The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the IGF 2017 Second Open Consultations and MAG Meeting from 12 to 14 June 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.
12 JUNE 2017 10:00
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: It's 10:00. So I think it's time we started. Welcome, all. I'll hand it over to the chair to start the meeting. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Good morning. Welcome, everyone. I'm Lynn St. Amour. I'm the chair of the Internet Governance Forum Multistakeholder Advisory Group, and we're expecting two guest speakers this morning, Houlin Zhao, the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union, and Michael Moller, who is the director-general of the United Nations Office of Geneva. They're both expected here in the first hour, so in order to respect schedules, we're going to be a little bit flexible with the first hour in terms of our agenda approval and a couple other presentations that are scheduled.
So this is the second phase of our -- second face-to-face meeting in our preparatory cycle for IGF 2017, and I'd like to thank everybody for participating in the work of the IGF today, particularly all the workshop proposals and all the other contributions that have come in. That's from the broader community, as well, of course, as recognizing all the work from the MAG and the secretariat.
I'm going to do just a quick introduction at the moment. Again, we're waiting for the Secretary-General of the ITU to come in and address us. But on my left is Thomas Schneider, who is the honorary host country chair, given Switzerland is hosting the IGF later this year, and since our last meeting, Thomas has been appointed as an ambassador. His official title is Director of International Relations for the Swiss Federal Office of Communications, and I think, again, we're very, very honored to have him here. Not only because of his contacts and position here within the Swiss government, but he has been long, long, long involved in Internet governance discussions, going back to WSIS, early -- earliest WSIS days.
So unless there's an update on the secretary-general's arrival, we'll just...
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Not yet, but I've been told that his arrival is imminent.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Okay. Maybe what I'll do is just say a couple more words about today, then pass to Chengetai for some additional logistics instructions here.
But again, this day is the open consultation. The MAG members are in a listening mode. It really is the opportunity to hear from the community on any matters with respect to the effects -- the activities of the IGF forum. I will pass to Mr. Houlin Zhao, as soon as he arrives here, and we will move back to the administrative logistics, et cetera, later.
So as I was saying, we're very honored to have Houlin here today. We are obviously in the premises of the ITU and they were actually very good to provide us with the space during what is a very busy period, certainly in Geneva but in the ITU as well, given the World Summit on Information Society is actually occurring here this week.
So with that, I'd like to welcome Houlin, and you have the floor.
>>HOULIN ZHAO: Thank you very much., Chairman.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It's a great pleasure to see you here. As you can understand, today is very busy for me. We started our WSIS week, and I can tell you I have for speeches today, eight speeches, and this is my first formal speech, so I not make any mistake and pick the wrong one here. But anyhow, it's a real pleasure to join your meeting at the kind invitation of my dear friend, Dr. Lynn St. Amour, and she's my friend for many, many years and of course Ambassador Schneider is also a very good friend, and some of you are quite familiar, and quite a lot I don't get a real good chance to know, but it's good to come to join you for this second MAG meeting, which is the preparatory meeting for this year's International Governance Forum, IGF, taking place here in Geneva in December.
It has been a very exciting two weeks at ITU. You know, we have the WSIS forum week this week, and we have another busy week last week. That is, AI for Good Global Summit, organized by ITU and experts, along with around 20 United Nations agencies as partners. We come together to discuss how much AI will improve our lives and how we can all work together to make AI a force for good. Especially in relation to achieving the SDGs.
That is not just some kind of promotional material, and I can tell you the secretary-general for the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, he himself personally engaged with this kind of studies and from the beginning of this year, he already asked me to provide him some briefings and he gave good support to frontier technologies, such as AI, and, you know, we are very honored. Last week, we get this video message. And as I told the audience, from the beginning of this year, I tried to invite him to make some kind of video messages to our activities, including our annual World Telecommunication Society Day celebration, including today's WSIS. That did not make it. But he consider that AI for Good Summit is quite important for him to talk to the industry, so he, in particular, made that kind of message.
So that clearly demonstrates his commitment with the SDGs and with frontier technologies.
So we are very, very honored.
So we also are recognizing the many challenges, of course, that AI may bring with it.
More than 500 people and participants come to our conference, including the top AI experts of the world, and I was told that there are more than 5,000 people live-streaming the event on line, and so this event is a major milestone in our efforts to accelerate and to advance the development and democratization of AI solutions that can address the specific global challenges related to poverty, hunger, health, education, the environment, and many others.
So the second event was also an annual event for Internet of Things Week, which is concerned with AI for Good Summit.
That gathered more than 700 IoT experts, researchers, and industry leaders to discuss the latest technologies industry and democratization. A key theme was to review and address the potential of the IoTs to achieve 17 SDGs, including topics such as water management, (indiscernible) industry, climate change, and biodiversity.
I'm happy that the IGF is also this year organized in Geneva. I understand that we had our WSIS Summit in December 2003 and then we had our second phase of WSIS in November 2005 and then first IGF meeting was in Athens. I was there. But then we did not have a chance to get the IGF back to Geneva, so this is the first time for IGF to come back to Geneva.
I am very pleased to see that our WSIS authority seriously promoted this event and tried to have this event as somewhat different from the others, but also to have the opportunity to -- you know, to bring back the experts everywhere from the world to Geneva.
So this WSIS forum and IGF -- there's two forums, IGF, Internet Governance Forum, and WSIS forum -- are two major forums as a result of WSIS, so we work together during the first 10 years from 2005 to 2015, and in 2015 is when we had the chance to get the United Nations to review the process, and both IGF and WSIS forum, hand in hand work with our members to invite the U.N. to give us another period of activities, and we are very pleased the United Nations valued our experiences from 2005 to 2015, and it then give us an opportunity to continue for another 10 years.
So that is, again, a great honor for us to see this WSIS forum and IGF will continue for another 10 years.
They have -- of course they have their own unique rules, different from each other, and their key areas of focus and unique programs and audience. IGF brings a forum for Internet governance conventions and the WSIS forum brings a place to have ICT for development-related discussions.
And for your information, I'm also very pleased to welcome the board of ICANN to have, you know, their meeting in our building at the beginning of this year. Actually, at the beginning of May. And I was very pleased to welcome the entire board of ICANN together with their consultant to come to Geneva, and we had almost four hours meeting, including, of course, a lunch, and we had a very good atmosphere, you know, to look forward for the future to work together.
So this WSIS forum -- you know, I'll just take this opportunity to promote our WSIS forum a little bit. I checked. More than 2,500 participants announced, which include about 150 ICT ministers and high-ranking officials, such as the head of their regulatory agencies, and also close to 200 sessions, including high-level dialogues and workshops. It also includes Ted talks organized by (saying name), a special virtual reality track and TedX talks amongst other exciting new features. TedX talks will start this afternoon.
The underlying theme of the WSIS Forum is, of course, facilitating the implementation of the WSIS action lines for advising sustainable development.
I invite you all to immerse yourself in the conversations happening around you and enjoy WSIS Forum 2017.
As a strong supporter of the IGF, ITU is very excited about this year's IGF and is planning to organize, or co-organize, open forums and other events on key initiatives. ITU and other partners are working on these preparations. We will also host the fourth annual GEM-TECH awards jointly organized by the ITU and U.N. Women at the IGF. You can count on ITU in your efforts to make IGF 2017 a real success.
So I was invited by IGF, also invited by Swiss authority and also by you -- [ Laughter ] -- that I will come to join IGF 2017. I missed the IGF last year because we had, unfortunately, overlapping IGF activities. And also 2015 Brazil, I missed it again, Brazil '15. So I cannot miss Geneva. This year I will be very pleased to join IGF. In the past, I joined -- as I told you, the joined first IGF in Athens and then the ninth IGF in Istanbul 2014. So I'm very excited to come back to join you here in December IGF 2017.
So I think I better stop here. And, once again, on behalf of ITU, we welcome you and your MAG meetings in Geneva in ITU. If there's anything we can do, please just let us know. We will try to help to make your meetings and maybe your stay with WSIS a pleasant experience and look forward to see you at the IGF meeting later this year. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you.
Thank you, Houlin.
Very much appreciate your making time to be here in what is clearly a busy schedule.
You offered another benefit for meeting so late in December and that was availability hopefully of many ministers, governments, and heads of U.N. and intergovernmental organizations to join us here as it seems the U.N. and international meeting calendar is not quite so full at that time. Thank you. And best of luck with the rest of your day and the rest of the week.
>>HOULIN ZHAO: If you allow me, I have to leave. I have to give another opening remarks somewhere.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you.
[ Applause ]
So we have roughly 20, 25 minutes, I think, before Mr. Moller comes in.
What I would like to do is to pass to Chengetai who will cover a few of the administrative aspects here of the meeting. We have tried to make some progress with respect to more seamlessly integrating the online participants with the participants here in the room. And the secretariat has worked quite hard to pull together a system that facilitates that. And Chengetai is going to walk us through that and perhaps a few other administrative logistics. And then we will move to the host country presentation.
Chengetai, you have the floor.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Chair. I'll just be short and brief, just a couple of reminders.
When we get to the main body of the meeting, when you are making interventions, please state your name and -- just for the record so that the transcribers can note your name. And if you can also speak slowly when you say your name because I know we are all very used to saying our names and we say it very fast and the organization as well. If we can just do that half a beat slower than we usually speak, then that will be great for the transcribers.
Now, as Lynn mentioned, we do have a new floor request system. This was just as a response to the fact that many people do request the floor at the same time and it's sometimes difficult for us here at the top to see who's requesting and which order the people requested the floor and also to give -- to equal the playing field a bit to the people who are remotely participating.
Now, it's an online floor request system. If you go to the front page where the information right bottom of the page where we have the information about the second open consultations and MAG meeting, there's a little tab there that says "floor request." There's instructions there and then access the floor system.
Now, in order to access this floor system, you have to have registered at the IGF Web site. If you have not registered, you can always register now and somebody -- it will take about five minutes for somebody here to approve your registration.
There's also some notes at the back there which Eleonora can distribute, if you want the notes.
So you put in your name, and the fields should be already populated for you and then you request. It's very self-explanatory. We don't have to really explain it that much. Just get into it. You'll see where your name is and you just put it in and click the "hand up" button. And if you want to remove your name as well, just click the button to remove your name and your name will be removed.
This is the first time we've tried it, so there might be a little -- a few glitches. But we'll try and improve it. But I think it's going to be a good system, and it will enable everybody to see where they are in the queue because sometimes, you know, you put your name and your number 17 on the system and it takes you an hour. We have not forgotten you. So you know exactly where you are on the system. We will remove you once you have done your intervention.
Also, tomorrow during lunch, we are going to have just an update on the IGF Trust Fund. It will be here in this room during lunchtime. We'll try and give you -- depending on how long it will go, of course, we are going to try and give you some space to get your lunch as well. So if you are interested in a presentation on the -- just an update on the IGF Trust Fund, please be here in this room tomorrow lunchtime.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Chengetai.
Just one quick question. Is there a backup mechanism for somebody to request help either online or in the room if they have an issue? I could suggest it here in the room you could -- Luis Bobo --
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Luis is right there at the corner there. So if you have an issue, you can put your hand up and we will tell him to go to you.
And if you're in the -- sorry, it's not WebEx, I always want to say WebEx. But we are using Adobe Connect this time around. If you are in Adobe Connect, you can just send a message within Adobe Connect and Luis will be able to assist you. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Just so Luis isn't overwhelmed, Luis also has other responsibilities here in the meeting with respect to the AV and online support. So he will get to everybody just as quickly as he can.
So with that, I'd like to move to the first item which is approval of the agenda. The agenda has been posted online for some weeks. The MAG has discussed it on the last two MAG calls. So at this point, I would like to see if there are any further comments or questions before requesting your approval.
Seeing none, we'll call the agenda approved. And, again, remind everybody that this is the open consultation. Priority will be given to the community. MAG members are asked to be in a listening mode for the day and really sort of strongly request that we take the floor an absolute minimum possible to ensure we give the community the maximum time to participate.
With that, I will turn to Thomas who will walk us through a host country presentation.
Again, we're still on this slightly flexible mode while we wait for the Director General for the United Nations Office of Geneva to come.
So, Thomas, you have the floor.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you, Lynn. And good morning, everybody.
Welcome back in Geneva. Please remember when you come back in December that it can actually be very nice and warm in Geneva. So I hope you have your bathing suits with you because the lake has a nice temperature, even at nighttime. So just to make that very clear.
So just to make that very clear.
[ Laughter ]
We have been, of course, a little active since March, our last -- when we met for the last time, both on a logistical level and also on trying to use the momentum and engage with as many people and institutions as we could to inform them about the IGF, those who did not know what that is, about explaining what that is, why we believe that this is a unique opportunity for everybody to get together.
We just had the European IGF, the EuroDIG, last week in Tallinn, where, of course, as well lots of references were made to the global IGF here in Geneva that will be in December. And the Swiss government has reached out to a number of IGOs here in Geneva to also meet with them and see how they could get engaged, if they aren't already engaged, in the IGF process, and we have -- the feedback was very interested and interesting, so we'll continue to meet with institutions here in Geneva, and we'll also -- of course, everywhere we go, in every institution that we are representing Switzerland, we are referring to the IGF, we are using all the bilaterals that our president has to talk about the IGF and explain why we think that also high-level government representatives and others should be there.
