On March 27-28, the United States, as the 2023 chair of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), convened the Coalition’s 36 member States, Observers, and Advisory Network of external stakeholders for a Strategy and Coordination Meeting in Washington, D.C. The FOC is a coalition of governments dedicated to advancing Internet freedom globally.
Day 1 of the meeting presented an opportunity for the FOC to reflect on progress towards implementing this year’s Program of Action, with members exploring how to streamline the Coalition’s working methods to further strengthen and expand the Coalition, reinforcing its commitment to promote and protect human rights both online and offline, worldwide.
The FOC and the multi-stakeholder FOC Advisory Network held a joint roundtable meeting to explore thematic goals to guide the FOC’s efforts in the coming years and considered potential synergies with other supranational and regional bodies to further advance the FOC’s mission.
In partnership with the Atlantic Council, the U.S. Department of State co-organized a public session featuring remarks with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, followed by a panel discussion with representatives from the FOC’s Advisory Network and civil society and private sector stakeholders. The session explored how the FOC and its partners are working collaboratively to promote and protect fundamental freedoms, address the misuse of technology, and advance a rules-based, democratic, and inclusive world in the digital age.
Day 2 of the meeting included a multi-stakeholder discussion focused on advancing digital inclusion, both within the FOC and in the broader Internet freedom and democracy space. Participants explored how donors, in partnership with other stakeholders, can strengthen their shared vision for advancing a rights-respecting, democracy-affirming digital future. The session was co-organized by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Global Partners Digital (GPD), and the Global Network Initiative (GNI).
The outcomes of the Strategy and Coordination Meeting will further shape the FOC’s activities during the United States’ 2023 Chairship, and will be captured in a report published publicly on the FOC website.