The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the IGF 2017 First Open Consultations and MAG Meeting from 1 to 3 March 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Ladies and gentlemen, can we just please sit down. We are about to start. Oh, yes, just a reminder we do have interpretation. We have the scribes. And if you want to speak, just put your name plates like this and then we will see. If I don't nod or Lynn doesn't nod at you, you can wave it a little bit because sometimes it's behind somebody.
Also, another reminder, when you start speaking, please just say your name out slowly so that the scribes can capture it and also the people online know who is speaking. Thank you very much.
Okay, with that, I'll give it over to Lynn to start the meeting.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Chengetai.
Before we get to the formal part of the meeting here, Thomas Schneider, the host country co-chair, was here. But he's had a phone call. He's had to step out and asked us to go ahead so not to further delay the meeting. And he'll be in shortly.
Today is the first meeting of the MAG meeting. Yesterday was the open consultation where the MAG was to hear from the community on items of interest to them. Our first order of business today is to approve the agenda. So it was published some weeks ago on the Web site. I'm not sure if it's going to be projected on the screen or not.
But briefly, today, our first order of business will be to cover MAG member introductions. We'll have some opening remarks from the IGF 2016 host country, Victor Lagunes from the Office of the President of Mexico. We'll have a presentation from Thomas which will cover more of the preparations for IGF here in December. And then the bulk of the day is on discussions on shaping the program which will cover things such as main themes, intersessional activities, main sessions, some of the intersessional work. I think I just said that actually.
And I propose, as I meant to yesterday, to pull forward from tomorrow morning into today the proposal from the working group which is working on evaluation of the call for proposals and the evaluation process.
We thought we might try and leave probably 45 minutes or so just before the lunch break -- Rasha, who is leading that group, will walk us through the proposal. It is in your inbox. It was sent last night. Will walk us through that proposal, some of the rationale behind it. We can take it away, think about it, come back. And as I said yesterday, by the end of the day tomorrow, we need to have agreement on what that call process looks like and what the evaluation process looks like so we have time to instantiate it online and have a timely -- a timely release.
That proposal -- or maybe Rasha is going to send us separately -- also has a draft timetable. And I think when we come to introduce that, there's a couple of changes to the timetable, too. We basically built in a couple of extra steps to allow more time for the analysis by both the secretariat or the MAG or the MAG working group which should facilitate the work in the room of the MAG.
In the afternoon, again, we will continue with the broad shaping of the program. And there was also a really important item on the integration of NRIs and other relevant IG processes into IGF 2017. That may slide into tomorrow morning since we're pulling one agenda item forward from tomorrow, but we'll see how we go on.
So with that, I'd like to seek approval of the agenda or see if there are any additional requests for changes. I see heads nodding yes so we will call the agenda approved.
One other formal piece of business, I would like to again thank United Nations Office of Geneva, UNOG, for hosting us here this week. And again point out that it is, in fact, the home of the IGF secretariat as well that's facilitating quite a number of things here.
The next order of business is to introduce the new and returning MAG members, obviously both those here in the room and those participating online. Again, we will run the same queue process as yesterday. If you want to be recognized here in the room for the floor, then you should raise your card. We have a couple of the IGF secretariat monitoring the online participants who will also flag them. And everybody is inserted into the queue whether in the room or online at the time they've asked for the floor. For the most part, on these subjects, there's actually quite a lengthy queue. So you might ask for the floor but there might be, in fact, six or seven speakers ahead of you. Particularly if you are online, please rest assure you are slotted into the queue at the time you were recognized.
So with that, why don't we go, first, to the new MAG members here in the room. And then just so there's a heads-up for those who are online, we'll go to the new MAG members that are participating online and then we'll go to the returning.
So I don't have any special order. If you are a new MAG member here in the room, maybe if you put your card up, we'll just recognize you. Actually Israel has actually put his up first. We'll start a list.
If you could just sort of introduce yourself briefly, what you do during your day jobs. We obviously participate here in our individual capacity supporting the agenda of the IGF as mandated by the Tunis Agenda. But it's really good to know what people's backgrounds are. And maybe just a quick word or two in terms of what experiences you've had with IG or IG initiatives prior to coming into the MAG.
First one I saw was Israel. Do you want to start and we'll just go through?
>>ISRAEL ROSAS: Thank you. Good morning, everyone. This Israel Rosas on behalf of the government of Mexico. I was deeply involved in the IGF 2016 meeting. Inside the government I'm an Internet policy analyst. And we are focused on Internet governance efforts like our local initiative group on Internet governance that is part of the NRI network. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you.
Maybe we'll just go down the table there since I really didn't actually recognize any particular order with the cards coming up.
You have the floor.
>> MICHAEL ILISHEBO: Good morning, everyone. My name is Michael Ilishebo representing the government of Zambia. I'm an officer with the Zambia police, specialize in cybersecurity and cybercrime. I have been involved in the Internet governance space since 2015 thanks to Marilyn Cade. I was a 2013 (indiscernible) in cybersecurity (indiscernible). And it was through her session where I came to know about Internet governance. And from that time, I have participated almost four African Internet Governance Forums, done presentations on cybersecurity both -- I have been involved both on the subregional level and also on international levels of participating in various cybersecurity and Internet governance forums such as Links Con (phonetic), such as the (indiscernible) under the Council of Europe and many others. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Michael. I was going to say Marilyn's network reaches far and wide.
>> MAMADOU LO: Good morning, everybody. Mamadou Lo from Dakar, Senegal. I'm from the private sector. I'm working right now in a bank, Senegal Agricultural Bank. I'm involved in the communication, information, IG ecosystem that is in Africa.
I used to be also an ICANN fellow. Right now I'm (indiscernible). What I'm doing, others said earlier, I'm gathering information to relate to Internet governance to help people -- all French people, African French people, be involved, be aware of what's happening right now in the ecosystem.
I'm satisfied to be here to share with MAG members and help in communication of the IG ecosystem in rural Africa.
Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Mamadou.
Mamadou actually publishes weekly a compilation of interesting Internet governance articles and links which is very useful. If you would like to be on the list, I'm sure he would be very happy to welcome you.
Thank you, Mamadou.
>>IGOR RESENDE: Hello. I'm Igor Resende from Brazil from the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I'm the Deputy Head of the Division for Information Society for Ambassador Benedicto's team, who many of you probably remember. I've been working with internet governance issues already for some time. I've been following the ITU track. I've been also working a lot on the G20 treatment of digital issues. And I was involved already in the organization of the IGF in Brazil in 2015, took part in the last one in Mexico as well, so it's a pleasure to be here. I hope we can do a lot.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Brazil's been very active in many of the Internet governance activities, and later on I actually wanted to thank Ambassador Benedicto Fonseca, as well, for supporting me last year, in fact, in a special role where he was helping with some of the government outreach. So I've always appreciated Brazil's support.
Raquel and then we'll actually go to the row in back there.
>>RAQUEL GATTO: Thank you, Madam Chair.
So I'm Raquel Gatto. I work with Internet Society as a policy advisor. Prior to that, I used to work with the Brazilian Network Information Center, the NIC BR.
As for my background, I'm a lawyer. I used to work with intellectual property rights and domain names. That's how I got hooked to the IG environment.
I also hold a Ph.D. on law with emphasis on philosophy focused on the legitimacy of the Internet governance mechanisms.
I'm new to the MAG but I'm not new to the IGF itself. My first one was in Brazil in 2007. By then, I got involved with several of the work that the IGF has with regards to remote participation so I joined the group who pushed for the first remote participation efforts in Hyderabad IGF, thanks to Markus who embraced it by the time.
And then also, we founded the youth dynamic coalition. By then, it was the 20-something. Don't do the age counting.
[ Laughter ]
>>RAQUEL GATTO: So that's been how I entered the IGF environment.
Right now, my current daily work has two big legs on the IGF tracks. One of them is to support the national and regional IGFs, and we are probably having much of those updates during the day and tomorrow, and also to do the bridge between the technical community and the policymakers, so making sure the awareness on the key topics are done.
And I'm really glad to join you and be able to work with the MAG members and the community. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Raquel.
Samuel, you have the floor.
>>BAMBO SAMUEL: Well, good morning, everybody. I am Bambo Samuel from the Ministry of External Relations in Cameroon. I work with the African desk. Actually, curiosity got me into Internet governance. At first, I started doing a little research last year in June on eGovernance, and I stumbled onto the whole Internet governance field that I really did not understand what they was talking all about, so I started doing another research on Internet governance and that got me to AfriSic 2016 in Durban, and that is where I am met the larger family. And thanks to Anriette and the AfriSic family, I was able to understand more about Internet governance and look where curiosity got me today. I'm at MAG and I still think I'm dreaming, but I'm happy being here.
I don't know much about Internet governance and I'm counting on learning a lot and we have a long way to go and when we get to the end, we'll be able to evaluate ourselves and I'm hoping I will come out on top. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. And fresh perspectives are warmly welcomed and frankly often much needed.
[ Laughter ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: So you're very, very welcome. So I'll go to Miguel who is over there so I don't miss him and then we'll come back to this side of the room. Miguel?
>>MIGUEL CANDIA: Thank you very much, Chair, and good morning everybody.
My name is Miguel Candia. I am from Paraguay. I am with the Permanent Mission of Paraguay here in Geneva and I'm in charge with the -- I'm in charge of the IG issues and telecommunications as well. Paraguay is a member of the ITU which I have right beside me.
[ Laughter ]
>>MIGUEL CANDIA: And from -- we are -- well, that's the -- the business part.
I am really happy to be here with you. I am some sort of a self-appointed official on the IG issues. I brought that to the mission in the interest of the ambassador himself, so I managed to make it an issue within the Mission of Paraguay so I'm happy about it and I'm happy to be here and I will try to be as useful as possible for the processes. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Miguel. Carolyn?
>>CAROLYN NGUYEN: Thank you, Chair.
Hi. Good morning. My name is Carolyn Nguyen and I'm with Microsoft. I'm part of a team of people at Microsoft that looks at issues that have to do -- policy and regulatory issues that have to do with the digital economy, including privacy, online protection, accessibility, et cetera, and in the work that I do, it's very much around Internet governance, connectivity, the digital economy, as well as the new technologies that are the underpinning of the digital economy, including things like big data, data analytics, as well as artificial intelligence. I've been involved in Internet governance for about three years or so, driving some of the -- our policy positions globally, and really look forward to working with the MAG going forward.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Carolyn. And we'll -- sorry.
[ Laughter ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: It's sometimes hard to see the flags depending on where people are sitting in front. Haojun, you have the floor.
>>HAOJUN JI: Thank you, Madam Chair. Good morning to everybody. To be honest, I'm not really an expert on cyber affairs, but as a diplomat, I have been involved on -- in cyber affairs for many years, starting from the first UNGDE on information security, and as I used to work in the department for arms control and disarmament, you know, on the strategic security area, cyber affairs is a very much important part of that, so I have been on and off -- in an on-and-off manner, I have been working on this for many years. And I also was on the team which has become the cyber affairs office in the Foreign Ministry of China and I also worked on lethal autonomous weapon system as a leading Chinese expert during discussion on the framework of certain conventional weapons, and now I'm with the permanent mission of China in Geneva and I -- it's -- for me, it's really a great honor to be selected on the MAG 2017, and I would like to assure that I would actually support your work and fulfill my duties in a diligent manner, and I'm also ready to participate with colleagues in the days to come.
And obviously to be a MAG member is not an easy job. In this fast-changing, increasingly uncertain world, the importance of Internet governance can never be overestimated, as Internet has turned the world into global village. We are shouldering the hefty burden of building a peaceful, secure, open and orderly cyberspace. In this great cause, we have a lot to do and a long way to go.
While I'm having the floor, I would like to take this chance to make a small advertisement which I have printed out yesterday that China have released its first international strategy of cooperation on cyberspace, and after, you know, looking into it, the report, the document, I found that there was one particular paragraph regarding IGF. I would like to read it to you.
"China will push for institutional reform of the U.N. Internet Governance Forum to enable it to play a greater role in Internet governance, strengthen its decision-making capacity, secure steady funding, and introduce open and transparent procedures in its member election and report submission, et cetera."
Yesterday when I go back to the office, I have sent the link to the full text of the document to all MAG members and I also have bring some hard copy to conference room and interested colleagues can get a hard copy from us. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Haojun.
And now we have Hisham from Egypt, who I believe is here in the role of a previous host country. Hisham, you have the floor.
>>HISHAM ABOULYAZED: Thank you, Madam Chair, and good morning, everyone.
My name is Hisham Aboulyazed. I do some sympathize with the scribers, of course, for the last name.
I'm here representing the government of Egypt. Egypt have been involved with the IG discussions since the early days. I work with the telecom regulator, NTIA, in Egypt and am manager of the information society unit within the regulator. For myself, I've been involved with the IGF maybe for some time. This is not my first MAG meeting representing Egypt, but maybe for the last two or three years I've been away from the MAG, so I thought it would be useful to make this introduction.
I hope through my participation today and tomorrow, I will be able to facilitate more engagement from the Egyptian government for the benefit of the discussions.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Hisham.
I don't believe we have any new members participating online at the moment.
Anja, maybe if they come on later on, you can let us know and at an appropriate time, we will ask them to go through the introductions.
Could I ask the returning MAG members just to do the same thing, go through just quite briefly. We always -- this is a very important section. It's important that people understand why they're here and who they are and the names and this is all about personal relationships. So we need to give it the time it needs, but we should also be as efficient as we can as well.
If I could ask the returning MAG members to just basically do the same thing. I guess I can start just because I'm looking over that way with Miguel. But then if people can put their flags up as well because it's not always easy to see faces depending on who is in front.
>> MIGUEL IGNACIO ESTRADA: Just for the record for people in San Francisco doing the transcript, that was me before. My name it was Miguel Ignacio Estrada. I'm from Argentina. I'm a consultant. This is my second term in the MAG. Well, just that.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Miguel was previously with the government. So when we find really good MAG members who are making a significant contribution -- and Miguel made a very big contribution last year -- when they change stakeholder groups -- and frankly the ones that usually change are from government, sort of for the obvious reason -- then we still like to keep them on for the remainder of the expected MAG term. So Miguel is now a private sector member.
I guess if I look --
>>ZEINA BOU HARB: My name is Zeina Bou Harb. I'm from Lebanon, representing the Lebanese government. I'm the head of international corporation at OGERO Telecom, which is the main operator of the fixed telecommunication in Lebanon. And this is my second MAG. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Zeina.
Working my way across, Elizabeth, you have the floor.
>>ELIZABETH THOMAS-RAYNAUD: Thank you. Good morning. My name is Elizabeth Thomas-Raynaud, and I'm with the International Chamber of Commerce. I have a dual role there. I manage the digital economy policy portfolio which covers a number of topic areas from data protection, cybersecurity, Internet and telco issues and regulations as well as I lead the project which is called ICC Business Action to Support the Information Society. And this is an activity that was started just after the WSIS where the private sector engaged deeply in the WSIS process, wanted to continue working together across sectors and continents to help ensure in engagement and solid private sector support for the ensuing activities of that.
So I have been involved in Internet governance off and on during my career for about the entire duration of the IGF cycle. And it's great to be in my second year of the MAG. Welcome to all of the newcomers.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Elizabeth.
>>JUAN FERNANDEZ: Juan Alfonso Fernandez Gonzalez. I'm an adviser of the ministry of communications of the Republic of Cuba where I -- my task there is regarding the development of all these technologies in Cuba. But internationally, I have been linked with the subject of ICT4Development since 2001. I was a member of the United Nations ICT task force, then the Global Alliance for ICT and Development from 2005 to 2010.
I worked and participated in the two summits and in the preparation of the summit. So I was a member of the WGIG that was the working group of the Internet governance that was created between the two phases of the WSIS to precisely create the working definition of Internet governance. That is still the one we use. That is one of the documents. I don't want to be -- to advertise our own work, but I think it's a document that all the newcomers to MAG should check. The working group of the WGIG report from 2005.
Now I'm also working on the Working Group for Enhanced Cooperation that is working here in Geneva in the CSTD. That is, as you know, to try to -- one of the mandates of the summit regarding Internet governance that is still outstanding. We have to work on that.
And, also, I am part of the Cuban team that is working in the GGE, the group of governmental experts, in the -- the long name, the concept of ICT and the concept of international security that has its third meeting last week here in Geneva. Last meeting will be in New York in June.
All those topics are related. Well, I'm here in the third term in MAG. So this is it. I will be out after this.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: You are never out once you leave the MAG. You just contribute with a slightly different title.
I want to echo Juan's point. The WGIG work is very essential to the work we do here, just as is the Tunis Agenda, particularly it's paragraphs 72 to 78. If you haven't looked at those recently, it's actually helpful, both that and WGIG, to go back and refresh. That is the platform for which so many of our discussions come from.
I will just continue this way and go with Rasha and come back down to the back part of the room.
Rasha, you have the floor.
>>RASHA ABDULLA: Thank you. Good morning, everybody. My name is Rasha Abdulla. I'm from American University in Cairo, Egypt. I remember civic society in Africa. I have been researching the Internet as a scholar for over 15 years, I guess, now. Longer than I would like to think.
I have actually published three books on the Internet in the Arab world, numerous articles. I'm the author of the Egypt Mapping Digital Media Report. This is my second year on the MAG, so it's been quite a learning experience for me, too. I learned a lot last year. I hope to be able to contribute as I go along the way.
It's a great experience. It's a fun group of people. Welcome to all the new members.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Rasha.
I don't think she'd mind our sharing because she shared it with quite a large number of us the other night, that she's actually the Arabic voice of Dory in "Finding Dory" and the Arabic voice of Daisy Mouse. I think it's always nice when you find different ways to relate with individuals. That's excellent.
>> SLOBODAN MARKOVIC: Hello, everybody. My name is Slobodan Markovic. I work as an ICT policy advisor for a Serbian ccTLD registry. So I'm a member of a technical community, but this is only the latest straw. I previously worked as telecom and information society in general adviser for Serbian government.
And this is my third term at the MAG. And previously I have been involved mainly in discussions regarding improving online participation, which I intend to continue.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: And that work was very helpful, too.
Aida, you have the floor.
>>AIDA MAHMUTOVIC: Does it work? Okay. Good morning, everybody. My name is Aida Mahmutovic. I come from Bosnia and Herzegovina representing civil society, working on gender and ICT and privacy and data protection-related things. Mostly this is my third term here. And I'll just be brief.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Aida.
Just for returning MAG members. So, Laura, you have the floor?
>> LAURA WATKINS: My name is Laura Watkins. I work for Nominet, the country code registry for .UK as well as providing Wales and (saying name) and a number of back-end registry services. I lead on international policy, and we also provide a secretariat function for the U.K. IGF. I have been involved in Internet governance since 2007 in Rio. And this is my second term on the MAG representing the technical community.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Laura.
Rafael, you have the floor.
>>RAFAEL PEREZ GALINDO: Thank you, Lynn. My name is Rafael Perez Galindo. I'm a civil servant in the Ministry of Digital Agenda of Spain. And since 2009 I represent Spain in different fora related to information society services, and I do policy regulation. And I'm here in my second term in the MAG. And I usually do GAC and ICANN as well. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: Good morning, everybody. My name is Liesyl Franz, and I'm in the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues at the U.S. Department of State. I have been involved in Internet governance since the IGF in Rio and been to all of them since, not always as a government employee, though. I was previously with Tech America, which is an industry association that represented the high-tech industry in Washington for many years.
I'm on my second MAG term and look forward to working with all of you. And welcome to the new MAG members.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Liesyl.
>>LEA KASPAR: Hello, morning everyone. My name is Lea Kaspar. I'm one of the civil society representatives in the MAG, now in my third term. Originally I'm from Croatia, from Zagreb, but I'm currently the executive director of an U.K.-based organization, Global Partners Digital, that works to enable a digital environment underpinned by human rights and democratic values.
Since about 2012, I have been managing projects of the intersection of human rights and the digital communications where I have been concentrating upon facilitating multistakeholder dialogue and effective civil society engagement in international forums and processes.
Some of those include -- involve NETmundial, the ITU plenipotentiary in 2014, the Global Conference in Cyberspace and many others and also the WSIS review, 10-year review.
I'm currently working on our internal program for cyber capacity-building. Apart from my work on being a member of the MAG, I'm also a member of the U.K. multistakeholder group on Internet governance. I'm a member of the steering committee of the U.K. IGF. Like Juan and other members here, I think some others, I'm a member of the CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation as well. And, lastly, I also co-chaired the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise.
So welcome to all the new members. I look forward to working with you all in my last term. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Lea. Renata?
>>RENATA AQUINO RIBEIRO: I am from Renata Aquino Ribeiro. I'm from Brazil, Fortaleza, and I am a civil society MAG member in my second term, and a researcher.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Segun, we're asking returning MAG members to just make a short introduction.
>>SEGUN OLUGBILE: Okay. Good morning. I'm Segun Olugbile. I'm from Nigeria. I'm actually representing the African ICT Alliance. I'm the CEO of Continental Project Affairs Associates and a cybersecurity policy advisor to Nigerian government. I'm a member of the National Cybercrime Advisory Council and a cofounder of Nigerian Internet Governance Forum.
This should be my third time on the MAG, and it's quite a privilege to be here. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Segun.
Before we go to any online returning MAG members, just to give them a quick heads-up, did I miss any returning MAG members here in the room?
Oh, Arnold. Sorry. Jim is just right in the -- no, you're fine. But Arnold, you have the floor.
>>ARNOLD VAN RHIJN: Thank you, Lynn, and good morning, all. My name is Arnold van Rhijn from the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands. This is my second term in the MAG and I'm grateful for my reappointment.
My portfolio is twofold. First, I am coordinating the Internet governance policy within the Dutch government.
Secondly, I'm actively involved in helping to create E.U.'s digital single market.
Since 2012, I am in charge of coordinating -- co-organizing the Netherlands Internet Governance Forum, and currently I am also actively contributing to helping capacity building initiatives under the umbrella of the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise, which is a result of the Cyberspace Conference in 2015 in the Hague.
And last, but not least, I'm helping to prepare the International One Conference on Cybersecurity, which will be held the 16th and 17th of May in the Hague. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Arnold. I don't see anyone else that I missed here in the room. Do we have any returning MAG members on line?
I'm guessing Avri's there.
>>AVRI DORIA: Yeah.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Anja, could you just run the queue with them and -- and I don't know --
>>AVRI DORIA: Yes. This is Avri. Can I be heard?
>>ANJA GENGO: Yes. We have Avri. Then after that, Alejandra, Julian, Wanawit and Wisdom.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: And people should put their headphones on. I don't think we can hear them otherwise.
>>AVRI DORIA: This is Avri. Can I be heard by anyone?
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: By everyone. Thank you, Avri. I know it's very, very early there.
>>AVRI DORIA: Okay. Great. Oh, yeah, but it's already an hour after getting up.
So I'm Avri Doria. I'm a third-year returning MAG member. I've been involved with the IGF since it was a thought in the working group in Internet governance in various roles. I'm pretty much a portfolio worker. I come to the MAG through CS. I do independent research consulting and education, and happy to be back for a third year and happy that it is my third and last year. Thanks.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: But you won't go far. I'm fairly sure of that.
Alejandra, you have the floor.
>>ALEJANDRA ERRAMUSPE: Hi, everybody. I'm Alejandra Erramuspe from Uruguay. It's good to see all of you again. Welcome to the new MAG members, and I say hello to my current MAG member -- MAG members. I work for the Uruguayan government in the Agency of eGovernment and Information Society, and this is my second term like a MAG member. It's all.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Alejandra. And I know it's, again, early there as well, so thank you.
And Julian, same thing for you. You have the floor, and it's early.
>>JULIAN CASASBUENAS: Hello. Can you hear me?
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Yes, we can hear you.
>>JULIAN CASASBUENAS: Thank you. Thank you very much. This is my second term in the MAG. I'm director of -- I'm representing civil. I'm currently director of Colnodo here in Colombia, and I'm currently also chair of the board of the Association for Progressive Communications, APC. I have been working with the Colombian IGF initiatives and also in the past in the organization of regional Latin American IGF in 2012. I'm participating in most of these meetings. I have been participating in issues related to accessibility, sustainable development, access, and now very much interested in community networks for connecting next billion, so I'm glad to be here and I want to say also welcome to the new MAG members. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Julian.
Wanawit, you have the floor. Wanawit? It's early there. It's actually late. If you don't have audio yet, we'll come back in just a moment. Maybe we can move to Wisdom.
>>WISDOM DONKOR: Hello, everyone. I hope you can hear me.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: We can, yes.
>>WISDOM DONKOR: Okay. Good morning from Ghana.
My name is Wisdom. It's my second term on the MAG. I'm from Ghana. And I apologize for not being able to make it to the face-to-face meeting. I had one or two issues that I need to resolve in the office.
And what I've been doing? Since last year, I've been working (indiscernible) Internet governance (indiscernible) and what we are looking at is to use (indiscernible) to see how we can change within our society and also (indiscernible) conferences (indiscernible) and we are looking at the possibility of introducing Internet governance and Internet conference the first ones (indiscernible) of Africa, especially within the government sector and see how we can use this forum to actually inform them what is going on globally in relation to (indiscernible) and Internet governance. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Wisdom. Is Wanawit on audio yet or Kenta or we just come back at a later point?
>>ANJA GENGO: He's not connected to audio so maybe we can wait till later.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Okay. Thank you, Anja.
Just to do a quick introduction of myself -- and I know some of this seems repetitive of yesterday and I'm going to introduce Thomas again in a moment, but this is the first day of the MAG. There are people that will tune in and follow the MAG that might not have actually followed yesterday's open consultations and I think it's really important to have a -- kind of a complete stand-alone record here.
So I'm Lynn St. Amour. I was reappointed as the IGF MAG chair, having served last year as the MAG chair and the year before that on the MAG. I have participated in every one of the IGFs. I was with the Internet Society as the president and CEO until the very end of 2013, so I was there for -- essentially there for about 16 years and the CEO for 14, and prior to that, participated in all the WSIS 1, WSIS 2 platforms as well, so have sort of been here for the full Internet governance journey as well.
