Costa Rica 2016

On 17-18 October the 6th Annual Freedom Online Conference took place in San José, Costa Rica. This international event gathered more than 200 participants from 48 countries, from all regions of the world and all levels of development. The Conference met under the theme ‘Enhancing an open, active and constructive online community for the enjoyment of an effective citizenship online’. The Conference centred on contributing to the ongoing multi-stakeholder exchange on how to address the challenges, opportunities and potential of free, open and accessible online channels and platforms for political, social and economic development.

The Conference was structured around three main tracks:

  • Track 1: An Internet Free and Secure;
  • Track 2 – Digital Development and Openness;
  • Track 3 – Privacy and Transparency Online.

Each of these tracks was composed of a trio of sessions that took the participants through the statement of the problem, identification and sharing of best practices and proposition of next steps and the role of the FOC. An additional ‘Track 4’ was proposed in the program to include other sessions not directly related to the above thematic distribution but that addressed various topics relevant to Freedom Online. Participants from all relevant sectorial groups participated in 20 sessions consisting of panel discussions and workshops, which included numerous experts in their respective fields.

Over the course of the two-day conference conclusions were reached in discussions relating to the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental rights online and their effective implementation. In summary, it was highlighted that there was the need to, inter alia:

  • enhance the multi-sectorial approach when dealing with Freedom Online, and to build trust amongst all actors;
  • strengthen education, training and capacity building, in particular for legislators and users;
  • address the gaps in the international legal framework and set global norms regarding privacy and transparency, in particular; connect the framework of Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) with existing frameworks with a view to maximize synergies;
  • recognize the mutually reinforcing nature of human rights and cyber-security.

During the conference the San Jose Statement of the Freedom Online Coalition regarding the outcome of the 2016 Strategic Review was presented to the international community. This document is the culmination of a 16 month process that began in the 5th Annual Freedom Online Conference that took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The San José Statement reiterates the Coalition’s key values and purpose and outlines a work plan aiming to make it more dynamic and effective.

You can read the Chair’s Summary here.

For further information about the Conference please see the FO Costa Rica website: