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NRIs Virtual Meeting III, 22 March 2019 at 15 PM UTC

- Virtual Meeting III, 22 March 2019, 15:00 p.m. UTC -



  1. The 3rd virtual meeting of the National, Subregional, Regional and Youth IGF Initiatives (NRIs), took place on 22 March 2019 at 15:00 p.m. UTC.
  2. The meeting was hosted by the IGF Secretariat’s NRIs Focal Point. The final, adopted version of the Agenda is attached to this document as Annex A1 and a list of meeting Participants as Annex A2. The list of shared documents is attached to this report as Annex A3.

Summary of key points

  1. The Host opened the meeting by introducing the agenda and asking participants to introduce themselves through the chat or when taking floor. The IGF-USA co-coordinator requested to add on the agenda a question for the MAG Chair on outcomes of Chair’s participation in the World Economic Forum processes. The Nigeria IGF and West African IGF coordinator added a question for the IGF Secretariat to explain how the NRIs recognition process is conducted. With these additions, the agenda was adopted (Annex A1).
  2. The Host introduced the agenda item focused on the NRIs collaborative sessions by noting that these sessions were piloted during the IGF 2017 cycle and that they represent bottom-up processes for NRIs from different regions to address topics of mutual interest. The Host also referred to the NRIs Session Guidelines document that outlines organizational process for these sessions (Annex A3).
  3. The Host referred to the latest MAG virtual meeting[1] where some of the MAG members expressed respect for the NRIs work and a suggestion that the NRIs should not organise a separate set of sessions, but be integrated in other sessions.
  4. NRIs coordinators were invited to comment on the above.
  5. The German IGF coordinator expressed gratitude toward MAG for respecting the NRIs and showing interest in how the NRIs should be integrated into the IGF 2019 programme. The coordinator underlined the specificities of the NRIs processes, especially that these are autonomous, bottom-up and multistakeholder processes. For this reason, the NRIs as a network should think strategically and focus on the benefits the network brings to the IGF and back to its communities from the joint work. The coordinator also noted that each NRI is specific and for this reason only the NRIs are in a position to plan their joint work in an autonomous and bottom up way.
  6. The IGF-USA co-coordinator briefly mentioned the historic genesis of the NRIs join work that started in early years of the IGF through informal gatherings at the IGF annual meetings and evolved toward a more structured and formalised bottom-up process composed of the NRIs main session, collaborative sessions and a coordinator session. It was further elaborated that MAG’s proposal for the NRIs integration into the IGF 2019 demonstrates lack of knowledge about the NRIs specific processes that bring different value to the IGF and that could not be implemented by only the NRIs t attending other sessions.
  7. On the specificities of the NRIs, the African IGF coordinator added that the NRIs work goes much beyond of an annual meeting, but it includes a set of activities happening throughout the year, aligned with the key IGF principals. This adds to the value of NRIs needed integration in the IGF 2019.
  8.  The coordinator from EuroDIG confirmed that the NRIs have a long standing historic engagement and asked the Secretariat to provide records from the IGF website[2]. Support for the NRIs to continue collaboration was expressed. The coordinator shared understanding for MAG’s concerns as the MAG has a responsibility over the programme that faces time and space limitations. While noting as important that the NRIs should have a space in the programme, it was added that the better value for the NRIs is networking with other stakeholders and not staying in separate silos. The coordinator also added that last’s years set of collaborative session did not delivered intended quality. The coordinator remarked that the MAG 2019 composition is high in quality and that the NRIs appointed as MAG members should help balancing the discussion and finding best way for the NRIs integration in the IGF 2019. Through other sessions, the NRIs can bring their inputs to the global IGF.
  9. The Host and a number of participants confirmed that two collaborative session faced challenges at the IGF 2018 meeting due to speakers’ flights delay that prevented them from attending, as well as due to an unannounced schedule change.
  1. The coordinator from the Nigeria IGF and West Africa IGF quoted the paragraph 80 of the Tunis Agenda for Information Society from which the IGF stems its mandate:

‘’We encourage the development of multi-stakeholder processes at the national, regional and international levels to discuss and collaborate on the expansion and diffusion of the Internet as a means to support development efforts to achieve internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.’’[3] The coordinator followed with remarks that the IGF has to fulfil its mandate, and that the MAG has a particular and important role in that regard. The integration of the NRIs in the programme is in accordance with the mandate and should be done in a meaningful way. The coordinator concluded by adding that the NRIs should work on bringing effective inputs from their communities to the IGF and that last year’s challenging preparatory process should not be a standard for evaluating the NRIs performance.