You'll see my email address is actually Internet Matters. That was just a small part-time consulting company I set up after I left the Internet Society. It's in abeyance at the moment but that is the working email address.
I think that covers all the sort of relevant points there.
I want to thank just a couple of -- all the -- first of all, all the outgoing MAG members. I think we had a tremendous year last year, with a late and therefore compressed start. I think we actually made some good and important inroads in terms of improving the IGF, along with a lot of requests and comments we'd had from the MAG community. There's more to do. There's always more to do. But I really want to thank everybody for their support and all the MAG members for working again so hard in a compressed timetable to try and really do I think quite a number of new things.
I obviously need to thank the Mexican hosts for a fantastic, fantastic IGF, yesterday as we heard so much. Again, they had some of the same challenges we did with respect to sort of time compression and I think as somebody said yesterday, every IGF is always the best but I think that truly was the best.
Specifically, I'd like to thank Ambassador Benedicto Fonseca who had previously -- Brazil was the host country for 2015. They actually maintain a special role in the second year as well, but Ambassador Fonseca actually agreed to help support me alongside our Mexican cohosts as well with government outreach, as I didn't come from government and this was the first MAG chair that, in fact, had not come from a government position.
So I truly appreciated his support and all of his efforts and want to publicly thank him.
There are many other people to thank.
One notable one, of course, is Marilyn Cade for all of her support for the NRIs, and I said yesterday we've made tremendous progress with the NRIs over the last few years, largely due to the NRIs themselves and their efforts, but clearly supported by Marilyn, by Anja and the secretariat, and by the coordinators as well, and I think that's going to prove just even more valuable to our work going forward.
Need to thank all the BPF coordinators. There's quite a few of them. That was a significant piece of work. I think last year was only our third year doing BPFs but, you know, we made tremendous progress in all of them. The work is much valued and very useful and, you know, often complimented, so fantastic work there to all of them.
Avri and Markus for the work with dynamic coalitions or, in Markus' case, BPs as well. Again, the dynamic coalitions are really getting stronger and making really significant contributions, and Markus reported on that somewhat yesterday as well.
Miguel did some fantastic work with new formats, which I think really brought some new life into the IGF as well, so I really wanted to call that out. I'm sure I'm forgetting somebody.
Actually, I just remembered connecting and enabling the next billion. Constance and the Internet Society really helped move that forward over both of the last years, and I think that's become a very significant piece of work as well.
And then of course Chengetai, who very timely just came back in the room. You know, without Chengetai's, you know, just -- just sometimes almost superhuman but steadfast support for everything we do, and all the really great efforts of the secretariat, who do a tremendous, tremendous amount of work with less than sort of five resources, on average, over the course of the year, it really is remarkable how well all this works.
So just really want to recognize and thank you for all your support and contributions over the last year.
And with that, the next item on the agenda is to go to the 2016 IGF host comments, and Israel, I don't know if you have any words of introduction, but otherwise, I think we have a video? Israel, you have the floor.
>>ISRAEL ROSAS: Thank you. This is Israel Rosas, and I want to congratulate you for being reappointed as the MAG chair. I think that we are very fortunate to have you as a chair for this year. I want to thank also the IGF secretariat for the amazing effort, support, and commitment during the IGF 2016 meeting and during the preparatory process.
I want also to thank the Swiss government for hosting the IGF 2017 meeting. We wish you all the success. We are totally willing to share with you our learned lessons and we are sure that the meeting will be a total success.
Now, we in Mexico have the commitment to be a liaison between the global IGF and our local community in order to foster the participation of the Mexican stakeholders in the global community.
Now we have a video with the remarks of Mr. Victor Lagunes, the former host country honorary co-chair. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Israel.
[ Video playing ]
>>VICTOR LAGUNES: Good morning, everyone. Today I'm honored to address you with extreme satisfaction of having hosted the IGF 2016 meeting this past December in Jalisco, Mexico. It was a privilege but also came with some challenges. However, we know that in the multistakeholder community, these challenges are faced together.
For all this, I'd like to thank UN DESA, the IGF secretariat, the Internet community, and the MAG members for their valuable support provided to Mexico throughout last year as welcome. During the IGF 2016 meeting, more than 2,000 delegates from all over the world shared opinions, debated, and proposed best practices all dedicated to a stronger Internet governance framework in more than 200 sessions. The Internet community was encouraged to participate remotely with more than 2,000 delegates attending (indiscernible). Mexico, in its role of host country, offered five workshops and high-level meetings on day zero. In our country, we believe in the transformative power of the Internet, which we promote in our national digital strategy which focuses on government transformation, (indiscernible) open data, connectivity, interoperability, legal framework, among other fronts. This same spirit is shared at a regional level with the ALAC digital agenda shared by Mexico. The Internet is already the most powerful tool we have to democratize access to information, protect human rights, and to create more equality within our society. This in line with the 2030 sustainable development agenda and the WSIS mandates.
Since its creation, this community has positioned the IGF as the main reference on Internet governance. Now, after 11 successful meetings, we have built year by year a stronger IGF, which consolidates both the efforts of what are supporting regional and national government forums. I wish all the success to my colleagues from Switzerland, to the IGF secretariat, and to the 2017 Multistakeholder Advisory Group. We'll be more than willing and privileged to be able to continue our support to you going forward. Thank you all very much.
[ Video concludes ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Maybe we can all just acknowledge Mexico's great efforts with a round of applause.
[ Applause ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: And Israel, if you'd please pass our sincere congratulations on to Yolanda, Victoria, Victor, that would be much appreciated. Thank you.
With that, we come to the 2017 host country presentation.
So, again, let me just quickly introduce Thomas.
Thomas is the host country cochair. As I said yesterday, I've known Thomas for several years and worked with him in a number of different environments. We're lucky to have him and we're very fortunate to be in Switzerland. Switzerland offers us, and Geneva in particular, a wealth of opportunity in terms of the international organizations that are here. Obviously the United Nations Office of Geneva, access to, I think, about 170 or 180 missions in Geneva, not to mention, of course, all the other headquarters of private sector companies and other activities here.
So I think we're very fortunate. And it's also very accessible. It's quite sort of densely packed, if you will, in terms of offices and people we can access and initiatives and programs, key programs, particularly with all the other U.N. organizations as well.
And I hope that we keep that in mind as we actually look to the program and some of these efforts. We've always had a very significant interest in further outreach and deeper outreach, and more meaningful or more outputs which actually can be much more useful on the ground. So we have a lot of vehicles we can use to actually facilitate that here in Geneva and I think this is just an excellent opportunity to take advantage of that.
So a quick word on Thomas. Thomas earlier this year was appointed the vice director of the Swiss Federal Office of Communications, OFCOM, the English acronym, where he'll head the International Relations Service effective the 1st of April this year. He was appointed to that position as well as the vice director of the office by the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications.
He joined OFCOM in 2003, where he coordinated Switzerland's activities and positions in relation to the World Summit on the Information Society and numerous other Internet governance issues.
And as I said, of course WSIS 1 and WSIS 2 are really the core underpinning of much of what we do, if not virtually everything we do, here in the IGF, so it's -- we're incredibly lucky to have Thomas with that level of experience and subject matter knowledge on Internet governance.
So with that, I'll turn to Thomas to say some few words and then I think we can move into a more substantive presentation on the actual IGF here in December.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Yes. Thank you. And hello to those who haven't been here before, and of course congratulations to Lynn.
And I said a few things about let's say the political vision or the -- that we have as the host of this year. I will not repeat everything. That can be -- can be read in the transcript. I'll concentrate on some key issues.
The most important for us is that although we hadn't planned this for years to host the IGF, that was rather a spontaneous thing that came up towards the end of last year, we quickly realized that this is an opportunity, a win/win situation opportunity for us as a country, as a government, as well as for the IGF itself or as we hope and believe for the global community.
Because as I said yesterday, we have a new strategy. It's about the fourth or fifth one since the first strategy that was called Federal Strategy on the Information Society in the '90s. The new strategy that we have since last year is called Digital Switzerland, and the funny thing is -- we'll get to that later -- that when we talked about information society or Internet governance, nobody really knew what that was and what to do with this. Now that we're calling it Digital Switzerland, parliamentarians, businesses, everybody is extremely interested and wants to be part of this and the implementation and so on and so forth.
And we have a series of multistakeholder dialogue events on national level in Switzerland. One of the key ones -- some of them are organized by us. Others are organized by other stakeholders, civil society, businesses, academia, technical community. One of the key ones will be our national IGF that will take place at the end of May in Bern. Another one will be a big national dialogue day in November. And there are a number of others -- as I said, there is private sector organization called Digital Switzerland. Surprise, surprise about the name. That is also gathering more and more important stakeholders. And we are cooperating with them and a number of other events.
And it makes perfect sense to at the end of the year basically have the whole -- the experts of the whole world come to Geneva and where our Swiss stakeholders can learn from the experience from other countries and hopefully we can also contribute with our discussions and experience to better understanding for others of relevant issues. So this is the national side where the timing is great in that sense. And they're very happy to have this opportunity.
For the IGF and for the global community, in addition to our small country hoping to feed in some of the substance and experience into the process in Geneva is not just a Swiss city, we actually call it (non-English word or phrase). It's considered in Switzerland as something special. Everybody knows what this is, and the reason is obvious. We are sitting here in the U.N. We have a number of intergovernmental institutions that deal with a number of -- lots of things that have more and more links to the Internet, to the digital world, to the virtual world. I will not name them all now. And there are a number of private think tanks. There are a number of private companies that have their offices or even headquarters here. There are a number of NGOs that work in different fields that are related to Internet governance and to digital issues. And we think it's actually a huge opportunity to try and bring as many of these experts that are not Swiss people but they come from all over the world, they just happen to be here, to try and bring them into the IGF, get them in contact with the traditional, let's say, IGF community and hope to contribute to something that makes the IGF a relevant event but also that should help to transport the discussions and insights and learnings from the IGF into all of these institutions so that they can take better informed decisions in their own fora later on.
And, of course, we hope that these connections that we hope to establish will stay also for the following IGFs. So this is really something that we all see as a huge opportunity, and we can come to this later when we talk about the theme and the overall, let's say, vision of this IGF.
But for us, what is key -- and we had a discussion last night with the director-general of UNOG here in Geneva, our ambassador to the Swiss mission, Lynn, and Chengetai and some other people. We really want to use the fact that we are here in Geneva to liaise with all these institutions. And what we've realized -- and this is something that came up yesterday already, came up in the retreat last year, that we have not been too good in communicating what Internet governance is, what the IGF does, what the value added of this dialogue forum is. And we have to improve this in order to make people understand what the value of a conference is that does not take decisions but is actually understanding issues, helping people to understand each other's roles and functions and setting agendas, giving space for emerging ideas, emerging issues, emerging opportunities. This is something that also on a national level we realized we need to be better in explaining. We all here. We know the potential. We believe in it. But many others don't really understand because we have so far not really taken the effort that we could have or should have to really explain this and adapt this or translate this into the issues that they deal with, into their worlds because the links are there. To us, they are obvious. To the others, they are not always obvious.
So we are very committed together with the chair of the MAG, with the IGF secretariat, with UNOG who will be the, let's say, physical host of the IGF because it will be on these premises, with UN DESA, with everybody who is involved and, of course, us as the host country to really make this link, to explain the value added of the IGF to those who we think would benefit from participation themselves but also would add to the quality and relevance of the IGF for others, and to make these links and to make them understand why it is important and useful and a win-win for everybody, that they engage more with us, with the, let's say, traditional -- I won't say hard core but maybe core IGF people because this is the opportunity now in Geneva to boost the IGF into all spheres or as many spheres as possible where Internet issues are relevant.
I will stop here. I think the discussion will go on on this. And I will just give you a few informations about logistics and so on. First of all, as I said yesterday, we will have a Web site like the other host countries did. And, of course, actually the Mexican Web site is extremely good. It is simple, straightforward. Everything is there that needs to be there. So we took the liberty to let us inspire by the Web site of last year.
We have a URL registered. It's called igf2017.swiss. This is a new gTLD for the ICANN people here. It's a community TLD that we as a government applied for to put at the disposal of the Swiss community. Since although the IGF will take place in Geneva, of course, we consider all of the participants of the IGF as part of the Swiss community. So that will be the domain, IGF2017.swiss.
And it will basically contain similar information to what previous hosts have put on their, in particular the last one. There are some -- the situation is in some respects slightly different because we are not going to a venue somewhere in, I don't know, Basel or St. Gallen where I came from, but we will be staying in the Palais Des Nations. Many people know how to get here and how it works. The issue of visa is something that there is maybe -- hopefully less questions than with other places because our foreign ministry and the U.N., of course, they do these every day. So there will be information on how to get a visa. There will be information on how to get here to Geneva.
There will be information on how to get free transport tickets because we have a system that if you land at the airport, there's a machine before you leave the airport that gives you a free ticket downtown to your hotel. And in the hotel you get a free ticket for the public transport and so on and so forth. So all this information will be there.
With regard to the hotel, we checked with the foreign ministry, those who deal with the conference and locally. There will not be a special agreement with the local hotel industry because with the dates of 18 to 21 December, the hotel bookings will be fairly low compared to high seasons like March, April or September, October, for instance. So there are enough hotels available at good rates. So this is a -- and Geneva is able to cope with, let's say, around 2,000 participants for the IGF. And there is nothing going on in that week that would be, like, a competition to hotel rooms. This is the advantage of actually having -- one of the advantages of having it in that particular week of the 18th December.
There are some possibilities that we're currently looking together with the IGF secretariat. There's the -- that was mentioned yesterday already. There's the Geneva International Welcome Center that has some facilities or some connections to subsidize hotel rooms, and we'll look in to what extent we may be able to use that. Of course, also knowing that Geneva is -- you have the City of Geneva and you have areas around that are connected by public transport quite well. So it's not only the city of Geneva but it's also the areas around Geneva that have hotels, some of them at fairly cheaper rates. So we consider the hotel issue as no problem in particular for that period, that weekend in the year. But there will be information about this also on our Web site.
And then let me quickly check what is on the Mexican Web site, what else.
[ Laughter ]
Registration will be done --
[ Laughter ]
Yeah, it's a very good one.
Registration will be done through the IGF Web site, of course. We'll somehow -- we're currently trying to find out what the requirements are for streaming and remote participation and so on and so forth. There will be some links or information to YouTube. Or whatever the exact modalities will be, we are still in discussion. There will be some information about the venue, but. As I said, this is something that many people are quite familiar with and the information is already around.
So that's more or less going to be it for the Web site, which we are basically putting together now. And the plan is to have this ready by the end of April. So enough time ahead of the conference.
Maybe one more thing that people are curious about which is the so-called zero day, just a few words for us. The priority of the IGF is clear, that we want to invest all our resources that we have into the IGF itself. We want to have a good IGF, a good bottom-up, organized IGF where everybody can make his or her voice heard.
We are trying to also do something to discuss with the MAG to see how we can make the opening ceremony and the welcoming part of the IGF as open and, in particular, as interactive as possible, high level but interactive. This is the goal. We'll see how much we get.
And we would only foresee to organize a zero day if there was a clear value added.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I'm very sorry for interrupting. I just think I need to do a little bit of bridging here.
Day zero in this room means more than just the high-level political forum.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: I know.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: If you can make it clear that right now your discussion is focused on a high-level political forum, not all the other activities that take place in day zero.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Yes, thank you for clarifying. For the time being, I'm talking about the high-level events that have emerged in the last year that were in the main responsibility of the host.
So unless we see a clear value added to doing something that's not a duplication of the opening ceremony and other high-level parts of the IGF, we do not intend to organize something in addition. That does not mean there will not be meetings, side events, and so on, prep meetings on a zero day or even on a minus one day. So we together with the secretariat, we are looking into making rooms available for those who wish to meet like this has happened before in the Palais. Or if it's not in the Palais, there are other conference venues close by in walking distance like the (saying name) which some of you may know in front of the ITU. So there will be rooms available according to the needs for site events and prep meetings. But let's say the high-level zero day is not something that's a priority for us. We want to really focus on making the IGF itself high level and relevant.
I stop here. There may be questions or comments that I'm happy to take. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. And let me just stress again on the terminology, I think, because I have had far too many requests from people believing that day zero is kind of canceled or something. So maybe if we want to talk about the high-level political -- we really just call it the high-level political event.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: We usually just call it the HLM.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: The HLM. It stands for what?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: High-level meeting or HLLM, high-level leaders meeting.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Because day zero actually has some very substantive events, Best Bits and GIGAnet and ISOC and ICANN. And they are not just sort of smaller preparatory meetings or side events. They are significant other meetings so I just want to make sure that's really clear because I have had a number of questions on that.
Elizabeth, is it to this point?
>>ELIZABETH THOMAS-RAYNAUD: Can you hear me? Okay. I just wanted to ask a quick question about if the venue is the Palais here, obviously that's terrific. The security doesn't have to scope out the venue and ask the questions. But how will we actually manage the capacity of all those people to come into the Palais at the same time? Just thinking of the security lineup sometimes in front, including this morning and yesterday.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you. We'll open up the registration at 4:00 in the morning of Monday.
[ Laughter ]
So everybody gets in by 9:00. No, of course, you're right. And we knew that and we are sorting out the details. But the plan is to have -- if we don't use the Palais on the weekend before, i.e., on day zero, day minus one, the registration will be open on Sunday, probably as well on Saturday because, as you say, we can't get 2,000 people registered here in this entrance. So we are aware of the issue and we will somehow do our best that people can register already on Sunday, probably as well on Saturday depending on the concrete solutions that we find.
I hope -- Chengetai, complement me. You live here so you know things better than I.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: We are still working it out. But, you know, one of the solutions is, you know, registration is open on Saturday and Sunday. We have a -- you know, we are also thinking of having a tent out there. And also, I mean -- I don't want to say things that will, you know, tell the DSS, the security services, what to do. But we have other entrances and we can make, you know, arrangements.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Juan, you have the floor.
>>JUAN FERNANDEZ: Yes, my question is back to day zero. I think that yesterday you mentioned that day zero, the MAG will have some -- under the purview. Do the MAG -- I'm asking that. Will the day zero events, will the MAG screen them? Will we put the requirement? Will it be totally independent? I'm asking this because the IGF has been done -- the participation of non-governmental organizations has been under U.N. rules. And some organizations that doesn't fit the requirements of U.N. rules are tried in previous IGF to organize events in day zero, events that has been very controversial. And I think that is not the spirit, not of the IGF and even less the spirit of Geneva.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I think this is probably going to take tag teaming across the three of us up here. Juan's point goes to the fact that day zero is actually under the formal U.N. summit. So day zero has been a host country sort of set of activities, if you will.
Last year the MAG did ask to -- because normally the MAG isn't involved in the host country responsibilities on day zero. I did ask to see those events, and we were kindly accommodated by Mexico. And I would expect we would be as well with Switzerland.
I don't know if Chengetai wants to add anything specifically, but...
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: We're still fine-tuning -- lastly we were still fine-tuning the system. We are more and more aware of where the sensitivities lie. So we're going to do the same, and I think when we do -- yeah.
>>JUAN FERNANDEZ: Last year the Mexican organizers were understanding of the situation. I think it worked very well. I'm just saying, I hope and I expect this time it will work again.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Just a quick remark. As we are new to this as the organizers, of course, we'll basically rely on established functioning practices or help clarifying them, if that's possible or necessary. Of course, Geneva is a city where anybody can organize an event in whatever venue, if this is not formally linked, let's say, to the IGF. So there may be events if somebody wants to organize an event on Friday or Saturday or Sunday or during these days. This is not up -- this is not up to us as IGF, to our control, I would say.
Whatever is linked to the IGF, we will rely on the practices that have been established over the past years. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Let me just ask Chengetai if there's anything he wants to add to sort of the overall -- I know we normally get into the detail quite quickly. I don't know whether there's anything you want to add with respect to any of the premises or overall framework or anything that will help the discussions before we start moving into the program shaping?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Not really. I think Thomas covered most of it.
You know, this is the Palais, this is the place where the event is going to take place. As you can see with the furniture, we don't have that much room to make changes to the rooms, so, you know, what you see is what you get here. We can't really change anything much.
But, you know, there's a whole host of rooms, since it's the U-shaped or hollow-shaped table was one of the most popular formats, we've got plenty of rooms that fit that. So we can't play around with what's here and, you know, people know.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: And we have basically the same level of capacity in terms of -- not that we necessarily want to continue with the same number. I'm not assuming that, since we always have a lot of comments on reducing competing events, but there are no kind of capacity restrictions overall or -- I'm just trying to anticipate the questions we traditionally get and see if we can answer them up front here.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Capacity restrictions? Not really. I'm just looking at the team over here if they have any comments, as such, but no.
I mean, none that I can think of at the moment.
Just -- I mean, you're all aware of what goes on here and you're all aware of what more or less we're capable of. I mean, if there's anything that comes that's extraordinary, we can discuss it, but -- yeah.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I have Segun in the could you and then Haojun.
>>SEGUN OLUGBILE: Thank you, Chair. I just want to have a discussion on behalf of my African colleagues.
I have this impression that in December it will be extremely very cold. I want to know if you have a provision for African delegates, maybe to make things easy for us. Thank you.
[ Laughter ]
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you. Actually, I've been to Nairobi last month and it was significantly warmer than here, so I think I know what you mean.
Well, yeah, the weather conditions may not be as nice as they have been last year in Mexico, but you never know what you get with the new climate that we have. You may get 15 degrees or 20 degrees in December or minus 10. So that's not necessarily in our full control. But, yeah. So I don't know what concrete supports that you would ask for.
We'll make sure that there's heating, I think, in the rooms and also in the hotels. And the buses are normally also somehow heated. But maybe you can compliment it.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: We can discuss it. I mean, if you have got any particular ideas, you know, we can -- you can come to me or to any of us and we can discuss it and see what we can do.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Segun. Okay. I have the following MAG members in the cue. I have Haojun and then we'll go to Zeina and with exception, Canada, we'll take you in the queue after.
>>HAOJUN JI: Thank you, Madam Chair. The upcoming IGF meeting will be held in this place in this compound, right? I think this is a good idea because we're here, we have, you know, secretariat and equipment, so many meeting rooms. It's great. But in the meantime, we have to be aware that Palais des -- this place is very politically sensitive, and the access control of the participants -- because we are going to have lots of participants from civil society, private companies, and civic groups. Many of those groups would -- you know, member states of United Nations would have difficulty for some particular organization or particular people to come to this place, and, you know, now the host -- whole international situation is very complicated, and there are lots of entire globalization people and the Trump people and also the Chinese people, of course, and there are some organizations which have extreme tendencies which was tagged -- you know, labeled by some countries as terrorist groups and they would like to take advantage of such a good opportunity to use this conference as a great platform for their cause, and we have to be very much aware the political sensitivity involved and we hope the U.N. and Switzerland can work together to put in place a strict screening process that makes sure that controversial people and organizations are not allowed into this compound. Thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes. Thank you for the question.
The IGF 2017 is going to be a U.N. meeting. These are U.N. grounds. We follow U.N. rules. And we do also have our IGF code of conduct. So that's there. And we're here to discuss issues concerning Internet governance. We're not here to name or shame anyone or make ad hominem attacks, et cetera. We're here to discuss the issues, not who did what or whatever. It's the issues that we're here for.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. So we have quite a large queue for the moment.
We have Zeina, Canada, and then we have five online participants. I'd like to draw the line under that set of speakers for the moment. I'm assuming that if you're in the queue, it's on the subjects that have been raised to date. And then after we're done with those, I have a couple of opening remarks and then I think we should go to the working group on the workshop evaluation.
I know that may feel like an early tactical move but it's a really critical piece of work and it's critical to us getting the program started and I want to make sure that the MAG has enough time to actually assess the proposed changes so that we can finalize on that before the end of the day tomorrow.
And before that, I'm going to give the floor back to Florida for a moment and then we'll go -- Florida.
[ Laughter ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I'm going to give the floor back to Thomas for a moment and then go to Zeina.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you. I just wanted to also react to what our Chinese colleague said.
Of course we do understand that this is a critical and sensitive issues -- issue, and we take this very seriously, as always.
What I think is not special is that every IGF is -- in the end, the venue is U.N. territory. You have U.N. security people no matter where -- on what -- in what city. So it's U.N. grounds. The U.N. rules are followed. We had the IGF 2011, I think, in Nairobi that was held in a U.N. regional office. So formally I don't see any difference with this one.
Of course this place may have a more symbolic importance, but as I said, we'll -- we're happy to look into this, also together with -- and look at concerns, but formally the rules are basically the same for every IGF. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Zeina, you have the floor.
>>ZEINA BOU HARB: Yes. Just a quick question.
First, is there any expectation of the number of people that might be participating in the coming IGF, mainly from Switzerland, and is there -- the biggest -- or the largest hall at the U.N., how many people can it accommodate it if we cannot move the furniture and we got what we see?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: So -- I'm sorry -- we'll never know exactly how many people are going to come until the day. We usually have, what, 2,300 people coming in, and so we may have more, we may have a little less, we're not too sure.
As for the rooms, the biggest room which we need for the opening, which is -- we have the main assembly hall. I don't know if you've seen it. That's a little bit over 2,000 people.
So if that's not big enough, we can also have another room which is an overflow room and we've made those arrangements in other IGFs, so if that room is full, people can go to an overflow room and watch the proceedings on a screen. I mean, that's the only thing we can do.
But for the workshops, et cetera, I mean, we've got quite large rooms -- you know, 400 capacity, 700 capacity -- so that -- I don't think we'll have the problem of having a small room that we can -- and there's over 25 rooms. We're not going to use all of them. Hopefully we're going to stick to the 11 rooms. But that's...
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Chengetai. Canada?
