On 5 October, MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri hosted our preparatory meeting ahead of the IGF2023 in Kyoto, Japan. The MEP was joined by the following speakers:
Adam Peake, MAG Member and ICANN
Ana Cristina Amoroso das Neves, Chair of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development
Maarit Palovirta, Senior Director for Regulatory Affairs, ETNO
Pearse O'Donohue, Director for the Future Networks Directorate of DG CONNECT, European Commission
Yuliya Morenets, Founder of TaC- Together against Cybercrime; Youth IGF
Nadia Tjahja, YouthDIG coordinator, EuroDIG
Miapetra Kumpula Natri MEP emphasized the importance of empowering all individuals in the digital age, noting that while the internet was designed to connect people, it has also introduced challenges like fragmentation, hate speech, disinformation, and cyber threats. Addressing these issues is crucial for society, democracy, and individual well-being. The European Parliament's delegation will participate in multi-stakeholder forums, believing that legislative power alone isn't enough. Collaboration with private entities, academia, and activists is essential. The focus is on enhancing global networks, establishing collaboration standards, and preparing for future technologies like AI and the metaverse. Bilateral meetings will be held to foster global cooperation, and the delegation is excited about the upcoming discussions with a diverse group of speakers.
Adam Peake, speaking as a MAG member, expressed excitement for the upcoming meeting in Kyoto, anticipating a significant turnout, especially from the Japanese community. He emphasized the IGF's role as a multi-stakeholder, global, and inclusive process within the UN system. While acknowledging the harms of digital technology, Mr Peake stressed the importance of recognizing the vast benefits and opportunities the internet offers, especially its role during the pandemic. He highlighted the need for the IGF to be a platform where global stakeholders can discuss challenges like AI and digital governance, ensuring that discussions aren't too top-down and maintain the multi-stakeholder approach. Adam Peake also mentioned the potential participation of Prime Minister Kishida in the opening ceremony and Japan's focus on AI, referencing the G7 Hiroshima summit and the development of guiding principles and codes of conduct for AI. He concluded by emphasizing the IGF's importance in ensuring global stakeholder involvement in these discussions and expressed hope for a pleasant meeting in Kyoto.
Ana Neves, Chair of the CSTD (Commission on Science and Technology for Development) of the United Nations, highlighted the history and significance of the World Summit on Information Society, which led to the establishment of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). As the IGF approaches its 20th year in 2025, its future remains uncertain. The CSTD is actively evaluating the IGF's contributions over the past 18 years, with the first public consultation by the OECD scheduled in Kyoto. Parallel to these discussions, the Global Digital Compact, initiated by the UN Secretary-General, is being examined. Key topics include defining the principles and values of internet governance, understanding the distinctions between digital governance, internet governance, and digital cooperation, and exploring the interconnections between various UN agencies. A central theme is the human-centric approach to the internet, especially in the context of emerging technologies like AI. Ms Neves emphasized the importance of ensuring that global digital governance is inclusive and reflective of diverse global realities, ensuring no one is left behind.
Maarit Palovirta, from ETNO, which represents European telecom operators, discussed their engagement with internet governance. ETNO's interest in the IGF stems from their members' international operations. Their goals include understanding global digital policy trends, addressing the convergence of telecoms with the digital market, and discussing key issues like internet fragmentation, security, and sustainability. Ms Palovirta emphasized the pivotal moment for the multi-stakeholder model in internet governance, noting global pressures favoring a government-led approach. ETNO advocates for the inclusion of the private sector and NGOs in the process. She appreciates the strong European representation in these discussions, including the European Commission and Parliament. Maarit Palovirta stressed the importance of alignment among European stakeholders in global discussions.
Pearse O'Donohue emphasized the European Commission's strong presence at the IGF, underscoring their commitment to multi-stakeholder dialogue on Internet governance. Vice President Jourova will contribute to key sessions, and the Commission plans discussions on virtual worlds, digital rights, green ICT, and future internet governance. Collaborative efforts with countries like the US, Japan, and Kenya aim to transition from principles to actionable steps. Mr O'Donohue stressed the IGF's importance, cautioning against creating separate digital challenge forums. The overarching goal is to maintain and protect the multi-stakeholder Internet governance model, especially with upcoming events like the Global Digital Compact. He highlighted the need for collective advocacy and thanked the European multi-stakeholder community for their continued support.
Yuliya Morenets, founder of the global Youth IGF and the organization "Together against Cybercrime," which oversees the Youth IGF, which was established as a primary capacity-building initiative, aiming to groom young individuals into future digital affairs leaders and enable their active participation in policy discussions at various IGF levels. Many of these young participants have become influential voices in shaping decisions. For the IGF 2023, the Youth IGF will maintain both an on-site and online presence, focusing on pivotal topics such as platform regulation, cybersecurity skills, and potential internet fragmentation. Their activities will encompass media coverage by young leaders, an open forum in collaboration with the EU delegation, and a dedicated booth for youth discussions. The event's objectives center on amplifying the youth's perspective on the Global Digital Compact, the Hiroshima process, and the future of the Internet declaration. Ms Morenets hopes that IGF 2023 will foster collaboration between young leaders and decision-makers, identifying and addressing emerging digital challenges.
Nadia Tjahja started her speech by stating that since 2009, youth has been recognized as a stakeholder at EuroDIG. In 2017, an official yearly youth pre-event, the Youth Dialogue on Internet Governance (YouthDIG), was institutionalized. It focuses on peer-to-peer learning, networking, and creating messages for EuroDIG and other global events. YouthDIG funds 30 young participants from diverse backgrounds, including rural areas and marginalized communities. Many former participants return to EuroDIG and the IGF, integrating themselves into the process. This year, YouthDIG participants highlighted four themes: the future of artificial intelligence, bridging digital divides, data governance challenges, and the future of AI in internet governance. The themes reflect their diverse backgrounds and experiences. Nadia encouraged engagement with YouthDIG to understand European youth perspectives and contribute to shaping the future of the internet.