We are also working on supporting intergovernmental institutions to work on open fora that they could use to share experience and reach out to others.
We do also, of course, hope that some of the proposals that have been made by governments, which there aren't too many, will make it into the final workshop spaces, because, as we all know, it is not trivial to explain to governments that are used to going to conferences where texts are adopted or so-called decisions are made that they should be here at the IGF and discuss with all stakeholders and I think we should really support those governments who are engaged in active -- and have made proposals and see that we can have at least some of them in the -- see them in the final workshops, also think about government engagement when we discuss the main sessions and other spaces.
So this is, of course, something that we are also trying to explain to everybody that these different formats are all different opportunities with different settings and different objectives, to some extent, and that governments and intergovernmental institutions should not wait for everybody else to fill up the spaces but actually get active themselves, and I think we should support those who have taken the energy and resources to try and come up with something. That's just a side remark. I guess we'll get to that later in today's discussions and of course as well tomorrow and the days after.
So as -- yes, he's coming up. This is a very good coordination with no work. Not even looking at each other, he knows that it's his issue now, because of course we have also been working a little bit on the logistics and we have managed to set up a Web site, the host country Web site, that our team has set up and worked with, with a number of people, in excellence cooperation in the past few weeks, and this is what you will see.
And Jorge, our colleague, will run you quickly through this the director-general of UNOG will come, so let's wait for a second until this is on the screen.
And of course we'll also -- I've just been contacted by Segun, who is part of the working group on communication. I think outreach and contacting people, everyone in every part of his or her network, is key to bringing people together. Some -- it is really not obvious for many who are not so close or not so familiar with the IGF process, that people do understand the unique opportunity of the IGF and also the particularly unique opportunity of coming to the IGF in wintertime in -- to Geneva, and we are very happy to cooperate with everybody who is willing and engaged to also communicate and to unite and keep each other informed, to follow up, if necessary, with official -- with officials that would need -- would benefit from being contacted by the host country.
Of course we are very happy to do everything we can to support you all in outreach and communication exercises, so just come to us whenever you have something that you would like to share with us.
With this, I'd like to stop here for the time being and hand over to Jorge, who will quickly run you through the Web site. Thank you very much.
>>JORGE CANCIO: Hello. Good morning.
I think that only one side of the room has a direct view of the Web site, but the other side, I guess Luis is working very hard on it. As to the Web site, the best thing I can tell you is just to visit it, to be one of the first people to go through it, and also to give us feedback if you see anything which is not clear, which is not evident, or if you see any glitches. That might well be. This is really the premiere of the Web site.
As to the contents, it's very similar to the Web sites of previous years.
We have some general information about the IGF 2017, what the IGF is about. We mention that we are in a new phase, after the extension of the mandate of the IGF in 2015, and of course there's a link to the general invitation by the under secretary general of UNDESA which was published last week, if I'm not mistaken.
Then we have some general information about the -- about the venue, the Palais des Nations, which is known to most of you, I guess; some of the facilities inside the Palais des nations; also the -- for cafes and restaurants; the local transport, how it is organized here in Geneva, which you will know also; and registration and badging which will be forthcoming as soon as the IGF secretariat publishes the registration for two thousand- -- for the IGF. We will do the same, of course. And some useful information about Geneva climate, visa information, of course, which is always very important to have well in advance, and some information on how to get to Geneva, the accommodations, and where the Palais des Nations is located within Geneva within the map.
So I will leave it at that and return to the picture we have included where we see the lake of Geneva and the Palais des Nations. It wasn't so easy to get such a picture where you see all these elements, but we found one which is quite appealing, I think. So I'll leave it at this and be happy to answer any questions, if there are any.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: I guess this is a moment to ask some questions or make some remarks. Yes. Brazil.
>>BRAZIL: Thank you, Chair. Just a question of the administration here.
I was looking in Google at the address IGF 2017 official Web site, et cetera, et cetera, couldn't find it, so it would perhaps be a good idea to work on that, just to make it easier to find when you're looking for it. Because if you don't have -- if you don't know where it is, it's very difficult to find. I don't know what you can do about that, but just a suggestion.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you. Well, it's very new. Maybe Google doesn't know it yet, but they will find it rather soon. And if not, we'll try and tell Google that they should -- but of course they don't manipulate their algorithms but sometimes suddenly things appear that don't appear before. Yes. Thank you.
[ Laughter ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Chrystiane, you have the floor and you broke the ground with a new queue. Thank you.
>>CHRYSTIANE ROY: That was actually my goal today. No. Thank you very much. And thank you for the Web site and I fully agree that is an awesome picture. It's really very nice. I would have just one observation myself, as a user, when -- and I do look at a lot of conference Web sites for all the things that I cover, and one of the things that annoys me to no end is the fact that I actually have to search for the dates.
So if it was possible to have "IGF Geneva 2017" and then "December" blah, blah, blah, right in that main page, rather than in the body of the text, certainly for me as a user -- and I know that I'm not alone in this -- it would be very nice. I know it's right there in the beginning of the text, but already I need my glasses to put it on, so that would be my recommendation. But so far, looks very nice and congratulations.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you. That's a very good point and we'll take it into account.
[ Laughter ]
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: And by December, the dates will be on, of course, very prominently.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I don't see anybody else in the queue, and we have roughly seven or eight minutes prior to the director-general coming. Is there anything else you want to cover at this point in time, Thomas, with respect to host country preparations or...
I mean, if not, we'll --
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Maybe just a piece of information that there will be a session about the IGF at the WSIS forum. By the way, I'll be running back and forth a little bit because I also have some participations, I will participate in some of the events at WSIS forum, but on Thursday, I think it's from 13:15 to 14:00, there is a session about the IGF. Maybe there will be others. But -- so this goes more or less hand in hand, and, yeah, do look out for these -- these events.
And of course use -- also, talking about communication, use the fact that we are here together with a large number of people that participate at the WSIS forum to talk to everybody about the IGF and its uniqueness and so on and so forth, because this is like a free meeting point for one week with a very large number of people that will probably be very interested. Thank you.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Yes. Thank you. It can be very simple, "You must be at the IGF in Geneva. That's where everything important to the Internet and its governance happens."
We are welcoming Michael Moller.
You know, this is Switzerland. Everything is working like clockwork.
[ Laughter ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Again, we're very, very happy to welcome Michael Moller here, the director-general of the United Nations office in Geneva. The IGF, of course, will be talking place in the Palais des Nations just across the road, virtually, and we're very honored again to be here and to have your remarks.
>>MICHAEL MOLLER: Thank you very much.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for having me here. It's a pleasure to welcome you all to Geneva for the Multistakeholder Advisory Group meeting of the Internet Governance Forum.
It's a pleasure because this gathering is part of a global effort to nurture a precious global resource, the Internet, and I would like to thank the ITU for hosting this important event and the forum, for the chance to speak with you today.
The Internet is fundamental to the great issues of our time. Like the printing press or mass communication, it unleashed revolutions in thought and breakthroughs in every field, including sustainable development. The Internet and the proliferation of ever cheaper smartphones have made it possible, through ehealth, microfinance, and data collection services, amongst so many others, to jump-start development, and the Internet will only grow more vital as emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles enter our lives.
The success of the Internet is, in large part, due to the way it was built and allowed to grow as an open, bottom-up platform for innovation. One that allows visionary ideas to blossom into global Titans like Alibaba and Google. This openness is both the Internet's greatest asset and its greatest vulnerability, and today no one is safely out of reach of hackers, while terrorist cells spread hate and find recruits on line. Unsubstantiated news stories flourish and organized crime syndicates continue to exploit it.
The paradigm is, attacking these issues without the necessary care could undermine the very openness of the Internet, while a failure to act together could lead to an overcorrection on the part of states, fracturing the global Internet into narrow national networks. Ultimately, we need a global governance of the Internet but one in which the interests of all stakeholders, states and the wider Internet community, are represented.
This is why the multistakeholder model at the heart of the Internet Governance Forum is so essential.
This bottom-up approach is best suited to foster free discussion on the shared principles, norms, and rules that will shape the Internet as we move along.
This model is also essential in light of today's global trust deficit, with public opinion distrustful of institutions at every level.
A January of 2017 Pew Research poll found that a majority of Americans did not trust the government or social media sites to protect their data but did trust credit card firms and mobile phone providers.
In 1864, the international community came to Geneva to set the rules in that era's premier arena of competition, the battlefield. Today, the Internet is an arena both for competition and for cooperation between states, the private sector, and civil society. Geneva, however, remains the logical place for the international community to come together and write the rules for this arena, and Geneva is home to many of the actors like the ITU, the IGF, and CERN, but Geneva is also a natural home for multistakeholder approaches. That is because it's a veritable laboratory, where the proximity of actors fosters collaboration, deep institutional knowledge is shared, and parties are willing to experiment, to sometimes fail, but ultimately to make breakthroughs.
Just two examples of what international Geneva is all about.
Last month, the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights and Microsoft launched a new initiative to use the big data revolution to help detect human rights crises while the Geneva University and Tsinghua University launched a new master's degree in innovation and sustainability.
Students in this program will work with United Nations systems entities and CERN to develop ground-breaking solutions to contemporary problems.
I very much look forward to the 12th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum which, as you know, will take place here in Geneva in December.
Events like it demonstrate how international Geneva has rich and fertile soil for collaboration and how much it can constructively contribute to tackling the challenges of today.
The world is going through a transformation of a magnitude that we have yet to fully grasp. Fast technological progress challenges us all to rethink the way we work and collaborate. Let me wish you all the success as you work collectively to protect and nurture the Internet for future generations. Thank you so much for having me here.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Mr. Moller. Again, we appreciate you taking the time. I know this is also a very busy for you. We are all very much looking forward to being in the Palais in December. I believe I am correct, you can stay with us for a little bit?
Then we'll move to Item 6 on the agenda which is a briefing from the secretariat on sort of the state of preparations. We are in the midst of the workshop selection process. We're about halfway through finalizing the program for the IGF.
So we'll turn to Chengetai. Chengetai, you have the floor.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Lynn.
Yes, as the Chair has said, we have finished the first two parts of the workshop selection process. The deadline for the MAG to evaluate the workshops was on the 29th of May. Yes, 29th of May. And so the MAG evaluated all the workshops. There were 268 workshops that we received.
From that evaluation, we have done a ranking of the workshops. Now, the secretariat estimated that we should have only about space for 80 workshops, and we have to select those 80 workshops from the 268 that passed the initial submission. There were some workshops that were disqualified because they didn't meet the minimum requirements such as for the panelists or for the regional distribution, et cetera.
Now, the stage is now set for tomorrow where the MAG is going to meet and make the final selection of those workshops to make it in total 80.
The plan is we're not going to -- the MAG has made the discussions, and there are some workshops that are going to be chosen due to be -- sorry, not just based on merit, that means not based on the score that they received but also because they're interesting or because they may have been lacking in one or two aspects that can be improved and also enrich the IGF meeting that we're going to have in December. So it's not just based on the score.
Also, we have the open forums and the dynamic coalitions, et cetera, which we have a deadline for the 21st of June for people to make some requests for space at the IGF meeting.
Now, this year we reduced slightly the number of workshops that we're going to have because we want to make more space to encourage governments and also international Geneva and the IGOs to come in. And this year we plan to have more open forums and to have certain tracks on certain aspects of international Geneva. For instance, we plan to have a humanitarian track where people like the WHO, et cetera, UNHCR can have an open forum to show aspects dealing with Internet governance that they deal with. There's always big data. You know, there is integrity of the data. There's security, privacy. All these organizations here do deal with these aspects of Internet governance. I don't think there is any organization that does not deal with some aspect or is not affected with some aspect of Internet governance in their day-to-day working.
We also have met -- as Thomas has said, the Swiss ambassador has been very active in getting international Geneva together with organizations such as CERN. You know, that the World Wide Web started from, to come in and also do some sort of activity within the IGF meeting.
So those discussions are ongoing. And we do plan to have a much richer program this year than we've had in previous years to make this IGF the best ever, as it was last year.
We still have the open forums -- I mean, the best practice forums which we are working on. We are going to have presentations on those during the course of today so I will not go very much into them.
The other thing I can say is we are going to start registration -- I think we're going to start it probably beginning of July. One of the problems with registration is, of course, when you get visas, they are only valid for the first three months. You can't have a visa six months in advance. It's usually three months in advance. So we have to be careful. But, also -- it's also useful for people to be able to time when they're going to go to the Swiss mission or embassy in their country to get their visas because many in this community do travel. And as you know, Switzerland holds meetings all the time at the United Nations. So there is no worry as we've had in previous years that the missions or the embassies will not be aware of the meeting. The communications with the Swiss is excellent. I mean, it's second to none. So I don't think we'll have any problems with that. If there are any problems, you're free to contact the secretariat and the Swiss will also have a contact person for those issues.
