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Shared statement to UN stakeholder consultation on Global Digital Compact zero draft

As part of its work with other technical operators to form an informal coalition in support of multistakeholderism, on April 24, CIRA participated in the UN-led stakeholder consultation on the GDC zero draft “as a group/coalition of stakeholders” under “A technical community coalition for multistakeholderism”.
By CIRA and the other named organizations

Good afternoon Chair, co-facilitators, and fellow stakeholders,

I am speaking on behalf of a group of aligned members of the technical community with a long history of involvement in multistakeholder internet governance (named below).

We would like to express our thanks to the co-facilitators and all others involved in the development of the Global Digital Compact zero draft.

We welcome and appreciate the recognition of the internet’s technical community in the zero draft. We are also pleased to see the zero draft’s commitment to the vision and outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and its reaffirmed commitment to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), as well as continued efforts to ensure more diverse participation.

There are several areas where we believe the zero draft can be strengthened. First, we call for the addition of well-established terms such as “global, open, interoperable, and resilient” to describe the desirable attributes of the internet, alongside existing terms in the zero draft: “free” and “secure” (paragraphs 25, 26). Unless there is a clear, meaningful and unique rationale provided for the use of the term “universal”, we call for its removal from the text as a descriptor of a desirable attribute of the internet (25, 26).

Second, we call for language in the zero draft that supports and foregrounds “multistakeholder internet governance”. “Multistakeholder cooperation” (25) is not a term widely used in the multistakeholder community. By contrast, “multistakeholder internet governance” speaks to well-established and constructive processes whereby all stakeholder groups—governments, civil society, academia, the private sector and the technical community—engage collaboratively in the governance of the internet.

Third, we are concerned that the scope and scale of new multilateral structures proposed would centre dialogues about the future of the internet and its governance in multilateral fora. These dialogues should occur in multistakeholder venues where all those who have a stake in the internet’s future can take part on equal footing.

We advocate for the centering and strengthening of existing UN WSIS infrastructure, including the IGF, in the follow up and review of the GDC. This approach would reflect the GDC’s stated commitment to multistakeholderism, mitigate the costs and administration required to implement and maintain these new processes, and leverage the history and expertise housed in these fora.

As negotiations for the GDC get underway, we call for continued opportunities for meaningful input from non-government stakeholders. Thank you.

Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC)

Associação DNS.PT, Portuguese Registry

au Domain Administration 


CIRA, Canadian Internet Registration Authority 



Identity Digital

IE Domain Registry CLG, trading as .ie 


Japan Registry Services Co., Ltd

NIC Costa Rica the ccTLD for .cr


Public Interest Registry 

Tucows Domains

About the author
CIRA and the other named organizations