Increasingly, the digital and real worlds are merging. However, their policy spheres are still largely separate, with creators and consumers of “real world” goods and services (cars, agriculture, banking services, etc.) either unaware of the impact digital policy development has on their real-world processes, or, if aware, unprepared to know how and where to engage in digital policy development.
Many stakeholders are unaware of how much impact national digital policy-making can have outside national borders, and how decisions of international bodies can affect their interests, both directly and indirectly.
The need for better coordinated digital policy making is clear, as is demonstrated by:
- The ever-mushrooming number of panels, commissions and working groups being established in the Internet and digital space
- Growing duplication of discussions across organizations and processes, often leading to competing and/or contradictory sets of principles, recommendations and regulations.
A number of initiatives have been created to “map”, catalogue and provide capacity-building on Internet issues, but current initiatives suffer from a few drawbacks:
- Internet-focused initiatives, while increasingly widening in scope to cover broader digital issues, still tend to focus on core Internet stakeholders, not the much wider range of digital policy stakeholders and decision-makers. Today, the Internet governance ecosystem prioritizes stakeholders who use the Internet as their sole platform (e.g. social media companies, Uber, Airbnb) rather than stakeholders who utilize the Internet to conduct their core activities (e.g. non-Internet focused NGOs, banks, bricks and mortar sellers with online shopping components).
- Many initiatives rely on significant amounts of volunteer labour.
- Some initiatives are founded and funded by stakeholders with particular viewpoints and objectives, meaning the information and analysis they provide, while embraced by those with similar views, tends to be dismissed out of hand as partisan by those holding different positions.
Nissaba is an emerging web-based platform that aims to provide neutral information on digital policy developments to a wide range of stakeholder and holders of varying geopolitical viewpoints with the aim of assisting stakeholders make their own judgements and identify when and where they need to participate in digital policy.
 “Stakeholders” and “decision-makers” are used hereto encompass government, private sector and civil society.