Engaging digital actors | Fostering effective digital policies | Monitoring digital governance
The Geneva Internet Platform (GIP) supports the activities of Internet governance (IG) and digital policy actors (in Geneva and beyond), and provides a neutral and inclusive space for digital policy debates.
The GIP was initiated in 2014 by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Swiss Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) for strengthening Geneva’s role as a digital hub. It is operated by DiploFoundation which provides expert, technical, organisational, and administrative support.
The main functions of the GIP are to:
- undertake digital policy monitoring and analysis by covering digital issues across technical, diplomatic, business, and other fields
- provide capacity development of diplomatic missions, international organisations, companies, and civil society located in Geneva and beyond
- develop and implement innovative tools for diplomatic meetings, deliberations, and negotiations
GIP projects, activities, and initiatives
GIP’s projects, activities, and initiatives include:
- Digital Watch observatory
- Support for Geneva missions/the tech attaché circle
- Training and courses for stakeholders in digital policy
- Geneva Atlas for Digital Policy
- Geneva Dialogue on Responsible Behaviour in Cyberspace
- Road to Bern via Geneva dialogues
- ConfTech: From onsite to online initiative
- RightOn live discussions
The GIP Digital Watch observatory
The GIP Digital Watch observatory is a comprehensive Internet governance and digital policy observatory.
The platform provides the latest updates, developments, overviews, events, resources, and actors on 40+ Internet governance and digital policy issues and processes, including:
- a comprehensive summary of the latest developments in digital policy
- overviews of issues and actors
- a live calendar of upcoming and past events and public consultations
- just-in-time reporting from digital policy events
- access to the latest research and data on Internet policy
- quantitative research such as data mining of open data and topic profiling
The GIP’s team includes 50+ digital policy experts from around the world which prepares live monthly Briefings on Internet Governance and Digital Policy via Zoom, offering a round-up of both global and regional updates. On the Digital Watch platform, you will also find the monthly IG Barometer of Trends which tracks specific issues in the public policy debate, and reveals focal trends by comparing the issues every month.
In addition, the GIP provides just-in-time conference reporting from major events such as the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG), the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), and many more. You can read past and future reports via our mobile app 'DW Just-in-Time Reporting' which you can download on the App Store or Google Play.
Digital Watch prepares the Geneva Digital Watch monthly newsletter, as well as the Digital Watch Weekly digest, which provide a summary of the main policy trends, a round-up of developments per thematic area, analysis of topical issues, summaries of the main discussions in Geneva, and upcoming events.
Support for missions and the tech attaché circle
The GIP organises regular thematic events for diplomatic missions in Geneva. For example, at the beginning of each diplomatic year in September, we bring together newly-appointed heads of missions to help them navigate Geneva’s rich digital policy scene. These events are accompanied by regular follow-up events for mission ‘tech attachés’ that help diplomats following digital topics to unpack local digital developments.
Training and courses for stakeholders in digital policy (in Geneva and beyond)
The GIP strengthens the participation of small and developing countries in Geneva-based digital policy processes via training courses, university programmes, awareness sessions, coaching, and other capacity-development activities.
The GIP has co-organised numerous courses on digital policy issues. In 2019, the GIP partnered with the International Trade Center (ITC), the Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International), and DiploFoundation in the fourth edition of the Digital Commerce course for developing and developed country representatives, which focused on supporting governments and non-governmental actors to better understand the link between international trade and digital policy.
Together with the International Geneva Welcome Center (CAGI) and DiploFoundation, in 2019, the GIP co-organised a capacity-building programme consisting of workshops for management teams of Geneva-based NGOs. The aim of the programme was to help concerned entities understand the relevance of digital policies to their everyday work, as well as to gain practical knowledge for effective digital strategies, and using the latest digital tools and platforms. In 2020, targeted training on efficient and effective online and hybrid meetings followed.
The GIP also conducted training on the Introduction to Internet Governance and Digital Policy for members of the UN permanent missions in Geneva. The courses were also run in New York in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN in New York and DiploFoundation, and centred around the current developments at the UN, covering major digital policy-related discussions and digital issues such the Internet of things (IoT), AI, robotics, big data, cybersecurity, Internet taxation, and network neutrality.
The GIP welcomes regular visits from the main European diplomatic schools and universities, such as the Diplomatic School of Vienna, the College of Europe, and more.
The Geneva Atlas for Digital Policy
The Geneva Digital Atlas is a comprehensive mapping of the digital policy and Internet governance scene in International Geneva. The Atlas provides an in-depth coverage of the activities of almost 40 actors, including the analysis of policy processes and cataloguing of core instruments and featured events.
Download the latest Atlas PDF or browser actors on the Digital Watch observatory.
The Geneva Dialogue on Responsible Behaviour in Cyberspace
The project the Geneva Dialogue on Responsible Behaviour in Cyberspace focuses on the roles and responsibilities of the business sector, and aims to:
- convene global business-sector actors to discuss responsible behaviour in cyberspace
- assist the business sector to develop capacities for understanding and contributing to international policy and processes
- facilitate dialogues among businesses on shaping principles and action plans that would contribute to the efforts of the UN and other international and local organisations
In 2020, 15 online meetings and 4 online events were organised. The Dialogue presented the draft output document Security of digital products and services: Reducing vulnerabilities and secure design: Good practices, which:
- sets out the agreed-upon definitions related to the secure design of digital products and services
- highlights best practices that the Dialogue partners are following
- provides organisational and planning resources and processes needed to implement best practices
- lists key resources recommended by the Dialogue partners
Road to Bern via Geneva dialogues
In preparation for the 2020 virtual UN World Data Forum (UNWDF), the GIP, together with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland, organised four Road to Bern via Geneva dialogues.
Implemented from January to October 2020, the dialogues covered the key aspects of the data cycle:
- collection data
- sharing data
- using data
- the protection and privacy of data
Each of the four dialogues was co-hosted by two Geneva-based international organisations (WMO, WHO, ICRC, WIPO, ITC, CERN, WEF, and ITU), and brought into the discussion the different stakeholders of the Geneva ecosystem. A continuation of the dialogues is expected to take place in 2021, ahead of the in situ 2021UNWDF.
ConfTech: From onsite to online
In 2020, via the ConfTech initiative, GIP’s capacity-building efforts focused on the future of diplomatic meetings, i.e., online and hybrid (blended) events. Together with the International Geneva Welcome Centre (CAGI), the GIP has implemented a capacity building training for NGOs in Geneva.
Within ConfTech, the GIP also hosts a series of immersion sessions on the future of meetings together with diplomatic missions, international organisations, and other Geneva-based actors.
RightOn live discussions
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to maintain the discussions on human rights, the GIP, together with a number of partners (including the Universal Rights Group (URG), the Geneva Academy, and the Human Rights Center (University of Essex)) launched a series of online discussions titled RightOn – The Wednesday Web Chat.
Focusing on issues such as contact tracing, access to information, the safety of journalists, gender rights, online hate speech, and fake news, the dialogues gathered prominent experts from international organisations, the private sector, academia, and civil society (such as the UN high commissioner for human rights, special rapporteurs, university professors, etc.), for providing a just-in-time coverage of related policy actions and existing challenges.
The weekly discussions gathered over 1000 participants from 130 countries, and extended to audiences beyond the Geneva-based human rights community.
Moving beyond the COVID-19 crisis, the second edition of RightOn embraced a wider context of human rights issues, and extended discussions to include elections, children’s rights, and the right to a safe environment, as well as sustainable development, all co-organised with the Danish Institute for Human Rights.