IGF 2021 – Day 0 – HIGH LEVEL EXCHANGE PANEL: Building equitable employment conditions and competences for the future of work

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.



>> MODERATOR: Hello, everybody.  Warm welcome and hello from middle of the night here in Beijing from CGTN.  It's a great honour to be able to host this high level leaders track on building equitable employment conditions and competences for the future of work as part of the 16th annual Internet Governance forum being held in a hybrid manner from Katowice Poland, I hope I say the name directly.

I would have loved to be there, but unfortunately something is preventing us, but thank God we have good technology and that is part of our discussion today.  The future of work is facing changes, including a shift in demand towards ICT professionals, a move to independent, flexible employment, a need for keeping pace with technology evolutions and a transfer of human capacities to more reflective, creative and complex tasks.

A case in point for me is the onslaught of AI presenters whose makeup is always perfect and never make mistakes, but how will these new technologies impact labor markets and income distribution?  We don't know fully yet.  What we know is that the right policy mix and institutional arrangements can and are needed to help employers and potential employees to adapt and thrive.

And that's an important discussion to be had.  That's why we are hosting this high level leaders track on how Governments and international organisations and private sector can further and better collaborate to help adopt and diffuse new technologies while addressing the negative consequences.

Our discussion will focus on policy alternatives from educational ones addressing early education including STEM focus and constant reskilling for future employment to ones dealing with new forms of balancing in employment relationships.  The panel will reflect on policies that can help employees and society at large to manage the transition with as little disruption and as many benefits as possible.

I hope our discussion today will have as little disruption and as much usefulness as possible for all who are watching this either online or offline on site.

Let me introduce with great pleasure the distinguished panelists we are going to have or we already have with us.  We will welcome Ms. Carmen Ligia Valderrama.  She is Minister of Information technologies and communications from Colombia.  She will join us momentarily.

We have, and I'm going to try here, Mr. Wojciech Murdzek, Secretary of State, ministry of science and education from Poland, our host country.  Please correct me if I pronounce the name not accurately.

We have, we will have Mr. Thorsten Schafer‑Gumbel.  He will join us momentarily as well.  We do have Ms. Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Senior Vice President of Strategy, Communications and Engagement of Internet Society.  She is joining us online, we have Mr. Luke McKend, head of growth markets and head of Government sector of EMEA, LATAM from LinkedIn.

We have Mr. John Vamvakitis who is Director of Google for Education International joining us online, and we also have onsite Mr. Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative.  The warmest welcome to all of you.

I'm not hearing any applause.  I suppose people are applauding, but that's fine, we are going to imagine as we go ahead.  With such a distinguished panel and a very mixed perspective and from different part of the world I'm really looking forward to the conversation.

So let's go right ahead and start with the structured discussion.  We are going to have three main topics and I'm going to ask my panelists to give their thoughts and perspectives under these three different perspectives.  Each of our panelists will have three minutes maximum to make their interventions, and we will want to hear as much as possible and finally we will have some concluding remarks if people feel the need to do so.

So let's go ahead and I'm going to ask the first question, which is about policies.  Because the major current topic of discussion is the need for policies that target early education including STEM focused education to prepare our young people for the future of work and new technologies.  So I want to ask all of you coming from public and private sectors and international organisations, how do you think this global need can be addressed?

If I may have the honour to ask our host, our guest from our host country, Poland, Mr. Wojciech Murdzek, the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Science and education to please go ahead.  Thank you, sir.

>> WOJCIECH MURDZEK: Ladies and gentlemen, we are aware of the pace of the changes we are dealing with, the changes having accelerated by the difficult time of the pandemic.  We have realized that there are certain areas that are especially sensitive.  I'm referring, for example to healthcare, but also I'm referring to the economy.

In many regions of the world, the economy has suffered a lot due to the COVID‑19 pandemic.  I think we all realize that on the one hand we have been working hard for many years to prepare our children, teenagers and young graduates to be able to cope in the labor market, but on the other hand, we are facing dynamic changes which require us to operate within the constantly changing environment, within an environment that is constantly undergoing change.

