The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the IGF 2018 First Open Consultations and MAG Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from 20 to 22 March 2018. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Ladies and gentlemen, let's start the meeting. Thank you very much.
Shall I start mentioning names?
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome to the second day of the MAG meeting.
And, without further ado, because we've got a lot to get through today, I'll hand it over to our chair, Lynn St. Amour, to start.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Chengetai. Welcome back to everyone. Is online participation -- volumes okay? And -- excellent. I think I like this room better than the other one. It's cozier and maybe more conducive to getting a lot of work done today, because we certainly have a lot of work in front of us.
This morning I pulled together and reviewed with the Secretariat sort of a list of things that I think we need to accomplish today or make significant progress on and then items that we can push forward, as we historically have done, to virtual meetings. And I think we're working to do that in just a minute.
It's pretty straightforward. So as soon as I pull it up here again, we'll just start talking through it. And then, of course, the scribes are actually capturing it here as well.
I think we actually made quite a bit of progress yesterday in terms of coming to what felt in the room like pretty broad agreement for an approach which would actually have at least a piece of the IGF program, for lack of a better word. And all suggestions are really welcome, curated. And that only means that -- one of the other analogies people use sideways. We have the bottom-up program and issues and the topics and things. But there is clearly desire on behalf of the broad community to be a little more cohesive in the overall program, whether it's looking across all the program components or whether it's trying to be more cohesive in terms of themes and topics. Some people talked about streaming them differently. Others talked about ensuring that there was a spot for linkage between the programs that were actually -- the workshop sessions that were structured over the course of the week. All that implies there's a more active role for the MAG in terms of nurturing some pieces of the program.
I think that was pretty clear through the stock taking exercise and the open mic at the end of the last IGF. In fact, I think we've heard that for a few now, and certainly in the stock-taking exercise with the secretariat compilation as well.
So with that I noticed there were a number of side meetings or small meetings over the course of the night because my email was full this morning of suggestions and, interestingly enough, through some of the different parties, they were the same suggestion, which I think hopefully bodes well for what we're trying to accomplish here today.
The work that's actually in front of us for today is on some level an overall theme. Last year I think we even called it sort of a title at some point to the overall conference. I think we need to make a little bit of progress on that today, but I also think we can finalize that in some virtual meetings going forward. Quite quickly.
We need to have a discussion on best practice forums, which ones we, as a MAG, might want to charter going forward.
We had a major intersessional policy program called Connecting and Enabling the Next Billions. That's been running for three years in three different and discrete phases. I think there's desire on the part of the CENB folks for a fourth phase, which they'll present briefly to us later today. And I think the MAG needs to decide if we're going to support that work and move forward with it or whether or not we think there's a different policy program that should be prioritized. I don't think as a community we could, at this point in time, support two major programs. So we'll have that discussion this afternoon.
We have a number of working groups that were in place last year. They are sort of MAG specific, so we need to review those working groups and determine which ones go forward.
At some point we could possibly conditionally approve some and review the charter later.
And I suspect we probably need to go away and develop a charter and then come forward and improve those going forward as well.
We need to agree a rough timetable for our work. We talked about that the other day in terms of supporting the programmatic work in various calls to the community for various types of inputs.
And also, of course, decide when our next physical meeting is. There were a couple proposals put out by the Secretariat a week or so ago, and those are up under the reference documents linked to this meeting.
And then I think the last critical piece of work for us today is to work on the call for workshop proposal.
Whatever -- somebody should mute.
We need to agree on what form that actually takes, the timetable, and the process for actually getting the call for proposals out. And, again, that needs to happen -- the call for proposals needs to go out roughly in the next three to four weeks.
The future work -- just so people don't think we're neglecting some pieces of work. And this is now up on the screen. And, hopefully, it's being shared with the online participants as well.
The future work that we're supposed to put to virtual meetings is the -- that main session. The main sessions will depend somewhat on the approach this group takes with respect to either some themes determined now or determined through community input, whether we sort of curate some specific themes or not. But that clearly is a piece of work we need to do.
We need to figure out where the best practice forums, open forums, and DCs, where and how as well as an NRI collaborative session fit into the overall IGF program.
There were lots of discussions to ensure that we were doing everything we could to support in a 2-way direction all those efforts so that we actually leverage the ecosystem as fully as we can, again, both for the benefit of the NRI program but also for the benefit of those individual efforts as well. That was about the increasing collaboration.
It's also about ensuring that we actually have a cohesive annual meeting.
And a few -- yes, down there. We also need some discussions going forward about the opening session and the closing session as well.
We spoke yesterday about the fact that we piloted a different process for the opening session. And we need to have a discussion of whether or not that's a process that we go forward and continue to evolve or something else in someone's mind.
We had quite a few discussions on the Geneva messages and a request to have a discussion on that, which I think is really important and needed for this step to what that process was, what we might do with it, where else we decide to carry forward. It might be applied.
We had a discussion on Day Zero.
Again, we had a good start of that in the open community event.
At the same time high-level events. Depending on whether we're on plan A or plan B for our meeting this year -- again, plan A assumes that it's a meeting like every other meeting with a host country who has actually invited us to their country. And they, of course, have a very big say on those high-level events.
And plan B was, basically, a U.N. or community-hosted IGF in that it would require funding and support from the community broadly. It would also mean that we, the MAG, I think, can take some more responsibility for higher level events or some of the events that a normal host or host country might -- if MAG determined that -- used to be called ministerial meetings and then they were high-level meetings. And they had various titles over the years. But the intent was to pull in very senior policy makers and government people.
If we think that is appropriate and helpful -- again, one of our key goals is bringing in more government and private sector participation, then I think there's an opportunity for the MAG to structure something. I think we have a similar opportunity -- if there is a host country, that further responsibility if there is not an additional host country.
And the last one is we just need to have a brief conversation on our virtual meeting planning. So schedules and expectations and that sort of thing.
Before we actually go to the first item, is there any comments or reflections? Anything I forgot from people who have been through this process before?
Queue at the moment.
Screen projector from -- thank you. Eleonora.
Nothing missing. Enough to start with now? As we go forward, I would work with the Secretariat and if there's a need for any of the items moving to a virtual meeting, we can actually put some context behind what each one of those are and schedule them out over the virtual meetings and make sure we've got the reference documents associated with them and that sort of thing.
I mean, I'm really trying to be mindful in everything I say that I think my mind kind of counts probably two-thirds of the MAG are either new or within their first year. I want to make sure I'm losing too quickly and assuming too much about people's familiarity with past practices and processes. I'm trying to get a lot of work done (indiscernible.)
And if we're okay with that, then let me go back to the discussion that we were closing on yesterday.
There have been a couple proposals, and maybe I'll open it up in a moment to those folks who have been on the email suggesting ways forward. I think where we got to yesterday is sort of an approach -- I think the MAG initially sending a note out to the community, maybe literally just a note sort of talking about the deliberations we had, where we're heading or intending to head. But the note would say something like, the MAG would like to work with the IGF community to pilot a more curated approach to a -- Leonora had better words that are escaping me at the moment -- of the agenda. And exactly what form that more curated approach might take is still under discussion. And then we'd like to advance that with input from the IG community, the IGF community.
One of the -- actually, three of the suggestions -- when I went to bed it was one and this morning it's three, the same suggestion, basically -- was that that portion of the IGF agenda would begin with an open call for issues. Maybe having identified some broad -- some small number of broad themes. Maybe not.
And that that process, along with the MAG's own deliberations, would determine what that more curated portion of the IGF program would look like. The three proposals I actually got in were all based off of the EuroDIG and SEEDIG model I guess as well.
And there have been a couple of emails sent to the MAG. Eleonora is prepared to show them here. I think if we actually understand a little bit more about the process, it will put into context some of the possibilities in front of us.
And in parallel, unless we think we wanted to adopt a process like that or a different process, this is the only concrete proposal I've actually seen for a process.
If we wanted to adopt that process for the entire IGF program, we could. That would be the one call. I see people familiar with the process saying no, that would be too far, which would mean if we -- again, I'm just trying to lay out the possibilities so people get a broad scope here.
It would mean that we might have a portion of the IGF program that would follow this kind of more curated approach starting with an open call for issues and then another piece of the program which would actually look much more like the traditional MAG program. Open call for workshops and structured dialogue.
(Inaudible) not in the room here. Online participant, but that's -- that's in the back of some people's --
And we could potentially launch those at different times. But it was two and a half hours of discussions last night on this particular topic and some of the things quickly this morning. It seems to be entirely possible to do a really quick open call for issues, which would maybe help us to understand what some of the themes were which would fit into the main sessions and might even influence the call for workshop sessions that we put out a little bit later, which would help ensure some cohesiveness across the entire program.
So those are the online -- if I look around the room, there's lots of heads nodding, nodding yes to most components of this discussion here.
So -- and I would say from all stakeholders and all different geographic regions as well. Not just the Europeans in the room that are actually nodding their head yes to this approach.
So I think I'll ask -- and I'm not sure quite who's the best person to ask. It might be Thomas, who's on the EuroDIG board. And there's one of the people who was active yesterday. It could be Arnold who has been active. It could be a whole host of people who had some familiarity with that.
Israel actually looked at the proposal that came in and sent some comments to the MAG list early this morning that said this was very much aligned with some of the things you were suggesting yesterday.
