The first phase of the global dialogue on the future of the internet, which brought together stakeholders from around the world, ended on Saturday 6 June online. NGOs (Daby Foundation,…), Internet stakeholders and partners (Internet Society, World Economic Forum, ISOC, ICANN…), discussed the three models proposed by the High Level Panel of Digital Cooperation, requested by Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. Their recommendations and proposals were sent to the German Foreign Ministry, as co-champion. The official report will be published this summer, in line of United Nations’ 75th anniversary.
One week after the dialogue, we interviewed three of the participants so they could give us their constructive feedback: Olga Cavalli, Co-Founder of South School on Internet Governance in Argentina, Tracy Hackshaw, ICT & Digital Economy Strategist based in the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago and Salyou Fanny President of the Internet Governance Forum in Côte d’Ivoire.
Why did you participate in the Stakeholders’ Dialogue?
Olga Cavalli: I participated to learn about different perspectives and ideas for the future of the Internet Governance. I was not only able to get my ideas through but also they were enriched by listening to other colleagues from all over the world. What really caught my attention was the way the different IG models were presented, with a concise and clear explanation of their scope. The smaller debate groups allowed us to interact more closely.
Salyou Fanny: In Côte d’Ivoire, we seek to promote the viability, robustness, stability and development of the internet. We need less leadership and more cooperation between key players to reduce the digital divide at all levels. We want a governance system that facilitates dialogue between the different actors of the Internet community in the country. This is why I wanted to be a part of this.
Tracy Hackshaw: As an ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) expert, I found this dialogue format to be a good example of creative use of technology to encourage open engagement and participation on a major and timely issue. I participated in the dialogue to meet experts from around the world and to learn more. I wasn’t disappointed.
What did the discussion around the three governance models bring to you?
Olga Cavalli: It was a great experience and very clarifying in the explanations of the different models for digital cooperation. I met many old friends and I also met new colleagues that we interact with from now on.
Salyou Fanny: I learned a lot about the existing governance system and I think that the IGF+ model will enable these changes because the configuration of this new architecture will build on existing structures such as the MAG (Multistakeyholder Advisory Group) and the different NRIS (national, regional and continental IGFs). This will give more legitimacy and effectiveness to address previous institutional shortcomings.
Do you feel that you were heard?
Tracy Hackshaw: I felt that my voice was heard and that my opinion and contribution mattered. I enjoyed the clear summaries and concise explanations of the digital cooperation options, as well as the frank discussion in the focus groups on the advantages and disadvantages of each of them. I was surprised by the wide range of participants and appreciated the willingness of colleagues to discuss and share their thoughts and opinions openly and honestly. I felt that my voice was heard and that my opinion and contribution mattered.
What do you think about the coming Citizens’ Dialogue?
Olga Cavalli: Don’t miss it! If we get together and interact, even from different perspectives, we will be able to construct something better for all.