So that is a huge challenge.  And it's a global one as well.  We need to create specific mechanisms that will allow us to foresee the direction of change in the development of states and economies.  We also need to be able to forecast changes that are necessary in education and that is something that is essential and it's essential on a global scale.  That's why we need to support good practices and institutions that allow us to tackle these challenges.

We are aware of the fact that we really need to start early on, and so in Poland, we are implementing the post pandemic recovery program which includes an element of digitalization so we intend to strengthen digital education in school or even before that in kindergartens, preschools.  So this process is extremely important, and it must be continued in primary and secondary schools.

So we are trying to prepare specific projects and programmes, and we need to adjust them to the target group, and to specific ages so that children can play and learn to code, for example to learn to program equipment which might be necessary in the era of industry 4.0.

We are doing that because we are aware of the current challenges so we can see the new emerging challenge and we are adapting the educational offer, but we are also working on the infrastructure.  For example we want to teach children about technologies that rely on hydrogen, for example.

We want to teach them about Artificial Intelligence to make them understand what it involves.  We can see that children enjoy the virtual world so we want to use that virtual world to teach them about the real world.

So, for example in terms of industry 4.0, in terms of robots, it's important to teach children how to, for example write code or design robots, but also we want to teach children to use tools such as, for example screwdriver, so we want to keep it real at the same time because we need to shape specific habits, and we need to start very early on then we can go on and strengthen those habits and skills.

It is a huge challenge to develop skills in order to have competent people who will be able to assess the skills of children and young people.  We need people who are able to identify the challenges in the labor market who will be able to identify future challenges that will require specific skills in the future.

So we want to start working with children to prepare them, to make them ready to make the right choices in the future.  So it's not about finding a job, any kind of a job in the labor market.  We need to create jobs that will help our societies grow faster and develop faster, but we also want to create jobs that will be rewarding for the people who have them.

We want people to have the feeling that they are doing something useful.  And we also want to adopt an interdisciplinary approach.  We want to teach people how to work in team, in teams, how to see a broader context of what they are doing so that they can work together and share the skills that they have.

So as a state, we are responsible for working with young people, for teaching them to be able to cooperate with others on an international level as well.  We want to teach them that we are all facing huge challenges, and that forces us to work in teams.

There is no other way.  We need to cooperate with others.  Many things are becoming global right now, so we share similar challenges related to energy, related to climate, and related to other aspects.  And so we need to adopt a similar perspective in many countries and we need to make sure that our education systems teach our children to face up to those challenges.

We have learned a lot during the pandemic.  We have learned a lot about how technology can support education and we need to continue working on that.  There are many charges that are involved,  but we need to make sure that we share best practices, that we share information.  There is another important aspect, which is to make sure that science and education is open.  In terms of the content and in terms of the methods, and the technologies that are involved so that we can perceive certain challenges and challenges that we are all facing on a global scale because only then can we use and take advantage of the effect of synergy.  And in this way we will achieve positive results.

So these are the aspects that we need to discuss.  We also realize that for many states, it is a challenge to highlight science and education and foreground them.  We know that it is thanks to science that we have managed to, for example develop vaccines that allow us to cope with the pandemic.  So a lot of progress has been made, but to a large extent it was possible thanks to pre‑existing research foundations.

So we need to adopt a global perspective on challenges and as we can see, we have managed to do just that in the face of a global crisis.  The world of science, the world of research looks for answers and offers answers to the most pressing challenges.

And I think that events such as this one are a great opportunity to share good practices, to share experience, and to set joint objectives.  That's something that is very important for everyone.  We are meeting here in Katowice, but we are also present globally thanks to technology and hopefully this will open our eyes to important problems and we will take stock of what we have, of what we can offer, and so that we can support each other and share best practices.

