Research highlights Global South engagement in digital rights policy making
The Data Privacy Brasil Research Association announces the launch of the research report on Global South perspectives on international engagement in digital rights. The launch takes place at the 18th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), in Kyoto. Data Privacy Brasil researcher, Nathan Paschoalini, presented the report during the “Internet Standards and Human Rights” workshop.
This recent exploratory research study sheds light on the active involvement of a carefully selected group of activists from the Global South within international institutions focused on digital rights. Furthermore, this study raises pertinent questions regarding the evolving interests of these organizations for the year of 2023 and beyond.
The international landscape of digital rights is characterized by complexity and diversity, with numerous forums operating at both multistakeholder and multilateral levels. These forums encompass policy spaces, meetings, as well as processes and public consultations, reflecting the multifaceted nature of the digital agenda on the global stage.
This comprehensive report serves as a valuable barometer of these institutional spaces, aiming to identify the most pertinent forums and themes for digital rights organizations from the Global South.
Based on a series of interviews with representatives of organizations from the Global South, the report highlights the shift towards multilateral spaces for the discussion of the digital agenda, such as the G20 and the G7. It addresses the challenges posed by this shift for the field of Internet Governance, which follows, traditionally, a multistakeholder model.
However, it also points to the relevance of processes inside the UN system, specially the IGF, which remains a key space for the planning of the representatives’ agendas, and their views on multistakeholder participation from a Global South perspective. “The IGF is one of the few open and multistakeholder policy spaces where, in spite of not making biding decisions, there are no restrictions on topics and participants, that can bring the discussions to your communities and countries”, said Jaqueline Pigatto, one of the authors.
The study also identifies the predominance of themes related to the Digital Public Infrastructure amongst the NGOs activities. In contrast, themes such as digital rights, digital trade and technical standards are not as prioritized.
Therefore, we expect this report to contribute to the strengthening of Global South organizations and networks of activists engaged on digital rights issues. We hope that our community keeps working on an enhanced coordination and engagement in international initiatives.
About the Internet Governance Forum
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a space derived from the Tunis Agenda, from the World Summit for the Information Society, aimed at debating public policies related to the Internet, without taking binding decisions. Under the mandate of a UN secretariat, since 2006 the IGF global meeting has taken place annually on a multistakeholder basis, with the host country paying for the event. In 2023, the 18th IGF meeting is hosted by the Government of Japan, in Kyoto, from 8 to 12 of october. This year, the event’s overarching theme is “The Internet We Want – Empowering All People”, with a programme of over 300 sessions on a diverse set of issues related to digital public policies. For more information, access the IGF’s official website.