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IGF 2020 - Day 4 - NRI Digital economy: ‎trans-territorial ‎regulations and the ‎impact on digital ‎sovereignty

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. 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. 

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      >> MODERATOR: I am Sebastien and I will help this meeting to go well and with, of course, Anja all the work and I'm the last piece to come but I hope to do well to moderate the session. And as we discussed just before the beginning of the meeting I would like to ask you as we received this very shocking and we are so sad news with the news, I would like to suggest all that we take a moment of silence to think about Marilyn Cade and what she left behind her and how we can do -- how we can do better for her in the next few days and maybe few years.  Thank you.

     (Moment of Silence)

     >> MODERATOR: Okay, thank you very much.  I see many friends of Marilyn Cade in the room, and I would like that thank you for the time you spend to think about her.  And I am sure that you will deserve the help that she give us and what we can do in the future. 

     But we have some work to do, and we have a very short session of one hour, now less than one hour.  And we have a lot of speakers, and therefore, Anja, I suggest that we start if you agree.

     >> ANJA GENGO: Yes, yes, I completely agree, Sebastien.

     >> MODERATOR: Maybe you can introduce the topic because you work a lot on that and I think it's -- you deserve to speak about it a bit, please.

     >> ANJA GENGO: Well, thank you, first of all, Sebastien, for accepting to moderate the session.  It is a great honor.  And I want to thank our distinguished speakers that did not just devote this hour to this session, the preparations for this session started actually very early in this year. 

     We didn't even imagine that the meeting will go online.  We were preparing to meet onsite in Katowice.  And I recall in April we had already prepared, and our colleagues were prepared to deliver.  Of course, the pandemic has changed a lot.  It will impact the discussion on today's discussion. 

     But this session focuses really on regional and national specificities of the digital economy and the impact it has on digital sovereignty.  We will be focusing on policy areas through concrete inputs coming from local levels related to the contemporary challenges for our economies in digital age. 

     How did the pandemic impact our economies?  What is the vision for future?  How can we prosper from our economies through deployment of digital technologies in retrospect?   

     I may just, Sebastien, if you allow, would like just to quickly say that we have such a remarkable panel today with us.  They are not just coming from their own organizations which are from different disciplines, but they are really representing their national IGFs and regional IGFs.  They have been endorsed by their multi-stakeholder organizing committees, and they will be speaking from those perspectives.  So we will be looking at the commonalities, differences that we have between our countries and regions. 

     For the Southeast European Dialogues on Internet Governance, or SEEDIG, we have Dr. Olga Kyryliuk.

     From Albania IGF, we have Ms. Irena Malolli.  From Panama IGF, Ms. Nayreth Gonzalez.  Bolivia IGF will be represented by Mr. Javier Gorostiaga.  And from Chad IGF we have Mr. Josue Koumnobeye. 

     And I'm apologizing if I didn't pronounce well the name.  So with that, I would give the floor, Sebastien, to you then to guide us through basically to tour the world on this topic and see where we stand and what is our vision for the future.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you, Anja.  And thank you very much all of the distinguished participants who will talk and give us a snapshot at what is happening. 

     As you have said in the agenda, you have very strict time.  And we need to follow this because if not, we will be late.  Therefore, I would like not to take much time as we already are a bit late, and give the floor to IGF from Bolivia, Javier Gorostiaga.

     >> JAVIER GOROSTIAGA: Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, good night to everybody.  Thank you for the opportunity. 

     First, I would like to share two experience, two great experience in my country.  The first one is the occasion when Uber got in Bolivia market to operate in two of the major cities in Bolivia, La Paz and Santa Cruz.

     There were very different approaches because the only city that took a regulation was La Paz, the city where I live in. We make a legal framework call it private passenger travel services hired through digital platforms.  And the decision took several months with Uber to try to establish a business model that fits in our local reality.

     The municipal government put a special emphasis on the rights of the users instead of the terms of use of Uber.  The negotiation was a balance between the lack of regulation and the Uber interests.  It was very interesting because we established a set of requirements to operating in this city. 

     So we got an understanding with them.  Nevertheless, it was it little complicated because we couldn't comply to Uber to apply to all our regulation.  For example, for some disputes between the users and Uber it has to be under the Netherlands regulation. 