I think that's all for the update from my side.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Chengetai, when over the course of the day would you like to just present the statistics for the overall workshops and profile?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Oh, yes. I can present -- well, I can present it now, if you want. I was thinking of doing those deeper statistics tomorrow as we go into the -- yeah.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I actually think it's of interest to the community. We have a profile that simply shows of the workshops that had been preliminarily selected through the results of the MAG evaluation to date but, of course, not yet with the benefit of two days of MAG discussion how that profile actually compares to the total set of workshops that was submitted. And we actually have a view of that based on various diversity characteristics, so region, stakeholder, developed versus developing country, first-time proposer versus returning proposer, tags or topics.
I personally think that's useful information. It is posted on the Web site. I can leave it to people here, if you think that's of interest. I think the secretariat is prepared to share that information, if you'd like to go into the specific reviews.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: We can do it now. I thought it would be a good start for tomorrow, but we can do it now. That's fine.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. I want to just thank Mr. Michael Moller, again, for joining us and in advance for his hospitality --
[ Applause ]
-- in advance for his hospitality later in the year. Thank you.
People sort of interested in seeing those high-level statistics? I see heads nodding around the room. Apologies to those that are participating online, I can't see your heads. If there is any strong objection, people can come into the speaking queue.
In fact, I have Marilyn Cade in the speaking queue.
Marilyn, you have the floor.
>>MARILYN CADE: Thank you, Chair. My name is Marilyn Cade. Let me offer my greetings and welcome to other colleagues who are attending the open consultation.
I want to particularly reinforce the importance as a former MAG member the importance of the MAG listening to the community and also note that I did make a comment last week that this agenda today is very packed with communications and briefings. And I think it's a little bit more challenging for remote participants than perhaps those of us who are here present understand to be able to make their comments.
I have, for instance, timed the amount of time. And I think this new system -- and I want to congratulate Luis in particular -- is really great. But it did take me 20 to 30 seconds to actually get my name to get online so that I could submit my name. So I just offer that as something, please, for all of us to remember. If people remotely are trying to sign up to make comments, the system -- great improvement over the past, but we need to be aware that there may be a little bit of a delay in people being able to sign up. That's not really the reason I took the floor.
I am -- I'm going to express both my congratulations to our country host, Switzerland, for their effort to make this a unique IGF and to take advantage of the fact we are in Geneva. Although I don't live in Geneva, I often think that I live on united.com in order to travel to Geneva.
But most of the world does not come to Geneva frequently. And so there's a really interesting opportunity to take advantage of the engagement of the IGOs here and the rest of the U.N. system.
However, I am going to make a comment that it's really important not to end up in a situation where the IGOs are talking to each other and the rest of the world is not able to justify traveling and attending the IGF.
So let me just say that in the spirit of the following: Limiting the number of workshops which the MAG is considering doing, reducing it is something that is going to be very challenging for participants to be able to justify getting travel funding.
There's a lot of workshops that propose to be 90 minutes that perhaps could be reduced to 60 minutes or 75 minutes in order to regain a few slots. And there are also some mergers that could take place because for most of the world, not big corporations -- that's not who I speak for -- and perhaps not governments, but unless they have a speaking slot, it's going to be very, very difficult for them to get funding.
And in order for us to take advantage of the IGOs' unique contribution, it's really important to have a very diverse audience coming in person, not just listening remotely.
So that's my primary message. I do have later comments to make about other work of the MAG, but I think this comment in particular I was asked by a number of parties who were not able to travel to Geneva to note they would love to travel to Geneva but if the number of workshops is substantially reduced, this may affect their ability to justify funding and to attend.
And, again, my congratulations to the host country for the effort they are making to make this a truly unique IGF. Thank you, Chair.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Marilyn.
And I tend to count to six before calling an item closed. I guess I'm going to have to count to 30 if there is, in fact, a 20 to 30-second delay. But we will be conscious of that when we open the floor so people have time to respond and get in the queue.
Also, with respect to your point it was noted in a mail you sent to the MAG list that it's important to ensure that there's actually time for engagement in the session here. So we did discuss it on the last MAG call. And we're still asking presenters to keep their introductory and initial comments short thereby allowing as much time for engagement as possible. So, again, that's another thing we're conscious of.
I think your comment about workshops versus open forum is important. I'm not sure I see a great difference between an open forum and a workshop in that many of those topics are just as interesting and informative to a large part of the community as well. But I think they are derived at differently in terms of making up the program. And I think these are some of the things we can pay attention to this year irrespective of what our, you know, split is in the program and then work into one of the working group activities next year as well so we continue to improve and meet the full community's needs as we actually develop the program.
So with that, the queue -- speaking queue is empty. I will go back to Chengetai to walk us through briefly just the high-level evaluations, the statistical synthesis of the proposals.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Lynn.
The secretariat produced this presentation for the MAG among the statistics, and I'd like to thank everybody, Eleonora, Luis and Anja. They all worked on it so that's good.
So as I was saying before that we do envision about 80 workshops to go in initially. That doesn't mean that's going to be the maximum. After this, we may have a few more coming in just depending on what we get in for dynamic coalitions, hot topics, space for hot topics, and the open forums. But we do think that all this is very important to make sure that all the stakeholders feel that they are involved.
We have -- as you'll see, as I go on, governments have a little bit of difficulty organizing workshops per se. But that doesn't mean that they are not involved in Internet governance matters. And it does not mean that they don't have anything to discuss or to showcase. So this is part of the reason why we are just making these adjustments.
Now, on Slide Number 3, what the secretariat did was that we made the -- we made a cut-off on the top 72. And I think the mark was 4.04. And these are just the tags of the top-graded proposals, the thematic tags that were used. So the first tag was cybersecurity, gender issues, artificial intelligence, et cetera. Those are the tags as you go down.
But if we go down to -- sorry, let me...
Slide Number 6. The thematic tags, overall use, then you can see what the community as a whole, those people who made proposals as a whole, not just the top 72, made with their tags. These are all the tags, not just first choice, second choice, or third choice.
The top tag was human rights online and going down. The ones in red are the new tags, so digital future, artificial intelligence, et cetera.
Now, we've also found out that, yes, we could merge a few of these tags but it really won't make that much difference in the tags.
Oh, sorry. I was supposed to say Number 10. Number 10, yes. That is the comparative view of all the proposals, not just the top 72. So we call this as an indicater of what the community is interested in, what the topics the community is interested in.
So the top is human rights for the top 72, and for all proposals, it's human rights online. So it's still human rights.
And as we go down, the third tag which is digital future, which is in line with our theme for this year. That's very good. And then the fourth tag is the SDGs, the sustainable development goals. So we use this as just an indicater of what the community is really interested in.
Now, if we go to Slide Number 11, we can see the comparative view between the stakeholders. As usual, with all IGFs, civil society did submit the most proposals, which was -- this year it was 65% they submitted. 63% of the civil society proposals make up the top 72. So it is fairly analogous, fairly the same.
Intergovernmental organizations have ten, and we have got 13 for the top 72. Now, the thing to note is that governments made up 4% of the overall proposals. In the top 72, they're not shown. So that's one thing that the MAG is looking at as well. And that is also one of the reasons why we decided to increase the open forum space a little bit this year.
It still goes the same with the different stakeholder groups. WEOG as always had the most. They made slight gains in the top 72. They did 49% in the top 72 versus 46% overall.
Eastern Europe is 3%, which I find is -- if you look at the population figures and the number of people who are actually active, eastern Europe has got the smallest population. Latin America made 23%. In fact, they are almost, I think, double or two and a half times if you would look at the population they represent. So that's a very good showing from Latin America.
And Asia-Pacific is 20% overall versus 18% here. So they do show but, of course, they do -- they are the majority of the Internet users on this planet, is from the Asia-Pacific region.
Next slide is Number 12. As we can see from developed country and developing country, overall it's fairly the same so there's no real worry there.
And first time versus returning, we've got a huge portion, 35% first-timers making up the top 72.
So I think those are very good statistics and it shows that there is continuing interest in the IGF that we have new proposers coming in.
And the bottom line is just the type of session -- roundtable, panel, breakout group sessions, birds of a feather, et cetera -- and these are the statistics that make it up.
Now, this year, as I said, we had -- we made an initial suggestion of the top 72, with a cutoff line -- with a cutoff line there, and then the MAG members were asked to put in some wildcards. So MAG members suggested some workshops that they -- with a few changes, deserved to be in the schedule for the IGF meeting, so those are the ones that we had here. We had four initial suggestions and I think some more did come in. We are going to take a look at those tomorrow. That will be part of the business for tomorrow.
And the other thing of interest is -- if we go to Slide Number 16, is that a couple of years ago there was a suggestion made by Mike Nelson, just to give him credit because he's the one who brought it up and we all thought that it was a very good idea, is to also look at the variance of the score. To look at which workshops MAG members disagreed on whether they were good or bad workshops. So we looked at the variance, so those ones with large variance means that they are a bit controversial topics and these are worth looking deeper into it to see whether or not they are worth adding to the schedule, because that shows that there's not that great convergence of -- of ideas that this is a good workshop or this is a good topic or not.
So we -- the secretariat made a list of the top 10 with the highest variance, which the MAG members were asked to look at as well for -- to include one or two of these possible workshops in the schedule.
And so those are the statistics. They are just used to help with our decision-making process, and if you have any questions, we're here to answer them.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Chengetai. We have two speakers from the queue. Marilyn Cade and then Jim Prendergast.
We'll go to Marilyn first. Marilyn, you have the floor.
>>MARILYN CADE: Thank you, chair. My name is Marilyn Cade.
Let me commend the secretariat and also the MAG for this work, but I do have a couple of questions and I just seek clarification on this.
I have, of course, as a former MAG member, closely followed the work of this year's MAG, and I did see this comment that governments did not submit workshops, but I don't know to what extent you've been able to actually -- pardon me for using the term -- data mine or analyze the workshop proposals for their inclusion of governments as speakers.
I can't speak to the top 72. I did read about 170 of the workshop proposals, and I note that many of the workshop proposals -- I don't know how many are in the top 72 -- did include governments as speakers. Many of them included governments as speakers.
I understand the issue of government -- there seems to be now this idea that governments should be proposing workshops, but I think it's really important to understand which workshops include government representatives as speakers. Governments do have the option of proposing an open forum. I think that's also fairly difficult for some governments to do in a way that is broadly inclusive of all stakeholders, so perhaps I would just ask that the MAG take another look, not only at your preferred list of 72 but to broaden it out and make sure that the workshops you're looking at are inclusive -- at least a third of them -- of governments as speakers.
Then the second comment I have is, I see that one of the preferred models is roundtables. There's also an interest in breakout sessions.
As someone who is not as familiar, perhaps, as the Swiss government or the IGF secretariat with the venue at the Palais, I think there are some challenges in actually really having roundtables, and also in accommodating breakout sessions, so I'm hoping that that's going to be a topic of practical discussion, so that workshop proposers would be able to adjust what they can really do in the rooms that are available to them. Thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Marilyn. I just have a few quick responses.
For the governments, yes, as you've noted, and this is one of the things that we thought we should have thought of it, but we didn't think of it until we were looking at the statistics. But, yes, for the next time around we are going to make it automatic that we get a -- it's easy to extract how many of each stakeholder group are panelists in the workshops. I've already asked Luis to work on it for the next time. This year, it's a little bit difficult. I don't think he'll be able to do it by tomorrow. But we had looked at it last week and -- but also, as you've said, you know, as you look at the workshops, you can also just glance at the speakers list to see how many governments -- if governments are represented on that workshop.
And yes as well, it is important to -- being a panelist on a workshop is one thing, but actually formulating a topic and putting it out there for discussion is quite another, and we are going to encourage the latter.
It's very difficult for governments, especially if people are from missions here. Some missions are very small and they have so many things that they want to do and we do have a lot of people who are interested in Internet governance but just the time that it takes is quite a lot.
So we are working on that and the open forums is one way that governments can participate as well. I think that's it.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Chengetai.
Jim, you have the floor.
>>JIM PRENDERGAST: Sure. Thank you, Chair. My name is Jim Prendergast with the Galway Strategy Group.
I would just echo something that Marilyn finished off with with the configuration of the rooms. I do realize most of those rooms look similar to this, and I know that is the challenge of the new as-is, the limited number of sessions leading to a maximum of 80 workshops, so it may not be particularly relevant for this IGF but as we do move into the scheduling component of the workshops that are accepted, those that do emphasize high participation, as I would call it, or high interactive sessions, if there's a way to make those -- put those into rooms that do offer some more flexibility. Otherwise, some people may get in the business of rearranging the furniture and I'm sure that won't go over very well.
Another point, you know, a fantastic amount of analysis and data here that I've only just begun to go through, so it's very interesting.
Just a couple of questions on it.
When you identify a workshop submission as coming from an IGO or civil society or private sector, how do you handle situations where there's co-proposers, where there's a representative from two stakeholder groups?
Is it only counted for one or are both stakeholder groups included as part of those statistics?
