IGF 2019 Strengthening the Future for Small Island Developing States


Dynamic Coalition on Small Island Developing States in the Internet Economy

Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min


The DC-SIDS has been engaging in several activities through its individual territories and regions since the Inaugural Meeting in the 2018 IGF. In the Caribbean, several countries have already held and/or are planning their IGFs and the Caribbean IGF will be held in Trinidad & Tobago from May 2-3, 2019 with additional Caribbean specific events in the margins. See https://www.ctu.int/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/15th-CIGF-Overview.pdf and https://www.ctu.int/event/30th-anniversary-celebration/ for more. The Pacific region is also in the midst of planning its 2019 events. In this regard, the 2019 IGF in Berlin will mark a unique opportunity for the SIDS to assemble and to report on their activities, noting that the Host Country Government is offering global NRI representatives support to travel to and participate in the activities in Berlin in November. AGENDA - Welcome and Introduction - Formal Presentation of 2018 IGF Inaugural Meeting of the DC-SIDS Report - Report from SIDS on local IG-related activities in 2019 (including NRIs) - Review of online discussions re: DC-SIDS Action Plan - Formal adoption of DC-SIDS Action Plan - Formation of Sub-Committees to implement Action Plan - Any Other Business


Tracy Hackshaw - Trinidad & Tobago Multistakeholder Advisory Group / Internet Society Trinidad & Tobago Chapter; Maureen Hilyard, Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society / ICANN At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC)


Session Chairs: Tracy Hackshaw, Trinidad & Tobago Multistakeholder Advisory Group Maureen Hilyard, PICISOC / ICANN ALAC Roundtable format of meeting and Agenda does not lend itself to identifying Speakers at this time.


GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 15: Life on Land

1. Key Policy Questions and Expectations
  1. How can we develop the Internet in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), while at the same time, overcoming the ongoing challenges of inclusion, access, and accessibility?
  2. Will the global trend of increased regulatory actions by state actors affect the future of the Internet in SIDS?

It is expected that the DC-SIDS would discuss what have been the major achievements, opportunities, challenges and obstacles to the development of the Internet in SIDS over the last 12 months and work towards ratifying a concrete plan of action to make meaningful advancements in 2020.

2. Summary of Issues Discussed

DC-SIDS at IGF 2019

The session started with the moderator, Tracy Hackshaw, DC-SIDS co-coordinator from the Caribbean region, introducing the agenda for the round table discussion and inviting updates from DC-SIDS participants on how the Internet ecosystem in the island states have been shaping up, with reports from local and regional Internet Governance-related Projects.

DC-SIDS co-coordinator, Maureen Hilyard, from the Pacific region shared a report from the Pacific Islands focused on bolstering cooperation between different island states for a more inclusive internet ecosystem. The contributions of different entities like ICANN, Internet Society, APNIC and Dot Asia was discussed in capacity of their support to the development of Internet in the island states.

One of the participants, a Director with Trinidad & Tobago Multistakeholder advisory group raised the concern of how creating awareness of Internet Ecosystem within different entities could be obtained with people from different backgrounds trying to assess the challenges of Internet and at times there might arise a conflict which may be difficult to handle and is left to the discretion of a single entity like the Government. The engagement of Youth and provisions for people with disabilities in the island developing states was discussed with possibilities of innovations like brail keyboards and smart sensors to assist them. The participant from Nicaragua shed some light on the projects pertaining to Internet development, advocacy, human rights, and technology being used in rural area development which can be replicated similarly in small island states for the betterment of Internet services.

3. Policy Recommendations or Suggestions for the Way Forward

Inputs were also generated on how civil sector society, the government, the technical community and the private stakeholders have been trying to abridge the gap of deployment of Internet services into the island developing states and how they can further take initiatives to disseminate more information for the people of island states and also foster the growth of Internet in these regions.

The formal adoption of Dynamic Coalition on Small Islands Developing States (DC SIDS) Action Plan was discussed with inputs from all participants and the possibility of forming sub committees to implement action plan in various island states was also included in the talks. A suitable platform for collaboration and knowledge transfer through a website for “Dynamic Coalition on Small Islands Developing States” (DC-SID) in the Internet Economy was discussed and a call for volunteers to assist in building the same was also initiated in the session.

