25 Nov 2019 09:00h - 10:00h

Event report

[Read more session reports and updates from the 14th Internet Governance Forum]

The panel session focused on the publication of ‘Towards a Global Framework for Cyber ​​Peace and Digital Cooperation: An Agenda for the 2020s

Mr Wolfgang Kleinwachter (Co-Editor of the publication) said that the book was triggered by the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation’s report. It aims to present different perspectives from different stakeholder and interest groups. The book is a network of opinions mimicking the Internet as a network of computer systems.

Mr Max Senges (Co-Editor of the publication) said that the publication represents the diversity of the Internet and has more than 60 contributors. Asking the right question is important for an inclusive debate.

Mr Fabrizio Hotschield (UN Under-Secretary General & Lead for the implementation of the UN High-Level Panel recommendations) stressed that the book presents a ‘state of play’ of Internet governance today, including diverse perspectives with two potentially contradictory messages from the book. The first is a need to have universal governance of the Internet in order to maintain the universal nature of the Internet. The second is the enormous complexity of the task of arranging Internet governance.

The challenge of arranging Internet governance is triggered by two ways of dealing with complexities. Software developers address them via trial and error. Policy-makers tend to get paralysed by the complexity of the digital field. The need for governance is also illustrated by numerous initiatives which are both reflections of a need for action, and the realities of many failures. In the going towards the UN’s 75 anniversary, the international community and stakeholders should try to articulate some universal principles. The success of these efforts will depend on the efforts of all stakeholders.

Mr Vint Cerf (VP and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google) described Internet governance as a point when chaos has to evolve into order. The metaphor of a kaleidoscope could be used to describe this transition from chaos to order. In this process, one of the key tasks is to ensure the functioning of basic Internet infrastructure, and to ensure that the needed governance will not stifle innovation and the vibrancy of Internet developments.

Mr Matthias Kettemann (Co-Editor of the publication) stressed four main topic areas that the book covered: rights and responsibilities, sustainable digital development as both goal and means of Internet governance, achieving cyber-peace, and stronger normative discussion on AI stewardship – to move beyond artificial intelligence (AI) and ethical principles.

Ms Anriette Esterhuyen (Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace) noted that growing inequalities impact Internet governance, but they require broader action beyond traditional Internet governance mechanisms. Inequalities, including digital ones, are a societal challenge. They cannot be solved via Internet governance, but they should be integrated in our thinking about Internet governance. Both multistakeholder and multilateral approaches in the digital field should be more inclusive and accountable. Internet governance should be run in the context of human rights.

Mr Jörg Schweiger (Member of the Executive Board and CEO of DENIC eG,) stressed the relevance of soft governance in the digital realm. The UN High Level-Panel on Digital Cooperation should have an actionable follow-up which was missing after the previous governance attempts such as the NETmundial Declaration.

Mr Chris Painter (Chair of the Global Forum for Cyber Expertise Working Group on Strategy and Policy) stressed the lack of awareness in the policy field as relevant for digital issues. One of the main challenges is to create inter-disciplinary coverage of digital issues across security, economic, human rights, and technological silos.

A few participants criticised the lack of gender and regional diversity of the panel.