Keynote 01 2022

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21 June 2022 | 14:15 - 14:45 CEST | SISSA Main Auditorium | Video recording | Transcript
Consolidated programme 2022 overview / Day 1


  • Introduction to the European stakeholder consultation to submit input to the Global Digital Compact (
    • Thomas Schneider, President EuroDIG, Swiss Government, Ambassador
    • Mark Carvell, Independent Internet Governance Consultant and Member of EuroDIG Support Association

Video record


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>> Now I would like to take the opportunity to introduce the keynote, unfortunately, Minister Krzysztof Szubert is unable to join us today, but please, I would like to direct your attention to the podium for the Director of the Prime Minister’s office.

Good afternoon. Thank you very much, I was asked to read out this statement of Minister Krzysztof Szubert who is unable to be here with us today because of some health considerations.

This text, I’m going to read the full text, it is available online on EuroDIG website.

Ladies and gentlemen, last year I had the pleasure to talk at EuroDIG to invite you to Katowice, we’re in December 2021, within the 16th UN IGF, the global multistakeholder community to discuss the future of the Internet.

In person, as it was in Katowice, it was a fully hybrid format for over 300 sessions that were held, we had a record number of more than 10,000 registered participants. It was our honor to host over 2700 participants online – on site in Katowice, and we were joined by nearly 200 Ministers, parliamentarians and other high-level leaders from the private sector, Civil Society, the technical community.

Looking back now, I am proud that we made it possible for numerous policymakers, entrepreneurs, representatives of academia and non-governmental organisations, lots of the youth, thousands of people from all over the world to meet and to debate the opportunities and challenges posed by the Internet, as well as ways to fully exploit Internet’s potential.

To underline the importance of Internet related laws at national levels, IGF 2021 included a parliamentary track which was a direct continuation of the parliamentary roundtables held at previous IGFs.

Parliamentarians exchanged views on key digital policy challenges such as privacy rights and legitimate use of personal data, balance between freedom of speech and the fight against harmful online content, as well – and the fight against harmful online content, as well as the governance of artificial intelligence.

IGF listens to and works with the world’s youth. The aim of the Global Youth IGF Summit held in Katowice was not only to build on the experience of previous editions but also to move one step forward. Voice of the youth was very well heard and incorporated into the conference outcome. After all the youth will shape the Internet of the future.

We wish for every discussion, regardless of the level, to have its outcomes that can be put into practice. A positive vision for the future of the Internet must combine fundamental values such as human rights, access and openness, as well as economic considerations - this is just one of the conclusions included in the Katowice IGF Messages- a final document issued after last year’s Forum. It is a toolbox of guidelines and approaches to Internet governance and digital policy issues.

Ensuring that all people have a meaningful access to the Internet is a global priority and I think we all support this message. On the other hand though, stakeholders need to reflect how people will be able to use the connectivity once they get the access. We need to engage even more in activities to promote a multistakeholder approach. Personally, I use every occasion to bring the Katowice messages to the attention of decision makers at international for the IGF outcomes and decisions are crucial within other major global initiatives.

All these are to support countries and communities to use digital technology to drive down inequality, help inclusivity, tackle Climate Change and open up economic opportunities. To support these efforts we have to create strong partnerships between agencies and organizations with a global or regional reach.

We’re carrying out tasks or implementing guidance included in the global discussion, we must ensure that the technology will always serve a human kind and not vice versa. In other words, Human Rights must always be emphasized of the air mount importance in the global digitalization process.

Implementing policies requires sustainable financing and indispensable elements stimulating global digital growth and cooperation.

We need to encourage investments in connectivity solutions and affordable Internet access in developing countries.

This can be done by creating funding programmes focused on bringing digital technology to citizens, administrations and businesses. There’s a need for promoting and supporting coinvestment in high-tech projects and start-ups with a research development and innovations element. In a contemporary world that constantly moves forward, we must make sure that no one is left behind.

