IGF 2016 Community Intersessional Programme - Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion - Phase II
The 2012 report produced by the United Nations (UN) Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) working group on Internet Governance Forum (IGF) improvements called for the development of more tangible IGF outputs to “enhance the impact of the IGF on global Internet governance and policy”. Given this, the IGF multi-stakeholder advisory group (MAG) launched a new intersessional programme in 2015 with the intent to extend and increase the impact of other IGF activities, such as national and regional IGF initiatives (NRIs), Dynamic Coalitions (DCs) and Best Practice Forums (BPFs).
Over 70 submissions, including 22 from national and regional IGFs, contributed to the development of a set of Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion that were presented at IGF 2015 in João Pessoa, Brazil, in November 2015.
The outputs from this intersessional programme are intended to be a dynamic resource and evolve and grow over time. With this in mind, the MAG decided in April 2016 to explore further developing the IGF “Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion”, including an inclusive invitation to the NRIs for their contributions detailing certain national and regional specificities, including challenges and relevant developments.
Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion – Phase II
The UN Agenda for Sustainable Development identifies information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the Internet as horizontal enablers for development. Paragraph 9-c. sets an important goal for the international community, namely to:
“Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020”
Given ICTs and the Internet are so important to development, it is critical that policy options and strategies be tailored to local needs and specificities.
The first phase of the IGF intersessional project Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion (2015) focused on developing a set of policy options aiming at the creation of enabling environments, including:
1) Deploying infrastructure;
2) Increasing usability;
3) Enabling users (e.g. through ICT literacy and training tools); and
4) Ensuring affordability.
In 2016, it is proposed to further develop these policy options by emphasizing local and regional specificities
· For example: level of market and digital policies development, competition environment, capacity-building, technical infrastructure, access to information and content, cybersecurity, etc.
· The NRIs could be invited to contribute to identifying local challenges and to showcasing success stories.
With a view to demonstrating how Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion contributes to reaching the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
· While all of the SDGs are equally important to consider, some (like, for example, affordable connectivity and access to infrastructure, the cross-cutting use of ICT tools, digital literacy and skills, and capacity-building) can be viewed as building blocks to support other SDGs.
· Examples of success stories in using the Internet to address real world problems in least developed and developing countries should be inclusive of examples in e-government, e-agriculture, e-health, e-education, e-innovation and e-commerce; of how ICTs could be used to empower women and girls; the importance of the mobile industry to connectivity in developing regions; as well as other innovations in areas facing pandemics, such as use of high-speed Internet in fighting Ebola.
· Limitations, barriers to entry, and examples of what has not worked well would also be observed.
· As far as possible, tangible checklists could be developed to provide a framework of considerations for the implementation of each of the SDGs that potentially relate to connecting and enabling the next billion.
To enhance the impact of the IGF’s work, it is also proposed to:
1) Build strategic alliances with key players at all levels: global, regional, national, local: development workers and communities, World Bank, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), CSTD, regional commissions, European Union (EU), African Union Commission, NEPAD, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Web Foundation, GSMA, LIRNEasia, other civil society organizations; International Chambers of Commerce (ICC), relevant ministries and national agencies of education and health, local governments, NGOs, etc.
2) Build strategic alliances with key non-governmental initiatives: 2030 SDGs, Global Connect Initiative, Alliance for Affordable Internet, WEF Internet for All initiative, etc. The strategic alliance could also deal with innovative funding mechanisms.
1. To identify policy options for “Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion – Phase II”, rounds of online public consultations will be conducted (with versions in local languages as far as is reasonably possible). Following the example of the BPFs, an open and bottom-up process is envisioned to collect input.
2. Initial contributions in Phase I will be analysed with the aim of identifying commonalities and differences across submissions. This should prevent the need for duplicate submissions by stakeholders, and will strengthen the current work.
3. Interested NRIs, DCs, and BPFs will be invited, among others, to contribute by sharing success stories or by proposing additional options to support Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion – Phase II.
4. Draft outputs will be produced and further discussed, both online and during the IGF 2016 (6-9 December, Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico) during a main session. Once compiled, the output will be made available to/shared with relevant fora at all levels, e.g. UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism, High-Level Political Forum, World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum, NRIs, DCs, BPFs, etc. This output will also serve as input to the IGF community in order to decide on a theme for the 2017 IGF community intersessional work.
● July – open-ended: Launch public call for background contributions on the theme of “Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion – Phase II”. Contributions will be gathered and ultimately incorporated in the output through an iterative process.
