CSISAC is the voice of civil society at the OECD's Committee on the Digital Economy Policy. We facilitate the exchange of information between the OECD and civil society participants, leading to better-informed and more widely accepted policy frameworks.

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OECD Ministerial: Civil Society Roadmap to Cancún 2016

January 28, 2016

The OECD has announced a Ministerial Conference about Innovation, Growth and Social Prosperity in the context of the Digital Economy, to be held 21-23 June 2016 in Cancún (México). This event is expected to set the agenda for the digitalisalization of the global economy in the following decade. Provided the deep implications of that process for social justice and human rights, the CSISAC is working to foster the voice of civil society in this event, according to the goals of the Seoul Declaration.

The OECD 2016 Ministerial on the Digital Economy

An OECD Ministerial is a meeting that gathers the Ministers of the OECD Member countries to discuss a topic considered of high relevance by the OECD Council. OECD Ministerials can be very influential, because they have binding effects for its Member countries. The broad toolkit of OECD standards implemented worldwide to deploy the ICT exemplify the importance of the Ministerial outcomes. Ministerials can be also the source of substantial institutional change: for example, the formal recognition of the civil society Advisory Committee, CSISAC, was a direct implication of the OECD 2008 Ministerial on the Future of the Internet in Seoul.

The field of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) captured the attention of the OECD from its very inception, having held 13 Ministerials in connected issues from 1963 to the latest one in 2008. As the result of this engagement with the ICT, the OECD became the source of many referential policy-making tools and research resources6. The 2016 Ministerial meeting builds on the previous OECD Ministerial meetings on the topic, now to shape the digitalisation of the global economy in the following decade.

The main focus of the 2016 Cancún Ministerial is the Digital Economy, where Innovation, Growth and Social Prosperity are the most prominent areas for potential change. In order to evaluate those policy challenges, the Committee for the Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) has structured the Ministerial discussion in four key policy areas to be developed through the following set of parallel panels:

Topic 1: Internet Openness and Innovation
Panel 1.1 The Economic and Social Benefits of Internet Openness. The notion as well as the economic and social implications of 'Internet Openess' with regard to the internal flows of data is the main point of this panel. The OECD Recommendation on Principles for Internet Policy Making will be the main reference for this panel.

Panel 1.2 Stimulating Digital Innovation across the Economy. Ministers will be invited to discuss economic policies and practices to foster digital innovation capable to support policy objectives like regional development, and addressing poverty.

Topic 2: Building Global Connectivity
Panel 2.1 Improving Networks and Services through Convergence. The debate about network neutrality, or traffic prioritisation shape how the Internet will be used. This panel will discuss how digital convergence is affecting policy and regulation, highlighting the impact on economic and social development.

Panel 2.2 Tomorrow's Internet of Things. As billions of devices come online, the Internet of Things (IoT) is seen as major source of change similar to the introduction of the electricity or the combustion engine. This panel will discuss the economic and societal implications of the IoT.

Topic 3: Trust in the Digital Economy
Panel 3.1 Consumer Trust and Market Growth. This panel will explore challenging consumer issues raised by emerging business models, and the link between consumer trust and market growth. The panel will also consider the revision of the OECD 1999 E-commerce Recommendation.

Panel 3.2 Co-operation in Managing Digital Security and Privacy Risk. The panel will showcase lessons on digital security and privacy risk management and explore options for policy implementation. It will discuss the impacts of digital security and privacy incidents, exploring the challenges facing small and medium entreprises and individuals, as well as the opportunities to develop and implement effective risk management strategies.

Topic 4: Jobs and Skills in the Digital Economy
Panel 4.1 New Markets and New Jobs in the Digital Economy. This panel will aim to identify effective policy principles to foster employment creation in new economic activities enabled by the digital economy and to mitigate the social costs of job displacement in mature industries.

Panel 4.2 Skills for a Digital World. This panel will invite Ministers to discuss new approaches to education, training and re-skilling to meet the fast-changing demand for new skills in the digital economy.

In order to structure the discussion, the CDEP has agreed on a three day set of parallel panels, beginning with a set of Forums organized by the CDEP Advisory Committees (BIAC, TUAC, CSISAC and ITAC) during the first day, followed by the Ministerial discussion on the key policy areas the second and third days. The most updated information about the CSISAC Forum and the Ministerial panels can be found in the respective official sites:

The Civil Society Roadmap

The CSISAC goal for Cancun is to pursue the recommendations and goals put forward in the Seoul Declaration. As the formally recognised Advisory Committee for civil society, the CSISAC will organize a Forum to convene civil society participants at the Ministerial. However, CSISAC believes that the participation of Civil Society cannot be restrained to the Forum only, and should be extended to the Ministerial discussions as well. With the purpose of achieving that goal, the CSISAC Steering Committee has proposed the following roadmap to facilitate the engagement of civil society participants in the Ministerial.

