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To the hosts and delegates of the Global Conference on Cyberspace (GCCS) 2017,

A free, open and secure cyberspace underpinned by human rights and democratic values is a prerequisite to socio-economic development. To this end, we must recognise that people are at the center of all technological advancements and therefore policies that seek to regulate technologies should be people-centric and ultimately aid in the development of human beings to the best of their abilities.

We, the undersigned organisations and individuals, believe that in order for GCCS 2017 to support this vision, its outcomes should:

  1. Reinforce the principle that cybersecurity policies should from their inception be rights-respecting and consistent with international law and international human rights instruments

  2. Promote and commit to multistakeholder approaches in the development of cyber policies at the national, regional, and international level

  3. Foster greater, more inclusive collaboration in the area of capacity building

In addition, in relation to specific Conference themes, it should reflect the following:

Cyber for Growth
  • Meaningful access for all to the open internet is the basic building block for any governance and growth initiatives in cyberspace. Uninhibited, uninterrupted, affordable and neutral access to the internet promotes innovation, enhances choices for users, and fuels demand for more robust digital networks and services. Network disruptions slow efforts to sustainably build digital economies and restrict access to crucial digital services.

  • Thriving digital economies depend upon an enabling policy and regulatory environment, built on legal frameworks which ensure that people have control over their data and can trust the public and private entities they interact with online.     

  • The digital economy thrives when users create and innovate, small businesses succeed and entrepreneurs create products and services that address pressing local challenges. Access to capital, free and open source software (FOSS), and community networks are but a few of the critical building blocks of local digital economies.   

  • Individuals’ ability to fully participate in the digital economy requires an, open, dependable and trusted Internet as well as the availability and accessibility of tools and training to ensure their safety and privacy online.    

Cyber for Digital Inclusion
  • An open, transparent, and inclusive approach to cyber policy making is the best way to foster and ensure an inclusive cyberspace for all.

  • Bridging digital divides between and within countries through meaningful access is a prerequisite for all citizens to fully benefit from the digital economy. Ensuring meaningful access, and not just access to infrastructure, but access to a free, open, affordable and secure internet, including increased digital literacy of all people, is a critical enabler of digital inclusion and the full enjoyment of human rights.

  • Digital inclusion should be underpinned by capacity building efforts that address and are tailored to the specific needs of people and communities they are meant to benefit.

Cyber for Security
  • The development and implementation of cybersecurity-related laws, policies and practices should be people-centric and consistent with international law, including international human rights law.

  • The promotion of the security, stability and resilience of cyberspace is a shared responsibility and should include all stakeholders. While recognizing the importance of public-private partnerships, these frameworks of cooperation need to be transparent and accountable.

  • Any use of emerging technologies for monitoring and control of content should be prescribed by law, necessary to achieve a legitimate aim, and proportionate to the aim pursued, as strictly defined under General Comment 34 of the Human Rights Committee and the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance.

  • Standards of behavior online should be people-centric and rights respecting by design, and developed in an open, transparent and inclusive way.

  • Cybersecurity capacity building has an important role in enhancing the security of persons both online and offline; such efforts should promote human rights respecting approaches to cybersecurity.

Cyber for Diplomacy
  • The integral role and potential of ICTs and cyberspace to promote peace and security must be explored and promoted.

  • Existing international laws and standards apply to cyberspace and must be extended to meet emerging challenges.

  • Cyberspace-related international policy development and cooperation should be inclusive and transparent, and consistently adhere to the rule of law.

  • States must pursue norms of state behavior complementary to international human rights law that promote the free and open internet and security of users.

We would like to emphasize that any new cyber capacity building efforts and initiatives to share information and knowledge should seek to build upon and complement existing processes and fora (such as the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise). They should be open, transparent and inclusive of all stakeholders, consensus-driven, and accountable. They should facilitate the sharing of expertise and good practices, and commit to addressing digital divide(s) and the need to build capacity of all stakeholders, particularly in developing nations.

The GCCS process is a crucial platform to achieve the above vision and we hope that it continues being a truly multistakeholder process, including civil society participation, and that gender perspectives and balance are fully taken into account, thereby enabling meaningful participation of all stakeholders.  



  • Association for Progressive Communications

  • Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM)-Indonesia.

  • Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)

  • Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet)

  • Access Now

  • ICT Watch, Indonesia

  • Derechos Digitales, Chile

  • Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER), Malaysia

  • Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales, México

  • Karisma Foundation, Colombia

  • Digital Empowerment Foundation, India

  • Sinar Project, Malaysia

  • Human Rights Online Philippines 

  • Forum for Digital Equality

  • TEDIC, Paraguay

  • Rudi International, Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Paradigm Initiative, Nigeria

  • Global Partners Digital, UK


  • Adizatu Moro Maiga, Media Foundation for West Africa, Ghana

  • Yusif Amadu, ISOC Ghana Chapter

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