And then the only other question -- and I don't want to say I'll take issue with it, but the tags across all of the workshop submissions, I would be careful to say that those represent what the community is interested in because it really only represents what those who have submitted workshop proposals are interested in. And one way we may want to think about gauging what the community as a whole is interested in is maybe as a lead-up or prior to the first open consultation where the stage is being set, do some sort of online poll where you can go out to the community and people can forward links and you can get a sense from the community on what topics they are interested in, and maybe that would help guide some of the workshop submissions that would come in three or four minutes later. So...
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thanks, Jim.
Yes, for the workshop rooms, yes, we have to be a bit careful on those, but we do have rooms that can be -- with a little bit of imagination be roundtables. Especially those rooms that are near the main hall. If you -- 11, 12, et cetera.
They're fairly flat and the makeup is like a square table or a round table.
So we're going to be putting those workshops that are indicated there to -- they want a roundtable format there.
The other ones, we are mostly going to be using all the workshop rooms from the main assembly hall to the serpentine bar, so -- and the main room that we're going to be using is Room 17, Conference Room 17. Okay. That is more of a plenary session and we can't really change that. But the other workshop rooms, yes, I do think we can, and it's quite impossible to move the furniture around in the rooms. I think that's very...
For indication of which stakeholder group the workshops came in, we just used the first proposer because it's not perfect but that's what we had. We used -- we just presumed that the first proposer is the one that was the driving force behind that proposal.
For the tags on the -- yes, we used it as an indication of interest. I hope I used the word "indication," not that it is. It was just an indication because those are the ones that people selected the most.
So the statistics -- it's a statistical straw poll. It's not perfect. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. I have three more speakers in the queue and Ji wants to get in the queue as well. We'll allow you to do this in the room but we're actually using the online queue so perhaps you can go to that later, and maybe Luis can help you. Neils ten Oever is next in the queue.
>>NEILS TEN OEVER: Thank you very much, Chair, for this opportunity, and as a member of the community and not a MAG member, I'd like to thank the MAG for the amount of work that goes into the preparation of the IGF, and of course especially the host country for providing even more support for this very important meeting in our multistakeholder environment. We're seeing that increasing the promise made in the Tunis Agenda that Internet governance would be based on human rights principles is becoming a reality, so governments, companies, standards bodies, and -- are increasingly taking that responsibility. And they are following models developed in the U.N. for this. Namely, the U.N. Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. This week, a bit down the road the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression will launch a report at the Human Rights Council on the role of Internet infrastructure providers to respect human rights and how to use human rights impact assessments to do so. We've also seen initiatives such as ranking digital rights helping companies understand their human rights impact. So somehow these human rights impact assessments are forming a symbol and a way forward in the multistakeholder model, bringing together the different stakeholders, and therefore, I'd like to recommend if we would find the time to discuss them at the IGF.
As a member of the community and not a MAG member, I do not have access to which proposals are now scored well, but I do really hope that there will be a session, merged or not, discussing this, because it seems the way forward to strengthen a global rights respecting network. Thanks.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Very interesting comments. Next we have Francois-Xavier Viallon in the queue.
>>FRANCOIS-XAVIER VIALLON: Yes. Thank you, Chair. So my name is Francois-Xavier Viallon. I'm representing -- I'm from the Technical University of (saying name) in Switzerland and I have questions in regard to the data the secretariat presented.
What do you include into the third proposal that came from the community, digital future? Could you elaborate a bit on that? And then in regard to the last table you showed about the variance, what is varying exactly? I don't understand this measurement. Thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: I'm not too sure what you want me to say about the tag, but it's just an indication of the interests of the community, and which is -- seems to be a theme of what people are talking about. We're not trying to tell people but we're just saying, "You know, these things came up and that is one of the new ones."
For the variance, that means that -- if a MAG member was looking at a workshop, that means that some MAG members rated that workshop very high and very relevant, et cetera, to -- and gave it a high mark and some MAG members rated it poorly. So there had to be some sort of reason for that, so it is worth looking at these workshops to say whether or not they rated them because -- if it's based on the topic, then it may be worth including that topic on the schedule because that means that there's a lot of views on that topic and it's worth discussing. I mean, that's what we're here for. We're -- we're a platform where people can discuss issues and come to some sort of a common understanding.
So with a high variance, that means actually there isn't very much common understanding. It's desperate views.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Chengetai. I hope that helped clarify. We thought it might just be a good indicator of something which was contentious, and if it's contentious, that means there are strongly held views on either side and that might be worthy of exploring further within the context of the IGF.
[ Laughter ]
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I have the benefit of your explanation.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yeah.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Ji, you have the floor. As today is the open community consultation, are you actually taking the floor as a member of the community or in your MAG member role, because MAG members are meant to be primarily in listening mode.
>>JI HAOJUN: Thank you. I would like to make a short intervention as national representative, but also from the perspective of MAG -- new MAG member.
First off, I would like to thank Chengetai for your presentation, and after, you know, I get all this information, I am a bit concerned about our grading system.
From the -- the final 72 top -- top listed workshops, I feel it's -- it's very problematic.
First of all, in Asia, we have 60% of the global population but only 20% making it into the final 72, even considering the -- any wildcard proposals being included in the future. Asia-Pacific is obviously underrepresented, and I'm wondering if, in the future, the screening of proposals could take into account the weight of global population and distribution of global population in different regions. And also users of Internet and the weight of Internet economy for countries such as India, China, Japan, we deserve more representation.
Second, I'm very much concerned about the proliferation of human rights topics in our -- in IGF work. Almost 90% of the proposals I encounter in the screening process is about human rights. This is a disaster. Everything is about human rights. Food is -- food is for human rights. Trade is for human rights. We have more important topics that is about human rights but, you know, which is more relevant in IGF area.
For example, AI. If computers go beyond singularity, when they gain (indiscernible), they may in the future eliminate the human being and wipe out the -- us, the human race, as animals and useless things. That's also about human rights, which obviously this is more important and, you know, regulation of development of AI is -- deserves more attention.
So we hope in the future the proposals can be -- in the screening of the proposal, the relevance of the topics should have certain distribution of weight. For example, human rights, how many human rights topics can get into the final list? For example, give them 10%. How about technology? 30%. We need to balance the different type of topics into the final list geographically or thematically. Otherwise, I think many topics have been treated unfairly and many regions, particularly Asia-Pacific region. China, we are not treated fairly.
The membership of MAG is not -- I don't know what happened in the screening process of the MAG members. The composition of MAG members is lack of balance. And I think we -- in the future, we work for a better composition of MAG members and a better grading system for workshop screening. Thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much. Just a few comments.
For your first point, I mean, I did say those words as well, that the -- "according to population." But according to the number of proposals from Asia-Pacific, we had 20% from Asia-Pacific and -- overall and 18% made it into the top. So that is an indicater that it was more or less fair based on the number of proposals that we received.
But as has been said all the time is that we do need to encourage more submissions, build the capacity of people from developing countries to participate in the IGF and to discuss these topics because their voices must be heard.
What's important to me is that we make progress, that we show that there is progress, that last year we may have had 15%. This year we have more. And that is part of what the secretariat does as well and that we're trying to encourage these national and regional IGFs as well to build capacity. It's not perfect. But from my point of view, as long as we work towards improving that and then coming to what is -- what can be seen by the most number of people as a fair distribution of the workshops.
But -- just repeat my first statement. But as an indicater -- just looking at the number of proposals that came in, yes. But we have to do -- all of us have to do a lot of work to build the capacity to encourage people from developing countries, not just Asia-Pacific but from Africa, from all the other regions. Latin America region as I noted is very good. But there's still work to be done on all the other regions.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I will allow you a short response, and then I'm going to Marilyn Cade. I would really like you to begin using the online queue in a moment. And then after that, we will move to the second part of this topic which is an overview of the main sessions. You have the floor for a quick response.
>>JI HAOJUN: Well, I want to say Asia deserves more respect. And whatever -- no matter how much proposals from Asia-Pacific, we deserve corresponding proportion number of workshops in the final list.
And I think it's not up to the people from the other region to judge whether this proposal from Asia-Pacific is good or not. I think we -- for example, if we have 80 in the final list, Asia deserve like 50. And it's up to Asia countries to decide which proposal is better or not. Thank you.
Last sentence I would like to say (indiscernible) is overrepresented. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. I'm going to be fairly direct in my response here as well. I think what you just have suggested is completely directory to what "multistakeholder" means and the way this Forum has worked for the last 12 years, which is in a consensus mode.
So "multistakeholder" really -- and it's a global forum. We can talk about this more offline, if you will, because I think our rules and our mandate is established by the United Nations Secretary-General. We operate under U.N. rules. We are convened by the U.N. Secretary-General and in a multistakeholder format which means all views are meant to be represented in all of our decisions. They are all meant to be heard. They are all meant to be respected both ways, and that's what we're striving to do when we put together the program here. We can talk about this perhaps some more over the next couple of days or later. But it really is time now to move to the next speaker in the queue who has been very politely waiting, and then we'll move to the main session topic after that.
So, Marilyn, you have the floor.
>>MARILYN CADE: Thank you, Chair. My name is Marilyn Cade. I should have said this in my earlier intervention. But I think it's just worth sharing with all of you something you'll hear more about later today. And that is within the NRI calls of the NRI network, this conversation about what fits under rights online, whether it's human rights online or rights online, was actually a major part of our discussion. There are some MAG members here who were on the call. The focal point was on the call. But we also struggled with whether access, capacity building, enhanced access should fit under that umbrella.
We also struggled with what we would put under the concept of the digital economy, new and emerging technologies. And I think to one small part, that's worth the MAG kind of examining -- the top two ratings right now need to be kind of picked apart. The umbrella topic needs to be picked apart a little bit to see what fits under it. Because I think you will probably have a similar experience to the discussion we had on the NRI network call and that is: Where do we put AI? Where do we put new and emerging technologies? Where do we put enhanced access as building blocks to support true access online? Is that human rights? Is it rights online? So I just share that I think there will be more discussion about that later during the NRI session. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Marilyn. It's a good point.
Chengetai would like to come in on that and then we'll move to the main sessions topic.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes. Thank you very much, Marilyn. You reminded me about my second -- the second part of my response as well.
Yes, I mean, that is a fact. I mean, human rights is a big topic and it covers basically everything. That's why -- that is one of the reasons why I think it's right up there on the top. And maybe it's a function that we may have to, you know, define because all these are self-defined. The secretariat didn't say human rights is this, artificial intelligence is this. The community defined these tags. So maybe that's one thing we can look at for the future and see whether we can.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Chengetai.
So it's time to move to the main sessions review. Last year we actually had a main sessions working group which was quite active in terms of trying to evolve our procedures and criteria, time lines, and that sort of thing. This year the MAG felt that was still fairly accurate. So it did not constitute a formal MAG working group. But Flavio Wagner and Liesyl Franz both agreed to help move the process forward from an administrative standpoint, I guess, if I can use that word.
I would like to ask Liesyl and Flavio to give a quick introduction to where we are with respect to the MAG's task of choosing the main session program. And then we will open it up for comments from the floor.
I'm not sure who's going to go first. Liesyl, you have the floor.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: Thank you, Chair. And good morning. Just to start I would say the working group on the main sessions that was established last year was really to put together a set of guidelines for how main sessions should be planned for and conducted at the IGF so that that's what the remit of the working group was. We do have a very good set of guidelines, I think, now for how the main session should be conducted, including principals and requirements as well as things that main session proposers -- main session facilitators might consider as they plan for the main sessions.
One of the most important components, I think, of that is the time between the selection of the main sessions by the MAG and the convening of the IGF is a call for a very robust engagement program with the stakeholder community in planning and preparing for the main sessions. So I think that's a very important part of that, of the guidelines.
It also sets out a time line of deadlines and things like that that includes that stakeholder consultation. So it's very useful in that regard.
And for this year, we just updated the time line to accommodate the timing for the IGF this year.
Just to back up a bit and talk about main sessions for those that may not be as familiar, the -- what we call main sessions for the IGF has sort of a very distinct character in that they tend to be workshops that take place in larger rooms, that take on broad topics that might be of interest to a larger part of the community that -- to have a longer set time frame for the -- for their conduct than a workshop, say. They have -- historically some of them have been three hours.
And they are afforded the translation into all the U.N. official languages, unlike the workshops which may get translated in one or two on occasion but don't have access to the full translation services.
They have typically over the course of the IGF focused on the main themes of the IGF: Security, openness, privacy, diversity, critical Internet resources. And over time have also -- we've tried to make them capture the themes and topics that have come out of the workshop proposals that have come into -- in for consideration by the MAG.
So given the briefing that you just got on sort of the preponderance of tags, on cybersecurity and gender and AI and human rights and Internet governance and freedom of expression online, access and diversity, those are the kinds of things that we might expect to see in the main sessions either as the general topic or brought in to the discussion by the facilitators for each of the main sessions.
That's kind of it for the nuts and bolts of it. But what we'll do -- what is showing on the screen now is the set of main session proposals that MAG members have proposed for this year. And it is traditional that the main session proposals do come from MAG members often based on -- like I said, based on the incoming proposals and the subjects that are deemed -- that have a large interest.
