Round Table - 90 Min
Focus and approach of the session: The focus of the session is on the capacities of CSOs (digital advocacy groups, grassroots, think tanks, digital associations and NGOs) dealing with open internet and digital rights. The session is aimed at discussing how CSO could increase their capabilities and capacities to become more influential on the global arena, for instance, at International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and other organisations’ working formats (groups, open cooperation platforms, events, etc.).
The Round Table speakers will be asked to reflect on possible ways how to enhance in-depth long-term participation and efficient cooperation of Civil Society Organisations in multilateral- and multistakeholder- fora, with regards to digital for development, Internet Governance, digital rights and principles, standards setting and inclusion The session will be organised to ensure a good gender, geographic and multistakeholder balance of speakers. We aim at discussing the challenges and lessons learned in different geographic regions. All panellists will start with their general views on the topic (up to 5 minutes) and then proceed with two/three rounds of Q/A posed by the moderators (see key questions for panellists). At least 30 minutes will be left for the questions from the audience (two rounds Q/A). Duration of the session – is 90 minutes. We will have both on-site and online moderators and panellist (hybrid option).
Key questions for panellists:
First round of questions: the role of CSOs
- Why Civil Society : Why is the voice of civil society important in multilateral and multistakeholder organisations, on digital matters, and is this voice currently sufficiently heard?
- Challenges: What are the challenges for civil society organisations to be more influential on national, regional and global level in digital policy – in particular with regards to open internet?
- How to contribute: How could CSOs contribute even more to policy in relevant working groups of entities including ICANN, IETF, ITU, IGF and other multistakeholder digital organisations?
Second round of questions:
- Benefits of North-South Cooperation? : What can be benefits of building partnerships between ‘Global North’ CSOs and ‘Global South’ CSOs on internet governance, and how could this be achieved? Lessons learned?
- Fundamental values? : Human-centric approach – how could civil society advocate for it in multistakeholder organisations? Issues, challenges and opportunities are related to the selected theme.
Inputs from online discussion, the second round of Q&A
Issues: There are obvious differences in terms of civil society organisations’ (CSOs) readiness to take part at international digital fora. While we get used to active involvement of so called ‘Global North’ CSOs in actively shaping digital policy, the ‘Global South’ CSOs still struggle to be more visible and have their voice heard louder. We would like to touch upon such issues and look for more efficient ways to get Global South CSO more engaged and more efficient. Challenges: CSO have limited resources to get engaged into multistakeholder fora and build up their capacity, for meaningful engagement. It is essential to find a ways to lower the barriers of entry, as well as to build capacities; strengthening CSO capacities would allow more efficient engagement of CSO on national, regional and global scale on various internet governance aspects. Opportunities: DG INTPA announced a call for proposals aimed at strengthening the capacities of CSOs (digital advocacy groups, grassroots, think tanks, digital associations and NGOs) dealing with open internet and digital rights to increase their capabilities and capacities to become more influential on global arena. These organisations are expected to be capable to strengthen their participation at International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and other organisations’ working formats (groups, open cooperation platforms, events, etc.). 7.500.000 EUR grant will be allocated to two consortia. We plan to sign the contracts by the end of September 2023, and seize this opportunity to get the grantees engaged in the organisation of this open forum (to propose moderators/speakers role, TBC).
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. The session will be convened in a ‘Hybrid’ manner. Please respond to the following questions in this field: 1) How will you facilitate interaction between onsite and online speakers and attendees? The onsite moderator (TBC) will take part in person at IGF and moderate the session directly at the conference venue In Kyoto. Online moderator (TBC) (also physically present) will be in charge of online part. 2) How will you design the session to ensure the best possible experience for online and onsite participants? First and foremost – we will ensure good balance of the speakers – gender, competence, geographic and multistakeholderism. There would be a possibility for an Q/A session from the audience (both onsite-online) at least 20 minutes. 3) Please note any complementary online tools/platforms you plan to use to increase participation and interaction during the session. Online participants will be provided with clear instructions how to connect and pose questions to the participants while online. We might also use Sli.do or similar platforms. The Online moderator will take care of the smooth process in both platforms and ensure that interaction between the online and onsite audiences.
European Commission (DG INTPA) and consortium of Civil Society Organisations
Peter MARIEN, Teamleader Digital Governance, Unit F5 – Science, Technology, Innovation and Digitalisation European Commission, Directorate General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA);
Tereza HOREJSOVA, GFCE outreach manager, IGF MAG member;
Viktor KAPIYO, Member of the Board of Trustees, Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet);
Marlena WISNIAK, Senior Advisor, Digital Rights, European Center for Not-for-Profit Law Stichting (ECNL)
Pavlina ITTELSON, Executive Director, Diplo US
Shita LAKSMI, DiploFoundation
IGF reporting team, Andrijana Gavrilovic lead
Targets: 5. Gender equality Stronger CSo engagement into digital policy will help reducing the digital gender divide. This will be reflected in the discussion. 10. Reduced Inequalities Stronger CSOs engagement in multilateral and multistakeholder digital fora helps reducing inequalities by closing the digital divide. 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions Strong CSOs will help strengthening the institutions and contribute to peace and justice. 17. Partnerships for the Goals We believe that the work being conducted in the context of the Global gateway will help strengthening the global partnership and multistakeholderism to achieve the SDGs.
