IGF 2023 Town Hall #74 Internet fragmentation and the UN Global Digital Compact

Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (02:30 UTC) - Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (03:30 UTC)
WS 6 – Room E

Technical challenges of Internet fragmentation

Round Table - 60 Min


The purpose of this town hall is to identify how the technical community can best represent itself in the UN Global Digital Compact process, on the topic of avoiding technical fragmentation. While inputs to the process have been open to all, the process is fundamentally intergovernmental. The UN released an issues paper on the topic in September, in advance of negotiations that will take place at the end of 2023. During the town hall we will present the relevant background to the UN Global Digital Compact and develop ideas to present the multi-stakeholder model for Internet governance and how it should be promoted as the best means to avoid technical fragmentation.

1. Clearly outlined agenda: Begin with what is GDC. Followed by an historical perspective of the role of technical community in Internet governance processes. Open sections for discussions. 2. Interactive content: We will include interactive polls, to encourage participation and gather feedback. 3. Engage with chat and Q&A features: We will address questions, comments, or concerns in real-time. 4. Foster collaboration: We will utilize smaller discussion groups to facilitate collaboration among participants. 5. Utilize social media: We will use social media platforms to extend engagement beyond the remote session itself.


Organiser: APNIC. Technical Community. Asia-Pacific. Moderator: Pablo Hinojosa, APNIC, Strategic Engagement Director Rapporteur: Michael Kende, Analysys Mason.


Organiser: APNIC. Technical Community. Asia-Pacific. Moderator: Pablo Hinojosa, APNIC, Strategic Engagement Director Online Moderator: Melody Bendindang, APNIC, External Relations Manager Rapporteur: Michael Kende, Analysys Mason.

Onsite Moderator

Pablo Hinojosa

Online Moderator

Melody Bendindang


Michael Kende



Targets: Connectivity and digital transformation can assist in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. For these to be truly innovative and effective, they must be built upon a diverse multistakeholder global base. Without involving talented and technically proficient individuals from around the world, digital solutions alone won't be enough to achieve the scale necessary to advance the Goals. Additionally, it is crucial to involve Member States and local communities in developing Internet governance applications that are relevant to their specific contexts.

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

1. The technical community need to proactively engage with government stakeholders, including the foreign affairs diplomatic corps, if their perspective would inform the GDC process.

2. Key messages with updated narratives are required for the technical community to communicate assertively when engaging in the GDC process.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

1. Proactive engagement by the technical community with diplomatic officials participating in the GDC negotiations.

2. Cooperation among the different bodies in the technical community ecosystem is needed to develop clear and refreshed narratives that are constructive to their perspectives being reflected in the GDC process.

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

The session expanded on the role of the technical community into the GDC process. The Internet is a network of networks and a system of trust. The discussion focused on how to protect this Internet technical layer and its interoperability, by not endangering or diluting the trust when politicised in the context of geopolitical fragmentation.

Discussants talked about the status of PNIF – fragmentation at technical layer and fragmentation of user experience. Fragmentation of institutions where Internet governance is being discussed was also raised.

When perspectives are overly technical, they tend to exclude government stakeholders that might not have the specialised technical expertise.


There was concern and confusion around why the technical community seemed to be removed from the stakeholder groups that should be consulted as part of the multistakeholder process of the GDC. Historically, the Tunis agenda had referred and discussed the technical community specifically.

Apart from highlighting its role in multistakeholder participation, the discussants also raised that it was important for the technical community to consider what it can contribute to the discussions in the GDC. There is a new demographic of diplomatic officials who are now engaged in the negotiations phase and were not present during the WSIS discussions that were initiated in 2003/2005. This new demographic would require regular and constant engagement from the technical community to inform their negotiations of the GDC.

Discussants also raised the need to bridge the technical with the policy perspectives since the GDC is an intergovernmental process. Hence, there was a call for the technical community to be more involved. Developing the key messages with updated narratives that the technical community wants to convey is urgent for governments to understand how the Internet infrastructure can be used to its full potential.  

auDA roadmap for Internet governance. http://www.auda.org.au/about-auda/internet-governance-and-public-policy/audas-internet-governance-roadmap-2023-2025