>>CANADA: Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
My name is Chrystiane Roy. I'm here with the Canadian permanent mission. I'm sorry, I was not entirely familiar with MAG procedures, if we non-MAG members can take the floor or not, so I'm sorry if I'm out of line, but I just wanted to react to some of the comments and offer some reassurance to some of the MAG members who may not have the chance to come to the Palais regularly. I mean, obviously this infrastructure is in place here for a long time. It regularly hosts huge meetings. I mean, the Human Rights Council is going on right now. There's lots of civil society organizations that show up for that. You have the review conference for disarmament treaties and whatnot that happen regularly. So there is a good capacity here, I think, to absorb the volume and be able to process it and provide adequate vetting as we have for all of these other things.
And the other thing that I would like to point out is perhaps a call to the secretariat. I know that I do this for when I have Canadian delegations coming into town, is on the Thursday or the Friday, the badges are already available, so I can go and collect them prior to the event starting on the Monday, so perhaps in your organization, you can work with the missions to say, "Hey, by the way, you know, you have a delegation of five coming in. Perhaps your mission driver can come and pick up the badges on Thursday," and you will already be decreasing the volume of people at the door for the Monday morning session.
So I would wholeheartedly encourage you to reach out to mission and use us to facilitate entry on the morning of.
And finally, one last thing. In Canada, we have a saying that there is no bad weather, there is only bad clothing, all right? And I fully appreciate the concerns of our African colleagues here, and perhaps one of the things you'll want to add to your Web site is resources where people can buy perhaps secondhand winter boots or secondhand jackets to keep them warm for a couple of days and be able to return them to that store afterwards for resale, but I think that that certainly is a resource that -- you know, Canada often welcomes immigrants from Syria, and usually we meet them at the airport with a winter jacket and a pair of boots. We may not be able to do this for all IGF participants in December, but certainly provide them with resources where they can equip themselves. That, I think, would be very considerate for our people coming from southern warmer climates. Thank you very much.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you. Maybe we can make a deal. If people from Africa bring in the African sun in their hearts to Geneva, we give them some warm clothing. That would be excellent. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: That's lovely, actually. No, and maybe this is a good point. I mean, you're right, I didn't actually restate again that today is sort of a reverse of yesterday.
As a priority, MAG members are given the floor. There is an expectation that for the most part it is only MAG members that speak. This is where we actually do our programmatic work. Other speakers are recognized by exception of the chair, which does happen with some, you know, regularity, and I think your intervention was very helpful and certainly right to the point. So thank you.
Haojun, you have the floor again and then, yes, we'll go to Indonesia in the back. Haojun?
>>HAOJUN JI: Bad weather, good clothing. I'm sure that, you know, in Geneva there are lots of skiing equipment shops and they will need such clothing that you can rent temporary, but I assure you to rent is much more expensive than to buy, and to buy from China is the best way.
[ Laughter ]
>>HAOJUN JI: And about -- I'd like to go back to the access control. I'm happy that U.N. rules and procedures will be applied, but our experience is that in this place, in Palais des Nations, in the past -- over the past few years, certain elements of terrorist groups, criminal refugees from China, you know, allowed into this compound under certain pretext and we wish to make sure that such things never happen again. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Moedjiono, Indonesia.
>>MOEDJIONO SARDJOENI: Okay. I have a question. Have you decide the date of the IGF, next IGF? On December, but there's no date.
And the second thing is the place. Geneva is very crowded. How about if you decide another place for -- in Zurich -- maybe in Bern or in Zurich or something like that? So not too crowded like now. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: The dates are actually the 18th through the 21st of December, and a little unusually, that means Monday through Thursday, where typically we've run Tuesday to Friday. But those dates are confirmed. And Geneva is definitely confirmed.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you. Thank you for your question. I live in Zurich so I would be happy to have you all next door. The thing is that we have announced the dates in Mexico at the closing, so it's 18 through 21. We decided to choose Monday to Thursday instead of the usual traditional Tuesday to Friday for the main reason that we want everybody to be able to -- those at least that are Christians to be able to be home for the Christmas holidays, no matter how far away you are from Switzerland.
So this is -- and it may happen -- it normally doesn't, but it may happen that it is too cold and then some airplanes -- or some airports are not equipped to de-ice planes. In Switzerland we're used to that, but sometimes our neighbors and other European countries that have hubs -- I'm not looking at Mark from London at all -- they sometimes have problems with de-icing airplanes.
So just to be sure that everybody is home, this is why we decided to put it on Monday to Thursday.
And about Geneva, as we've heard, the Palais des Nations has held bigger meetings. When we organized the WSIS, the summit in 2003, that was as well December, that was in the -- what's it called -- in the Palexpo out close to the airport and we had 12,000 participants for the summit and we had 38,000 participants or visitors of the exhibition, the ICT for the exhibition, so we are fair -- we have no doubt that Geneva will be able to cope with this.
And as you see, the distances are fairly short. So while you have to wait for shuttles or public transport for long distances, it's -- actually almost everything is in 10, 15 minutes, or even less, walking distance from here. From the train station, the airport is fairly close. So we are convinced that there won't be any, let's say, logistical problems of that sort. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: So let me just -- this has been a nice gentle start to the morning, but we need to get down to work fairly soon here.
I closed the queue a little while ago. Michael and Mamadou are in the queue, and then I'd like to make just a few remarks and then move to Rasha to take us through the workshop evaluation proposal and then move to lunch.
If we can work towards that agenda, I think that would be helpful.
If there are more specific questions, questions on transportation or clothing, we can do that off line or on the mailing list, perhaps. This is really valuable face-to-face time right here. I think we need to use it to move our work forward.
So Michael, you have the floor.
>>MICHAEL ILISHEBO: Hello. My issue concerns the visa application processes. What procedure do you put in place to ensure that delegates are able to get their visas without difficulties?
And also, issues to do with the visas with us African MAG members. It is quite tiresome to go to an embassy every now and then to go and get a visa. Like if I'm to attend the December IGF as a MAG member, I will still need to go and apply for a new visa. Having 20, 50 visas in your passports in a period of two years actually decreases the life span of one's passport. I travel a lot so basically a passport for me is valid for me for two years, which is supposed to be valid for 10 years. So, therefore, for MAG members, whose chances of them returning for a second or third term, is it possible that you can come up with a way where you have a document that states that one can be given a long-term visa to attend, say, just for Geneva alone, where meetings are held? Thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes. So we do work with the Swiss mission here for visas. I mean, for your case, you were not yet confirmed as a MAG member. That's why you probably only got one, and that's what the letter stated. But there are several people in this room who are MAG members and we requested that they have multiple entry visas over a longer period of time and they got it. I mean, the Swiss mission is very good, especially since -- and this is Geneva. A lot of meetings happen here. So they are well-versed in how to cater for participants coming in. So the next time you apply for a visa, I'm sure it's going to -- I mean, I can't promise you. But I'm sure it's going to cover the next MAG meeting and the annual meeting that's going to be here in December.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: (off microphone).
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Basically, yeah.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: You could speak to Chengetai offline for help on that.
Mamadou, you have the floor.
>> MAMADOU LO: It was quite easy to get visa. It quite easy to get visa just for the meeting. And the next time we apply for the next two meetings. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Again, if there's a specific circumstance, you can take it with Chengetai offline.
Patrick, did you have --
>> PATRICK: Can you hear me? Good morning, everybody. Patrick from the Swiss mission. Just a very short comment concerning visas. Of course as Chengetai said, the Swiss mission is also totally applied in the organization of the visas. What members must know is that the most important thing to start with is to get the official invitation to this meeting. And then after that, you go through the usual visa procedures according to the Swiss embassies or Schengen embassies abroad. But what you don't have to forget is that Switzerland is, of course, part of Schengen system. There are visa policy principles that have to be respected by Switzerland as all other Schengen countries.
Just make sure that you get your invitation and contact as well in advance the concerned embassy to get the visa. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Patrick.
Okay. So now it's time, I think, to get to the sort of shaping of our work for the IGF here. Again, I have a couple of introductory remarks. Good news is we have nine years ahead of us. Bad news is we have used up one plus. There was an awful lot of enthusiasm for the IGF being much more ambitious in its work in terms of helping to ensure impact and getting out to the local levels. There was request for multiyear strategic work program. There was a request for significant increase in outreach activities, specifically to developing countries and to engage new participants and new partners. And some of this, in fact, was actually called for specifically in the WSIS+10 when the IGF mandate was extended.
We have really only a couple of open items from the CSTD Working Group on Improvements, and Peter Major is here. And we had started preliminary discussions with respect to how we can continue to move those forward. And I think some we have legitimate closure on and they are done. Some are open and probably are a matter of continual evolution and you can imagine them being open for some time.
That plus some of the other desires that came out of the retreat, some of those were operational improvements. Some of them were more with respect to kind of terms and reference activities. And we want to move all those forward this year.
As I said, last year we were compressed in a timetable. And I think we made a lot of progress in some of the operational improvements but not some of the more strategic. I know the MAG wants to get to those more strategic issues. To do so, we're going to need to move forward a little more efficiently, I think, in some in our more operational and programmatic work. That may mean rely on working groups more. A key piece of that, as I said earlier, I think, is the working group work on the workshop proposal and evaluation process. I think we can streamline that, save some time, and get some additional cycles, if you will out of the MAG, actually move that work forward. That's why I'm so keen on trying to progress it here.
We also have heard many times over the last year that we need to ensure that the outputs from our work actually gets to the places where it can have an impact, where it's needed most. I think historically in the IGF, whether you were organizing a panel or workshop or a best practice forum or a dynamic coalition, I actually think our mindset often set to we need to get to the event, produce a paper, and then we can start to thinking about what we're doing next year.
As I said yesterday, I don't think that's nearly enough. I think we need to challenge ourselves to both figure out how we get the work and all the excellent, excellent, excellent work we're doing to the places where it can really be helpful.
And I think that will require us rethinking some of our own processes internally. It may require thinking about how we scope some of the proposals we're looking for. One could well-imagine in some of our activities where we ask people to specifically say what are the communities, what are the stakeholders, what are the entities, what are the groups that would find this work useful and have a plan for how we actually get it to them.
So I really want to stress that. I know the MAG feels as strongly as I do about the need to really get that work and will help. A lot of the comments we hear about it perhaps being not well-enough recognized or people think we are only a talk shop is because we're not actually, I think, taking that work, that final step, and we're not actually showing it well enough.
So I put that out there so we can come back to that over the course of the days. I will also say at the same time that we are running under the Tunis Agenda which gives us our mandate which also has some fairly clear direction with respect to, for the most part, I think, expectations on the work and also outlines some things that we won't do. It's not a process that's going to get a signed treaty or a signed document or a regulation or any of those sorts of things. It's about outputs and getting the outputs to the right places where they can actually have an impact.
I think the final comment maybe -- maybe there's two. As I mentioned, we have just the richness of Geneva here in terms of the international organizations and the missions, the United Nations, all the affiliated activities and initiatives that are here as well. We need to challenge ourselves a little bit with respect to how we actually work with them to help, I think, broaden and richen the IGF program and also, again, really support sort of impact on a ground level. Clearly a lot of our intersessional activities will be really helpful in that. Clearly the national and regional initiatives will be central, all the time, of course, respecting their autonomy and independence from us. But I think we need to open up more kind of channels, bandwidth between our in those activities as well.
Maybe my final thought before we go into the next work is if you go to the IGF 2017 Web site, there is a section called reference documents. And third or fourth document down, Eleanor posted the themes in one PowerPoint, the themes and subthemes for all of the IGF. And actually you go into some of the comments about people don't understand IGF, those that aren't aware of it don't think it's not relevant to them.
Our titles are all pretty descriptive, Internet governance for development, internet governance for sustainable human -- we might want to turn this around a little bit.
I will ask Thomas to share about a theme they put in place for EuroDIG. If we could find a way to somehow say why Internet governance matters, why it's important, so we get them curious about it and not describing what we are here to do because the titles are fairly specific, which is to some benefit I suppose.
I think it says to an awful lot of people, I don't know why I go to that conference. I'm not interested in whatever access or development and we know that when we talk about it, it's very, very broad.
Thomas, maybe I can ask you to comment on your story.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Yes, thank you. But as I told you yesterday, I happen to also be on the European Dialogue for Internet Governance that started in 2008. It has moved many places in Europe since then.
At some point in the beginning, we didn't have a theme or something. And it was actually for Stockholm in 2012, but we had the same feelings that it's difficult to communicate for the regional IGF, given the number of other conferences. And we felt we needed to communicate more directly to the people so that they understand that the dialogue to Internet governance matters to them.
And the most compelling title -- there is an intense debate because it was slightly unusual or subtitle or theme or whatever you call it that we had in Stockholm, we agreed to put who sets the rules on the Internet with a question mark as the theme. And we realized that people, when they read about who sets the rules on the Internet, which is a very simple translation of actually the working definition of Internet governance, if you want, that boosted the interest and the understanding of EuroDIG significantly because everybody has -- has some experience and some expectations about the rules and the Internet, or the parts of the Internet or the services that they use. And we then, since then, continued with titles that are less descriptive but actually more trying to target people.
And the latest one, we just had the prep meeting for the EuroDIG in Tallinn. That's going to be in Tallinn in Estonia in June 2017 and there was a prep meeting in January in Tallinn, and if I'm remembering it out of my head, the new theme will be "Digital Transformation, Promises and Pitfalls," which is also -- we had a discussion about how far can we go with a little bit, let's say, journalistic type of titles, but we are convinced that we need to, yeah, lower the threshold to attract people to make people understand what this is about.
So the -- the closer you get to the issues or the things that are relevant for the daily lives, the more interest you will get in an IGF. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Again, that was just to sort of, I think, foster a little bit of discussion over the lunch break. That's the slide I was talking about just a moment ago, the PowerPoint slide, which is -- so you can see the -- I mean, I think it's just the short and a descriptive, which as I said has its own benefit, but I don't think they're telling people why they should care about an Internet Governance Forum and why they should come.
So we could think about that a little bit as we strike the theme. That would be excellent.
I'll recognize you in one moment, but then I just want Rasha to get prepared and to do whatever we need to do AV-wise here.
This may seem a little bit out of order in terms of going to a fairly kind of tactical discussion on the workshop proposal evaluation, but as I said several times already, it's essential that we get this out by the end of the day tomorrow in terms of making that time frame.
We need MAG support and approval for this. When you do that, you need to be thinking about the community as well as the MAG itself. And that would allow us to go forward and have some subsequent discussions over lunch, this evening, and possibly tomorrow morning and get some assessment from Luis and the I.T. folks on various implementation aspects.
So with your forbearance, we'll go to that in a moment, but first, you have the floor.
>>JIVAN KURBALIJIA: Thank you very much for giving me the floor and hello to everyone. My name is Jivan. I'm an outgoing MAG member and currently a diplomat posted here. Thank you again for giving me the floor. I have to come back to the Human Rights Council, but I wanted to kind of just flow into this conversation because I think that it is relevant. And that is, you mentioned that we are in Geneva where there are a lot of resources and a lot of different ideas that can be perhaps explored that haven't been able to be explored until now. One of them is the fact that -- one stakeholder group that we've kind of in the whole Internet governance community and the conversations that go around it that has been not outreached to enough is parliamentarians. If we are talking about policy options, discussions, these policy options, we see courts taking -- and a lot of countries -- a role. And that is, I think, because there's a vacuum in many countries in the national policies of dealing with new issues that are actually Internet governance issues, content issues that are related to Internet governance issues. So parliamentarians, many countries don't understand this. And they need to be at least to some degree immersed in these conversations.
We have -- we're organizing in Macedonia on the 24th and 25th SEEDIG, the Southeast Europe Dialogue on Internet Governance, speaking again of national and regional initiatives. And we're thinking of -- we're considering of having our parliamentarians invite some of the parliamentarians in southeastern Europe just to get them immersed, just for them to hear what the issues are. And given that it is Geneva and the Interparliamentarian Union is in Geneva, there might be possibilities again of thinking along these lines, of having parliamentarians here, listen, perhaps organize thematic conversations on this.
So just an idea to throw out. Back to human rights. Good luck and Godspeed.
[ Laughter ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: And actually these days, the same to you. Thank you.
So Rasha is going to introduce some work. Last year -- and actually, frankly, most of the years we've looked for improvements both on how we send out the call for proposals which, of course, is very targeted towards the community and then how we evaluate them on the back end. A working group has been meeting to suggest some changes to that process. It is on the MAG list which, in fact, is an open list as well.
All MAG members should have that, and there should be a draft calendar attached to that as well. Talking slowly here to stall a little bit of time for A.V.
Apart from -- what we'll go through in just a moment here, of course, the specific changes to the process. Maybe one of the things I can point out, when you look at the timetables, we added a couple of extra steps. Last year again because it was so compressed and we wanted to get responses back to the community quite early and not go through the long summer period in the northern hemisphere, we were on a very compressed timetable. In fact, I think the secretariat had three days to do the analysis and the MAG actually got the analysis of the top-ranked workshops the morning the MAG meeting started, which doesn't allow an awful lot of time for thoughtful review or any sort of supportive preparation work.
So we've put in some additional timetable before the workshops are actually sent to the MAG for review. That will help talk a little bit about the diversity and the structure. One of the major differences is we're proposing that we review the workshops by format so that we're looking at all the sessions that said they were a debate and we're comparing against a debate format because there were different criteria. So we will have criteria that says this is actually how you assess a debate format. This is the criteria for how you assess a panel format. Whereas, I think this past year they were pretty much sort of generic criteria.
Also tried to consolidate them a little bit. But that will actually allow some additional front-end processing. And then on the back end, after the MAG has actually submitted their reviews, the secretariat is going to do a series of analysis to actually identify kind of the appropriate sort of -- the balances or the imbalances so we'll know -- of course, a whole bunch of diversity characteristics, what is the gender, is it the proposers' first time, what are the regions, what are the stakeholders, all those things. The secretariat has said they will do that analysis and provide to us. Again, it was done last year but it was done a little bit on the fly in the background by some staff, some MAG members. And it was not the smoothest process. So we're looking to front end that with some additional work with the secretariat.
And then the timetable also allows for the MAG to actually have those results of that analysis for a week before the MAG meeting. So we can look at that and then ourselves judge whether or not there are some other workshops we should pull forward to help address and any imbalances or to get a more appropriate balance. I'm hoping that we're ready to go here. Are we ready to go, Rasha? Rasha has been leading the working group, so, thank you. We'll take this up to the top of the hour.
>>RASHA ABDULLA: All right. Thank you, Lynn. And good morning everybody, again.
We tried to accomplish several things when doing that, keeping in mind the main values that the process should have. And the most important thing that we had in mind was that we be able to dedicate more attention to each individual proposal and at the same time try to create a sense of fairness and more objectivity in the overall evaluation process so that no matter who the individual is that is evaluating a workshop, there is some consistency across -- across the scores or the numbers that that workshop ends up with.
And the thing is that at the end of the day when we're making the cut, we have to -- it's a very small difference. So you have to decide whether you're going to stop at 3.74 or 3.75. So really every single score matters. And that was basically the main concern that we had in mind. We want to try to make the process as fair as possible and as consistent as possible. And we want to try to give every individual workshop the attention that it fully deserves.
The system that was -- that's currently in place until the last IGF, we don't think managed to do that in the best way possible. And basically the reason is every single MAG member ends up reviewing every single session proposal, which is a lot. And so if you're -- you know, if you're on to session 100 and something, you've kind of forgotten what you did with the first one. It's difficult to maintain consistency across a very large number of workshops. It's just not humanly possible. And so that was basically our main concern.
We didn't change the core of the values on which we rate the proposals, but basically what we did was we consolidated the criteria as you're going to say. So previously we had ten criteria that were listed as ten loosely phrased questions. Some of them sort of reiterated the same values. And what you were asked to do as a MAG member was to give one final score based on your assessment of the ten questions. And, again, that's kind of very difficult because, you know, you need to be able to average out, like, where are the areas that are -- sort of mean the same thing and, you know, did I give a 5 on that or a 6 on that or a 4 on that and then try to come up with an average score which, again, even mathematically in your mind is a difficult process to do. And, therefore, the scores were more subjective than they should be.
We do realize that -- I mean, we're all human and there is an element of subjectivity anyway. But we want to try to minimize that as much as possible.
The other problem that we identified was that some speakers seemed to appear on too many sessions. Some of the feedback that was received basically said that if -- particularly if you are interested in a certain area and you are trying to target the workshops that speak to that area and you go from workshop to workshop and you basically hear the same speakers. So there isn't much diversity in the voices that are presented, particularly if you're following a certain particular topic.
And at the same time, some session proposers list, like, important names or big names on a workshop and then these names end up not showing up. And that ultimately influences the score that that particular session was given, and we're not really sure whether that speaker had confirmed at a certain point and then didn't show up or whether they were not confirmed to begin with and the speaker was hoping that they would agree to speak on the panel. It's not very clear.
And so we tried to address these issues. I'll just move to the modifications that we're suggesting to every stage.
We looked at the three stages of the review, so basically for the benefit of the new members, the proposals go through three stages.
In Stage Number 1, the secretariat basically screens out the proposals that do not seem to fulfill the basic criteria of the IGF, and then the second -- the second stage is the most cumbersome, I guess, stage where every MAG member currently reviews every single proposal.
And then there's a third stage that happens at a face-to-face meeting where we basically go through the results of that scoring and we try to determine where the cut is, and then we try to see if there are other workshops that didn't make it that we need to push through for some elements of diversity or some other important element.
So basically we're proposing modifications to every stage of the three, and I'm going to go through them stage by stage.
So for the first stage, we're proposing basically two changes.
The first one is, we're going to introduce some kind of an online space and we're calling that a speaker session collaboration space, and basically what that is is it's kind of a "panel seeking speakers/speakers seeking panel" kind of thing, so that if somebody had a proposal in mind and wanted to advance that workshop but doesn't know speakers from different areas around the world or needs more diversity in gender or in stakeholder diversity or whatever, they can basically identify these people through this blog-type space.
And so they would basically post their idea and say, you know, "Is there a government person that can speak on this topic?" And speakers who are interested in that area would be invited to contact the proposer.
The reason why we're introducing this, or why we want to introduce this, is basically to try to reduce the merger which sometimes happens at the end when we see proposals that are basically talking about the same thing that maybe -- that would benefit from more interaction or that would benefit from more diversity if they're put together, and so we have to do that ourselves.
We have to tell them, you know, "You guys and you guys will now be together."
So we figured if we allowed that space at the beginning of the process up front, then these people can basically talk to each other, you know, outside of the MAG, and maybe that merger can happen more naturally and at an earlier stage so that the proposals would be better suited.
So that's one modification that we're -- that we're proposing.
And the other modification is that every session should have at least three confirmed speakers. And we are, of course, aware that speakers can sometimes not make it because of visa reasons or because of funding reasons or whatever, and so we have defined a confirmed speaker as a speaker who has been contacted and expressed interest and intent to participate.
So all we're asking is that the session proposers actually contact the speakers before listing them on the program, and that speaker would say, "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea, I can make it."
If they have that initial agreement, then -- you know, then they can be listed on the program, and from then on, we can see what happens.
And the rule is that basically no speaker can be listed on more than three sessions or can be -- or can speak in three appearances. I mean, some of them might be rejected, I guess. And so as a guidance to proposers, we're proposing this text to basically go on the guidelines page that we're going to update and the text would read something like, "There will be an assessment of how many sessions a speaker is listed on. In order to encourage the inclusion of a greater number of speakers at IGF, any given speaker will only be featured in a maximum of three sessions. If a speaker appears on more than three accepted sessions, they will be asked to choose three and relinquish their speaking roles on any others. It is therefore recommended that sessions' proposers ask their speakers if they are speaking on other sessions, and if so, how many, at the time they invite the speakers and seek confirmations."
So that basically takes care of the first stage and I will now move on to the second stage.
We're proposing quite a number of modifications to the second stage.
The first modification is that every session format would now be evaluated separately, and so -- and you'll notice that we actually stayed away from the word "workshop" all through the document that you have. We're trying to -- they're all sessions and so we're trying to differentiate them as a panel session or a -- you know, a birds of a feather session or a debate session or whatever it is. And so we've listed the Web site where the types of formats are available, and basically we're going to propose guidelines for each of the formats listed.
And the guidelines are not going to be very different, but, you know, I mean, for a debate obviously we need to say something like, you know, "There are at least two -- there are two sides and so people have to be on opposing sides of the argument" and things of this sort. I mean, we basically list what the format is about and we tell people what we expect that would accommodate that -- that format.
And then basically the other major change that we did was that we focused the 10 questions that were kind of loosely phrased before. We focused them into four main criteria.
So we have a criteria on relevance, which basically includes is the proposer relevant to Internet governance and to the IGF main theme for that year. In other words, basically why is -- why is this session important? What is the importance of the session that you are proposing? And that should be made clear in the proposal that people submit.
The second category has to do with content, so is the proposal well thought out and does it cover enough aspects of the issue or issues of interest? Is the main Internet governance issue clearly spelled out?
And we decided that the background papers, although illuminating, are basically -- I mean, people don't really spend much time on writing them, and sometimes for a good reason, and sometimes they're expert speakers but they don't really have time to sit down and write a paper, and so we've decided to move to make that a recommendation, like it's great if you have a working paper but it's not a requirement for your workshop to make it through.
And, again, the main reason is because some of the particularly more expert speakers might not have the time to actually sit down and write a paper but they would still add a lot to the discussion if they were there to talk about it.
The third category has to do with speaker diversity, and that basically includes all aspects of diversity. So is the list of speakers diverse enough in terms of gender, geography, stakeholder group, policy perspective? Does it have a person with a disability? Are the speakers qualified to tackle the topic? Are there speakers from developing countries? Are there speakers or session proposers that are first timers to the IGF? Which is obviously something that we welcome and encourage.
And the fourth category is the format of the session. So basically is the session description consistent with the format listed?
So, for example, if the format is debate, then does the proposal describe how the debate will be set up, does it describe who will be on which side of the issue, does it describe how the timing of -- or the timetable will go on that debate, things of this sort.
So basically, as you can see, we've sort of consolidated the categories so that the questions are not redundant, the question that you have in mind when you're evaluating the workshop. It sort of helps you go through the evaluation process more consistently. That's the aim of that change.
