T20 Side Event “Utopias for Global Cooperation: Toward joint visions for Global Digital Commons”

It is not common for researchers from the leading think tanks of the „Group of 20“ (G20) countries to design utopias. During a side event at the Think 20 (T20) Engagement Group Summit held in Mysuru, India from 31 July to 02 August in the context of India’s G20 Presidency, researchers and practitioners did just that. Under the title „Utopias for Global Cooperation: Toward joint visions for Global Digital Commons“, organised by Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations and the Managing Global Governance (MGG) Programme of IDOS, participants worked in groups to develop building blocks for a shared understanding of Global Digital Commons. The event was part of a research stay in the framework of the project „Promoting Research on Digitalisation in Emerging Powers and Europe Towards Sustainable Development“ (PRODIGEES).

Guided by the idea of „utopias“, the interactive event format aimed to bring together different perspectives and objectives in the collaborative formulation of a vision for Global Digital Commons. In a so-called back-casting process, five working groups outlined central steps for the implementation of positive visions for the future, which could take their starting point in the current G20 presidency.

Short presentations by Prof. Dr. Anna-Katharina Hornidge (Director of IDOS), Mr. Sharad Sharma (Governing Council & Co-Founder of iSPIRT (Indian Software Product Industry RoundTable)) and Prof. Dr. Denis Snower (President of the Global Solutions Initiative) addressed core elements and examples of digital commons: knowledge and research systems, digital public infrastructure (DPI) and the security of personal data.

The question of how the G20 countries can contribute to a common global understanding and framework for global digital commons was also at the core of Task Force 2 („Our Common Digital Future“) of this year’s T20 process. Furthermore, the concept is central to the planned elaboration of the United Nations Global Digital Compact. As the only interactive and cross-task force format on Global Digital Commons in this year’s T20 Summit, the event provided an important space for transnational exchange and networking among experts.

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