4. Other Initiatives Addressing the Session Issues

Participants from Maldives, Jamaica, Australia, the Philippines, the Caribbean, Nicaragua, South Africa, Japan, Trinidad & Tobago, Egypt and India provided their inputs on how the telecom and the internet have been shaping up in their respective territories or SIDS, and contributed to the DC-SIDS action plan by discussing the challenges and future course of how the Internet economy could be made more prosperous with contributions from different sectors in the SIDS.

Participants from Maldives stressed upon how the role of civil society’s has been negligible in the space of Internet Governance and how technology can be leveraged to reach out to more people in the island states. The Caribbean and the Philippines region advocated for a multistakeholder approach with a capacity building framework, so that some amount of pressure is relieved from the Government’s side and processes shape up swiftly without any hindrance.

The South African participant abreast the participants on how physical infrastructure is essential for setting up internet exchange points on the basis of feasibility studies done in the small island states.

5. Making Progress for Tackled Issues

DC-SIDS Discussion at IGF 2019

Development of DC-SIDS Website 

  • Practical way of getting things done, need a platform where they could collaborate 

  • Development of Content of the website (Sala agreed to lead, additional volunteers required)

Platform to support IGFs in SIDS regions

  • Agreement reached to establish a Platform to support IGFs in SIDS regions (Pacific, Indian Ocean, Caribbean, Africa)
  • Recommendation received to establish a dedicated SIDS IGF (Rhea Yaw Ching volunteered to lead) 
6. Estimated Participation

Onsite Participants: 25

Remote Participants: 2

Women: 13 (present) 2 (online)

7. Reflection to Gender Issues

Female participants from Nicaragua, Australia and Mauritius also raised voices for the cause of gender inclusion and the involvement of women in ICT and Internet Governance, as they believed it would give a push to the marginalized sector in the island states to stand up for their cause and advocate better for the use and penetration of Internet.

8. Session Outputs


2019 has been an active year for Pacific involvement in the internet economy from the perspective of the organisations in which I and my Pacific colleagues are involved. What we first demonstrated is that originating from small island communities in the Pacific does not restrict one’s opportunity to become a leader within large international organisations like ICANN which manages and allocates domain names and IP addresses globally. I was very honoured that my ALAC colleagues elected me to be their Chair for 2019, and again for the upcoming year. It has enabled me to use my organisational management skills which I did by distance learning from Rarotonga through Massey University in New Zealand.

My Cook Islands colleague, Pua Hunter, was also elected at the recent ICANN meeting to be a regional Vice-Chair for the Government Advisory Committee (GAC). She is already the Chair of the GAC’s Underserved Regions Committee. Such leadership roles have also been achieved by others from SIDS in other internet-related organisations to show that being from small islands mean does not necessarily mean that we will go unnoticed if we are prepared to be active in our commitment and passion for what we are attempting within and for our regions.

The Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society got a boost at the elections last year, when 4 former PICISOC Board leaders returned to the Board, to try to rejuvenate and boost its membership to become more active within their Pacific communities. The Board has re-established its website and started populating it with local articles about successful IT-related activity on the more active islands — particularly in Fiji where many leading Pacific organisations hold their events. The greatest success for us has come about through successful women in IT who have written about their achievements and put them on our website.

One notable success has been a NZ Unitech graduate from Nauru, Branicia Itsimaera who is the only woman working in the area of IT on her small island of Nauru. She now has a Bachelor of Computing Systems degree. This is not an easy achievement in anyone’s world but when you come from a small island developing state and you are a woman, this is particularly significant.

During the Asia Pacific Regional IGF which was held in July in Vladivostok, Russia, PICISOC was represented by two Board members, Maureen Hilyard of the Cook Islands and Anju Mangal of Fiji. We picked up a new recruit, James Ah Wai from Samoa, who although a first time attendee of any IGF event, took to his speaking tasks like a duck to water. He came from a background of general interest in internet governance, and soon after his return to Samoa took on the role of President of their newly formed Samoan Information Technology Association.

One significant event for Pacific Islands school students this year was the participation of 11 countries from the Pacific region in the FIRST Global Challenge, an international Olympics-style robotics event established three years ago to encourage children to pursue science and engineering careers. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”. Samoa finished first of the Pacific Islands contingent with a ranking of 26 out of 193 countries, Cook Islands came second of the Pacific participants in a very creditable 30th place for their first time in the competition.

