IGF 2020 WS #281 IG needs at the MENA in the COVID-19 aftermath


Organizer 1: Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 3: Civil Society, African Group

Speaker 1: Hanane Boujemi, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Haidar Fraihat, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Amine Hacha, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

At the MENA region, we strive to make the internet a diverse and inclusive place for everyone, including those who are not yet online, especially in the COVID-19 aftermath. The following policy questions could be asked: - As we are looking to adjust laws and norms for the digital space, how can we make them flexible enough in the MENA to the newcomers to contribute and shape them in ways that are accommodating of their diverse needs? - How can we assure that freedom of expression online is respected? - As more diverse groups start using the internet, incl. vulnerable and historically underserved populations, how do we make sure they can participate in meaningful ways in the places of conversation that exist online today? - What are the policy choices we have to make in the MENA to ensure younger populations can safely benefit from knowledge online? - How do we best equip the youth in the MENA with the necessary skills to take advantage of new employment opportunities that will result from digital transformation? - How do governments in the MENA region approach digital skills training? - Who should conduct it, and what standards currently prevail? - How should we meaningfully craft policy in this space at the MENA region in the COVID-19 aftermath?

The issues, challenges and/or opportunities we intend to address: - The Internet Governance needs at the MENA region in the COVID-19 aftermath. - The needs of common laws and norms for the digital space in the MENA region. - To equip the youth in the MENA with the necessary skills to take advantage of new employment opportunities that will result from digital transformation and the Internet after the COVID-19. - Making a healthy open digital space for business in the MENA region. - In addition to the needs which can be recommended from the online pre-meetings before the IG forum.


GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 12: Responsible Production and Consumption
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 15: Life on Land
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals


The session will have two parts, both with a highly interactive discussion component. The workshop will be organized as a highly interactive discussion roundtable to facilitate dialogue between various MENA countries participants and stakeholder groups, with an eye to assimilate the knowledge in the room to feed into decisionmakers’ discussions. The first section will cover the main titles of IG needs at the MENA in the COVID-19 aftermath, this section consists of experts from different fields of knowledge in MENA and different regions and, furthermore, experts in practical application and international technology networks, human development, and international project implementation. The section will start with the introduction about why this session is important for the MENA region followed by reading the report of the pre-meetings for this session which were done prior to the IG. Mr. Amine Hacha from Lebanon ( Expert in Cybersecurity and Longterm business). Mrs. Hanane Boujemi from UK (Executive Director at Tech Policy Tank, and former management of iGmena), and Mr. Haidar Fraihat from UN ESCWA ( ESCWA Senior Adviser on Innovation and Technology). In addition, the online speakers will be inter- and transdisciplinary to support a highly diverse and holistic view on MENA Internet Governance. The second section will cover the input of the participants and online, to reach the big vision for a strategic plan that can be implemented in the MENA region for better Internet and fruitful communication between stakeholders.

Expected Outcomes

By the end of the session, we will be able to: - Understand the Internet Governance needs at the MENA in the COVID-19 aftermath. - Open sequential debates between stakeholders for better communication in the subject of IG at the MENA region. - Forming a group of experts working together to reach the session goals.

The 90-minute session will be divided between brief introductions to the subject (20 minutes) by the main speakers followed by expert speakers who will join us online (25 minutes) and then 25 minutes of discussions between all the participants and the Panel. We will also include, in the discussion, the online participants (10 minutes).

Relevance to Internet Governance: Given the fact that Internet development in a majority of MENA region countries starts late, the region contributes less to the formation of Internet governance in the early stages. But today after the COVID-19 as this new situation is becoming the most in need of a digital transformation and Internet Governance, also for an active gathering place at the MENA for Internet innovation and the most dynamic scenario to facilitate the Internet governance. for that, we wish to work with different parties in the region to form a joint force to promote Internet Governance.

Relevance to Theme: The session will contribute to engaging the IG community in the MENA region to work together after the COIVID-19 experience and encourage various stakeholders in the region to focus together on the issues, challenges, and solutions for the achievement of an equitable and inclusive Internet. The session will take into consideration the importance of Inclusion for ensuring those with limited or no access to the Internet, special after the lockdown which was implanted by the governments in several countries. such as the unserved and underserved communities, as well as those for which the internet is not accessible due to gender, disability, digital literacy, affordability, infrastructure, or for any other reason, are now included and have equal opportunity to be meaningfully connected to the internet. The Internet Governance needs at the MENA region in the COVID-19 aftermath, to the "inclusion" as a key contributor towards a stronger economy and enhanced economic development through shared wealth, shared employment, and equal opportunity for all, and is an enabler towards the fulfillment of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: The floor will be open to both onsite and remote participants to engage with speakers during the Q&A session, the workshop will be highly interactive.