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.
>> SONIA JORGE: Can I have the technical team supporters? So Sylvia is our co‑moderator online. Can you check to see if you can ‑‑ can you hear me now?
>> SYLVIA CADENA: I can hear you now. Wonderful.
>> SONIA JORGE: I want to make sure everyone can hear us, if you can see the chat, that will be great. All right. Thank you. Fantastic.
Let's restart again.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the main session of the policy network on meaningful access. It is a pleasure to be here with all of you, my name is Sonia Jorge, I'm the executive be director of the Alliance 4 Affordable Internet at the Web Foundation and my co‑moderator, is Sylvia Cadena from APNIC and she is online as many of you that were not able to travel to beautiful Katowice in Poland. We're happy to have many of us here physically today and many of you also online.
Our plan for this session is as follows: I will give you a small introduction on our policy network and the reason for why we started this work and also around the concept of meaningful access. We will have two keynotes, one with the chair of the IGF MAG, Anriette Asterhuysen, if she makes it. Another one with UNESCO, to my left, we will have three short dialogues on three of the themes that the policy network has been focusing on. Then we will have a closing with a colleague from UNDESA. That's an idea of the plan. My co‑moderator, Sylvia Cadena and I, we're going to share this task and we hope that the Internet and online world will cooperate to make everything very easy for us today and for all of you attending, not just here in person, but also around the world.
Let me start by first giving you a quick introduction of why meaningful access. Then we'll go into a couple of more details.
I want to first clarify before we go into the discussion that our policy network on meaningful access was constituted precisely to support the thinking around the very important theme to bring digital inclusion to the world, especially I would say focusing on the massive inequalities and exclusion that we see taking place at the Global South. The way we think about meaningful access is very clear, and I hope this will be clear for you all as well. Meaningful access is a combination of three key elements or ingredients, and that is affordable access, meaningful connectivity, and the social environment that supports and permits meaningful access to be possible. Affordable access is clear to all of you, about the cost that people have to pay to actually get a reliable connection to the Internet. Meaningful access is the combination of factors that includes the frequency of use, the type of data, the speed and the kind of device that people have access to really take full advantage of the Internet connectivity when they have the ability to pay for it.
The social environment refers to elements such as content, language, skills, capacity, and all of the complementary areas that are necessary to make sure that we can take full advantage of affordable, meaningful connectivity. The reason I am clarifying these right at the outset of our session is because for us, meaningful access is really the means to achieve and to be able to fully benefit from meaningful use. So once you have meaningful access, then you can fully benefit from the opportunity of digital development.
So with that in mind, the policy network was established really to look at this question and especially to look at some of the areas that have not been looked at in detail yet. There are many colleagues around the world, including many that you will hear today from our policy network, they are working in different areas of meaningful access. The UN Secretary‑General's envoy, the digital cooperation colleagues have been doing a lot of work, including with ITU and many partners on defining the connectivity measurement framework that looks at some of the issues that we already are more familiar with. Many of us, including ourselves at the Alliance 4 Affordable Internet take a close look with the ITU on affordability issues but as the policy network clearly identified, there are still gaps in trying to understand those social environment elements that are just as critical to make sure that meaningful access is a reality to everyone at the global level.
With that in mind, I want to first say thank you to everyone, all the members of the policy network on meaningful access and all partners that have joined and have supported the work of the policy network in the last four to five months and hopefully continuing into next year.
I also want to thank and acknowledge a contribution of many of the organizations that have already submitted submissions from our call to inputs for the report that will be provided by the policy network and to illustrate how we are thinking about these issues at IGF and those organizations include ICANN, the organization of states, the ITU Tech Envoy, UNESCO, APNIC, A4AI, IGF Italy, many individual members that have already submitted really wonderful contributions. We invite you to continue submitting them through the end of this month so that they can be integrated into the report that will be prepared by the policy network. Without further ado, I want to introduce our two keynote speakers. Let's start with Anriette Asterhuysen, who is a senior advisor for APC and their former Executive Director, but most importantly, right now as all know, Anriette Asterhuysen, chair of the MAG at IGF.
It is a pleasure to have you here. We have known each other for many years and you're an incredible advocate, very avid advocate for digital inclusion around the world. I also wanted to ask you today in your keynote to tell us a bit more about your leadership here at the MAG and why this idea of a policy network so you can contextualize the importance of the policy network on meaningful access this year at IGF and really your views on how we should continue.
>> ANRIETTE ASTERHUYSEN: Thanks, Sonia. I actually remember when I first met you, 1996 or 1997, Telecom!
>> SONIA JORGE: That tells you something about our age!
>> ANRIETTE ASTERHUYSEN: Thank you!
Thank you to Sonia, to everyone for being here. I think that access, the access provided, it is a topic we have been talking about at the IGF since the inception. In fact, the WSIS was inspired by this understanding that we need to collaborate as a global community to bridge this divide, yet we're not.
Of course, the numbers have changed, but the divide is still ‑‑ the lack of meaningful access, I really completely reinforce and support the definition presented. We're still so far away from that. What we needed, what I hope this policy network can achieve, it is to go beyond just looking at what needs to be done, because I think to a large degree we actually understand what needs to be done. We know we need dynamic approaches to Spectrum management and regulation, we know we need to empower local communities to connect themselves. We know we need to have regulation by our telecommunication sector to ensure that operators are fair and competitive and prices are not overly exploitive. We need know we have national solution, I'm looking at my MAG colleague from Georgia, at a national level, they have developer developed solutions to achieve access. I think we need to just not look at why do we not have the kind of access we want, we need to know ‑‑ need to look at what are the solutions we know work not being implemented across the board. We need to confront what the barriers are. Saying that, looking at the network, the Brazilian regulator has provided licenses to use television white space frequencies for community networks, access provision, the Argentina regulator came to the table, Mexico led the field with the social purpose license. We're beginning to see innovation and I think this network can consensus and strengthen that consensus, communicating the recommendations and I hope also can find ways of using the multistakeholder process of the IGF to have serious conversation as well about why what we know will work not actually happening. Is it financing that's the gap? Is it interest that's creating a barrier? I do think is it can play that role and hopefully really take a step further from consensus to actually implementation and also to monitoring and evaluating. That's why it is fantastic to sit here with this UNESCO team, the Universality Indicators give us a framework to actually on an evidence base begin to understand what the bottlenecks are.
>> SONIA JORGE: Thank you so much. Really excellent points. Very much to the core of the questions here of course.
