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The Central Asia Internet Governance Forum (CAIGF)

Towards Resilient Cyber Space in Central Asia: Determining Shared Responses and Adaptations

September, 2022

Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

 

The Central Asia Internet Governance Forum (CAIGF)[1] is a regional international platform that brings together representatives of governments, business, international organizations, civil society and experts. First held in 2016, the annual Forum is a unique public mechanism for a wide range of stakeholders to discuss Internet governance in the Central Asian region.

 

During the event, experts and policymakers from the public and private sectors exchange information on public policy issues related to the Internet, promoting a common understanding of how to maximize the opportunities of the Internet and address emerging risks and challenges. Since 2016, the Forum has been held annually in capital cities across the region. In 2022, the Forum will be hosted by the Republic of Kazakhstan.

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Event objectives for CAIGF 2022

 

The main goal of CAIGF-2022 is to strengthen open multi-stakeholder discussion on digital resilience, continuity and readiness in times of crisis and the implications of major disruption for the entire digital ecosystem in Central Asia. The event provides an opportunity for senior-decision makers, practitioners and experts to assess the rapidly evolving situation across the region from the standpoint of Internet governance and determine key solutions and responses.

 

Digital resilience as the headline theme for CAIGF 2022

 

CAIGF-2022 marks the sixth time the Central Asian region will discuss the shared issues of Internet governance. As ever, the Internet in Central Asia remains a crucial element of societal strength and economic opportunity for all. Across the region, amidst the recovery and adaptation to the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are evolving stories of expanded access, robust connectivity, and renewed Internet infrastructure. The very goals of sustainable development continue to be re-evaluated through the priority lens of the digital economy, innovation, and digital transformation.

 

Global and national regulatory initiatives for cyberspace, from rules governing data security to content moderation, are shaping a new compliance rubric in Central Asia. Such developments have all benefited from forward-looking policy-making and inclusive, open Internet governance. Many of these measures would not have been possible without the fundamental prerequisites of equity, privacy, freedom of expression, digital security, and digital rights.

 

In light of volatility and uncertainty in the region, digital readiness and resilience are critical themes. Global economic downturns negatively affect the pace of technology-led development, limiting investments in the digital future with the most repercussions on the vulnerable and marginalized communities. The war in Ukraine has underlined the risks of regional spillover effects, from splintered Internet to disruptions of connectivity and elevated cyber threats. Other more local crises have underlined the need to safeguard the Internet’s availability not just from the economic impact perspective but also to maintain an inclusive space for rapid societal dialogue, open communication, and community mobilization.

 

Central Asia faces a host of unprecedented challenges. No country will be able to adequately anticipate and manage all of them on their own. They demand both shared country-level and regional responses and long-term adaptations. Successful cultivation of digital resilience depends on ensuring participatory, multi-stakeholder discussions, resulting in agile strategic partnerships and coordinated policy, industry, and user responses.

 

Format and participants

 

CAIGF 2022 is expected to be held in a hybrid format – on-site expert discussions and online speeches and presentations of a number of foreign participants. Participation is being agreed upon at the level of heads of relevant ministries (for digital development and digital transformation) of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Representatives of government agencies, international, non-governmental, expert organizations of the Central Asian region, representatives of digital business, technology companies, and digital development experts from Europe, China, and Canada are invited to participate in the Forum.

 

Participation is planned for the OSCE, UNDP, UN agencies, ICANN, Ripe NCC, RCC, ISOC, representatives of the IGF secretariat; global technology platform Facebook; representatives of IBM, CISCO, Oracle, and Microsoft. The headline speakers include the Estonian Electronic Governance Academy (EGA), the Canadian SecDev Group, and the Center for Analysis and Investigation of Cyber ​​Attacks (CARKA, Kazakhstan). The list is supplemented and updated. The co-organizers of the Forum are the Kazakhstan Infocommunication Holding “Zerde” and the Public Foundation “Civil Internet Policy Initiative” (Kyrgyz Republic).

CAIGF is a sub-regional initiative of the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF), convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as a global multi-stakeholder international forum for dialogue on Internet governance issues.


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