But we have ready to project the various pieces of that process. So I don't know if you want to quickly confer amongst yourselves and determine who would be the best person to speak to it or -- Thomas, do you -- we can pull up any of the forms, if that helps. Or if you just want to do --
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you. I don't know whether Sandra is remote, because she might be a person to present it. Or Sorina. I don't know to what extent she was also involved. If you wish, you can put up the form that several people apparently sent to you last night about how we did the call for issues and how we framed it and how the form looked like, what we were asking people to tell us.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I'm going to say it's coming up in just a moment. I don't know if you want to talk --
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: So, basically, this was -- as was said already yesterday, in the beginning we did the same thing like the IGF. We were asking for workshops, workshop proposals. And then we have the same problem that the IGF has that we get many proposals and we don't have enough slots for sessions.
At the EuroDIG this is a 2-day meeting where we have something like five or six plenaries and about eight workshops, so the numbers are much more limited. And then we -- after a few years we decided it would actually be easier for everybody to not ask for concrete workshop proposals and then some are having to merge them and force people to work together. But, in order to get the priorities to identify the baskets of the priorities to ask for issues that people would like to see discussed.
And what you see -- and every year we adapted this a little bit according off of the questions that we asked people according to what we felt worked best.
And, actually, it was not just a relief for the Secretariat and for the core team. It was also a relief for those who had to or could submit ideas. Because many times these proposals are made at the last minute. And then people just figure out potential to be defined panelists. And so that it looks like it formally fulfills all the criteria, and there's not necessarily all the substance already behind it.
And so, if people can just come up -- and it's also opening doors. If people can just tell us what they think are the issues they think need to be discussed. It's not just the usual suspects who have normally the experience and time to develop workshop proposals, but it is also easier for newcomers and others to join in if they can just say, well, I'd like to be part of the discussion on this. Or I don't even have to be part, but I'd like to see a discussion on this issue and this particular question.
And so that has -- now it's completely unquestioned that we do it this way.
And, as Arnold has said yesterday, with these baskets that basically emerged also on the basis of the experience with the IGF and the EuroDIG and the clusters and -- yeah, so we hope that you will see it on the screen. But it's the link that is in the mails that you got that should display it.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Thomas. And we should all remember to -- I called him Thomas. But you probably knew who he was, but say who we are and the affiliation of Thomas Schneider with the Swiss government. Before we continue on while this is coming up, let me just ask Liesyl and Arnold are in the queue. Do you have sort of some general comments or questions for clarification while we wait for the forms to come up? Liesyl.
>>LEISYL FRANZ: I did put my name in the queue, mainly to get -- I think we've already started as the little bit explanation of the feedback that you had heard and some greater explanation of the processes that people were talking about as far as the curated approach that you're talking about and the -- and then since I tend to go to mechanics of how things work, then sort of what is the beginning, middle, and end of any of these -- any of these approaches. But I realized I might have put my hand in the queue a little bit early, so I took it off again but it didn't show. But now that I have a chance, I guess one thing I just maybe throw into the mix here is I -- I think I heard a little bit more of a combination yesterday of the curated approach, I'm -- I'm struggling a little bit with understanding it as part of the program, vis-a-vis all of the program because I think part of the conversation yesterday was also about limiting the number of workshops and number of parallel sessions, and I don't know that the curated approach was meant to take a piece of that, whatever that number ends up being, if that's what we agree to go, carving out a piece of that or just put -- taking that approach to the whole program. So I'm still a little unclear about that. So I look forward to this description.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Well, let me --
>>LEISYL FRANZ: These descriptions. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Let me try and answer a couple of your last questions before we come to these and again, just because there are so many new people, the IGF -- the IGF program last year had roughly 200 sessions. Probably 110 of them were actually kind of workshops and the NRI collaborative sessions, 45 open forums, some DCs, and that's the compilation. And there is the document which is called the Program Components Document which talks about what each one of those component pieces are, who has sort of oversight responsibility for them, some reference documents for them. It does talk to what their status was in 2017. I don't think it has a number against them, but we could do that easily offline.
So when people talk about the IGF program have too many tracks and too many repetitive sessions, I think there was agreement that we captured yesterday which said there was support for the MAG's reducing the number of parallel sessions. We typically had 11 tracks, 11 rooms available to us. And also in doing what we can to reduce the repetitiveness. A more positive way to say is to ensure that it's cohesive and that the various pieces build on each other. So I don't know, I mean, it's possibly a little early in the planning stage, but I would have guessed we're probably looking at -- also maybe knowing a little bit of something about the possible venue -- we're probably looking at eight tracks or something in parallel, which I think would -- would serve the reduction in parallel tracks well, and that obviously reduces the total number of sessions available to us and the ensuring a more cohesive program would come through I think some additional activities of the MAG. Maybe some overall, you know, more -- more thoughtful scoping to make sure it's cohesive and the various sessions are building on each other. And then yes, a piece of this curated approach would have been some of those sessions or tracks. So I don't -- I honestly don't know. I haven't had a number from anybody. Maybe it's two out of the eight sessions a day or something are dedicated to this kind of curated track or maybe it's, you know, something across them. I don't know, we haven't had that level of definition. But it's not in addition to the curated components. Yesterday I think for a while we were using the thematic components, but I think that's a little bit confusing because the workshop proposals will also be thematic in nature. Are a subset of the overall program. They're not additive to it. If that answers your question, although I have to say you're looking a little puzzled.
Okay. And for the people that are in the queue, do you want to make your comments now or should we actually walk through the description of the forms and the process first? The next person in the queue would have been -- I guess Arnold took his hand down so it would have been Raquel. You want to come in now? Okay. You have you the floor.
>>RAQUEL GATTO: Thank you very much, Lynn. So I also want to share that within my MAG -- Latin MAG colleagues, Alejandra Erramuspe, Israel Rosas, and Ignacio Estrada, we've been in conversations and perhaps I brought this up later in the afternoon yesterday and it's missed but the last MAG draft has also had a similar approach. We've been doing the open consultations for the topics, and once the community shares their main topics, the program committee is responsible to curate and organize the agenda. This year we've also adopted a mixed approach, and we're doing this testing on an innovative format which we continue to have the online consultations and the open consultations for the topics, for the main topics but we're also holding four sessions or four clusters that are going to be organized directly by the stakeholders and the program committee. So I just want to emphasize this example. And also, we've been in fully agreement on the approach that will bring us on reducing the number of the sessions, on promoting a more focused and concrete discussions including innovative formats and simplify the structure for the IGF. So I just want to put this report forward and that we really need to look and perhaps keep in mind -- and I think Liesyl was also bringing this up, I mean, if we -- if we are in the new format, then it will make it easier also to review this kind of approach.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Raquel. That was very helpful. Paul. I'm used to where everybody was sitting relative yesterday, so when I say your name in the speaking queue I'm still trying to identify where you are physically in the room. But Paul, did you want to come in on this now or do you want to move to the next step in the description of the process. There you are. Come in later or come in now?
>>PAUL ROWNEY: Come in later.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: And I see Sandra is up there as well. Sandra? Sandra is participating online so you'll either need to watch the transcript or put headphones in. Sandra, you have the floor.
>>SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Hello, everyone. It's Sandra speaking. Can you hear me?
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Yes, we can.
>>SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Okay, wonderful. I'm so sorry that I cannot be with you. It's actually my first open consultation MAG meeting I'm missing since a while but it was just too much travel in the past so I see you online and I feel a bit sad for not being with you.
Since EuroDIG and our call for proposals how we were conducting this was mentioned a couple of times, I would just like to give you a very brief overview on how it really works and where actually the obstacles are and the challenges.
We are following this approach since, I would say, two or four years -- no, sorry, longer. Like four years, and we improved it every year from the experience we got. And I would kind of like to invite you to go to the EuroDIG Web site under Get Involved and Programme Review, you will have actually a quite good explanation how this process is conducted and you will find some graphics and so on and so forth. So for those still having questions, this might be a source to get more information about our process.
At EuroDIG we believe that merging people with a different view -- and Thomas mentioned it yesterday already -- merging people with a different view really helps to reduce the sessions, helps to reduce repeated sessions, and brings together people that usually would not talk to each other. As he said already sometimes the same topic is discussed in different silos because people want to deliver their perspective. But if you take the multistakeholder model serious, we believe that a multistakeholder discussion should not only be during the session but should actually already begin during the session planning process. And this is actually a very integral part of how the session is -- or how the overall program is going to be organized. The wiki as a collaboration tool is very helpful in this respect we found. We are using it since 2014, but I understand that not everyone is able to set up a wiki rather quickly.
The key things in our approach when we call for issues only which are then merged by subject matter experts are the following: First of all, it is really, really helpful to set up categories beforehand because otherwise you end up with probably more than 300 or more proposals and then you are in the dilemma to kind of bring them in an order. But if you offer categories which are going to be agreed by the MAG, that will help the submitter to say okay, I want to discuss topic XYZ but under the aspect of human rights or I want to discuss this topic under the aspect of security. This gives you actually a very clear direction on how this -- in which basket this proposal goes.
And then the second really important thing is that a person with an expertise on the specific category is looking at the proposal. So to say in our point of view it makes not much sense if the whole MAG or in our case the EuroDIG secretariat and partners are looking at the proposals but if dedicated people who really have an expertise, who have no personal agenda, who have a broad overview about this category can bring this somehow in an order. And then the secretariat, together with the subject matter experts, is looking at this and then -- in the guise of the IGF this could be the job of the MAG, looking at the clustering. We are doing it usually at the first open and public planning meeting. I think this could be really the MAG consultation or MAG call, whatever. And then see how this clustering can be brought into a program, how it can be translated into a program. And this can then go again out for a consultation for the -- for the community.
