IGF 2021: Town Hall #23: Beyond Hype: What Does Digital Sovereignty Actually Mean?

08 December 2021
Town Hall Event
Katowice, Poland

The Internet Governance Forum is a global multistakeholder platform that facilitates the discussion of public policy issues pertaining to the Internet. The Sixteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will be hosted by the Government of Poland under the overarching theme: ‎‎‘’Internet United’’.

UNU-CRIS, in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public Policy and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, is organising a Town Hall #23 Beyond Hype: What does Digital Sovereignty Actually Mean?

Subtheme: Digital sovereignty: What is meant by digital sovereignty? What implications does it have for the global nature of the Internet, for Internet governance itself, and the effectiveness of the multistakeholder approach? From an opposite angle, what are the implications of the Internet and digitalisation for national sovereignty? Other - 60 Min

Format description: We are proposing a true "town hall" format in which most of the "speakers" would be audience members. The designated speakers from different regions would merely introduce the notion of digital sovereignty and explain how it is understood in their country or region, and then facilitate discussion and input from the audience.

Description: What lies behind the use of the term digital sovereignty, and what does it mean for global digital cooperation and interdependence? This session at the IGF will provide an opportunity for different stakeholders to raise key issues associated with the consequences of the use of the concept in policymaking. States have been increasingly using this term to frame national and regional policy debates without a critical reflection on the implications for control over our digital space. Digital sovereignty cannot simply be about translating a traditional understanding of sovereignty into cyberspace. It is at worst an oxymoron, and at best, a fluid concept that can have serious implications for all stakeholders in the digital economy. However, the fact that there is no real universal agreement on the key tenets of digital sovereignty, means that different approaches emerge.

Please click here to consult the programme.

For further information, please contact Carlota Moras (cmorais@cris.unu.edu) and Sophie Hoogenboom (shoogenboom@cris.unu.edu).

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