You will see throughout the session today precisely how the policy network, looking at all of these questions that Anriette very well laid out, why we decided to look at three specific areas of interest that we also felt not only we could build on the work that's been done before, but really fill the gaps of what's not been done because I think even though a lot of consensus exists around what needs to be done, the reality is that there are no common frameworks that can be followed everywhere around the world. They have to be different, of course, for different regions. There is guidance that's very useful around meaningful access and the different elements of meaningful access. I think many of us in the network has worked in different parts of that, but the UNESCO team that's also led, with those indicators is one of those teams. They have focused tremendously on how to create the evidence to look at some of these questions that are actually the hardest to measure, especially around content, language, skills, and the kinds of things that outside of the real network there haven't been any common way of not only understanding of comparing and making recommendations of how different governments can address.
It is a pleasure to have you here, Marielza, you have presented to us before and it was so enlightening. Thank you for being here. Welcome. We look forward to hearing from you and your colleague on the amazing work that you and UNESCO are doing on the ROAM indicators.
Please to you.
>> MARILZA OLIVEIRA: Thank you, Sonia, thank you, Anriette. It is a great, great pleasure to be here with all these fantastic group that is working on meaningful access.
I think this is the meaningful policy network, you know, in all senses of the world let me go about presenting to you what the ROAM Framework is. How do we get the slides on, please?
UNESCO works on the free flow of ideas by word and image. For us, the Internet, it is not just the infrastructure, but it is actually more the interactions and the relationship that happens, the global marketplace of ideas, goods and services that exists. Of course, for us, you know, for all of us, the issue of inclusiveness in this global marketplace is critical element. It has been part of the discourse in the Internet from the very beginning. You know, we talk about the digital divide, you know, both of our colleagues here already mentioned the digital divides. The digital divides were always, you know in, the beginning, more in terms of infrastructure and connectivity than actually about how to really gain meaningful content, meaningful knowledge, meaningful information from the Internet.
For, you know, the issue of inclusiveness is there as well. We talk about accessible by all but not just about connectivity in terms of the infrastructure, but about being able to really benefit from the content that the Internet has to offer. For that, we look at the Human Rights framework, Freedom of Expression, the access to information elements of that framework and then say, you know, the Internet should be bringing us closer to realizing wellbeing for all, you know, for example, through the Sustainable Development Goals elements.
For us, you know, the key issue is to really look at how do we compile evidence that helps us measure whether this wellbeing is happening with inclusion on the Internet indeed in those frameworks and to compile the evidence that helps us to design the policies that help us move forward in those terms.
Let me talk about the ROAM Framework, which is a process that was a very participatory process to be developed, it happened in three stages. Phase 1, phase of research which we examined and searched, consulted a large group of stakeholders all around the world to identify what principles should be the principles that really enable us to benefit from the Internet and what kind of Internet we would like to build.
And then Phase 2, we're looking at how to measure and compile evidence to show us whether we're in the right direction and help to us develop policy in that sense.
And Phase 3, we really have tested and piloted and validated this framework so that we could say, yes, this work, that helps, you know, move us along. The ROAM Framework was born out of, you know, enormous consultative process. It was led by Anriette, who was, you know, part of this group here, one of the mothers of the ROAM framework, compiling 303 indicators in five categories and with different themes, contextual indicator, Human Rights, openness, accessibility, multistakeholder approach and crosscutting issues that helped us to understand the context in which people live in terms of digital ecosystems, how do digital ecosystems, truly Human Rights based, open, accessible by all and governed by multistakeholder participation.
I started with this contextual indicators because of course different systems depend on having population size, investment capacity, so on, government element, so on, and we have had various themes and I'll go through various ones, just to show you what they look like.
You know, on rights indicators for example, we start by looking whether ‑‑ there is a Human Rights framework in the country or in that particular location that really ‑‑ you know, regardless of whether it is online, offline, it is enabling the implementation and the practice of Human Rights.
Then we look at our very specific Human Rights that are meaningful and important for the Internet, Freedom of Expression, right to access to information, freedom of association, the right to privacy and participation and benefiting from social, economic, cultural rights.
Openness indicators are the same. We're looking at whether there is an open standard and an open market, open content being offered, open data and open government so that we can all benefit from the content of the Internet and share that in a meaningful way.
Accessibility to all is actually, you know, the same. We're looking at whether there is a regulatory framework that really enables and mandates access, you know, to everyone and we look at accessibility in terms of connectivity, in terms of affordability, the elements that Sonia have mentioned, whether it is mandated to have equal access that no one is left behind in that terms. Also in terms of availability of local content and language. Just on language for example, there are 7061 languages in usage around the world, but only less than 300 online, you know, actively used online.
Then you look at the capabilities and competencies, can people really understand and are able to use content that they find. Do the people who have access have the skills to benefit from that access? Those are the elements that we find absolutely meaningful.
Then on multistakeholder indicator, we look at whether the framework is consistent with international norms, you know such as the Human Rights frameworks and whether there is a mechanism for Internet Governance at local level as well as representation from that national level at regional and international level in which most stakeholder participation is nurtured and enabled.
Finally, we want to know whether there is gender equality, if children are safe, if the Internet is promoting Sustainable Development, if it is trustworthy and safe for people to benefit from it, to participate in it and whether legal and ethical aspects of the Internet are really taken care in terms of is information being manipulated, do we have, you know, elements without this information, you know, hate speech, SMEs, so on.
These are the elements we look at. Let me call on my colleague Xianhong Ho to tell you a little bit about how we got to that framework in the first place.
>> ZIANHONG HO: Thank you for giving me the floor and also I would like to thank our moderator for allowing for such a comprehensive presentation from UNESCO.
Actually I want to thank all of you in the room and online, UNESCO ROAM‑X indicator, principles, that's a product outcome from the entire IGF engaging with all of you for the past 15 years. So the unique strength of this instrument is to not only stop at the built for principles, defending international standards, but really to operationalize them to national level to contact a national assessment, to see the performance of the government, the performance of the private sector and all stakeholders while they are really respecting and advancing the Human Rights and other open standards of the Internet which you can really enable the whole Internet to be a public good, to benefit all of us.
The most transformative implementation strategy I want to highlight is a first step on the slide.
Each country to do this assessment is a first step, to create a multistakeholder advisory board and that's a wonderful experiment to trigger multistakeholder dialogue among governments and other actors to have this, the country needs this assessment, the country's policy needs such a transformative evidence‑base aid approach and then we're having so many countries embracing this framework. The latest one, it is from Germany, I carry a personal copy of German report, they have assessed 109 indicators to assess how Germany is going to advance all its digital ecosystem and as a leader in global governance of Digital Transformation. I recommend our website, to download all of those published report, all of the existing processes in 34 countries now and across 5 continents and we're also counting on more members and stakeholders to join to us assess the national Internet ecosystem by using our indicators. My colleague Marielza and I, our team is here to support you.