● July: Invitation to the MAG/ IGF community to join open editorial group.
● Sept: First draft “Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion – Phase II” open for public comment through web platform and reviewed by open editorial group.
● Oct.: Second draft open for public comment through web platform.
● Nov.: Final draft output published on IGF website.
● Dec.: Presentation and discussion of the "Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion – Phase II" during IGF meeting.
● Post-IGF: "Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion – Phase II" incorporates input from IGF 2016 in Mexico; published and shared with relevant fora at the international, regional and local level. Documents/work space continue to evolve (based on support and value).
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Guidelines for background contributions
All stakeholders are invited to submit contributions on the theme “Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion”. Contributions from NRIs, best practice forums (BPFs), dynamic coalitions (DCs), and IGF workshops are particularly welcome.
What format should my feedback be in?
Contributions are preferred in Microsoft Word, but should as far as possible be supported by links to studies, reports, references, statistics, etc. and are expected to be of reasonable length in order to maximize readability. Additional templates may be developed to aid contributions if this is deemed helpful.
What will happen to my contribution?
All contributions will be published on the IGF’s website and will be analysed and incorporated into the outcome document for Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion, as far as is deemed possible and relevant by the editorial group of volunteers. All contributors’ details will be credited in the outcome document, and contributions may be published on the IGF’s website.
What is the deadline for contributions?
While we would appreciate input by 31 July 2016, we will continue to receive contributions on a rolling basis until 31 August for the first draft.
To facilitate the participation of national and regional IGF initiatives (NRIs) that might only host their respective events later this year, no deadline has been prescribed for NRIs.
Who do I send my feedback to?
What if I have more questions?
Proposed questions to guide your response:
While inputs of any format will be considered for incorporation, a suggested format could include bullet points addressing some or all of the following questions:
1. How would you define, or how do you understand, the theme “Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion”?
2. The first phase of Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion (2015) identified a set of policy options aimed at the creation of enabling environments, including deploying infrastructure, increasing usability, enabling users, and ensuring affordability. What are the factors to consider when adopting these policy options at local levels (e.g. the state of a country’s market development, the available infrastructure, level of capacity-building, etc.).
3. Are you aware of any specificities around connectivity at a local or regional level? (In other words, do you know of factors that impact connectivity in, for instance, rural areas but less so at an urban level? Or factors that affect connectivity at regional or larger scale, but not as noticeably at local or smaller scale?)
4. Data shows that the growth of Internet adoption is slowing down in some areas, especially as broadband services extend to more remote, less densely populated areas (facing challenges beyond affordability and availability). What are some of the barriers or limitations preventing people who do have Internet access from being enabled or empowered through such connectivity?
5. What does meaningful access mean?
6. How can connectivity contribute to reaching the new SDGs?
7. Do you know examples of stories where using ICTs to support development has not worked, and why?
8. Can you think of ways in which ICTs or Internet connectivity could be used to help reach the SDGs?
9. Do you know of examples of success stories that can illustrate how Internet access can help to address real-world problems (in either developed or developing countries)? For example, do you have stories or experiences to share regarding some or all of the following SDG-related questions:
· How can connecting and enabling users help to reduce poverty in its various forms? (SDG 1)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to end hunger, achieve food security and support improved nutrition? (SDG 2)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to promote sustainable agriculture? (SDG 2)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to ensure healthy lives and to promote well-being at all ages? (SDG 3)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to ensure inclusive and equitable, quality education? (SDG 4)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to promote lifelong learning opportunities? (SDG 4)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to achieve gender equality? (SDG 5)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to empower women and girls? (SDG 5)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation? (SDG 6)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy? (SDG 7)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth? (SDG 8)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to promote full and productive employment? (SDG 8)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to ensure decent work? (SDG 8)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation? (SDG 9)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to reduce inequality within and among countries? (SDG 10)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable? (SDG 11)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns? (SDG 12)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to combat climate change and its impacts? (SDG 13)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development? (SDG 14)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss? (SDG 15)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development? (SDG 16)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to provide access to justice for all? (SDG 16)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels? (SDG 16)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to strengthen the means of implementation (SDG 17)
· How can connecting and enabling users help to revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development? (SDG 17)
 Broadband Commission (2015). The State of Broadband 2015. Available online: http://www.broadbandcommission.org/documents/reports/bb-annualreport2015.pdf.
If you have any comments, queries or feedback regarding this intersessional work, please contact:
Draft outputs for IGF Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion(s) will be posted here.