IGF 2021 – Day 2 – OF #30 WSIS Action Lines Achieving the SDGs: WSIS Forum 2022 OCP

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.



>> We all love in a digital world.  We all need it to be open and safe.  We all want to trust.

>> And to be trusted.

>> We all despise control.

>> And desire freedom.

>> We are all united. 

>> VLADIMIR STANKOVIC:  ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this regular WSIS forum, 2022, Open Consultation Process.  I'm Vladimir Stankovic, I will be moderating this session, I'm happy to be here with the co‑organizers of the WSIS forum.  So besides ITU, colleagues from UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD.  Before I move on with the presentation of the ongoing activities and plans for the future, this is WSIS forum 2022, I would like to invite my colleagues from UNDP and Minerva and Scarlett to share some comments with the audience and how are their organizations planning to contribute in working towards the WSIS forum 2022.  Minerva, go ahead.

>> MINERVA NOVERO-BELEC: Thank you so much, Vladimir and good morning, colleagues, good morning from New York, that is, greeting from where UNDP in New York.  It's such a pleasure to work closely were ITU, just UNCTAD, UNESCO, Joe from UNESCO, and with the past year’s meetings of this, at this point in the preparations for the WSIS forum, we try to give the most time to listening, from the community.  And how to shape and assure the WSIS forum is successful.  It's always been so each year.  One of the things we would really like to hear from you today is how we are seeing how our partners on the grounder really dealing with COVID response.  We see how a lot of people, governments have been using digital technologies, ICT's, to respond to the challenges of the pandemic.

There's now greater understanding, as we can see, of the role of technology.  And what we would like to hear from you also is how we can ensure that in the responses that we are automobile to support the building of local capacities, especially, for moving forward better, and also for how the efforts on the ground lead ‑‑ are contributing to the chest of the SDGs ‑‑ achievements of the SDGs, we have addressed a lot due to the impact of the pandemic.

You'll keep my greetings hope and more hopefully sessions in the coming hour.  So I gulf back the floor to you, Vladimir.   .

>> VLADIMIR STANKOVIC: We appreciate your efforts in moving the implementation forward.  I would like to invite Scarlett, our colleague from UNCTAD to share h statement.

>> SCARLETT FONDEUR GIL: I would like to welcome you to the Open Consultation Process for the WSIS forum.  As you may know, we are co‑facilitators of the e‑business action line, we have a particular interest in everything that has to do with the DCJIS toll economy.  We are looking forward, after these two years of pandemic to see what the stakeholders have to say about the impact of the past two years in their economy and how digitalization can help them recover and whether it has been a factor in resilience and who is being left out and who should be included in the recovery efforts.

I would like to know that during the time the WSIS forum will take place next year, we will be having an UNCTAD hour e‑commerce week, it will take place from 25 to 29 April, right in the middle of the WSIS forum 2022, and we would like to invite all the stakeholders to take part in this e‑commerce week, which with all look more in detail at the e‑commerce and digital economy implications for development and in particular we will be talking about data governance and digitalization for development.  So we welcome you to that.  And we also are eager to hear any inputs that the stakeholders will have over the coming months to make sure that the WSIS forum is relevant and useful for everyone going forward.  Thank you very much.

>> VLADIMIR STANKOVIC: Thank you, Scarlett.  Again, thank you, and all the colleagues at UNCTAD for leading facilitation of particular business section lines and contributing to the co‑organizing of the WSIS forum.  We are still waiting for our colleagues from UNESCO to join.  In the meanwhile, I would like to present the presentation on the ongoing plans.  I would like to invite the hosts to enable me to share the screen.

In the meanwhile, while we bought for my colleagues from IGF to allow me to share the screen, I would just like to inform all present here Todd that we have started and issued all the calls for the Open Consultation Process earlier this year.  We have already received lots of input and submissions, and nom for the OCP but for other relevant, ongoing calls.  Especially regarding the WSIS prizes and other special repositories you will be sharing more with you now.  So I hope that you all see the screen.

