OECD meetings: Summary of Ministerial Preparatory Meetings

April 4, 2016

The CSISAC has participated in the last preparatory meetings towards the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy, to be held in June 2016 in Cancun (Mexico). CSISAC took part in his meetings to bring the voice of Civil Society to the OECD policy making process. The next meeting of the OECD Digital Economy Policy Committee will take place the day after the Ministerial.

The preparatory meetings were scheduled for preparatory purposes, focusing on the background and issue papers that will serve as the basis for the Ministerial discussions at the meeting, including the final approval of the draft Ministerial Declaration to be sent to the Ministers during the Ministerial for approval. The meetings served to finalise the Ministerial documentation and get progress in the logistics of the event. In addition, the commitee discussed the proposed ranking of the projects proposed for the 2017-2018 Program of Work and Budget and provided an update on the preparation of the Digital Economy Outlook 2017, and the Next Production Revoluion OECD project by the Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP).

With regard to events, the agendas included the organization of the Stakeholders Forum the day before the event. During this event, the four Advisory Committees of the CDEP will meet in parallel. In addition to the CSISAC, the other stakeholders are the Business and Industry (BIAC), the Trade Union (TUAC) and the Internet Technical (ITAC) advisory committees. The CSISAC is working to organize a Civil Society Forum where activists, academics and experts gather to exchange views on the analyzed topics and provide a constructive input to the Ministerial's discussion. The CSISAC presented the event's agenda prepared by the CSISAC Forum Program Committee, together with TUAC, and explored options with the OECD and the member states to have official representatives in the Forum to foster and active dialogue with civil society representatives.

In addition to the logistics, the CSISAC has been active in the preparation of the documentation of the Ministerial, including the background and discussion papers and the draft Declaration expected to be adopted by the Ministers at the end of the event. All along the process started in January 2015, the CSISAC has been pursuing the Civil Society goals, achieving improved recognition of and committment to human rights standards, respect for the rule of law, privacy and data protection or consumer rights among other outcomes reflected in the Ministerial narrative.

The CSISAC has been instrumental in leveling up the importance of privacy and data protection; in preserving the references to cryptography; and in alligning the Ministerial goals with the UN agenda and the NetMundial Multistakeholder Statement; and in fostering participation parity in the decision making models. The CSISAC achieved to develop a more inclusive approach to ICT adoption and use, and also in the approaches to reduce of social costs derived from job displacement promotion of skills development, now explicitly mention gaps affecting women. The needs of the most vulnerable groups are recognised, and support for the sustainable development goals (SDG) have been included. This achievements can be recognized in the current draft of the Ministerial Declaration and the background references to be sent to the Ministers.

The CSISAC will continue working pursuing the goals of the Civil Society Seoul Declaration focusing on the preparation of the Civil Society Forum the day before the Ministerial. Several topics need further recognition, like the need to frame protection of privacy and security as part of the digital safety and therefore to be reinforced, instead of a 'problem' to be solved; and fairness and inclusion and a greater focus on development and sustainable growth. New issues have been introduced in the discuss that needs to register further progress like the lack of meaningful measurement on openess, privacy, and security; and the differenciation between trust of the users and the trustworthiness of the systems supporting the Internet of the Things. Emerging issues like artificial intelligence, cryptocurrencies and blockchain, new challenges on security and cryptography, the impact of trade agreements, online platform monopolies, and new findings on mass surveillance need to be developed and fostered as well.

The CSISAC is actively searching for civil society groups, activists and experts to participate in the Forum and the Ministerial discussions, with a focus on participants from the Latin America region. Participation in the Forum and the Ministerial requires registration in advance, where a maximum of 100 participants will be allowed to register due to limitation in the available space. Details on logistics and participation have been published to facilitate engagement: http://csisac.org/2016/03/oecd_ministerial_registration_.php