This slide shows you that despite the pandemic, the multistakeholder advisory board works very well through online or hybrid to trigger the discussion to guide the entire national assessment in all our countries assessed. I would also like to show you this slide, my favorite one, it is a country when they finalize the assessment to organize a national multistakeholder validation workshop. Very often it takes place on the occasions of a national IGF and also other national forums like Internet of society events rain other, it works well and fits in with the national digital discussion to trigger the discussion on the recommendations to actions that they're going to take to improve the policy after the assessment.
I'm very aware of time.
Internet and universality goes beyond Internet, it is all about the digital policy and also a path for UI, UNESCO just approved the AI recommendations so I call all of you to join our meeting tomorrow of the Dynamic Coalition at 9:30 in room 8.
>> SONIA JORGE: Thank you. This is wonderful to see. It is great to see so many countries started to do several assessments.
I want to take the opportunity to invite all of you here and online to join the session immediately after this one here today, another main session that will focus specifically on how we can achieve a multi‑lingual Internet content in different language, different languages around the world. It is absolutely essential for what we're looking at as meaningful access. We'll have a session dedicated to that immediately after this. I invite you to join us.
Thank you both for your presentation. It is wonderful. Really appreciate it. Stay with us, I'm sure there will be questions later.
I'm going to pass to my colleague Sylvia Cadena online comoderating with me to start the next phase of our session today.
Let me hear you. Let's make sure we can hear you okay.
>> SYLVIA CADENA: Hello. I hope you can hear me.
>> SONIA JORGE: We can. Maybe we could have the sound a little bit louder.
Technical team, please.
>> SYLVIA CADENA: Thank you. Greetings from Australia. Let the weirdness begin!
We'll have a dialogue with Anriette and Marielza, that's the first part of this conversation.
I'm Sylvia Cadena. I work with the APNIC Foundation here in Australia. I wish I was with you in Katowice, but hopefully things will start for us again in the ‑‑ to a certain degree in the future, to reach out as the IGF has done for a number of years of my life. I miss the opportunity to be with you over there.
So thank you very much for your initial remarks. I like the fact that both of you highlighted the importance of trying to find common grounds and methods to understand what we know and what we don't know and how those efforts around indicators in capturing evidence, in finding ways to analyze it will bring us to an understanding of what access means in the lives of people so that we can measure in a way how meaningful that experience is for those individuals.
With that, after this initial conversation with the two of you, we're going to have a couple of blocks of conversations with different speakers that are joining us remotely, some in Katowice, some others. So I hope that there is not much delay.
My first question, Anriette, is to you. I think you have to leave us very soon. I hope that you can stay at least for this initial conversation with Marielza.
You mentioned on the importance to try to figure out what we don't know, and we focus on ‑‑ focus on the intervention, you tried to raise our attention on what can we do to identify the structural barriers that have led us to the point where three years down the track, and we're still talking about some of the same issues that were part of the conversation at the beginning. It is true that we don't necessarily have to focus only on the services and applications that are online because there are a lot of people that are not connected yet. What would be your thoughts based on your experience and all of the discussions that you have seen around the IGF about those structural barriers. What do you think you have learned and what can you share with us today?
>> ANRIETTE ASTERHUYSEN: Thank you, Sylvia.
I was not expecting that. Maybe three things I would highlight.
The one, that's maybe the hardest one, but that we always have to consider that we're dealing with ‑‑ you know that access divides are rooted in social and economic divides and that structural inequality really underpins this divide.
And there is this phenomena that my colleague from ICT Africa captures well: There is a digital inequality paradox. One needs smartphones to be able to access, you know, really useful Internet applications. It means those that don't have the resources to access those or to have those devices are left behind.
You know, as we have the pandemic, people are using the Internet for education, then those that don't have the devices to be able to interact with the Internet in that way do not have access to education. In a sense, the more the tech universe offers people the bigger the gap and the greater the impact of the exclusion of those who cannot benefit from it.
When we think that as tech advances, becomes more cost effective the divide would grow smaller. It doesn't.
Secondly, the global community is not good at acknowledging there is not just one solution to a problem. I think what happened in our world, and sort of early 2000s, mid‑2000s, the mobile ‑‑ the rapid growth and mobile penetration and also the voices of mobile operators actually captured the access narrative. There was this kind of sigh of relief, access has been solved, we just have to wait for mobile coverage to get bigger and for people to have access to devices and that will be it, there will be no more divide. Of course, that's been removed but many policymaker, many donors did buy into that argument. I think what we see now is the results of data mobile usage leveling off although coverage is getting bigger.
I think thirdly, it is really just about ‑‑ it is about accepting the complexity, but also accepting the simplicity.
I think we have to have an access ecosystem, community networks are an important part of that.
Mobile data, mobile network, the role they play is an important part of that. Municipal networks are an important part, school nets are, public libraries, public access is an important part of that. We need to remember that access is automatically about people, and to get people to be able to benefit from this, you're going to need a complex different system of solutions that is context relevant and context sustainable. I think that is so important. I think that's why the current local access provision, which is really driven by regulators and financing institutions creating an enabling environment but driven from local communities themselves. That's why it is so powerful. It has that sustainability built into it has to be driven, local small business driven access, public access in schools, libraries, all of that has to be part of the solution. I think that's what we struggle with.
I think people like to have things simple, but they're not always ‑‑ but they can be, provided that you can get your head around the complexity and the diversity of the solutions.
>> SYLVIA CADENA: Thank you, Anriette. Those are very conducive to the question that I have for Marielza coming up.
I want to acknowledge that there is a question from the remote hub but I would appreciate if you could let Marielza react first and then we will open it up for questions. Okay.
So Marielza, in reaction to what Anriette has said, because building the complexity of the ROAM indicator framework, right, trying to measure and identify how many different elements, many different organizations, stakeholders involved in the process of bringing meaningful access to people, what is your experience in organizations that are looking at all of this framework and embracing the complexity of measuring so many things at the same time? What is your ‑‑ what are your insights in that sense about trying to map what we have done and what we will do?
>> MARIELZA OLIVEIRA: Thank you. That's a great question.
In my view, we're not actually measuring, you know such a diverse set of things. We actually are measuring one thing. We are looking at the diversity, the wonderful, beautiful diversity of the human family. You know, looking at how different people extract meaning from an environment in which they participate. What Anriette had said, it is absolutely true.
In the beginning, we concentrated on access, not necessarily meaningful access because simply access was the big issue. You know, it was the issue of the day, expanding the number of people who are online. Of course, when we started with this people online we have a homogeneous group of people online, they're upper class, well educated, they speak foreign languages such as English, they're able to participate in this ecosystem, you know, on a very simple way regardless of where they are.