Okay, so once again, WSIS forum 2022.  This particular process has been led, coordinated, co‑organized by many agencies, as you can see on this screen, ITU, UNESCO, UNDP, UNCTAD, other agencies have been leading facilitating or supporting facilitatings, and the new ones are coming and joining this panel.  Some history of the WSIS process as it was announced in 1998 and proposed by the member state at the conference, the two‑phase Summit was held in 2003 and 2005.  This is basically the structure, the bottom of ‑‑ bottom line of what we are all here for today.

In 2005 we were given the mandate but the United Nations general assembly to work on the establishment of the WSIS lines, and we have been given a positive review by the United Nations general seam blue and second mandate until 2025.

This was the year, as you may know, when the new sustainable development agenda of United Nations was established and launched, the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, and it was very timely for the align its business section lines with the SDG.  Everything we do is collecting information how it's advancing the 17 SDGs.

Since 2009 the business process also witnessed the launch of the WSIS forum, annual events have been held since 2009, and as Scarlett mentioned, next WSIS forum is planned to start on 15th of March with a final week for 30th of May to 3rd of June.

We look forward to the next year and beyond that towards 2025.  This is forum and WSIS process has been growing but the increased number of stakeholders and all those are contributing greatly.  We all appreciate and would like to use this opportunity to thank our many contributions that were provided to us by various stakeholders.  As I mentioned, all the action lines have been linked to the sustainable action goals, this has been done by the group of experts from the United Nations, and each of the WSIS Action Lines have been linked to the SDGs.  We invite you to check for full details on the dedicated web page.

ITU, let me share on behalf of ITU, has been contributing to the WSIS implementation since the very beginning and the new ITU to outcomes has been launched and carefully prepared with all the activities that colleagues from ITU and activities and processes contributed are available online for you to review.

Also, they are available for your particular attention, the so now going back to the annual event, the WSIS forum 2022.

As you see on the screen, and due to the ongoing challenging times, we have been running WSIS forum virtually since 2020 and 2021.  We are hoping to have a part of the WSIS forum in a hybrid format similar to what you're witnessing here at the IGF.  We are yet to announce the full details of how we will continue in this hybrid format.  But so that you know, prior to this format, we were holding the WSIS forum in a format of 150 physical sessions, workshops, high level events that were all done in the course of one week.

However, now, since we have to be usually the virtual platform in order for us to reach out to all regions and to accommodate all the requests to hold workshops and sessions, we will be ‑‑ we have been planning and implementing the WSIS forum in a longer period, as this will be followed in 2022, we will start the WSIS forum on the 15th of March with a final week, as I mentioned, 30th of May to 3rd of June.

The Open Consultation Process with the WSIS forum is inclusive and crowd sourced, multi‑stakeholder approach.  We invite everyone, all of you to contribute to this shopping of the program and agenda, of the WSIS forum, this is done through the OCP, the launch was done 9th of August, Todd we are having the first meeting where we are updating the community on the ongoing plans and activities.

The next fades, phase III, the second meeting will be held on 31st of January, also virtually.

For more information, we invite you to follow the WSIS forum, 2022 website.

All submissions are to be submitted online, that you are carefully reviewed and taken into account, we will come back to you before the deadline, after the deadline, 7th of March, when we collect all the input and start shaping the program and agenda of the forum, thanks to your submissions.

So, please, I invite you to join this opportunity and share your proposals for workshops, for virtual exhibitions, for speakers.  Also, if you would like to be one of the high-level facilitators, do not miss this opportunity.  One of the major parts of the WSIS forum is the how level track, which consists of numerous high level policy sessions, ministerial round table and high‑level dialogues.

We will be inform exploring about topics of the high‑level dialogues later, in the course the OCP, and we invite all of you to join the high‑level track, and the ministerial round table is a closed meeting for the governments.

The open call for the high-level track facilitators is ongoing, we do invite all of you to nominate yourself or those you believe can handle the moderation of the high‑level tracks.

This is something that we have been running since the very beginning of the how‑level track and very proud to present the diverse community of how‑level track facilitators, from different regions, gender balanced, and from different stakeholders.  Please use this opportunity to explore and nominate those that you believe can be taken into account for the next high‑level track facilitators of the WSIS forum 2022, another call launched in September was the, it is given and coordinated but ITU since 2000 an international repository of the good work of ‑‑ good ICT work improving lives around the world, impacting economic, social environmental development.  Implementing the lines, helping the sustainable goals, visit the WSIS stocktaking and learn about the previous   reports and reporting.

  Some of the stocktaking reports is launched last year, and success stories are designed for finding in champion prize of the business contest.  We'll tell you more about it later.

Another important stocktaking repository launched in April 2020 is on the COVID‑19, and finally, we have been working with other new repositories that I will be briefing you on later.  The photo contest, we invited all of you to submit and promote this contest to collect the pictures from the ground, photos that are depicting how ICTs are making impact on the ground.  Deadline, 7th of March.  WSIS prizes 2022 call is also ongoing, please take a good note of the deadline, 21st of January, we are entering the last phase of the submission phase, as we are entering also holiday season in some parts of the world.

You may want to plan to book your calendar to make effort to submit to this global prize.  Last year we reached a record number of submissions, more than 1,260.  So, it's been greatly appreciated but the community.  We do invite you to consider promoting the good ICT work.  Your ICT work and others that you believe should be promoted.

This is to be done online at the WSIS prizes is website, and following the submission phase, 21st of January, we will be selecting and group will be nominating 360 submissions.

This 360 will consist of 20 most relevant submissions under the age of 18, and then we will provide opportunity to the public to cast their votes in the online voting phase.  Which is to take place throughout the month of March.  The group will be deciding who will be the winner among the top five most voted projects.  The rest of the runner‑ups will be considered champions.

This innovation has been done, of course, due to the correspondence and proposals from the stakeholders that not only winners are awarded, but also champions, and the new development is that we no longer nominate all the valid submissions received, but only 360.  So we are also promoting and celebrating the 360 nominees.

This is to help the community to be able to review care flu and cast votes to be able to digest all the projects equally before the select their favorites.

Some of the special tracks that have emerged during the WSIS forum since its very beginning and some of the new ones are listed in the following presentation slide, and I would like to move on and present them in more details.  But just to name ICT and youth, ICT and gender mainstreaming, me searching technologies for sustainable development, ICTs for well‑being, happiness and peace.  ICTs and accessibility for persons with disabilities and specific needs.  ICTs and older persons, cybersecurity, the new ones we will introduce this year, its and indigenous peoples and cultures, ICTs for developing countries, and ICTs for industry 4 pow 0.

The ICTs and older persons track has been established in 2020, and due to the high interest from the community, we have been growing this track tremendously with the support of various stakeholders, including the global coalition on aging, with whom we have held the hackathon last year on the topic aging well with ICTs.  Also with this partner and other stakeholders, we have launched the special prize, business forum, health innovation aging prize.

The outcomes of this special track have also taken part in various interventions, policy‑making decisions, one of them notably United Nations Secretary General report.

As you mentioned, as part of this success at the WSIS forum and this special track, not only that, as part of the United Nations and WHO decade on healthy aging, the ITU has also decided to celebrate during its world telecommunication Information Society day on the 17th of May in 2022.  Also, the year of older persons.  We do invite you to not only contribute to this special track, but also to be part and take part in this global celebration of ITU's Burt day and the world telecommunication and society Dade.

The accessibility track established in 2019, we have launched the WSIS accessibility day.  However, this community has been working with the WSIS forum since its very beginning in 2009.  We have been growing the community and the number of sessions each year have been growing and have enhanced.  Some of them also having full accessibility ‑‑ accessible options, including the sign language.  We have recently celebrated the international day of accessibility, and this was held and celebrated through the WSIS talks.  I invite you all to explore and learn more from the session that was held on the 3rd of December and available at the WSIS forum 2022 website.

The new session and track, the new special track we are working with, colleagues from UNESCO and other stakeholders, on indigenous languages.  We are planning to hold a particular activity, including the special prize on ICTs for preserving and revitalizing and preserving indigenous languages and looking forward to launching a hackathon that will also help this particular cause.  For more information on this, please stay tuned and follow the WSIS social media channels, and also the WSIS forum website.

If you have not signed up yes, sir for the WSIS newsletter, please do so.  This is the way how you can be informed about ongoing activities.

As I mentioned, one of the new things that we have started since 2017 is the WSIS talks, prior to that we have been working closely with the local Geneva TED talks.  The WSIS talks were launched, and we are witnessing great inspiration stories from the ground from the WSIS community each year now.  Going beyond the WSIS forum where the WSIS talks were held, the WSIS talks now are taking place virtually beyond the WSIS forum, so this year we have launched the fourth season with six episodes that already took place in September.  They are all available, the recordings, and description, the list of speakers on the WSIS forum 2022 website.

This is forum hackathons, as I mentioned, we are looking forward to the hackathon together with our colleagues from UNESCO on ICTs for indigenous languages, we have launched the decade of indigenous languages, and we would love to contribute and invite all of you to contribute to this decade launched by UNESCO, and one of the activities that we'll be contributing to this is the hackathon next year at the WSIS forum where we will be linking the global action plan for making the decade for action for indigenous languages.  Action lines and SDGs.  Another hackathon WSIS forum is working with, designing a sustainable future with ICTs, together with our partners with telecommunication and digital government, the authority from the United Emirates, we do invite you to learn more about them at the website.  We will be promoting the outcomes of both hackathons throughout the WSIS forum 2022.

The work of the U.N. regional commissions is very important for the implementation of WSIS at the regional level, and annual meetings are held at the WSIS forum.  The chair of the WSIS regional commission group is currently the U.N. escort, and we do invite you to join the Arab high-level forum and conferences, the digital development and cooperation that will be organized but colleagues from UNESCO from 13 to 23 of December.  This is a particular forum that with all gather all the regional stakeholders to discuss the implementation of WSIS at the regional level.  There will be a particular WSIS section called action lines for achieving SDGs at 1:00 p.m. central European time.  For more information, please visit the WSIS forum website.


United Nations group on Information Society has been an important part of the WSIS process, has been launched in 2003 and 2005 phases, and consists of 31 members, that have jointly coordinated, coordinating the activities and commitments to the WSIS Action Lines.  And for the sustainable development goals processes.  The current chair is UNESCO, vice‑chairs are ITU, just UNCTAD, UNDP and UNESCWA.

Partnership on measuring ICTs for development is  ‑‑ has been launched in Tucson 4 to improve the availability and quality of ICT data and indicators, particularly in developing countries.  And the current steering committee is made up of ITU, UNCTAD and UIS.  The new report has been launched 2021.

Special initiatives and products are activities that are ongoing for the support of several special tracks at WSIS forum 2022 definitely.  But this is ongoing activity based on proposals from the stakeholders.

So I would like to briefly present to you some of them that have been fruitful.  One of them is the WSIS stocktaking repository of women in technology.  Using the WSIS stocktaking system for collecting information, we have worked together with stakeholders to launch this particular and very needed international repository to collect all those women experts in ICT to join this repository, and by joining this, the opportunity for many of those looking for speakers or experts to join their activities that are looking for gender balance participation.

This is a new repository, we invite all of you to nominate those women in tech who you believe should be promoted through the WSIS process, through the WSIS stocktaking and be contacted by those in need.