For the secretariat, for the IGF secretariat, this would mean a lot more communication with the submitters and with the MAG possibly, but we really believe that this process would help first, to reduce the number of sessions, second, to reduce the repetitions, and third, really to bring people out of their silos and foster a multistakeholder process. Not only on the session, even in the program planning process. And as I'm not there, I will be happy to remain open for question and comments also by email and -- well, I'm following remotely and looking forward to contribute more to this approach you might be following this year. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Sandra. That was very clear and very helpful. And in the room here and obviously in the online room we've got you scrolled up to the bottom half of the -- bottom half of the form as well, make sure everybody is seeing the full context. Unless there's anything else that any of the people who have actually participated in this process, whether it's the EuroDIG process or the Latin American one wants to add at this point. If not, we'll go to the floor. But is there anything else in terms of kind of clarification or ...
Again, this is just to ensure that everybody has the best kind of grounding they can for what this process is before we open it up for discussion. Israel? And don't forget, of course, to say who you are.
>>ISRAEL ROSAS: Yes. Thank you, Chair. Israel Rosas from Mexico, for the record. In fact, my thoughts were more a mix of the EuroDIG model and the Latin youth (phonetic) model. It's more like trying to combine all the issues. And also, the need of -- to have -- having, I don't know, more concrete sessions. I think that if we took this approach of looking like baskets or something, we could also reduce the parallel sessions, avoiding duplicates or something like that. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Israel. Well, just so happy I -- better. Had an interesting comment this morning just before we started here which I'd like to invite him to -- because I think it actually helps extend the kind of process a little bit, and then we'll go to the queue for kind of comments, questions, reactions. Wout, you have the floor.
>>WOUT de NATRIS: Thank you, Chair. Just to explain why I'm invited, I wrote the report on strength and cooperation by request of the MAG, so I'm also invited now to speak a little on that.
I've been hearing the discussions yesterday and this morning, and I would like the following: You've been discussing themes, the possibility around clustering -- clustering workshops. So I would like to -- to add the following: You all have a quite clear view on the topics you mentioned yesterday, and I suppose that those will go forward into some sort of main session probably also around topics that are going to be clustered. One of the things that we did in the report is look at how the IGF could become more influential by a form of tangible output and that is not a negotiated one, I'm stressing that again, but something that is a message to the world through a best practice or an advice or sort of agreement to go ahead in their own silos to do a specific task. So if you would like to have more influence, then I'm just going to take the -- the example, skills and education, what was mentioned a few times yesterday. So where is this topic discussed elsewhere in the world? So who is already very knowledgeable on the topic? The second thing you would want to know is, what could the IGF add to the discussion that is already there and how can it add to it? Another question that you will want to ask yourself to be able to become more influential and then you can assess what could the IGF actually do to change the processes that are currently going on. And if we take the example of digital skills, and that's before I come to some sort of questions you could propose through proposals, one side of the example is that not enough people coming out of schools and universities that have the right -- the right skills. But something different from the set of skills that are being taught that are maybe wrong. Industries usually say people come out of schools with the wrong set of skills. So in other words, that is something different. Not enough people go to school is a totally different problem than what they are taught in the school.
So if you want to settle that, who would you actually need to have on board to be able to have a knowledgeable discussion? That may not be people that are presently, currently coming to the IGF. So the question that you need to ask yourselves is, how do you get these people into the discussion, because otherwise you will just be talking in the workshop to each other or saying yes, it is a very big problem, but the people who can solve it are not in the room. So that is why I think that the advice I come to is that if you want to do a main theme or clusters around a specific -- topic around a specific theme, then you could ask a few questions to the people that are proposing, being MAG members themselves or people from outside.
So one thing is is what is the objective you would like to reach through a session at the IGF? That gives you focus. It also gives you prioritization. Because the people you invite know exactly what is going to be asked of them.
The next question is, who do you need in the panel or in the intersessional work that you are going to do to make sure that the topic is being addressed in the way you want it to be addressed? And the third question going to ask them is, what do you need from these people so that they know exactly why they're invited?
The fourth question is: Are these people likely to be at the IGF? The answer is yes or no.
If the answer is yes, you know who to go to. If the answer is no, you come to the fifth question how to get them there. How do you invite these people to come to the IGF and make them understand it is adamant for them to be present?
So, if you write this down and decide from there, that's probably the way you will get the best tangible output from a main session or a clustered theme. And that will actually be a way to make the IGF much more influential and attract much more people that are currently missing and always being mentioned missing.
If I can make one little joke, somehow Google knows something more than I do. Because (indiscernible) was posted as a destination of some ad. So -- you understand that one?
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: There is no announcement. And these days it's safer not to even speak about what they're doing.
I think -- thank you, Wout. I think a couple of those questions you stopped by this morning and said it could be some interesting questions to add to the format which might help us with probably a very significant question, which is more outreach to some specific stakeholder communities but some organizations as well.
Let me go to the queue then.
And, if we've kind of lost anybody with respect to what we're actually thinking about with respect to the overall -- I don't know -- frame, if you will, of what we're trying to do at the MAG meeting, please don't hesitate to say so. At any of these meetings, there's always kind of a lot of kind of inside speak. And some people have been at a lot of IGFs. Some have been at MAGs a long time or watching the MAG a long time. And others, of course, less time. And it's the freshness that you bring that actually helps us rethink things quite critically. Please, if there's any questions, just jump in here. And certainly feel free to jump in off line, if that's more comfortable.
Mary, you have the floor.
>>MARY UDUMA: Thank you very much, Chair. My name is Mary Uduma. Nigeria, and the technical community.
Mine is a question of clarification. I want to know whether this -- I need to understand the -- what role we're trying to establish different from what has been happening in MAG. The IGF processes or preparation have not been call for workshops, call for meeting topics and doing tracking and the rest of them. Is there a new format we're trying to develop? I don't understand it. From my own perspective and from my own region, we -- the Secretariat normally -- we threw out some topics. And we asked people to vote on some topics.
That is at African level.
And at the West African level we throw it open for everybody to suggest topics. And then we do vote. And the highest ones are the ones that we'll take.
And then at the national level we throw it to all the stakeholders, throw it open to all the stakeholders like we're doing now. The organizing committee, has received a lot of input. And we're trying to streamline. And we would try to track one that is in the categories of cyber security, openness and privacy, and the connecting the next million, 50 million people in Nigeria, something like that. But I don't know if it's not been happening that way. And I need to get that clear. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Mary. That was a very good and very helpful question.
So let me talk to you just briefly about what the MAG has done the last few years. They've had -- and I'm going to do kind of an amalgamation of several processes, but just to give an overview.
The MAG has normally had conversations on what should the major theme be. Last year I think it was even gravitating towards what the title of the conference should be so it generates some excitement and enthusiasm.
A few years ago the MAG used to also choose subthemes and maybe cyber security and access.
They would issue a call for proposals. The community would come in with those proposals. And the MAG would review all -- at that point in time it was probably anywhere from 100 to 250 proposals or something. Would review those proposals and select the ones that everybody would rate them and rank them and just say the ones with the highest ranking were the ones that were chosen with a more thoughtful process on top. We then went back and looked to see if there were gaps with some topics not covered, some topics covered too much. Over or under representation in terms of geography. We looked at ones that were widely disparate scores, because maybe that was a really interesting topic. If you had some people saying this is terrible we don't want this in the MAG and IGF and others saying we do. So we did a lot of value add on top to try to ensure that we had a good set of workshops.
I think we over the years, where we've had more kind of the intersessional activities coming in, we've had some questions about is there duplication? Is the program cohesive enough? And that led us to a problem statement this year.
I'm not always sure it's a good idea to have this meeting with the WSIS, I must say. We do need to rethink that. There's a lot of people in and out. I've had three meetings before this one started already, two at every lunchtime and one in the evening. And it takes something away from the meeting. Despite that, of course, you get the chance to meet with an awful lot of other people.
Coming back to wherever I was. The problem statement is how do you actually get more cohesiveness in the program and better integrate the component pieces. And also, at the same time, clear calls through the stock-taking efforts, through the CSTD working group on improvements, those sorts of things, more tangible outcomes. And another way to say that is maybe kind of more intent and really trying to make progress on some issues, not just a series of good discussions on an issue.
So with a little more intent and structure, really try to advance issues. Those are things very generally we heard through the process.
That led everybody to saying that maybe we need to have a piece of the territory, if we will, of the total program space that the MAG actually -- whether we do that through MAG deliberations only, or whether we do that through community input in MAG deliberations, which I think is what everybody's recommending. And kind of -- I'm trying to find the right word and need help -- directs some of these -- helps choose a theme, helps directs them, (indiscernible) helps nurture them, basically curates a theme or a track or a series of workshops, again with the intent to reduce repetitiveness and progress the issues.
A very significant portion of the workshop process would still follow the traditional workshop process. I think people have suggested that there would still be a call for workshops. Maybe, again, some themes. The last two years we didn't do subthemes.
We allowed people to tag the workshops with the themes that they thought were most appropriate. And we aggregated them that way and could review them that way. But a significant portion would follow the open call to the community for workshop proposals. It would be evaluated by the MAG against some criteria and streamed into the program.
Ben, you have the floor.