  1. A number of participants supported above summarized remarks delivered by the Nigeria IGF and West Africa IGF coordinator, among which were: Chad IGF, Armenia IGF, Arab IGF, IGF-USA, Namibia IGF, African IGF, APrIGF, North Macedonian IGF.
  2. Specifically, to the above, the Namibian IGF coordinator added that the IGF could risk losing the NRIs participation in case the NRIs are not represented in the programme.
  3. Some participants expressed views that the NRIs should be given more attention in the programme of the IGF 2019.
  4. From the Arab IGF, it was added that the sessions organized by the NRIs allow for local perspectives to directly feed into the IGF and reminded that the NRIs emerged organically because of the IGF not being able to reach full impact on local levels. The collaborative discussions should allow for the NRIs to bring grassroots inputs and have them shared with the wider network. The coordinator advised that everyone should look at bigger picture, especially what is the benefit from these sessions for the local and global level and focus on clear objectives.
  5. The Armenian IGF coordinator and SEEDIG co-coordinator advised the NRIs to carefully plan this year’s preparatory process of the NRIs collaborative sessions. The coordinator reminded that in 2017 these were a major success, while last year they faced logistical challenges. It was stressed that the workshops are proposed by organizations that engage other organizations into a discussion, while the NRs collaborative sessions are processes where multistakeholder organizing teams ask their respective communities inputs and have them presented and discussed at the global IGF. These fundamentally different processes both bring important value to the IGF and should be implemented.
  6. The Chair of the MAG expressed respect for the NRIs valuable work and underlined understanding for the NRIs working modalities and the nature of the NRIs as autonomous, multistakeholder and bottom up processes. It was added that the NRIs are seen as the most important contribution came out of the IGF and that they are critical to the IGF for advancing Internet governance topics across the world. The Chair further noted that the MAG recognizes the value of the NRIs and their useful and insightful contributions to the IGF. It was underlined that everyone, including the NRIs and the MAG, have the same objective which is a strong and respected IGF that contributes to the Internet advancements. This objective relays on a good and cohesive programme.
    The Chair further expressed discomfort with the terminology used by some referring to ‘us’ and ‘them’ groups, as well as with the notion of territorially of the programme. It was explained that everyone, including the MAG, comes through community facilitated processes. While the UN ensures that the diversity criteria is respected, the community’s processes are independent and crucial. Dialogue among the community members through an inclusive and bottom up process is central for aligning different opinions, requests and advices for making a good IGF.
  7. The Host thanked the Chair for participating on the call and expressed remarks and invited other participants to provide feedback.
  8. From UNDESA, an incremental and dynamic growth of the NRIs was mentioned as positive and a commitment to learning more on these processes. It was said that the UN is focused on exploring how to build trust and apply multistakeholder and bottom up model for discussing the Internet governance. For this, the NRIs are seen as particularly valuable, as they implement the mentioned model as ‘network of networks’. It was called for an advice on how to demonstrated strength and impact of the NRIs. Participants were also asked to propose how the UNDESA and the IGF Secretariat can better support the NRIs, suggesting as possible ways the meaningful contribution to the NRIs processes, especially by supporting meeting logistics (e.g. costs of venue) or implementing needed capacity building activities.
  9. Many thanked the UNDESA for attending the call and this concrete proposal.
  10. The IGF-USA referenced to the above summarized MAG Chair’s remarks and noted that the nature of the NRIs process, the support toward it and the value they bring to the IGF processes, should also be noted at the meetings of the MAG, which is not seen as case by now. The coordinator also thanked the UNDESA for supporting the NRIs and caution that it is important that everyone also recognize the role of the national IGF initiatives as the national level is where the change can happen.