Another part of this special initiative on the gender mainstreaming is the gender digital transformation partner we are looking for.  Please, if you would like to contribute and support our activity, to also make the challenges of the WSIS forum of 50/50 gender equal participation, please join us and contact WSIS team at ITU.

WSIS youth campaigns have been proposed at the WSIS forum 2021 and the WSIS youth campaigners have been nominated.  They are soon to launch officially the WSIS youth campaigns that we will cover the three topics, ICTs and climate change, ICTs and youth empowerment and ICTs and business.  Our young colleagues who have been a part of the WSIS forum, and WSIS process in the past were nominated to lead at least three ‑‑ the coordination of these three WSIS campaigns, I invite you all to join us, follow the developments and join the WSIS youth campaigns, it is very important that we provide this opportunity to amplify the voice of the youth in the international development.  This particular activity will enhance the ICTs and youth special track at the WSIS forum, and it will be an opportunity for all the youth to network and also meet with other WSIS stakeholders, participants, but beyond this kind of age limitations.

We are also planning to hold several different activities with the ICTs and older persons track, to also work together with ICTs and gender mainstreaming.  So please follow us for more information.

WSIS forum has been an event since 2009.  Everything that took place at the WSIS forum is to be sent to those who have contributed to the WSIS fund and trust.  We would like to inform and invite all of you to promote this opportunity for those who are looking forward to contributing to the good use of ICT for development and to the improved process of the WSIS process and WSIS forum.  We are available on the ITU website.  We do invite you to explore for more information.

This is, again, a reminder of the ongoing calls.  So once again, please take note, contribute, promote our WSIS prize calls, Open Consultation Process calls, stocktaking calls for the women in technology, for indigenous languages, for healthy aging innovation prize, which has been launched, all the ongoing calls, of course are inviting all of you to not only contribute, but share this information on your websites and social media channels.  Contact us for more information.  The deadline for most of our calls is 7th of March, but make sure to note that the deadline for the WSIS prizes is scheduled for the 21st of January.

As I mentioned many times throughout this presentation, we invite you to follow the WSIS at the WSIS social media channels.  We have been very active on Facebook, on Twitter, LinkedIn, we are reviving the group on Instagram, and we have the newsletter called the WSIS Flash.  Which you are invited to subscribe.  This is the end of the presentation we have prepared for you for the first open meeting of the Open Consultation Process, please note the relevant links to more information about the history of WSIS process, about the ongoing WSIS forum, activities, and particularly also on the WSIS prizes and stocktaking and the SDGs websites.  I would like to now open the floor and see first whether we have Joe.  Okay, our colleagues from UNESCO, has joined us.  Joe, we would like to hear a bit from you on behalf of UNESCO.

>> JOE HIRONAKA: Thank you, Vladimir, that was informative, and thank you to those of you who have joined this call via recording.  The WSIS forum is addressing tracks that fill the space of.  Here at the IGF and The Big Picture, our own progress and trust building around ICT.  It's important, obviously.  That's why we feel about the record number of participants we had last year and the year before.  Stating the obvious to those who have worked with Vladimir and Scarlett and Minerva.  Obviously, of course, it's remarkable people.  My point is that the WSIS process is being built year but year, by people and it's also about the institution, the WSIS process for building trust around (?) there are things I would add about the forum, although Vladimir captured it very well.

This coming new year's day will mark the start of the United Nations international decade for indigenous languages.  There are 7,000 languages being spoken, there are 200 or less on Facebook, which is the most among social media platforms.  Wikipedia, 200.  This is despite some estimates that as many as 4,000 languages can be understood.  Vat Mir and UNESCO, all my colleagues here, I would like to dedicate a WSIS special prize around ICT for indigenous languages, and to organize a WSIS hackathon on that.