So, Flavio, should I turn it over to you partly because I can't really see the screen even with my glasses. So I'll have to find my papers. But if you don't mind to read those out and perhaps if people have questions or comments about them, we'd be interested in hearing you. Thank you.
>>FLAVIO WAGNER: So thank you, Liesyl. This is Flavio Wagner for the record.
Just another important thing to mention before I read the titles there is that there are two other main session proposals. I think we will speak about them later on. One from the NRIs, the national and regional IGFs, that in the last three years have had a main session, their own, and it will be organized by the NRIs themselves. And also one main session for the dynamic coalitions. So then these two are not shown there on the screen.
And from the nine proposals we have there, we will have to select four or five, depending on the slots and on the time -- the duration of each of the proposals. Most are for three hours, but maybe some of them may be accommodated in two hours or 90 minutes.
So, in fact, from the nine proposals there, we would have to select four or five and this will be the task of the MAG in the next two days.
So these are the proposals that came from the MAG members: Gender inclusion and the future of the Internet, the impact of digitization on politics, public trust and democracy, digital transformation, how do we shape the social, economic, and labor impacts for good, human and social dimensions of the Internet, empowering global cooperation on cybersecurity for sustainable development and peace, cutting edge/exponential technologies, data for sustainable development roadmaps, strengthening international cooperation in the context of the IGF between relevant organizations working on enhancing Internet security and combating cybercrime. And local interventions, global impacts, how can international multistakeholder cooperation address Internet shutdowns, encryption and data flows.
So this main session shall be discussed in detail tomorrow and after tomorrow during the MAG meeting to select the final list of four or five of them. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Flavio and Liesyl.
Flavio, you made a good point. The sessions that are listed here are just those that the MAG actually needs to make a determination across, do not include, as you said, the main sessions for dynamic coalitions and for the national and regional IGF initiatives.
Just as another point of information as well, the Swiss hosts are also working with the MAG to try and sort of reinvigorate some of the opening ceremony characteristics. They've tended to be a long, sort of parade of individual speeches. And there's a couple of proposals in from them to try and reinvigorate that and give a little bit more focus to that. So the MAG will also be discussing that over the course of the next few days as well.
So at this point, I'd like to see if there are any kind of comments or general reflections, suggestions for how we can work to make the main sessions even more vibrant and inviting and engaging.
They are a key feature of the IGF, and they do help set the stage for many of the other workshops that are actually encompassed in the program.
I have Marilyn in the queue, but I think that may have been left over from before. She says, yes, she is no longer in the queue.
Keeping in mind Marilyn's earlier comment about 20 to 30 seconds before it actually registers, I will wait to see if there was anybody else to was looking for the floor.
So I have Mark Carvell and then Peter Micek.
Mark, you have the floor.
>>MARK CARVELL: Yes, thank you, Lynn. Mark Carvell, U.K. government, former MAG member.
Actually, my request for the floor goes back to the previous agenda item on workshop proposals. So I guess I'm delayed for that.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Please go ahead.
>>MARK CARVELL: Well, I just wanted to emphasize the desirability -- and I think it perhaps is reflected in the main session proposals that the IGF captures emerging issues, like digital transformation and the impacts of AI and other technologies.
So I welcome the elements of that, which are in some of the main session proposals. And my question back to the workshop proposers was whether there was a sense of comfort that the IGF is addressing some of these new emerging changes and whether the secretariat or somebody could comment on that. And if I can just slip in another question I had, then, which is about online child safety, I wasn't sure whether online child safety is going to feature in the IGF program in Geneva.
But on this, I support the MAG looking at main session proposals with a sense of this is the opportunity to engage on some critical issues that are going to impact lives. This is very much sympathetic to the themes of the G20 and the G7, so this is a very welcome feature, if you like, of the IGF at the highest level of the main session, looking at cutting-edge emerging technologies, transformative technologies, with also a link across to sustainable development.
So I very much welcome that. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Mark. And we'll take those discussions forward into the MAG discussion tomorrow.
Peter Micek, you have the floor.
>>PETER MICEK: Thank you. I'm also a member of the community and not a MAG member. I represent Access Now, an international digital rights organization.
I want to reinforce Neils' intervention. I think it's very important and we do appreciate this opportunity to participate in the open consultation.
And as far as human rights representation, I think it's really a victory in a lot of ways that human rights have found such a prominent place in the agenda and there's such interest from the community to bring human rights issues to the IGF, and that it wasn't always this way and perhaps this shows the relevance that people see in this institution and the ongoing discussions that such critical and timely and important issues are raised in this forum.
I do want to express our support for the final main session proposal on local interventions, global impacts. The widespread and increasing number of Internet shutdowns and other intentional disruptions of connectivity threatens a range of human rights, as well as global economic development and development of even local digital economies. The impacts are still being measured but there's no question that the frequency is increasing and that the impacts on people's daily lives as well as their trust in the Internet itself are harmed and damaged by these events.
And so, yeah, we do want to express support for that proposal and others on this really pressing issue of Internet shutdowns.
And I finally do want to say that I think it's appropriate, given that the IGF annual session will be in Geneva, that there is a strong link to human rights, given the seat of the Human Rights Council here. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Peter. Markus Kummer. Markus, you have the floor.
>>MARKUS KUMMER: Thank you, Chairman, and good morning, everyone. I'm taking the floor in my capacity as co-facilitator of the best practice forum on cybersecurity, and as seen from the best practice forum perspective, what we did last year didn't really work, to have a non-labeled session where we allowed a main session given to all best practice forums.
What I would see that could work is if the best practice forums can actually feed into a main session.
From the best practice forum on cybersecurity, we definitely would welcome feeding into a main session on cybersecurity. I noticed there are two proposals on the table related to cybersecurity. They could easily be merged, but an important theme from our best practice forum would really be the opportunity to feed into a main session and to enrich the main session. Based on the tagging, I think cybersecurity seems to be an issue that is high on the priority list of the community.
And likewise, as there is a best practice forum on gender and gender also is an upcoming issue that has very strong support, that that would also make sense to have a main session on gender allowing precisely the best practice forum to feed into.
And as I have the floor, I have a hard stop at 12:30. I based my program on the preliminary list of the agenda that was published on the Web site, and I would like also to report on the best practice forum on cybersecurity, on our work, so if it cannot be done before 12:30, if we can take it up at the beginning of the afternoon session. Thank you.
>> (indiscernible) take the floor.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Just one second.
Markus, thank you very much for those comments and in particular, really look forward to yet another spin on improving the work of the IGF through the best practice forums and integration of the main sessions and hopefully driving even more visibility to the very important work.
We'll actually go to the next agenda item in just a moment, which was an update on the best practice forums, but I think I'm actually getting a request for somebody else to take the floor that's not actually in the queue? Or not showing in the queue but is evidently in the queue?
>> Actually, it's not connected. I'm trying to connect him. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Okay. Thank you. Again, if there's anything we can do to help, Luis is there to help with those that are trying to use the new system here.
So I thank all the speakers with their comments on the main session. We're still somewhat earlier in that process as compared to the workshop selection process. It will form a significant piece of our discussions over the next couple of days and remain open and attuned to any comments or suggestions from the community on those topics.
We move now to Agenda Item 7, which is an update from the IGF best practice forums, of which this year the MAG supported three. One on agenda and access, one on cybersecurity, and one on local content.
And Markus, do you want to say a few words, building on from your last comment, and then again we'll open the floor for reaction from the community? Markus, you have the floor.
>>MARKUS KUMMER: Yes. Thank you. That works out perfectly. Well, as you will remember, the best practice forum on cybersecurity got the mandate last year and got started, and after Guadalajara, we actually continued having discussions and calls and discussed on how best to continue, as it was conceived as a multiyear program right from the beginning.
Once the mandate was renewed, we had a call in the end of May and our lead expert, Martin (saying name), I think, reported on the last MAG meeting, where we are, so the working is ongoing, and I'm reporting on this and thanking my co-facilitator, Segun. He was not able to be on the call -- on the last call, so I take it on me to report on where we are.
As you saw in the proposal we submitted, the idea was this time to draw very much on IGF work that had been carried out in the past in connecting and enabling the next billion, particularly, and looking at the relevant policy recommendation where the cybersecurity best practice forum could actually have an impact, and we also decided to draw on the global network now, existing network of NRIs, that actually asked them also for input and we had NRIs also participating in our call.
So the work that we decided that needed to be done was, on the one hand, develop a questionnaire that would build on the policy paper on connecting and enabling the next billion, and that is in process and we will look at the outcome. That's based on voluntary work from the members of the expert group that participate in the best practice forum. And on the other hand, also draw up a list of relevant organizations to which we would actively, proactively, reach out to and send the questionnaire. That has proved a very valid experience in the past years. So this is where we are.
And the parallel approach, one member of the group also will look at whether there are any individual issues that might be worthwhile looking into, but it was also agreed that we should not let us guide by the news, like two weeks ago it was ransomware that was very high up on the list, so maybe we should look a little bit deeper and see whether we could make a deep dive in one emerging issue related to cybersecurity.
This is where we are. Work is underway. And obviously interested MAG members and non-MAG members are invited to join the mailing list and join our calls. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Markus. Are there -- of the three -- Markus was speaking initially somewhat generically to best practice forums and our intent with respect to the IGF program, and then specifically to the cybersecurity BPF. Are there -- anybody who wants to speak specifically on the BPF on local content or gender and access or shall we move directly to questions or comments from the floor?
Okay. Cheryl, I'll give you the floor.
A reminder, we're using the online queueing system but there's nobody else in the queue, so Cheryl, you have the floor.
>>CHERYL MILLER: Thank you, Chair. I think I -- I did try to use it. I'll get better at it. Sorry about that.
Just on the best practice forum on gender, Jac is leading that and I'm hoping her co-facilitate that and I wanted to mention that we did meet that and we are sort of moving forward some of the work from last year and have been working on the scope of finding some of the gaps, I think, in terms of what's out there in information on what the different stakeholder groups are also doing in certain areas, and so we're now sort of collecting all of that and we'll have another call next week. So just a quick update.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: That's great. Thank you, Cheryl. And you did appear in the queue. Raquel, is there anything else you wanted to say on local content? No?
Any comments from the floor? Again, the best practice forums were started I think four years ago in response to some of the suggestions for how we might actually improve the work of the IGF, and I think they've proven to be very successful and have really delivered a lot of good information, and one of the things the MAG wanted to address this year was trying to find a way to give them even more visibility, if you will, make them much more integral to the work of the -- work of the IGF, so we are open to any further suggestions or comments on how we might do that as well.
And I guess Sumon, you have the floor, and if you could indicate whether or not you're speaking as a MAG member or in your personal capacity, again given this is the open consultation. Thank you.
>>SUMON AHMED SABIR: Thanks, Chair. Actually, I'm talking as -- speaking as -- I was one of the coordinator for that little BPF last year, last two years, and we have produced our document, and also the (indiscernible) BPF was last year concluded and there's a output document as well. My concern is that we have prepared some wonderful documents and from our capacity of trying to propagate to many forums, but I'm just wondering if it's possible that from IGF or from (indiscernible) if we can send the document to the governments or the relevant bodies like ministries or the regulators. So I know many countries they're actually kind of in a dilemma how to make a policy or guideline for (indiscernible) government organizations or in the country. This document might be very helpful, actually, if we can make an effort to send it to them, because many of them don't go to the Web site or don't participate in this kind of forum, so all the governments doesn't have that clue, so I just take the opportunity to propose something that if we can do like that. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. I think that's an excellent idea. And maybe your colleagues at (indiscernible) can even put it into some of the communications and outreach activities as well, given he's leading the working group there.
I don't see any other requests for the queue at this point in time, so with that, I would suggest we move to Item 8, which is policy options for connecting and enabling the next billions, Phase 3.
Again, this follows the first two years of a connecting and enabling the next billion and it is the major intersessional policy work, again, also addressing, you know, the narrative of continuing to make the IGF work more relevant. So Raquel, do you want to say a few words? Thank you.
>>RAQUEL GATTO: Thanks, Madam Chair.
So the IGF heard that MAG is to continue with connecting and enabling the next billion, and the proposal is now to focus on concrete examples and to focus on a few SDGs. The SDGs which were selected is -- are four, about education, five, about gender, and nine, which is infrastructure and has a specific mention on Internet issues.
There is a call for inputs, for contributions, that should be out soon, and so I think that's the summary version of how we can continue with this work. Phase 1 analyzed more the policy options. Phase 2 went down to the SDGs. And now we can go down into a few of them and showcase within the IGF work.
I think that's it.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Raquel. That was very concise. So this is where we open it up to the community again if there are any specific comments or questions on that initiative.
I do have Segun in the queue. Again, Segun as you're a MAG member, are you speaking in that capacity or as --
>>SEGUN OLUGBILE: Yeah. Thank you, Chair. I want to speak in my capacity as -- individual capacity.
I just want to re-echo what my colleagues said here on the importance of repackaging or how we can make some of the outcomes of the best practice forum available to the countries and all that.
I have a peculiar -- a particular scenario in my country. Especially the outcomes of the connecting the next billion.
