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European stakeholder consultation by EuroDIG on the UN Secretary-General’s proposal for a Global Digital Compact (GDC)

“Following the political declaration adopted at the occasion of the United Nations’ 75th anniversary in September 2020, the Secretary-General in September 2021 released his report Our Common Agenda. The Common Agenda proposes a Global Digital Compact (GDC) to be agreed at the Summit of the Future in September 2023 through a technology track involving all stakeholders: governments, the United Nations system, the private sector (including tech companies), civil society, grass-roots organizations, academia, and individuals, including youth.

The Global Digital Compact (GDC) is expected to “outline shared principles for an open, free and secure digital future for all”. The Common Agenda report suggests issues that it might cover, including digital connectivity, avoiding Internet fragmentation, providing people with options as to how their data is used, application of human rights online, and promoting a trustworthy Internet by introducing accountability criteria for discrimination and misleading content.”

(Quote from: https://www.un.org/techenvoy/global-digital-compact)

The Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology has opened a dedicated space with background information and updates on the GDC at www.un.org/techenvoy/global-digital-compact. This contains a link to the Tech Envoy’s public survey form for submitting inputs on the GDC. This public platform is open for inputs until 31 December 2022.

Furthermore, organisations and entities (including the national and regional Internet governance forums) are invited by the Tech Envoy to hold sessions and meetings to prepare for their inputs to the United Nations.

Accordingly, EuroDIG now invites European stakeholders to contribute to the preparation of a EuroDIG submission on the GDC which takes into account relevant discussions at recent EuroDIG meetings and summarises the contributions from this stakeholder consultation. EuroDIG’s aim for this open process of consultation is to identify common ground in terms of principles and proposed actions relating to the following seven thematic areas identified in Our Common Agenda and additional areas that stakeholders advocate for inclusion in the GDC:

  1. Connect all people to the internet, including all schools
  2. Avoid internet fragmentation
  3. Protect data
  4. Apply human rights online
  5. Accountability for discrimination and misleading content
  6. Regulation of artificial intelligence
  7. Digital commons as a global public good
  8. Other areas: this is the opportunity for stakeholders to propose additional thematic areas, issues, opportunities and challenges for inclusion within the scope of the GDC which are not covered in Our Common Agenda.

Consistent with the Tech Envoy’s public survey, stakeholders are requested to prepare their EuroDIG inputs under 1-8 above with reference to the following two specific aspects:

  1. Core principles that all governments, companies, civil society organisations and other stakeholders should adhere to; and
  2. Key commitments, pledges, or actions that should be taken by different stakeholders – governments, private sector, civil society, etc. – in order to realise the above-mentioned principles. It is important to be as specific and action-oriented as possible.

EuroDIG’s deadline for inputs is 7 October 2022. These should be submitted on the EuroDIG Commenting Platform which provides summaries by the chair of this process Mark Carvell of the relevant discussions held at recent EuroDIG meetings.

On 31 October 2022 EuroDIG will hold a “EuroDIG Extra” virtual meeting on the Global Digital Compact to which all stakeholders are invited. This meeting will review a summary of the inputs received in the EuroDIG open consultation with the aim of preparing draft conclusions and recommendations.

These will be presented for a final round of comments during EuroDIG’s session at the UN IGF in Addis Ababa on 1 December. EuroDIG’s submission to the Office of the Envoy on Technology will be finalised following this presentation at the IGF and published on the EuroDIG website.

UPDATE: UN Member States recently decided to postpone the Summit of the Future by a year until September 2024.

Source: https://comment.eurodig.org/global-digital-compact/