The need to address the capacity of civil society organisations to meaningfully engage in the international multistakeholder forums, especially in the standard setting to promote human-centric digital policy and technologies.
Address the underrepresentation of voices from the Global South in the global internet governance policy processes and preserve IGF as a space for civil society engagement.
Provide long-term support to the civil society to engage in the international multistakeholder fora.
Create space for civil society organisations to create impactful networks, align their actions and strategies, and build on each other's expertise to meaningfully impact policy processes.
IGF 2023 Open Forum #96
How to enhance participation and cooperation of CSOs in/with multistakeholder IG forums
1. Event Description:
2. When and where:
In-person: 14:45-16.15 JST (05.45-7.15 UTC / 07.45-09.15 CET) Workshop room 7, Room K
Mr.Peter MARIEN, Teamleader Digital Governance, Unit F5 – Science, Technology, Innovation and Digitalisation European Commission, Directorate General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA),
Mrs.Tereza Horejsova, GFCE outreach manager, IGF MAG member
Mr.Viktor Kapiyo, Member of the Board of Trustees, Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet),
Mrs.Marlena Wisniak, Senior Advisor, Digital Rights, European Center for Not-for-Profit Law Stichting (ECNL)
Moderated by: Mrs.Pavlina Ittelson, Executive Director Diplo US
Online moderation: Mrs.Shita Laksmi, DiploFoundation
In-person: 20 M/F ratio 40/60 (estimate)
Online: 6, M/F ratio 50/50
The session aimed to explore ways to improve and enhance the engagement of civil society organisations (CSOs) in multi stakeholder forums, identify the challenges they face, and discuss strategies for bringing the perspective of Global South CSOs into international multi stakeholder forums, including ITU, ITF, and ICANN standardisation processes.
The Civil Society Alliances for Digital Empowerment (CADE) project led by DiploFoundation in partnership with nine global organisations was introduced. Funded by the European Commission, DG INTPA, the CADE project aims to:
- Increase the capacity of CSOs to engage in global multistakeholder internet governance processes.
- Strengthen cooperation between CSOs from the Global North and Global South.
- Advocate for enhanced CSO participation in international internet governance forums.
The representative of the European Commission, Peter Marien, highlighted the EU's interest in digital governance with a human-centred development approach. He emphasised the need for a multilateral and multistakeholder approach in global digital governance, noting the current limited participation of CSOs in these processes, citing challenges such as lack of capacity and know-how. He stressed the importance of aligning discussions with the UN Charter of Human Rights. Current collaborations between the EU and ITU, IGF, UNESCO and OHCHR were also mentioned.
The IGF MAG member, Tereza Horejsova, emphasised the essential role of CSOs in representing individual interests in internet governance. She also advocated for a culture of multistakeholderism to improve policy-making and underlined the need to preserve CSOs' independence in the internet governance process. She concluded by highlighting the unique opportunities for CSOs in the IGF.
The European Center for Not-for-Profit Law Stichting (ECNL) representative, Marlena Wisniak, discussed the importance of meaningful multi stakeholder engagement, calling for proper resourcing and capacity-building for CSOs, including marginalised communities. She addressed power imbalances between stakeholders and the need for mechanisms for safe participation, emphasising the importance of CSOs participating for increased transparency and accountability.
The representative of Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet), Victor Kapiyo, called attention to the multi-stakeholder approach to ensure meaningful outcomes for local communities, pointing out bureaucratic and financial hurdles Global South organisations face when participating in global processes. He highlighted the need for improved technical capacity and resources to bring unique local perspectives into global processes.
The panellists discussed the importance of capacity-building, resources, and know-how for CSOs to engage effectively in international governance bodies. They shared the view that collaboration between CSOs from the Global North and Global South could be an enabler for effective participation from the latter. Local partnerships were also highlighted as a means to bring unnoticed issues to light. The significance of coalition and collaborative approaches was underscored, along with the need for better coordination among CSOs themselves.
Challenges identified included the fragmentation of forums discussing internet governance, a lack of capacity among CSOs and governments, particularly in understanding the human rights impact of technological advancements, and the dominance of strictly technical spaces by Global North organisations.
- Build trusted relationships with legislators, demonstrate expertise, and anticipate counter-arguments when presenting CSO views.
- Enhance coordination among donors to prevent overwhelming CSOs with requirements and improve access to information about formal rules and practices for participation.
- Foster better coordination among CSOs themselves.
- Encourage funders to appreciate the work dynamics of Global South organisations.
The CADE project was introduced as a promising initiative to address these challenges and foster meaningful CSO engagement in global internet governance.
6. High-level summary in one sentence:
Civil society organisations, especially from the Global South, face barriers to entry into the global multistakeholder internet governance policies and have a need for increased capacity building, transparency of policy processes and creating spaces that would allow for coordination, network building and coordination to impactfully engage in the global multistakeholder internet governance processes.