Global Stakeholder Forum on International Digital Policy

General

Germany's Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) hosted a Global Stakeholder Forum on International Digital Policy. The two-day event, held on 23 and 24 May, aimed at gathering valuable input from international stakeholders within the context of formulating Germany's strategy on international digital policy.

© Digital Dialogues-GIZ

Following a kick-off meeting in February and a National Stakeholder Forum in the beginning of May, the Global Stakeholder Forum provided an opportunity for international stakeholders to contribute their input to the shaping of Germany's first strategy of this kind on international digital policy.

BMDV invited relevant stakeholders from civil society, academia and business to share their priority topics and experiences. Two separate sessions were organised for stakeholders from the Eastern and Western Hemispheres to enable a global participation and gather diverse perspectives.

Expectations for Germany's strategy on international digital policy

Stakeholders articulated their expectations regarding Germany's upcoming strategy, emphasising the need for a comprehensive approach that balances economic growth, privacy, security and ethical considerations.

The stakeholders noted the significance of international cooperation for building trust, fostering a fair and competitive market and combating the misuse of digital technologies. They anticipate Germany to intensify collaborations with partners and foster value-based cooperation with international entities.

To achieve this, the attendees highlighted the importance of a human-centred approach. This includes incorporating a greater degree of citizen input in decision-making processes.

Addressing the needs and interests of countries in international digital policy

Stakeholders expressed their views on areas where Germany's strategy could effectively promote the needs and interests of their respective countries. According to the participants, it is important to facilitate international data flows and to foster digital trade. Collaboration in the digital trade realm and the establishment of clear rules for data flows between trusted partners should be advocated.

At the same time, the importance of protecting human rights in the digital sphere was stressed. In that regard, data protection should play an important role on a global scale.

Furthermore, attendees recommended to actively create an environment that fosters innovation and economic cooperation in the digital sphere. To achieve this, best practices and opportunities for harmonisation should be utilised.

Bridging the global digital divides

A strong focus of the discussion revolved around ways in which Germany's strategy on international digital policy could contribute to reducing the global digital divides.

Stakeholders stressed the need to create a more inclusive and connected digital landscape worldwide. This includes reliable and affordable connectivity and infrastructure as well as leveraging emerging technologies in developing regions.

Additionally, participants emphasised the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach. Germany should aim to promote knowledge exchange, particularly with partner countries in the Global South and support their digital transformation in a fair and equitable manner. This can be achieved by utilising actors and processes already in place, such as the Internet Governance Forum.

Developing a strategy for Germany's international digital policy

The stakeholder fora conducted throughout the last months serve as milestones in Germany's path towards generating a strategy for digital policy in an international context and are aimed at shaping a future-oriented and fair digital landscape.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) supports the stakeholder engagement process on behalf of BMDV. Outside the consultations, GIZ also welcomes your thematic priorities, comments and wishes for the strategy via e-mail (international-digital-policy@giz.de).

BMDV will develop the first strategy for international digital policy together with all ministries of the federal government. The strategy is to be presented at the end of 2023.

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