     The other good experience is in the community we get roaming elimination revelation between Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.  Alongside with the Latin America, the bank, we make the study from 2017 to February 2018. 

     Until 2020, we have been in many several coordinations between the regulation of territories on the operator, our local operators.  We make different changes to the draft project.  And the very important thing that us as a group of countries, we coordinate and agreed a common understanding for this regulation, call it Decision 854. 

     The very key point of this regulation is that we progressively will decrease the prices of data in all those countries that I mentioned.  Until 2022 we will have the same carriers as we were on the home country.  This key point was important to coordinate so we can reach some agreements like we did with Uber and also we can do it with many other digital platforms as Netflix and so on.  Thank you very much.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Javier.  And three minutes, great.  Just right timing.  You are very good.  Thank you very much.

     >> JAVIER GOROSTIAGA: Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: Now I will pass on to same topic of the floor to Josue from Chad, please.  Josue, you can take the floor.

     >> Hi for Josue, just I need to tell you that he will join us in two minutes.  He has issues with Zoom so he will be a two-minute maximum here.

     >> MODERATOR: Okay, then.  Maybe as we are very short time, may I suggest that we go to the next item and we will come back on that one if you agree with that, Anja, if it is okay with you.

     Let's go to the second item and see:  Are countries ready to respond and align their practices with the global friends of digitalization of the economies?  What are some good practices?  Learning from Panama IGF and Albania IGF.  And at the end of this part I will come back to Josue. 

     From Albania, we have Mrs. Irena Malolli, Director of Policies and Strategies Development for Telecommunications and Posts in Ministry and Infrastructure and Energy.

     And I will give the floor to Irena, please.

     >> IRENA MALOLLI: Thank you.  Thank you for the invitation to participate in this interesting session to speak about the standardization of the economy and challenges and good practices of our countries. 

     I will take the opportunity of these three minutes of my speech to share with you briefly what is going on in Albania, what is good as example for others and what isn't going in the digitalization of the economy.

     The digitalization of the economy is linked with a great number of factors and developments starting from digital starting from digital connectivity, fast broadband, digital platforms, digital services, digital skills, and other aspects. 

     And in Albania we have a good progress in digital transformation of public services through establishment of the Albania government portal where a great number of online services are provided for citizens and business and with more than 700 online services provided through this portal.  And a great number of users are collecting or are using this portal to have services.

     Regarding the digital connectivity, we have good coverage with mobile broadband based on 3G or 4G, but we have no fixed broadband penetration and we recently approved a new national government plan for sustainable development of digital infrastructure broadband for 2020-2025 with pure objectives in order to address digital divide and to have broadband, fast broadband connectivity for all public institutions and education facilities in order to have all-inclusiveness.

     Regarding the digital economy, we know that regulation and legal framework is also important to create environment for development of digital platforms or free movement of content online or something like that.  We recently passed in the government a new law for open data and reuse of public information which aimed to promote innovation in the digital economy and using other developments of technology and applications for promotion of digital economy. 

     Regarding startups and innovation, also a new law is drafted, and it is under public consideration aiming to create a regulatory framework and institutional framework in order to promote and support startups in innovation and ICT.

     For cyber security, which is so important in order to promote or to develop the digital economy, we need to have trust.  Trust to use online services, trust to use platforms, go through online activity.  And we have legislation in place for network security on information and critical infrastructure to be safe and use task services. 

     And also, we are working to increase awareness and for capacity building.  Our national authority for electronic certificate and cyber security is organizing yearly a cyber academy in order to increase capacity to increase for pupils and students. 

     And for digital skills, it is also necessary to develop specific strategy for all basic levels from the -- any knowledge for citizens who are using the online services up to advanced professional knowledge or for the business community and for IT professionals. 

     This is briefly what is going on.  And a lot of other projects for development in the digital economy are in place and to be developed through different institutions which are working based on this agenda strategy.  Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Irena.

     And if I can give the floor to IGF Panama.  And Nayreth, please, can you take the floor.

     >> NAYRETH GONZALEZ: Thank you for the opportunity. 

     Well, we have to start with the fact that the digital economy a part of production and consumption that emerged with the introduction of internet technologies. 

     And that affect only not only the economy but also society because it is currently the most important engine of innovation and economic realm of the world.  Therefore, to improve the response and aligning of practice with global trends in the utilizations of the economy, in developing countries such as Panama, we must collaborate to find a solution. 

     Therefore, it is still imperative to work on, promote on issues related to ICT for development that contributes to enhanced capacity to quantify electronic commerce and the digital economy.

     We promote this by holding world meetings make up of multi-sector representatives. Collaborate to close the digital barrier as more than half of the world has limit or not internet access.  Inclusiveness is essential to build a digital economy that works for everyone.

     The case of this is the construction of infrastructure by the government of Panama in conjunction with the private sector on nearly 100% collaborative project which seeks to withstand the infrastructure necessary for internet access connectivity in areas too difficult access in the country. 

     We are also working on the Panama hub digital initiative, taking advantage of the fact that several fiber optic cable pass through Panama.  The digital hub has among its objective to provide companies dedicate to sale throughout the internet and digital platform to start the operation in the country. 

     To strengthen education as the digital economy we require a series for new different skills as well as protection policies.  It is necessary to make life-long learning opportunities for all as well as the deployment, training, all ways of working barrier and training personnel are needed for new skill.  Panama is working to promote the creation of knowledge in micro, small and medium-sized company and user through elementary programs and professional training. 

     We also have the creation of our association of entrepreneurs with the agreement of establishment of contact networks and training of their capacity related to electronic commerce and that technology.

     Shape the digital economy by establishing the rules of the game.  This task falls to the government in close dialogue with the other stakeholders.  These require policies that make the digital economy work for the majority or not just for a few.  Policy makers are working on decisions that current trend increasing inequalities and power imbalance caused by the digital economy.

     The growing difficulties enforcing national laws and regulation regarding cross-border trade in digital products and service must be taken into account.  In this, Panama has to work even more.  For example, it is debating a tax law for services provided and central in the internet digital platform. 

     Last, but not least, is not to forget that we must pay attention to the new threat for digital economy has create ranging from failures in cyber security to facilitation of illicit economic activities which closely relate to the establishment of the rule of the game in the country.  Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Nayreth.  Nice, well done.  And I will leave some time for Josue to be ready.  I will suggest that we go to the next item. 

     What are the concrete examples of good practices of cooperation for improving our economies on regional levels?  Experience shared by SEEDIG.  And I will ask Olga Kyryliuk from SEEDIG to take the floor.  Olga, please go ahead.

     >> OLGA KYRYLIUK: Thank you, Sebastien.  Good afternoon, everyone. 

     It is always a challenge to speak on behalf of the whole region, but I must admit that the digital economy that we are discussing today is of huge importance for the region of southeastern Europe and it so because leverage in digitalization is not purely an economic challenge for our region but it is also a matter of international security, of geopolitical resiliency, and of strategic relevance. 

     Indeed, increased cooperation between the countries in the region could help to strengthen their individual strengths and benefits and also to address their collective challenges.

     Moreover, joint policy and strategic regions could help to amplify the region's position at the international level.  But, at the same time, I must admit that joining forces is never an easy task, especially if we are talking about such a diverse region as southeastern Europe is.

     Our region is covered in more than 20 countries and these countries are very much diverse.  It is able to understand this even more if you can see that some of these countries are already part of the European Union while others would probably take an indefinite number of years to get the membership. 

     And also too often these countries find themselves in a position of direct competition with each other because very often they are competing for projects, for funds for investments.  And this also somehow creates internal competition instead of making them more stronger as one actor at the international level. 

     But on the other hand, our region could also use this diversity as its strength because instead of taking many years to try to reach fairly equal level of digitalization, our countries could instead combine unique resources that they have and try to become more stronger together.

     For example, try to imagine that the breakthrough in digital economy which the southeastern European region could make if you try to combine, for example, human talent in engineering coming from Ukraine and digital solutions in the field of artificial intelligence from Slovenia and Bulgaria.  And add on top on that, harmonized standards of cross-border integration, and then you have an ideal situation. 

     But for that, there has to be the willingness of the countries.  And I would probably try to make an assumption here by saying that maybe instead of trying to exceed already existent regional formations our countries could better focus on joining the forces between themselves and in this way become stronger. 

     And with its unique perspective, indeed, southeastern Europe could become a connecting brick between the increasingly polarized relations between the European Union, the United States, and China.  Moreover, it could become also the digital policy influence not only at the European but also at the global level. 

     And we should also bear in mind when we are talking about cooperation of the regional level that you can't push for strong cooperation just based on the geographical proximity of the countries.  You should always -- especially in the context of southeastern Europe, you should remember that these countries are too much diverse and fighting too hard to protect their identity and their sovereignty.  That is why we need to be very careful when we are coming with the ideas of some regional cooperation projects. 

     But also we should acknowledge that not every digital regional cooperation project requires engagement of every single country.  Some of these projects could be easily started just with few countries onboard.  And then they could be scaled up if proved successful and if seen as necessary. 

     And here I would like to refer to the example which encompasses four countries from southeastern Europe.  Namely, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia and seven other countries from central Europe.

     >> MODERATOR: Conclusion, please.

     >> IRENA MALOLLI:  Yes, sure.  As enhancing the cross-border interconnectivity and digitalization. 

     And as I am running out of time, I would like to conclude by saying that countries in our region should focus -- should look beyond the differences and they should unite their forces in order to become stronger and focus more on the cooperation.  And SEEDIG is always ready to be that platform for that discussion and decision making.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you again.  Sorry for interrupting you.  We need to try to focus on the timing because if not we will be very late.

     IGF Chad, now Josue Koumnobeye Nekoura is with us.  Can you take the floor, please.

     >> JOSUE KOUMNOBEYE NEKOURA: Thank you very much.  So I bring to Chad what -- hello, do you get me?

     >> MODERATOR: Yes, go ahead.

     >> JOSUE KOUMNOBEYE NEKOURA: Okay.  So thank you very much. 

     According to Chad, as we have start talking about is the first thing that happened in Chad here is the changing of the minister. 

     Before the minister was called the ministry of past technology and new technology and communication information.  But now the new name is ministry of past of economic numerical economy. 

     So this is the first thing that happened in the period of COVID-19 and is the good thing for us.  According to the sector, we can say that the ministry, the government of Chad has a lot of area of low of internet with fiber optic of Chad, of Sudan, Niger, Chad and Algeria also. 

     We have also the great program as difficulties in the problem of geography.  We know Chad is a very big country so if it is not easy for us to connect all of the territory.  You know, we have one million of surface so it is not easy. 

     There is also the problem of the non-urbanization of the town and the problem of culture.  Culture, you know, a lot of people they don't have money enough or resource to buy a smart phone and to be connected also. 

     What is very, very, very interesting in Chad is that the government has just which is called workshop, we call it PSDNP, Planned Strategic Development (break in audio). 

     The goal of connecting all people by internet.  So I think maybe on the future.  As you know, it was difficult for me to be connected because of that situation of our connection is not good sometimes also.

    So according to about what we are going to do, the advantage is that Chad is on the way of numerical economy so we think that it -- we will achieve the goal of the government.  Thank you very much.  I don't know.  I'm so late, I cannot talk much.  So thank you very much.  I'm very grateful.  Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.  You get it right and on time.  And thank you very much. 

     Now we have time for people to express themselves and discuss, to ask questions.  Don't forget to use the Q&A to put your question if you wish to write them.  Or raise your hand and if you have question you will be able to talk. 

     And there is no more people who are just listening, you are all now as speakers.  But before you decide to speak, please raise your hand and I can give you the floor.  Or if you want to ask the question in the question and answer place for that, as you can see on the bottom of your screen.

     Okay.  I don't see any hands.  If there are no hands and no questions, I will give you some time to ask question.

     >> Sebastien, people cannot use the Q&A part.

     >> MODERATOR: They can raise their hand, and they are not doing so either.

     >> ANJA:  Or just post in the chat, or maybe I can come in with a brief question. 

     I know that we have been debating about it when the session was -- while we were preparing the session. 

     And it relates to those that are left behind to vulnerable and marginalized groups, how do we achieve that we all benefit from digital economy when we are not all connected to the internet? 

     And in addition to the fact that even if we have connection in terms of the available infrastructure, digital literacy is also a huge problem for a large part of the world.  That is something that would be interesting maybe to hear from the colleagues that were speaking about the status of digital economies in their countries.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you, Anja, for your help.  Yes, very good question. 

     Anyone want to take the lead and answer the question?  Olga, Javier?

     >> OLGA KYRYLIUK: I can start.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

     >> OLGA KYRYLIUK: Thank you, Anja, for this question.  And it is an important one and you raised to probably the most critical points. 

     And this is why exactly at the regional level it is especially complicated because countries have very different level of development in terms of infrastructure and access. 

     And even if it is requiring a lot of funds to put those fiber optic cables and to bring internet to every village, this probably would take more time and more funds.  But something that we can do right now, and this was your second point, is actually to try to educate people to give them those digital skills that they need so that let's say once they have that connection in their village or town they are already able to fully use it and to benefit from that connection. 

     That is why I believe that education at least requires less resources.  And the current pandemic showed that somehow even those who were not ready fully they moved to their remote learning, distance learning.  So probably the pandemic also teached us how to react fastly instead of just taking years and years of discussion and how to actually act in a prompt manner. 

     So yes, this is very important and probably this is why the countries are struggling to find a common ground.  But this is something that every country should address, these two issues.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Olga.  Anyone of the other panelists want to take the floor?

     >> NAYRETH GONZALEZ: In line with Olga, I think that the COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of delivering the digital technology to ensure a rapid agile and effective response to both the pandemic and economy recovery in its aftermath.

     The current crisis should be seen as an opportunity to bridge the digital divide among regions and increase broadband access to create incentive to adopt digital technology across all key government, industry, and service sectors and to promote a stronger digital culture across the population. 

     >> MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.  Javier, please go ahead.

     >> JAVIER GOROSTIAGA: I think that increased the digitalization and penetration for internet more than -- I heard a statement that said that on those six months we got increased penetration of about six years. 

     And here in Bolivia, for example, we are getting a lot of requirements for getting the broadband internet connection.  But, you know, our geography is really, really huge.  And it is kind of impossible for them to get to all of the sites of Bolivia. 

     And I think that the very important factor for this aim is to try to develop community networks via free frequencies.  Because many volunteer entities, NGOs or public or private entities could use that frequency to get to the very, very remote areas to get the internet connection. 

     And also, it is very important to remember that the digital literacy is very important.  We need to teach the people how to use internet and how it can improve their social and economic life.  Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Javier.  I have a hand from Carlos Alberto Alfonso.  Carlos, please go ahead.

     >> CARLOS ALFONSO: Thank you, Sebastien. 

     I was thinking of examples following what Dr. Kyryliuk said of the difficulties of the regional cooperation or cooperation in countries with common borders, geographical borders. 

     One of the ways to help enhance the regional cooperation or collaboration is by picking up issues of common issues which are linked to territorial questions and which affect the development of the internet. 

     One single example but, of course, participants may suggest others, the need to organize spectrum policies at the edge of common geographical borders.  This is an issue we cannot escape from a regional cooperation with bordering countries. 

     Another example is like in Latin America, you have Indigenous communities which cross a geographical border, two different countries like the Ashaninka between Peru and Brazil.  And there are sever other examples. 

     Certainly in Africa, we have several of these examples and so on.  So these sort of harmonization of trans-border policies is interesting to consider.  Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Carlos.  Anyone else want to take the floor and comment?  Anja, do you have any other questions to the panelists ready in your pocket as you have done already, Anja?

     >> ANJA GENGO: This was a very challenging agenda to put together because it is such a broad topic.  And as you can see from the inputs received from colleagues, the situation, the conditions, and our vision seems to be also different for what we expect from our digital economies. 

     But yes, maybe my question would be -- and I do come from actually yesterday's planning call of this high level leadership track that will be happening at the IGF next year is in terms of the digital economy, when you look at your communities, in which sectors you see now currently that the biggest transformation that was caused by -- that came as a result of deployment of digital technologies?

     >> MODERATOR: Anyone want to take this question first?

     >> JAVIER GOROSTIAGA: Yeah. 

     >> MODERATOR: Javier, go ahead.

     >> JAVIER GOROSTIAGA: I think the sector that suffered the biggest transformation in my country is the remote education or e-learning brought a transformation from the classroom to their houses. 

     So it was a very deep impact for families, for fathers, for parents because they needed to be on their homes to support their child.  And also the teachers had to learn how to use internet, WhatsApp and the other educational platforms. 

     So I think that much work are pending to do on this next years because the COVID will be -- will stay here in this world.  So we need to improve the new policies.  And as one said, transnational policies to try to get cooperation and support for these policies.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you, Javier.  Anyone else from the panelists want to --

     >> OLGA KYRYLIUK: I can go next. 

     >> MODERATOR:  Go, Olga, please.

     >> OLGA KYRYLIUK: I would also agree with Javier that it is definitely education is one of such areas.

     And I would also name for our region the healthcare because it is everything happening and everything changing because of COVID. 

     As we see, any crisis actually can be an opportunity.  We just need to make sure that we are using this opportunity and catching the right moment to develop.

     And this COVID-19 pandemic, it actually revealed a lot of weaknesses and helped us to mobilize the resources.  Even though for me sometimes it was so much eye breaking when I got to know that some schools even in my native town don't have the internet connection. 

     And while I was sure that probably it is not an issue at all for Ukraine because, indeed, the internet penetration has very high rate.  But sometimes you just -- if you have to be in a situation when you understand this issue still exists and they are not that far as you could think they are.

     So and of course the healthcare where a lot of things nowadays happening where we are tending to telemedicine and the consultations online and all of these things. 

     So probably it will be even difficult for us to come back and maybe we will not even come back to pre-pandemic way of services because also e-government is developing in many countries and our regional governments are trying to increasingly provide services online.  And once the citizens feel this is useful and this is efficient, they would probably insist for all of those things to stay in place.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Olga.  Anyone else want to add something?

     >> ANJA GENGO: Sivasubramanian has comments. 

     MODERATOR:  Yeah, I know, but first I want to elicit from the speaker, want to answer your question. 

     If not, I have -- first before giving the floor to Sivas, there are two comments, and you may take that into account in your future answer. 

     How do we define digital literacy?  We also discussed this in the Asia-Pacific IGF.  But it is very difficult to define it.  It was from Ying-Chu Chen and from Angela Mison. 

     Why do you think everyone need to be connected?  I will give now the floor to Sivas and then if there are a last few words from the panelists, I will give them the floor.  Please, Sivas, go ahead.

     >> SIVASUBRAMANIAN MUTHUSAMY: Thank you, Sebastien. 

     I see that one of the questions for this session is about countries responding and aligning their practices with global trends.

     There are different countries and different regions who discuss and debate national on regional positions.  To what extent have they brought important differences to the global IGF and to what extent are they successful in aligning and harmonizing national positions to global positions, for example?  And national and jurisdictional issues being aligned to -- aligned as trans-border jurisdictional issue and global jurisdictional issue?  Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you, Sivas.  Raquel, can I give you the floor and then I will come back to the panelists, please.

     >> RAQUEL GATTO: Thank you very much, Sebastien. 

     And I first reacted to the question that Angela and the comment that Angela made in the chat, and then I will go with the one comment to the panelists. 

     Regarding the question about connectivity and why it is important.  And I think Angela framed in the sense that people would be forced to connect.  In my view, I think it is important to get the connection available or giving people the options to connect if they are willing to. 

     And that is the very important nuance that needs to be considered in this case.  And then making them available is the entrance point for universal access.  And really we just see this especially in Latin America, but also in other parts of the world where this digital gap and the digital divide is really having a new meaning in terms of how you are included in the society or not. 

     And it is not only about forcing people to communicate, but it is about being fully as citizens or not.  So anyway, I don't want to extend too much, but I felt compelled to make some comments around it. 

     But my question would be on the topic of the panel more to the digital transformation and impact on the economy in a very pragmatic way also.  In your experience, how do you see connected to where we are discussing in terms of the improvements for the IGF in having these outcomes more clearly targeted? 

     And do you see that through your experience with the national and in some cases the regional IGFs, this really happening?  And how this comes together in terms of some of the best practices or lessons learned that we can replicate. Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you, Raquel.  It is a very important but long question, and I will just give them one minute to answer.  I am not sure that they are able to answer all of the question that were raised and specifically the last one because it is a very long discussion.  But thank you for your question.

     I will afford for each one of you one minute.  And then we will be going to the next section. 

     Who wants to start?  And I have to decide who will be -- is the one who didn't talk.  Do Irena want to say something?

     >> IRENA MALOLLI: If I would like to say something about what is the last progress part of digital transformation in Albania. 

     For the time being what I mentioned is the digital transformation and public services.  We have created the government portal as a unit portal.  And we have invested in this digitalization of public systems and development and digitalization of public services.  And it was a very good example during the pandemic situation that through regional agency of information society a lot of services helping citizens during the pandemic was developed and provided. 

     And I agree with what is discussed about the digital connectivity and how it is important in order to have digital economy and digitalization of the economy. 

     And it is a precondition since digital connectivity has great impact for all actors.  But I think that we can go in parallel and hand in hand with all kind of developments from digital skills.  We can advance, preparing new generation.  But not only new generation, we need to adopt the labor force with digital technology and to be able to use this kind of new possibilities, the platforms and applications and to be ready for digital economy. 

     And in parallel as policy makers since I came from Ministry, which is as policy maker in telecommunication, we need to prepare the relevant angle and regulatory framework in order to promote technology development.

     This is what I can say based on discussion from other parties.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Irena.  Anyone else? 

     If not, we will move to the next section and you will have the opportunity to talk again, but short.  Javier, you want to say something?

     >> JAVIER GOROSTIAGA: I think as a developing country, it is very difficult for us to try to fight big companies like Facebook, Uber, Netflix, Microsoft. 

     So as a good practice that we have with the community making the trans-territorial regulatory framework, I suggest that maybe our small countries in Western Europe and Latin America, it is very good idea to group together to gather and try to develop some legal frameworks like the European nations did. 

     So I think it is very important to face this new trends alongside with the American companies we need to get together our force to make a better regulatory framework.  Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you, Javier.  Olga, please?

     >> OLGA KYRYLIUK: Yes, the last question.  I think for all of those things that we are discussing to actually become decisions and to actually make a difference, we need to have the decision makers around the table.  And we need to have them around the table not only once per year when we are having the annual IGF, regional, national level or whatever, but we need to continuously during the year communicate with those stakeholders and with those actors. 

     And this is something that we started doing at SEEDIG, not only the annual meeting but we also now are trying to launch various intersessional projects.  For example, we had the project dedicated purely to COVID-19 tracking data protection in the region as a result of which we have prepared a set of recommendations for policy makers and developers.

     And then we tried to reach those policy makers and decision makers to actually communicate to them these recommendations and asking them to react on that.  And I think this is important. 

     Because if we just keep the cycle closed and we don't bring new people in and don't get our results out to the right people, then basically we will just stay at the level of discussing the issues.

     >> MODERATOR: Okay.  We are late already.  I need to -- Josue, you wanted to say a few words before we move?  Or we can move to the next section.

     >> JOSUE KOUMNOBEYE NEKOURA: Here in Chad, our country, what is important during the period of this pandemic of COVID-19 is also the digital transformation in public service, which is called a call center trace-trace. 

     So it is also a good service that allow people, the population to call and to be in length with their medicines, in touch with the doctor.  So this is a good practice that we have in our country. 

     But the real effort is that we need to have a good internet connection and new policies to promote again ICT in our country.  Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.  And we are late already and therefore you will have to be very short in the next section. 

     The question is digital transformation of our economies, what is needed to be done in South Eastern Europe, Panama, Albania, Chad and Albania? 

     And Bolivia and you have less than one minute please.  Olga, very short speech, please.

     >> OLGA KYRYLIUK: Okay, so this is easy because after every SEEDIG meeting we have the key take-aways, the key messages which we are then sharing with the stakeholders. 

     And recently we also had the digital economy session.  And this is what the community has decided what is the most important.  It is to create the enabling environment which means to bridge the digital divide in terms of infrastructure and in terms of education. 

     Then you need to ensure multi-stakeholder cooperation between all of the actors involved in digital economy.  You also need to harmonize the cross-border regulations and make sure that everyone has to follow the same set of standards. 

     And you also need to incentivize innovation and to create the environment where there is a healthy competition included by promoting the public-private partnership.  So this will be the key points.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Olga. The next one is Irena, please.  Very short, please.

     >> IRENA MALOLLI: I will say that what is important for the region to go ahead in the digitalization of economy is to invest for cross-border services, interoperability of systems and services in order to facilitate citizen movement, capital movement, or business environment. 

     And, in addition, what Olga mentioned, to invest for, address digital divide, digital gap between urban and rural in order to have all-inclusive digital transformation.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Irena.  Nayreth.  Very, short, too.

     >> NAYRETH GONZALEZ: We must continue to enhance the technological innovation, further support investment in national broadband infrastructure.  Focus on scientific research and policy and legislative frameworks on the competitive cyber security industry. 

     It is necessary to address certain weakness to accelerate the country's digital leave.  For the above, all interested party we must continue holding working meetings with the various actor within the environment in order to monitor and promote the digital economy within the country. 

     We must not rule out seeking the support of the international community in commercial, financial, and fiscal cooperation necessary to place the digital economy in the world on a more sustainable path.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.  And Javier, please.

     >> JAVIER GOROSTIAGA: Okay.  I think that this digital economy is not only the telecommunication infrastructure but also other stakeholders and other economic sectors like the local universities, local governments, or a type of ministries for economic issues and planning issues. 

     Because it is very important to foster the capacity building for the digital literacy and also improve new technologies that enable for digital content, a lot of local digital content and new technologies like cloud computing, 5G, IoT and so on.

     So we need to set up stakeholders and we need to coordinate locally and regionally.  Thank you very much.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Javier.  And last, but not least, Josue, please, very short.

     >> JOSUE KOUMNOBEYE NEKOURA: Thank you.  Do you get me?

     >> MODERATOR: Yes, go ahead, please.

     >> JOSUE KOUMNOBEYE NEKOURA: Hello? So we think that our -- okay.

     What we need in the transformational, digital transformation, we ask the government to accelerate under the fiber optic of Chad and Niger and Algeria.  Because we think with this fiber, we can have a good internet connection.

     And then also in the sector of education it is very important to continue to train, to train a new -- to train young people, to train teachers and in the domain of learning and ICT also. 

     So we need also -- it remains a lot of effort in that domain also.  And then we need also new policies as -- the same thing here in Chad also.  We need the new policies to -- for the question between the country and between the countries of CESE which is called ACRC.  This community is linked and the State, the members are linked so we need to increase the cooperation between those countries also.  Thank you very much.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much. 

     And I know that I didn't give the floor to Vrikson and he is upset so I will give him the floor but for 30 seconds. 

     And then we will conclude the meeting with a few words from Anja.  Do you want to take the floor?  Yes?  No?  Okay.  I tried my best.  Thank you very much. 

     I wanted to before to give the last word to Anja.  I wanted really to thank you all.  It is a very difficult exercise, very short time and very important questions.  And doing it all in English, and I know that your language is not English and -- your first language is not English, and that is very kind and very well done.  Thank you very much. 

     Anja, you prepared this roundtable fabulously.  I will give you the last word.  Thank you very much.

     >> ANJA GENGO: Sebastien, let me first start by congratulating you on impressive time management.  I know from experience, and I know my colleagues will join me, it is extremely difficult to keep time with the NRI colleagues because there is so much to hear.  And everything somehow is different, and many challenges are present in so many countries and regions it is definitely worth of hearing.

     So really impressive.  Congratulations.  This was really very punctual.  Thank you to all of the speakers.  I expected a good session because I know you worked on it very hard. 

     I'm hoping that in IGF 2021 perhaps we could build on the good results of this session and expand further.  And hopefully when we meet in person in Katowice to exchange on the improvements that were made in this next year on digital economies in many countries and regions.

     On the IGF website, there is the form, call for commitments, in case some of your NRIs would like to share plans or projects you plan to focus on to advance the goals of Internet Governance Forum or the goals objectives that were set in the road map for the digital cooperation recently issued by the Secretary General. 

     You can access that form on the website.  You can also reach out to me, and I will try to respond as quick as I can. 

     But with that, thank you very much.  And it was excellent.  Such a difficult day and sad day, but I think you brought actually the purpose why we need to continue doing what we are doing in the way we are doing.  Thank you so much.  Thank you, Sebastien.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.  The meeting is adjourned.  And have a good follow-up on IGF.  And thank you very much for participating.  Bye-bye, all.  Take care.

     >> Thank you so much.

     >> Great session.

     >> Thank you, everyone.     

 

 

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