It is crucial that we look for a common ground and focus on strategic activities like building a complementary matrix of actions based on areas related to vertical building blocks, such as infrastructure and connectivity, eServices and open skills, competences and inclusion, also cybersecurity and the digital trust, international cooperation and investment.

Last but not least, it seems impossible not to mention the current deplorable situation in Ukraine, the war takes place to significant extent also in the digital sphere. Therefore, it is extremely important to have a coherent, multistakeholder and responsible vision of the future of the Internet as well as a vision for the development of all kinds of Internet-related technologies, for the benefit of people and the world.

Thank you very much.

>> CHAIR: Thank you very much.

I now would like to redirect your attention again to the podium to welcome Mr. Thomas Schneider to talk about the Global Digital Compact.

>> THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you. Hello again.

I will try not to take too much time.

As you may know, it is not just the E.U., other governments that are thinking about how to cope with digital, also in the UN, there is a bit going on with reflections in all specialized agencies and also on the UN level. Much of this has started with the high-level panel on digital cooperation that the UN Secretary-General set up in 2018 and that published a report. It was a multistakeholder, independent panel that he set up with 22 members and one of which was our President in the Swiss federation, Switzerland is a big supporter of this and the panel produced a report that was called the age of interdependence that came out in June, 2020 that proposed a number of – identified a number of challenges but also opportunities and proposed a number of actions among which things we have heard and discussed a number of times, like the creation of a tech envoy position in the UN that would facilitate digital cooperation on a global level among all stakeholders. This is important. It is not just among governments but among all stakeholders. There’s a number of substantive recommendations that the panel made but also a number of recommendations on the architecture of the global architecture of digital cooperation and governance. One of the key issues was, of course, the strengthening and further development of the Internet Governance Forum, the IGF, there were three models proposed, one the so-called IGF Plus model that gained most support and these were the recommendations of the independent multistakeholder panel and then in 2020 the UN Secretary-General proposed his roadmap towards improved digital cooperation and governance where he picked up basically the ideas of the recommendations of the high-level panel in order to show how he intends to – which one, how he intends to basically implement these recommendations.

A key thing that basically grew out of this, it is the so-called Global Digital Compact, which is embedded or is part of something bigger that is basically his – basically the programme of his second mandate of the Secretary-General which is called our Common Agenda, it is like the big vision of how he wants to support the UN, support us in – yeah. To help us to develop a world that lives up to the expectation of us all living in peace and prosperity and freedom. There is a digital aspect to this, it is the global Digital Compact that is supposed to be worked out by if I’m not mistaken by the end of next year and it has several layers of work.

It – there has been 7 key topics that have been identified as kind of baskets in which the work, the substantive work on the compact should be structured.

Of course, the newly announced tech envoy will have a key role in facilitating the work towards this Global Digital Compact and the details of the procedures are not yet fully clear, we do have some people in the rom from international institutions, from structures that may have some informal details –on if they’re able to share this, but the way it seems now, it is that it is planned to have a multistakeholder phase, all stakeholders will be taken into account, that will be in the first half more or less of the process that will be launched I think after the summer break. It is actually quite timely that the IGF, that we will have at the end of November, that it will be a key moment for the multistakeholder community to feeding their views into the IGF which will then be fed into the process on elaborating the compact.

At some point in time, probably towards the spring of next year, the whole thing will be dealt with by the governments only in the UN, we were among those that were pushing for being as multistakeholder, as open and inclusive as possible, ideally until the very end, as you may know, that not all governments have the same views regarding inclusion of other stakeholders. This is basically the broad outline as far as I understand it and as far as – I know what’s currently available of information on this project. This is supposed to be like one of the key elements of the digital legacy of the current UN Secretary-General and he wants this to be something that matters, to what extent, to what the common denominators will be in the current geopolitical situation, it is something that we will all see. I think we should definitely use it as an occasion to try to make the voice heard of all European stakeholders and also to encourage and to support all other regions in the world to make the voices of all of the stakeholders from all stakeholder groups and from all regions in the world to make them heard, to use the IGF, we’ll hear concretely how we intend – what we intend to do from Mark I assume. This is the situation as far as we are currently informed.