  11. The Chair of the MAG briefly followed and underlined that all national, regional and youth IGF initiatives are important and they have particular value. It was caution against potential mischaracterization of the overall context from the meetings of the MAG. The Chair reminded that very often publically expresses support toward the NRIs. The Host and many other participants recognized Chair’s support toward the NRIs and supported Chair’s remarks everyone should work together as a community. The N. Macedonian IGF coordinator asked for the IGF Secretariat to inform how many members of the MAG are affiliated with the NRIs. The Secretariat communicated that last year’s unofficial record is 18, but that for this year, records are not yet available.
  12. Member of the Brazil IGF and the IGF MAG remarked that the IGF should be an annual consolidation space for NRIs proposals, ideas and especially topics that relate to Internet governance and sustainable development. Scenarios for working modalities on this idea could be explored within the UN institutional mechanisms of cooperation.
  13. From the IGF Secretariat’s management, it was advised that the NRIs integration in the programme should not be seen as an alternative dichotomy, but as a practical way of integration where the NRIs can co-organize their sessions, invite community to engage with them and at the same time participate in other programme components.
  14. The Host concluded this agenda item by noting that there is a clear consensus based view that the NRIs collaborative sessions bring particular value to the IGF processes, help the NRIs networking among themselves and contributing to the wider Internet governance ecosystem by bringing bottom up inputs from communities around the world. At the same time, the Host added that there is a consensus based view that the approach to organizing the NRIs models of integration into the IGF 2019 has to be carefully planned and allow for the NRIs to network with other participants. It was agreed that these views will be further cleared with NRIs not present on this call, through the NRIs mailing list.
  15. Moving to the next agenda item, the Host advised that the NRIs and the IGF Secretariat communicate updates in a written form, due to the lack of time on this call. A number of received inputs from the NRIs are summarized below:
    1. Nigeria IGF: The annual meeting will be hosted in Lagos on 11 July 2019 under the main theme: ‘Enabling Digital Commonwealth and Development’. The meeting will be preceded by the Nigeria School of Internet Governance co-hosted with ISOC Nigeria 8 -10th July.
    2. Nigeria Youth IGF will be hosted a day before the Nigeria national IGF, on 10 July 2019.
    3. Italy IGF: This national IGF concluded a feedback session on 2018 processes and suggested improvements for 2019. Participants have expressed several positive comments on the call for workshop proposals held last year that also helped improving the Italian IGF bottom-up process. Positive comments were also expressed to the Day 0 event focused on Youth. There was a general discussion on how to improve the participation of the multistakeholder community and how to have a more continuous debate on Internet governance issues during the year.  The need to include civil society in the debate came out and it participants discussed how to allocate funds for training activities of civil society. Participants also identified the need to focus on capacity building activities through schools and universities in order to improve awareness about Internet and IGF processes. The bylaw of the no profit association "Associazione IGF Italia" and how to improve the structure of  website was discussed. It was also underlined to push for the draft law which propose to insert article 34 bis in the Italian Constitution concerning the right of access to Internet as a social right.
    4. Arab IGF: Preparation for the Arab IGF 5th annual meeting continues as the Arab Multistakeholder Program Advisory Committee (AMPAC) had three face-to-face meetings in recent month, last of which took place at the UN House in Beirut on 19-20 March 2019. The AMPAC discussed the program and, following an open consultation organized in conjunction with the first meeting, set the following main themes:
      - Meaningful access, inclusion and diversity