With that, we are basically proposing that each of you will give a score from 1 to 5 -- 5 being the best possible -- on each criteria, so you no longer will give one score to the whole proposal based on the 10 questions that you have in mind and sometimes maybe in the process you can forget one or not exactly count how many were good or how many were bad.
In this case, you will just go through each criteria, there are four criteria, and you'll put a number to each criteria, and the system will automatically calculate an average for you off of the four answers that you have -- that you have listed. And it's important to point out that this is really -- I mean, this is more or less the same thing that you were doing before because you had to sort of consider these issues and you had to judge them separately and then come up with one number but hopefully we've now made it easier because you will not have to keep that number in mind while going on to the moving category. You will just put that number down on the Excel sheet, so at the end of the day, the number is right there in front of you, and obviously you can change it if you want to go back and change something in your evaluation before -- before you submit your final recommendation for that session. But it's -- it's a more -- it's a more consistent way because you will be sort of -- you will be guided as a reminder of what the main questions are on every session with the categories right in front of you.
And then, again, of course in order to provide feedback to the proposers, in case their proposals have been declined, because we want to encourage them to apply again the following year and make that a better proposal, so you will be asked to give brief feedback to the proposers if your overall score is below 3.
So, for example, if the format was really bad, you need to tell them what was missing or what was lacking, so that they can make it better the next time around.
Now, each proposal will be randomly routed to 12 MAG members. Three members of each stakeholder group. So instead of each proposal being basically judged by or evaluated by all 55 MAG members or so, we will now route each proposal to 12 MAG members. If an evaluator cannot do the evaluation for any reason such as maybe a possible conflict of interest or lack of experience on that topic or something of the sort, you can indicate that on the system. You will be given a different workshop and that workshop will -- and that workshop will be routed to another member of the MAG.
Given that the MAG gets around 250 proposals and that each proposal will need about -- will need 12 evaluations, so that's basically a total of about 3,000 evaluations divided by the number of MAG members, which is 55, that basically means that you will get about 55 proposals.
However, given that members of the different stakeholder groups are not equal within the MAG, so you might end up with slightly more or slightly less than that, but hopefully no more than 60 proposals per MAG member.
If you are worried about viewing the complete list of proposals, because the point was correctly made that that basically gives you a better overview if you can -- if you can see like what the whole spectrum of topics that were proposed to the MAG is before you can evaluate a certain proposal, you will still have access to the full workshop list, so that's -- that's not a concern. You can still have access to the full workshop list. You can still go through all the proposals if you wanted to. But you will only be asked to evaluate the ones that are routed to you.
So basically, the other workshops you can -- you can see them in a view-only format kind of thing but you cannot evaluate them.
We are obviously trying this for the first time here, so we will -- I mean, this is an ongoing enhancement process so we will revisit that process again the following year, we will get feedback from the MAG members and obviously from the community, and we'll see where further improvements can be made to the system. We'll try to refine that for the 2008 [sic] IGF.
And then after that, you sort of have a basic definition of what the scores mean from 1 to 5.
So basically we're expecting that a 5 means an excellent proposal; 4 is a good proposal overall, although it could be enhanced; 3 is an average proposal; 2 is a weak proposal; and 1, it simply just does not meet criteria.
The third stage of the process should now be made simpler because we've hopefully taken care of the bulk of the evaluation decisions in Stages 1 and 2.
So basically, in an effort to minimize redundancy in the program and to minimize the mergers that the MAG sort of did at the end, we are now going with that speaker session collaboration space, and the aim of this new space, as I said, is to provide the proposers with the opportunity to find speakers, to collaborate on similar topics, with the aim of basically reducing the occurrence of mergers that used to take place during Stage 3, and that's pretty much based on the community feedback.
So the mergers at that stage should take place by exception only, if there's something that we -- that sort of jumps at, you know, MAG members that really needs to merge, if there are two sessions that really need to merge.
There will be an assessment at Stage 3 by the MAG for the overall balance of the program, so we do recognize that some adjustments may still need to occur but we're hoping that these will be minimal at this point, just to serve basically diversity again. If there is a topic that -- that was not featured, that there's like only one proposal about a certain topic that is important but that lacked proper formatting or something, then we can maybe push that up if we deem necessary.
So basically, we're arguing that the proposed system has several advantages.
Basically, again, the criteria are not different from what we used to do anyway but they're just clustered and grouped differently, and that basically gives you more focus when you're doing the evaluation.
So that means that session proposers will not be affected because we're not introducing anything new, really. We're just -- we're just focusing the process by which we're making the evaluations.
You are currently assigned, you know, over 250 proposals, and as I said, you know, some kind of an evaluator fatigue is bound to happen at least during the second half of these decisions, and so basically we're trying to avoid that. We're trying to make things more consistent and we're trying to make the time that you are able to dedicate to every individual proposal maybe more focused, more attention more dedication given to each individual focus.
And so now you're required to give four scores, basically, that will determine an average for that particular proposal rather than sort of keeping a score in your mind and trying to add up what that comes up to.
Under the proposed system, the average score obviously could also be a fraction, so you don't have to -- to come up with a 3 or 4. It could be a 3.5. I suppose that that's a better thing because, I mean, you won't have to arrive at that decision again based on the overall picture but -- but the system will automatically calculate it for you based on what you give each of the four criteria.
Feedback will be given to session proposers, including their scores, and so they will be able to know the particular strengths and weaknesses of the panel.
So even if the proposal has actually made it, they can -- they can still know like which criteria was -- or which criterion was not as good as the others, and so they can maybe work on that for the following year. So it's better -- it gives them a better idea of what was good or what was lacking about that particular proposal.
You are -- each proposal will still be judged by a sufficient number of representatives from all stakeholder groups, so you don't need to worry about a particular stakeholder group taking over a particular proposal because we're ensuring diversity in the evaluators of that -- of every single proposal, basically.
And at the same time now, hopefully no single entity or no single individual can be featured on too many sessions because of the speakers basically maximized at three sessions per speaker, so that will hopefully open up some space for new voices to come into the IGF community, which is something we're always trying to encourage, of course.
And then, again, no proposal can list speakers without some kind of a basic confirmation that that speaker is actually coming or at least intends to come, and so hopefully that will also minimize the number of speakers that actually appear on the program and then you walk into the workshop and that speaker is not there.
And finally, the last bit of the session which I emailed this morning includes a timetable for the process, so it is now proposed that the open call will go out on March 15th and would stay open for seven weeks, until the 3rd of May, and then that will give the secretariat five days to organize and send the proposals to the MAG for evaluation, together with some statistics on the distribution of how the proposals are going, and then the evaluation process will take place May 9th through the 29th, so that gives basically MAG members three weeks to do their evaluation. The secretariat will then analyze the workshop evaluation results, or the session evaluation results, in another week, and that takes us to about June 5th. And then the MAG members will review with particular attention to regional and stakeholder balance -- that also takes one week -- before an actual face-to-face meeting where Stage 3 of the evaluation can take place, and that is proposed to take place on June 14th through the 16th. I will stop here and I'm happy to take any questions. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I see Slobodan and then Liesyl and then Raquel. We'll start a list.
Slobodan, you have the floor.
>>SLOBODAN MARKOVIC: Thank you, Madam Chair. I would like, first, to congratulate Rasha for taking the lead on this important issue and to congratulate all members of the working group to help draft this proposal. Overall, I support the proposed changes. And I think the best points include the guidelines and the grading criteria will be developed for each format independently, which will lead to bigger focus on individual proposals and we will grade each proposal by criteria, not the overall proposal and that each proposal will be randomly routed to 12 MAG members, three from each stakeholder group. So I think these changes are really good.
The only concrete improvement I would add is in the grading criteria, probably in PowerPoint 5 on session format, to include the reference to ensure meaningful online and easy participation by which I specifically mean evaluating a plan for online participation and instant interaction, meaning not just ensuring online participation by posting tweets or moving questions to the end of the session and that kind of thing.
I also have three concerns, meaning three questions -- or maybe two questions and one concern. The concern is that -- that we would not be able to get a reliable feedback on speakers, session speakers and their confirmation so early in the process. I'm not saying it's impossible but so early in the process we won't be able to get reliable feedback.
The second thing is that I didn't see anything about the possibility for proposing mergers in the evaluation phase. I didn't see this in the proposal.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: In which phase?
>>SLOBODAN MARKOVIC: In the evaluation phase.
>>RASHA ABDULLA: Which part of the evaluation phase? The last part?
>> (off microphone).
>>SLOBODAN MARKOVIC: I don't know. I don't have the document in front of me. But this is -- at this point, when we are grading the proposals, we have the space for entering the proposed mergers in the software interface. So would it be -- would this feature stay, or we should move mergers into some other phase?
And maybe the biggest concern that I have is related to this proposed speaker session collaboration space and other software functionality that follows from the proposed process changes. This probably requires some modifications that need to be provided by the secretariat. Basically they need to be provided by May. So the question is whether that is feasible to have the software that basically follows from the proposed changes. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: If it's a short and direct answer to take the question off the table, then you can. Otherwise, yes, we'll keep going through the queue.
>>RASHA ABDULLA: Yes, the online participation is a good point. We will take that into consideration.
The reliable feedback on speaker confirmation, I mean, all we're asking is that people don't list speaker names without even contacting them. I mean, we need some kind of an intention on the part of that person that, yes, this sounds interesting, I plan to come. We do understand that, you know, there are visa issues, there are funding issues. You know, we're obviously not going to kill somebody if they don't show up.
But we need some kind of -- sometimes you have also proposals that have no speaker names. You really don't know what -- how to grade that proposal because you don't know who's going to be speaking. I mean, you have no idea if the speakers are well-informed about the issues or not. So it's kind of difficult to make that evaluation.
So all we're asking is just some kind of a preliminary indication that these speakers have been contacted and they have agreed or showed intention to come.
The merger in the software interface, we're still dealing with the software interface, but I'm sure there is a way for us to do that. I believe as far as the tech is concerned, the secretariat has very kindly said that the changes needed can be modified within the time that we're asking for.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Liesyl, you have the floor.
>>LIESYL FRANZ: Thank you. Thanks, Rasha, for going through that so thoroughly. I think that there may be more questions, I'm sure. And I think some of the things that we went through on late night Tuesday evening may or may not have been sort of communicated in either the proposal or the chat this morning. So feel free to ask questions or make points.
One thing I wanted to note that we didn't address yet is that one of the things that was most frustrating to me in evaluating the workshops last year wasn't -- I mean, wasn't that there were 250, although there was a certain amount of fatigue that was involved in that. But more that the -- that the frustration I had with making a ranking was that it was difficult to do based on the form that the proposers had in order to make their proposal.
So what we were assessing on wasn't -- you know, wasn't requested in the proposal form. So it was hard to make a score based on that.
One of the things that I've mentioned before and followed on in the conversation in the working group is that we have to make sure that the proposal form matches the criteria upon which we'll be assessing on the back end. So things like -- just a silly example, but we were supposed to be provide a score based on gender diversity. Yet, in the proposal form there was no indication of what the gender of the speaker was or even the geography. In some cases seasoned, proposers knew they had to put that in. But for new proposers it wasn't clear they had to do that, and it made it very difficult to judge.
So part of the immediate process, once we agree to this or some amended version of it is to make sure the proposal form is the right one.
Just last point is that I think that the one experience we had was, you know, in the room deliberations on many proposals and many parts of the process, that what this proposal attempts to do is put some more front-end rigor and back-end balancing into the process that we really didn't have so much time to do last year. If that wasn't clear, I think that is something that we are -- I think Rasha touched on some things that try to get to that. So hopefully that helps as well.
>>RASHA ABDULLA: Yes, duly noted. Thank you for the clarifications.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Liesyl.
Raquel, you have the floor.
>>RAQUEL GATTO: Thank you. First, thank you, Rasha, for the work. I already read your proposal. It seems solid. It seems thoughtful. One of the things of being the new MAG member, I have been hearing is the evaluation process is very high -- is loaded. It's good to see there is a process to make it easier or at least more smooth.
So reading it this morning, I had three points. Listening to you, I had three more. I will try to be quick on them. I'm sorry. It seems there is the working group. You probably might have discussed some of those. But, anyway, I will jump in.
The first one that I had in mine is on the second phase, the owners of the process are the individual MAG members, right? But you might need to have a role of someone having this big picture. And I don't want to assume there is -- it's either the secretariat, the chair or someone appointed by the MAG. But this role of, you know, the whipper seems to be important who has the big picture and will be chairing the work.
The second one refers also to the second stage where you are actually rerouting and giving the work to the MAG members. If there is any plan B, I mean, things happen, either personal, professional, health issues, whatever, and the reviewer cannot perform what it was supposed to be.
And so you have two implications on that. Perhaps create an alert a week before the deadline. If you are not able to do it, then we need to reroute these 55, 60 papers or proposals to be done. Yes, and then the operational thing which is rerouting them to the MAG members.
The third one is actually about remote participation. The fact that this is not a criteria anymore doesn't mean at least for me in my opinion it's not -- it doesn't mean it doesn't have the equal importance on the commitments for the workshop organizers. It could be either a flag in the first screening or, you know, at the second stage. I didn't go further on that, or on the reporting or some space to create this -- to highlight and emphasize this.
The fourth one is regarding the workshop -- this is also perhaps a flag on the prescreening -- or the screening phase. Not only you have workshop proposals that have the same topic, but I have seen the same topic over and over at the IGF.
And so -- and it's natural sometimes. There are things we are not solving through one year to the other. So you have recurrent topics that are going to happen. This would not be a cutting criteria, in my mind, but could be a flag so we could look better on the evaluation. You know, is this bringing a new perspective or not? Is it the same thing or not? Anyway...
The fifth one regards the discrepancies on the ratings. So the average solves pretty objectively the evaluation process. This is about the second phase, by the way. Then you mentioned the ones rated high or low for the same proposal, right? This would be an outlier and perhaps might need some discussion or perhaps have a phase there where you say this is worth the discussion or not. Something to think about.
And the sixth and last -- this will be the last. It's also about the second phase where you mentioned the speakers' diversity to also include the youth. I know you talked about the first timers, but I think even the youth who are attending for the second time might deserve a rating diversity there. That's it.
>>RASHA ABDULLA: Thank you for these points. Just to clarify, we will include the online participation. I mean, somewhere in the criteria, we will include the mention of that.
As for someone chairing the work, I mean, we have the MAG chair obviously, but I guess the spirit within the IGF is for more equality among members. But during phase 3, that kind of irons itself out. So hopefully that will work out fine.
If the reviewer cannot perform, they're basically asked to indicate on the system that they cannot perform but, I mean, we're hoping that now since the process is more focused that every single MAG member will be able to perform at least on some workshops. I mean, we're hoping that no MAG member will say I'm not evaluating any workshops. But maybe if a particular workshop you feel awkward evaluating because you worked with that person before or you don't know much about that topic or something of the sort, you can indicate that. It might actually be a good idea to include in the system a spot for why the MAG member is rerouting that. That might be a good idea that we talk about.
In terms of topic repetition, yes, we can add to the phrasing something on bringing a new perspective. I suppose that would be under relevance, under the importance of the topic. That's another good point.
As far as the outliers, we actually also -- I mean, we calculated the average and the standard deviation. We do take care of that. If something stands out, that will be taken into consideration. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Raquel, and Rasha. We have five minutes and we need to end this special promptly at the top of the hour because the room is actually going to be used for another meeting with European NRIs so we will both need to finish and vacate the room unless you want to be part of that discussion.
I actually have quite a long queue. When we first put the queue up, there were four or five people here in the room that put their flags up immediately. That would be Renata and Juan who are still in the queue. It was followed quickly afterwards by Ginger, Avri, Shita in the online. And then we had Laura and Miguel and U.K. and Miguel and now we have Zeina and Arnold. We need to put Zeina and Arnold on the list.
Some of these, I think, could possibly be taken to the MAG mailing list and maybe resolved there quite quickly. Another thing we could do is to see whether or not people wanted to come back into this room or meet somewhere informally over lunch and see if we can kill some of the questions. We need to find a way, I think, to address some of this offline but with full visibility of the MAG. I'm not quite sure how to do that because I don't want to spend the afternoon on the proposal.
Is there any support -- and I recognize for those that are online that should we choose to meet in the hallway here, that doesn't enable you to participate. I don't know how long the room is booked.
Was it just from 1:00 to 2:00? Sandra?
>>SANDRA HOFERICHTER: I didn't book the room at all. It's just an informal gathering. I assume if you need more time and people just stay in the room and come as they are after this session. So full flexibility from our side.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Yeah, no. And I don't want to take away -- you had asked for this time. Saw it advertised. People are counting on it. NRIs are coming online as well. So I think you should take it. If you plan to use the full two hours, it's yours. If you were only planning to use an hour and go for lunch, we could swap out and do the reverse.
>>SANDRA HOFERICHTER: We were planning for an hour, go to lunch at 2:00.
One remark. It's not for NRIs. It's for all European stakeholders, for the European community.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you for correcting me. Let's do that then. Some of you want to be in both those sessions. We will bring you back a sandwich, if you'd like. If we can plan on 2:00 to be back in this room, that allows us to have access to the online participants and we'll just pick up the queue as well.
And we understand we won't have interpretation in French at that point. But I do think this is sort of like a large working group set of work and we can perhaps proceed without it.
>>JUAN FERNANDEZ: 2:00 to 3:00. I would like to make my point or make it now or wait after 3:00.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I had Renata in the queue and then you. Maybe Renata would be nice enough to let you go first and reverse it. We'll get you in for lunch, and we'll close on that. That gives you two minutes.
>>JUAN FERNANDEZ: Yes. It's very short what I want to say. First to congratulate Rasha for formalizing the whole process. But I want to stress one thing that I said last year. And I think the year before as well.
Any numerical quantitative method, it's only an aid for the MAG to put in some order the proposals because the final decision has to take into consideration other topics, like the balance of the themes in regard with the theme of the year, of the IGF. Also the balance from the stakeholders that carry out the sessions, not to speak of workshop as she said.
That is the thing that has to be done in the face-to-face discussion of the MAG in the June meeting. So I think that the June meeting has to be prepared very thoroughly, even beforehand, maybe with some virtual meetings before, in order to make that meeting more -- really to do its task.
I think that we should not be constrained that the numbers. The rankings are not a straitjacket. I think that the MAG should have -- this is a political decision, you know. This is why the MAG has been selected by the Secretary-General with diversity of countries and stakeholders. So I think that in this discussion, we should be able to maybe some excellent -- that has excellent -- but maybe doesn't fit for whatever other reason we have to move somebody off, maybe to propose some mergers.
What I say is the final decision should be the meeting, face-to-face meeting of June. And we should not be under a straitjacket of the ranking that comes from the second. That's only an aid. It's a tool. Like grading an exam, you have many things. You have qualitative things.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Wholeheartedly and emphatically agree.
And, in fact, that is what the timetable actually assumes. It has also actually allowed twice as much time for the secretary to do their analysis and prepare information to aid the MAG in their review. And it gives the MAG a week to look at the balances, to look at the standard deviations, to look at whatever we want to look at.
I would like in that -- for the MAG working group, it may be a different working group than the one that worked on the proposal to actually drive that week's worth of analysis so that we come in with a soft proposal for the MAG meeting. And that would actually allow us to use some of our MAG meeting time to do some of the more strategic work that we're also desperate to get to. So I think we actually accommodated in about three different ways. It's a very, very important point. Thank you.
So we'll break now.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Sorry, before we break, I want to reiterate this was not really an individual effort. And I really again want to thank every single member of the working group for the input that they have provided. It's been a great job, I think. And I particularly want to thank the brave souls that stayed past midnight on Tuesday night, some having flown in from different parts of the world. So I'm very grateful for the help that was provided and for the effort that was put on to this. Thank you to all.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you for your leadership, too. So, again, from 2:00 to 3:00, this room is actually going to be used for another meeting. So if you're not part of that meeting, you probably want to leave so as not to interfere. We'll come back -- if we could come back pretty promptly right at 2:00 and we'll just pick up where we left here with the queue.
If you can't be here at 2:00 and you are in the queue, we will get to you afterwards or maybe just shortly before 3:00 if you are rejoining us. Failing that, please send your comment or question to the MAG list and we'll make sure it is read and addressed there.
Thank you. Good lunch. See you back at 3:00.
[ Break ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: We're going to close this extended working group meeting here in just a moment.
Actually, we can just close it because the things that I want to say should probably be -- with respect to timetable and proposal and where we're going with this next steps should probably be done, you know, formally in the MAG meeting.
So why don't I just thank everybody who cut their lunch hour short to come here. I mean, I think it was a very useful session and I'll talk about what we're going to do with what we've just heard in a moment.
So I'm not quite sure what else needs to be done to formally open the afternoon session of the MAG meeting for interpretation and transcription.
Do you want to hit the gavel?
[ Laughter ]
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: It's the chair's right.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Okay. Thank you, everybody.
Before we kick off a fresh topic on this afternoon's session -- but I want to be really clear on that. I'd really like to close the workshop evaluation working group session just now. I think we've had a really rich discussion. I think Rasha has agreed to -- with the working group members to take that away and turn a new draft around before the end of the day/night sometime tonight for review.
The -- a few people have -- there was an excellent question by Ginger on the list, which I'm not going to read out. We did that a few minutes ago. It's quite long. It does speak to kind of approval of the community. So I would like MAG members to look at that and then respond. I think there have also been a few other comments posted to the MAG list on this topic as well. So to the extent you can respond to that, that obviously informs the working group.
What we're trying to do here -- I mean, there's been a lot of dissatisfaction with this process over the years. People, you know, first took comfort in 50, 55 people reviewing all the proposals, but the rest as process I think fell far short of what it should be. And we had looked at rankings. It was numerical. There was a cutoff. We had some discussions on standard deviations and people kind of threw in their favorite proposals and we debated them in, frankly, a fairly inelegant manner.
I actually don't think that's kind of the goodness we need to strive to for this process.
I also hear the MAG and the community several times saying we need to take a much more strategic look at we're in a multiyear look. I think that means the MAG needs to be much more thoughtful on all the work we do, not just the program of the annual event itself but all the intersessional work, and probably carve out some piece of the program that actually allows us to bring in newer or later or emerging topics. And we can -- we can work on this proposal a little bit more over the coming weeks. It doesn't have to happen now. Because, look, we're in the March, first of March. The end of December is this meeting. For us to think that we can put a call out for proposals in the next four or five weeks, really (indiscernible) understood that we have the most relevant timely agenda we could possibly have for meeting in December in this space, is just hard to believe.
So I'd like to put -- again, this is not a formal proposal. It's really to get people sort of thinking about it. We can do the more formal proposal on the list.
Get people thinking about how the MAG would actually approach their responsibilities in a world where we were actually going to take a much more thoughtful view of where the Internet governance could actually be helpful and play a role, and that would require, I think, the MAG being much more proactive in terms of identifying some topics and speakers and owning some sessions.
I think we should also find a way for the NRIs to come in, probably differently than last year. I know they had a couple of suggestions in their stock-taking, which I hope we get to hear from later. Anja could even just sort of quickly brief us on them. But I think we need to take responsibility for a really strategic process of establishing the agenda and the work of the MAG, and that it needs to cover more than just the program.
With that in mind, what I would like to do is I think we have to turn to a theme, I think. The main theme.
Usually what we do at this point in time is sort of ask if there are suggestions or comments or trends or something else --
Oh, did I not finish the timetable for --
>> (Off microphone.)
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I think so, yes. Well, yes. And actually -- sorry. Sorry, everybody.
So there's going to be another small working group that's actually going to go away and look at some of the formats and proposals. Liesyl, Susan, Eleonora, and Rasha have agreed. And we should be prepared to move this forward discussion in tomorrow's -- move this discussion forward in tomorrow's MAG meeting. Again, the assumption here is around the timetable which we'll come to a little bit later with respect to call for proposals, that evaluation process, and the next MAG meeting schedule. But I would really like people to pay a fair amount of attention to this between today and tomorrow.
Usually we start by asking if there are suggestions on themes, and obviously the host country also has a significant role to play here. You could start by kicking this discussion off, if there's something that really is of interest to Switzerland. You could listen and come in later. It really is as you choose.
And then we will open the queue to in-the-room and online participants.
What would you like, Thomas?
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you, Lynn. And I've already said a few words or shared some of our thoughts on the title or the main theme, and whatever it's going to be, we are convinced that if we want to reach out and attract the interest of a wider circle of people, which I think we all agree, then we should avoid titles that -- of the kind that we had in the past that don't make it very easy to see the link between a person, individual person or an individual institution, and the IGF.
So anything -- and I mentioned the "who sets the rules on the Internet" example or something that is a little bit more like a journalistic title that is supposed to attract attention for people, "Why does this matter to you" as to -- there we target people and institutions directly. That is, let's say, the key element, whatever it's going to be, for us. And I don't think that, for instance, if we would focus on critical Internet resources like we have done for some time, that that is the biggest issue for the time being, but that we should, yeah, go on a broader -- whether we use the word of "digitization" or "digital transformation" or not, but something that is in our -- visible in our everyday life and that people can hook onto, if we go into a substantive phrasing.
But something like, "Why does this matter to you?" How you can influence it but also how it influences your life. That is something that we would very much wish to see. I'll stop here for the time being. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I have Juan in the queue and Haojun and I've asked -- Luis is actually going to post -- under the IGF 2017 reference documents, there's one PowerPoint slide which shows what the main themes have been over the last 10 years. I'm not -- I kind of torn about putting that up because I personally think that's -- I'd like to go a different way from that, but at least I think you can see the kind of the repetitiveness of it, and the...
Juan, you have the floor.
>>JUAN FERNANDEZ: I would like, you know, to make a proposal. Of course I put myself in the hands of Thomas. He's the host and he should have the last word on this, but taking into account that this IGF is going to be held in Geneva, Geneva is a place where conflicts are resolved, are discussed. Geneva, it's a hub for international relations and taking into account the list of the themes of the past 10 years -- I don't see it in the screen right now -- there's a theme that is very important and it has not been there.
So I would suggest, Thomas, to include in the main theme the concept of peace in whatever form he prefers to put it. Either Internet governance for peace or whatever. But I think that the concept of peace is something that has not been mentioned there, and nowadays it's of paramount importance.