Happy to answer any questions if you have them.

Thank you very much.

>> CHAIR: Please welcome to the stage Mark Carvell.

>> MARK CARVELL: Thank you very much. It is a great pleasure to be here.

After about three year, hoping to get to Trieste, we’re here! That’s fantastic! As Thomas, Ambassador has described, it is a very timely opportunity for us to look at what’s going on in terms of UN process and big picture and the Summit of the future next year, September 2023, the fact that it includes a technology track and that the Secretary-General has given great emphasis to this track, it is a reflection of recognition by the Secretary-General and Member States that this is an important element of ensuring citizens of the future have maximum opportunities, social welfare, economic opportunity, and the fact that the technology track is starting certainly in a multistakeholder way led by the tech envoy’s office, I think it is very welcome. As Thomas said, we should really seize this opportunity as a regional stakeholder community to engage, and as some of you may have already scene on the tech envoys website, there is guidance on how stakeholders can contribute to the development of the Global Digital Compact which is the combination of the technology track. This compact will set out the basic elements of ensuring open, free, inclusive and secure digital future so we have the opportunity to feed in ideas of what the compact should include.

As Thomas said, the tech envoy has indicated some issuings that may well be included but it is not an exclusive list. It includes, very obvious one, digital connectivity, how to avoid Internet fragmentation, options for protecting personal data. These are all I’m sure top priority for many of us. Human Rights online and providing a trustworthy Internet which gives accountability for discrimination online, for misleading information online, regulation of AI, perhaps that’s a surprise, that it is in there specifically, and advancing the concept of the digital comments as global public good. There are – I think there were seven that I just described, seven possible elements for the compact but the tech envoy’s office is saying, well, you can add to that in responding to the survey that they have online now for the stakeholders and the entities and the regional organizations like EuroDIG to consult, we can add to that if we wish. It is important opportunity for us. We haven’t that much time, the questionnaire survey that’s on the tech envoy’s website, it gives a deadline of the end of September. Now, that may seem a long way off. You know, in the northern hemisphere here, you have the August holiday period, so we better start working on this pretty quickly.

Now, how is EuroDIG going to go about responding to this process as a Regional Forum which can engage in the kind of consultations that the tech envoy is looking for? Well, there is this meeting, first of all. We have been floating awareness, promoting awareness of the global Digital Compact from the start of Day 0, we’re discussing it now and we’ll discuss it in future sessions during later today and tomorrow.

From that early consideration of the significance of the global Digital Compact we can formulate some messaging certainly from Trieste relating to the global Digital Compact and the opportunity for the EuroDIG community to participate in the consultation. We should follow that up in a very meaningful, effective way. As in the past, with the high-level panel on digital cooperation we can use the commenting platform that EuroDIG has and we’ll use that. We will invite comments from all of you stakeholders here physically, online, all your networks, stakeholder, please let them know, please spread awareness of this opportunity, we’ll invite you to submit comments on the commenting platform on the EuroDIG website.

Your reflections on what the tech envoy described as possible issues, and also what else may be well included in the compact, and your views on the whole effectiveness of the compact, what it will lead to in terms of the summit of the future.

So, we haven’t decided a firm date for the deadline to the comments for the commenting platform, I think we’ll aim for something like the early part of September. We’ll then review all the comments received, and we’ll try to produce a report, a digest of common areas of agreement, the new ideas that are coming through and we’ll put that together, the report, and we propose to hold a EuroDIG extra seminar. Now, we have done this in the past as well. I moderated the one that we had on the multistakeholder high-level board proposal that came out of the roadmap which is now the leadership panel. We held a very successful and productive EuroDIG extra event on that.

We’ll plan to hold that in mid-September based on the report of the comments we have received on the commenting platform, we’ll have a discussion and then we’ll finalize our input as the EuroDIG community into – for submission to the tech envoy’s office by the end of September.

