IGF 2023 Open Forum #54 The Challenges of Data Governance in a Multilateral World

Thursday, 12th October, 2023 (04:30 UTC) - Thursday, 12th October, 2023 (05:30 UTC)
WS 5 – Room B-2

Governing Digital Economy
Harmonising Global Digital Infrastructure

Round Table - 60 Min


Data is a key resource for the digital economy and society, but its governance poses complex challenges for policymakers and stakeholders. Different multilateral organizations, such as the G7, G20, UN, and OECD, have proposed various agendas and frameworks to enhance data access and sharing, while addressing risks and challenges related to privacy, security, competition, trade, and development. For example, in 2021, the G7, building on declarations from its Ministers and G20 Leaders, developed a roadmap for advancing cooperation on data free flow with trust. However, these agendas may not always be aligned or compatible, and may create tensions or gaps in the global data governance landscape. Moreover, civil society organizations may not have sufficient voice or representation in these multilateral discussions, which may affect the legitimacy and effectiveness of the outcomes. This session aims to explore the issues and opportunities related to data governance in a multilateral world. It will bring together experts and practitioners from different sectors and regions to discuss the following questions: * What are the main objectives and principles of the different data governance agendas proposed by the G7, G20, UN, and OECD? How do they differ or complement each other? * What are the main challenges and opportunities for achieving coordination and coherence among these agendas? How can potential conflicts or trade-offs be resolved or mitigated? * How can civil society organizations participate more actively and meaningfully in these multilateral discussions? What are the best practices or mechanisms for ensuring their inclusion and influence? * How can data governance support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and other global public goods? What are the roles and responsibilities of different actors in this regard? The workshop will feature a panel discussion followed by an interactive Q&A session with the audience. The workshop will also provide an opportunity for networking and knowledge exchange among participants. The workshop is open to anyone interested in data governance issues, especially policymakers, researchers, practitioners and civil society representatives.

The panel's structure will focus on constantly engaging with and obtaining feedback from the audience. It will be organised as follows: The moderator will share a link to a poll to hear from the audience what questions they expect speakers to answer in the panel. The moderator will use a platform to create a visual display of the responses in real-time for all to see. Based on the speakers' backgrounds, the moderator will address questions to the panellists that aim to create a diagnosis of what is the state of the art on studies and legislation that address societal participation in algorithmic auditing or access to information about their functioning, as well as how important it is for algorithmic governance. The questions to be addressed will be extracted from the ones collected from the audience in the digital poll, in order to make the panel as suitable as possible for the expectations of the participants in the room. The moderators will also interchangeably ask questions of their own if there’s not enough feedback from the audience. After this preliminary discussion, the moderator will split participants into breakout rooms where they will share how they see the issue and if their organisations have been working on anything in that regard. After these discussions, each group will select a rapporteur to share the views of the group with the audience. Panellists will then be encouraged to comment on the participants’ opinions. Special attention will be given to the online participants, in order to stimulate global views to be exchanged in the panel, especially from organisations in the Global South. We will then move forward to understanding how, in practice, to promote such societal participation. Finally, panellists will be stimulated to trace further, practical governance proposals on the matter, including for regulation. A final Q&A session will thus take place.


Autoridade Nacional de Proteção de Dados (ANPD)
Tainá Flor - ANPD - Government - GRULAC (proposer) Thiago Moraes - ANPD - Government - GRULAC (Onsite Moderator) José Renato - LAPIN - Civil Society - GRULAC (Online Moderator) Cynthia Piccolo - LAPIN - Civil Society - GRULAC (Rapporteur)

  1. Miriam Wimmer - ANPD - Government - GRULAC; (video) 
  2. Veronica Arroyo - Citizen Lab - Academia - WEOG;  
  3. Gaurav Sharma - GIZ - Government - Asia-Pacific Group  
  4. Mr. Yoichi Iida - Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan - Government - Asia-Pacific Group   (on site)
  5. Luciano Mazza - Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE) - Government - GRULAC (on site)
  6. Alexandre Barbosa - MTST - Civil Society - GRULAC  (on site)
Onsite Moderator

José Renato - LAPIN - Civil Society – GRULAC

Online Moderator

Armando Guío, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Cynthia Piccolo - LAPIN - Civil Society - GRULAC


17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: The debate will raise suggestions for initiatives to allow better policy coordination and policy coherence on the digital governance agenda of different multilateral organizations, with the goals of enhancing global macroeconomic stability and promoting sustainable development. Also, it aims to bring voice to multi-stakeholder representatives that may be underrepresented in these spaces, such as civil society, with the goal of encouraging and promoting effective public, public-private, and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships.

