Stakeholder Forum International Digital Policy: Thematic consultations

General

The German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) initiated the consultation process on Germany's strategy for international digital policy in February 2023. On 9 and 10 May, specific topics of interest were discussed in greater detail during dedicated consultations with German stakeholders.

Six thematic blocks structured the stakeholder exchange. © Digital Dialogues-GIZ

BMDV is currently developing Germany’s first strategy for international digital policy. In its development, BMDV takes into account the perspectives and interests of various stakeholders from civil society, academia and business. Through the consultation process, BMDV aims to identify opportunities and needs for action for a successful digital transformation on a global level.

On 9 and 10 May, BMDV held topic-focused consultations and publicly invited German stakeholders to participate. The discussions were divided into six different topic areas over two days, building on the topics discussed in the kick-off meeting in February. The virtual Stakeholder Forum on International Digital Policy was attended by approximately 80 participants, who were given the opportunity to openly contribute their suggestions for Germany's international digital policy.

Day 1: Digital infrastructure and international data and trade policy

On the first day of the Stakeholder Forum, participants discussed the importance of taking action to improve the global digital infrastructure, to focus on international data policy and to promote digital business models.

The stakeholders highlighted the necessity of developing a reliable, secure and resilient digital infrastructure internationally. They also stressed that it is important to reduce global digital divides. To achieve this goal, the German government could promote digital public goods, among other approaches.

Regarding international data policy and data security, the attendees noted the significance of digital sovereignty. They also highlighted the relevance of regulatory frameworks to facilitate data exchange on a global scale. According to the stakeholders, the German government should promote the use of open data and open standards.

In addition, the stakeholders stressed the significance of the German government's role in creating an enabling framework for digital business models internationally. The international competitiveness of German companies should also be brought into line with sustainability goals. In this regard, the participants highlighted the critical importance of international standards.

Day 2: Internet governance, sustainability and human rights in the digital space

The second session focused on internet governance, sustainability and new technologies as well as human rights and digital education worldwide.

To approach the issue of internet fragmentation and promote a free and open internet, the German government aims to establish collaborative partnerships with the Global South. According to the participants, multi-stakeholder approaches are to be pursued in order to make joint decisions at the global level and to work towards a common goal.

In addition, the stakeholders would like the German government to actively promote the Twin Transition and advocate for a climate-friendly digital transformation. They also emphasised the great potential benefits of digital technologies for climate protection. According to the participants, the German government should promote international regulatory processes.

Furthermore, the stakeholders expect Germany to stand up internationally for freedom and human rights in the digital space. The discussion focused, among other aspects, on the effects of network blocking on human rights. Digital education and promoting digital competences worldwide was also mentioned as an area for action.

Next steps in the development of Germany's strategy for international digital policy

On 23 and 24 May, another Stakeholder Forum is planned, at which international stakeholders from the Global South will be consulted. Registration is possible here. The aim is to hear global perspectives on international digital policy issues.

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 by e-mail (forum-digitalpolitik@giz.de).

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

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