Basically that’s the timeline, from now onwards we’ll Saturday deadline for commenting to the platform for comments and then we’ll hold a EuroDIG extra event and finalize the proposal for submission to the tech envoy’s office.

Now, it is important that we get as many voices involved in this as possible. Especially this Year of Youth, the European Europe youth, we want young people’s voices. I’m looking really to the YOUthDIG community to help us out on this. This is all about the future. You know, this is about the next generation. Young people’s voices we have got to have fully taken into account and formulating our input into the Global Digital Compact process. We need also to link up, to spread awareness amongst the corporate sector, we need business voices involved too. I’m looking to everybody here who has got business people in their networks to promote awareness of this opportunity.

The parliamentary government, regulatory community, I hope they are going to help us out as well and, of course, Civil Society leads, academia, we want everybody to help us to develop an impressive, effective response to the Global Digital Compact consultation that’s going to demonstrate multistakeholderism at work, that will lead to the kind of compact that’s going to serve the interests of citizens, of business interests, of the public policy aspects that we have been talking about in terms of sovereignty and so on today. Great length.

We all think this will converge together in the global Digital Compact and be an important part of the Summit of the future.

That’s basically the approach. If anyone has got any question, happy to take them now. We’ll finalize the specifics of deadline, so on very shortly and I’ll post those on the EuroDIG website. That’s the approach we’re taking. If anyone has some views on that, let me know, and Sandra and Thomas, of course! Thank you.

>> CHAIR: Mark kindly opened the floor for questions. There is 4 minutes for questions there.

Is one person at the mic. Would you like to ask a question?

>> It is less of a question, more of a statement.

I’m an IGF MAG member at the moment also, and I really – I think I wanted to echo basically a lot of what Mark is saying here. It is a good approach that he’s outlined to develop EuroDIG input here. I think in many ways EuroDIG has evolved in recent years to produce outputs that are quite suited for this kind of repurposing, sort of giving messages not to just all stakeholders with you to specific processes like this. I think that’s something that we really need to build on. I strongly urge that as we’re thinking about the messages that we’re developing in this afternoon’s sessions, in tomorrow’s session, we keep in mind the messages that we want to put forward for the Global Digital Compact, how we sort of are conveying those, structuring them or framing them because I think we have a really good opportunity there. I think you also mentioned, Mark that we want to hear young voices, that we want to hear all stakeholder voices. It doesn’t just need to be EuroDIG doing this. I think the YOUthDIG participants have already been developing messages. Again, that’s a format that could really easily go in from YOUthDIG or from a number of individuals from YOUthDIG. It doesn’t have to be necessary the whole group.

I think the important thing is really that call to get involved, have some input. The IGF MAG I know has been having these discussions particularly the Working Group on the strategy and strengthening the IGF has been following this development and working with the Office of The tech envoy and I think it has had some strong messages back to them about getting the NRIs involved, making sure that you’re using the national, regional initiatives to get input and the intersessional work that goes into the IGF, the Dynamic Coalitions and the Policy Networks and the IGF itself, which comes later in the year. That’s a really important point for a potentially very significant international agreement this is a very tight timeline. We have to make sure we have the opportunity for the multistakeholder voice to be formulated and heard there. That’s also carrying through into the drafting of the document itself. We also need to look to examples of multistakeholder processes to do this rather than just having the multistakeholder input and then handing it over to Member States to bash out behind closed doors. That’s not an ideal way for this to go forward.. You’re right, we have to put the best voice forward to ensure that multistakeholder process and to make sure that that multistakeholder approach is adhered to.

Thank you.

>> CHAIR: Thank you very much for your comment.

I fear that we have ran out of time. I would like to thank you very much for your contribution.

As mentioned before, there will certainly be time to further discuss this with the EuroDIG community both online and we encourage you to get involved with this opportunity and if you have any question, you can always reach out to EuroDIG.