      - Cybersecurity, privacy, trust and peace
      - Digital transformation and Internet economy
      - Institutional empowerment and engagement in Internet public policy
      - Social and human Impact
      Negotiations by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) and the League of Arab States (LAS) with potential hosts are underway, with Arab IGF 5th meeting envisaged in September 2019.
  16. IGF-USA: The IGF-USA 2019 is scheduled for July 25, at the CSIS headquarters in Washington, DC. Through a bottom-up, open, consultative process, the initiative received 75 inputs that oriented the final programme structure to focus on eight key topics:  Data Governance and Accountability; Cybersecurity and safety; TechLash in 2019; Platform Liability for User Content and Commerce; Antitrust vs Big Tech; Artificial Intelligence; Inclusion; 5G enabling Tech Innovation. The IGF-USA will be streamed globally by Mr. Joly MacFie and planning is underway to have the Elon University’s Imagining the Internet team reporting on the programme. The meeting will be preceded by a day long series of events (Day 0), for which the planning is underway. In order to increase participation and conduct effective outreach, the IGF-USA will host several events across the country for increasing interest in the process. Full report that details the above summarized sections is attached as Annex A3 to this report.
  17. Canada IGF: The inaugural meeting in 2019 was hosted on 27 February in Toronto. 135 participant attend the meeting in person with more participant attending online (statistics to be confirmed). The feedback survey from the participants was overwhelmingly positive. The Organizing Committee will start planning for next year’s process in May 2019. The initiative is presently focused on increasing community’s subscription to the Canadian IGF mailing list. The website[4] and YouTube channel[5] of this national IGF offers more information about this year’s annual meeting. The final Canada IGF 2019 annual report is with the editing team and should be published soon.
  18. The Host shared a few updates from the IGF Secretariat:
    1. ICANN64: The IGF Secretariat hosted a capacity building workshop at the ICANN 64 policy meeting. The workshop focused primarily on increasing outreach and engagement, with a special focus on strengthening participating of the Asia Pacific region at the IGF 2019 processes. The workshop featured more than 50 participants and within over than 90-minutes long interactive discussion, it reflected on the advanced workshop submission system with noting why is it important to submit a workshop proposal and tips for making the proposal successful. A visual presentation[6] was shared with the participants (Annex A3). Some participants raised a few important questions on the workshop submission system, that the IGF Secretariat will communicate to the MAG Working Group on Workshop Process[7].
    2. UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLPDC): The Secretariat of the HLPDC approached the IGF Secretariat for learning more about the potential of the NRIs network. Given the strength of the network, the HLPDC Secretariat is exploring the option of hosting a dedicated virtual meeting with the NRIs from GRULAC and African region on their contributions to the report the Panel works on. The IGF Secretariat will communicate more information to the NRIs list once finalized.
    3. IGF 2019 Calls for several programme components open until 12 April 2019:
  1. A number of participants confirmed that the NRIs should informally meet during the 2nd IGF Open Consultations and MAG meeting. This proposal will be further communicated to the NRIs mailing list for final agreement and building the agenda.
  2. The Host also asked the NRIs to think how they can help advancing the IGF, especially in terms of suggesting prominent experts from their respective communities, drawing on the UN Secretary-General’s Call for Action from the IGF 2018[8]. This proposal will be communicated to the NRIs mailing list in a dedicated email.
  3. The Host briefly reminded that the NRIs Call for Topics is open until 1 April. It was informed that so far only 11 submissions were received. The NRIs were advised to submit topics as soon as possible, with noting that if after the deadline there will best submissions from less than 50% of the NRIs, the IGF Secretariat would take this as an indication of poor interest in organizing the NRIs sessions.