When we start bringing in the diversity of the human family, you know, for this diversity, you need to have content in different languages, you have to have content, you have to have the diverse, you have to have the content available to make content meaningful to different people and you need content that responds to the needs of rural areas rather than just, you know, the urban areas, so on, so forth. That's when we start realizing that, you know, if we want people to actually, you know, benefit from this incredible, amazing resource that the Internet is, you know, the capabilities that it offers for us to construct true meaningful knowledge societies we actually have to enable their full participation on an equal basis and with everyone. We start realizing that women may not be participating so much simply because they're not the engineer, technicians, so on, so forth. That's when we ‑‑ when these issues come to play and then that's what these indicators are looking at. The complexity, the diversity of the human family which is one issue and how we divide many things.
>> SYLVIA CADENA: Thank you, Marielza. That's a very good positive way to explain the complexity versus simplicity that we face in these discussions.
With that, I will pass the microphone to the hub ‑‑ where was it ‑‑ sorry. I'm looking at the Bangladesh Remote Hub.
>> Am I audible?
>> SYLVIA CADENA: You are.
>> DHAKA BANGLADESH: Thank you so much. First of all, thank you for this beautiful session, the speaker, you are prominent and giving us a lot of ideas. Obviously this will help with the Sustainable Development Goals for sure, I had a concern: Can you enlighten me on meaningful access in remote areas and how can we make the Internet safer for teens and kids because as we know, there is so much phishing right now. Thank you.
>> SYLVIA CADENA: Thank you.
Marielza, Anriette, Sonia, which of you wants to answer that question?
>> SONIA JORGE: Let me start with a comment if that's okay.
Are there any other questions? I want to know how much time we need? Two more. Okay. We're running a bit late, we need to catch up.
Two things I want to say, great question, and indeed we're very concerned about rural areas and remote areas and the different dimensions really of the inequality that exists in the areas, just as Marielza was pointing out. All of the dimensions that the ROAM indicators cover.
I want to note ‑‑ I hope that you don't mind me doing an important plug here. We actually at the Alliance 4 Affordable Internet are doing the first global measurement report on meaningful connectivity so that the technical elements that support meaningful access. We will launch in January sharing information about the real urban gaps that exist around the world, precisely around the issue of meaningful connectivity. I urge you to stay tuned and look at that. I'm going to share some of that later on in another session. I wanted to point that out. It is an absolutely important task to do, to make that measurement, not because we want know what it is already there, most of us here in this room and our colleague online knows the realities of rural inequality and exclusion.
What I think we need to bring together is precisely what Anriette was saying, is can we make the solutions that we know work, or many of the solutions like community network, public access, the variety of public access solutions to become a reality in those areas and how can we make that happen through policy and regulatory action? That is what our policy network is really intending to motivate and incentivize policymakers to do. I'm really looking forward to that possibility for to us use this knowledge, our collective knowledge to guide those policymakers to go beyond what the data is showing us and starting to transform their frameworks to actually put these things in place so that it is not just in Mexico, in Brazil or in Kenya, but frankly in Bangladesh, where you are, I believe, and every other country where communities want their own community networks, their rural cooperative, whatever other kind of alternative mechanism of providing meaningful connectivity is there that can be supported. I think that's one of the critical tasks ahead.
Sylvia, I hope that answers the question. I'll pass it on back to you for the other questions.
>> ANRIETTE ASTERHUYSEN: Was the question about phishing? Cyber insecurity? I didn't catch the question? Is that what ‑‑ a safer Internet.
I want to respond very quickly to that.
I think that we know that abstinence did not work to prevent HIV. I think that by dealing with the potential harm that people might suffer, from having access to the Internet becoming victims of some crime or dis or misinformation we really have not going to solve the problem. The problem is empowered use, supported use and good law enforcement capacity, having governments take this issue of victims of cybercrime perhaps as seriously as they take their fear of people using social media during elections. That will solve that problem. It is a real problem. We have to take care of that. Let's not use that concern as a barrier to actually giving people first the power, the positive power of access and then we'll find solutions to the potential harm.
>> SONIA JORGE: Thank you for adding that. I missed that part of the question.
Sylvia, our colleagues would like to add a point. Can we do that?
>> SYLVIA CADENA: Yes. Yes. Just very short if possible.
>> MARIELZA OLIVEIRA: 30 seconds, to complement to that, I would say we truly have to look at the skills users have.
For us, you know, the media and information literacy of user, educating them on using media and information in a healthy, safe way is slight absolutely essential. We have mechanisms for that we invite you to UNESCO's website to find out how we can help with that.
>> ZIANHONG HO: May I add one last point on this access thing?
From the countries who have assessed the ROAM indicators for countries, there is a very strong call for having the Internet as a Human Rights to be legalized, to be protection, to be protected by law, to be prioritized by government as a very powerful way to really ensure equal access by rural people and People with Disabilities, vulnerable groups in a society.
>> SYLVIA CADENA: Thank you very much.
We will wrap now this initial first block to move to the dialogue of our own connectivity which is a good segue to some of the comments that we have received from the audience in the chat and also from the speakers in the room. Thank you very much to Anriette and Marielza and dear lady, I'm sorry, I don't have your name in my notes, for your interventions.
Now I would like to welcome Carlos Afonso and Jane Coffin.
Carlos, are you there? Can you activate your video so that IT support people can pin you? Yes.
>> SONIA JORGE: We see Carlos and Jane and you together. Go ahead.
>> SYLVIA CADENA: Carlos, if you don't mind, I will leave you to introduce yourself and Jane, the same so I don't have to read from long bios, I'm not very good at that.
I am absolutely delighted to have you here, you are extremely well‑versed experts on different sides of how we do this conversation around connectivity. Please start with your remarks, Carlos, and then followed by Jane and then we'll have a few questions.
For those in the audience that would like to ask questions around the connectivity conversation, please put them in and we'll see how we can fit them. Thank you.
>> CARLOS REY-MORENA: Thank you, Sylvia. Thank you, everyone.
It is a pleasure to be here. Sorry, my voice, it is clunky, I'm coming out of a big flu. It is a pleasure to be here. I wanted to support the work of the policy network which I believe is really great. Also to point out, it is really unfair to go after Anriette and Marielza and their amazing comments and interventions that they made. I really don't know what I can bring into this.
My name is Carlos Rey‑Moreno, I work with the APC, coleading local networks, working together with our partner for the last few years on creating and enabling an ecosystem for community networks in the Global South, working very closely with Jane, with ISOC, with many of you here, with Sonya, with Sylvia, many of you here in the panel and on the policy network.
At the moment, we're supporting 13 initiatives around 16 countries in the rural South which I guess gives us a unique perspective into some of the comments that you have been asking.