>>BEN WALLIS: Thank you, Lynn. This is Ben Wallis. A few comments on curating or not curating the IGF this year. I would be curious if this was done in a way that undermined the bottom-up nature of the IGF. But I think it could be helpful and valuable as a way to consult the community in order to inform us as the MAG on when we decide on a theme and deciding on some focused -- a small group of subthemes and on deciding how we might want to cluster those workshops. So which are the really popular issues which are gaining a lot of support where we want to make sure there are workshops.
I think we just need to be aware that is going to introduce an extra chunk of work at a time when we've, obviously, unfortunately, lost three months due to the late seating of the MAG.
And that might mean we want to consider delaying or reducing the other work done in the MAG working groups to make space for this work. We should also consider that the extra step will have an impact on the timeline for working towards selecting the workshops, which we'll come to later in the day. I'm not saying we shouldn't take a more curated approach and consult in meetings where I think that could be helpful and interesting. Just be aware of the extra work it's going to provide us.
Wout referred to tangible outputs from these curated sessions. I talked yesterday about having more uniform and better structured outputs from IGF sessions and also kind of interest in the Geneva messages idea. That's the kind of tangible output I'd be looking to. But I mentioned it in case Wout is talking about something else.
Finally, I want to clarify that what we're talking about when we discuss having fewer sessions, what I wouldn't support is just having fewer workshops and then making way for more sessions of a different nature. Because I do think there's value in having fewer sessions overall so that we have a meeting which is simpler, it's easier to follow. And then I think you get to a point where you can emphasize quality over quantity.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Ben, for the comments.
Raquel, you have the floor.
>>RAQUEL GATTO: Thank you. Thank you very much. If you'll allow me, I just have some logistic comments. It appears we have still some problems with remote participation and a delay. If we can figure out for next meetings, I know it's an ITU venue and a different kind of preparation. But it's really important. And I've been following Twitter also and others have complained there. And also for the transcripts, I saw when Israel was speaking at a LAC IGF, it appears LACNIC. So some corrections. Yesterday when I was speaking, apparently it was Robert. I might go by that name, too. Flexible gender. But we might need to improve a little bit on the tools.
But just starting on the point of, first, the point on the MAG role, right? I just -- I want to emphasize what Lynn was saying.
I think it's not criticisms on the work that was done before. On the contrary, it's -- the IGF is a victim of its success. We introduced last year the new methodology for workshop evaluation. And, really, the ones that were selected were 2 or up out of 5. They were really well-graded. It was really a hard selection. But after that, what we realized was in the MAG -- and my colleagues, might jump in. And that's you -- is there are some balances that you need to do. For example, we realize there were no government proposal accepted. There were some topics that were not there like access. So there is some balance that you need to do.
And this way I think it's important, first, not dropping the new methodology that was really good. But, perhaps, having this curated or the MAG more proactive in the programming shaping in the first place might be helpful on the overall process. You need to work with what you have in terms of grading. Just to put some of the context, since this is my second term in the MAG.
And on the third point I want to build -- perhaps Israel, Wout, and others were talking about -- thanks, Sandra, for the presentation. It was really good.
And I think we can build on perhaps a mixed approach between EuroDIG, LAC, IGF and a proposal on the stock taking. And I'm going to put some of those points.
First, setting the categories based on the number of the clusters available. So, if we have eight slots -- I don't know. We might need to figure that out.
Then we can make sure that we have the number of categories set by the MAG.
Then I heard some comments regarding having fewer parallel sessions versus having -- you know, people willing to do multiple sessions and not being able to. I think, if we agree that we're going to have fewer sessions and fewer parallel sessions, this is not going to be a problem.
The way it is now, you need to choose between eight tracks, perhaps. And that's why this feeling of having -- not having a choice is really -- seems to me to be the case.
And I think -- and the mixed approach that we're seeing about the LAC IGF is also to leave room for contributions on new topic. That's important. We can choose the categories, but we should still listen to the community and see if we need to have at least an emerging issues session or leave some room for that.
And for the APC one, perhaps on the outreach or output, how to improve that, it's to bring the main sessions or the kind of wrap-up to the end of the IGF. So you have the cluster discussions. You have an output or a summary that goes out for the last day. And then you have focused discussions there. I think it was brought in the first Open Consultations day also, The NETMundial discussions. So you have the stakeholders commenting on something that was -- that concretely came out from the workshops. I think that's about it right now. And I hope I'm trying to help and bring some creative process. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Raquel. It definitely helps. It all helps. Xiaofeng, you have the floor.
>>XIAOFENG TAO: Thank you, Madam Chair. I'm Tao from China. Actually, I've been attending the IGF for 10 years, at several sessions in several locations. But this is the first time as a MAG member here.
I couldn't through my experience for participants for the very first time, it may be an issue for them to accept the meaning of the terms LAC, NRI, BPF and DC.
I met a gentleman this morning who was disappointed that his first workshop proposal was declined last year. He was a very famous person in the Internet governance area, and he wanted to make contribution very much.
IGF is an open forum for everyone from any country. Sometimes I expect to be explained sufficient to me in order to make more people involved. More importantly, I expect that IGF is also explained why and how these terms are related to everyone of us as clearly as we can. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. That's a good point. Apologies. The sheet I put up this morning did just use the acronyms. In fact, if you look up best practice forums, BPF, you'll actually find the documentation that says exactly what they are, where they fit in the program, and which ones the MAG has actually approved in past years. Before we correct that error from this morning, DCs are Dynamic Coalitions. There's 17 of those. They're listed. They are single issue, bottom-up community sets of activities. So Internet of things, artificial intelligence. It's a group of people that determined that it was appropriate to, at a community level, get together and advance some of them.
NRIs, of course, are the -- it's not only a straightforward acronym. It's national and regional, sub-regional and youth IGF initiatives. NRIs.
Those -- again, we had a presentation the other day -- are autonomous local IGF initiatives again at a regional, subregional, or national level. And we do have some that are youth focused as well -- that follow the same practice and principles as the IGF does in terms of multistakeholder, open, transparent, inclusive, those sorts of things. And they, basically, are meant to address Internet issues on local, regional, or subregional level. That's a very good reminder to all of us to not use a lot of internal language and a lot of acronyms without being more thoughtful about it.
But there's a wealth of information on the IGF Web site as well to help provide a lot more of a background.
I'm going to come to Paul in a moment.
Ji, can I ask you -- I didn't even see your flag for a while. And it's awfully hard to manage an offline and an online queue. Everybody else is using the online queue. If I could ask you -- it does work on mobile phones -- to use the online queue. I will put you in after Julian there. But it's hard. And I don't want to forget to put you in a proper place in the queue. So, if you could use the online, that would be excellent.
>>JI HAOJUN: I don't know how to use this, actually.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Okay. Luis will help you in the background. I'll put you in after Julian. Thank you, Luis and Ji.
Paul, you have the floor.
>>PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you, Chair. I just want to add, when we're putting together these topics and we're going to discuss at the IGF is that remember that it's not an equal world that we live in and when we look at topics and you've got topics like AI that mean something to Global North that means something completely different to the Global South. Where it's used, you know, is to infringe human rights, et cetera. The bottom -- I'm saying here, we've got to make sure that there's balance in all of the topics, that we don't just address how the technology is driving things in the north and in the developed countries but how it's impacting the other countries, and it impacts us differently. And we've got to make sure that, you know, the areas of access are always thought about. And in Africa you've got areas that are not covered. You've got populations of over 25,000 and villages that have no connectivity at all, have no electricity. In some countries it's even bigger. Affordability, infrastructure. You know, the infrastructure doesn't exist. So when I go to a lot of meetings, you know, there's a lot of assumptions made. To do this you need this amount of data and, you know, the core infrastructure just doesn't exist where we're trying to drive this. Language, of course, we spoke about that yesterday. IT literacy. The average citizen in the Global South is not as literate about technology as the people in the north. So the -- these have to be pertinent things that are recognized. Gender divide, you know, it's a big issue in our part of the world. When we talk about big data, again, it's a different perspective of big data. It's not as well received in the south as it is in the north because that information is used against us as citizens.
So I'm just stating that we've got to make sure that there's balance in all of these topics, and if we have a topic, it should cover both aspects. You know, what is driving in the north and also how it's going to influence what's happening in the south. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: And I think those are very good points. And actually, I think this is where the EuroDIG, LACNIC, SEEDIG process -- to not choose any one region -- can be really helpful because I think it can make sure that, in fact, either the stream or the track or the session actually does address all the issues fully. I had another point as well, but it's escaped me at the moment. But -- and I think those are really good points. I think even just labeling things like AI, there are so many different components of AI without even hitting the things you had. I could sit next to somebody who lives on the same street as me and we would have a different perspective of what we mean by AI and what problems we think that's going to create or opportunities it's going to create. So I think, again, that's a good point. Concettina.
>>CONCETTINA CASSA: I'm here. Okay. So about -- thanks, Madam Chair. About the two-fingered themes, I think a good way could be to proceed in a parallel way. From one side maybe we have a list of baskets that could be circulated between MAG members. So each one can add more of -- or the basket they prefer to (indiscernible). And at the same time maybe we can have also the public consultations. So asking people for topics. So at the end, considering the outcomes that comes from the public consultation, we can just fill in each basket and also saying if there is some basket that are -- has been missed for some reasons. Okay.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I think that's a very good suggestion. Thank you, Concettina. Jennifer.