Next Steps

  1.  A full summary report will be sent to the NRIs mailing list, for further consultations.
  2.  The key raised points from this meeting will be specifically communicated to the NRIs mailing list to seek consensus and advice, where appropriate:
    1. NRIs Collaborative Sessions review of this meeting’s discussion
    2. How the UNDESA/IGF Secretariat can support the NRIs?
    3. Reminder for NRIs to submit three topics of interest by 1 April 2019
    4. Should the NRIs informally meet at the 2nd face-to-face MAG meeting and on what agenda?
    5. Reference to NRIs and IGF Secretariat’s updates summarized in this report
    6. NRIs to help responding to the UN SG’s Call for Action from IGF 2018
  3. Next meeting: A doodle poll will be sent in three weeks time, for scheduling the next virtual meeting.
  4.  For any suggestions or questions regarding the Report, kindly contact the IGF Secretariat, NRIs Focal Point at: anja[dot]gengo[et]un[dot]org.


AGENDA: Virtual Meeting III

  1. Welcome and introductions
  2. NRIs Collaborative Sessions: reflections to the last MAG discussion
  3. Overview of received topics for defining the NRIs substantive mutual interests
  4. Updates from NRIs
  5. Updates from the IGF Secretariat
    1. ICANN64
    2. HLPDC interest in NRIs
    3. Calls for: Workshops; Open Forums; Day 0 events; DC sessions; booths;
    4. Next MAG f2f meeting and NRIs informal meeting
  6. AoB


 (in alphabetical order[9]):   

  1. Abdeldjalil Bachar Bong, Chad IGF
  2. Abdulkarim Oloyede, observer from UK
  3. Ale Erramuspe, Uruguay IGF
  4. Aleksandar Ichokjaev, N. Macedonia IGF
  5. Alyssa Moore, Canada IGF
  6. Anja Gengo, IGF Secretariat
  7. Babu Ram Aryal, Nepal IGF
  8. Bram Fudzulani, Malawi IGF
  9. Carlos Afonso, Brazil IGF, MAG member
  10. Chengetai Masango, IGF Secretariat
  11. Concettina Cassa, Italy IGF, MAG member
  12. Dušan Caf, Slovenia IGF, SEEDIG
  13. Dustin Phillips, IGF-USA
  14. Eric Kwabena Agbozo, Ghana IGF
  15. Fanny Salyou, West Africa IGF
  16. Gbètondji Vivien Assangbe Wotto, Benin IGF
  17. Hisham Aboulyazed, Arab IGF
  18. Issakha Doud-bane Khouzeifi, Youth Chad IGF
  19. Ivana Lombroni, Spain IGF
  20. Jennifer Chung, APrIGF, MAG member
  21. Jiayi Wang, IGF Secretariat
  22. Judith Hellerstein, IGF-USA
  23. Julian Casasbuenas G., Colombia IGF
  24. Lianna Galstyan, Armenia IGF, SEEDIG, MAG member
  25. Lito Ibarra, El Salvador IGF
  26. Lorena Jaume-Palasi, German IGF
  27. Lucien Castex, France IGF, MAG member
  28. Luis Bobo, IGF Secretariat
  29. Lynn St. Amour, IGF MAG Chair
  30. Mahamat Silim Moustapha, Youth African IGF
  31. Makane Faye, African IGF
  32. Marilyn Cade, IGF-USA
  33. Mary Uduma, Nigeria IGF, West Africa IGF, MAG member
  34. Michel Tchonang Linze, Central African IGF
  35. Natasa Glavor, Croatia IGF, MAG member
  36. Ngnoulaye Janvier, Cameroon IGF
  37. Oksana Prykhodko, Ukraine IGF
  38. Paul Rowney, Namibia IGF, MAG member
  39. Poncelet Ileleji, West Africa IGF
  40. Rebecca Ryakitimbo, Tanzania IGF
  41. Sandra Hoferichter, EuroDIG
  42. Sharon Emptage, Panama IGF
  43. Sorina  Teleanu, SEEDIG
  44. Taiwo Peter Akinremi, Nigeria IGF
  45. Taylor Bentley, Canada IGF
  46. Tian Luo, China IGF
  47. Ucha Seturi, Georgia IGF
  48. Uffa Modey, Nigeria Youth IGF
  49. Wai Min Kwok, UNDESA
  50. Wisdom Donkor, Ghana IGF
  51. Ying-Chu Chen, APrIGF
  52. Zeina Bou Harb, Lebanon IGF



[3] Tunis Agenda for the Information Society available at:

[5]  (French and English audio both available)

[9] NRIs participants may be in a role of a coordinator, member of the organizing committee or a community member. Coordinators communicate official inputs from their NRIs to the IGF Secretariat.

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 411