I guess the question that I thought I had to answer, it is what do you see as possible when communities are empowered to set and develop the connectivity experiences. I think that Anriette has already answer that had question. I had some notes here, and it starts with the slogan that's impossible is nothing, right! As much as traditional operators have contributed to closing the digital divide there are many places where simply they're unable to provide affordable connectivity or provide connectivity at all and therefore alternative solutions are required. Right. Communities around the world, especially the jurisdictions where the frameworks are conducive, having been doing this for some time now, having organized themselves to mean the communication needs, now we see communities deploying and operating all sorts of telecommunication networks from fiber, 5G networks in some places in the UK, wi‑fi, a common technology for them. Also pulling resources to provide their own router, towers, to communities learning and setting in place sustainability measures to pay the operator to run the services, the expenditures and allow the services to be many times cheaper than those offered by traditional operators. There are solutions there, as Anriette mentioned. We know what is working in places where the traditional models are not written. Right. We know what is missing, where there is all of those licensing framework, those ‑‑ the access to the mobile broadband Spectrum not used in rural areas and that should be served and we should continue to work on creating frameworks to share that Spectrum so communities are able to provide more wide broadband in areas where operators are not interested in going, it doesn't make sense for them to do so.
It is encouraging to see the ITU supporting with language, community networks in the recent couple of years, especially this year. Hopefully that helps creating more traction.
In relation to a meaningful connectivity conversation: I think, you know, by the communities providing themselves, serving their own ‑‑ solving their own problem, it is an element of meaningfulness, you know, going to the point of learning how all of this, but as Sonya, Marielza had mentioned, there are many other elements that are required and on this ‑‑ I guess this evolution in the conversation, it is also to make us think through what is beyond connectivity, the elements around ‑‑ not that we were not thinking about them, but right now many other institutions, many other people, many other stakeholders are starting to realize that the skills, devise, power, content, language, et cetera, are super important to connectivity, that connectivity was just an enabler. Of course, it does matter how connectivity is provided and the autonomy and agency of how the connectivity is provided does matter but those are the elements that are important to consider and even in the richness, the complexity that Marielza was putting ‑‑ the complexity of diversity, there is a lot of richness. In the initiatives we're working with, in the way that they're trying to provide access by themselves, the conversation is becoming richer and richer around who, how people get access to certain devices, which type of content is made available locally, what type of content is created locally, how that content is made available, you know, how ‑‑ there are many questions that are becoming really interesting as the conversation evolves, as the conversation ‑‑ as these initiatives that are really providing connectivity from the bottom up, from the communication needs of the communities are starting to engage more and more with these different technologies and infrastructure. The questions, the solution, they're becoming richer. I really hope that us as a policy network and really looking forward to read the feedback that we receive from the call that was put out because I think sometimes we're very disconnected.
One thing that Anriette was saying around how many people are still stuck on telecommunications being only something that monolithic operators were able to provide from submarine cables all the way to the last mile.
I think there is another disconnection. I think that disconnection, we're bridging it, community resources on the forefront of many policy discussions and whatnot. I think there is another front that is opening for us, and that we need to listen more and to be more present and to understand what meaningful access means for the communities. I think what Marielza has said was very important. I think not only connectivity was considered from that homogenous component of humanity but meaningfulness as well. I think as we go deeper on how connectivity is provided, meaningfulness is becoming also richer in its definition, more diverse. I think ‑‑ I really hope as a network we listen and I hope as a network we're able to capture all of the richness and incorporate that into recommendations so more communities are able to use ICTs for whatever purposes they feel they can become, you know, more autonomous.
Anyway, thank you.
>> SYLVIA CADENA: Thank you, Carlos.
There are a few questions on the chat if you don't mind to engage on the chat, Carlos, would be great.
Over to you, Jane if you would like to take the floor, please.
>> JANE COFFIN: Thank you. I'm sorry I can't be in Katowice, just looking across the screen, I'm looking at right now, talking to you, of course, over the interweb, it is a pleasure to be here.
I have been involved in this area for over 20 years, most recently I have interned at the Internet Society when I was there the last ten years, Internet exchange points and community network, local connectivity solutions working with a multiplicity diversity of actors, whether it is the United Nations, a local government, local chiefs, tribal communities, you really have to as Carlos said listen. You have got to figure out what the local circumstances are in order to help with local sustainability for local connectivity solutions. As some of the other speakers have mentioned, you need a diversity of options for connectivity. There is no one connectivity technical solution, there is no one human connectivity solution. We often would say when I was at the Internet Society the human nets are 85% of the challenge, building the human engineering to build an infrastructure and network because the technical side we have options, we have new transceivers and receivers, we have companies putting in submarine cables and new LEO system, we have transceivers helping you go with wi‑fi, agile mobile solutions, we have Spain deploying some solutions, Argentina, a network that I know the Internet Society worked with in a very remote Patagonia area, LTE, open base station, open standards, open connectivity, helped during the pandemic. It is those diversity of solutions, many different types of technologies and different local solutions that will help us to move forward.
I want to say it has been a challenge, I was asked whether I could answer the question of how we work to support of the community networks across the world and how we helped bringing in connectivity solutions and where some of the challenges were in doing that. This is also policy and regulatory. Anriette has mentioned it, Sonya alluded to it, you can't forget that the infrastructure isn't everywhere, we have to figure outweigh to work with policymakers and regulators and its data, we have to have open data, we have to have information out there, we have to have case studies so that people aren't afraid. Fear is one of the most debilitating aspects of changing regulations and policies to allow for that competition and the multiplicity of operators, whether it is a small municipal operator or a community network or a new 4G LTE network coming in, you have got to allow for more actors to come into the market. That fear factor is, again, going to bring more connectivity to more actors. And for connectivity to be meaningful, people have to have options and affordability.
Sonya alluded to reports in great data that's out there. It takes again a multiplicity of actor, there are lots of different dimensions to these solutions here. It is an integrated approach.
If COVID has shown us anything, it is not the Ministry of Communication, not just the regulatory body that knows how to regulate traditional networks, it is the Ministries of Education, it is the Ministries of Agriculture, it is a different community on the ground that can help us with those solutions but people need to talk to each other.
As Carlos indicated, we have to listen to each other.
If we aren't listening to some of those local solutions, we're going to ‑‑ it will take a lot longer to get connectivity rolled out to places we know people need connectivity. It is a fact that connectivity improves GDP, it is a fact it increases local, social inclusion, it provides more options. It is fact. If we don't have that ability to look at options, we're going to not be able to provide connectivity that is sustainable. As Anriette had mentioned, sustainability starts at that local level.
What's also very important about getting data out there, it is for people to take chance on change we have to change regulation on Spectrum, licensing and financing. Financing models have got to change. I know there is some really great solutions coming along. We have got to be able to take a chance and let the solutions grow out there.
