IGF 2020 Second Open Consultations and MAG Meeting - APC

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. 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, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 


 >> The Association for Progressive Communications is a 30-year-old international network of civil society organizations dedicated to empowering and supporting people working for peace, human rights, development, and protection of the environment through the strategic use of ICTs.

 Since the beginning, we have seen the IGF as critical for bringing together key stakeholders for policy dialogue, collaboration, coordination, capacity building, and networking as well as the platform for raise human rights concerns.

 "Closer than Ever" is the name we gave to APC's collective response to the pandemic.  Much of APC's focus has been about supporting our members and responding to the impact of the pandemic in their countries.  The issues range from erosion of the civic space, restrictions on human rights, such as concerns about surveillance and privacy through tracing apps, increase in censorship and criminalization of criticism of government response to the pandemic on social media, increase in gender-based violence, increase of hate speech online, levying of social media tax at the time when people rely on the Internet for communication during lockdowns, and lack of access of poor communities who are the most in need during the pandemic.

 We are undertaking actions in response to COVID-19 that APC is well-placed to provide as a virtual organization with online systems and support structures already in place.  We are making available tools and resources from our network to help other social change organizations work online through our "Closer than Ever" guide.

 We are raising human rights-related issues around the pandemic in countries where we have partners or members.  And we are participating in global advocacy efforts such as the HRC, ITU, and the IGF.  These issues, in addition to digital exclusion, feminist Internet, gender-based violence, environmental sustainability, and the power of movements are highlighted in APC's position paper on the pandemic.

 We are also increasing our support to members and partners who are responding to the pandemic at the grassroots level through our subgranting program, as well as making efforts to bring the benefits of meaningful Internet access to all people and provide analysis of the impact of various measures being adopted by states in response to the pandemic.

 We are mindful of the longer-term impacts of this pandemic and the ways in which it has and will continue to restructure the way we live, work, mobilize, and do our movement-building work.

 During the IGF 2020 call for validation of thematic tracts, APC proposed to have a separate tract on environmental sustainability, which is a topic that was absent on the last IGF agenda.  We believe that there is a lack of attention to the environmental impact of ICTs in Internet governance discussions as we at APC are critically rethinking our ideas of sustainable development.

 In this line, APC submitted three workshop proposals on environmental sustainability, covering environmental justice, circular economy, and environmental data; and proposed two day-zero events related to this issue.

 APC also submitted a fourth workshop proposal to explore 5G as a possibility for digital inclusion.

 As every year, APC is involved in the regional IGF processes.  In the case of the Asia-Pacific IGF happening remotely in September, APC is involved as part of the Program Committee, which is busy trying to adjust the selected proposals to fit into the virtual format.  

 Also, several of APC's partners in the sexual rights and the Internet project EROTICS have submitted proposals for workshops on human rights and gender.  

 APC is also busy helping to organize a capacity-building day scheduled on day zero in coordinating with our members on engagement in this important forum.

 To contribute to discussions on relevant governance issues in the Asian context, APC is hosting a series of presentations by Dr. V. Geetha on the 10th, 17th, and 24th of June to address the rising trend of hate speech and hate crimes.

 In the case of the Latin America and the Caribbean IGF, which will also be held online in August this year, APC is part of the Program Committee contributing to the coordination of the event.

 In Africa, APC is actively engaging in Internet governance related to actions such as preparations for the African School on internet Governance, or AfriSIG, to strengthen and expand African participation and influence in Internet governance processes in Africa and globally.

 Since 2015, the school has been convened on the sidelines of the African IGF.  As a member of the secretariat of the African Declaration on Internet rights and Freedoms Coalition, APC is also organizing a multistakeholder engagement workshop in late June for civil society members in Africa aimed at identifying current challenges and engaging stakeholder groups and bringing them in as resource people.

 As part of APC's work on local access and community networks, we are actively engaged in the work of the dynamic coalition on community connectivity and contributed to a paper that highlights the challenges facing unconnected and underconnected communities and the urgent need for them to be brought online in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 At APC, we are engaging in the IGF best practice forum on gender and access.  For this year, we are coordinating the consultation on the gendered impact on shaping Internet policy at global, regional, and national levels.  The goal is to develop recommendations focused on limiting violence and harm in the online space as well as fostering the use of the Internet for self-expression.

 Finally, we want to use this opportunity to express our appreciation to all who make the IGF possible and to thank you for the opportunity to share how APC is engaging in these valuable spaces and processes.