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CIRA statement to Global Digital Compact stakeholder second informal consultation

CIRA's intervention at the United Nations Tech Envoy's second meeting of the Global Digital Compact informal consultations on March 1st, 2024.
By Sabrina Wilkinson
Policy Program Manager

The following remarks were delivered virtually by Georgia Evans (Policy & Advocacy Analyst) on March 1st, 2024, at the second meeting of the Global Digital Compact informal consultations. 

[Check against delivery; this has been edited for clarity] 

Good afternoon Chair, co-facilitators and fellow stakeholders,   

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority—CIRA—is a not-for-profit organization with a core mandate to ensure the safe, stable and secure operation of the .CA domain and its underlying domain name system (DNS) technologies.   

We are long-time participants in global internet governance and act as the Secretariat for the Canadian Internet Governance Forum (CIGF), the national initiative of the UN-led Internet Governance Forum (IGF). 

CIRA has participated in many multistakeholder inputs led by the United Nations and its agencies during the development of the Global Digital Compact.  

We welcome the opportunity to participate again today in these stakeholder consultations on the Global Digital Compact as part of the technical community, and in response to the “possible elements of a Global Digital Compact” outlined in the recent letter from the co-facilitators. We are supportive of the Government of Canada’s intervention in Member State consultations yesterday and that of fellow stakeholder auDA, the administrator of the .au domain. 

We have three key points to raise in response to these “possible elements.”  

First, we call on the GDC to expressly support and forefront the role of the multistakeholder model. While the preamble in these “possible elements” recognizes the role of the UN in fostering strengthened digital cooperation, it does not forefront the crucial role of the multistakeholder community in digital cooperation. We call for language around the vital role of this model in the preamble and throughout the GDC.  

Second, we call for the explicit recognition of all the stakeholder groups involved in the multistakeholder model: governments, civil society, academia, the technical community, and the private sector. 

Third, we support existing language included in “possible elements” that calls on the GDC to “build on existing mechanisms and avoid duplication.” We do not support the introduction of a proposed Digital Cooperation Forum. Rather, we support the Internet Governance Forum as a key and enduring example of the success of the multistakeholder model and advocate for its renewal at the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)+20 Review.  

Once again, we are grateful for the opportunity to participate in UN-led processes with implications for the future of internet governance, such as those related to the Global Digital Compact. As this process progresses, we would also be grateful for clear and detailed information about how multistakeholder inputs have informed and been integrated into relevant decision-making. 

Thank you. 

About the author
Sabrina Wilkinson

Sabrina is CIRA’s Policy Program Manager, where she develops and advocates for policy positions in pursuit of a trusted internet. Sabrina holds a PhD in Media & Communications from Goldsmiths, University of London.