Another development that has happened for the Cook Islands is the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in information technology. This is a joint collaboration project of Government of India and the Government of Cook Islands to offer specialized training programmes in the field of ICT to the citizens of Cook Islands, where each programme is customised to meet the needs of the local business community. This is a major move forward for international collaboration where the outcomes of the donorship are specifically beneficiary-country-centric. 


Trinidad & Tobago

The Trinidad and Tobago Multistakeholder Advisory Group (TTMAG ; https://mag.tt/) convened the third annual Trinidad and Tobago Internet Governance Forum (TTIGF) on January 25th, 2019 from 9AM to 5 PM at the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Westmoorings, Trinidad and Tobago. The theme of TTIGF2019 was “The Internet of Trust” in keeping with the International Internet Governance Forum 2018.

There were 85 face-to-face attendees including panellists, special invitees and TTMAG Directors, and 270 views of the livestream via YouTube. 

The TTIGF 2019 featured three panel sessions :

  • Caribbean Data Protection Regulations (CDPR)

  • Cultural Factors in the Caribbean Affecting Trust & Privacy for Digital Security

  • Using Technology to Increase Trust in Public Institutions

  • Open Forum

The meeting report and recordings are available at https://igf.tt/trinidad-and-tobago-internet-governance-forum-2019/ 


The Ministry of Public Telecommunications, in collaboration with the ITU has recently completed a skills training programme for local web developers to develop applications with features to facilitate access by Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). The University of Guyana is currently exploring the possibility of integrating the training programme into the Computer Studies curriculum. Part of the overall support the Ministry of Finance is also granted VAT exemptions for PWDs purchasing smartphones and related devices. 

The Ministry of Public Telecommunications via its agency the National Data Management Authority is in process of providing internet access to over 150 communities in the Hinterland areas some 250+ miles away from the Capital City, Georgetown. The overall goal to provide connectivity to close to 300 hinterland communities in the south of Guyana. The Ministry is also conducting trainer the trainer sessions to begin the process of ICT training at the community level.

The Council of Trade and Economic Development (COTED) Ministerial meeting in November agreed to propose to the Caricom Heads of Government that a combined approach be made to the regional telecommunication firms to eliminate roaming charges throughout the Caribbean region. 

National Roundtable discussion to begin in December on the development of eCommerce legislation and the draft National ICT strategy. The roundtable discussions are intended to reflect the views of the Private Sector, Academia and Civil Society

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

The Internet Society St. Vincent and the Grenadines Chapter convened the 2nd Internet Governance Forum on April 12, 2019 under the theme, “the pressing need for security of the Internet of Things (IoT)”. It was held at the SVG Community College, targeting the student who attended the college. The key discussion points were the following: 

1.      Artificial Intelligence  (AI) with IOT devices

The use of artificial intelligence  (AI) with IOT devices drives the reason why the IoT devices should be secured. AI is known as the third phase of digital evolution. It is utilised in many areas and platforms such as Google AI, Amazon Echo, Facebook, elevators that interact with occupants to detect safety, smart cities to interface with people living in the city and drones now have the ability to move around obstacles.

2. IoT and Policing

The need to use innovative technology to solving crime is paramount. Technology is important in the transformation of the police force in St. Vincent the Grenadines. Hence, the police has an important part to play in the security of the IOT by sensitizing the public of internet safety and integrating technology to solve crime and ensure public safety.  

IoT will provide real time information of licenses of vehicle owners and license plates and also will provide a link to databases use for criminal investigate.

Benefits of integrating IOT in law enforcement include, the digitizing of data, increase the ability to identify suspects and solving problems faster and finding ways to work smarter and harder. It will uncover issues before they arise and become widespread.

3. Securing devices

Several challenges in securing devices: were discussed. These include:

·      Critical functionality

·      One attack can be replicated across all devices

·      Security assumption-there is a myth that embedded devices are not target of hackers

·      Devices deployed are not easily updated or patched

·      Long life cycle of embedded devices is typical longer than PC or consumer devices

·      Propriety industrial specific protocols

Security requirement must take into consideration the cost of security, economic, social, environment consequences. Security must be considered in early stage of device designs. Security features that should be considered include: secure boot, security code update, data security, user authentication, secure communication, protection against cyber attacks, intrusion, detection and security monitoring, embedded security management, device tampering detection.

