On Day 2 of the Second Open Consultations, participation numbers remained steady, with over 100 people joining the discussions. The largest participants were online during the question and answer session on the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation with Under-Secretary-General Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General. While USG Hochschild’s office had previously facilitated three dialogues on the roadmap (on June 11, 12 and 15), this was the first time that stakeholders could directly ask questions about the roadmap, and ask questions of Germany and UAE, who, along with USG Hochschild’s office, are co-champions of Recommendations 5A/B from the report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. From that session, participants learned the following:
- The UN Secretary-General recognized that digital technology is very fast-moving and that UN Member States have little appetite for new treaties or UN bodies, so based the roadmap around strengthening inclusivity and prioritising more outcomes from existing processes, including the IGF.
- Consultations by the UN Secretary-General and the Recommendation 5A/B co-champions showed strong support for multistakeholder processes and the IGF plus model.
- The champions for Recommendation 5A/B plan to submit an options paper to the UN Secretary-General by early August. It will be a synthesis of input received from the various consultations that have been conducted.
- Follow-up and implementation of the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, and how to proceed with the options paper on Recommendation 5A/B, will be for the UN Secretary-General, UN Member States, as well as the wider multistakeholder community, to decide how to proceed with.
- The roadmap includes the creation of a strategic, empowered high-level advisory body, building on the experience of the IGF MAG. USG Hochschild clarified that the proposed body would not replace the MAG, but would be established to better connect global leaders, global opinion makers on the digital policy issues that are increasingly important in today’s world.
There was a wide agreement in the Open Consultations that it was important to begin discussions on what practical implementation of an IGF plus would look like, particularly with the 20-year review of WSIS due in 2025, where IGF’s mandate will be reviewed with a view to renewal and updating. Just before the session on the roadmap, the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Liu Zhenmin, reported that he submitted a note to the UN Secretary-General outlining how UN DESA plans to follow up the roadmap in enhancing IGF, in collaboration with all stakeholders, including with the MAG members.
Dr. Ahmedin Mohammed Ahmed, State Minister of the FDRE Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia / ICT and Digital Transformation Sector, and Ms. Makiko Yamada, Vice-Minister for International Affairs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan, representing the host countries of IGF 2022 and IGF 2023 respectively, addressed participants, expressing support for the IGF and inviting stakeholders to these future IGFs.
Day 2 of the Open Consultations also included reports from the intersessional processes, including the four Best Practice Forums (BPFs), a new process underway to review how to strengthen the BPF process in future, Dynamic Coalitions (DCs), and the National, Regional and Youth IGFs (NRIs). Participants were invited to join the BPFs and DCs and there was acknowledgement of the important role that the NRIs play, and suggestions that NRIs could perform a vital role in increasing the engagement in the virtual IGF 2020.
Registration for this week's Open Consultations and MAG Meetings are open through to the end of the meetings on Friday.
A summary of the first day of Open Consultations is also available.