I have been in many meetings, I want to thank so many, I have watched in the last four to five years UN agencies working more closely together. This is fabulous! They always have worked together, even so now, there is a regeneration of partnerships and again one thing I want to say that I have said in other meeting, partnerships are critical. You must not be the single point of failure as a partner, you have to work across different organizations from Civil Society to the technical community, the organizations that Sylvia works with, from foundations, regional Internet registries, so it is this integration and holistic attitude that's really going to move us forward and there are solutions out there. Carlos has worked on many of them himself, a former colleague of mine, still a partner will tell you about capacity building and where around the world people have solutions, Michuki.
We have to take a chance and change the regulatory, policy environments to allow that meaningful connectivity to be deployed for people and for them to find connectivity meaningful to them. For my mother, it is staying in touch with me. For doctors in remote areas, it is getting that data to a hospital so that somebody can help do an analysis. It is different things to different people. It is also as Carlos had mentioned, empowerment. When people are empowered at the local level, amazing things happen. We often call it the human chemical reaction when I see people in the same room, I had the pleasure of being in Nairobi several years ago working with Michuki, Carlos, other, we had a practical training on Spectrum, other complicated things which then was taken into the field and deployed in a rural area ‑‑ sorry, an urban area. A network was set up, but that was because people had come together to learn and work with each other and they took that knowledge and went to other countries and brought that to those countries and worked on those local solutions.
Please don't forget that infrastructure isn't everywhere, we need to unlock funding, only 1% of philanthropic organizations dedicate funding to infrastructure. So others talked about the importance of infrastructure, what it could do, I'm here to continue to push for infrastructure and to indicate that there are ways for the major operators that are important economic champions to work with a smaller network. There are ways to be creative on universal service funding, there are great reports out about that, we have to hit all of those high notes and work together and things have to change there.
Are ways to do that, Papua New Guinea is using universal service funding, Mexico changed licensing regime to allow social purpose licensing for indigenous communities for community networks, Argentina changed some of their rules and regs to allow for community networks in high mountain areas in Patagonia. Other cans do it. Kenya just changed licensing, that was with the FCDO and from the user‑centric, that was with APC, some colleagues from ISOC.
It does take integration and communities working together.
Thank you very much.
>> SYLVIA CADENA: My apologies to interrupt.
I'm trying to put messages on the chat for the speakers to remind them of the time. It seems that the technology is not helping us.
We could spend more time on this block. I think I'll pass on the microphone to Sonya so that she can drive us to the next block about inclusion, digital inclusion and we'll collect the questions from this block and put them on the end.
Thank you very much, Jane, Carlos, for your great contributions.
Over to you, Sonya.
>> SONIA JORGE: Thank you, Sylvia, Carlos, Jane, for great contributions. Lots of good examples. Now that we covered alternative connectivity solutions, looking at the networks, looking at infrastructure, what next? How do people use it? Do people have the skills? Are they included? I have the pleasure of having my wonderful colleague Nnenna Nwakanma, Chief Web Advocate from the Web Foundation and a MAG member, very active on the digital inclusion issues not only in Bolivia but the region to discuss this exact topic, how do we bring about resolutions that will really create and support inclusive societies? So I'm going to start with Roberto Zambrana to give us an example of the experience in Bolivia, especially because Bolivia is also a country where you have a very large percentage of the population that is indigenous, marginalized in many different ways. Give us your impressions on how in Bolivia you are addressing that and what are the solutions that you think may have been more successful that we need to consider moving forward?
>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA: Thank you very much, Sonya. Great to be here with all dear colleagues.
I think it is important to have a background of what we're trying to achieve in the policy network work.
Back in 2020 we proposed with a colleague of the MAG Karim Attoumani Mohamed Best Practice Forum in order to face the important issue of universal access, even before the pandemic. It was important for us to start work leading us to an organized session last year that we had the pleasure to come to you in the panel regarding connecting and enabling the remaining billions.
Finally, that took us to this stage, to the beginning of this year, to start our policy network and meaningful access. It is particularly important because this is the space where we can actually come up with different good experiences about policies that we're looking all over the world, particularly in the Global South and I think it is really relevant to take advantage of this kind of experience in order to apply some of them in our local realities. I think that's really, really important of this work.
There are some other example, of course, of different essential work that is using the IGF space that's pretty much successful. I think this format will allow us to have as I said before to have concrete policy solutions. For example, in our case, particularly during the pandemic, the good experience that we can think of was very similar to what Jane had said before, we actually received good news from the government and knowing that they were adjusting the framework, the regulatory framework in order to make it more flexible for operators of community networks in Bolivia.
This is important because as Sonya mentioned before, most of the ‑‑ a very good part of the population in Bolivia, particularly in the indigenous groups are living in rural areas and we have already critical divides and critical gaps in different areas, just clean water or sanitary services. But also during the pandemic, we also were affected regarding important things such as education, preventing many of our children, thousands of children from having proper educational process. That was a ‑‑ it was a very critical situation and we think that this kind of solutions that are going to take a while, that will start the processes, for inclusion, for fostering the inclusion, they need to be started immediately, they need ‑‑ we need to learn about different experiences and I think this network is a fantastic space for this.
>> SONIA JORGE: Thank you.
I think everyone knows Nnenna from the Internet ‑‑ if you don't, you do now! You are one of the strongest advocates for affordable, meaningful connectivity for digital rights around the world and overall for digital inclusion. Where do we stand, and from your perspective, what do we need to be concerned about and do to change the picture of inequality and exclusion that we currently have?
>> NNENNA NWAKANMA: Thank you. I'm Nnenna, coming from the Internet. It is good to listen to the panelists and I have taken 5 pages of notes for myself.
I would not add much to what's been said. It has been informative. Let me take maybe another approach, whatnot do since this is a policy network and I'm hoping that you can drive message back.
I was reading a study published by the Alliance of Affordable internet on the cost of digital divide. For those that do not know. I'm a she, a woman, I'm in West Africa, and I have been working from home before the pandemic hit. With the pandemic, what we found out, more work has been thrown on women as caregivers, unpaid work, as mothers who are mentoring children and as workers.
Permit me, for the 4 minutes I'll be speaking to speak on the gender digital divide.
The gender digital divide was assessed by Alliance 4 Affordable Internet in 32 low‑income countries. The rates show that we have lost 1 trillion‑dollars over ten years because these women are not meaningfully connected. What can we do? 428 billion‑dollars is what we need to get people connected but I want to talk to you about the policy framework at the Web Foundation, it is called reap act. Please look at my five fingers. REACT. REACT. For the next 4 minutes or 3, I'll be speaking about those. I won't be speaking what we have to do again, I'll be speaking about what we don't have to do.
So on rights, thank you, UNESCO! Please do not think that access to meaningful Internet is a luxury. Do not think you're doing women a favor by connecting them. Do not think that because we believe it is a right.