Why peace and why not mention cybercrime? Because I want to put it in a positive way.
The ultimate goal should be that the Internet should be a peaceful and a safe place. Maybe in the subtitle, we can mention that. So put it in a positive way, and that is my suggestion to you, Thomas, taking into account what I -- at least last part, a great part of the people thinks about Geneva, the neutral place for negotiating end of conflicts and things like that. So I think that the word "peace" should be in the main theme of this year. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Juan. I'm actually asking Chengetai to comment on the comment you made at the beginning that said it was the host country's responsibility to set the theme.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes. It's -- the theme is set in cooperation with the MAG and the host country. So it's not just the host country.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Haojun, you have the floor.
>>HAOJUN JI: Madam Chair, first of all, I would like to echo or second what has been said by the Cuban colleague. Geneva is the national hub for international peace and development. And also -- peace and development is also the mandate of the U.N. I think it's also the mandate of IGF.
Although sustainable development -- you know, our mandate is given under the framework of ECOSOC. Its emphasis is on development. But we all know that peace and development is very much interrelated, and we cannot separate them from each other.
Without peace, there's no development to talk about. And when we have development, we can have much more guarantee for peace. So whatever topic or theme or subthemes our host country choose, it should be centered on peace and development. Or we can say "Cyberspace for Peace and Prosperity." That's my premature idea about that.
And in this regard, I think counterterrorism is also very important, as cyber terrorism is very much on the rise. And lots of hate speech spreading on line which would give rise to more terrorism. And terrorist organizations are also using cyberspace as their tool for recruiting and financing, et cetera.
And as we are witnessing the spreading of terrorist threat on a global scale, count to cyber terrorism should be high on our agenda.
The second thing is -- related to peace is non-intervention into affairs which is the key principle of the U.N. charter. And in the past two years, we've seen that cyberspace or hacking of Internet has been increasingly being used by some countries to intervene in the domestic politics of other countries. Even the most powerful country in the world has been victimized -- has been victim of such hacking or cyber manipulation.
And the third is last, but not least, how do we prevent potential or possible cyber war as some countries are preparing themselves for cyber war. They have infantry of cyber weapons and they are looking for -- trying to legitimize the use of cyber weapons. And the international society have to be very aware, be cautious about that.
And, also, in relation to peace and security, there are lots of other things. I don't want to elaborate here.
The second thing is regarding this -- the first part of my intervention is on peace. The second part is mainly on development or prosperity. In this regard, we have to keep up with the change of times, change of the situation, and the fast development and progress of technology. As we see that cyberspace or the Internet technology was creating lots of new jobs. For example, the Alibaba created by Jack Ma creates tens of thousands of new jobs. Many people are opening up shops on Web site and many young people in China are becoming -- careers delivering packages from different city to city and very busy. But they only to bring money. And in the meantime, lots of mortar and brick shops are closing down and traditional industries are being deeply impacted.
So change of technology, you know, while we're making progress, we are also seeing lots of negative externality of technologies. Real impact on people's lives, how do we handle that? While we are enjoying the benefits of those technologies, we have to see the downside of these technologies. And the international society have to think about how to handle that. It relates to employment, education, employment training, Social Security, et cetera. We have to guard different international organizations, like International Labour Organizations based here in Geneva, involved in such discussions.
And, also, I think we need to get the next generation, the young people involved. When we talk about protection of kids, protection of kids, we are not only talking about pornography, drugs, cyber crimes, et cetera, we have to also be aware of the cyber addiction. Lots of young kids, including my son, is very much addicted to the smartphone. Spends lots of time, forget about his homework, et cetera. And I found that their school is doing a lot of things towards having put in place a very good problem teaching kids how to use Internet in a responsible way. They have, you know, very well-designed programs. And I think we can take advantage of these good experiences and practices.
Thomas know that (saying name) is one of the best schools here, and I think you can get them involved in the preparation also.
Lastly, I want to say what I feel about the evaluation for proposals for workshops.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Actually, I'm sorry, Ji. Could you take that last comment to the mailing list. I think we were pretty clear that we want to move on to the theme. We would very much like your comments and also like your thoughts on the rest of the discussion that's happening on the MAG list as well. Thank you.
>>HAOJUN JI: Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: We're sort of a hybrid process and organization here. And as such, Chengetai actually reminded that, in fact, the negotiation of theme actually, of course, since we're a U.N. process convened in a multistakeholder model with some protocols that run contrary to a lot of government and U.N. forums, we are really in kind of a hybrid space here. So, in fact, the theme is, you know, sort of the responsibility of MAG, obviously with support of the host country. And there's also an U.N. connection and consideration at the same time. To that same point, I'd actually like us to really stick to the theme here and really focus on kind more of a brainstorming session and throwing out some suggestions. And maybe a short response as to why you think that suggestion is important but not a series of statements right out. I really want to get some kind of brainstorming and really generate a little bit kind of excitement and enthusiasm in the room here for that topic.
So if I could just ask people to recognize that we're in this kind of hybrid forum and work somewhere between, that would be helpful.
With that, I have Brazil. I'll have to check and see -- sorry, Mexico was first, Israel. Then Brazil.
>>ISRAEL ROSAS: Thank you. Israel Rosas for the record. Taking into account the diversity of topics and issues related to Internet governance and the role impact of the Internet in our life, I would dare to suggest "Shaping the Internet of Tomorrow through Multistakeholder Collaboration."
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: This is where the transcription really becomes helpful with their ability to type faster than ours.
Brazil, you have the floor.
>>BRAZIL: Thank you. It's important I think that the main theme is sufficiently clear but also sufficiently generic, not to inhibit important manifestations. So I personally like the idea of "Shaping the future of the Internet." I think it could possibly emphasize aspects such as the impact of Internet over economy and society, which is something that has a dramatic appeal to actors that are not traditionally already involved in the IGF process.
And the discussions about security, I think they can also be interpreted under a positive light. Maybe if you see them as part of a process regarding trust because trust has the advantage of involving aspect that is have to do with security but also with human rights and with commercial aspects. It's a general concept that embraces everything and offers a positive light of it, which I think is also important for the main theme.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Next is Carolyn.
>>CAROLYN NGUYEN: Thank you very much, Chair. Just a couple of ideas. I don't have the nice title that was laid out before, but a couple things to consider.
One is the discussion that we've been having yesterday with respect to integrating the IGF into other conversations such as other organizations. WTO has already been brought up. Some of the health issues as well as the finance. So integration is sort of a theme that I'd want to put forward for consideration.
I really like the term "shaping" as well.
But I think one of the things that we need to get across is really the impact and relevance of the Internet because this seems to be the only forum where Internet governance is taken up, you know, sort of explicitly as opposed to sitting in many of the other conversations that are on digital transformation. A lot of times the Internet is just overlooked, so I think that we need to bring it out in terms of Internet.
And then second -- and then lastly, Chair, to your point, with respect to the fact that we have 8 1/2 years to fulfill both the process improvement as well as the gaps that were identified within the WSIS review, so something about, you know, sort of setting this out, a plan in terms of for the next -- the multiyear as well. So a couple of thoughts there for your consideration.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Carolyn.
>>CAROLYN NGUYEN: Oh, I'm sorry. Can -- one last thing. One of the things that Thomas mentioned this morning, which is the way that you frame the EuroDIG theme as a question, I thought that was a really, really nice move as well, so wanted to endorse that.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Next I have Raquel and then Miguel and Michael. I'll just keep giving you a little bit of heads-up notice here. Raquel.
>>RAQUEL GATTO: Thank you, Chair. So I have two thoughts to share.
The first one is on the trend Thomas was mentioning to have a more approachable theme, what do we use in the open consultations during the Marco Civil in Brazil as one of the journalist things, "What is the Internet you want?" And this is really catchy. People get involved.
But my erratic thought for the main theme to put in the question -- as Carolyn was saying, I don't have the fancy title -- is the word and the focus on people.
So the Internet beyond the devices, beyond the infrastructure, you have people at the end. It's for and of people, so that's just to weigh in. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Raquel. Just to be clear, we have -- if your flag is up, you're in the queue. I just wanted to give a little bit of advance notice to the folks that are in the second and the third. So right now, we have Miguel.
>>MIGUEL ESTRADA: I was thinking about some -- something like Igor said, using the word "Trust." I think it's really important for the future Internet. And combining with what Israel said, something like "Shaping a Trustable Internet." Shaping -- the "shaping" word speaks about future and speaks also about what we do at the IGF meetings matters. Really matters. We are there going there to shape the future and shape a trustable Internet speaks about confidence, security, it includes -- involves cybersecurity and a belief that the Internet can help development also.
So we're putting trust into the Internet. We're shaping a trustable Internet. Something like that I think could work.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Miguel. Next we have Michael and then we have Lea, the Council of Europe, and then Segun.
>>MICHAEL ILISHEBO: I may not know how themes -- how we get to themes because basically I should believe that the current trends determines the themes we take. We are in an era where fake news has taken center stage. Just as the previous speaker said on trust, I think the theme must also be centered on content, where people should be -- where -- I'll say to where a theme should be centered on fake news, where people should be aware about whatever they see on line is not all that accurate. In this case, I would encourage a theme that would reflect fake news and trust. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Lee, you have the floor.
>>LEE HIBBARD: Thank you, Madam Chair. Building on what Thomas said earlier about perhaps sometimes a confusion with the word "Internet governance," I would say that it's probably not a good idea to put those words back into the -- the overarching theme as we've seen in previous IGFs.
I mean, it can be there at the top, "Here's the top title," but as a main title if you want something more dynamic, I mean, just look around us. All the discussions I come across are about artificial intelligence, machine learning, algorithmic decision-making, automation, and ultimately about the Internet of Things. The -- well, the eventuality that everything will be connected to everything. You know, devices connected to people, et cetera.
So I think that the issue of connecting -- connecting everything together is very compelling.
I don't have the exact words, but I mean that's where we're going and it's -- it's breaking, it's happening already. Of course you know that. But it's still -- I think it's still an open discussion which can be shaped so it's enough in time to be discussed and have a meaningful outcome to shape it. So I think the issue of connecting these -- ourselves, hyper-connected societies, is key compelling words for the overarching theme.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Lee.
Segun, Renata, and then Hisham and Mamadou.
>>SEGUN OLUGBILE: Thank you, Chair. Considering the contributions from the last speaker -- sorry, the speaker from Cuba and Thomas, I want to lend my support to the issue of peace and development, especially the statement from the China colleague.
I believe there's a strong intersection between peace and development. And for some of us that are from the developing countries, these are the issues that we are still contending with up to today and they continue to be part of the issues that the U.N. will continue to look for solutions to address.
Then if we look at Geneva, it is well-known for -- it's a center that is well-known, you know, in areas of addressing or advancing discussion on peace matters.
Then I also agree -- or let me say I'm somehow also supporting the fact that we should look at something that has to do with transforming.
Therefore, I have a proposal here which I would like to share with us, and this is transforming global peace for sustainable development. Transforming global peace for sustainable development. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Segun.
Renata, you have the floor.
>>RENATA AQUINO RIBEIRO: Thank you, Chair. Renata.
I would just like to remind everyone of a strong theme which is transversal to the IGF and has been the focus of much of the work, which is human rights. I think we have been eyeing this theme on the backdrop of the history of IGF, and much of what has been discussed here so far, the future, is youth, so that would be enabling youth to -- youth's rights.
Then you would also have peace. Stable and secure Internet.
So human rights should be on the core concept of our theme for the next IGF, as it has been previously a focus of the work. Thanks.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Renata. Hisham?
>>HISHAM ABOULYAZED: Thank you, Madam Chair. I think the discussion on the ideas on the theme that has been submitted on the table, I think most of them are very relevant to what -- to this year of the IGF.
I just think we should also, while trying to make the IGF this year more relevant to the community of Geneva and what Geneva connotates in our minds, concepts of peace, trust, development, we still need to keep the -- the catchy part of the title.
We want to make this relevant to the individual. This is an information society that is centered around people, so I think it's a golden opportunity to make the theme more generic while still making it relevant to the individual.
A few years ago, I think the UNESCO -- I don't remember the exact year, but it was the UNESCO who issued a report with the title "From Digital Divide to Digital Opportunity." The word -- or the term "digital opportunity" actually is generic in the theme for an IGF, and I wish this year we can capture that.
So if we can consider also a theme around fostering the digital opportunity for everyone in a way that makes it relevant to the SDGs as well, especially that we know from Marilyn yesterday that some of the SDGs, especially with the alleviation of poverty, for example, is on top of the agenda now.
So I think a theme of that type would make it more relevant to the individuals, as well as the governmental perspective that most of the permanent missions, for example, in Geneva and the IGOs around the city would also relate to.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. I want to just recognize and thank everybody for really going along with the brainstorming idea where we're just sort of throwing out suggestions and letting them all kind of percolate a little bit, so I really appreciate that.
Next we have Mamadou. Then we have Wisdom who is on line, Alejandra and Haojun.
Sorry, I couldn't see you. And Kenya, too.
>>MAMADOU LO: Thank you, Chair. Mamadou Lo from Senegal. I will be brief. As several MAG members and participants raised yesterday the issue, I would like to suggest a theme relating to information and communication in the Internet governance ecosystem. That means how to speed Internet governance information throughout the community and how to link IGF to global community and vice versa. Thank you, chair.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Mamadou.
Wisdom? I still love when Wisdom takes the floor. Wisdom. We have wisdom.
>>WISDOM DONKOR: Yes, I'm here. Good afternoon to everyone. I'm calling from Ghana and I have a few interventions I would like to make.
In relation to Africa and (indiscernible) could be discussed and adopted.
I'm looking at the situation in the developing world. Currently there are about 800 people in the world going hungry. More than 90 million of them have been children under five years old. And at the same time, there is evidence to suggest that there is enough food to feed everyone on earth.
So looking at this, I'm trying to see how we can use Internet governance (indiscernible) empower (indiscernible) in the developing world.
Often days, we are seeing what is going on. It's like we are not achieving anything, and then some of us are seeing -- are looking at the next generation to come and solve this problem.
Now, it looks like there is enough food (indiscernible) in Africa, in the developing world. Some of the projects, we are not seeing the impact. Some of the projects, we don't know where the money and everything is going and all that.
So I'm thinking that IGF, within the 10-year mandate, we have to begin to kind of show impact -- already we're showing impact. Now we should look more into Africa and try to show impact of what is actually going on.
And so -- and then also I tried to look out for some of the root cause for what is starting the development of the Africa region in relation to Internet.
We all agree that everybody uses the Internet. (indiscernible) their homes, in their offices, and (indiscernible). So I'm not seeing there is the reason why we (indiscernible) should still be (indiscernible) and then (indiscernible) will come back and say we need capacity building, we need to -- we need money for projects and all that. Meanwhile there is no money coming in for food and all that and we are not seeing the impact.
So if this year's IGF can gear towards showing impact so that we can begin to change all these things for governments in Africa to see that the next thing that is coming on is the Internet, Internet is working, bringing (indiscernible) talking about (indiscernible). So I'm thinking of a theme, mobilizing and impacting communities, enabling creativity through sustainable Internet (indiscernible) to empower citizens. So that is what I have (indiscernible). Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Wisdom. It's very interesting. I like the idea, too, of trying to show some rationale for why the Internet governance is important, why it matters what we're doing, whether that's through impact or something else.
We have Alejandra who I think is on line as well.
>>ALEJANDRA ERRAMUSPE: Hello? Thank you, Lynn.
It's very short. I'm thinking about the (indiscernible) what -- like shaping the Internet governance, a way for peace, or enabling the peace, shaping the Internet. I don't -- I like the word some colleagues were talking about, "sustained development," "enabling the peace," "shaping Internet governance," "peace," and "sustainable development."
I think we can play with these words to shape our -- this IGF in 2017 IGF. That's all.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Alejandra.
Haojun, you have the floor.
>>HAOJUN JI: Thank you, Madam Chair, for taking floor again.
Yeah, I think, you know, as I said earlier, our theme or our purpose of Internet governance is for peace and development and, you know, we can say it's for peace and prosperity or have -- we can have another "P" which is posterity. For the better future of our posterity. And I agree with our colleague from Egypt that the theme or our purpose should be centered on people, for the better welfare of all people around the world. A better Internet or cyberspace for -- for the welfare of the majority of humanity.
Yes. You're right that we have to make the Internet a good place. We can make it, you know, connect to all people around the world, but what's the purpose? The purpose is still for the welfare of people.
We can have a very good Internet connected to everybody, but a wonderful or perfect Internet, if not well managed, can be -- can be used by billionaires to enslave the majority of the people of the world, or the majority of the people of the world can be enslaved by robbers.
We are facing such a scenario if technologies are getting out of control. So we have to be aware of those in our latest developments. Bear in mind that we work for welfare of people. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Haojun. Kenya and then Arnold.
Kenya, you have the floor.
>> KENYA: My name is Frederick. I'm from the Kenyan mission that's here in Geneva. And I just want to also appreciate the contributions that all members are putting up towards the theme.
Actually, as I was listening and thinking about IGF I was just wondering what is the main focus of Internet governance? Because this forum is not just about Internet, I believe. It's about governance. Why should we govern Internet? Or why should we be so much focused about governing the Internet?
I think we are doing these so that we want to solve certain problems or certain challenges, which really affect the real people or which really affect suggestions in which we are involved here or there.
And I was just trying to also look at what some members have said. If we are looking at a theme, I think it would be very unfair to narrow down to a very small area. If we narrow down to a very small area, what would be the subtheme? Because the IGF itself, from my understanding, it's a very broad forum where we discuss a wide-ranging -- wide range of issues. So the theme itself should be so broad to capture what we are really struggling with under governance and also to touch the lives or the very people that we are concerned with.
And in this case, I was just trying to imagine about -- suppose we say Internet governance, a tool for solving present and future problems or challenges. And most of the things members have mentioned here, that either are challenges of now or challenges which are coming up, talk of security, talk of human rights, talk of poverty, talk of underdevelopment. Then under the subthemes, we could pick which ones do we want. And as we see this as a forum -- multistakeholder forum, we know within the U.N. system there is a focus on implementation of the SDGs. The SDGs in themselves, they narrow down the very common problems facing humanity in the '17 calls and the multitude of (indiscernible).
If we think of SDGs as presenting the challenges or the problems that the world is looking forward to address, I think we can choose some of those SDGs and take them as some of the subthemes or specific topics we can look at during the IGF 2017. Thank you, Madam Chair.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Frederick. I have two more people in the queue. I think some people just didn't put their flags down. And then we will come back and see if we stay with this a little bit longer and let it percolate ore move on to one or two more items.
Right now I have Arnold and then Cristina.
>>ARNOLD van RHIJN: Thank you, Lynn. Arnold van Rhijn, Dutch government. I don't have a catchy title yet, but I have some ingredients which probably could be used in a theme, an overarching theme.
I think it's not wise to use explicitly the words "Internet governance" since most people doesn't know what exactly this means. The same -- that's not true for the sustainable development goals. It has been used many times in many conferences. We should aim to reach these global goals. But we can cover that under an overarching theme with ingredients like digitalization. This is the future of information society which we are a part of. It has been and is still on the table as a hot topic in fora like the G20, the World Economic Forum, other multistakeholder processes. So digitalization should be, in my view, part of that overarching theme, followed by ingredients like peace and prosperity. It has been mentioned before. Peace because this is the city where the next IGF will be held. Prosperity is everything to do with closing the digital gap.
It is, apart from that, worthwhile to think about other issues where it in total covers what we would like to see.
But digitalization, peace and prosperity. I thought of something else, but I forgot it right away. But that should be in the main title. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Arnold.
I have European Commission, Cristina, and then I have Nigel.
>>CRISTINA MONTI: Thank you, chair. Cristina Monti, European Commission. I would also like to chime into this brainstorming exercise for the theme. I think that many elements are common in many interventions. I agree also with the fact that we shouldn't repeat "Internet governance" because the event in any case is convened by the Internet Governance Forum. So we already have these elements there. So it's going to be IGF 2018. So it's about the Internet Governance Forum.
And if we wish to have a very broad theme that captures many different angles, I would like to propose the following wording: "Shaping the Hyperconnected Society."
We would have the word "shaping" which is about, you know, something which is in evolution, which is dynamic, which is about the future and where you can have an impact.
"Hyperconnected," it's about connecting objects and people. And it's about the Internet because that's the underlying technology.
And it has the word "society," so it's about building the kind of society we wish for ourselves. So, yes, these are my two cents. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Cristina.
>>NIGEL HICKSON: Yes, thanks very much. Good afternoon. Thank you for the opportunity from an observer. I find this brainstorming incredibly useful, and I think either the two things that come out of this is the peace and the development but also the need to look at where the Internet's going and what better fora than the Internet Governance Forum.
I agree with what Cristina has just said about the use of the word "Internet governance." It has to be there but it's in the chapeau, if you'd like.
So we had thought of something like: "Internet at the Crossroads" or something along those lines, "Challenges and Opportunities." The wording is -- comes down to the wording, if you'd like.
But I think "challenges and opportunities" is useful. There are challenges and people have raised some of the challenges, not least because of artificial intelligence and other issues and how that affects socioeconomic issues but also the opportunities as many people also are mentioning. So linked to the sustainable development in that. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Nigel.
We have Canada, not sure if it's Chrystiane or Christine and then, Arnold, we'll come back to you. I think you must have remembered your last word.
>>CHRYSTIANE ROY: Thank you very much, Madam Chair. My name is Chrystiane Roy. I'm with the Canadian mission again. And thank you for giving me the floor, although I'm an observer.
I am listening attentively to all the things that are proposed here, and I'm a little bit struck that yesterday we had a discussion where we had put such emphasis on the fact that we were going to be faced with a great opportunity by having the IGF in Geneva where so many international organizations were seated, where people in all of these organizations were having discussions that without knowing it actually impacted Internet governance.
So certainly in our discussions that we've had informally, you know, we thought, well, what a great opportunity we'll be able to bring to these people Internet governance and Internet governance discussions. And I think that there's an education to be done there. So not just talking about U.N. organizations but we, member states, in U.N. organizations. You know, there are -- we're contributing trade negotiators at the WTO. They are talking about data. But there's no connection with Internet governance and our discussions here.
So if I could in any way, shape, or form influence or encourage the MAG members, is to have a theme that perhaps would, you know, go back to what we talked about yesterday and capitalizing on international Geneva and to have something to the effect of, you know, bringing the Internet you want to the governments of the world in Geneva type thing. That would allow for the variety of topics that we've heard here about peace and prosperity and will include development and human rights. But it would also target the multistakeholder community which sometimes complains that, you know, they're not being heard by some governments. Well, here's an opportunity, perhaps, to bring your story, to tell your story in this particular fora.
So that's just me brainstorming and thought tossing ideas here. Thank you again for allowing me to speak.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you.
I really appreciate kind of fresh views, too. A lot of us have been thinking about Internet governance for so long that sometimes it's hard to get out of your own box.
Arnold, you have the floor.
>>ARNOLD van RHIJN: Thank you, Lynn, for my second intervention. In addition to my first intervention, I would say that digitalization includes our fellow work in the WSIS process. Second, more important, remark is a statement in my view should end with a question mark. It has been said by Thomas. It has been used again because you want to trigger potential participants: Hey, what's in it for me? How can I contribute to the debate? So a title like "Digitalization for peace and prosperity" could be followed by "How can you contribute?" Because you want to reach out to potential participants who have a lot of knowledge. That's my proposal. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Arnold.
Next is Thomas, unless you want to be towards -- Thomas will go to a little bit later in the queue. So next we have Rasha and then you're in the queue.
>>RASHA ABDULLA: Thank you. I like the "hyperconnected society" suggestion. But I would suggest that maybe we make it "Enabling the Hyperconnected Society" rather than "Shaping the Hyperconnected Society." Make the emphasis on people's ability to shape it themselves rather than us shaping it for them. So my suggestion would be "Enabling the Hyperconnected Society." Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Rasha. You have the floor.
>> CISSE KANE: Thank you, Madam Chair. I'm Cisse Kane from the African civil society organization, the platform from all African civil society NGOs on ICT development.
I congratulate you for the decision, and I'm very happy to be as an observer. My feeling is that the problem with IGF is that it's a concept that's not very digest for the common people.
So in order to make it accessible, I would suggest that you -- you use a title that is not technically complicated, it's a matter of pedagogy so that people will have the (indiscernible) to come and see what is happening.
As Chrystiane said, for sometimes governments, even if they are very well-educated, it's complicated for them to understand what is Internet governance. It's not also for governments but also for many people on the ICT ecosystem and community.
Therefore, I would suggest something that is really -- I don't know how to say it in English. But it's (non-English word or phrase). That more people can understand. Like, for example, digital transformation, digital transformation of our societies.
But if you use technical IGF (indiscernible), it's difficult to understand for many people. So maybe try to make it more accessible to majority. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Cisse.
Next we have Elizabeth, then Juan. I'm assuming, Thomas, you want to be at the back end of this discussion?
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Take a few more.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Elizabeth, you have the floor.
>>ELIZABETH THOMAS-RAYNAUD: Thank you. So I think really enjoying the idea of the question mark and trying to not necessarily close the gap or the window on what are the ways in which we are benefiting from the Internet or the Internet is impacting our lives.
A couple of thoughts around the question that we thought of, was how can the Internet make a difference? Or what does the Internet -- why does the Internet matter to you? Or how does the Internet impact you? Perhaps through that there could be subthemes around development and other benefits that we could elaborate on.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Elizabeth.
>>JUAN FERNANDEZ: Thank you, Chair, for taking the floor again. I agree that with those who said that we should not have the word "Internet governance" in the theme because it's already in the chapeau. It's the Internet Governance Forum.
I do agree we should explain in a sense very simply what Internet governance is. If you remember, the definition "shaping" is one of the things that Internet governance do, shaping the Internet. So I agree with those who are for the word "shaping."
So I will make this suggestion. I would like -- you know, the Internet governance 2017: Shaping the Internet -- I don't know if the word "the" should be there -- "Shaping the Internet for peace and prosperity." And if here we don't agree, the "peace and prosperity" maybe only IGF 2017, "Shaping the Internet," point. Just like that. Maybe this gives the message that the IGF and Internet governance is where the Internet is shaped for the future, you know?
