[Update] Read below a report from EuroDIG 2016:
The annual European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) was first held in 2008, marking it as one of the earliest initiatives to replicate the principles behind the global IGF on a more localised scale. English is the language of the meetings, with no interpretation facilities provided. All official sessions were transcribed live. All meeting rooms also displayed Twitter walls that show realtime tweets that use the official meeting hashtag (for this year, #eurodig16) Archives of the transcripts and videos of the session are due to be published on the website by the end of June.
Days One and Two – An Overview
Unlike the global IGF, which, as a UN-organised meeting, needs to observe certain formalities such as high level opening and closing sessions, EuroDIG is freer to experiment with its meeting format. For the opening session, EuroDIG contained short welcoming speeches by the meeting hosts (European Commission and EURid) and the EuroDIG Secretary General before embarking on 90 minutes of discussion generated by the participants themselves. All participants had been encouraged in the days before the meeting to make a statement about their hopes for the theme of the meeting, “Embracing the digital (r)evolution”. Many first-time EuroDIG participants took to the microphone in this session. Europe’s first home-grown ICANN CEO, Göran Marby, also spoke – refusing the invitation to speak from the stage and preferring to speak from the microphone on the floor, like everyone else.
While the global, regional and national IGFs tend to be a platform primarily embraced by civil society, the location of this year’s EuroDIG, Brussels, ensured that there were a significant number of European government participants, including regulators. This meant that many of the discussions on privacy and surveillance, which are particularly hot topics in European countries, benefitted from the contribution of opposing views from regulators, law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and the judiciary in a way that is not often seen in multistakeholder Internet governance discussions. As noted during some of the EuroDIG 2016 sessions, discussions about cybersecurity and discussions about privacy can tend to occur in silos: LEAs, national security experts and the judiciary tend not to participate in the discussions that non-government stakeholders have about the human rights dimensions of security-related activities on the Internet. There was debate about whether or not this was due to reluctance on the side of government or non-government participants to invite or participate in discussions initiated by the other side of the argument. However, there was agreement that there is a need for more dialogue between those who have legitimate concerns about the need to apply the law to online activities and those who have equally legitimate concerns about the need to protect rights online.
Other events and meetings co-located with EuroDIG 2016
It is becoming increasingly standard at Internet governance-related meetings to have a 'Day Zero' during which other, related communities of interest hold side-events.
At this EuroDIG, a number of pre-events and pre-meetings were held:
- The European Commission’s High Level Group on Internet Governance (HGIG) held a half-day meeting, including an open session where non-government stakeholders were able to participate. During the closed session, European Union member states discussed their preparations for the ICANN 56 GAC meeting in Helsinki, and the CSTD WG on Enhanced Cooperation as well as updates on the IANA stewardship transition and ICANN accountability. During the open session, the HGIG heard updates from CENTR, RIPE NCC and IGF as well as from non-government participants in the IANA stewardship transition process.
- Members of the NETmundial Initiative (NMI) Coordination Council who were present at EuroDIG met to discuss the future of the NMI. Currently, with ICANN and WEF having declined to continue providing financial support for NMI, CGI.br is the only founding member that has expressed potential interest in continuing to support NMI. The Council members discussed with the global IGF to see if the Netmundial could potentially coexist alongside IGF as a form of ongoing intersessional process to advance the principles documented in the 2014 Netmundial outcome document. It was also noted that CGI.br would hold a meeting on 20 June to decide how, if at all, it would be involved in NMI going forward.
- The European Commission held a workshop on Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO). Funding for GIPO runs out in 2017 and the Commission is keen to turn the observatory over to the community, or another organiational home for further development.
EuroDIG 2017 will be held in Tallinn, Estonia. Estonia is leading the world in its work to integrate offline and online environments, and offers e-residencies – a transnational digital identity – to anyone in the world interested in administering a location-independent business online.
By Samantha Dickinson
The European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) is an open platform for informal and inclusive discussions on public policy issues related to Internet Governance across Europe and integrates issues from national Internet Governance platforms in Europe as well as contributing to the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF). EuroDIG 2016 takes place on 9-10 June in Brussels, at the Square - Brussels Meeting Centre. It is hosted by EURid in cooperation with the European Commission. The theme of this year's event is 'Embracing the digital (r)evolution'.
Join the Geneva Internet Platform at EuroDIG:
8 June: The GIP will participate in a pre-event on Co-designing GIPO's Observatory Tool - Bringing together IG communities, on 8 June at 14:30-17:30 CEST (12:30-15:30 UTC). Read more about this workshop.
9 June: Workshop #4 on Your IG ecosystem may be out of date. Please check for updates, from 14:30 CEST (12:30 UTC/GMT), aims to raise participants’ awareness of the current status of the internet governance ecosystem - including major issues and debates, both globally and in Europe. Part One will set the scene with an overview of key global IG developments in 2015 as well as major IG debates and challenges ahead. Part Two will map the European IG ecosystem: Identifying priority IG issue areas in Europe, including challenges and potential ways to overcome them. Speakers: Dominique Lazanski, Head GSMA’s Internet Governance Task Force; Jovan Kurbalija, Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform; Megan Richards, Head of the Internet Governance Taskforce in DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT) of the European Commission.
9 June: The GIP will give an overview of the GIP Digital Watch observatory during a flash session, on 9 June, at 17:15 CEST (15:15 UTC/GMT). A presentation on the observatory and its functionalities will be followed by interactions with participants. The presentation will be made by Tereza Horejsova, DiploFoundation Project Development Director and GIP Coordinator. For more details, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org