Aligning Multistakeholder Norms and the Digital Trade Agenda

06 December 2016 - A Workshop on Guadalajara,Mexico


The role of the Internet in promoting economic and social development is often cited as a reason for the inclusion of Internet-related topics in bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements such as TPP, TTIP, TISA and RCEP. However, the secrecy that clouds the negotiation of such agreements has stoked suspicion and opposition from stakeholders who expect that Internet-related public policy development should, in words of the NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement, “enable the full and balanced participation of all stakeholders from around the globe, and made by consensus, to the extent possible.”

How can this gap be bridged, in practical terms that go beyond grand statements of principle? At the beginning of this year, a network of activists, scholars and industry leaders came together to address this question. The first outcome of that meeting was the release of the Brussels Declaration on Trade and the Internet, which asserts that “Any international rulemaking process that affects the online and digital environment should adhere to human rights and good governance obligations to actively disseminate information, [and] promote public participation”.

A more enduring outcome was the formation of an Open Digital Trade Network as an outcome-oriented platform for collaboration on projects to catalyze specific reforms to trade negotiation processes. This workshop will present some of the most promising (and the most challenging) avenues for such reforms, and invite ongoing collaboration. There is also the possibility, to be discussed at this workshop, that the network could be more formally integrated with the Internet Governance Forum through the formation of a related Dynamic Coalition.

Speakers provisionally confirmed:

Paiva Véliz, Marcela
Hellerstein, Judith
Kilic, Burcu
Snead, David
Munoz Tellez, Viviana