Cooperating in the Digital Age
Rapid development, often in unforeseen directions, is a defining characteristic of the internet. Such dynamism drives innovation and opportunity, but also creates challenges. Whose role is it to manage the internet’s development? And ensure its security and sustainability? Such a task is surely too big for any single stakeholder? That’s why the European Dialogue on Internet Governance was created. EuroDIG is a platform dedicated to promoting multistakeholder debate on governance issues, with a view to helping build a better internet for everyone. This year, the twelfth EuroDIG conference takes place at the World Forum in The Hague on 19 and 20 June. Sandra Hoferichter, Secretary General of EuroDIG, explains what this unique event is all about.
Anyone with an interest in the internet’s development can get involved. People from NGOs, governments, and the technical and business communities will all be attending EuroDIG 2019, with the aim of bringing debate and decision-making closer together.
Not your average conference
EuroDIG is not your average conference. It’s not organised from the top down by a committee, and it has no political dimension. Anyone can get involved and contribute to the conference agenda. The rationale is that nothing should be forced on the participants: EuroDIG is all about getting different opinions and points of view on the table, and enabling the discussion of real-world issues. “We are not a decision-making body. We start and facilitate discussions,” explains Sandra. “Imagine if the aim was to come up with a resolution or declaration about legislation at the end of the event. Corporations and governments would send their PR people, and the discussion would take a completely different course. We want the stakeholders that are involved to exchange views and try to understand each other’s perspectives.” EuroDIG’s multistakeholder approach is endorsed by various influential European bodies, such as the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the Swiss Government, ISOC, ICANN, RIPE NCC, ETNO, EURALO and EBU.
Dialogue is essential
The developments currently reshaping the digital landscape raise questions in many different fields. It’s therefore impossible for any single stakeholder group to provide answers to all the issues. “I am happy to see that, more than ever, the programme focuses on the original core subject: technical issues in relation to policy questions concerning the governance of the internet,” says Sandra. In addition, this year’s programme addresses fields such as advanced literacy, security and crime, media and content, and the human rights implications of innovation and economic development. For the latest news about the programme, check out the EuroDIG wiki.
The Hague plays host
Each year’s EuroDIG conference takes place in a different city, and this year it’s The Hague. The Dutch economics ministry is hosting the event at the World Forum, in collaboration with the city council, ECP and SIDN. “It’s in the Dutch DNA to pursue dialogue in a multistakeholder setting,” observes Sandra. “There are no rigid hierarchies, and stakeholders are used to working together. At EuroDIG we share the same principles.”
SIDN supports EuroDIG
SIDN is one of EuroDIG’s supporters. As Legal & Policy Advisor Maarten Simon explains, “The subject of internet governance is directly relevant to our role as administrator of the .nl domain. How should management of the internet be organised? It’s a question that affects everyone, so everyone should have a say in the answer. So we support EuroDIG, because it’s a great opportunity for a wide variety of stakeholders to listen to each other and exchange ideas.”
The more different stakeholders are involved, the more productive the dialogue will be. If you work in IT, policy development or the hosting industry – in fact, if you’re involved or interested in the internet landscape in any way -- the EuroDIG conference is your chance to help shape the future. The event is free of charge: all you have to do is fill in the registration form.