators, and prepare compelling content and structure of the agenda while being wary of meeting length. 3) Please note any complementary online tools/platforms you plan to use to increase participation and interaction during the session. We do not have any complementary tools or platforms planned at this time (subject to change).


Global Partners Digital
Freedom Online Coalition through: United States Government, FOC Chair 2023 Rapporteur: FOC Support Unit Moderator: Global Partners Digital


Global Affairs Canada representative U.S. State Department representative TBC 2024 FOC Chair government representative TBC FOC-AN Members possible panelists: Edetaen Ojo, Media Rights Agenda Hanane Boujemi, Meta Laura O’Brien, Access Now Frane Maroevic, IPI Veronica Ferrari, APC

Onsite Moderator

Maria Paz Canales, Global Partners Digital (GPD)

Online Moderator

Nicholas Powell, Comms and Events Manager, FOC Support Unit


Lea Kaspar, Head of FOC Support Unit



Targets: SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. The FOC provides a platform for multistakeholder engagement and enhances participation of governments, companies, civil society organizations, and others in international and multilateral institutions, thereby contributing to the development of more inclusive institutions that are responsive to stakeholder interests. As the FOC is the only organization working solely at the intersection of technology and human rights, this group is uniquely positioned to provide insight to the broader IGF community. This panel will highlight lessons learned, best practices, and recommendations for future engagement by the FOC in international fora, thereby promoting the development of accountable and inclusive institutions. SDG 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development. The FOC is a global coalition with member governments from every region, facilitating interactions between North-South and South-South countries, and public-private and civil society partnerships through its membership structure, which includes 37 countries and an Advisory Network comprised of representatives from the private sector, civil society, and academia. This discussion will highlight how the FOC shapes global norms around the development, deployment, and use of digital technologies in ways that respect human rights.