>>JENNIFER CHUNG: Thank you, Chair, for (indiscernible) the floor. This is Jennifer Chung, for the record. I just wanted to react a little bit to some points raised by my colleagues this morning. I think it's a useful exercise to learn from good practices that are being used around the world, for example, EuroDIG, SEEDIG, LACNIC, and I'm sure, you know, African IGF is also a good point of learning. I just want to say that in our examination and in our learning of this process we also need to be thoughtful. I guess I can only speak from the Asia-Pacific region because I'm most familiar with that process. I confess, I'm not completely familiar with the other processes as well. But just to remind, I guess when we look at it, if we want a curated approach that does not undermine or prevent what is bottom-up, which has been the tradition that we really long hold dear. And another thing that I heard earlier this morning is, I don't know if colleagues were meaning it this way, maybe I interpreted it in a wrong fashion, but having subject matter experts at these sessions are useful. However, I really caution us to be mindful of newcomers, be mindful of people who are coming to the IGF as newcomers, new blood, who may or may not understand what's going on and to just go straight into a session and just see, you know, perhaps people who are very well-known in their subject matter field just there on the panel, they might feel in some way excluded. So I really don't want us to kind of try to pre-judge or curate too strongly, even though we're trying to make the process more simple. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Jennifer. They are very good comments. And let me -- I actually don't see us as walking away from the bottom-up model from two perspectives. I think a significant portion of the MAG -- sorry, the IGF program is still going to be a bottom-up community call for, and I actually think what we're talking about here is even for the curated piece, that there is a call, an open call to the community for issues that they think should be addressed and dealt with in that topic. So that selection of issues or the submission of issues, suggestion of issues is still coming from the community. The community and those people that submitted, as I understand the process, would still -- would still be involved in a discussion which said this is how we're going to shape this particular cluster or series of sessions that come out of these cluster of issues and they actually still participate in both the shaping of that plus resourcing it as well. So I don't think that is, frankly, any less bottom-up than the other process. But that's, you know, my -- my understanding, having had a bit of a crash course last night and this morning. And I think what I'll do is we'll go through the queue that's here now and Ji, with great thanks for putting you in the queue. That means I won't forget you, and I can just look one place to figure out who's in the speaking order, so that's really helpful. Maybe I could ask Sandra and/or Thomas, anyone to come in and just after you've heard all these comments, if there's anything that -- I mean, I have not participated in those processes, of course, so if there's anything else that you think would be helpful for people to understand or anything that I've misstated, just to come in and help kind of underline that discussion, and then I guess we would see where we would go in terms of the level of support for pursuing this in the room and next steps. Just give you all a heads up. Next in the queue is Rudolf, you have the floor.
>>RUDOLF GRIDL: Thank you, and good morning, Madam Chair. First of all, I am -- I'm very much pleased to hear that apparently on a regional level there has already been not only in Europe but also in other regions like Latin America and Africa some kind of a consolidated, curated, however you want to call it approach. This is something that I find very encouraging and we should, I think, learn from this regional wisdom also in the IGF and the MAG context.
The idea of doing some kind of two-tiered approach, having some part of the IGF curated or using the word I have no better one neither. And the other one, the traditional way, I think that that is something that can be well done this year because we are introducing a new idea and people like new ideas but people also like traditional proceedings. And afterwards we can evaluate how -- how this has worked and then we can perhaps go in a direction.
If we do this two-tiered approach, I think it is very important what you just said, that also in the curated area there is a bottom-up element. There is this element going out to the community asking for themes, asking for -- I think ideally themes in connection with workshop ideas. And I would like to echo what Wout has said also on the trying to identify people who could attend, not only from the inner community but also from outside. And I am thinking not only of the -- of the education system but perhaps also, let's say, traditional industries that are very much confronted with Internet issues these days, even though there are no traditional tech firm.
I have one last idea because we have been talking about what we call the Geneva messages or will be the IGF messages later on. I think that if we manage to have this bottom-up, curated track, this would lend itself very well for at the end having precise and concise messages. The rest perhaps also, but I think if we manage to get to this point this will really be something where we can have a concrete outcome and a value added without, of course, leaving out space for emerging issues and the traditional approach. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Rudolf, those are very helpful comments. Julian.
>>JULIAN CASASBUENAS: Thank you, Madam Chair. My name is Julian Casasbuenas, civil society, MAG member. I agree with the idea of the consultations and to focus on themes. But I will say that it's important that we define which part of the IGF applies for this approach. Only to the workshops or the sessions. I also understand the importance of merging the proposals, so will be important that we define how this process will work. For all the interventions this morning, I understand that EuroDIG has experience on this, and I would like to know how it works in practical terms. And also to share the experience from LAC IGF program committee. We have two MAG members in this program, so maybe she will be able to make more inputs on that. And remember that it has been requested that workshop selection process by MAG need to be transparent and with clear guidelines. So when thinking about all these proposals, I think we have to also make these in a clear way, including a timetable of expectations for proposers. And also, recalling the APC proposal on simplifying the structure of the IGF, we were saying that it's important to consider having two days of workshop followed by two days of main sessions and round tables to enable deeper discussion on fewer topics. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Julian. Just to a couple of your earlier points, the workshop proposal process that we're -- would follow for a significant portion of the IGF program would be the same as in the past, which is clear and again, it's criteria and communication, and that would not be degraded in any way. And I think the same thing applies for the other kind of curated process. We would obviously need to be very clear with the community about why the MAG was choosing to do what it was doing with a rationale, obviously clear timetable, clear criteria. But there are issues. And so there's no merging of proposals. It might be, I don't know, 15 submissions that were issues that some group -- if I understand this, some group of people would have to look at what those submissions were, collect the issue submitters, and with some subject matter experts determine how they pulled those together. But it's not like you have a full thought-out workshop proposal where your panel is already chosen and that sort of thing. It's more, we think it would be interesting if the IGF talked about this particular issue from this particular perspective. Here's some of the people and organizations we think that would contribute to it, and those things are put together and there's a discussion had amongst a group of people that would actually shape a workshop or a track or several workshops, is what I understand. So it's not -- it's not merging the way we tend to think of merging, which I agree is a lot of work, painful and frankly I think doesn't usually lead to a successful outcome. So again, these are things which Sandra and Thomas and other folks can kind of clarify at the end.
To your last point, trying to think about where we might fit in a simplifying the structure of the APC, two days of workshops and two days of -- I don't know if that's more of a structure sort of thing that we can address a little bit later in the process. I don't think that anything we're doing just now makes that impossible. Need to think about it a little bit more and maybe you can as well and help me understand it or maybe we can talk briefly over lunch as well. Liesyl, you have the floor.
>>LIESYL FRANZ: Thank you, Chair. Okay. So I -- I've caught up a little bit on the -- on the process piece, and I guess I just want to make a few observations. I really do want to pick up on the comments made by Ben and Jennifer about the wanting to be sure that we preserve the bottom-up approach for essentially all of the -- you know, the program. And I think possibly the -- your comments that this doesn't negate that, you know, this proposed curation process doesn't negate it, but I think parts of it feel that way to me. Because what it sounds like to me is that there's a piece of the program that is created, essentially, by the MAG rather than using the sort of workshop process to -- to fill out the program. So I guess what I'm reacting to is that maybe there's a bit of a hybrid here that we could think about and that we could take up, you know, considering that we have, you know, a truncated time frame and this -- you know, this issue about a bottom-up approach.
I like the idea of the call for issues because, you know, we've used the tag approach and things like that in the workshop proposal process, but we have struggled with trying to guide workshop proposers on the kinds of topics that we'd like -- that we think make sense. So I really do like the call for issues. And I think that that could help inform main session discussions and thematic trends throughout the IGF program as it develops. But I do think that we still need to preserve the call for workshops, but I think that call for workshops should fill out the full program and then we curate the program, not curate individual workshops, per se, so that -- and with that I mean okay, we've got X number of workshops on this workshop that came out of -- that fell out of the workshop evaluation process that we're all going to undertake in some short period of time, in the early summer probably, the workshops we have on this topic, so how do we choreograph those throughout the program so that they follow a theme or whatever. But perhaps what this discussion that we're having here about having the MAG curate actually replaces or becomes the main session because what -- the main sessions. Because what I'm hearing is that we'll have main sessions and then we'll have the workshops that come up from the workshop proposal process and then we'll have a piece of the program that is this curated program. And to me, we already kind of have a two-tiered IGF program with the main sessions, vis-a-vis the workshops. Even though that's not the intent, it is sort of what happens by virtue of space, by virtue of the translation, by virtue of the level of the speakers sometimes. So we already have a two-tiered approach. I'd hate to interject a new tier into that so that there's even more of a hierarchical view to the program somehow.
So I'm wondering if this curation we're talking about is not only of the program as a whole and then perhaps of the main session. And what I'd say is that doesn't misalign with the guidelines that we put forward for the main sessions with themes and the input from the community that main session organizers are supposed to undertake in any case. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you.
Let me see if I can maybe square the two conversations a little bit.
I think there's agreement in the MAG that the reason we're -- you said curation as a whole program. I think it's ensuring cohesiveness. So whatever words we use, I think we're in agreement that that's a step at the MAG which we have taken some efforts to do that in past years, but we need to do probably even more intensely going forward.
I didn't actually hear, on one level, a lot of difference in what you were suggesting versus what I think some portion of the room -- well, of the MAG, online as well, is saying other than perhaps the number of slots you would actually allocate to this curated process. You would have that be kind of a main session set of thoughts. Whereas, I think with others it was probably more in line with either a kind of a track kind of mentality.
