VI. PRINCIPLES AND FUNCTIONS OF DIGITAL COOPERATION
In the course of our outreach, many stakeholders suggested principles to which digital cooperation mechanisms should adhere and functions they should seek to serve. Drawing also on work of previous initiatives in these areas, this annex summarises the principles and functions we suggest are most important to guide the future evolution of digital cooperation.
KEY PRINCIPLES OF DIGITAL COOPERATION
- Consensus-oriented: Decisions should be made in ways that seek consensus among public, private and civic stakeholders.
- Polycentric: Decision-making should be highly distributed and loosely yet efficiently coordinated across specialised centres.
- Customised: There is generally no “one size fits all” solution; different communities can implement norms in their own way, according to circumstances.
- Subsidiarity: Decisions should be made as locally as possible, closest to where the issues and problems are.
- Accessible: It should be as easy as possible to engage in digital cooperation mechanisms and policy discussions.
- Inclusive: Decisions should be inclusive and democratic, representing diverse interests and accountable to all stakeholders.
- Agile: Digital cooperation should be dynamic, iterative and responsive to fast-emerging policy issues.
- Clarity in roles and responsibility: Clear roles and shared language should reduce confusion and support common understanding about the responsibilities of actors involved in digital cooperation (governments, private sector, civil society, international organisations and academia).
- Accountable: There should be measurable outcomes, accountability and means of redress.
- Resilient: Power distribution should be balanced across sectors, without centralised top-down control.
- Open: Processes should be transparent, with minimum barriers to entry.
- Innovative: It should always be possible to innovate new ways of cooperating, in a bottom-up way, which is also the best way to include diverse perspectives.
- Tech-neutral: Decisions should not lock in specific technologies but allow for innovation of better and context-appropriate alternatives.
- Equitable outcomes: Digital cooperation should maximise the global public interest (internationally) and be anchored in broad public benefit (nationally).
KEY FUNCTIONS OF DIGITAL COOPERATION
- Leadership – generating political will among leaders from government, business, and society, and providing an authoritative response to digital policy challenges.
- Deliberation – providing a platform for regular, comprehensive and impactful deliberations on digital issues with the active and effective participation of all affected stakeholders.
- Ensuring inclusivity – ensuring active and meaningful participation of all stakeholders, for example by linking with existing and future bottom-up networks and initiatives.214
- Evidence and data – monitoring developments and identifying trends to inform decisions, including by analysing existing data sources.
- Norms and policy making – building consensus among diverse stakeholders, respecting the roles of states and international organisations in enacting and enforcing laws.
- Implementation – following up on policy discussions and agreements.
- Coordination – creating shared understanding and purpose across bodies in different policy areas and at different levels (local, national, regional, global), ensuring synchronisation of efforts, interoperability and policy coherence, and the possibility of voluntary coordination between interested stakeholder groups.
- Partnerships – catalysing partnerships around specific issues by providing opportunities to network and collaborate.
- Support and capacity development – strengthening capacity development, monitoring digital developments, identifying trends, informing policy actors and the public of emerging risks and opportunities, and providing data for evidence-based decision making – allowing traditionally marginalised persons or other less-resourced stakeholders to actively participate in the system.
- Conflict resolution and crisis management – developing the skills, knowledge and tools to prevent and resolve disputes and connect stakeholders with assistance in a crisis.