V. THE PANEL’S ENGAGEMENT
As per its terms of reference, the Panel engaged widely with governments, private sector, academia, the technical community, civil society, and inter-governmental organisations across the world. The aims of its engagement strategy were to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the reflection process of the Panel; catalyse multi-stakeholder and interdisciplinary cooperation on digital issues; and co-create the report’s recommendations with stakeholders, with a view to building buy-in for their implementation.
The engagement strategy was guided by three main tenets:
- Breadth and inclusivity: The Panel aimed to consult as broadly as possible across regions, demographics, topics, sectors and disciplines. The process strove to be as inclusive as possible of diverse groupings.
- Depth: The Panel worked with experts and conducted ‘deep dives’ on specific focus areas through virtual or in-person consultations as well as bilateral interviews.
- Interdisciplinarity: Many digital challenges are currently addressed in policy or agency silos; to promote more holistic approaches, the Panel’s activities invited interdisciplinary and multisectoral perspectives to the table.
The Panel was conscious of the importance of avoiding duplication of efforts and ‘consultation fatigue’ amongst digital stakeholders. Building on existing networks and policy forums, engagement activities took place as close as possible to stakeholders on the ground. The Panel also consciously assumed the learnings of previous commissions and existing working groups while also harnessing opportunities to connect the issues in new ways.
Conducting a global consultation in the span of few months would not have been possible without the immense support of dozens of organisations and governments worldwide who lent their resources and networks to the Panel.
Engagement proceeded in two phases: in the ‘listening’ phase, in the autumn of 2018, the Panel actively collected stakeholders’ concerns and ideas on digital cooperation. Feedback from stakeholders was fed into the Panel’s scoping of its work and formed the basis of the nine “enablers of digital cooperation” articulated mid-way through the Panel process. In the spring of 2019, the focus shifted to ‘road-testing’ the Panel’s emerging recommendations. Stakeholders from across sectors were invited to comment on and critique the draft recommendations with a view to improving them.
Overall, the Panel and its Secretariat carried out 125 engagement activities; these included participating in 44 digital policy events and organising 10 thematic workshops (on subjects such as values and principles, digital trust and security, data, digital health), 28 briefings to various stakeholder communities, 11 visits to digital hubs and capitals, 22 virtual meetings with subject-matter experts, and 10 townhall meetings open to the public. In addition, the Panel held a large number of bilateral meetings with a variety of stakeholders.
A virtual window for consultation was opened via the Panel’s website. In October 2018, an open Call for Contributions was launched; by January 2019, when the call closed, 167 stakeholders had sent written submissions. Additionally, an informal public opinion survey was set up to capture the views of stakeholders on the digital issues of greatest concern.
In total, the Panel and its Secretariat engaged with over 4,000 individuals representing 104 states, 80 international organisations, 203 private sector companies, 125 civil society organisations, 33 technical organisations, and 188 think tanks and academic institutions.
Our analysis of approximately 1200 core participants in our engagement process finds that 40% were women; 3% were aged under 30; and the regional breakdown was 20% North America, 19% Europe, 13% Sub-Saharan Africa, 8% Latin America and the Caribbean, 7% South and Central Asia, 7% Southeast and East Asia, and 4% Middle East (the rest had a global remit).
These results show that we did not wholly avoid a skew towards male and Western voices, though they compare favourably with many such exercises in the technology sector. They indicate the continuing need for digital cooperation mechanisms to make specific efforts to ensure inclusivity, and highlight in particular the challenge of bringing the “digital native” youth generation into digital policymaking.
The Panel would like to thank the following partners for their generous assistance and support to its engagement process:
- Access Now
- African Union Commission
- Alibaba Group
- APEC China Business Council (ACBC)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Argentina
- Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC)
- Association for Progressive Communication (APC)
- Government of Benin
- Botnar Foundation
- Business Council for the United Nations
- Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco
- China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC)
- Digital Empowerment Foundation
- Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL)
- Diplo Foundation
- Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations and Other International Organisations in Geneva
- Direction interministérielle du numérique et du système d’information et de communication de l’Etat, France
- Freedom Online Coalition
- Gateway House
- Geneva Internet Platform
- Global Commission on Stability of Cyberspace
- Global Partners Digital
- Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data
- Global Tech Panel
- GSM Association (GSMA)
- Hangzhou Normal University
- Impact Hub Basel
- International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
- International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
- Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
- JSC National ICT Holding Zerde
- Government of Kazakhstan
- King’s College London
- Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy
- New America Foundation
- Observer Research Foundation
- Office of Denmark’s Technology Ambassador
- Omidyar Foundation
- Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
- Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF)
- Schwarzman Scholars, Tsinghua University
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore
- Stanford University
- Tata Consultancy Services, Mumbai
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
- United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- United Nations Global Pulse
- United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)
- United Nations Office at Geneva
- United Nations University
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of Geneva
- Verizon Wireless
- Web Summit
- Western Balkans Digital Summit
- Wonder Ventures
- World Bank
- World Economic Forum
- World Economic Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, San Francisco
- World Government Summit, Dubai
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- World Internet Conference
- World Summit AI