On 1 December 2023, the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies started a new project – the ‘Global initiative on the future of the Internet’ (GIFI). This two-year project will promote the Declaration for the Future of the Internet (DFI) and support the implementation of its principles, in a multistakeholder and rights-based approach.
“This project comes at the critical time for the global governance of the digital domain and the EU’s role in it. Almost two-thirds of the world’s population is now online but not all of them enjoy the benefits of connectivity in the same way. The rise of digital authoritarianism over the past years has significantly impacted the ways in which people conduct their social, economic and political activities online. By supporting the implementation of the DFI globally, our project will contribute to reversing this trend”, explains Pawlak.
Through a mix of policy support, research, and outreach activities, the project will contribute to promoting the DFI and its specific commitments globally. It will support the implementation of the DFI principles in the signatory countries through the engagement of the multistakeholder community and explore options for mainstreaming the promotion and implementation of the DFI principles through other EU external actions. To achieve these objectives, GIFI will focus on three main pillars of activities: policy support, multistakeholder dialogue, and outreach and communication.
“We are hoping that for at least the next two years, the EUI will become a hub for the global reflection on the future of the Internet. This grant is a recognition of the Institute’s cutting-edge research on global governance, digital transformation and the EU’s place in the world”, says Hofmann.
Pawlak adds: “We hope that this project will be of interest to a broader EUI community interested in Internet governance and digital transformation. In the coming months we will establish a roster of experts to support our work."
The GIFI project, based at the Global Governance Programme of the Schuman Centre, will host research and policy workshops as well as produce research outputs of different formats. It will also establish a Network of DFI Supporters (NODS) bringing together the private sector, civil society organisations, research institutes and the technical community at a regional and global level.