Digital skills training for girls

Caribbean.Girls.Hack Digital Skills Training

The Caribbean.Girls.Hack – 2019 Hackathon (CGH), celebrates the ITU Girls in ICT Day, giving hundreds of girls in High School and Universities a 2-month immersive and interactive experience in the use of technology to address SDG issues affecting them in the Caribbean. This year participating countries included Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Supporting the global Girls in ICT movement, empowers girls and young women, giving them the confidence to pursue ICT studies and careers, and fosters a more dynamic technology sector, providing extensive benefits for companies and our overall economies at large. 

SheLeadsIT-Caribbean Girls Hack is a member of the ITU EQUALS Skills Coalition and will continue to push forward with EQUALS initiatives seeking partnerships to implement initiatives to bridge the gender divide across the region.

To date, SheLeadsIT-Caribbean Girls Hack has achieved a 600% growth in 3 years,  over 3500 participants across 6 countries (including Guyana) participated, using technology to build innovative products including websites, mobile apps, short films & videos, podcasts as well as learning about robotics and drone technology. Through virtual features students heard from female role models in technology from Google, LinkedIn, NASA, Facebook, Web Foundation, Microsoft and others, inspiring them to look beyond conventional career roles and to take full advantage of the new opportunities offered by the digital revolution.  Here are the highlights:

2019 videos:

Trinidad: http://www.looptt.com/content/watch-saghs-girls-dominate-caribbean-girls-hack-2019

Jamaica: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1DrRvxHVIFnvGxCAg1zdg2bweO00NnBGu

2018 Video:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1PVQRIsHEGRsB9835JQRgHSl11U5KrORM 

Caribbean Regional Hackathon To Date  

Key facts:

  • Over 3500 participants across 6 Caribbean countries

  • Over 60 Schools, Universities and Colleges

  • Activity challenges using multiple ICT tools to address specific regional issues including gender-based violence, cyber-bullying, environmental management and climate change and resilience

  • 29 Sponsors/Supporters/Partners from key private sector entities, public sector and academia

  • Over 80 Technology Mentors

  •  65 Local, Regional and International role model Technology Virtual Speakers


  • SheLeadsIT-Caribbean Girls Hack (CGH) member of the ITU EQUALS Skills Coalition

  • CGH Alumni 2019 to be featured as the exclusive Youth in Caribbean Disaster Management Speakers using tech in climate change solutions created at CDEMA Conference December 2019

  • CGH Barbados Winners featured as exclusive youth speakers at Smart Barbados IGF and ISOC Barbados Conference (October 2019)

  • CGH Alumni 2019 featured as the exclusive youth speakers presenting tech solutions at UNECLAC Subregional preparatory meeting of the XIV Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean (June 2019)

  • CGH Alumni 2019 Winner receives prestigious Microsoft Scholarship Grace Hopper Award, as one of ten chosen worldwide, attending Grace Hopper Celebration Conference (October 2019)

  • 3 Hackathon Alumni selected and participated in the Huawei Seeds of the Future focused on developing local ICT talent, enhance knowledge transfer in the telecommunications sector, and encourage regional participation in the digital community (August 2019)

  • Trinidad teams met with the President of Trinidad and Tobago Ms. Paula-Mae Weekes with regional partner RSC Tech Clubs

  • Google technical training webinars, Google Experts Onsite Townhall Chat with students and Google Prizes

  • LinkedIn virtual trainer/speaker, IBM Trainer, ToonBoom Animation trainers

  • Facebook & Microsoft speakers Onsite Townhall Chat with students

  • Private sector activities using Virtual Reality, Digital Puzzles, Robotics and Drones

  • Tech Expo gave students first hands-on experiences with gaming, snapboards, robots, cybersecurity, green screens etc.

More successes since 2017:

  • Trinidad & Tobago winning team hackathon product won a Launch Rocket local tech start-up competition with IADB prize of US$10,000

  • Spectrum Management eGov Jamaica paid 2019 summer internships (5 students)

  • Hackathon winning team (Trinidad) placed in the top 50 at Microsoft International Tech Start- Up competition 2018

  • Students secured valuable summer Tech internships with private sector partners (2018 

  • 3 permanent job placements including Design Engineer from the Hackathon summer internship program with a private sector awards sponsor in Jamaica