So that is my two proposals. Either: "Shaping the Internet for peace and prosperity." Or if we don't agree what are we shaping the Internet for, I strongly support "peace and prosperity" because, well, prosperity is another way of saying development and all that. It's more general. But if we don't agree on that, just shaping the Internet, period. That's it. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Okay. Thank you.
>>LAURA WATKINS: Thank you, Chair. I wanted to pick up and support suggestion from African colleague on this side -- I'm afraid I didn't catch his name -- around the simplicity of the title. It needs to translate into multiple languages. It needs to be easily understood. It also needs to be something that can capture the vast range of topics that will be on discussion. We have a lot of subthemes on the agenda, and we have a lot of different discussions going on. So it needs to be something that's simple enough to capture that.
Juan actually pretty much said word for word what I was going to say, which was shaping the Internet of the future. I think it's important to have the word "shaping" in there. And I think something that's fairly general as "Shaping the Internet of the Future" can capture a lot of different subthemes underneath. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you.
If Thomas wants to try and close this, I would like to throw something out. And if you just want to throw something, I'll go afterwards. What would you like? You have been in the queue for some time, so...
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: We will not close it for today anyways. That is so important.
We have a great number of interesting elements. And they are all legitimate in different ways, in every way actually. And the problem is that if we would try to capture what we said, we would have something like mainstreaming Internet, Internet governance, shaping Internet governance for peace, prosperity, health, education, environmental, sustainable development. We can basically have the whole WSIS declaration in the title.
So the question is: How can we break it down? And actually the latest proposals went into abstracting it but in an attractive way. And actually the first one that went in that direction was Rachel's thing: What is the Internet you want? That was the first. It's already used. I don't know whether you have the copyright, the Brazilians, on this one or not.
And then there were some that went in a similar direction. Some with the word "shaping" in it. Others with the word "digital" in it and/or "prosperity and peace."
One that I also liked is -- because it goes in both -- in two directions, whatever the exact words are, but how does the Internet impact you, how can you impact the Internet.
This logic is something that I think would be -- and you can then say how can -- how does the Internet shape you or your life and how can you shape the Internet if you want to have the "shape," instead of having the "impact."
But this thing, like if you don't do anything, it will have an affect on you anyway but you can actually do something and then it will maybe have the effect on you that you want.
This logic, I think, is something that -- and you can apply this to all aspects of your life or of our lives or of our functions. This -- this is actually something that I like.
And then of course if you wanted to entertain another question that has come up, something like, "How can we shape the future of our digital societies and economies?" This is a little bit -- this is another way -- or things like how can we shape a peaceful and prosperous digital future.
The question is do you want to have "future" in or is "shaping" enough future that you don't need to mention the future?
My personal feeling is that actually something like, "How can you influence, shape, impact the Internet? How does it influence, shape, impact you?" I'd like to have these both directions with a question mark. It's my -- for the time being my personal preference.
And I just want to stress what Chengetai and Lynn has said. We may be maybe primas (indiscernible) here as the host country but it's not our decision. This is still a bottom-up process and everybody needs to be more or less fine with everything, including the title. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Thomas.
I also like the idea of sort of a question mark as well, because I think what we want to do is to convince people why they should come to the IGF, why Internet governance matters to them, without --
We're going to take a few more comments and then I think just probably let this percolate and come back to either a little bit later today or tomorrow.
So I have Rafael and then Sandra. And I am allowing non-MAG members to speak, because, again, I think this is a brainstorming, it's fresh ideas, and somebody who has not been quite so inured of it could contribute more. And then Juan. So Rafael, you have the floor.
>>RAFAEL PEREZ GALINDO: Thank you. And picking up on Juan and others, I would go for something along the lines "Shaping together a peaceful and prosperous digital future."
I mean, the word "together" there really relates to multistakeholder and I think that's something that we should really add into the -- into the title.
And the other, "peaceful and prosperous" has already been discussed and "digital future" relates to the digital transformations that other people have been mentioning. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Rafael.
>>SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you. Just a very small comment. I would propose to avoid the word "Internet" because it's much more than about the Internet. It's digital and the Internet is just one part of our digital life.
I also had to learn that recently when we were discussing the overarching theme for EuroDIG. And also, you have the Internet already in "Internet Governance Forum" so I don't think -- I would not include that word "Internet" into the title.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Sandra.
>>JUAN FERNANDEZ: I'm not going into substance because I already made my suggestion, but just for the form, I think that the main theme should be short. I'm not against the question, but the question may be the subtheme.
So I suggest a short message-oriented, broad main theme.
For instance, if we don't agree in what Internet for, just shaping the Internet, and then in the subtheme you could put what the host country, what Thomas wants, the questioning back and forth. But that question is not very elegant to put it in the main theme. At least it is my opinion, you know, I -- of my years of experience in this kind of thing. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Juan.
Mark, and then we'll actually wrap this up just for the moment, set it aside and move on to a couple other topics and we'll come back later.
Mark, you have the floor.
>>MARK CARVELL: Yes. Thank you, Lynn. Just to say I support a media-friendly title for the IGF. That's going to help with mainstreaming the IGF, the content of the IGF, and bring in people from a wide variety of backgrounds into -- into the discussions that will attract media coverage and raise the profile of the IGF and reinforce its relevance to daily lives.
The other aspect I support is that this short, media-friendly title should be in the form of a question and a question that hits on how the digital transformation that's going to happen impacts on lives. Sorry, I don't have it as an actual text, but along the lines of how can we ensure digital transformation impacts every -- everybody's life. That's not very good. I'm sorry. But along those lines. I can -- it needs working on. Further development. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: In a brainstorming session, there are no good suggestions or bad suggestions and they're all food.
Historically what we've done is kind of done something similar to this and just let it percolate for a little bit and then come back.
Before we close this, I can't actually tell if there's a question from Ginger on line or...
>> (Off microphone.)
>>ANJA GENGO: There is a question from Ginger and then an intervention from Julian, as time permits.
So from Ginger, what are the main session topics and session emphasis that should follow each of these proposed themes?
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: That's a good question. I'd like to come to that in a moment because I think that's the next -- the next session we'll move to. So thank you, Ginger.
And I guess Julian wants the floor?
>>JULIAN CASASBUENAS: Thank you, Chair. Yes. I just want to mention APC, Association for Progressive Communications' input on the themes.
We had proposed in our written submission that there is a reflection of the high-level (indiscernible) forum on the sustainable development goals. We would like to suggest that the subthemes reflect this. The themes that will be covered in New York this year are the Goal 17, strengthen the means on implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development that will be considered each year. And related to end of poverty, being Goal 1, and Goal 2, end hunger, both to ensure healthier lives and promote well-being for all, and Goal 5, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, Goal 9, build (indiscernible) and infrastructure; Goal 14 conserve unsustainable use of the oceans, seas, and marine.
We also feel that having (indiscernible) human rights as one of the main themes is a valuable tradition at the IGF that should not be lost. And for the main theme, we would like the idea of why the Internet Matters. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Julian.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you. Just a quick reaction and -- on -- for instance, on Rafe from Spain's proposal about shaping this together. I think we -- I fully agree that we need to do this together but we have this "together" idea in titles and this is like -- like a hippie festival in 1968, if I may be a little bit provoking.
[ Laughter ]
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: And actually, to be honest, one of the points -- one of the most compelling -- it's a picture, but it's a -- there's also a slogan behind the picture that I've known since I was a child. I think it's the Uncle Sam thing with this guy with the American flag pointing at you type of, "Don't ask what your country can do for you or what you can do for country," blah, blah, blah. So something like pointing -- pointing at you, something that points at you.
And we can actually turn this "together" thing around -- I'm just thinking aloud -- and basically formulate the opposite.
Instead of signaling these two things, go for something like, "How can you shape your digital future?" And if everybody thinks that I -- I can shape my digital future -- this is the economic theory. If anybody is thinking about himself, then the whole public interest will somehow emerge.
The -- if everybody thinks like, "Okay, I need to go there because I want to shape my own digital future" and then people realize that they actually have to talk to each other, that may be something that is very personal, pointing at everybody. I'll stop here. This is just something that struck me while listening to your comment.
And what I forgot to say to our Chinese colleague, actually I think we should have some exchanges because my younger son seems to have the same -- I'm quite delighted that this is a very intercultural thing, apparently -- seems to have the same attraction to screens of whatever size, like yours, so, yeah, happy to have a conversation about what you do, how you deal with it. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I was actually going to say if you're willing to give up on your question mark, you could say, "Come here to shape the Internet you want."
I'd actually like to stop this for the moment, and I think there's a couple of other topics we could move to which might actually help inform this from a slightly different perspective and I had actually closed the queue a little while ago. So if everybody is okay with that -- there are a few flags up. This is not the end. And of course people can put comments in on the MAG list.
We're starting -- I don't know, I feel like at a little bit of a disadvantage here for the global shaping the program of IGF because frankly we've got 11 or 12 new MAG members that came on the list two days ago.
So normally, you know, we would have been on the same list for, you know, I don't know, six, seven weeks and we would have been sharing some things, kicking some things around, and we would have had some kind of broader sense of where, as a new MAG, we were going.
There's a couple of things I think we maybe need to just test here, and Ginger's question is one of them, of course, which is what is shaping the main sessions or the subthemes.
Last year, we chose not to talk about the subthemes and set those. In previous years in the MAG, there was a main theme and then there were anywhere -- I don't know, five, six, seven, I guess, subthemes.
Last year, we chose to have that done through tagging, so we put out sort of a general call with some supporting information, let the workshop proposals come in, and then the program and the subthemes or the tracks were built on the basis of the proposals that were accepted by the MAG.
One of the things we need to check is whether or not we're still on that tagging model, which would allow for a more bottom-up community build of the program. And as a kind of corollary to that question, again, we said earlier that there are -- I think we're leaning more and more into the intersessional work, whether it's the NRIs or the best practice forums, and I think we need to figure out how we intersect the needs of those activities in with the overall program.
So the NRIs in their stock-taking basically had two requests. One was for a main session, and I think a slightly different format, and the other one was what I would call almost sort of a track, or something, which would allow them to showcase and feature the NRIs in a different fashion from what was done last year.
But I think it's more of a meta question.
I mean, the -- some of the MAG members have traditionally thought this was about the program and we chose -- the program was set on the basis of the workshops we received and what we chose from them.
As we work more and more towards asking the dynamic coalitions or the best practice forums or the NRIs what would be helpful to them on the occasion of an IGF to help them advance their work locally, then we're starting to move away slightly from a completely bottom-up program, and I don't want to do that without discussion and don't want to do that through, you know, just kind of slippery sloping.
Maybe what we could do right now is ask somebody -- I don't know if it's Anja -- to just read out from the NRI requests or from some of the NRI coordinators who are here to talk about what would be helpful to them in the IGF and maybe sort of clarify what you're actually looking for in a possible main session.
This is the program where we talk about -- again, we're just trying to get the overall shape of the program, what we're trying to do, sort of what big elements of work are in or not. We have the same question for the BPFs. We had four BPFs last year. Best practice forums. I believe two of them have said that for the moment their work is complete. It's more about outreach and how do they get their work to the places where it can be helpful, as opposed to advancing them. That would be IXPs and IPv6. I think for the moment, they're done. Gender and cybersecurity have both come in with requests to continue. But does the MAG think that additional best practice forums are called for, and are we hearing from the community that additional best practice forums would be helpful?
And this is where, if we could find the time and the cycles in our process to really get a strategic work program in multiple years, this wouldn't be such a scramble over the course of two days, with people having sort of first met each other. It would be just, I think, much more thoughtful and would really allow us to work outreach and bringing in other partners much more easily.
So I think I'd like to kick this sort of session off. Marilyn has asked for the floor and I'll come to you in a minute, Marilyn.
Last year, we made the decision in this first meeting that said the NRIs had requested a main session, and we all said yes, we think this is absolutely the right thing to do.
Dynamic coalition on BPFs also wanted some significant visibility, and we said yes, we should dedicate one of the main session slots to that as well.
And then we had a longer discussion on connecting and enabling the next billion and whether or not the MAG supported a Phase 2, and then of course how that fit into a main session.
And the reason we focus on main sessions is main sessions are meant to have a lot of disability, they're transcribed and interpreted in the six languages. Those are the -- the ones that tend to become kind of focal points for the IGF program in its entirety.
I think the other main sessions can either be developed a little bit later in the program or are developed in response to something that's happening at a very significant level in the Internet governance space.
So two years ago, we had a WSIS+10 review at one of the main sessions. That was obviously ahead of the decision in December.
And then last year we actually had one on the sustainable development goals. I think it's probably obvious why we had those two things as main sessions.
But, you know, it's -- again, it's a little bit hard because I feel like we're having a little bit too much of a tactical discussion without actually having had the vision discussion, but honestly I don't know how to make a lot of that work in the timetable we have. So we're going to have to move in and out of vision and tactic, vision and tactic and continue along the kind of paths we've laid out the last few years but hopefully carve out some time in the MAG, probably through virtual calls, to really start getting a longer-term view of some of this work.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you, Lynn, for laying this out. I just have a question and I may not be the only one.
How many main sessions will there be?
So it's basically -- does a main session there's no two main sessions in parallel so it's one per morning or afternoon like it has been? So that means eight maximum and if you take opening and blah, blah, blah, away, then we end up with something like six?
So my calculation is right. So this is just that we know -- everybody knows we're talking about six main sessions. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: That was a useful clarification.
So Marilyn, you wanted the floor, and then maybe I'll go to Markus, and then unless either one of those two individuals send us in a completely different direction, I will ask Anja to just inform the room of two of the inputs from the NRIs in their stock-taking document to us.
Marilyn, you have the floor.
>>MARILYN CADE: Being recognized as an observer, I have three comments that I would like to share with both old -- the more experienced MAG members and the new ones.
Some of you may not have attended -- and I believe it was Bali; I could be corrected -- but I believe in Bali, we had the availability of some very large rooms, so that not only main sessions, but we had rooms of this size and perhaps similar to some of the other rooms here available in the Palais which are very large and can accommodate, I believe I heard earlier, 300, 400, 500 people.
The -- if I recall, we experimented somewhat differently with the use of some of those rooms, and that gave a whole different opportunity so that you didn't have a main session which only had 300 people sitting in it. We were using different rooms for those sessions.
So I just wanted to mention that because there is a lot of -- there are a lot of different room formats here at the Palais that, again, I will reinforce the fact that the last time I tried to move a desk and a chair at the Palais, I was practically arrested by the security guards. That's a joke, but practically.
[ Laughter ]
>>MARILYN CADE: I learned my lesson and got the Austrian government ambassador to move the chair.
So keep that in mind, if we could know more about the room schematics very, very early, I think that would be very helpful to the MAG. Also in terms of the allocation of meeting opportunities -- and now I will put my former -- the hat on about focusing on the NRIs.
I am the chief catalyst of the IGF USA, so I have been involved in the participation of the NRIs now since, I believe it was, back in Ghana when Markus and Chengetai and I co-organized one of the first very large sessions of the NRIs.
I hope there will be some accommodation to some of the ideas that they put forward already that may still be evolving as they are learning about -- more about the venue and then checking with their communities of interest about their availability to travel here to Geneva.
It will be very challenging for many of the NRIs from some of the developing countries to bring a significant number of attendees here to Geneva. And I might be looking at Percy to think that he or Michael might also want to comment on that.
So it may be premature for them to be able to give you a more unified decision other than the work they've already done by consensus on some of the suggestions.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Marilyn.
>>MARKUS KUMMER: A quick word to the mathematics. The DCs last year had half a slot. That's a 90-minute slot. Two years ago they had a full three-hour slot, but it proved actually too long. So last year they divided it into a 90-slot as a main session and another 90-minute in a separate room for a more internal taking-stock exercise. This is exactly what the DCs would like to have also this year.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Markus. That was very clear. Thank you.
>>CONSTANCE BOMMELAER: Chair, so I was coordinating the CNB last year. And the year before I was asked to try to rejuvenate the BPFs and also kick start the CNB. I'm saying this because I have interacted with many of the leaders, co-leaders, expert leaders. And as much as I appreciate the desire which is legitimate to be recognized in the agenda and the request from many to have a main session, half main session, three-hour main session, 90-minute main session, for me the important thing really is not to talk about the structure but to talk -- to start talking about the substance.
If you take the examples of the BPFs, many of them would benefit from being, in my view, attached simply to a main session that is related in terms of thematic focus. And they would have just as much visibility. And I think overall the agenda and the thematic organization of the IGF would be much more consistent and stronger and easier for newcomers to understand.
So, you know, the same thing for the CNB. Last year the Connecting the Next Billion -- Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion was all about sustainable development goals. It could have logically been associated to the main session on sustainable development. I think there should be an intelligent way to tie these things together so that overall perhaps we have less main sessions. We've heard they could be more interesting. Many of our COs and leaders have said they were a little surprised there were so many main sessions, it was difficult to understand what is really main since everything is main.
So, again, as much as I appreciate all the requests from the leaders, co-leaders to have visibility, I'm convinced the overall agenda would be much stronger if we tied things together in something that is more consistent.
And as the coordinator of the CNB, personally I would be absolutely fine having that piece attached to if it is on sustainable development -- a main session on sustainable development. I hope that's useful.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: No, I think that's very interesting as a suggestion.
And while some of this feels like it's a mathematical calculation, I want to point out that it's not. It's nice to know the rough shape of what we have and what we are talking about. If you recall last year, we thought we had far too many main sessions to fit in and we found places. We thought we had too many of these sessions and we found -- this is more to get a rough sizing and a scope and really get a sense of where the MAG is.
So I have Elizabeth and then Juan, and then I really would like to hear from the NRIs and their two suggestions as well.
>>ELIZABETH THOMAS-RAYNAUD: So I did want to raise the point we were talking before about the number of main sessions and some of them were three hours and some were one and a half. So I think that is an option for flexibility and nuance.
I also wanted to -- it's actually very timely that Constance spoke before me because she hit a number of topics and points that I would like to support.
One of the things I've heard from a number of people coming at the IGF, new and some have been around for quite a long time, is that it's getting confusing what makes the distinction between a topic or an approach that is main session suitable versus other proposals and workshop topics and issues.
And so in light of the fact that we're -- with nine years ahead of us and we want a strategic plan -- and I really have a lot of understanding and appreciation that we're within time constraints. My sense is on the main sessions, we have fewer constraints and that we could actually do some strategic thinking before about what we actually want those main sessions to contribute to a longer term agenda and how those can interact.
And then in future perhaps integrate our approach to the workshops, you know, in a subsequent session. I see the distinction between those.
So I put that out there to ask perhaps we could explore, buy more time to know that we're doing something more than just this year it concludes and then where do we start again next time.
And I would also reiterate and support the point that Constance made that the topics and approaches we want people to come into need to be something somebody outside the picture of the IGF usually could understand. And so I much rather see us integrate the activities and intersessional work into dialogues around those topics and make them focused on showcasing the work they're doing within a dialogue that is perhaps even broader than their work but integrates them as a piece of that puzzle as opposed to grouping them all together and saying here is our set of things that perhaps don't all have a commonality and a -- they're very diverse topics among those groups.
So to interest an audience member, I think sometimes we look at it more from our facility of organization than we do the appeal of the audience. And I think that's to our detriment.
And, finally, I would say that I'm really excited to hear the NRIs' proposal because similarly I think there was so much substance in that session but the appeal of the session to people who don't know what they're about or why they would want to go there was, I think, a disservice to the session by calling it an NRI session and then having it structured in the fashion that it was. So I would really welcome a longer discussion on how we could support showcasing their work in a more adapted fashion to the setting. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I think those are very good comments. So let me clarify, I wasn't intending on having the main session discussion now. I think we slippery sloped a little bit when people started doing the math about how many there were.
What I was really trying to understand -- and I don't think I said this particularly clear -- is the MAG's role as it looks toward both the program of the annual event and all of the intersessional activities, the NRIs made a couple of comments in their submission that said these are some opportunities we'd like to take advantage of at the annual event from an NRI perspective.
That's the conversation I was trying to get on the table. We're also saying that I think the MAG needs to reconsider it's roles to embrace more broadly things like the NRIs and what we can do to support them and BPFs and what we should be able to do -- some of the comments, in fact, Avri was making in the chat. I was trying to have larger shaping discussion. I guess I wasn't that clear.
So we'll come to the NRIs in just a moment so we can hear from the NRIs two thoughts they had about what they would find helpful to their work in support of our mission here.
Juan, do you want to go ahead of the NRIs?
>>JUAN FERNANDEZ: I want to -- some thoughts about this main session. As you said, the main session should reflect the real trends, the real -- and as you also said, some are obvious. Two years ago, it was the WSIS+10 process going, so it was obvious to have that. Maybe -- I don't want to go ahead of the discussion. But maybe this year cybersecurity because as was mentioned, it could be one.
But another -- the main thing that I want to propose is that one way to find out what are the restraints is in the past IGF, the one in Guadalajara, which workshops had such an attendance that really reflect the interest. That is analysis that we should do.
But I can put an example. I went to a workshop. Remember workshop 1, the theater type, (indiscernible) 1, that was about digital content in which you were film directors and -- mainly film directors and even a serious director from Africa, Latin America, an Indian film director from Bollywood. It really was very interesting. And I kept thinking that Internet, it's very important nowadays for entertainment, you know, this digital -- and that -- how to elaborate that content in other countries is not easy. And, also, even the linkage with the gaming industry and all that content, that could be a very nice main session. We can invite, you know, film directors of categories and it could really be very interesting.
I just put it in as an example. This is an example of a workshop that could be graduated to main session. I think this concept of workshops that was successful, we should analyze from last year's program which workshop was so successful that we can propose to be elevated to a main session.
I think that also could be -- and also have the obvious one that this year, and also from international, maybe a new event that has not happened yet, should happen. And that could be a way to do it.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I think those are very good comments, Juan. We usually do have a call for suggestions for main sessions a little bit later, and we start these discussions around substantive and content discussions. So I think we'll get to that soon, not in these two days here but in terms of the full call.
Is it Anja who is actually going to read out the two? Anja.
>>ANJA GENGO: Thank you. Thank you for this opportunity. So as you said, the NRIs worked on the joint submission to the taking stock of the IGF 2016. Their contribution is quite long and it's uploaded on the IGF Web site. And what I just would like to note is that that submission goes beyond the annual IGF program. And it does reflect some of the MAG members and collaboration that could be established.
So I would like to draw the MAG's attention to that contribution, to read it. And I have just pulled out the important three kind of requests that came from that submission.
So the first one would be that the NRIs would like to organize a main session for the IGF 2017 meeting with the understanding that the sessions should be of a substantive nature and interactive as possible.
The main reason is because the IGF 2016 session resulted in establishing close linkages between the NRIs that created a sense of community. Many expressed that the stakeholders within their respective communities gave stronger support to their initiatives as it was shown that the global IGF recognizes the NRIs.
On the other hand, it showed that the global IGF community, that the national and regional perspectives are as important as the issues, challenges, and perspectives are different and, therefore, deserve different approaches.
My second point would be that in addition to the main session, I would like to draw this MAG's attention to the difficulties that the NRIs are facing when it comes about showing their work, ideas, and knowledge through other certain formats. This is mainly due to the formal requirements for the workshops and open forum proposals and applications.
For this reason but also for the reasons of having the wider IGF community being aware of the Internet governance development in countries and regions, I would kindly ask if this respective MAG could explore the option of giving a separate track of substantive sessions to the NRIs. These sessions will be focused on the substance, not on the process. They are not of a mandatory nature, but they should be offered as an option.
On this way, the community will have the possibility to hear what is happening in various countries and regions.
Leaving to this MAG respectively to explore logistics.
And, finally, the third point would be that the coordination session that took the form of the meeting between the NRIs and the U.N. IGF should be continued since there was a huge value of mutual understanding raised there. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I think any of the operating or management sessions that are needed like the one that was there that would happen to take place with DESA and DESA officials were there -- I think there are other analogies here as well. I think those could just be slotted in appropriately. They are not obviously part of the formal work program.
The same thing for Markus when he commented on the dynamic coalitions kind of management session. Those obviously don't need to go through a formal workshop process. They basically need to be slotted into room availability.
But I would like to ask the MAG and the NRI coordinator here as well to engage a little bit on the request for the NRIs, their submission to the stock taking, their request that there be sort of a separate track or a theme which would allow them to focus substantively on work that they're doing.
So I don't know if there's anybody from the NRIs who wants to sort of expand on that a little bit. Give the MAG a little bit of time to think about it. This would be -- again, my comments are I think we're changing the way we construct the program of the IGF. It's not about what workshop proposals are submitted and what are the top scorers. We're really trying to through all the intersessional work find the right way for them to intersect with the annual event, and I think at the same time trying to figure out our roles and supporting them and really streaming them, if you will, into the IGF.
I will let Sandra talk. And if there's a few faces looking confused, then we'll come back and see if that needs more clarity for the moment.
Sandra, you have the floor.
>>SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you very much.
Actually, it's good that Thomas counted that we are talking about six main sessions we have to somehow distribute. And it's absolutely clear that the one group is asking the other group wants to have a main session as well. So point taken. And very good that you reminded us on this.
Then I think Marilyn made a very good point. She said the setting of the rooms we have here actually can make any session a main session because they are just so big you can attract a lot of people. You are not dealing with very small workshop rooms. So actually the setting which we will find here at the U.N. is quite perfect for any kind of bigger sessions which are not main sessions.
And going back to our main session in Guadalajara, I mean, the room was not packed. Let's be realistic on this.
So I have no strong feelings we should either have a main session or not. I think -- and I would like to reiterate and I would like to extend a little bit what we just have been discussed in this European corner in this break.
We believe that it's important to make the IGF debate a little bit more of a process, a global process. And we were just thinking how we could do this in Europe this year. And so far we were mostly looking at it from beginning from the start of the year until the end of the year and then it's somehow finished. But actually that's not true, because the IGF taking place at the end of the year produces outcomes. And actually those outcomes can be taken up by the national IGFs and by the regionals to look at, okay, what's relevant for our discussion and how can we transform this, what might be our next message to the global IGF.