That is the only way that will allow us to get positive results in an ever‑changing world.  We have a lot of challenges to address and that's why we support many initiatives, we work with young children, we work with children in primary schools and secondary schools, we work with university students, so we have plenty of programmes and projects that are implemented by the state Government in Poland.

We are active in what we are doing and we want our solutions to offer a continuous approach to the education process.  We want them to be synergistic.  So I suppose that's it on my part as an introductory remark and I will be interested to listen to the other panelists.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you so much, Minister Wojciech Murdzek for that very comprehensive answer to the first question, and I have noted a few key words such as targeted early, continuous, digital infrastructure, interdisciplinary, international and open, of course.  Thank you so much for that great start to the discussion.

I would love to introduce the other two guests who have joined us just now, they are Ms. Carmen Ligia Valderrama, who is Minister of Information technologies and communications from Colombia.  Welcome to the discussion.

We have also been joined by Mr. Thorsten Schafer‑Gumbel who is a member of the management board of the agency for international cooperation or GIZ from Germany.  They are both joining us online.  Without much ado, let me stand over to Minister Carmen Ligia Valderrama for her intervention, what is being done in Colombia to prepare children from an early age on for the changing dynamics in education?  Three minutes, please.  Please go ahead.

>> CARMEN LIGIA VALDERRAMA: This afternoon I would like to talk about the Colombian experiences so far with respect to digital transformation.  We are certain that we need to be an ally for the younger generation with respect to all of the disciplines related to the digital transformation.  And so the Colombian Government and the ministry that I represent that is the Ministry of Information technologies and communication, well, we have jointly with other ministries reached the conclusion that we need to implement policies and strategies that accelerate digital transformation in order to breach the digital divide that is still observed in Colombia,  both with respect to access to digital technologies and the use of digital technologies.

So as the Ministry of Information, Technologies and Communications, we are the leader of the joint effort, but the effort has to be interdisciplinary and intersectoral.  So the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health, and all other ministries are involved in the work in on the transformation policies.

Our public policy includes all sorts of digital transformation programmes, and I would like to summarize them as follows.  First and foremost, we want to nurture talents, and secondly, we want to promote digital transformation in enterprises.  Speaking of education, speaking of nurturing talents that are required throughout the education system, this is a priority for us.

We try to stimulate interest in the disciplines that are related to science and STEM subjects, and that helps us encourage students to select science subjects as their study majors.  We focus on STEM subjects at the level of primary school and secondary school, making it possible for students to go on and study science at the level of university.

On the other hand, in cooperation with enterprises, we also run programmes that involve the use of artificial intelligence, Blockchain and so forth ensuring that these advanced technologies are also taught at universities so that university graduates can quickly be adapted to the requirements in the labor market.

What is very important is the implementation of the knowledge gained during your studies on the labor market.  So be it small enterprises or larger enterprises, there is an enormous need and not just in Colombia, but across the world, there is a great need to educate people who will have the necessary technology, who will have knowledge on ICT technologies because these people will support the development of world economies.

So we focus on education that centers on the STEM subjects, but we also analyze the needs of the labor market on an ongoing basis.  So our policies are well defined.  We want to empower human talents and we would like to be able to tap into the potential of these new skills for the benefit of the society at large.

And so both in the sector of industry as well as in the sector of agriculture, we want to ensure that university graduates will support the development of the two sectors, and we have already observed a lot of success in that respect.  We believe that the state in realizing the need for educating people in scientific disciplines needs to create the necessary conditions.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Madame for that very brief but very focused intervention.  I understand that Colombia sees a great need in the transformation of education towards the digital era and you emphasized very much the role of enterprises both in providing the education and in helping training young talents and the education is extremely well defined according to the need of the labor market.  Thank you for that Colombian perspective.

Next, let's hear from some international organisations, what do they think can be done to meet the need, the global need for young talents for the digital age.  Let me go to Ms. Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Senior Vice President of Strategy, Communications and Engagement from Internet Society.  Please, Ms. Rinalia Abdul Rahim.