You know, while we were having some discussions, I made some recommendations on the need for the agency in my country that's in charge of the information technology development. I think they are more interested in seeing a packaged document, you know, well laid out. I don't know how much of the resources that we have under the IGF. Some of these documents on the outcomes, I think in their kind of WSIS form like this, they can be packaged so that some of the ministers that are here, they will go back with something that they can work with. Because like you said, in most of the developing countries, (indiscernible) are not there. Not many of them go to the Web site. Even if they go to the Web site, they don't even spend so much time on Web site looking for documents and all that.
So I just want to re-echo that there's a need for us to repackage the outcome of the best practices. We need to package it, document it, summarize it, and probably distribute it in the forum that we have. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Segun.
Mark Carvell, you have the floor.
>>MARK CARVELL: Yes. Thank you, Lynn. And what I want to say is very much in line with previous comments about the application and value of these tangible outcomes from the IGF, the best practice fora, and the connecting the next billions initiative.
First of all, on behalf of the U.K., I just want to express deep appreciation for the hard work put in by the MAG volunteers and leading on all this very valuable intersessional work. It's delivering on a recommendation from the CSTD in respect of tangible outcomes. And at the time of the retreat last year, one of our proposals was that the MAG undertake some exercise of evaluation of the impact, the communication of these outcome documents, and the takeup and feedback with -- feedback, positive and constructive, that will enhance this part of -- this vitally important part of the IGF's work and mandate.
So I just reiterate what we said at the time of the retreat, that if -- in view of all the hard work going on, it's important to assess the impact and how these outcomes are actually being absorbed by policymakers, by community advocates, leaders, and so on, and civil society, private sector, as well as governments, and -- so that we get a sense of the real impact, and -- in terms of addressing challenges and creating new opportunities and bringing all constituencies in the Internet sphere fully up to speed. The BPFs can do an enormous amount of work for that. I'm sure, you know, to some extent it's happening but we need some kind of assessment, I think, to help reassure us that all this work is having real impact and allow us to understand how the work can be further enhanced in the future. Thanks.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Mark. Good comments, both from you and Segun.
Sumon, I think you have requested the floor again? No? And then with that item, there's nobody in the queue so we'll move to an update on the national and regional IGF initiatives, Agenda Item 9.
And I think Anja is the focal point within the secretariat for the NRIs, is going to kick that session off. She said they're almost there.
>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much. And I would like to greet you all. As the MAG chair said, my name is Anja Gengo. I work from the IGF secretariat very closely with the colleagues that are organizing many national, subregional, regional IGFs but also youth IGFs.
So we do have a couple of slides to share with you just for the purposes of you having the visual information on who are the NRIs and what do they do within their respective communities as well as some information on the official records that we have.
So I believe you can see it. Just a quick reflection to the origin and the background of the NRIs, how did they start their own work. I believe we all -- Thank you.
I believe we all know here that the IGF itself as a global forum stems its mandate from the Tunis Agenda. These days we are speaking about the existing of more than a hundred national and regional and youth IGFs. But, yet, they do not -- they're not mandated by the Tunis Agenda but they exist.
So within the agenda there's no specific call for the NRIs but what I think we should know is that the multistakeholder approach has been recognized as a fundamental principle of the IGF's work as well as within the paragraph 80, there was the encouragement of the development of multistakeholder processes at national, regional, international levels. So this gives the background for the existence of the NRIs.
If we track back through history of the existence of the NRIs, in 2006 basically in line when the global IGF started, we can track the very first one. So Caribbean IGF probably has the longest history when it comes to the NRIs as a network.
Their working principles -- so, first of all, what we need to understand is that the NRIs work as a network. So the way they work was built by consensus among the existing initiatives. So they agreed to follow the core principles and characteristics of the global IGF. And what the secretariat is doing is just facilitating the process of recognizing the initiatives as the official IGF initiatives.
They are of an organic nature which means nobody was calling for them but there was a need within the community to come up with an effective mechanism of dealing with the Internet governance-related matters in certain communities. Something that's very, very important for us all to understand is that they are fully independent and they are autonomous. So the collaboration that exists within the global IGF with the colleagues at national and regional levels is basically that, just a collaboration. So there is no hierarchy between any of the IGFs.
The stakeholders within the NRIs act on equal footing, just as within global IGF. As I said, they are of a bottom-up nature which means they are organizing once they see that there is a need within the community to organize a forum. "Multistakeholder," which means that the forums are organized by the multistakeholder organizing teams.
Fully open and transparent, inclusive, and, of course, noncommercial.
If we just very quickly look at growth of the NRIs across the three IGFs' mandate, then you can really see the difference that in 2011 we had 37. In 2015, which is the end of the second mandate, we had 37 again. But in 2017, there's a really rapid growth where at this present moment we are speaking about 87 IGFs that are officially recognized but 14 of the NRIs that are information. And information is a term that we introduced two years ago, altogether as an NRI network, just to recognize the colleagues that are internally fully organized but don't have enough resources to organize their annual meetings.
So if we look up at the graph, then we can see basically what's the breakdown of the NRIs as a total number per national and regional IGFs and also youth IGFs.
These are the upcoming meetings. So in June, EuroDIG ended two days ago. That is, I believe, a well-known regional IGF for Europe that exists now for years. Paraguay IGF was happening at the same time.
After we are done with this meeting, Nepal will be organizing their own meeting, which is the first IGF in Nepal. Barbados as well. And central Asia will be organizing its second IGF meeting, that is this year hosted by the government of Tajikistan. This is just for you to see really the NRIs are really widely spread across the world and there is a very solid balance if you want to kind of do the breakup by regions or by continents. Or we keep track also by the U.N. regional groups. So I wouldn't say there is -- that anyone is just staying behind in terms of the engagement on the national and regional levels.
Now, what do they do? So I think just for us to understand what's the value of the NRIs, we just need to ask ourselves how the things are working in practice. There is really not a huge difference between what we are doing on a global level and what the colleagues are doing within their respective countries and regions.
So they are -- they are having the multistakeholder organizing themes. They are asking their own community through a public call for inputs what are the issues of relevance. They are building the program agenda based on those inputs, meaning in a bottom-up manner. They engage the community to implement what has been mapped. And, of course, they organize the annual meeting.
This is how I like to look at it, so basically as a pyramid where everything starts from the bottom. We have the recognized need. We have the stakeholder engagement in place. What the NRIs agreed is that the multistakeholder organizing teams are composed of at least three stakeholder groups per the IGF classification. Though, what I can say from my experience is that all of them have stakeholder groups, almost all of them.
What's very important to understand also for the NRIs as well as for us that the purpose really of the national and regional IGFs is not just to organize a one or two days' long meeting and then the story is over and we are going again next year. But there is something called the intersessional work on the national and regional levels. And for the last two years, this is something that's becoming a trend within the NRIs where the forum -- the existence of the forum is recognized as something that's very useful for the community.
So I just put a couple of examples here. For example, the Portugal IGF is organizing to multiply sessions across the country that at the end are just being finalized with one annual meeting. That is done just to build capacity within the country but also to raise awareness about the IG issues.
The Paraguay IGF, for example, has recognized last year that they lacked youth engagement. So they are very proactive this year organizing Webinars for the university students trying to tell the young people, the future experts, what is Internet governance, what is the IGF, what are the core principles, and why are they needed to engage in order to -- in order to change things within their country.
SEEDIG, or the subregional IGFs that is covering southeastern Europe, is also doing some great things. I think we have a representative here. Maybe we will hear more about it.
But, for example, aside organizing every year their own annual meeting, they do monthly briefings on map IG issues within the region. And they do a regional remote hub that I think goes monthly. I really want to say that the way how they format and present just visually those map issues is very, very interesting.
And on one occasion, I did ask how did they do that process. So I was invited to join them for two days, which means that I was basically the whole day and whole night with the colleagues. It's really hard work behind all this. But they are the only ones within the region that are doing this. And I think the value has been recognized. Later we will see what's the major outcome.
The Japan IGF is also a very good example on how they run their own intersessional work. So aside having the annual meeting, every month the organizing committee and the wider community is gathering within the premises that they're using as their offices. And they are discussing the major developments and relevant IG issues. Everything is documented. And you can find everything on their Web site. It's in Japanese. But they also do think as a global community so they do summaries. They translate it in English. So that's also available to us.
And I added a couple of examples which was very, very hard to choose from just for you to visually see what do the NRIs do within their community because I think that's very important to understand the value of these forums.
So the first one in this IGF cycle was the national IGF of Trinidad and Tobago. That was in January. The issues they were discussing was the role of the Internet and the digital economy in the sustainable development of their own country. There was the online participation available. There was the English translation, so we were able to follow the meeting. And the outcomes will soon be published also through the IGF secretariat. And you will see that the colleagues did really an impressive work, especially given the fact that it wasn't easy at all for them to engage the stakeholders, just to recognize that this kind of a forum should be organized within their country.
The second one that I picked is the Afghanistan IGF. It was the first national IGF organized in this country. It was very impressive. And it was, I would say, very different. It gathered really a lot of participants, almost 200 counting the online participants. The issues that they have discussed were very broad. They were in line with the access and development cybersecurity, youth and gender and new and emerging issues.
They also allowed for us as the global community to engage with them. There was a simultaneous translation into the English language. So many of the members of the global IGF community were on those calls.
And what you see on these photos, especially the one on the left side, was something that was very, very innovative and really was recognized as very important within the NRIs' network, which is the IGF Afghanistan Kids Academy. These are children that are probably 7, 8 years old and they were there listening to the expert speakers on Internet governance on how can they use safely the Internet as at the end of the day they are online. So I think Marilyn is here. She was invited as an international expert in Kabul where she was traveling. So maybe later we could just hear practically how this worked in Kabul.
As I said, SEEDIG is the IGF of Southeastern Europe, hosted their third annual meeting in Ohrid. They had almost 200 participants that were attending on-site from 24 different countries, which means also outside of the mapped region.
A lot of different issues were discussed. One thing that was new there is they have organized the track for young people. They called it the SEEDIG Youth School. And Aida, one of the coordinators there, can later tell us more about the capacity building and the need for the capacity building in the region.
What I can say and what colleagues told me is that this year they applied a very specific strategy which resulted in attracting more governments within the region. Really, when you look into the stakeholder breakdown, you can see a very solid balance of all the stakeholder groups which previously for the two meetings wasn't the case.
Sri Lanka IGF hosted its third meeting. It was a very impressive meeting. It had a lot of different tracks aside from the core program itself. So they organized a special track for the young people. They called it the youth IGF initiative, again a track organized by the multistakeholder organizing teams there.
They also dedicated a track to women of the IGF Sri Lanka, the role of gender. And they also had something we called the IGF village where our stakeholders can come and just present their work.
So the Sri Lanka organized that where many national but also international stakeholders could just come to engage with the community and say this is what they're doing and this is how you can engage with us.
This is something that's very important, why do we find the NRIs very important. We developed the word "useful." So how do they help the global IGF program?
I think Markus, when he was speaking on the BPF of security, said the keyword on our calls with the NRIs. There's two ways they support. One way is they submit concrete written outcomes from their annual meetings that are being brought in a bottom-up manner to the intersessional work of the global IGF.
So you will see if you stay also with us tomorrow and day after that the best practice forums this year as well as they did last year really count on the inputs that are coming from the communities of the NRIs. And I think our consultants, experts, are here, that were working last year on the BPFs. They can also say we received a significant number of contributions from the NRIs with the very, very valuable content. The difference between that content and the other types of content that you receive is that it really comes from the people. It's a bottom-up -- in a bottom-up process.
And, of course, they are the direct contributors to the IGF's intersessional work as they participate in the call. They help the brainstorming process, and they just contribute with their ideas given the fact that the NRIs are, indeed, experts within their community with a lot of experience in various spheres.
NRIs collectively do work together. And there's, I think, a really nice process in place. So this photo that you see on your screens is the photo of all the speakers of the NRIs from last year's IGF. So the main session last year that was given to the NRIs was dealing with access, secure Internet funding sources, and creating more awareness about the Internet governance as well as the purpose of the stakeholder engagement. It was a three-hours long session where 42 IGF initiatives had their own representatives in role of speakers. It really offered a very rich content. And probably due to the fact there was a really big number of speakers, the community did maybe lack of the interaction within the audience. But hopefully this year, if the room setup will allow, that will be changed.
And maybe even most useful for the community long-term speaking places was the booth that the NRIs had within the IGF village. Many of us were there. We were following the traffic. And a lot of community just outside external to the NRIs was coming. They were interested to hear about the good work, how they can engage with the colleagues, or how maybe they can start their own IGFs as they have seen the community would need one.
Also, what the NRIs collaboratively did last year was developing the toolkit. So that was the first written advisory document that was developed by the NRIs that reflects the major core IGF principles.
It has been done last year, end of last year, beginning of this year. But I think what's the major update and most important update this year is that this toolkit so far has been translated to five out of six official U.N. languages by the volunteers from the NRI network. I think that's where it speaks about the engaged initiatives within the network and just the seriousness of it.