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Multilateralism and international organizations evolve as answers to cross-border challenges, enabling interstate cooperation to discover appropriate solutions

A greater understand of national points of view might be an extremely helpful tool for international conversations

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

It is a vital step for multilateral spaces to explore potential paths ahead in order to get an agreement on standard vocabulary for fundamental issues connected to internet and data governance.

Further experience sharing may be beneficial in finding effective approaches that others might replicate.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

Organized by the Laboratory of Public Policy and Internet (LAPIN) and the Brazilian Data Protection Authority (ANPD), the panel focused on debating how the Data Governance theme has been discussed in the G7 and G20 forums. The session was moderated by José Renato (LAPIN).


Mr. Yoichi Iida, from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan, started the presentation declaring their active participation defending inclusivity and a multistakeholder approach in those forums. Iida exhibited how they focused on the subject of free flow of information across borders, proposing in 2019 their Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) project in 2019, on G20. Mr. Yoichi also affirmed that in G20, they use "human centricity" as the main terminology, as opposed to G7, which uses "democracy". He believes that data flow and IA governance as the most important themes in their agenda, with the challenges of privacy protection, interoperability and human rights protection. The Japan Government recognizes the diversity in jurisdiction and approaches, but the frameworks should be as coherent and interoperable as possible. 

In the second part, Gaurav Sharma brings the Indian perspective of embracing technology and digitalization in G7 and G20 and the Data Protection Bill in India. He affirmed the need to focus on norms able to interact between sectors. For him, the digital strategies should be transparent, inclusive, secure and conducive to the sustainable development goals. To finish his presentation, he defended more participation from the Global South.

Alexandre talked about the labor behind data production and microworkers. He mentioned the need for attention on Cloud Economy and the so-called gatekeepers, and how the multi-level approach can benefit the discussions around data governance. To conclude, Alexandre mentioned the importance of merging digital rights organizations with traditional social movements, even in G20 negotiations.

Veronica Arroyo mentioned that the discussion about data governance depends where it is located, because of the difference between jurisdictions. Some of them have a very strong enforcement mechanism but in other cases, the country follows a more flexible approach. Thus, the design of data governance depends heavily on the policies and the priorities that the country has. She presented how the SDGs can be the core issue and how the commonalities help to meet those goals in different frameworks.

Luciano Mazza specified how there are different approaches to data protection and data flows, and within the G20 there is a certain stabilization in conceptual terms on the discussion of data free flow with trust. Every country tries to bring their own issues and reality towards the theme and weight which ones are higher up in the terms of importance. Mazza explains how one of the reasons why this was not discussed more directly is that when we started this discussion on data governance in the G20, there was a way to balance a little bit the debate on free flow of data and potential concerns or constraints in terms of a more development oriented perspective. He speaks how there are two different approaches included that are complementary in a way but not fully articulated in the G20 debate, which are the data free flow with trust and data for development. From a developing country perspective, it may feel like the subject is not fully mature, but in Brazil's case, they recognize that the issue is crucial and of utmost importance. He presented four priorities: universal and meaningful connectivity, artificial intelligence, e-government and information integrity. He affirmed how he does not envision the discussion on data governance as a full front debate in those forums.

Miriam Wimmer addressed some of the challenges posed by data governance and how it has been explored, the different approaches that have been proposed by multilateral organizations such as G7, G20, the UN and the OECD over the past years. She points out that we have been observing lots of discussions in many different proposals manifested through declarations, roadmaps, agendas based on concepts such as data free flow with trust. One of the main challenges, in her perspective, is to understand how these different proposals interconnect with each other, in which aspects they complement each other and in which cases they create tensions or gaps. Wimmer affirmed that another relevant aspect is how to make sure that all important stakeholders participate in these discussions, understanding that when we discuss the flow of data across borders, we are not only debating the interests of companies or states, but the rights of individuals. The discussion should take into account multiple perspectives, based not only on different approaches that the countries may have towards data protection, but also on the different interests of the various stakeholders affected by this discussion. She mentioned the actual debate in Brazil on international data transfers, in which the authority is facing the challenges of making sure that the mechanisms that are going to be established are interoperable and will allow for the protection of the fundamental right to data protection, regardless of where the data is actually located.