>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you.  It is a pleasure and privilege to be here today.

Here is my view on the question that you posed.  It would be in the best interest of every country to have national policies that target early education, to prepare young people for the future of work in new technologies.  What's important is to ensure that the policies are inclusive, that they foster access to learning resources for disadvantaged groups such as those living in rural areas or in poverty, ethnic minorities, speakers of minority languages and those with disabilities.

This includes having effective mechanisms for addressing gender inequalities in education, and for improving opportunities and outcomes for girls, particularly in STEM education.  But education policies alone won't be sufficient.  They need supportive access and connectivity policies in place to be effective.  Over the years, the Internet has proven to be instrumental for learning and development of people and nations.  The COVID‑19 pandemic has shown us just how much we depend on the Internet and its resilience, an attribute of its distributes governance model.

The lesson of the pandemic as people are forced to stay at home is plain and clear.  No Internet means no access to remote education, work or health services, socioeconomic growth and potential for many countries have been damaged.  As we move towards a future that is more technologically driven with emphasis on blended learning, the world's Internet and digital dependency will only increase, but benefits accrue mainly to those that are connected.

This inequality is the challenge that societies around the world are grappling with today.  We all know that nearly half the world's population are still offline.  The majority of them are women, and most in Developing Countries.  If they are left unconnected, what is the future of education and work for them and their children?

Universal access is needed to unlock the Internet's value for supporting education and national development of the future.  To get to universal access, access to the Internet needs to be affordable for people.  Access to broadband Internet in particular is key if benefits for education and development are to be reaped.

Here are five things that are needed to enable access based on lessons learned from countries around the world.  First, a governmental commitment to keeping the Internet on and not to shut it down.  Internet shutdowns are costly with adverse social and economic effects.

Second, a legal and regulatory framework that stimulates investment in connectivity, that spurs competition and lowers access prices.

Third, flexible and innovative funding approaches, and this includes effective deployment of Universal Access Funds and service programmes.  Fourth, national broadband strategies and universal access programmes that include the participation of educational institutions and national research and education networks.

And finally, diverse models for access and use including community‑based access initiatives such as community networks, educational networks and local R and D initiatives that generate these diverse models.  I conclude by emphasizing that successful approaches to meeting the educational needs of the future require serious and equal focus on both education and access policies.  Thank you.  And back to you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you so much.  Exactly as I was researching for this topic, I was shocked to learn that almost half of the world are still digitally offline, that's according to the statistics from the United Nations, and most of that is for women and for Developing Countries.

So you have highlighted a very important aspect that needs to be addressed.  Many things to Rinalia.  Next, let's go to Mr. Luke McKend.  Head of growth markets and head of Government sector from LATAM and EMEA regions from LinkedIn, Mr. Luke McKend, please go ahead.

>> LUKE McKEND: Thank you very much for having me on the panel.

It's hard to argue with anything that any of the panelists have already mentioned.  I just, perhaps, want to add a few additional comments.  I think the primary question from my perspective would be what kind of future are we actually preparing our youth for?  If we believe that the only future we are preparing them for is a technology future, I suspect that we are probably missing a trick.

Yes, of course, STEM education is incredibly important, and the ongoing digitalization of our economies is something that will be continuing for decades to come, but there are a couple of other things that we will need to take into account that I think are incredibly important, one of which is the softer skills that will continue to need to be developed in order for us to make full use of all of the digital talent that we have in our economies.

And what could those look like?  I think we are looking at how do we collaborate effectively?  How do we teach collaboration?  How do we teach problem solving?  How do we develop the kind of foundational skills that enable the children of today to become the adults of the future that love lifelong learning?  Because that is probably the primary skill that all of us are going to have to adopt in order to be consistently relevant throughout our careers.

One of the biggest challenges that I think, never mind Governments, but any private sector organisation has at the moment is keeping up with the pace of change and the changing needs of the skill sets of our employees from a day‑to‑day basis.

