Trustworthy Data Spaces: A Dialogue Between North and South (WTO Public Forum 2022)

Event description

Date: Thursday, 29th September, 15:45–17:00 CEST

Location: Room D, World Trade Organization (WTO), Geneva

Although data is non-rivalrous, data controllers have the capacity to restrict access to data for a myriad of reasons, such as protecting privacy, intellectual property, or to maintain a competitive edge.

At present, there are insufficient incentives for data to be shared by data controllers, and insufficient obligations for them to fulfil the social value of data.

This session will address data sharing and data flows from national and international perspectives. It aims to establish a bridge between proposals advanced by actors in the Global North and in the Global South, such as Switzerland’s proposal of trustworthy data spaces, Japan’s proposal of data free flows with trust and India’s notion of community data.

Participants will discuss how these different proposals could contribute to promoting a more equal distribution of benefits in the data economy and to shed light on current negotiations on data flows taking place at the WTO.

This event, which is part of the WTO’s Public Forum 2022, is being organised by Diplo, the Swiss Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM), and the Geneva Internet Platform.

Moderator: Marilia Maciel (Head, Digital Commerce and Internet Policy, Diplo)

Panellists:

  • Andrin Eichin (Swiss Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM))
  • Torbjörn Fredriksson (Head, E-commerce and Digital Economy Branch, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD))
  • Simon J. Evenett (Professor of International Trade and Economic Development, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland)
  • Parminder Jeet Singh (Executive Director, IT for Change)

For more information about the WTO Public Forum 2022, visit the official page.

ICT 4 Peace Foundation

2022 Council of Delegates of the ICRC

Event description

Event date: 22–23 June 2022

The 2022 Council of Delegates of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (ICRC) will be held under the theme ‘A movement for purpose.’ Among the topics that will be discussed during the Council is the collection and safeguarding of humanitarian data. The Council aims to call on states and other actors to respect and protect impartial humanitarian organisations both online and offline and safeguard them from harmful cyber and information operations of any kind.

For more information, please visit the official page.

The 50th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council

Event description

Event date: 13 June – 8 July 2022

Representatives of the member states in the Human Rights Council will come to Geneva to partake in 27 interactive dialogues (ID) Special Procedures mandate holders and mechanisms and 9 interactive dialogues with the High Commissioner. The Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion Ms Irene Khan will present her report (A/HRC/50/29) on media freedom of expression in the digital age in an ID. A public high-level panel discussion will focus on the laws and practices addressing the negative impact of disinformation on the enjoyment and realization of human rights.

For more information, and to register, please visit the official page.

WIPO Symposium on Trade Secrets and Innovation

Event description

Event date: 23–24 May 2022

The WIPO Symposium on Trade Secrets and Innovation provides an exchange platform for ideas and perspectives with regard to the intersection of trade secrets and innovation in both the technological and service sectors. The 2022 symposium will focus on the ‘roles of trade secret systems in supporting innovation and knowledge sharing in a rapidly changing innovation ecosystem’. The discussions will cover the interaction between trade secrets and innovation policies, how to balance legitimate interests in trade secret systems, the international/cross-border environment, the scope of data protection, trade secret management and knowledge sharing, the development and dissemination of medical technologies, and defence against allegations of trade secret misappropriation.

For more information, and to register, please visit the official page.

[Launch] Global Report on Assistive Technology (GReAT)

Event description

Event date: 16 May 2022, 15:00–16:00 CEST

The Global Report on Assistive Technology (GReAT) was jointly produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Acknowledging the central role that assistive technology and enabling environment play for people in need in their comprehension of human rights, the report highlights evidence-based best practices along with ten key actionable recommendations on improving access to assistive technology. The launch event will be emceed by Ms Nujeen Mustafa (author, refugee, and disability rights advocate) and include a list of distinguished guest speakers.

For more information, and to register, please visit the official page.

Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development

Address: Place des Nations, 1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland

Website: https://www.broadbandcommission.org/

Stakeholder group: International and regional organisations

The Broadband Commission was originally established in 2010 by the ITU and UNESCO as the Broadband Commission for Digital Development in response to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s call to boost the UN’s efforts to reach the millennium development goals.

In 2015, following the adoption of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the Broadband Commission was relaunched as the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, with the aim of showcasing and promoting information and communication technologies (ICTs) and broadband-based technologies for sustainable development by putting digital co-operation into action.

Led by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Carlos Slim Helù of Mexico, it is co-chaired by ITU’s Secretary-General Houlin Zhao and UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. It comprises over 50 commissioners who represent a cross-cutting group of top CEOs and industry leaders, senior policymakers and government representatives, and experts from international agencies, academia, and organisations concerned with development.

Digital activities

The Broadband Commission focuses on closing the digital divide and promoting broadband development in developing countries and underserved communities, ensuring that all countries reap the benefits of digital technologies. The Broadband Commission’s efforts are detailed in the annual State of Broadband report, and take the form of thematic working groups and regular meetings and advocacy activities at the margins of flagship events such as WEF (Davos), GSMA MWC, IGF, HLPF, WSIS, and UNCTAD e-Commerce week.

In 2018, the Broadband Commission set seven objectives in its 2025 Targets initiative to help ‘connect the other half’ of the world’s population by expanding broadband infrastructure and access to the Internet.

Digital policy issues

Telecommunications infrastructure 

The Broadband Commission promotes the adoption of practices and policies that enable the deployment of broadband networks at the national level, especially among developing countries. It engages in advocacy activities aimed to demonstrate that broadband networks are basic infrastructure in modern societies and could accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. The Broadband Commission publishes an annual State of the Broadband Report, providing a global overview of broadband network access and affordability, with country-by-country data measuring broadband access.

The Broadband Commission also launched a number of the working groups focused on ICT connectivity, including the World Bank led: Working group on Broadband for all: a ’Digital Infrastructure Moonshot’ for Africa and the Working Group on 21st Century Financing Models for Sustainable Broadband Development in 2019. These initiatives aim to provide governments and policymakers with a set of policy recommendations to foster innovative financing and investment strategies to achieve the Broadband Commission’s targets for broadband connectivity and adoption​.

The ongoing global pandemic has put at the forefront the vital role that broadband networks and services play in making economies and societies work, In response to the effects of the pandemic, the Broadband Commission adopted the Agenda for Action: For Faster and Better Recovery to accelerate the world’s response. This initiative includes immediate and long-term efforts that governments, global industry, civil society, and international organisations can undertake to support the development and strengthening of digital networks that remain so integral to our economy and society. The three pillars of resilient connectivity, affordable access, and safe use of online services provide a framework for all commissioners to mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19 and lay the foundation for a better and faster recovery.

Access 

When advocating for the rollout of broadband infrastructure and bridging the digital divide, the Broadband Commission underlines the increasing importance of Internet access and adoption as an enabler of sustainable growth and development. It is paying particular attention to aspects related to the deployment of infrastructure in developing countries, education and capacity development, and safety online (particularly for children and youth), as well as the digital gender divide and the empowerment of women in the digital space.

Sustainable development

The Broadband Commission advocates for actions to be taken by all relevant stakeholders with the aim to close the digital divide, which is seen as an important step towards the achievement of the SDGs. Its annual State of the Broadband Report looks at the progress made in implementing broadband networks in various countries around the world, which it regards as an essential element in addressing the digital divide.

The Broadband Commission also addresses the impact of digital technologies on specific issues covered by the SDGs. One example is the Working Group on Digital Health, whose final report outlined recommendations for improving human health and well-being by implementing universal digital health coverage. In 2019, the Working Group on Data, Digital, and AI in Health was launched with the aim of raising awareness of the transformative power of data and artificial intelligence (AI) in health systems worldwide.