And for this, we need a room. And if we can organize such a process in Europe, there can be such a process in Africa, Latin America as well to take up the proposals from the IGF as they came out and incorporate them into the next via the regional, national and back to the global.
Again, we were all of the same opinion that any kind of regional space, let's call it, forum or regional hour or regional space or whatever. But if this could become a part of the agenda, even if it's on day zero. But as it is a status quo that we have those spaces for the region and they can actually take up their discussion. This we believe from the European stakeholder group would be really helpful.
Additionally, this workshop with UN DESA was really helpful. I think we should just keep it as kind of a getting together, seeing what is next, how we are going to collaborate in the future.
And I think NRIs might be also benefit very much from sort of an exchange on best practices, but this is something which can be applied via the call for workshops, for instance, if the NRIs group wants to do so, if they decide to apply for such a workshop.
Again, although I was very much in favor of having this main session last year and also proposed, yeah, we should have it again, I see the point that we only have six and we have to be fair in distributing them, so no strong feelings from my personal point but very strong feelings for these regional spaces to discuss among each other in a region but also to reach out and inform people from other regions what's going on in the region. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Sandra.
I have Liesyl and then Jorge in the queue, and then Rasha. Liesyl, you have the floor.
>>LIESYL FRANZ: Thanks, Lynn.
I guess mine was one of the confused faces that you might have seen out here because I really have no idea what we're talking about. I'm sorry, I don't. And I -- you know, I'm very involved in the main session discussions, very involved in sort of how we got to where we did on the main sessions and the DCs and the -- and the NRIs and, you know, I'm very familiar how we got to where we were last year. I have -- I really am completely lost in this conversation what we're trying to achieve.
I'm a little bit concerned that there's a proposal --
First of all, let me say that I completely -- I really liked Constance's description of weaving in the intersessional work of the MAG and the community that participated into workshop proposals that might be on the same -- that might be on the same topics.
Now, I imagine that probably has some impact on speakers that would show up in those sessions, and how you manage that I'm not sure, because the workshop proposals coming from work proposers in the community, so thinking about how that would be -- that mechanics would happen is maybe something we need to think about.
I also thought that last year when we dealt with the main sessions, we really tried to deal with the bottom-up approach of things -- the workshop proposals that were coming in and how did that reflect in what we called the main sessions and along with the intersessional work, and I think we can evolve from that kind of navel gazing, looking at our own work in a main session. So I like -- I'm having positive reaction to some of those conversations.
I'm a little bit more concerned that we're now talking about having -- slotting workshops for various -- taking up space in the workshop agenda opportunities for any number of NRIs or DCs. Am I misunderstanding?
And perhaps if this is a real proposal of how we're going to deal with the program agenda, we need to see something on paper. I'm a little bit concerned about this.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: So a couple of points, I think.
This was -- session is not about main sessions, right? So this is --
>>LIESYL FRANZ: Then I'm more confused.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: It's about -- we -- so we fell into the main sessions because, I think, of the --
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: I'm guilty, because of the --
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: No, no, no, no.
>> (Off microphone.)
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Let me just start over.
We fell out of the main sessions, I think, because we started about the NRI. One of the agenda items today is to look at our intersessional activities and determine where they're going over the course of the year and where they fit or intersect with the annual IGF, the actual event itself.
In documents we all should have read, there were some comments which said the NRIs would find it very useful to have -- and I can't remember if it was a track or a stream or maybe it was even forums or something, but basically a space for them to have substantive discussions on content that was important to them.
Now, the NRIs are not a piece of work that's directed by the MAG. They're independent. They're organic. They're bottom-up. They have their own processes, their own requirements.
They are, through some fashion -- I think we're all trying to figure this out, so I think we should feel good that we're having the discussion and trying to figure it out as opposed to not having the discussion.
So the NRIs are saying, "We would find it helpful to have some space within the annual event to help us feature and advance some of our work."
And we can figure out how we take that discussion forward, but if we say we're going to allow them that -- and it wasn't just, as I understand it, one 90-minute session -- we need to figure out, I think at some level, a little bit about roles I think at some point but first, does the MAG believe that if the -- if the NRIs are asking for let's say a track or a stream or, you know, two sessions a day or something, so that they can feature specific activities that they're doing, you know, how does the -- how does the MAG actually want to respond to that request?
Now -- and I think maybe the NRIs would maybe be a little more clear on the actual proposal and the requests, as well, but -- and then, again, we're all coming together for the first time here in this discussion. We've been in it now for five hours. I'm kind of not surprised that we're having some of the -- you know, the mismatch.
Who read the 200-odd pages of staking tock -- stock-taking that came in, right?
So the -- but, look, we have said that we really support and we want to advance intersessional work. We've said that as a community in the MAG for a long time. We've been supporting NRIs. The NRIs are asking for some additional intersect with the annual event. How do we actually want to respond to that, evaluate it and respond to it.
Now, I started my comments saying I think this is impacting the way the MAG thinks about the program. Not just the annual event, but also what is the work of the MAG over the course of the year. Do we feel the same responsibility to engage with BPFs now -- so I'm stepping away from the NRI discussion -- with BPFs as we do with a request for the program itself. I'm trying not to say "main sessions."
I think these are some of the things that we all need to figure out because I think over time, our role has kind of -- the MAG's role has actually evolved beyond just the annual event, but we haven't really acknowledged it. And I'm not sure the BPFs felt that they were, you know, particularly all that well supported by the MAG. I think they relied heavily on consultants to help them. And is that okay? It may be okay. But I think some of this should actually be conscious. Again, because everybody has really focused for the last few years on outputs and really making an impact.
This is our third year of BPFs, Constance? Our third year. So we've got two years of sort of some -- of running code and now we're trying to figure out what's the next step.
At the same time, in my mind we hear a lot about wanting to be longer-term focused in our activities, more strategic, a strategic work plan, a little more visionary about what we're doing, and so, again, that's part of that component as well.
So I don't know if that clarified. I'll go back to you for a moment before I go to Jorge to see if that actually clarified. If not, someone feel free to step in and try it differently.
>>LIESYL FRANZ: No. I -- thank you, Lynn. I do think that that helps frame what I suppose is being put to the MAG in some informal way based on the taking stock and looking ahead and the request. I do think, though, that it has an impact on the program, right?
And I'm -- by the way, I say -- anything I say has nothing to do with whether or not I think that the intersessional session is important. And of course I do. And whether or not I think it's important to the annual event. Of course I do. Whether it's NRIs, DCs, BFPs, CENB. And I thought the USG had a lot of acronyms.
[ Laughter ]
>>LIESYL FRANZ: So I'm not -- I'm not questioning the value of any of it at all, but I am -- I am curious what the -- I guess you asked yourself for what the specific proposal would be. I think we as the MAG would need to figure out what the impact or suggested impacts would be on the program, and the workshop slotting, and what might be the best way to accommodate a request that may be coming in through any of these intersessional works through the MAG.
So if there can be put a more process point that we can evaluate, I think that's useful. But let me just say I'll put my finger on the point I think if we're thinking of a whole track or stream, that's really going to cut down on the number of workshops we're going to be able to accept.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Liesyl. Thomas and then we'll go to Jorge.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Or Jorge, do you want to go first? You go first and then I follow you.
>>JORGE CANCIO: Hello. And good afternoon and thank you for giving me the floor.
This is a personal observation, so Thomas can always correct me with --
[ Laughter ]
>>JORGE CANCIO: -- official Swiss position, but it's more or less also in the input we made to the stock taking. And the thought is that the intersection with the intersessional work should be topic-based, in my view, not so much process-based.
Because I had, for instance, the experience in Guadalajara of listening to the main session of BPFs, of best practice forums, and they have done an incredible job, very much work, very valuable, but in a way, it didn't make sense to me to have, I don't know, two hours or three hours with one presentation about gender, then one about cybersecurity, then one about IXPs.
That wasn't linked thematically, topically. For -- especially for an audience that is not composed by insiders, that kind of arrangement makes little sense, unless you are talking about purely process, how do we work better as BPFs or as dynamic coalitions or as NRIs, but that might be a different kind of setting, perhaps a large workshop or something different.
So I would see really the intersection based on the topics, trying to ensure in the evaluation of the workshops and of the main sessions that are relevant to the work of the respective dynamic coalitions, BPFs, NRIs, that they are taken on board, that they can participate in the relevant sessions, instead of having a session, for instance, on fake news based on a workshop proposal and another session on fake news based on a BPFs and another one based on an NRI. That wouldn't make sense. It's better to have them all in the same place, and on our -- well, our side or the MAG's side, to make sure that in the evaluation of the main sessions and the workshops, we establish some kind of criteria to make that happen, to give them some room to participate where their interests really lie on a topic-based basis. Thank you.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Actually, you said a part of what I was going to say, so thank you for being so efficient, Jorge.
I think this goes in line with what Constance and some others have said before and it's actually also not a contradiction to what Markus has said because he was alluding to, I think, it's crystallizing that we may have some substantive input from these structures and then you have a process part, and the process part is extremely important for those who do it. It's important for DESA and the secretariat and the others who facilitate space for those to do it. So -- but that's, let's say, internal cuisine for the IGF, for the actors that should have spaces, and it's not necessarily for the audience.
So I think Point 1 is a learning thing is to separate these two things because it's a different function.
And then when it comes to the substantive part, I think with the substantive structures, like the BPFs and so on, what you have said makes perfect sense.
It may be slightly different with regard to the NRIs. And as someone who has been with EuroDIG from the beginning, and we have the same discussion in European level how to link the Europeans, national ones, with EuroDIG and so on and so forth, and -- we've tried different things and it's -- there needs to be a little bit of a mixture of substance and process but maybe we can try other formats.
For instance, just talking out loud, one thing that could be interesting is to see, for instance, what are the top three issues worldwide on all NRIs? And if we would, for instance, instead of trying to have all NRIs working on an issue that may be more relevant or less relevant depending on the region or on the country, if you just do a very simple thing that they know in advance, basically ask your participants what are your top three issues, and with every three issues you have one or two bullet points to get a little bit of not just cybersecurity or big data but something a little bit -- and then you could process this into a document where you could then maybe -- we don't even need a session for that. You can do this on a paper or electronically. We see, okay, in Europe there's a convergence on these two things and one is varying from country to country. This is similar to Latin America but it's completely different to Africa, whatever. So that you have a little bit of diversity of issues visualized, in one way, and you would not even necessarily need time at the IGF but you would somehow have a process that would link all these -- all these NRIs into a common structure with different substances. Just -- just an idea.
But then you don't have to talk about the process and you don't have to spend hours telling each other what you discussed. You get something at one glance and then you can still decide how or whether you want to discuss interregionaly, internationally, on particular things that pop up in a way that you think, okay, this is somehow -- and this information can also be used for the workshops and main sessions -- say, okay, this seems to be a problem from this angle in that region but it seems to be absolutely no issue in another one, and then you can ask yourselves why.
It may also help you to program main sessions and things where you want to have something that is obviously relevant for everybody but you may be just thinking that it's relevant but you don't really know, and the other way around.
So just -- we may try and find new ways of aggregating information from the NRIs because you can't just go via substance because that may be different. I'll stop here for the time being. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Thomas. We actually have quite a queue here that Chengetai has been keeping, so Rasha, you have the floor.
>>RASHA ABDULLA: Thank you. Just very briefly, I want us to revisit the three-hour thing. I got a bit of feedback that three hours is just too long for any type of session. People evidently just go in and out. There's disturbance in the hall, there's non-continuity for what's being discussed, and it's just -- I think it's just a lot of time to dedicate to one session. I think we need to revisit that and, in the process, give more opportunity for other sessions to be featured as main sessions.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Rasha. Miguel?
>>MIGUEL IGNACIO ESTRADA: Thank you, Lynn.
I had a chance to run kind of a workshop that's been proposed by the NRIs right now last year and this year. I think those kind of workshops or spaces are especially for day zeros in order to gather regions, not only NRIs, and then other regional organizations, in order to coordinate and know what the -- their regional agenda is during the IGF.
I think it's a day zero event. I don't think it should have a space during the IGF itself.
And maybe if we could separate a specific room in order for the NRIs to discuss over the different topics, for example, we discussed last year on the main session because they are topics concerning just the NRIs. How to raise money, how to -- and what is important for the IGF is what arises from the NRIs. It's not how the NRIs happen; it's about what the NRIs can provide the IGF. So I think we're talking about different things. What arises from the NRIs would be work proposals. How the NRIs could organize themselves in order to happen would be another thing.
I would also like to support Constance and Elizabeth's points on the main sessions. If we have too many sessions, they won't be main. So we should define very carefully which sessions would become main.
And on another topic, I don't know if now is the time, but in many chats we had before, we were discussing if we are talking about relevant issues, we are defining a workshop agenda in March. And maybe the proposal would be -- proposal would be about, for example, fake news or algorithms or something like that. But maybe they're not relevant at the end of the year.
So we were thinking about some way to include the relevant issues or topics at the end of the year. Something that may be in the main session; maybe not. But something open to the public policy.
For example, the MAG should define the ten hot topics by October. We could open those topics to the general public for open voting, and they could define the three hot topics for the end of the year.
And the MAG or maybe a working group would have to organize a specific work for each topic. In that way, we could bring media and we could get more interested in these itself. I know it's hard. I know we have a lot of work and little time. But maybe it could bring more relevance to the IGF.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Miguel. Those are good points. I think it's hard because we reset every year and we start late every year. And we only have a one-year planning cycle. If we can find a way to really -- and I think we have a path to do that, to really get ahead, multiyear, do plan, clean up some of the timing of MAG appointments would be very helpful.
The MAG appointment we all said last year should be done before the current MAG terms end, not through or four months after it ends because there's this hiatus where nothing can officially happen and in practice very little happens because there isn't a sort of structure around.
We need to fix some of those things that are fundamental, basic, and should be really easy to fix. But those are the things that hamper us every year. They hampered us last year, and they are hampering us this year.
The MAG was announced two days ago. New MAG members were put on the list two days ago. We don't even have the ability to actually set agendas and priorities before we get into this face-to-face meeting.
So I like a lot of those comments and suggestions a lot, and I think we need to find a way to get ahead of them and actually start doing it for some of the future-year planning.
Renata, you have the floor.
>>RENATA AQUINO RIBEIRO: Thank you, Chair. Renata. I agree with Miguel, that we need to think about a longer term. And I would like to come back to Julian's point as well on the SDGs and thinking about this integrated overarching theme, intersessional activities. There needs to be a coherence that somehow is missing.
And another point that I think it's important we remember, there were many contributions from intersessionals, intersessional group participants from the NRIs, which needs to be taken into account as we move forward.
So we did go through our taking-stock process. But we need to do a deeper dive and consider this moving forward and do the integrated work.
Agree it's not about one part of the work, the NRIs or the BPFs or the DCs. It's everything together and a multiyear process. Thanks.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Renata.
Haojun, you have the floor.
>>HAOJUN JI: Thank you, Madam Chair.
Actually, to be honest, I don't know -- I don't really understand what you guys are talking about. But on the -- regarding the organization of the main sessions and choosing of topics or subthemes, I think we -- to have the poll on line is one way. But whether such a post is dependable or not depends on where do you put kind of poll, which Web site do you put it, what kind of language do you put it, if you do such a kind of polling only in the Anglo-Saxon world. The result is totally different from what you get from China. So it's a very complicated job.
I think we -- the first step is that we -- among MAG members, we first have to reach a certain kind of consensus to prioritize different issues. And we can have an internal poll that will be more objective than the pure populist approach on the Internet because the Internet is such a (indiscernible) place. That is the first opinion about main session.
I think we need to choose the seasonal hot topic issues and give them enough time that we can have deep and thorough discussions.
The second thing about workshops, side events structure, I understand we need to take into consideration different sectors and different people. We have to be inclusive, et cetera. But in the meantime, we have to be effective, to make sure that all the participants from all the world can participate in the session in an effective manner rather than running from place to place, five minutes in this room and another five minutes in another room. It's not -- that's not effective participation. It's kind of like a bazaar. Sure, whenever we organize such big events, it always looks like a big bazaar. But we have to manage it, to make sure that such a bazaar is not too noisy, not too hectic. And we decide the number of side events, workshops. I think we have to have a control on the numbers. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you.
I have Markus in the queue and then we're going to go to Makane is on line, Lee, and Zeina is the current speaking order.
Markus, you have the floor.
>>MARKUS KUMMER: Agree very much what has been said. In particular the best practice main session clearly did not work. The DC main session was a bit different, and it actually worked well despite there was such a variety of issues on the discussion. But I leave that. Maybe Avri wants to jump in on the DCs.
Just a quick reminder why we chose a main session for the BPFs. That was mainly to allow them to benefit from interpretation because the main sessions are the only rooms that you have interpretation. However, I don't think that really delivered the desired impact, having interpretation of that kind of main session.
I just wonder as multilingualism is something of concern to many in this room whose mother tongue is not English -- and our Chinese colleague mentioned very eloquently how important it was. And I think we also had remark to that effect from a French colleague. I wonder whether we could not maybe just make at least an executive summary of the substantive reports of the best practice forums, make available in the U.N. languages. And that might have the desired effect of making more accessible to people in other languages.
Again, on the main sessions, the duration of three hours is determined by the working schedule of the interpreters. We can obviously split them into half. I tend to agree as well that three hours is rather long, and nowadays people have limited attention span. Two times 90 minutes is certainly better than one three hours. Thanks.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Markus.
Makane, you have the floor.
>> MAKANE FAYE: Good afternoon. My name is Makane Faye from the African IGF secretariat hosted by the African Union and the (indiscernible) Commission for Africa. I'm also the chairperson of the planning committee of the West African IGF.
I just want to let you know that the NRIs are a real bottom-up approach and also their work is totally intersessional. As was stated by the EuroDIG delegate, we take into account what is done at the IGF, at the global level, and also take into account what is coming from our countries, the national level, the subregional level, the regional level, and then we move to the global level.
So we also take into account the BPFs, the dynamic coalitions in each of our activities at the national and regional level. We take care of those issues. So I do not think that you can compare really the status of the NRIs and the status of the activities of the IGF because IGF -- the NRIs are really putting together everybody at all levels. And this is also one of the most opportune fora where we put on our decision makers, enlighten them on what is happening at the national and regional level and also at the global level.
It is true. The NRIs (indiscernible) are our stakeholders and our decision makers really to come at the global IGF to be presented or speakers or communicate with them.
We definitely need a separate session for the NRI and a main session. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Makane.
Lee, you have the floor.
>>LEE HIBBARD: Thank you, Madam Chair. Just a very simple point. Tapping into the idea that has been said before about multiannual strategic thinking, I mean, of course, this is -- we're talking about at the same time peace, as human rights, as automation, artificial intelligence. It's huge. It's multifaceted. It's complicated. It's a long process. It's obvious. It's quite clear. Certainly there are no silver bullets regarding how to resolve these things. It's good that we look into the longer future term to discuss these issues.
It's a very simple point. In terms of being more visible, being more communicative with the public, with the target groups we're trying to reach out to, I think we need to tell a story more, we need to take a story more of what we're trying to achieve. We talk more about storytelling now. It's not new. I mean, books have been around for a long time.
A story which starts from the top down in terms of the title and the elements and the components therein. Just like you see with regard to how you can see media moving to Netflix and other long forms of storytelling away from films, which were an hour and a half, two hours, clearly there's an appetite for more storytelling.
Is it incumbent on this group to tell a story over a number of years about what it is and where we're going? If you think of it like that, then we may be better at communicating and be more visible.
That being said, there's a responsibility in the words of telling that story as you have been doing with the title and maybe the chapters. Rising awareness, pinpointing issues, empowering people, giving people legitimacy to speak where they may not be able to speak otherwise, and, of course, freedom of expression in that context and coming together. Obviously it's about what are the key issues in terms of guiding where is future society going. This is very general. It's about process and about people.
How? Through a multistakeholder approach. Who? Including the NRIs as catalysts for us.
And awareness, of course, is a continuous dialogue over the next years through the IGF multiannual process.
I want you to retain the -- I think we're telling a story which is unfolding year after year. And if we think of it like that, maybe it gives us more coherence, more traction, more visibility. And most importantly we can communicate the added value much more than perhaps we think. I feel it's a scattered approach to many issues and we are trying to encapsulate things.
If you try to come down on a story which unfolds, then maybe we have a better chance. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Lee.
Zeina, you have the floor.
>> ZEINA BOU HARB: I would like to point out on the main session of the NRIs, especially that we are in the status of information initiative in Lebanon, I found it very important to listen to all what was said during the main session on NRIs and to learn from their experience to know how they dealt with all the issues they faced. That's why I really recommend to have a main session with the NRI also this year. And maybe we let them speak about the hot topics that they met with during the year either on national or on regional level. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Zeina.
For whatever it's worth, I actually found last year's NRI session extremely interesting, not because I was co-moderating or whatever but the people I spoke to afterwards said -- and it was a long session. But if somebody really wanted to understand what the NRIs were about and what they were doing, sitting in that session gave them a great, great profile. In the space of a couple of hours, they saw a full range of activities and countries and priorities and processes. And they walked out of there understanding why the NRIs were important and what they were.
That is not an argument for a main session for the NRIs. I think what we need to do -- there may be a different argument, but I'm not trying to push an NRI main session. I think with all these things, we need to figure out what are we trying to achieve and how do we actually take advantage of the physical presence of one of these IGF events.
I think that's what the NRIs did last year. I think they were effective at it. I think this year there are some new things that I think could be done. But I think really with any of these sessions, whether it's 90-minute or it's a main session or it's a flash session, we need to drive ourselves who are we trying to reach and what are we trying to achieve with the session. If we can do that, I think we will get a lot more impact from our work.
Maybe what I'll do is this evening is try and frame this up a little bit because we have been talking, I think, about responsibilities, overall profile of the program.
I'm not sure what I'm going to say next is actually going to help, but let me see. If we thought we had 100 slots, to choose a number, and the NRIs came and said, you know, there are 80 NRIs, maybe there will be 90 NRIs by next year and they'd like ten workshop slots or ten session slots for proposals or activities or, you know, maybe whatever, how do we actually -- so let's say that they were interesting programs, legitimate requests, substantive, and we thought that was an appropriate thing to do because it would allow the NRIs to get some visibility for their work. I, think one of the questions is how do we actually figure out what the MAG's role is in saying yes or no and the NRIs' role in answering.
Do we see the NRI work as an integral part of the program? And, therefore, it's the MAG's responsibility to review those requests and allow them in. And I'm focusing on this a little bit because, again, the NRIs are independent. They're organic. We need to allow them to give visibility to their activities and advance their activities in a way that is going to help them back home. That may be a slightly different objective that what we're trying to set when we actually set an overall IGF program.
I am looking at one or two faces, and I don't think that helped to clarify. I will go away quietly myself tonight and come back.
We need to do two things for sure before we wrap up today. And that's talk about the date for the next MAG meeting. And Chengetai has the proposal on the basis of a request that came in on the -- on the list. We should talk about that, recognize that that request and that particular timetable is what drove the timetable for the MAG work, or will drive it over the next couple of months.
So do you want to talk to it? I have forgotten the exact dates.
Actually, Luis, if you can put up the timetable from the back of the workshop evaluation process, that sort of lays it out there.
The request was to potentially consider having the next MAG meeting either alongside or in parallel with the WSIS meeting here in Geneva.
Chengetai has gone away to see if those dates were available. The dates that he's come back with are the 14th through the 16th. Again, we would just have a three-day MAG meeting. I might actually argue for an extra day if we want to advance some of the more strategic work. But for now it's the 14th through the 16th which overlaps the WSIS forum.
And, people, just think on that. We're not looking for a call or close on that. We'll come back on that tomorrow.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: No. Tomorrow before we leave, we should know when we will be meeting next.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: If Luis could put the time -- the proposed schedule up.
So we're proposing the next MAG meeting is in the middle of June. Every time we've tried to schedule them out later, we've run into a lot of objections from the MAG, frankly, because it starts to interfere with people's holidays and vacations in July and August.
I don't think we can wait until September for the MAG meeting and to do the workshop selection proposal because I think that's not leaving enough time for preparations.
So, you know, we're in mid-June, end of June time frame, unless somebody wants to put forward a hard proposal for a meeting at a different time of the year, but, you know, in 11 years, it's never -- never flown in August, and for most of July, it is normally out as well.
That is what's driving the proposed schedule here, and some of the other tightness around things like the workshop evaluation process and trying to get a sense of what formats we might allow in, and -- and some sense of the overall shape of the program.
This would actually say we need to leave here tomorrow with those things known, which is just a huge, huge lift from where we started.
So there are a couple of hands up. I saw Constance's has been up for a little while so I saw Constance, Renata, Marilyn, Zeina, Rasha.
Sorry. And actually, Arnold, yes, you were in there in the middle, yes.
>>CONSTANCE BOMMELAER: Thank you very much, Chair.
With regards to how to make progress while not getting lost in how many main sessions and who gets a main session and even -- you know, even some sort of competition in the discussion, "I want my main session," I was wondering if, as there seemed to be interest in having more than an organic approach, rather a thematic approach, if the MAG agreed on a few of the high-level themes or hot topics, as the delegate from China was suggesting, then perhaps approach -- have a bottom-up approach where when you launch your call for proposals, there is a question on what do you think would be most useful to deliver or to organize a discussion.
So a BPF could be -- you know, you could tick the box "BPF" or "special NRI involvement" or "XYZ," but systematically, a more thematic approach than rushing to, you know, dividing -- dividing the cake of the main sessions between the DCs, the NRIs, and all the rest.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Constance.
We have Renata in the queue.
>>RENATA AQUINO RIBEIRO: Yeah. I was just going to do a simple point on the issue of timing and conflicts because we have -- some of us may have ICANN meeting the end of June, but I would also address this in a broader way.
I think the dialogue with WSIS and with other events, this was brought up before as a way to guide MAG's work and building the IGF program as well.