On education, yes, we want to equip ladies with skills, please do not leave the men and the patriarchal system out of the game. While we want to upskill the women, we need to train the men to understand that women can run IT companies effectively.
Thank you very much.
On access, it is not enough to access, you and I work on meaningful access. That means that having connectivity is not enough, but connectivity that allows you to be creative, that allows you to manage things, that is the kind of connectivity I have that allows me to work at the Worldwide Web Foundation with my colleagues all over.
Content is very important. So rights, education, access, content.
As policymakers, we cannot depend on private sector alone to create content in each language and the multi‑lingual panel that will come after this are a test to that. It is very important that those who are in Venezuela, those who speak their own language also benefit and because we create better when we create what resembles us. So let's not be thinking that content should only be in major UN languages. With all due respect to the UN, we the people, we speak more than six languages.
T, it is target. Once again, I'm speaking about rights, I'm speaking about education, I'm speaking about access, I'm speaking about content and now targets. You have a lot of this work that you do, but please it is not enough to say we have 90% coverage, it is enough to know that the people who are connected are really connected and to what detailed connectivity percentage we have. This is very important to me. It is not enough to say we have 100% coverage, we have 90% people who have SIM cards, no, it is not enough. We want to know who is connected, how useful it is, how much money is being made and how lives have been bettered.
Once again folks, someone like myself, what I would like to see is that Internet is my right, is that education includes not just men, not just women, but the men who live with them and then who has the work, who has access, but meaningful access, not just that we have content, but we have multi‑lingual content and not that we have just targets but meaningful accountable content targets.
Thank you very much.
>> SONIA JORGE: Thank you, Nnenna.
It is always inspiring to hear Nnenna and I'm so honored to work with her on a daily basis. I think you made the case very clearly, so did Roberto. Thank you.
We're short on time, I will fast quickly to Sylvia to go on to the last block of the third theme of dialogues, and we will be very efficient, to be very quick on the next 10‑minute block and then closing.
So thank you. Back to you. Thank you, Nnenna, Roberto. It was excellent!
>> SYLVIA CADENA: Thank you very much, Sonya.
The last block is around the discussions that the policy network has conducted this year. We're very privileged to have Michuki and Margaret to share their thoughts on the capacity building topics which is very close to my heart, something that APNIC Foundation supports. Over to you, you have 5 minutes, please have a look at your chat, I will tell you when that time is done.
>> MICHUKI MWANGI: Thank you, Sylvia.
Good day, everyone. I'm Senior Director of Internet Technology and Development of the Internet Society. I'm glad to be here today and to talk about something that I'm also equally passionate, and that we are passionate about on the Internet society.
We contribute to this conversation because the Internet Society we do prioritize extending the Internet to communities that do not have it and those that need it most. We concentrate on building the environment (poor audio quality, echoing).
We believe that the vision of the Internet is for everyone.
To start on this conversation, one of the things that we believe is that the local technical communities, the local people, they're really at the pillar of the development. We rely on them to provide technical ability to run the network infrastructure because without them it is very difficult to provide the reliable service and the affordable connection to the Internet. We believe that the Internet's strongest technical community that works well together (poor audio quality).
When we look at access ‑‑ access has many facets to it.
It starts from the physical component, we have talked about ‑‑ I believe Sonya mentioned some of this with costs, affordability, the choice or the option to select which network you want to connect to, the resiliency that's provided within the infrastructure, and also the relevance of the access in terms of what are the ‑‑ (Zoom technical issue).
>> SONIA JORGE: Sylvia, are you with us? We have just lost you all. Okay..
Let's just give them a couple of seconds. If the technical team can help us, we lost the connectivity with the online colleagues. We lost connectivity altogether.
Looks like the Internet is down. Also here in Poland, at IGF. Interesting.
I saw yesterday someone made a comment about how the Internet was being occupied in new and interesting ways.
Should we stop for a minute and wait for you? Shall we continue here? We can continue here and then when we regain connectivity that sounds good.
Well, I'm fortunate to have still many of our colleagues here, including Anriette in the audience, some colleagues had to leave and we also have Mr. Zhu that will come on stage and share with us, some closing remarks.
I will take advantage of inviting you, please. Mr. Zhu is the Director of Public Institutions and Digital Government at the DESA in the UN and, of course, a key element to make IGF possible, thank you so much for joining us at the end of this session.
I wanted to take advantage while waiting for our colleagues online to give the opportunity to anyone in the room that may ‑‑ (technical issue). ‑‑ most people with the skills to run a network, to understand how the network work, they prefer to be employed in another center or the city, (technical issue). We need to pay attention ‑‑ sorry.
Let me conclude with my last point. It is the previous point, I will conclude it by saying we need to have innovation and creative thinking and making sure that they're sustainable and everything else around it finally, developing the capacity of the local stakeholders, not just the ‑‑ (technical issues). ‑‑ not the usual elite, well exposed people that are coming from urban centers. They have a different approach to things. And they needed to ‑‑ they need to be looked at differently.
I would like to pause there. Sorry, Sylvia, for running over. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
>> SYLVIA CADENA: It is a horrible job to stop the flow of a conversation when you have so much to share.
Margaret, over to you.
>> MARGARET NYAMBURA NDUNGU: Here I will share my screen.
Again, thank you very much, Sylvia. I'm working with the policy and regulation initiative for digital Africa.
This is an initiative of the African Union, PRIDA, the European Union and the International Communication Union. To go into your question, what are we doing in PRIDA and the impacts that we're getting from our work.
First I will tell you that PRIDA has three main tracks: The first track focusing on broadband access that is supply and demand, that's been implemented by the ITU.
Then we have two tracks that we're implementing in the African Union Commission and that's harmonization of policy and regulations across the continent and then we're doing capacity building and that's why I am here. Capacity building within PRIDA, our focus is to ensure first of all we're creating structures at the national, regional, continental level and the second one is to ensure that we're building capacity and offering services to our diplomats to ensure that first of all we are participating in global processes and we are contextualizing standards and what's pending in the global space for our own interests. To show you how we work as PRIDA, in 2019, we came up with an implementation strategy after understanding what's in the content, what's the gaps in terms of capacity, what are the gaps in terms of our participation in global events and with that we came up with a strategy and is developed a workflow. We work with the conveners coming from the government, from the public sector, Internet community, from media, whatever stakeholder group and then we have the focal points and they're mainly from the ministry, either the Ministry of ICT, in most countries, those are the hosting ministries or regulators. The regional level, Africa, we have five regions, in each of the regions we have a regional convener. This regional convener, we're working with the communities and the idea, the School of IGS, they're in the ‑‑ they're in a virtual ‑‑ in a physical space: (Technical issue)
‑‑ what have we done so far, how are we implementing the work.
