On 3rd September 2020 Germany and the United Arab Emirates submitted to the United Nations Secretary-General an Options Paper for the Future of Global Digital Cooperation (PDF, 253 KB), representing the views of diverse stakeholders from the private sector, governments, civil society, academics and technologist.

The Paper addresses the question of how the international community will be able to effectively collaborate for the benefit of all on pressing Internet Governance issues. Its core proposals include:

  • The existing structures of Internet Governance should be maintained and upgraded. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the central discussion platform for all stakeholders around the Internet that was founded by the UN in 2006, will be strengthened and developed into a more inclusive and effective format (IGF Plus).
  • More stakeholders from all over the world should be able to participate in discussions around internet governance. Access shall be facilitated by means of dedicated financial support and a central information point.
  • The IGF should become a facilitator which connects existing discussions that are already taking place and creates synergies.
  • The results of the IGF shall be recorded in action-oriented, but non-binding recommendations or reports. This ensures that they can find their way into policy making processes.

The Options Paper is part of an initiative by the United Nations to increase the effectiveness of the existing structures of global cooperation in the fields of Internet and digitalization (see Follow-up on Digital Cooperation Architecture [insert link to Follow-up tab]). The Government of the United Arab Emirates together with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and the German Federal Foreign Office conducted a global consultation, asking stakeholders all over the world for their views (see Contributions [insert link to Contributions tab]). Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and thanks to the opportunities provided by digital technologies, individuals and organizations from over one hundred countries could join the discussions and contribute their ideas to the Options Paper. It was widely agreed that the pandemic has highlighted more than ever the need for Digital Cooperation at the international level, in an increasingly interdependent world.

The Options Paper can be found here (PDF, 253 KB).