Elizabeth Longworth

Elizabeth Longworth

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Biography

Elizabeth Longworth has over 28 years experience on issues of internet development and policy as a lawyer, privacy expert, business person, activist, facilitator and international policy-maker. From 2003-14 she held various senior director positions in the United Nations, setting strategic direction and providing leadership and management oversight. She led global programmes which relied on consensus-building, multi-stakeholder partnerships, and maintaining strong relationships with civil society (including community and technical groups, academia and business), and governments. As the Director of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Elizabeth’s experience includes disaster proofing infrastructure and services, and risk management.
 
During a crucial period of international debate, Elizabeth provided leadership on promoting an open, stable and inclusive global internet as the Director responsible for UNESCO’s engagement in WSIS (World Summit of the Information Society), as an international expert and author on key principles of internet governance, and in the establishment of the Internet Governance Forum. She chaired the United Nations (UNESCO) Expert Committee on Cyberspace responsible for 197 countries agreeing on the international instrument providing for Universal Access to and Multilingualism in Cyberspace. During her career as a Director in the United Nations, Elizabeth led global development programmes to bridge the ‘digital divide’ and promote universal access to knowledge through ICTs (to build inclusive ‘knowledge societies’). The importance of internet access, use, multilingualism, interoperability, capacity development and infrastructure featured prominently throughout her work.
 
Previously Elizabeth was a Sector Director in Industry New Zealand (now NZTE), responsible for promoting growth and innovation strategies within the New Zealand ICT industry. For ten years she was the principal of a specialist legal practice, advising internationally on: the privacy implications of the internet and trans-border data flows; intellectual property; and legal and policy implications of  ICTs. Her publications include the leading privacy text in New Zealand and various writings on  cyberspace law. She was an adviser to the New Zealand Law Commission on e-commerce.  
 
Elizabeth’s governance experience includes advising corporates, international organisations and governments on their risk management, legal responsibilities, oversight and accountability arrangements. She has also been the Independent Chair of various bodies including: the national telecommunications self-regulatory body on number administration and portability; the national ethics committee on environment and science; the United Nations interagency high level committee (comprising 29 agencies) on disaster risk reduction and resilience; and as an establishment member of a national domain name society.
 
Elizabeth has a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall, York University, Canada. She was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 1979. She is also a professionally qualified mediator and alternative dispute resolution trainer.  

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