So that would be an interesting thing to consider on our next steps as well.
So I would support a date around WSIS, but I would be careful about the end of June. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Renata.
>>RASHA ABDULLA: Thank you.
I wanted to voice support for the same time frame, around the mid-June, and just alert you that the last week of June is the Muslim feast, the end of Ramadan, so that might affect some people, so just to voice that.
And while I'm at it, I would also like to support what Constance just said because I think we need to be very careful if we're going to sort of assign quotas of workshops or sessions to particular groups because then that's -- I mean, it's not just the NRIs. The next thing is we're going to have like 30 or 40 groups being called out by -- legitimately, since we've assigned some to a particular type of groups. Then, you know, other groups are going to come back and ask us to do the same, so we need to be very careful. I think everybody should have the same opportunity to propose sessions, and I think the choice should be made by merit rather than by who they are.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Rasha.
Arnold and then we have Lee.
>>ARNOLD VAN RHIJN: Thank you, Lynn.
On the date, I recognized earlier that indeed it coincides with the WSIS. It could be beneficial for those who are attending the WSIS, but it could be also an agenda problem.
I think it is worthwhile to look into a date back to back with the WSIS forum or otherwise choose a date in May. The second half of May probably. That's on the date.
Second point, I would like to focus your attention on a very interesting work which is an undertaking by the Internet Society. It started all in March 2016 and with the aim to look into the future of the Internet, what can we expect in about 10 years from now.
They engaged a lot of people, members, chapters, experts, partners, and they come up with 1500 responses from 156 countries and economies, and finally, they identified what they call nine game-changing shifts, challenges, and drivers for the future that emerges as key issues if we're talking about the future of the Internet.
Nine boxes they have identified. I'll name a few of them.
New and evolving digital divides.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Convergence of the Internet in the physical world.
The evolution of networks and standards.
Future of personal freedoms and rights.
If I look at these nine boxes, then I think it could perhaps fit into the more programmatic planning of our work, hopefully, if that's -- if we get an agreement on that.
My main message is, see -- have a look at this very interesting project and see whether we can link, as a MAG, as an IGF, to this work, valuable work, because if we're talking about the future of the Internet and we are asking the NRIs to come up with hot topics, probably they have been already involved and asked by the Internet Society "What are your views about the future of the Internet?"
So my plea would be to at least inform the national IGFs and regional IGFs that this work is under -- is underway. It's already going on and there's lots of information you can read in what came out of this so-called consultation. This is what I would like to share with you. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Arnold.
Next we have Lee.
>>LEE HIBBARD: Thank you, Madam Chair. Just a very quick point to echo what was said by Constance and in the past by the Chinese delegation, is that the clustering or the thematic approach is very -- is something which is I think developing as a best practice in EuroDIG. We -- there's a very early on stage clustering of groups of themes which shall then become the threads for the actual discussions and the shaping of sessions and the actual delivery of the event itself.
So this works very well. I think it tells a bit of a story. And so, I mean, it's a best practice which could be thought about in terms of this planning.
So I really would stress that. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Lee.
Marilyn, you have the floor.
>>MARILYN CADE: Thank you, Chair. Marilyn Cade speaking.
The reason I took the microphone is that I think that there are many in this room who are very familiar with the WSIS forum but perhaps many who are not, and I just want to make a quick observation for some who may not be familiar with the fact that the WSIS forum's purpose is to focus on the implementation of the WSIS action lines, which is very different from the purpose but very, I think, augmentive to the purpose of the IGF.
I do not see in any way that these are competing fora, and I think that they both play important roles.
I will say, having attended all of the WSIS forums, including before it was an official WSIS forum, that I see a significant difference in the workshops. They are about implementation. And this year, of course, the focus is on the linkage between the WSIS action lines and SDGs.
But of interest, perhaps, to some of you, there's a high-level track on day two and three where there are official policy statements made, and I realize that that may be -- you know, we may feel like that's just a bunch of high-level speechifying, but, in fact, those high-level policy statements have been developing into statements that high-level ministers, CEOs, heads of NGOs and others, are -- they use those opportunities to describe the implementation toward the action lines in their country.
Last year, through the participation -- I was a high-level track facilitator. Through the participation with three of the high-level participants, there are now NRIs that are being supported in those countries.
Because they came to the WSIS forum, I either encouraged them or forced them to attend the briefing that the secretariat organized, made sure that they had a chance to talk to some other friendlies who were participating.
So I will say for some of you, if you're not familiar with it, I think that there's some benefit. The workshops are focused on implementation, so I'll say again they're very different.
I will say that if you plan to meet at the same time, perhaps you could think about meeting on Friday, which is largely a working day, and work over the weekend, so that if people wanted to attend part of the WSIS forum and take advantage of part of that, but also then do your work, perhaps that would work.
But I think, Arnold, you were saying it would be better not to completely overlap, and I really agree with you about, in particular, the first four days.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Marilyn.
Next on the queue, I have Haojun. Then I have Segun. No? Okay.
>>HAOJUN JI: Thank you, Madam Chair. Just be very quick. First, I would like to say that the topic mentioned by Arnold is very good and I like that very much.
And secondly is about the panel action of WSIS. I would like to say that, you know, we are having the mandate from IGF and IGF is having the mandate from WSIS, so it's our job to carry out what they say, but we have -- also have to be aware that the WSIS documents is, you know, negotiated for a long time in the process, and many of those guys working on WSIS are, you know, devoted for many years on social and economic affairs, they don't know too much things about technology, and technology in the international situation is changing so fast. And we -- I think we need to be -- go a little bit ahead of WSIS. We -- we should not follow, you know, behind because WSIS doesn't go fast enough and we have to catch up with the times. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I don't see anybody else looking for the floor and is there anybody in the queue, Anja? No?
You know, unfortunately this is always a very, very, very difficult thing to do. I'll leave the date up there, and if we could put the sheet back up there for a minute, Luis, and people should go away, think about it overnight. I -- I'm sure we can move the meeting to one side or the other of WSIS. I would guess that August is pretty much out of the box for most of the people in the northern hemisphere. The back part of July is. I'm very happy to be contradicted on that, but every time we've had this discussion, a past one, there's been like just no way can we hold a meeting and get enough participation in that time frame.
I think September is just far too late for us to do the programmatic work. And that drives us back to a meeting sometime between mid- to end of June, working around various holidays, possibly the first week of July. That obviously doesn't work well for Americans, with the 4th of July, so --
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: What's that?
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: -- if we -- just so we understand the sort of timetable overall we're looking for, if we meet second, third week of June, that actually says that we put out the open call inviting workshop proposals mid-March. Two weeks from now, basically. And then that would give seven weeks for the submitters to submit their proposals. It gives the secretariat a week -- oops -- to organize and send the proposals to MAG for evaluation, having done the first stage of evaluation. The MAG gets three weeks to review them. The secretariat -- and I think that should probably say "secretariat analysis and maybe even working group analysis and evaluation of the workshop results." And the MAG gets to review that analysis, paying particular attention to any imbalances they'd like to correct or any kind of longer-term more strategic elements we want to put in. And, again, the MAG selecting the final workshops, we've heard from many people that the MAG should select the final workshops in a face-to-face meeting.
This is partly why I've been pushing some things so hard and why it's frustrating to have so little time, again, and to be having a very tactical, operational, date-driven conversation in the absence of not really having had enough kind of substance and content.
I am open, as I know the secretariat is, for any other suggestions in terms of how we manage that second face-to-face meeting and the ultimate program schedule.
If anything occurs to anybody right now, we can put that on the table for thought. People can go away, otherwise, think about it. If you do have ideas, it would be helpful to put it on the list so we also have some time to think about it. It is -- we know that we do not close on dates outside of a MAG meeting. If we have to take this to the MAG list, we will not close for some time.
So I see Elizabeth in the queue and Haojun.
Elizabeth, you have the floor.
>>ELIZABETH THOMAS-RAYNAUD: It's a question that was asked right next to me by someone who is not allowed to speak. I'm kidding.
The question that was sort of asked is: Why not September, early September?
And I think maybe it's worth exploring what are the pros and cons of that, if we really are stuck for a date.
I know we did have a MAG in September before, but I think it was an extra one and related to the progression of the intersessional work.
In terms of -- I mean, if I recall, this past year where the main sessions were actually decided, I don't recall us getting conclusion before about that time.
>> (Off microphone.)
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: No, the main sessions aren't tied or directed by the schedule. Somehow we got overly focused on main sessions here today, but that's not -- we do do those separate from --
This is about the bulk of the workshop proposal scheduling, and last -- last year we did the main session final proposals at virtual calls after the main meeting.
>>ELIZABETH THOMAS-RAYNAUD: So is it a logistical question? Is it for you and the host country to figure out, you know, rooms and structure and all of those kind of things? Is that the reason that September to December would be complicated if you didn't know the workshop activities before then? So...
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: What I've heard from some of the people is that that means we would be asking the workshop submitters basically to do their work over July, and the MAG and the secretariat to do their work over August, and, again, we just hit that heavy vacation period.
If you just -- if you just back out from --
You know, to go to the far right, if we're going to have a meeting in second week of September or something and you back up, that says the MAG's reviewing it in Week 1, the secretariat is -- of September, the secretariat's doing their work in August, the last week, the MAG's doing their reviews over August, and it backs up -- backs up that way. I'm just saying that that's what --
>> (Off microphone.)
>>ELIZABETH THOMAS-RAYNAUD: -- to not change our deadline that much and maybe widen it a little bit until early summer, imagine. And then that analysis could be done and we could use perhaps that platform/blog matching opportunity for people -- leave people just the analysis of not -- not the evaluation/conclusion work, but just the analysis that we have 15 workshops on gender and we have the subject areas and so we could leave a platform for people who have workshops that might want to link them or liaise -- I'm just thinking about how to use that time without losing it entirely, but at the same time not overcompressing ourselves into a schedule that may or may not work. Not that September is a better time, but just raising the question.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: No. I think it's good to think out of box and question some things that have always been (indiscernible). I think we would all love more time on the front end here.
Rasha, you have the floor.
>>RASHA ABDULLA: Thank you. I think it's very difficult for us to inform participants of whether or not they are accepted by September. In some countries, it's going to take three months just to get a visa. A Schengen visa is very difficult, and people need to apply for funding. It really takes a lot more time than that.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thomas, and then we'll...
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Just hopefully to ask the question. If you said beginning of July, 4th of July does not work for the U.S. That's their national holiday day, whatever it is.
If you would then apply equal treatment, that means we have, like, 185 days that may not work. I think with all respect, but maybe that's a little bit far fetched.
[ Laughter ]
I'm sure you must have Austrian roots or German roots with your name. Please celebrate for once another national day.
No, jokes aside. The first two weeks in July may be an alternative, so why not think it through a little bit more serious. And if we can find a way around the 4th of July, but there's a few days left in early July that may not be a problem for too many people. Thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: No problem for the secretariat. We will be more than happy to work any time in August or whatever.
[ Laughter ]
Yes, but it's just a matter of either should people come in for the WSIS forum, go back for two weeks, then come back. That's a cost thing as well. The visas, they are asking for funding, because people base their funding requests -- I do have a workshop that has been accepted. So all those factors do come into play. You know, it's fine for us, the secretariat.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: We have Haojun in the queue and then Liesyl.
Let me just say that I do believe September is just too late. It's too late for the reasons we just said, proposers and funding. So I think we're back to this current general time frame. But really appreciate you pushing the envelope there, Elizabeth.
Haojun, you have the floor.
>>HAOJUN JI: I also hate to work June vacations. And I hope we will meet in July when I will be in Geneva. I will try to get on line if I'm not able to participate in the meetings physically.
The second thing I want to ask -- to your question, do the organizers of the workshops or any other side events, do they have to pay for the U.N. conference service or the room or maybe they put a tent inside the compound? Do they have to pay?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: No. There is no charge. The only charge there is if you have a booth and you want, like, an extra TV screen or something like that. But for the workshop rooms or anything, there's no charge.
>>HAOJUN JI: For those big enterprises and multinational companies, they don't like money -- they have enough money. Ask them to pay. And we use that money to subsidize the list of countries, to subsidize their travel expense, their accommodation. I think we need to come up with a plan that let deep pockets pay. Thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, that's a little bit of a slippery slope, I would think. Where do you draw the line? And, in general, in U.N. conferences you don't pay for the rooms.
>>HAOJUN JI: For example -- for example, like Jack Ma, if he come, you charge him $10,000.
[ Laughter ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Alibaba should already be a donor to this effort.
[ Laughter ]
We had Liesyl in the queue. We should be wrapping this up quickly as well.
Can't hear you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: We're at the hour. It's 6:00. And we have interpretation. If we're going continue on for another ten minutes, we need to ask for some leniency and support from the interpreters to continue.
>> (off microphone).
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Chengetai is saying we can release the interpreters, if you need to go. We would obviously be pleased if you stayed. But if the MAG is willing to continue without interpretation, we will continue for a few more minutes.
I actually have a queue, Juan. Is it related to this point? We will put you in the back.
Liesyl, you have the floor.
>>LIESYL FRANZ: Thank you, chair. And all kidding aside about the U.S. Independence Day, I would just say that there are any number of things that we try to avoid, including two months for, you know, my heritages' vacation time. So I'll trade July 4th for any time in July and August.
[ Laughter ]
But I realize that we are juggling a number of things. I'm conflicted about -- let me rephrase. I'm ambivalent about the concomitance, the overlap with the WSIS forum.
I'm concerned about whether MAG feel the pull to go to a WSIS forum. I am just concerned about that. I think it's an interesting synergy but not exclusive. So I just am not sure how that helps. But if it could be on either side, that might help people that are traveling to both.
I also take the point that people that are traveling to the WSIS forum might not come back two or three weeks. We also have to dodge ICANN as a matter of fact. We are dodging a lot of things all joking aside about my Independence Day.
[ Laughter ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Liesyl.
We have Segun and Hisham and then Juan and we'll wrap this up.
>>SEGUN OLUGBILE: I would like to lend my support for us to have the meeting in June because for people like us we would like to save cost and we would also like to use the (indiscernible) at the same time.
Most importantly, we also would like to reduce risk because after coming for the WSIS program, we would come back after one month. So I'm strongly in support that we should have the meeting in June. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. In this hybrid model, I have just been informed that I have to actually say the words "I release the interpreters." And at the same time, I would like to very much thank the interpreters for your services. Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>> INTERPRETER: Thank you, Madam.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I sincerely hope they are having as much fun as we all are.
[ Laughter ]
Thank you, Segun.
Hisham, you have the floor.
>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED: Thank you, Lynn. I think I -- Segun maybe just spoke my mind. I think if we just maybe sleep on it till tomorrow, I think we can still something out within June. In addition, actually to the considerations Segun mentioned with regard to the logistics of travel for some delegates, I think it's also important to note the signal we are sending to the communities following the IGF with regard to the progress of the program itself.
If we miss the opportunity within June, I think we will have to wait until September to start -- at that time which would be a little bit late to mobilize the communities within our agents and our countries.
I think if we can have some offline discussion with regard to the dates, we can still find something just maybe before the WSIS forum or just immediately after with the possibility may be to work during weekend if we are -- of course, we respect the vacation time during July and August. Don't want to touch that. At least we can still work on a Saturday or Sunday.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: So I think we actually have -- there was quite a few more people who jumped in the queue. I think we are actually settling on -- and we probably need a Doodle poll for the date, not just whoever happens to be in the room. Three days either over the WSIS as was originally scheduled, 14th, 15th, 16th, or three days before, or three days after. I will just put that out. People can react to that quickly so we can figure out how we actually get a note out to the MAG so that we can inform the discussion with some data and then move forward.
Juan, you were next.
>>JUAN FERNANDEZ: (off microphone).
>> I think it's not working.
>>JUAN FERNANDEZ: Okay. Before the 5th and 6th of September is Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It's the beginning of the school in many parts of the world. We could do that. And if it is the 6th, we already have the list of final workshops. They will have more than three months to prepare.
And I can tell you, I was very much involved, as you know, with a lot of workshops for the Guadalajara.
And I realize that actually in practice, they didn't start to prepare after the vacations in summer. So I don't think it makes really -- only what was said about the visas.
But for the preparation, I don't think that it makes much difference to announce to them in late June than in early September. At least in the northern hemisphere where we have vacations in July and August, normally they won't start doing the actual work till September.
So I ask to reconsider. And also early September has some advantages for us because it's already more near -- besides doing the workshop that will be -- we could do also some other thing. And then we don't need an extra meeting. We only -- we do that and that's it till the IGF.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Sorry, I have been told that there is Jeûne Genevois is on the 7th of September.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: I'm not from Geneva. I don't care. I'm from Zurich.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Let me go to -- there's a Swiss holiday on the 7th of September.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: A Geneva holiday.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Yes, sorry.
Let me go to Aida, and then I have Israel and Miguel, and we'll come back.
Juan, we will figure out what to do with that comment.
>>AIDA MAHMUTOVIC: So, thank you. Just really quickly, I would like to support 14th through 16th as I understand that the ITU, the room is already booked. And some people couldn't attend this meeting and we did not consider switching the date for people who were just announced as new MAG members. Therefore, let's just cut it and do things a bit easier here because we're discussing this way too much. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Aida.
>>ISRAEL ROSAS: Thanks. I just want to support the June dates because in that way, we could use the next month for some other meetings, virtual meetings about I don't know, working groups or something more specific.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Israel.
>>MIGUEL IGNACIO ESTRADA: I just wanted to support what Israel just said. And also I wanted to ask -- maybe I missed something for sure. Are we only speaking about meetings here in Geneva? Or is there a chance to meet elsewhere?
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: This meeting is planned for here in Geneva which is where they have traditionally been held. But I also think given the desire to do so much more with international Geneva that it makes sense to actually be here.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you.
I will be brief. I think we should still find a way to include the 4th of July into the MAG meeting.
[ Laughter ]
No, jokes aside. Maybe -- I think the June parallel to WSIS forum is really something that has probably more advantages than disadvantages. And maybe it would be good to know who actually had planned to attend the WSIS forum 100% all five days and so on so we know how many are affected. And if it's not that many people, that may be delegates, colleagues and so on, it is actually a plus because if you come one day early you actually have the chance for once to participate at the WSIS forum. So it's rather an opportunity apart from -- just that we know how many people would have actually have a conflict of timing. That may help also form the decision. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I think my proposal is going to be to put a Doodle poll out. Quick count, I think there's 20 MAG members here, some on line but some who aren't participating now. I don't think it's fair to take that kind of decision or call here in that way. So we'll put something out to the MAG list. I think we could maybe talk about it being either --
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Week before, during week after, September.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I just -- I'm happy to put September in. Everybody can figure out the Doodle poll. We can close this conversation. But I think we're squeezing the people that are disadvantaged all too often, the people that need to get support and funding. I just think it's very late. We may make our decision on the 6th of September and by the time they are notified, it's the middle of September. And I think that squeezes the secretariat then who needs to do a lot of work supporting them with visa and travel. I just think it's awfully squeezed.
I will put that specifically to the folks in the room. If people feel strongly we should consider September, that it's a reasonable alternative, we will put it in the Doodle poll. If not, we will go in the other three choices. Anyone feel strongly it should be in the Doodle poll? Okay.
We'll send it out with a little rationale for why we are sending it out and make sure they understand that period in the middle overlaps with the WSIS and move forward.
I think just the final words, that does leave us plus or minus with this schedule in front of us here, which would actually say we need to move forward with deciding on the workshop proposal process and evaluation process, the work that Rasha and the working group have been doing.
And any other advice we need in terms of guidelines. We probably need some further discussion on formats.
Some of those discussions could actually be taken over the next week. Some cannot because they have a lead time with the secretariat in terms of implementation. But I will work with Chengetai this evening to try and put some frame around that so that we can have that discussion tomorrow.
Back to the theme, but I think I need to take a look with Chengetai and Thomas -- anybody else who's willing to join -- how we actually schedule the work over the next few weeks and the next few months. There's a lot of work building up in front of us, and I think all of us would rather not be here again. So we'll do a little bit of preparatory work to figure out what are -- Chengetai and I had a list of things we actually needed agreement with the MAG on today. We've hit some of them. Some of them we haven't. Some we might not be able to get. But we'll look at how we can actually process our way through that over the next few weeks. Juan, sure.
>>JUAN FERNANDEZ: Another thing. And this question is more for the diplomats that reside here in Geneva because I was making the suggestion to the chairman, to Lynn, that in order to do this promotion of the IGF, two years ago I remember that when Janis was the chairman, that we had a meeting -- Chengetai, you remember -- in UNESCO. The day before it was a briefing for all the heads of delegations in UNESCO about what the IGF was. Remember, it was on a panel. I was on that panel. Some members of MAG were there. It was very interesting. A lot of ambassadors were in that place. They asked some questions. Many of them didn't know what IGF was and how it was going on.
So I think that here in Geneva, the first day before the MAG meeting could be this kind of event which you can invite the ambassadors of the missions here in Geneva to the same panel.
I only wanted you to factor that in the considerations for the date, which date will be best for that. Thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: We've also applied for a workshop slot, so -- which is not the MAG meeting, which is -- can be, you know, directly focused on informing the participants of WSIS about the WSIS forum, about the IGF, and what's happening. But we can also have -- if we have it the week before, we can try and come in --
>>JUAN FERNANDEZ: Allow me to cut back, but you remember that event in UNESCO and -- because maybe if it's a workshop, it's not -- it does not have the level enough for ambassadors to go there.
You know, there's some protocol regarding this.
If it's an event -- like that happened in UNESCO just like that. You know, it was for the ambassadors. That was in Paris. The head of the missions there. And something to do here, of course, planned well in advance so ambassadors can put it in the schedule and then it will be a panel for that.
I think that's a useful thing to do.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you. Thank you very much for the idea of reminding us of this. We can then discuss whether it's a day or two hours or whatever, but I actually think that knowing that the ITU is also in the middle of a small city like here, it's actually even more central, and if the WSIS forum is taking place at the ITU, we could also combine these ideas physically at the ITU. Maybe something different if it's at the ILO or somewhere a little further apart but also that is not like hours away.
But I think we should take this -- take this on board.
But I'm not sure, Lynn, that I got you right because my feeling was that we should get the date before we leave here, so if you make a Doodle poll, will that be a Doodle until tomorrow, until the week after?
Tomorrow. Oh, okay. Great. And that -- so that those not here have a few hours to -- yeah. Okay. Great. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: It will definitely be tomorrow and we'll do everything we can to call the attention to the MAG on the MAG list for that.
So I said -- Arnold, you have the --
>> (Off microphone.)
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: No. Go ahead. That's fine. I was going to close.
>>ARNOLD VAN RHIJN: Okay. We discussed one important task of the MAG, preparing for the IGF this year, but we have another important task to fulfill, and that is how to improve our work, the functioning of the IGF.
I've noticed that the work group on communication put forward their report.
So my question to you is: How are you going to discuss this? Are we going to have a conference call on this issue? I don't think it's -- it is the right way to do this because if you really want to discuss the improvements, it should be a face-to-face meeting. Perhaps we could use the time frame between September and December to come together here in Geneva to discuss this important second task, trying to find some -- some strategic programming planning, see what we can do regarding communication, perhaps there's some more news about the donors who are going to support the financial stability of the IGF secretariat, and there are more -- many more questions we could tackle then.
Because the resolution is quite clear we have an important task to fulfill, to come up with further improvement. That's what I see as the second part, apart from preparing the IGF. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I think we have two main significant components of work. One of them is looking at any remaining items from the CSTD working group on improvements for the IGF and the items coming out of the retreat, as we spoke about briefly yesterday.
I think that's one stream of work, if you will.
I think possibly a lot of what comes out of anything we do to follow up from the retreat will address some of the longer term and allow us to get to a process that facilitates a multiyear view, but then we need another stream that actually looks at the substance and the content. So we start these discussions with, you know -- around -- around substance and content and some idea of the sorts of themes that we think would be important, or the approach, and that's another significant piece of work that we need to find time for over the coming year. I think that's why we're always at somewhat of a disadvantage in this process this year.
Normally what happens is somebody would suggest a working group and there might be some support for that working group, and then a charter is written up that says, "This is what the task is of the working group, this is what the output of that working group is, this is the sort of time frame," and we look to both get some leaders for that working group and then some participants.
I think that's what we need to do with -- because we're never going to get 55 people together long enough in a room or long enough on a mailing list or long enough on virtual calls to advance them that way. I think we need a subset of the MAG to advance some of these and then bring them forward to the MAG. So I -- and actually on the agenda tomorrow, I'm not entirely sure we're going to get there, was a discussion of some possible working groups. I think we've touched on it at a high-level, but, you know, this is future work.
That's what I said when I said earlier I'll go away with Chengetai and figure out what's the core stuff we absolutely need to get done and agreed before we leave here tomorrow to meet our fundamental and first objective, which is preparing for the IGF, and with that, I'd say, slash, support to all the intersessional work, appropriate support to the intersessional work as well, and then what we're looking for in terms of activities or approaches in some of these other areas, try and stretch that a little bit more.
And, again, you know, any thoughts people have, you know, email.
The Swiss government is kindly hosting a reception upstairs. It starts in 10 minutes. We can continue the discussion informally over there, which can only be aided by alcohol --
[ Laughter ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: -- at this point.
>> (Off microphone.)
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Yeah.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: There will be no alcohol. We have no money for alcohol. It's just water with or without gas.
[ Laughter ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I'm going to, for the record, I guess, thank the interpreters, thank the scribes. The scribes have actually stayed on. Without their scribing here, I think we'd all be at a significant disadvantage, so really appreciate the excellent work they do and the work of everybody here in the room today, and in particular, all the people that are working on the workshop evaluation process. I know you've been trying to do an awful lot of work that -- in the background rapidly as well.
I think that's it. Thank you, everybody, and the Swiss reception is on the 8th floor upstairs?
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: And before I forget it, of course that was a joke. There is one bottle of wine.
[ Laughter ]
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Or two, maybe. I don't know what the special offer from the supermarket. It was limited.
But the -- it's sponsored by the foreign ministry. I think I should not forget to say this. Thank you.