If I think about when I started my career, a shorter, maybe 25 years ago, many of the job titles that now exist within the organisation that I currently work for did not exist.  In fact, many of those job titles didn't exist ten years ago.  So how do we develop educational systems that are flexible and adaptable enough to cope with a labor market that is changing so quickly?

That is the primary challenge that we have.  And that is why it's very hard to focus on a narrow set of skills that may well be technological in nature without focusing on the skills that enable us to adapt and develop over time.

I would suggest those are some of the things we need to think very carefully about.  I also feel strongly that we have a couple of other challenges that almost prelearning, so to speak, and the previous speaker talked about those, and that is the problem of access.  It's much of the educational challenge that's we are talking about are predicated on people's access and youth access to the Internet.

That is a fantastic solution to a problem if you are in a mature Internet economy, but that's not a great solution to the problem when you are in Africa or anywhere elsewhere Internet penetration falls below the penetration we see in mature Internet economies.  And there are huge issues of access relating to the kind of devices that people use, the price of Internet, infrastructural issues and not only that, what is the content that people consume?  Is it localized?  Is it local language?

There are a variety of challenges we need to address that everyone globally has equal access to the educational opportunities that we enjoy in mature economies.  I would raise those as additional challenges we might face.

Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, and absolutely essential questions you have asked.  Sometimes I feel the more digitally advanced we are, the more we need to think about the important questions about life, about humanities, about sociology, how do our minds work, how do we get peace in this digital age?  But thank you so much for raising these questions.  I hope we will have some answers as we move along and as we leave this panel.

Next, let me go to Mr. John Vamvakitis, Director of Google for Education International.  Very much looking forward to your intervention on how to meet the global need for early education that prepare our young people for the future of work.

>> JOHN VAMVAKITIS: Great points made by the panelists, thanks for introducing me.  I think it ‑‑ I will make a couple of macro points and we will get into detail and hopefully everybody can hear me.  Give me a thumbs up if you can hear me.  Great.

At Google we have been focused on supporting and enriching education with digital tools and the past couple of years have only served to reinforce the importance of this.  I wanted to highlight three points that are worth repeating around STEM and higher policy.  One is the way we work has changed.

It's very clear.  You can see how we are participating today.  Millions around the world have turned their homes into virtual offices due to pandemic and technology is essential to stay connected with our day‑to‑day work.  This is the same in education as well.  It's impacted not only labor but education.

It needs to impact on education and labor policy.  As we have seen over the past two years, it was a growing trend, but it's obviously accelerated is the use of education technology has skyrocketed in schools.  Schools have been searching for solutions to keep students engaged in learning and as most things return to classrooms and others continue to learn from home because we have different situations in different countries, we continue to be optimistic about the positive role that education technology will play in helping teachers and school leaders in the years ahead.

Ultimately the goal of technology in education is to augment and amplify the critical work undertaken by educators.  I think that's the most important thing.  Technology is a tool for us.  It's not a panacea.  I think digital skills are needed in the ever‑evolving employment landscape.

I think some of the points made and Luke mentioned this as well, and you mentioned it yourself in your opening is flexibility.  You mentioned the term flexibility.  I think we need to maintain flexibility.  We don't know what the answers are going to be.  We don't know what new professions are going to arise in the coming years.  We have to prepare chin by teaching them to use digital tools and develop deeper literacy and understanding of the tools.

They also need a flexible approach to learning and desire to learn.  We have to make learning inclusive and exciting and interactive.  It's very, very important to do this.  It's how you keep people engaged.  This is not just for staff.  It's essential in many, many areas.  Again, technology is a tool.  It's a tool just like we are using pen, paper and books.  It's just the next generation of tools for us.

It's very, very important, I think, one of the other speakers talked about Government level policies and programmes that support clear mechanisms to nurture transformation at all levels.  You need to have access to the Internet, you need to have an open approach to using technology in the classroom.  This is going to form the basis for employment.  It's very, very important for us.  I think STEM is an important part of this.