There might be a main session and a few other sessions, or there might just be a bunch of individual sessions. I don't think that was predetermined either way through that process. But what I'm -- the reason I'm doing this is I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything with respect to where you --
>> Apparently we now have mics, but do we have audio out? So you can speak -- you cannot hear?
[ Applause ]
Thank you, ITU. Thank you. That was just in the nick of time. Otherwise, we were facing a very hard decision for those of you online. No transcription was possible. No WebEx recording was possible because there was no audio out. So very happy we're all back here.
Somebody bring up the queue.
That screen is okay.
So Ji, you have the floor.
>>JI HAOJUN: Okay. Thank you, madam. Can you hear me? Okay.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I'm happy to have this chance because I have so many meetings to follow, so I am always late. So I don't know what happened when I was not here. Regarding evaluation of selection of workshops, I see that we -- merit is very important. But we also have to consider what kind of elements we take into consideration. Merit is concerned. Fairness for us is very important. So we need merit-based fairness. To get fairness, we need to select or arrange the workshop in a way of equal geographical distribution, which is the cardinal principle of U.N. is guaranteed. For example, we have 200 workshops each year. We can distribute a number of chances of having workshops for each regional continent to take considering the total population of each continent, the number of countries in each region. For example, we have 200 in Africa where the total population is, like, 7 billion. Africa had 1 billion. They got to have, like, 12% or 13% of the number of the workshops. And the competition of selection of the workshops is among Africans.
That -- and another thing I like to bring up is that last year, some American colleagues made workshop proposals in the name of China. But, when I look at the names, they're all American names. And that's very strange. And I don't know. How do we handle such things in the future? But I would like to urge people that, when they make proposals, try their best at -- you know, take correspondence with their passports. Otherwise, we will be very much confused. That's what I want to say at this moment. But, to back up my argument, in U.S., when Chinese, Japanese, and Korean students, if they want to get into the Ivy League college or universities, they usually have to have 200 points more than students of other ethnic origins. So this kind of reversal discrimination is necessary to make sure families and the equal geographical distribution is realized. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Ji. There's always a lot of things we're trying to balance in this process. And I think, if there's some concrete suggestions we can make as we move through the process and evaluation, that would be helpful. I don't -- at this point in time, I think that conversation just needs to take place at a later one, if there's things we need to do to ensure better -- a better balance.
I don't think it's a pure numerical exercise.
Valentina is the next in the queue. Valentina.
>>VALENTINA SCIALPI: Thank you very much, Chair. Can you hear me? Yes, I have a few points. The first one is that, since I'm also part of EuroDIG and I was part of the organization, we're all for inclusiveness and openness and also call for issue. But I just want to make us mindful and aware of the fact that already in EuroDIG but also, as colleagues pointed out in other region, the call for papers already happened. Already at EuroDIG we have clusters or baskets or call it as you wish. And I guess the same for the other region. And these are people coming from a similar perspective or point of view.
So precisely because we don't want to neglect anyone, we might end up having 50 or 60 baskets in the end, if it's a global process. So the MAG will still need to sort of cluster the cluster. Pardon my words. So yes, we would still have a bit of -- and end on our curated role in this, otherwise we end up basically having again too many sessions, too many clusters, too many everything.
My second point was for Jennifer's comment, but I don't think she's here now. But here both Thomas and Sandra can correct me if I'm wrong, but the subject matter expert in EuroDIG is not at all meant to be -- ***or (indiscernible). One of the -- you know, one of the speaker in the panel to scare off newcomers, they just are there to cluster better the proposal precisely because they are experts in the issues. So yes, that was just a clarification, I think, right, Thomas, if I'm not wrong. And yes, the third point was that I'm not sure I understood Liesyl's proposal before, but having a curated main session is basically what the we -- the MAG already does. I mean, we have the main session that somehow we yet decide what are the, you know, most pressing issue and then we have all the workshops. And if we go with that proposal I'm not sure what we are changing. And I have to say that I notice that in the three days in the beginning we have some sort of cross-cutting agreement and that we need to change something and there was a little energy but right now this is declining, sadly. So I'm just wondered in the end, you know, we have the approach that we have to change everything in order not to change anything. Just -- thank you.
>>THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you, and thank you to all colleagues for the relevant questions and comments. Just to put one thing very clear, the idea behind this -- the way the EuroDIG does it and the way it's actually done is by no means meant to weaken the bottom-up approach or to reduce that. On the contrary. If the bottom-up -- inclusive and bottom-up approach is what makes the IGF, EuroDIG, and hopefully the other IGF structures as well different from the hundreds or probably thousands of Internet governance conferences that there are, so this is the -- as you want to say, the unique selling point of why this is so important to continue to develop the IGF, to make that point very clear.
By making a call for issues, it is actually even strengthening the bottom-up approach because there's no small group, be it the MAG or anybody else that decides what are the priorities. No. You go out to the people, you ask them, what do you want to see discussed. So that is actually -- yeah, the maximum of bottom-up approach that you can get. The only thing is you need to make sure -- and that is the challenge everywhere -- that people know about this call, that they respond, that it's not just the ones -- the usual suspects that respond to these calls, but it's people from rural areas, from, let's say groups with more difficulties to access these things, that they respond. But also there, if you ask of them to come up with a workshop proposal, the fresh hope for people to participate is way higher than if you just ask them what are the issues that are burning under your fingers, if we say in German. So again, this is to keep it as bottom-up as possible. It's not to get it under the control of a small group of people. I think this is not the direction that we should go. It's just a question of how to make it operational, and the experience that we've had with the subject matter experts that are hand-picked in the sense that they are -- these are people that over the years have proven that they are not -- they may be lobbyists or activists in their normal life but in a EuroDIG or in this context they step away from that and they try to help with their experience to come up with inclusive groupings of these things that actually everybody feels him or herself represented. So that -- that is -- that is the situation and that has proved to work quite well.
So whatever the MAG does or the IGF does, it should not reduce the bottom-up approach, but they should try and find ways to actually make things -- make it easier for people to participate. And then the question is -- and I think Liesyl in particular made some relevant points -- the question is, how do you want to apply the bottom-up approach to the different formats or the different places that you offer in -- at the IGF. As Valentina has just said, there has been a curated approach always to the main sessions where the MAG somehow has sorted this out and defined priorities and then it has been completely separated from the workshops where you received hundreds of proposals, and then you have a problem that you have too many parallel things. And also, with regard to geographical balance and, of course, the needs are different in different countries of the world, but the idea would -- would not be to have 15 workshops for Asia and 10 workshops for Europe, and 5 workshops for Latin America because we have the EuroDIG to discuss among ourselves and you all have your regional address. We want to have an exchange across the region. So the whole distribution of workshops or whatever, allocating it according to regions, is -- is a little bit missing the point because we want to get together and learn from each other, and learning normally, ideally, goes both ways. And so we need to find other criteria than just pure numbers are what we have that help us to actually get more to substantively qualitative workshops that still respect diversity and inclusivity rather than what we've had so far on purely facts that if you put some names in from different continents then you -- and from different stakeholders then you look like fulfilling the criteria, but what you end up with five months later may be something quite different.
So the question is, what do you want? And in the situation that we may not have from a venue point of view, whatever, may not have room for 11 workshops at the same time, we may have to somehow find ways to condense things. And so to have the issues, to ask the community about the issues helps you to prioritize, gives you legitimation to say so-and-so many feedback want to discuss this so we may allocate some more time to that area or to these issues than to others. But still, there are also some that want to discuss this so we have to allocate also some space to this, so it actually gives you more legitimation to maybe deal with the workshops in a different way. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Thomas. That was -- that was very helpful. Just quickly, we, oh, sadly lost about 45 minutes that we so badly needed. You know, my goal was to get through this section and come out with a plan for how we were going to progress through for filling the workshop space, if you will, before the lunch break, because of all the critical things we have to do afterwards. And all the critical things we have to do afterwards are almost impossible to do in any kind of timely manner if we take it to virtual meetings and mail. We need to find a way to wrap this discussion up in the next half hour, which doesn't necessarily mean we have to get to agreement, but if we have some open points or different versions of models, we need to task a few people to go away and in some very concrete way outline what this process would look like and what it would mean and pros and cons so that we can advance it very, very quickly. There's the option for some people to meet over lunch, I guess, and try and advance it that way. This is really unfortunate, and again, as always, we're trying to do an awful lot in just a few days here with no -- no head start. So I say that just to ask everybody to kind of keep their comments really specific to what your recommendation is to move forward or questions or clarifying questions if, in fact, you're unclear or not supportive. But we need to find a way to start moving forward to a point of agreement. Sandra, you have the floor. Hope you can be very helpful here, all your experience. Sandra, we can't hear you, yet. Is it the audio? Is it just Sandra? Can we hear -- Alejandra was next in the queue.
>> (Off microphone).
ALEJANDRA ERRAMUSPE: Everybody, can you hear me?
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Yes, we can hear you, Alejandra. It's a little bit faint but I'm sure we could turn our volume up.
>>ALEJANDRA ERRAMUSPE: Okay. Good morning, everybody. I'm Alejandra Erramuspe from the government of Uruguay (indiscernible). I'm also a member of the LAC IGF program countries.
I have some comments maybe with some delay. Online participation, as you know, has not been easy this time, I assure you of that. I think this is (indiscernible) that we must take care of in order to continue encouraging participation.
Another point, one, I agree with the (indiscernible) of changes in relation to the IGF format. Here parallel sessions no more than eight, I think, condensing themes, sessions with new formats, the idea of baskets brought by Thomas, I think these changes are necessary.