Stakeholders Forums
To organize the civil society Forum. The purpose of the CSISAC Forum is to convene civil society participants to evaluate the OECD implementation of the recommendations set in the Civil Society Seoul Declaration, to explore the implications of emerging ICT issues for human rights and social justice, and to set the civil society goals for the future OECD agenda. A Program Committee is being formed to help developing the program of the forum, to identify potential speakers and to coordinate the civil society papers. At the same time, the CSISAC Steering Committee is working to retrieve the necessary resources to ensure meaningful participation from civil society in the Forum, with a focus on Latin America and the BRICs. The Steering Committee is also evaluating options to cast the event using streaming and social media platforms to encourage participation and transparency. Opportunities to engage in the program drafting will remain open until April 15, 2016. Opportunities to engage in the civil society papers will remain open until May 15, 2016. All the information about the Civil Society Forum is kept updated in the 2016 CSISAC Forum site.

To coordinate with other stakeholders. In addition to the CSISAC, the OECD formally recognizes other three stakeholders at the CDEP: Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) together with the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) and the Internet Technical Advisory Committee (ITAC). In pursuing the goals of the Civil Society Seoul Declaration, the CSISAC has maintained a fruitful coordination with the other stakeholders. An example is the Seoul Declaration, which was signed together with TUAC. The CSISAC is planning to extend that coordination during the Ministerial looking forward for opportunities to organize joint panels, share speakers, or to organize commont events like press conferences. Opportunities to engage in this work are binded to the ellaboration of the CSISAC Forum (see previous item).

Ministerial Panels
The CSISAC is actively working to extend the presence of civil society speakers and perspectives in the Ministerial Panels.

To nominate civil society speakers for the panels. As 'the voice of Civil Society at the OECD', the CSISAC is fostering the inclusion of leaders of non-governmental organizations and experts from civil society as speakers in the ministerial panels. With that purpose CSISAC engaged in the preparatory work of the CDEP, submitting a proposal of potential speakers to be considered by the OECD link to the summary of the 70th CDEP. CSISAC will continue to work to extend the presence of Civil Society, focusing on women and a more activist profile, as well as in fostering a more balanced regional participation. The opportunity to engage in this work is expected to remain open until the end of March 2016.

To foster a civil society perspective in the contents of the panels. As showed in the agenda, the OECD plans to structure the Ministerial discussions through a set of parallel panels about four main topics in the second and third day, with two panels per topic, and two topics per day. The first day will hold the panels on the Open Internet in parallel with those about Trust (security and privacy), having the panels on Global Connectivity running in parallel to those on Jobs and Skills in the last day. For each panel, the OECD will prepare a set of background documents and summaries to support the discussion in the panel. As the contents of those documents will drive the discussion, CSISAC is working to improve as much as possible the inclusion of the perspectives fostered by civil society participants in consistency with the Civil Society Seoul Declaration. Engagement with written comments is expected to remain open until April 13, 2016.

Ministerial Outcomes
The main goal of CSISAC is the adoption by the OECD of the recommendations set out in the Civil Society Seoul Declaration. The Seoul Declaration is a set of recommendations in twelve areas, like enforcement of the 1980 Cryptography and Privacy Guidelines; opposition to mandated filtering, censorship of Internet content; enforcement of consumer protection laws; promotion of learning and training opportunities for workers and carbon footprint lowering; opposition to the extensions of copyright terms and private ownership of essential knowledge and cultural information; or inclusive digital society, with particular attention should be paid to rural, remote and aboriginal populations, as well as the disability community.

To pursue the Civil Society Seoul Goals in the Ministerial Decisions. The main outcome of OECD Ministerials are the decision papers, usually a statement or declaration about the agreement reached by the Ministers during the meeting. Provided the deep and long lasting impact of the OECD recommendations, the work on the Ministerial declaration is among the highest priorities for CSISAC. The support of CSISAC to the Ministerial decision is expected to be conditional on the support of the OECD for the Seoul goals. The CSISAC has been closely monitoring the discussion, submitting proposals in the two revisions. Engagement on writen comments for declaration drafting will remain open until February 10, 2016.

Implementation of the Ministerial Outcomes. The Ministerial process do not finish the last day of the meeting. Once adopted by the Council, the Ministerial decisions entry into force, binding Member countries and the OECD to implement the agreements. The CSISAC will define the roadmap to implement the Ministerial outcomes in the program of work and budgets of the Committee until 2020.

About CSISAC and the OECD
CSISAC is the voice of civil society at the OECD Committee on the Digital Economy Policy. We facilitate the exchange of information between the OECD and civil society participants, leading to better-informed and more widely accepted policy frameworks. The formal recognition of this Advisory Committee by the OECD was the result of an effort initiated in the 1990s decade to promote participation parity in the global policy-making. Today, the CSISAC is the main venue to channel the participation of civil society in the OECD work on the digital economy.

You can learn more about CSISAC visiting csisac.org, or sending your question to the CSISAC Liaison

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