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Update: APC recently found out that Fabrizio Hochschild has allegedly been put on administrative leave pending investigation by the UN into harassment allegations against him. In accordance with APC's zero tolerance policy against any form of harassment and abuse, whether it is related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race or religion, we call for a transparent investigation based on due process in order to guarantee that key mandate holders are held to the highest standards of integrity, trust and respect and that justice prevails for all parties involved in the investigation.

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) congratulates and welcomes Fabrizio Hochschild to his new role as United Nations Envoy on Technology.

We take this opportunity to express our strong support for the vital work of the mandate. We stand ready to support the new mandate holder, and look forward to working collaboratively and constructively together to foster a prompt, effective and inclusive implementation of the UN Secretary General’s (UN SG) Roadmap on Digital Cooperation.

Fabrizio Hochschild has a long career at the UN, leading important initiatives, including supporting and following up on the work of the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. We believe his expertise in development and rights issues will be a substantive asset for an assertive implementation of the UN SG Roadmap.

APC sees the Tech Envoy role as crucial to promoting improved coordination and synergy among different spaces and processes concerning internet governance and global digital cooperation. We believe the role offers a unique opportunity to make significant progress in the application of the multistakeholder principles and approach by bringing together member states, the technology industry, civil society and other stakeholders to work with the mandate.

We look forward to establishing a dynamic of dialogue and collaboration with the Envoy in relation to the setting up of the mandate’s agenda and work plan. Some of the key areas highlighted in the Roadmap have clear signposts identified for the work ahead. This is not, however, true in relation to all of them. Lack of commitment and the influence of geopolitical agendas have negatively impacted on the cooperation among states that is needed to tackle the most urgent issues in the digital agenda, including, for example, cybersecurity. Significant progress needs to be seen in the near future in the expansion not only of connectivity, but of meaningful access to ICTs, especially to marginalised individuals and communities. A more effective and impactful internet governance architecture needs renewed commitment and engagement from all stakeholders. In particular, APC believes the mandate can play a key role to facilitate synergies and collaboration among different mechanisms, for example, between the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) process and broader global digital cooperation.

The challenges ahead are many, while the 2020 health pandemic imposed an acceleration on all things digital. In this context, we once more highlight the importance of the new mandate, reiterate our strong support for it, as well as our commitment and readiness to work together to navigate critical digital cooperation issues.

APC is a global network of civil society organisations whose mission is to create a just and sustainable world by harnessing the collective power of activists, organisations, excluded groups, communities and social movements, to challenge existing power structures and ensure that the internet is developed and governed as a global public good.