Second, regarding the aforementioned themes or baskets, I don't know if gender was pointed out. Otherwise, I would like to include it. I understand that is an (indiscernible) issue and it is fundamental that this (indiscernible) to leave there.
As well, I think it's good to make a public consultation to hear the voice of the community and from what they say, define the main (indiscernible). This strengthens the bottom-up approach that is one of the founding principles of the IGF. I sent an email to the MAG list so that everyone can see the public consultation we do in our region, in the LAC region. It is in Spanish, but I hope that everyone can understand at least the general sense of this presentation and the format that I'm reaching has I think (indiscernible) will be useful for the IGF, too. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Alejandra, that was very clear. Thank you. Sandra? Sandra, do you want us to try to come back in a moment?
Maybe we can help you with -- meantime, we'll go on to the next person in the queue,
which is Mamadou.
>>MAMADOU LO: Thank you, Chair, for giving me the floor. Mamadou from Senegal.
As some colleagues have stated, I agree to go for call for issues for IGF in 2008. I think that will help share more and give the community to the IGF process.
I also appreciate the IGF learning best practices from EuroDIG, SEEDIG, LAC, and also Africa. But my -- I still have concerns on how to reach the community to make this proposal. After that I will come again and again and again to state to you you do need global issues and other languages apart from English to the people.
Also, time to respond to Tao from China. His input was important to the orientation session. I find it very useful for new MAG. Perhaps the experience you have on this year will help enhance new MAG members on new members work on the IGF. Thanks very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Mamadou. We can certainly look at the languages issue. And to the orientation session, just very quickly, we should follow up. We said we would schedule a second follow-up orientation session now that people have gone through a MAG. And we'll reach out to everybody and see what sort of issues and topics will be helpful. But we both take the responsibility to reach out and schedule another one. Let me see.
Sandra, are you able to connect now?
>>SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Hello, Madam Chair. Can you hear me now?
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Yes. Excellent.
>>SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Wonderful.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I'm sure it's very frustrating.
>>SANDRA HOFERICHTER: The access code got changed from the last call. I was using the old one. I didn't realize this changed. Thank you so much, and so sorry for that.
Just one clarification and Valentina and Thomas actually summarized it quite well already.
I think with the word "curated" we are on a totally wrong track of describing the process. It is really just another way of managing the ideas of the submitters and of the broader community without rejecting any of the proposals. And without including and excluding any submitters.
And, basically, the selection process the MAG is doing so far is in the process of exclusion at some point, because you have to reject some workshop submitters and others are accepted. And this in the past created a lot of frustration on those who had not been accepted. And actually what we are trying to do with our merging and clustering process is to bring much more objectives into the process and not leave it to the subjective view of some members who are looking at it. And we are just bringing all those together who are thinking in the same direction anyway but might be representative of a different stakeholder group. We think we really have been quite successful in the past to bring together the business, the civil society, governments and the technical community. And here sometimes with the IGF it is the program that those groups stay within our silos and only meet in the main sessions. But, actually, if you take the word "workshop" really literally, we should come up with something else than a little plenary. And having such a broad multistakeholder and participative process in advance actually helps us much more to really gain some workshops instead of little plenaries what is sometimes still the case. I stop here and thank very much for the opportunity to speak and for trying with me three times. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Sandra. And, again, thank you to everybody that's participating online. Again, it's not easy.
Kenta, you have the floor.
>>KENTA MOCHIZUKI: Thank you, Chair.
I appreciate it. Actually, I listened to the various discussions here. (Indiscernible)
I'd like to make the right suggestions here. First of all, coming back to basics, the discussion we're deciding about a theme should be separated from the discussion of reducing the number of party officials or structuring sessions.
Open call for issues might be useful for deciding overall theme and subthemes, But in any case we do have to decide then, because they're somewhat requirements for session proposals.
And, if we take this approach, we have to start (indiscernible) But, at the same time, we should better start to call for workshop proposals and pull through at the same time so that all stakeholders can have enough time to prepare.
And it depends on us, each session proposal should be selected and how many sessions should be selected. We have a separate session or evaluation process sometimes before summer, because I experienced in the previous year.
Then, regarding the sessions, I think we can make necessary changes to a session proposal form to accommodate everyone's request. Like tags. And we can take a bottom-up or a curated approach. Whatever expression is. Based on the popularity or the importance of some tags, we can decide what kind of main sessions should be organized. Taking into account that we have tons of things to this year's IGF, we should take an efficient and effective approach.
In this aspect I think we are all on the same page. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Kenta. Some useful comments. Timea.
>>TIMEA SUTO: Thank you, Chair. Timea Suto speaking for the record. I have a bad voice still. I'm very sorry.
I'd like to emphasize a few points made earlier by Jennifer, Paul, Ben, Liesyl, and Kenta just now about preserving the bottom-up inclusive nature of the IGF and IGF planning and being mindful of balance of different perspectives, be that regional or stakeholder priorities or anything else.
I really wonder if approaches that work regionally or nationally are scalable for the global work.
And, as Valentina said, not to end up with 60 baskets and ask the MAG to do a lot of extra work on top of what they already agreed to do. I'm not sure all of us newcomers know what we signed up for and how much work we will have in the coming months. So keeping that in mind and keeping the task at hand and the time we have for them, I think our best way forward is to keep things simple. What the MAG can do is perhaps set a framework for the community to have the opportunity to discuss the issues that are important to them. We have a well working method in place for calling for workshops already with tags, as Kenta said, and even calling for what's the issue of importance to you. That signals what the community wishes to talk about. And based on these we can identify some priority baskets, and we can also cap the number of workshops we accept per basket. So we limit the huge number of sessions we all agree that are too hard to follow. And we can make sure that those workshops presenter the views from each stakeholder group and each region and make sure some workshops are accepted as they are. And some might be asked to merge to ensure higher quality. And to a point from yesterday, when we proposed mergers where necessary, we have to make sure they are seen not as punishments but as opportunities for people to work together. We can make all of this clear, workshops. Actually, I like Leisyl's point about these baskets that are selected from the tags from the community, inform what we discuss from the main sessions, sort that we have coherence over all for the program. And the MAG can cure those sessions, if you will.
I would like us to keep in mind that the time we have to do this, the resources we have to do this. And I hope that we can agree to keep things simple and move forward. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: I think we're all very much in agreement of not losing bottom-up and other key community consultation principles. I don't think we're looking to add complexity either.
I think at the same time we need to think about how we respond to so many of the things we've been hearing through the stock-taking process, which actually has to do with the output and progressing issues. I think we're trying to balance a number of things. But there are clearly a whole bunch of core things that we just wouldn't give away, wouldn't lose. And, honestly, I don't think in the proposals we've heard here people are suggesting we walk away from any of those. So I want to put people at ease that I don't think are going to walk away from a lot of the really core principles.
Next in the cue I'd ask Markus if he would speak to BPS unless you're coming in on something else.
>>MARKUS KUMMER: Thank you, yes. I was just going to say if you have a collecting issues, there's an awful lot of expertise in ongoing work. Speaking now with my hat on as cofacilitator of the BPF on cyber security and as cofacilitator of Dynamic Coalitions. And there's an awful lot of substance in there. And they may have issues to signal to the MAG that may be worth taking up.
The same actually also applies to the NRIs. It will be interesting that we do have a very broad reach into developing countries hearing from them that that is a concern, a valid concern expressed by some colleagues that you might have to make sure that you also listen to developing countries. With that metric we can plug in to their concerns.
If you allow me, I would put on my other hat as chair of the IGF support association for a brief commercial. We have this orientation session at the request of a MAG member at 2:15 in this room. That's about the IGF support association. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Markus.
And very good reminder with respect to a lot of the information we already have available coming out of those practices and certainly any kind of process we should source the input from all of those efforts. Raquel?
>>RAQUEL GATTO: Thank you very much, Lynn. Just before going, I have a very concrete suggestion on also on how to move us forward.
But just in terms of the logistic problems, I would like to offer one of the video conferencing tools we've been using called Zoom. We've been testing with the community with up to 200 people connecting, being stable, and having also the calling options. So, if there is no opposition and the Secretariat is willing to try it, the offer stands. So it's not only pointing for the problems but bringing some solutions.
And now going concretely, I think I've heard many of the proposals before. And I thank everyone also for that. Because it's helpful that we go more concretely.
So building on that what I would suggest is a three phases approach for the themes, workshop proposals, and program shaping.
The first one would go into -- by what we heard yesterday, I think we have already a good basis for the themes to at least identify some of the themes that is around and put shortly a call for the community to evaluate if that's what they are really willing to discuss or if they want to bring new topics on board.
And, not only having the titles, but having a short description and being open for the different angles that could have a certain topic or a certain category might have around it.
That could be done shortly. And I think all the stakeholders have also the compromise to bring to their own communities and spread as much as possible and get this feed.
The number of the themes is also important. So I'm speaking of the first layer or the first tab is filled. Should be based on the potential slots. So that's why to have further discussions on how many parallel sessions we're able to have is important. Because this will also help to limit the number of the themes or to give us a realistic check on the number of the themes possible.
For the second approach, which is putting out -- once we have an idea of the categories, more thematic approach, we do the call for the workshop proposals as we used to do perhaps every fifth week. And that's what we're inviting the community to self-select them into one of those cluster categories.
And then the evaluation, which would be the third phase, would be done with the methodology system that we selected. Perhaps just a streak on the review by issue cluster where you would still ensure the multistakeholder or the MAG representative in geographical, gender, and stakeholder work.