First of all, we emphasized 50/50 gender representation, as you will see, this has not been possible and I know it has been discussed in various forums, it is an area we must address. Again, what we do, it is diversity in age, we coorganize, we need them all, we need everyone in this digital space and it is through this kind of a mix that you're able to get ideas from all angles. Again, the idea, we're approaching these issues from different perspectives. What have we done so far at the implementation level? We come up with a curriculum with our material that is informed by DIPLO work, we have partnered with them and of course, it is informed by a training focused on train the trainer, it is interactive, we have group work, sessions, we ensure that we're working with national trainer, the whole idea is to ensure that we're contextualizing everything we're doing. We want to look at the global issues and at the same time we look at them, how are they effecting people at the local level, how does it work for you as a person. Again, we work with partners and collaborators coming from diverse fields, in most countries we implemented the School of IGs, ISOC is a key partner in all of this.
What is the status? In 2020, after the outbreak of COVID, we have supported nine countries to hold their first School of IGs with countries that had never had a School of IGs, so all of these countries, they had the School of IGs, diverse groups, age, gender, the like. Again, in 2021 we supported eight new countries to hold their first School of IGs.
Again, countries that have been in the field for long, like Nigeria, they came to us, they work together to have the School of IGs, again, we worked with Liberia, even after we supported them last year and we supported the West Africa School of IG, that had a number of people from ten different countries.
So far, we have trained a total we have had 23 training sessions.
You want to tell me the time is over.
>> SYLVIA CADENA: My apologies.
>> MARGERET NYAMBURA NDUNGU: Can I go through the two slides in terms of gender gap, you can see what we have there.
That in all the training, we have had 28% female presentation, that's an area we need to work on. In terms of certifications and you see only 26%, the reason being issues of connectivity that have been discussed in the past that people are only able to connect for the four days that we're able to provide the connectivity, an area that we really need to work on.
Again, in terms of sustainability, we have a poll of trainers we shall be using across the continent, in the coming year, that have been trained in terms of facilitation and they're ready to support us. Actually we have used them to support some of our schools of IG.
So what are the outcomes? First of all, curriculum experts, again, we have seen people contextualizing what we're training. That they're able to apply that in their livelihood. We have seen public sector participants, first of all, realizing that issues to do with Internet Governance they cut across, there is no way we can work in silos and that is work in progress. Again, realization that by the participants that in core governance we increase digital divide as crucials and as social inequities.
Challenges, I know the previous speakers spoke about them, we need to contextualize content that common people can relate to, that's a major challenge we need to deal with. We need to expand our net to ensure that other professionals are getting information, people from the judiciary, the medical profession, engineers to ensure that cables are not just cut because people do not understand and finally, usable broadband access.
Thank you! Over to you again!
>> SYLVIA CADENA: I'm very sorry. Thank you, Margaret.
I don't know what we're supposed to do. We were to have a conversation between dialogues. That's not going to work I don't think.
We have let the speakers provide their inputs, I think we'll change the Q&A part, there are a few questions in the chat room in other languages which I will require some assistance to manage.
I guess, you know, over to you to manage the questions and then we move to the last portion that we will moderate together and looking ahead if you don't mind, I guess that's a compromise we can do?
>> SYLVIA CADENA: That's fine. Sadly, we're going to have to make an executive decision. I don't think there is much time for ‑‑
>> SYLVIA CADENA: I can't hear the sound from the room.
>> SONIA JORGE: Can you hear the sound from the room now?
>> SYLVIA CADENA: On the Zoom call, we can ‑‑ now we can.
>> SONIA JORGE: Can you hear mow? Okay.
Because of time, we have very little time in, fact, our clock is showing as 1:32, we're going to have to cut very short.
I really want ‑‑ I want to first of all thank everyone that joined us today, this is such an important conversation, I hope you can continue the dialogue online, through the chat, in many different ways that you can reach out through the IGF. Please do that.
I want to make sure we use a couple of minutes at the end, more than the one minute that's left on the clock to not only welcome Mr. Zhu, Director of the Division of Public Institutions and Digital Government here with us, but also to thank him very much for your work and for everything that you're doing to make this IGF a wonderful event, you're the director in charge and you heard the discussion today. We're proud to be a part of the policy network and we want to welcome you to thank you and to hear from you what do you think, what have you learned, what do you think are your suggestions moving forward for this policy network? Thank you, Mr. Zhu.
>> JUWANG ZHU: Thank you.
Before my time runs out, I do the first thing first, that's to thank Anriette, you, Sylvia, Pedro, my colleague, all members for contributing to this wonderful policy network on meaningful access.
That done, I also want to say that this meaningful access is a great improvement over the ongoing conversation.
A lot of the ongoing conversation put emphasis on connectivity which is rightly so, but the emphasis is so much on the hardware part, we run the risk of losing the attention to the software part that is building literacy, building multilanguage content, meaningful content, and also building technical skills. That part for meaningful access, it is as important as the investment in the infrastructure.
I'm very much grateful for all of the volunteers who have joined this group and the membership of the group itself is an innovative think of the IGF, there was a suggestion this morning that IGF shut tap into resources outside of the IGF itself, and this group is an example of that direction. I hope that the membership will continue in the next phase, secondly, the message of the work is not trying to come up with other recommendations, focused on case studies, Best Practice, what we can do together to operationalize and to implement measures so that there is concrete progress in expending meaningful access.
In terms of outputs, I think that the group is innovative, you're not trying to come up with another report, but trying to come out with ideas on how we can do this together in the next phase.
The next phase in my view is not to be content with another set of recommendations, another conversation, but really trying to come up with a plan to make this concrete. Some of the members in the conversation have come up with a model and many of you know the Global Alliance is a unique partnership tapping into resources from the public, from the development aid sector, the private sector, relying on existing UN system and I think that the objective of meaningful access to the 34% of the global population is still without access and there is the commitment of resources and the commitment of capacity building and the use of the public and private sources in the partnership that is equal this and it is that important, I hope in the following conversation after this we would welcome you to work with us to make this a reality.
>> SONIA JORGE: Thank you so much, Mr. Zhu.
Really appreciate it. Appreciate your support and those really wonderful wise words moving forward.
I need to thank everyone and unfortunately we have to close and prepare for the next session.
I want to first thank my wonderful co‑moderator and Co‑Chair of the policy network, Sylvia Cadena, and also everyone in the secretariate for making this possible. It is really teamwork. Thank you, everyone. Please stay tuned, and don't leave the room or just leave for a little bit and come back for the next session on a multi‑lingual Internet. We are very proud to be here and to move this work forward and also thank you to the multistakeholder working group of the policy network, we are very honored to work with all of you and we look forward to seeing you in the next session and online.
Thank you, everyone. Thank you to all of the online participants. We very, very are happy that you joined us, thank you. Bye‑bye.