STEM is not the whole piece of it.  Let's be honest, there are a great movement in job employment opportunities into STEM‑based roles so any Government would want to consider what's their position in building skills in this area to prepare students to be the next level of employed adults in the workforce, and what they are needed.  There was a report just released by the Brookings Institute entitled Building Skills for Life.  It's a report we cosponsored, talking about how to expand and improve computer science education around the world.

And I think it's a great tool for everybody to take a look at and read.  It provides case studies of larger skill implementation of computer science in formal education as well.  I would say beyond STEM, there are some fundamental elements that strong indicators of success in education.  I'm approaching this from education perspective.  The public entity has to be willing and able to invest in the necessary infrastructure to make computing education possible.

I think one of our other speakers touched on this.

The entity has to be engaged in partnerships with stakeholders, including teacher groups, parents and industry, and it has to be focused on upskilling current teachers.  This is really important, upskilling current teachers and creating a healthy pipeline of teachers who can address the coming needs.

So the use of technology is not going to slow, and it poses a learning curve for all of us, and an opportunity as well.  It's for students, it's for teachers, it's for all of us working today.  We have worked very, very hard on creating certification programmes for teachers as well in the use of technology in their classroom.

So a large component of our efforts in global education have been devoted to helping teachers develop comfort and competency using technology in the classroom to support their learning plans.  It's a very, very important element.  Investment in teachers needs to a policy initiative in all Governments and it's one that we certainly have been supporting through our investments and efforts in education.  I will leave it at that.  Thank you so much.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, John.  A very different perspective for the use of educational technologies and flexibility, not just in the content of what is being taught, but also in the approach of how these are being taught, and last but definitely not least, what are we going to do with the teachers?  How do we upskill the teachers who will be teaching the young talents?  Again, very essential questions there.

Many thanks to John again.

And still on the same important question, let me go to Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative Mr. Gbenga Sesan, who is joining us on site and I understand this is a grouping for helping underprivileged youth in Africa where digital access is not particularly strong.  So, sir, help us understand your perspective on the question.

>> GBENGA SESAN: Thank you.  You know, if COVID has so far taught us anything it's the fact that there are two kinds of young people.  There is on one end the young person who is taking advantage of technology opportunities, now they are learning more things than they used to learn in the classroom physically, but they are also picking up skills around independence, and other soft skills.

On the other hand, this is second category of young people who not only are not learning, but are also forgetting the things that they learned.  When schools were closed in March 2020, what we found at the initiative was there was a whole group of young people who not only forgot what they learned but were literally getting into a second level of digital divide.  We are at a digital divide where 40% of the world is not connected and now we have a second level divide where not only are we unconnected or disconnected, but they are also in a whole different world entirely where they don't have access to information and to learning.

And I think this is why, you know, any form of policies that we will discuss must take two things into consideration.  First is the reality of the current moment.  It's great to think of technical with policies and I have seen Government policies across many countries where their policies are completely disconnected from their realities, where Governments talk about learning online, but students absolutely have no access to computers.

We had a scenario in one of the countries where the Government then said, you have to write your exit examination from secondary school online.  It has to be a computer‑based test, but by the final year almost all of the students had not even seen a computer.  So a few weeks before the exams, they had to go to a public cafe to go on line to use a computer for the first time and then to write exams using computers in a few weeks.

So we have that challenge of the unconnected 40% that we must consider our developing policies.  The second is that while it's convenient to try to do what everyone else does in terms of fourth industrial revolution, STEM, all of that, policies must be grounded in the reality of national socioeconomic plans.  I say this because in many scenarios, universities produce graduates who literally are not fit to work in the countries.

So many of them end up picking up skills that only make them relevant when they emigrate, when they leave the countries.  We need a handshake between industry in that specific country and the academia?  What are the needs?  I had a chance to ask one of the Government institutions in Nigeria this question last week, what skills does Nigeria need in the next ten years?