And then, of course, we still need to have in the second physical meeting the balanced approach.
But I think we will be able to look much better on after the evaluation of the workshops per issue or per theme or category or however you want to call, and then making this balance happen.
And I didn't hear that on the proposals, but I also think we should, on the second part or on the thematic part, we should consider integrating everyone. And I think Markus was going into the intersessional work, the DCs, the NRIs, we should think on everybody self-selecting and going for this clustering idea.
And, of course, if we try to innovate a little bit and there are missing points, we can still rebalance and revisit as needed. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Raquel. Still trying to digest that and think about the other conversations, so I think I'm just going to move to the next speaker in the queue. Ji, you have the floor.
>>JI HAOJUN: Thank you, Madam Chair. First of all, I would like to say that what works well in Europe or works for Europe doesn't mean that it works for the whole world. And IGF is a U.N. mechanism and it should -- we should work U.N. way.
Actually I do not understand, not because my English is so poor, what does curation mean? What does curated approach mean? And so for that reason, I don't support it.
And in my view, bottom-up is very important. When proposals, workshops comes in, issues comes in naturally, why should we call for issues because the situation is always developing. People's interests, they are -- their concerns always change. And when -- you know, even when we have all the issues on our agenda, can we make sure that the voices from all of the world be heard? Do we -- can we make sure that people have Africa, Asia, Latin America know their speak -- have panelists and have speakers be present in the meeting? If we only have the issues on the agenda and if this European countries talking about Internet access in Africa, would that work? Internet access in Europe is so expensive. How can we expect Europeans to find a solution for Africa? That is very funny.
And thirdly, member does matter. This is a very important part of democracy. It's not the only part of democracy, though. And yeah, I don't like populism, but we do have to take into -- the number into consideration. The number of population, number of countries when we choose our workshops. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Ji. I'm not going to comment on your last point again since it was covered earlier, just in the interest of time. But for your first one, I am very happy to strike the word "curation." It's not a word I liked since the first time I used it and have asked for other suggestions. From Sandra we actually heard kind of managing the program. So if we can all continue to think about what this role would be, which I think simply has an active role, maybe a more active role or maybe just an active role from more parts of the program than what the MAG has had in the past is, I think what we are talking about when we talked about trying to streamline or thread or feed or -- but very happy to strike to word "curation" and we'll find some other words going forward.
Going to close the queue after Liesyl and Wisdom here, and then see if we can figure out where we're going forward from here in order to bring something back immediately after lunch. But the focus after lunch has to be on some of the other really critical areas. We need to at least kick off and then determine a path forward. Liesyl, you have the floor.
>>LIESYL FRANZ: Thank you, Chair. I just wanted to address a couple of questions people may have had about my comments earlier. One is that I really do love the idea of the call for issues, not only for an organizational construct but also, as Thomas said, for really addressing the bottom-up approach. And I think that we can use it really well, especially in the phasing that we need to do in order to get to the program that we're then going to manage.
And I'm now not sure, I think maybe Valentina asked or Raquel asked about my comment about the main session thing, and my point was that perhaps rather -- I didn't mean to say that there wouldn't be any change with regard to that in this particular construct that we're trying to grapple with, but perhaps it could be part of the change that we're trying to -- you know, once we have the issues, we can use that for the main sessions and we can use that for some tracking or thematic clustering in the program. So perhaps it's just a little more incremental or adjustments than wholesale change.
Thank you so much to Sandra for her description of their process and intent. That really was helpful. But I -- the only thing I would say is that as we're dealing with the program for the IGF, the global IGF, the workshop proposal process, unless we're going to scrap it altogether, which I don't think anybody is proposing, then we need to make that -- put that into the process. And I think I called it a hybrid of change perhaps or hybrid adjustments for this program management process that -- that we're, I think, trying to get our hands around. And I really liked the phasing approach that Raquel took because it went right to my mechanic -- mechanic's heart of how we get this done. So I think it wasn't far from what I was thinking when I was talking about the process of -- of what we need to do. So I really like that kind of phasing and making sure that the process feeds what we're trying to get to for us as well. Sorry it wasn't as short as you might have liked.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: No, no, it was fine. And we're not necessarily looking for brevity. We're really looking for clarity and things that help move us forward, so that was excellent. Thank you. Next in the queue is Wisdom.
>>WISDOM DONKOR: Thank you, Madam Chair, for giving me the floor. I have some few notes here. Unemployment is very serious (indiscernible) of a nation, most especially in the developing -- the developing country as it has the ability to promote crime, poverty, and social unrest. The goal of every responsible state is to address and cut down the rate of unemployment. That will intend to reduce crime, cyber attack and all of that.
Before the advent of Internet, most unemployment people are constrained to few jobs, opportunities like white collar job, agriculture, and other semi-skilled jobs. Most graduates roam around the streets, most especially in Africa, for jobs. Many years without success. The arrival of Internet created a lot of new jobs and opportunities for young people all around the world. Most young people who are Internet compliant have no need to wait for states or other entrepreneurs for job creation as there are several job opportunities there on the Internet.
Internet again has created job opportunities like blogging, cryptocurrency mining, cryptocurrency trading, software engineering, Apple developing, web developing, and social media management, among others. The role of Internet in job creation cannot be overemphasized, given the fact that it has played a significant role in reducing the rate of unemployment in Africa and the global at large, and I think all will agree with me on this. Again and again, the Internet accounts for a significant and growing portion of global GDP. Internet-related consumptions and expenditure, if measured as a factor, is now bigger than agriculture or energy. The Internet is a vast (indiscernible) of opportunities ranging from millions of daily online transactions and communications to smartphones, download of TV shows, et cetera, et cetera. But literally it's known about the web and its entirety contributes to global growth, productivity, and unemployment. There is research, the latest McKenzie research they did stated on average the Internet contributes 3.4% to GDP in 13 countries. That is conducted a research on -- in these countries were on the G8 summit. The countries not took part in the G8 summit and most of the economic values created by the Internet falls outside of the technology sector with 75% of the benefit captured by companies in more traditional industries. The Internet is also a catalyst for a job creation. Another survey among 4,800 small and medium sized enterprises surveyed by McKenzie Institute said that the Internet created again 2.6 jobs for each lost to technology-related efficiency.
We are also talking about connecting the next billion. And where does the next billion come from? I think it comes from Africa. The developed country have developed and still developing and all that. But where do we stand as a developing country? So I think this year's IGF should be (indiscernible) toward the developing countries. And when you go to the developing countries you see most of the developed countries in there doing jobs and getting money and then transporting the money back to their countries.
So I'll be happy if we can channel some of our efforts towards the developing countries. And then again, for the main session, I'm very happy to sit down with everyone if in agreement that we should have a high-level session that will bring these government officials to engage among themselves to (indiscernible) some of their best practices within the Internet governance.
The other issue, too, is on education. It looks as if little has been talked about education. But it is also very important when you go to the developing countries, it looks -- it looks like the olden days the materials that they were using in the olden days is still what they are still using now. And it looks like Internet governance cost is -- is like -- is being fall outside. So we also have to find a way to actually include education in our -- what we're doing this year so that states can begin to think -- to include Internet governance in their curriculum, in educational curriculums, from stage 1 up through university and that will also help to a large extent in bridging the digital gap. So I think this is what I have. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Wisdom. And many good points there. And I think a number of the --
>>WISDOM DONKOR: And lastly --
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: And briefly, please. We're over time.
>>WISDOM DONKOR: It's brief. I tend to support Ji on the regional balance in workshop selection.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: Thank you. No, I mean, certainly the regional balance is important in the workshop selection process.
the -- I didn't say numeric. I said regional balance. Right?
Ji, as I was saying, a lot of the points you brought up -- obviously, your comments are very important and matter to a lot of people here. And I think a lot of the topics were caught in the basket of issues we caught yesterday. If not and if they don't come from the call for issues, make sure they're caught in there.
I think what I would propose at this time -- because we're over time, and I know people have -- I'll come to you in a moment, Mary I didn't see your name up there before -- have lunch appointments, is to ask for a small group of people, I think those that have been kind of the most active or the most proponent here in describing this, maybe to build on -- and possibly we start with Raquel's last thing -- to build on that and talk a little bit about what that would look like. So we just don't capture the current state, and we don't lose the state that we actually captured here. There's lots of points of agreement that we've captured or principles that we're trying to operate to, such as less tracks and less repetitive sessions. And see if we can capture that to bring back -- or I'll confer with the Secretariat and probably move to some items that we need to make progress on, even just to open them up and figure out where and how we go with the process moving forward. If people are okay with that. Raquel is saying she would support. Anybody else? It's an open -- we'll just meet here in the room quickly somewhere.
Recognizing that Markus has it at 2:15 on, and I have another meeting at 1:45. So I'll be leaving by then. I'll take Mary's comments, and then we'll break for lunch. Mary?
>>MARY UDUMA: Thank you for giving me the opportunity. I think my hand is down.
>>CHAIR ST. AMOUR: The richness of giving back time. Is that okay? That approach? If a few us of us just try to get together and capture where we think we are and what that process might look like going forward? I see heads nodding in the room. And, hopefully, I took those +1s in the chatroom are to that or not.
We will get back at 3:00 with the same system we've using here. Whether or not we move to something in the future is the future. But I'm not wanting to change kind of the variable just now. It feels like a fairly precious more sensitive system. Thank you very much. Thank you for staying over time, too.
[A lunch break was taken]