[At-Large] JNC event at the IGF: "Digital policy making from below -- Ask the impacted sectors first"

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Wed Dec 1 18:18:34 UTC 2021

Dear All

Just Net Coalition (JNC) has been regularly doing half day events at the
UN Internet Governance Forum's annual meetings, bringing some key
contemporary issues in JNC's work and journey to a public discussion.

At the last in-person meeting we did at the IGF, Berlin, in Dec, 2019,
we released the JNC's Manifesto for Digital Justice
<https://justnetcoalition.org/digital-justice-manifesto> and organized a
panel around it. In 2020, we had a virtual session at the IGF, because
the IGF itself was fully virtual.

This year, the IGF is to be held in Katowice, Poland, in a part virtual
part physical manner... Most of us would not be attending in person. But
we would have a few persons from JNC there.

Just Net Coalition plans a two and half hour event on December 6th, from
930 to 1200 UTC, on what is emerging as *the key way JNC would like to
organize and work going forward*. Let me explain.

We have been developing an umbrella project this year, which has
sub-projects co-led along with JNC by a top global progressive group in
a particular sector undergoing digitalisation -- from trade, agro-
diversity and labor to health, gender, finance, media and welfare state.
These specific sector- oriented sub projects bring together 'sectoral'
experts and digital experts to (1) map the terrain of digitalisation in
that sector -- its challenges and opportunities, and (2) try to come up
with some early norms and principles that must guide how digitalisation
should be undertaken in that sector.

The JNC has always been a coalition that consisted not just of 'core'
digital area activists, but also various organizations in different
sectors that have become increasingly interested in issues of digital
fairness and justice especially as it intersects with their area of work.

Our new initiative has the objective of giving these '*sectoral' (as
against 'core' digital) organizations a greater role in influencing and
shaping digital policies that strongly impact all of them*. This
requires first of all to build their 'confidence' to step right up to
directly address core digital governance issues like 'who owns data',
and 'what are the appropriate rules of platform management', what is
'just and fair AI' and so on. It of course calls for collective capacity
building of all actors in and with respect to a given sector. Digital
actors thus learn as much about the digital phenomenon from 'sectoral'
actors as vice versa, because it is the latter who know what is the
'digital' actually 'doing'. The basic premise of the project, and JNC's
approach generally, is that new paradigms of digital policy development
should emerge from these cross -sectoral spaces, even as the digital
phenomenon becomes one of the strongest determinants of our collective

To illustrate: Understanding the dynamics and the needs of governance of
health data needs health related expertise. What does 'data governance',
in any case, mean other than governance of health data, education data,
agriculture data, military data, and so on? But, then there are also
generic attributes of 'digital data' and processes around it, that
requires generic expertise of the 'digital area' . Digital policy and
governance must be based on an acknowlegement and understanding of this
complex and dynamic web of digital policy and governance relevant facts,
knowledge and expertise.   

Going forward, the key strategic focus of JNC will be to work most on
developing and sustaining institutionalized interactions among digital
actors and actors from different 'impacted sectors' as a principal need
and basis of digital policy development. ... JNC would also bring
together actors from different sectors in one 'place' to take a
cross-sectoral view of the digital phenomenon, so that best fit policies
most appropriate for the society can be developed. 

Our JNC event on Dec 6th is titled*"Digital policy making from below --
Ask the impacted sectors first"* . 

The first panel will have organizations from different sectors that are
engaging with JNC in these efforts present their views and their current
work as a part of this JNC initiative.

A second panel will then take up a general discussion about the thinking
behind and the objectives of the new approach of JNC (which actually is
only the fine-tuning of and making explicit its existing approach), how
different impacted sectors can best and continually be involved in
digital policy making, and how to structure standing cross-sectoral
interactions in this regard. 

The last section of this virtual event will be in the form of an open
session to discuss JNC's thinking and work plans for the coming year.
Some may have advice and suggestions, others may have questions -- about
this new approach of JNC, or about JNC in general. All are welcome. *

More details will follow soon.

Thanks, and best regards


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