Those skills should determine what the curriculum should be in universities.  We can't disconnect industry need on the ground from, you know, the curriculum.  The last thing I would like to say is that many of the solutions to the problem we have exist in many civil society and even private sector projects.

I think it's high time that many Governments took advantage of these projects as scaling opportunities, see the project that's have been done across the Global South as an opportunity, as a test of many of the solutions we are looking for and then we can then scale those solutions.

Many of the projects are able to reach just a few million.  But imagine if policy is able to shake hands with many of the sample projects that have delivered results, we can then see that skill on a very, very large scale.  I will pause here for now.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you so much, Mr. Gbenga Sesan.  I think you have highlighted once again the reality that COVID‑19 has brought the digital divide front and central to us, almost wherever we are actually.  This problem is not just in Africa in the underdeveloped south.  Even in Developed Countries in Switzerland, for instance, when everybody was caught up in the pandemic, even the teachers were complaining about not having the computer to work on, to help the children learn and submit home assignments and stuff.

So this is really a global problem.  And in a way COVID‑19 shook us to the grim reality, but great perspectives you have mentioned, absolutely essential there as well.  So we have come to the end of the first question in our structured discussion, and we are going to move on to actually one step further to how to facilitate exactly, and this is one of the things that we, many of the speakers have talked about.

How Governments adopt an approach that facilitates the adoption and use of new technologies in general?  So not just for students, not just for teachers but for all members of society.  How can we ensure that all citizens acquire the necessary skills to face new technology developments?  Let's not forget the elderly population, for instance, the decision advantaged and aging society such as China, for instance?  This is a great challenge.  And without much ado, let me give the floor to Ms. Carmen Ligia Valderrama once again for her intervention.  Madame, the mic is yours, please.

>> CARMEN LIGIA VALDERRAMA: From the perspective of Colombia, we cannot forget about three important things.  We need to work on connectivity, so we need to ensure connectivity all across our country, but we cannot forget about senior citizens.  We really need to make sure that senior citizens are able to use those systems.

We need to make sure that they are able to use the tools that are out there.  In Colombia we are doing our utmost to make sure that technology is used in our everyday lives, but we also want technology to make their lives easier.  And I would like to tell you about what we are doing in Colombia in terms of public policy in order to meet the specific needs of our society.

In Colombia we are implementing a number of projects addressed at many social groups.  So we work with women, we work with young people, the business community, and we also have a project that is intended for women who have not graduated or have not finished any schools.

So we intend to teach digital skills to people who have never been taught how to use technology.

>> MODERATOR: Okay, Madame Minister, I'm sorry to interrupt.  I have just been told I have three minutes left, so I do want to ‑‑ but we got the gist of your intervention and I do have one more question, so I will go straight to the last question., how would you define equitable employment conditions and where do you see major leverages for change?  If I may, let me give the opportunity to Mr. Thorsten Schafer‑Gumbel from GIZ Germany if you could in two minutes, please, sum up your answer, sir.

I'm so sorry about this.  Time is really limited.  I was told five minutes left.

>> THORSTEN SCHAFER-GUMBEL: (No English translation).

>> MODERATOR: Thank you so much, sir.  I haven't been able to get the translation on, but I'm sure our organizers will put out the translation of your intervention somehow digitally.  Thank you so much.  I'm sorry about the limited time you had.  You tried very much to join us.

I'm afraid I really have to leave it there.  This is the thing with this digital forum, right, you are not like we have a physical gathering you can just go on a little bit.  That's the reality, we all have to adapt, but I'm sure we all walk away with many new ideas and inspirations, so a warm round of applause whoever you are, wherever you can to all of our panelists and indeed I have learned a great deal, and thank you so much for the opportunity to host this panel as well.  I hope we do have this discussion in the near future.

Thank you very much!  Bye‑bye from Beijing.