As I said at the beginning, there's really a good working process in place when it comes about the NRIs collectively. So starting after the Mexico IGF meeting, the NRIs did come with a provisional plan of what they want to do for this year. And there are really a lot of items. So they did submit the proposal for the NRIs' main session. We run a very, very extensive and long public call for inputs in order to bottom-up try to see what's the topic of mutual interest that would reflect the NRIs' interest. And the colleagues said that rights in the digital or online world as the major area of interest is something that's relevant for everyone. So we will be working on that and trying to build a title within that area of interest.
What is happening every year at the IGF meeting, the plan is also to continue this year with this meeting where the global IGF, which means the IGF secretariat, the MAG chair, also the colleagues from UNDESA would meet the colleagues from NRIs just to map, reflect what has been done so far, and what should be improved for the next IGF cycle.
One of the new things this year that's going to be discussed tomorrow during the MAG meeting and probably the day after tomorrow is a new set of sessions that the NRIs would like to organize, just due to the fact that we are very much with limited space when it comes about the annual IGF meeting and we have relatively limited intersessional work in terms of covering maybe four or five major areas of interests.
The NRIs did offer substantive sessions. That would mean, for example, Japan IGF and Kenya IGF and Trinidad and Tobago IGF and Asia-Pacific IGF would work on a topic of their own interest and just show to us what's the relevance for their own regions and hopefully show to us that these issues are, indeed, different across countries and regions. But if we work together more specifically, then we can -- then we can map the area better.
We will be working on developing some info material that's going to be of relevance for the community. The plan is to together the formal gatherings whenever the opportunity would allow. The latest one was at EuroDIG where many of the European national IGFs present. Also SEEDIG where they are present, they had their own meeting.
I would advise to start either from the NRI's Web site or maybe from the secretariat's or the IGF's where we had all the colleagues listed or willing to put you in contact with the colleagues. Or if you would like to learn more about any of the specific IGFs, you can also contact the IGF secretariat where we would be glad to assist.
Obviously, the regular virtual meetings that are happening every month, once or two times, they are open to everyone. You are more than welcome to join those meetings and contribute your ideas.
So I think this is -- yes, I'm at the end of my presentation. This would be very basic for me at the beginning. And I think we have time maybe to open the floor. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Anja. It was a great presentation. Very informative. The NRIs just contribute significantly across the world. I think we have seen a small indication of it working.
We have two speakers in the queue. We have until the top of the hour. So if there are more questions or more comments, we should do that or if there are suggestions from the room. So the two people I have in the queue at the moment are Julia Owono and then Shita.
You have the floor. Apparently there's somebody else in the queue back there as well. We will put you in as third.
Julie, you have the floor.
>> JULIE OWONO: Hello, thank you very much. Thank you very much for the presentation. I'm sorry -- can you hear me?
I'm sorry. I have to go back to Item 8 because I requested the floor. My apologies.
We are really thrilled -- first of all, introduce myself. So I represent Internet Without Borders, (speaking non-English language), so digital rights, NGO based in France.
And we are particularly delighted about the Item 8 and specifically its focus on SDG Number 9.
On this, I would like to flag to the MAG the issue of access costs and specifically transparency in access to international bandwidth for telcos and their impact on Internet access costs for communities.
Obviously, these are the first hindrances to global connectivity and specifically connectivity of the next billion located in the global south. So we are really, really happen and looking forward to having this being dealt with during the next IGF.
Also, going a bit more back on the Internet shutdown issue, we would also like to flag the importance of having the local communities' perspective, how they're affected, what an Internet shutdown actually means for people who experience it. I'm saying this because we worked a lot on the latest internet shutdown in Cameroon which lasted 94 days in Anglophone regions. We received a lot of requests for help from communities who were affected. So I'm also looking forward to seeing more local voices being brought in this discussion, global discussions. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Julie. Thank you for coming back in on that topic.
So I have Shita and then apparently somebody remote and Barack and Jennifer.
Please try and use the online queue because that will help us manage it appropriately.
Shita, you have the floor.
>>SHITA LAKSMI: Thank you, Madam Chair. Can you hear me? Okay. Sorry.
So this is Shita Laksmi. I'm currently speaking as one of the focal points of Indonesia Internet Governance Forum, I will say ID-IGF, not as a MAG member. I would like to update the ID-IGF. We are currently focused on strengthening the organizational aspect of ID-IGF. We have developed an explanation about role and responsibility of Multistakeholder Advisory Group of ID-IGF including its (indiscernible) mechanism to ensure implementation of the key NRIs' principles, like transparency, accountability, bottom up, multistakeholder, et cetera.
The draft will be published on the ID-IGF Web site very shortly together to inform the public. The main objectives are to gather as much as possible input from the communities and to the non-usual suspects, not the same people and the same crowd anymore as well as to engage with wider communities in Indonesia on the role of ID-IGF and what's in it for me with the ID-IGF.
We hope we get the feedback by July 3rd and finalize two weeks after. The document will be used as the basis of strengthening the ID-IGF.
We would like to also have the NRIs at the ID-IGF annual meeting in October, but I will update you more on that. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Shita. Next in the queue is apparently there's somebody remotely to wants to speak.
>> We have Anriette. I'm trying to connect her now. She was connected, but now she's not connected anymore.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Maybe you can just indicate when she's come back on and then we'll put her back in the queue.
>> Will do that. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Barak, I think you were asking for the floor?
>> BARAK OTIENO: Thank you, Chair. Barak Otieno from the Kenya IGF, representing the Kenya ICT Action Network.
Just to congratulate the NRI focal point for their good work that they have been doing. And I say that quoting one our leaders Alice, whom you all know, who last year in the Kenya IGF mentioned the fact that the IGF had the most impact locally and nationally. And increasingly we are seeing that by the many voices that are being brought online.
So just to say that the support we have received from the NRI focal point and the IGF secretariat, now, the Kenya IGF has grown into a full week. We'll actually have a full week of IGF activities ranging from youth IGF, ranging from a discussion on Internet shutdowns, culminating with the Kenya IGF itself by the end of the week.
We also managed to bring on board new voices, just to respond to the cry in the community that the IGF is organized by a few people.
And the first class we had last year for the Kenya School of Internet governance, of which I'm happy the MAG chair was one of the presenters, forms the bulk of the current Multistakeholder Advisory Group, and it's interesting to see the new voices coming on board and carrying the mantle going forward.
So in closing, I just want to say that there's need for us to support the NRI and, in particular, let's look at ways in which we can find the IGF focuses or initiatives that are not yet strong enough. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Barrack.
Jennifer, you have the floor.
>>JENNIFER CHUNG: Thank you, Madam Chair. My name is Jennifer Chung. I'm speaking on behalf of the secretariat of the Asia-Pacific regional IGF.
I'd like to add to my fellow NRI colleagues to highlight the great work that our NRI focal point has been doing and gathering for and from all of our NRI colleagues, so thank you very much.
Just a quick update on the AP IGF.
So the 8th edition will be held this year, 26th to 29th July in Bangkok. Our overarching theme is "Ensuring an Inclusive and Sustainable Development in Asia-Pacific, a Regional Agenda for Internet Governance."
We'll be having six pre-event capacity-building sessions, including fellowship and newcomer sessions and youth IGF orientation sessions. So we'll also have, for the full conference, 35 sessions which include four main subthemes, the first of which is accessible, empowerment, and diversity; the second is cybersecurity, privacy, and safer Internet; and the third is digital economy and enabling innovations; and the fourth is human rights online. So a little bit about what we'll be innovating this year. We'll be piloting also the Asia-Pacific legislators roundtable on Internet governance in conjunction with the annual forum. So this roundtable aims to be a forum that facilitates collaboration and knowledge sharing amongst legislators around the region as well as act as a bridge between local legislators and the Internet governance community.
So I wanted to highlight that a little bit.
And also mention that the NRI itself, there's a lot of very grassroots efforts coming from all of the NRI initiatives, so I think it's really heartening to see that, you know, the IGF MAG and also the IGF annual sessions do give a lot of importance and prominence to our work. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Jennifer.
And is Anriette now with us?
>> We have Anriette now. She's connected.
>>ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Hi. Thank you, Chair. I hope you can hear me.
I tried to take the floor on the BPFs, so I'll just really quickly respond, if that's okay, particularly to Mark Carvell's point about the impact of the best practice forums.
So I'm from APC, Association for Progressive Communications, and we are a global network of civil society. We do a lot of policy submissions at the national and regional and global level, and Mark, we have found those best practice forums extremely helpful. Particularly the one on gender and the one on connecting the next billion.
We take content from there and we submit that to policy processes and the response has been really positive, and for those of you who are in Geneva this week, the report on gender digital divide of the High Commission of Human Rights actually references the IGF best practice forum on gender extensively, so that's an example.
And quickly, I'm sorry about this, Lynn, but just on NRIs, thanks, Anja, for a wonderful report, and to you and everyone who has been working with you for what you've done to support the NRI.
And just to share information, APC will be producing two publications this year on NRIs. The one is Global Information Society Watch and we'll have a publication that provides an independent view on various NRIs, but we also are producing a volume together with the IGF secretariat where we hope to publish the toolkit and some of the stories of NRIs and also basic contact information about NRIs.
So we'll be sharing more during the MAG meeting itself, and I think once -- once Anja and Chengetai have a chance to recover from the MAG meeting, we'll launch into preparing this volume, so we hope this will be ready in time for the IGF. Thanks.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Anriette, and I'm very glad you actually managed to get in the queue and speak.
Next in the queue we have Marilyn Cade.
Marilyn, you have the floor.
>>MARILYN CADE: Thank you, Chair.
For the past two years, I've been very privileged to work with the secretariat and with the NRIs in what has really turned into an NRI network, and the MAG is hearing a lot about this but I want to just do a quick 30-second review that reminds everyone that initially the NRI coordinators did not have a title and they met informally at lunchtime during the open consultation.
That has significantly evolved, and I take the floor just to commend the work that they themselves are doing. They made a commitment in -- at the IGF in Brazil to work together. They called on the secretariat for significant enhancements to the support, resulting in a focal point. Something that people may not remember is that we used to send our email requests related to the NRIs in to the general purpose secretariat mailbox and we probably actually exploded it sometimes, but now we have a focal point, and you've seen the progress with the significant growth.
The work of the -- of the NRIs themselves -- and I appreciate that people are studying them and have -- are going to have comments about their work, but I want to reinforce the importance of maintaining their independence and helping them strengthen the work nationally.
So I just am going to offer, at Omar's request, his apologies for not being able to join us. There was a death in his business community that has taken him away.
But the Afghanistan IGF is perhaps an illustration to all of us of how unique the demands and issues are that some of our NRIs face.
It is not considered particularly safe for many international travelers to go to certain countries, and yet the Afghanistan IGF created a fantastic multiday event and did a number of unique things, as you have heard other NRIs are doing.
So I hope that as you as the MAG look at how the NRIs who are working together to create their own main session and also these consultative exchange sessions, that you'll take into account how unique it is for them to be able to come and participate at the IGF but how important it is for them to be able to go home, and that is where they can help to effect the international Internet public policy by strengthening the work at a national level and a subregional level and a regional level. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Marilyn. A very good comment. We have three more people in the queue, but a minute -- I'd like to just recognize certainly first the work the NRIs do themselves. It's an awful lot of work and I'm sure it's not your first priority when you get up in the morning, so it's -- it's incredible, just the growth we've seen and the contributions you're making.
I want to recognize Marilyn for a lot of her effort in her past roles to support that. She's been, you know, a very vocal and very visible champion for the NRIs, and clearly supported Anja coming into the secretariat in the focal point role which has really been critical to I think a lot of the advances we've made, in particular, over the last year or so.
So, you know, it takes a village or a global village or lots of teams. I think we're doing really tremendous work with the NRIs and just want to recognize everybody's effort there.
If I can move then to the queue, I have Julian, then Diana Gomez, Raquel Gatto, and we'll came to you, Christine.
So Julian, you have the floor.
>>JULIAN CASASBUENAS: That you, Madam Chair.
I just wanted to highlight also and recognize the efforts from the focal point, Anja, and all the people involved in the NRIs' work. And talking as a Colombian member of the -- our local initiative, I would like to highlight also the efforts of the toolkit that was translated to several languages, recently to Spanish, and we had almost immediate feedback about having this document, so other regions in our country have been using it to start their own initiatives that will bring more stakeholders to the discussions and not only to be located, in our case, in our main city in Bogota but in other regions that are eager to participate.
So that was my comment. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Julian.
Next in the queue, I have Raquel.
>>RAQUEL GATTO: Thank you, Madam Chair.
I've asked for the floor not in my MAG member capacity but as a part of the program committee for the LAC IGF, the regional Latin American Caribbean preparatory meeting. It's just an update. Our meeting is confirmed for the 2nd to the 4th of August in Panama.
I also want to celebrate this is our 10th year for the LAC IGF, one of the first initiatives. Our agenda was set through open consultations with the community. We have recurrent topics such as digital economy, cybersecurity, human rights, and data protection. We also have topics which were selected to link with the global discussions, the IGF global discussions, such as connecting the next billion and the future of the Internet.