The Broadband Commission has also been active in environmental and climate change issues; in particular, its activities (ranging from publications and events to advocacy actions) cover the link between climate change and ICTs.

Interdisciplinary approaches

The work of the Broadband Commission contributes to the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, which lays out how all stakeholders can play a role in advancing a safer and more equitable digital world. Through its range of working group initiatives and the advocacy of its commissioners, the Broadband Commission is an example of SDG 17: ‘Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.’

 

Inter-Parliamentary Union

Acronym: IPU

Address: Chem. du Pommier 5, 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland

Website: https://ipu.org

Stakeholder group: International and regional organisations

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the global organisation of national parliaments. It was founded more than 130 years ago as the first multilateral political organisation in the world, encouraging co-operation and dialogue between all nations. Today, the IPU comprises 179 national member parliaments and 13 regional parliamentary bodies. It promotes democracy and helps parliaments become stronger, younger, gender-balanced, and more diverse. It also defends the human rights of parliamentarians through a dedicated committee made up of MPs from around the world. Twice a year, the IPU convenes over 1,500 parliamentary delegates and partners in a world assembly, bringing a parliamentary dimension to global governance, including the work of the UN and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Digital Activities 

The IPU’s digital activities mainly focus on the promotion of the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in parliaments. To this end, it has established a Centre for Innovation in Parliament, which undertakes research on the impact of digital technologies on parliaments, publishes the landmark World e-Parliament Report, hosts the biannual World e-Parliament Conference and co-ordinates a network of parliamentary hubs on innovation in parliaments.

Digital policy issues

Capacity development 

In line with its objective to build strong and democratic parliaments, the IPU assists parliaments in building their capacity to use ICTs effectively, both in parliamentary proceedings and in communication with citizens. The IPU has also been mandated by its member parliaments to carry on capacity development programmes for parliamentary bodies tasked to oversee observance of the right to privacy and individual freedoms in the digital environment.

The IPU also encourages parliaments to make use of ICTs as essential tools in their legislative activities. To this aim, the IPU launched the Centre for Innovation in Parliament in 2018 to provide a platform for parliaments to develop and share good practices in digital transformation strategies, as well as practical methods for capacity building. The IPU holds the World e-Parliament Conference, a biannual forum that addresses from both the policy and technical perspectives how ICTs can help improve representation, law-making, and oversight. It also publishes the annual World E-Parliament Report.

As of August 2020, eight regional and thematic parliamentary hubs are operating under the Centre for Innovation in Parliament, covering IT governance, open data and transparency, hispanophone countries, Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. Each hub is co-ordinated by a national parliament and brings together parliaments to work on subjects of common interest, such as remote working methods during COVID-19.

Sustainable development 

The IPU works to raise awareness about the sustainable development goals (SDGs) among parliaments, and provides them with a platform to assist them in taking action and sharing experiences and good practices in achieving the SDGs.

Privacy and data protection 

One of the IPU’s objectives is to promote and protect human rights. To this aim,its Committee on Democracy and Human Rights is involved in activities aimed to contribute to ensuring privacy in the digital era and the use of social media as effective tools to promote democracy. A 2015 resolution on ‘Democracy in the digital era and the threat to privacy and individual freedoms’ calls on parliaments to create adequate mechanisms for the protection of privacy in the online space, and to ensure that legislation in the field of surveillance, privacy, and data protection is based on democratic principles.

Freedom of expression 

The IPU’s Committee on Democracy and Human Rights works, among others, on promoting the protection of freedom of expression in the digital era and the use of social media as an effective tool to promote democracy. In 2015, the IPU adopted a Resolution on ‘Democracy in the digital era and the threat to privacy and individual freedoms’ encourages parliaments to remove all legal limitations on freedom of expression and the flow of information, and urges them to enable the protection of information in cyberspace, so as to safeguard the privacy and individual freedom of citizens.

Digital tools