Feedback on the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLPDC) – Cooperation Accelerator

By Wim Degezelle, 18 October 2019.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, convened the High-Level Panel on ‎Digital Cooperation (HLPDC) to advance proposals to strengthen cooperation in the digital space among ‎Governments, the private sector, civil society, international organizations, academia, the technical ‎community and other relevant stakeholders.‎ The Panel concluded that existing digital cooperation arrangements are inadequate to deal with complex challenges and calls for more inclusive and active participation, tangible outcomes and follow-up. The HLPDC Report identifies six gaps in existing mechanisms and arrangements, formulates Recommendations and possible strategies to close them. 

One of the suggested approaches is the IGF Plus model that builds on the strengths of the IGF and seeks ways to produce actionable outcomes and increase the participation of governments and businesses, especially from small and developing countries. The IGF Plus would comprise of an Advisory Group, Cooperation Accelerator, Policy Incubator and Observatory and Help Desk. Some of the innovative ideas in the IGF Plus model, and in particular the proposed Cooperation Accelerator, show similarities with the IGF Best Practice Forums (BPFs). 

Based on my work with several BPFs in the past and current year, and together with others involved in the coordination of the IGF2019 BPF programme, we raised the resemblance between BPFs and the Cooperation Accelerator to the consultation process on the Report. With our submission we intend to inform the debate on the IGF Plus model by providing some background on the BPF activities. We hope that this enriches the discussion and allows to identify potential synergies and to learn from BPF experiences.

The full submission can be found here.

IGF Best Practice Forums, an Opportunity to Bring Your Experience to the Policy Debate

By Anriette Esterhuysen and Wim Degezelle. Authors are Consultants with the IGF Secretariat, supporting the work of the 2019 Best Practice Forums. Publication: CircleID, 13 Sept 2019

In the run-up to the 14th Internet Governance Forum in Berlin, Germany, 25 to 29 November, different groups are discussing best practices pertaining to specific internet governance policy questions. These groups are open and thrive on your input and experiences. Their findings will be presented at the IGF and published shortly after.

The IGF Best Practice Forums intend to inform internet governance policy debates by drawing on the immense and diverse range of experience and expertise found in the global IGF community to create a resource of best practices and policy recommendations. For 2019 there are four Best Practice Forums: on Cybersecurity, on IoT, Big Data, and AI, on Gender and Access, and on Local content.

The BPF Cybersecurity explores how international cybersecurity initiatives, such as the Paris Call for Trust and Cybersecurity in Cyberspace or the GCSC’s Norm Package for Responsible Behaviour in Cyberspace, can be turned into actions that make a difference. The BPF identified a body of international cybersecurity agreements and is inviting their stakeholders, supporters and signatories to share experiences and thoughts on how to implement and operationalise the high-level principles, norms and policy approaches they support or signed up to. Details on the BPF and the Call for contributions are on the BPF Cybersecurity webpage.

The BPF Gender and Access is focusing on what happens once women and LGBTIQ people have some form of access to the internet? In particular, what opportunities and challenges do they have to deal with if they want to participate meaningfully in the digital economy. The BPF put out a call for contributions, now closed, to help them identify the scope of these challenges and what interventions, including policy approaches, are needed to address them. Learn more on the BPF Gender and Access webpage.

The BPF IoT, Big Data, AI acknowledges the huge potential of the new technologies to address societal policy challenges when applied in concert in an internet context. The expectations are high, both in terms of new solutions and making existing solutions more efficient. The BPF is focussing on three clusters of policy questions pertaining to the application of IoT, Big Data, AI technologies to address societal challenges: enhancing trust in the applications, stimulating their use and uptake, and the collection and management of the data. The BPF is currently conducting a public survey, more details on the BPF and survey are on the BPF IoT, Big Data, AI webpage.

The BPF Local Content is exploring how the internet can be used to preserve local language and cultural heritage, particularly in current contexts where cultural and linguistic diversity, artifacts and histories are at risk as a result of political and social shifts and upheaval. The BPF will soon be putting out a call for contributions to help gather examples and best practices of how digital technologies and the internet can be used to promote, preserve and share local culture and content. The BPF would also like to identify best practices of how to manage and promote the digitisation of existing analogue content (printed and electronic media, cinema, etc.) and services. A call for contributions will be published on the BPF Local Content webpagein the next few weeks.

IGF Best Practice Forums are open to all interested. Consult their respective webpages for details on how to get involved or subscribe to their mailing list.

IGF website :

IGF2019 host country website:

Turning Cybersecurity Agreements into Actions

By Wim Degezelle. Author is Consultant with the IGF Secretariat, supporting the work of the 2019 Best Practice Forum Cybersecurity. Publication: LinkedIn 27 August 2019.

Cybersecurity agreements want to be game changers. They read as a mix of high-level targets, calls for action and solemn commitments for their supporters.

Last year at the IGF meeting in Paris French President Macron launched the Paris Call for Trust and Cybersecurity in Cyberspace, a high-level declaration in favor of the development of common principles for securing cyberspace. Since its announcement more than 560 entities, including governments, international organisations, entities belonging to civil society and the private sector signed up to the call. Around the same time the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC) announced a Norm Package for responsible behaviour in cyberspace. These are only two of several initiatives and agreements, each with their own focus. 

The IGF’s Best Practice Forum (BPF) Cybersecurity identified this body of existing international cybersecurity agreements and initiatives, and looked for horizontal and overlapping elements as well as initiative specific focusses. This research resulted in a list of 19 initiatives which are analysed in the BPF Background paper on Cybersecurity Agreements (June 2019).

The time and energy that goes in drafting the text of an agreement, in motivating prospects to sign or become supporters and in getting the word out and promote the agreement should not be underestimated. The challenge however, is how to turn the written agreement into concrete actions that make a difference.

The BPF Cybersecurity is compiling examples of substantial contributions and best practices that help to implement principles and policy approaches contained within various international cybersecurity agreements and initiatives. 

Call for contributions:

The BPF is inviting signatories and stakeholders to international cybersecurity agreements and initiatives to share experiences and best practices related to the implementation, operationalization, and support of different principles, norms and policy approaches contained in the agreement. To facilitate the work the BPF published call for contributions and guiding questions: Call for contributions . 

The BPF’s findings will be discussed during the 2019 IGF meeting hosted by the German Government in Berlin on 25-29 November 2019, and published shortly after. 

About the BPF Cybersecurity

The Best Practice Forum (BPF) Cybersecurity is an activity of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The IGF is convened by the UN Secretary-General to bring together participants from different stakeholder groups and prominent individuals in the global Internet governance discussion.

The BPF Cybersecurity is an ongoing effort, providing a platform to stakeholders to discuss and exchange best practices. In 2014-2015 the BPF worked on identifying best practices in Regulation and Mitigation of Unsolicited Communications and Establishing Incident Response Teams for Internet Security; in 2016 it focussed on identifying cybersecurity challenges and stakeholder roles and responsibilities, and supplemented this effort in 2017 with policy best practices. In 2018 the BPF explored best practices pertaining to the creation of a culture, norms and values in cybersecurity. In 2019 the focus is on best practices to operationalise international cybersecurity agreements.

More on the IGF BPF cybersecurity at