I also want to highlight we have new sessions that were introduced in the couple previous -- previous years, and they seem to be a good experience to share. The first one of them is also having a new specific session for the national initiative to coordinate, to showcase what they are discussing, and to find a place within the regional initiative, the regional IGF.
Also, we opened a space for the local host -- for a local host session and so they can also showcase their Internet governance issues and Internet issues in general, and the open mic.
So this feedback was also important and we are continuing those initiatives.
And I also want to highlight the importance of the work done by Anja, as the focal point. It's really -- we really appreciate that. Being close not only to the regional IGFs but several of the national IGFs in Latin America, it really makes a difference on the ground, so thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Raquel. I'm going to go next to Diana Gomez who was in the queue earlier, dropped out. She's Number 11. Now that the queue is visible, everybody can see it so I want to make sure that I'm simply doing that because she was Number 11 and we're actually in the 2021. Christine, I'm slotting you in the queue. We will move to the online system later.
So Diana, you have the floor.
>>DIANA GOMEZ: Thank you. Well, my name is -- can you hear me?
>>DIANA GOMEZ: My name is Diana Gomez. I work in the Federal Telecommunications Institute. I have a comment in general in the topics of the Internet governance forums that all involve the national and regional initiatives.
As part of the Federal Telecommunications Institute, I want to highlight our commitment and interest in the issues relating to Internet governance and also to recognize the importance of these kind of forums based on the multistakeholder model, whose purpose is to discuss and promote the development of an open and secure Internet. However, we would like to point out that one of the purposes of these type of forums is to create spaces for discussion and debate of any issues related to Internet governance, such as infrastructure of networks, human rights, cybersecurity, and other topics.
In this regard, I would like to emphasize that the MAG and the initiatives, the national and regional initiatives, should consider a balanced agenda, taking into account that none of the topics are more significant than others, that when we evaluate the workshops, the main topics, the best practice forums, we -- it's necessary to understand that all topics are part of a structure that together will promote an open, secure, and inclusive Internet. In this way, I believe that the forum should take care that there is a real balance in the topics that will be discussed in order to give spaces to the different actors in an equal footing.
I noted that in the last forums issues related to human rights, freedom of expression, cybersecurity, have been given a higher priority, leaving aside more technical issues like IPv6, infrastructure of networks, deployment, et cetera.
I understand and share the importance of the topics like human rights. However, it is necessary to also consider that if we don't create spaces to discuss more technical issues, there will be no progress in many principles adopted in the Geneva declaration as Paragraph 49 where it is highlighted that the management of the Internet includes both technical and public policies. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Sorry. I guess the mic wasn't on. So what I have in the queue is Christine. Then we'll go to Segun, Lee, and then we'll go to you next, Aida, because you weren't in the --
>>CHRISTINE ARIDA: Thank you, Chair. My name is Christine Arida from Egypt, and I'm sorry for not using the system. I'm using an SSL handshake fail, so sorry for using the off-line system.
So since I'm taking the floor the first time today, I would like to start off by thanking the -- Switzerland for hosting the 2017 IGF and wish us all another successful IGF this year. And I also want to acknowledge the work of the secretariat's hard work and the excellence analysis that we have looked at today of the IGF workshop proposals and gradings and I think that this analysis opens up a lot of ideas on -- on the interest in the IGF and how the topics are going and we surely have to make sure use of that.
So when it comes to NRIs, I believe that NRIs have come a long way in their collaborative work and I think we've all been witnessing that, like Marilyn was saying, and I think that at this stage, it's fair to say that their work, their collective work, is maturing to an extent that it is actually providing opportunities for the global IGF to look at how it can make use of that collective work.
So -- and how actually to integrate effectively the work that is coming from the -- that is coming from the grassroots.
So in the morning, we noted, I think, there were many voices saying that there are some stakeholder imbalance, maybe, when it comes to workshop proposers. There are also specific focus on topics versus other topics. And I think it is worth that we look at the collective knowledge of the NRIs and see how we can make and compare -- make use and compare the knowledge that we have there to the global agenda and maybe look at how the balance of stakeholders in the different regions and nationals look, and the topics as well, and this comparison can help us maybe identify where there are discrepancies or where the grassroots is moving in the direction that is different from the global community and then we can reach out to NRIs to specifically address those areas.
Like, to give an example, if we have a focus, for example, in a lot of areas on issues of access, which is becoming less on the global agenda, then maybe we can reach to NRIs to get them with those specific topics. So that's just a suggestion for the future. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Christine.
Segun, you have the floor.
>>SEGUN OLUGBILE: Yeah. Thank you, Chair.
I'm Segun Olugbile. I would like to speak as a member of the Nigerian Internet Governance Forum.
The Nigerian Internet Governance Forum is quite growing and this year we are going to have a forum between the period of the 10th of July to 14th.
And the Nigerian Internet Governance Forum is growing because the stakeholders are requesting for more dialogue platform, and somehow they've taken Nigerian Internet governance as a platform to address a lot of issues.
Now, there is a current issue that is really tearing the country apart. That has to do with the fake news. It is having impact on the political process and all that.
Now, in order to respond to that, we have fought this for the first time, for this Internet Governance Forum in Nigeria, and now we now have two days focused on engaging in dialogue with law enforcement and security, especially in balancing the issues of human rights and the emerging cyber, you know, crime and issues, and fake news.
And again, we also focus on the youth session which is on a day, and that is to provide the opportunity for the youth to showcase what they have to offer. Especially on the Internet empowerment for job creation, and at the same time how they can be tutored on their Internet governance policy dialogue issues.
Then on the last day, which is the main -- the main forum, and that has been designed for the policymakers, and this time we have lawmakers who have the -- even the stakeholders that have not been traditionally part of the process, they are now being -- coming to be part of the process and it is my joy to announce that at the subnational level, state governments, which is referred to as the government of (indiscernible) state is the one now hosting the Nigerian Internet Governance Forum.
So it shows that the stakeholders in Nigeria are beginning to see Internet governance as a place -- the forum as a place to come to address issues that has to do with Internet.
Then -- now let me speak as a member of MAG.
First, I would like to appreciate what the NRIs have been doing. This is actually very wonderful and a good job. And the working group on communication and outreach, I think we have a whole lot to learn from their approach.
But then I would like to also say this, that there's a need for us to work together, the NRIs and the -- the working group on communication and outreach, because we've been seeing effort on how they are growing, and I want to emphasize this, that the future of the Internet governance is anchored on the success of the NRI.
So I just want to say that we work together toward actually the same goals. Especially getting across to all the -- you know, in communicating the values of the Internet Governance Forum, the community within the -- through the -- to the stakeholders within that community. So that's just what I want to say for now. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Segun. Very interesting comments on the Nigerian IGF.
I have Lee Hibbard in the queue, then Aida, and then I believe that will take us to the top of the hour, which is our lunch recess, and I think there are some other sessions occurring during that period as well. Lee, you have the floor.
>>LEE HIBBARD: Thank you, Madam Chair. Hello, everybody. Lee Hibbard from the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. Many of you know me. We've been around for a very long time and we remain very supportive of the Internet Governance Forum. Even more so basically because it's very close to us. I mean, Strasbourg is just four hours' drive from Geneva, so I think we'll probably even be more supporting, have more colleagues and experts to come and share and contribute to your sessions, so it's a standing open invitation if you wish for us to bring more expertise to your different sessions.
Thank you to the Swiss authorities, of course, for hosting and to the secretariat. Very good work. Some great progress. It was a great presentation by Anja.
And I'd like to echo what you said, Lynn, about the NRIs. I think personally speaking, being around for so long, this is really a people-centered Internet governance approach which is coming through. I think it's undeniable for me personally it's one of the most successful things of the IGF, and I think it's becoming a sort of a culture, its own culture. I mean, if you count up all the people in all those NRIs across the world, there's a cultural shift in how we understand the Internet and I think that's very important to understand. When I was in -- last week in Thailand for the EuroDIG, there were 650 registrations. There were an unprecedented number of VIPs. There was two presidents of countries, the president of Estonia, the president of Lithuania, the prime minister of Norway, and there were two Swedish ministers. More than ever before. I mean, there's a greater understanding that, you know, it's a bottom-up process and we respect the multistakeholder dialogue. That's becoming more and more clear.
So I think, you know, after 10 years of EuroDIG which is now, you know, a milestone for us, I think the NRIs or this culture that we're -- that's being developed needs to be celebrated more. And I think, you know, the opening ceremony -- I don't mean to say you should bring all the eighty- -- 87 NRIs to the opening ceremony. Then it would be a never-ending opening ceremony. But I mean, I think there should be some reflection on how to bring together the -- perhaps the VIPs and the people somehow, to try to create something else, you know, so that the top meets the bottom and we actually create this culture of the top and the bottom looking and perhaps collaborating with each other. Now, I know there's a question of time and format and space, but nevertheless it's worth thinking about. I think really the stories of people in those NRIs needs to be said, so testimonies, stories, maybe, you know, video clips, I don't know -- these are things that can be thought about -- for the legacy, for the history, because this is history in the making and I'd really like to have that culture come through and to understand that, you know, in some ways without being too cliche we are building a history regarding how we deal with the Internet.
Especially when more and more let's say leaders talk about global rules, digital rules, regulating the Internet, it's not going away. Conventions. I think very much more we need to present the culture and an understanding of Internet from the bottom up, top down, and vice versa. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Very good comments, Lee, and I've said, you know, many similar things about the WSIS I and WSIS II process as well. I mean, certainly a culture and shared terminology, shared experiences after weeks and weeks and weeks of very lengthy meetings.
Aida, you have the floor.
>>AIDA MAHMUTOVIC: Yes. Thank you.
So I would just like to follow up on Anja's presentation and especially mentioning SEEDIG and focus on capacity building and other activities that are taking place throughout the year, which show to be important for final outcome and success for national or, in this case of SEEDIG, subregional IGFs at the end of the day.
So this year, we had two fellowships where one -- let's call it the more general one fellowship program was supported by ISOC and a youth fellowship which was introduced for the first time this year supported by ICANN.
Colleagues from SEEDIG executive committee and other volunteers worked so hard on setting up an interesting and vivid program that would attract youth participants first to apply and then to contribute actively during.
So it was meant to raise awareness, obviously, and to develop capacity encouraging these young people in our region that usually do not have opportunity to go more further than the region itself to be able to see how things work and where they can have a space to, you know, share.
So fellowships, either partly or fully funded, really showed up to be extremely important for enabling individuals from the region to participate in such events, and some often for the first time, even though they're involved in IG-related issues for years in their respective countries and work.
And then another thing that we do for now are a -- surveys. For example, this year we introduced before the meeting an IDN survey, which -- whose results are presented at the meeting itself, so the community basically give us their feedback.
And then what Anja mentioned were monthly summaries and monthly hubs that are organized. Regarding the monthly summary, it is a SEEDIG, DiploFoundation and Geneva Internet Platform initiative that's being done every month. And, yes, last three days before publishing it go really intense. But it is a very unique thing for people from the region to be able to have a resource to go to and check what is happening, both in the regional and global level.
And then monthly hub which is organized in the framework of a monthly Geneva Internet Platform briefing so it takes place every last Tuesday of the month.
And we actually can say that we keep records of more and more of -- of having more and more people from the region attending those online because usually online participation is something that is not -- like, doesn't have the same perception as being somewhere in situ.
So we do hope for NRIs to keep growing but not only with the number of existing NRIs but also with engagement, capacity building, and other activities throughout the year on both national and regional levels which would hopefully bring us for real new voices and perspectives (indiscernible) on a local level at the end of the day.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Aida.
I want to thank Anja for a great presentation. And there have been a number of comments in various chatrooms here and recognizing the presentation as well because I think it did serve to really set a good platform for the subsequent comments.
And I also want to ask Anja if she wants to make any final comment.
>>ANJA GENGO: Just thank you for all your questions and just briefing the community about the good work. We will see probably we're also working on a plan to maybe create a unique platform on the Web site. Not just of the NRIs, I think there's a lot of good work happening beside organizing the annual meetings but just the community is not aware. And it's sometimes hard to click on 80-plus Web sites. But also, on the other hand, there are many of them large international organizations that are more and more interested to see how the bottom-up process really works in practice. So I think the latest one was from the (indiscernible), I think you had contact from the LAC IGF and Asia-Pacific. Regional IGF, they would like to visit and see how the process is put in place, the World Economic Forum. So those are -- that's something that kind of also made us thinking maybe we can just together, all together, think of an idea to facilitate this process and make it easier for the community that we are all networked and engaged and save time and do some good things in practice, too.
That's all. Thank you so much for great comments.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Anja. And thank you everybody in the secretariat who supports Anja in her role as well. Again, none of these roles are possible individually.
That actually brings us to the lunch break. I don't know if there are any sessions we're meant to announce at lunch, at this time.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Not at this time.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: We will come back at 3:00. We're going to start with an update from Avri on the dynamic coalitions. Quite remarkably from my experience that means we are on time with the agenda which is good news because, of course, the topics that we have in the afternoon are just as important as this morning. So thank you very much. And, please, do come back at the top of the hour so we can start on time. Thank you.
[ Lunch break ]