Civil Society Alliances for Digital Empowerment Launched in Geneva

Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, Permanent Representative of the European Union to the UN in Geneva

The European Union (EU) and the Diplo Foundation,  a non-profit organisation based in Malta, with offices in Geneva, Belgrade and Washington, D.C., have launched  a Civil Society Alliances for Digital Empowerment (CADE) Project which aims to empower civil society organizations (CSOs) to participate more actively in digital policy processes.

Launched in Geneva, Switzerland on May 31, 2024, the initiative launch was attended by Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, Permanent Representative of the European Union to the UN in Geneva; Prof. Jovan Kurbalija, Executive Director of Diplo Foundation, and project partners.

Delivering her speech during the launch, Ambassador Knudsen emphasized the EU’s strong commitment to the essential role of CSOs in development. The EU’s Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) for the thematic programme “Civil Society Organizations and Local Authorities” from 2021 to 2027 underscores the significance of attaining high-quality development outcomes through inclusive, democratic engagement.

Ambassador Knudsen stated that “Supporting and developing civil societies is one of our top priorities, especially in the context of global internet governance. It’s all about digital empowerment and requires active involvement from civil society. Our approach has always been strongly multistakeholder.”

Prof. Kurbalija in his remarks explained that the project’s goal is to use technology for development, emphasizing the innovative approach of the CADE project in enhancing CSO capacities. He noted, “This project aims to meaningfully and substantively include civil society. While many forums, such as ICANN, the WSIS Forum, and the IGF Forum, are open for participation, the challenge lies in equipping CSOs with the capacity to effectively engage and impact discussions.”

Dr Stephanie Borg Psaila, project coordinator at Diplo Foundation, introduced the eight partner organisations collaborating on this project as follows:

  1. European Center for Non-for-profit Law (ECNL), Netherlands
  1. Forus, France
  2. Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), Uganda
  3. Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet), Kenya
  4. Sarvodaya Fusion, Sri Lanka
  5. Social Media Exchange (SMEX), Lebanon
  6. Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society (PICISOC), Fiji
  7. Fundación Karisma, Colombia

The launch event was followed by a technical session held during the WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event from May 27 to 31, 2024, in Geneva. The session showcased the CADE project’s initiatives and concluded with a call to action for both individual and institutional efforts to promote genuine inclusivity and participation in digital governance.