At this time, we do not have prize money or sponsors, but we are looking.  If this interests you, please look for us.  And we are looking to, as well, get the word out.  Some of you out there cannot already safeguard indigenous languages or even make indigenous languages survive and preserve them on the Internet.  The last point, UNESCO's 192 member states just a week ago adopted a resolution on plus 20, the governmental review process in 2025.  I understand that UNESCO's the first agency to do this.  Others will soon follow.  What some of you may remember, in 2015, fresh in your minds, what UNESCO's Secretary has been doing this time is to work closely with the WSIS core.  To ramp up stocktaking process, the Open Consultation Process may be a good place to start with multi‑stakeholder dialogue, the challenges and opportunities within WSIS Action Lines.  And this multi‑stakeholder, the change will feed into all our Member States as we approach the 2025 reviews.  Indigenous languages, hackathon and WSIS action lanes.  OCP is part of the process leading to 2025.  Thank you so much for your kind attention.

>> VLADIMIR STANKOVIC: Thank you, Joe, very much, great to have you with us.  We were hoping you will be able to finally join us.  And contributing to the particular activities of UNESCO, including the new resolution on WSIS Plus 20.  Hopefully we will hear more from UNESCO and the other agencies in the coming years.  We have used this opportunity to present to you from the side of the organizers of the WSIS forum 2022 the ongoing activities, plans, to promote the cause for their action.

I would like to open the floor, you can use ‑‑ you can send your questions in chat, and I would like to read some of them.  Thank you, Mark Carvell, for your message and question.  I see that your concern is to explore more linkages with the IGF activities with the WSIS forum and the questions Mark has race raised, can some space be provided in the 2022 program for intersessional programs by Dynamic Coalitions, Mark Policy Advisor DC‑SISS on security standards and the IGF policy networks on environment and the IGF best practice forums.  If they wish to present their progress to the WSIS forum.  Thank you, Mark, again, for being with us today, for sharing your concern and raising this question.  As I mentioned very early, WSIS forum is fully crowd sourced platform, and its agenda and program are shaped by your proposals, all stakeholder's proposals and suggestions, so we invite you and your colleagues to already submit to the Open Consultation Process the on line forum is available online, take it upon and submit to your proposal for not only one of the offered formats at the WSIS forum, but also propose a new format of the session you believe will be beneficial for you and your community.  We would love to work more with you, of course.

Also we have a question from Aswenie Satour.

>> Audience:    Thank you very much for your message.

Just appreciating the presentation and looking forward to be working with us, and we do look forward to seeing you at the WSIS forum, not only you but many other of your colleagues from your communities and networks, please, we invite all of you to be a voice of the WSIS forum with your networks and communities, promote these opportunities, many of those joining us lately are saying that they have been missing this opportunity for the global promotion and networking with numerous experts, decision‑makers in the ICT field, and as much as, you know, we are putting all the effort through communicating on social media and the website, I believe the best ambassadors are those participants with who have participated and sharing and promoting their participation to their communities.

One question from the room in Katowice.  I would like to ask our colleagues from IGF to share the question with us.

>> Thank you very much.


>> Audience: I'm from Tanzania.  I had just a few quick comments.  My first reaction is to UNCTAD, with regards to e‑commerce.  E‑commerce is particularly very important.  However, when you come to developing countries, I just wanted to understand, what is UNCTAD's strategy in promoting e‑commerce in developing countries, where digital skills, digital literacy is low, we yet lack meaningful connectivity.  Access to the internet, connectivity, price of the mobiles, price of the data, et cetera, but also I wanted to find out when you're talking about repository of women in tech, is it just women who are in ICT, or does it also include maybe perhaps academia, but those women who are pushing for policy reforms, for example, parliamentarians and policy‑makers and the like, does that include them, and then the issue of achieving 50/50 gender in the WSIS process, I think it's important to make sure that we can have ‑‑ we can make the internet be safe for everybody because it's a well‑known fact a lot of women endure a lot of online abuse, whether they're business, women traders, women parliamentarians, how does that also come into play.

Lastly, we in Tanzania, we have a small hub called the mocha hub in the peripheral regions, and we are trying to bring in ICT and all the people.  ICT being linked to climate change and agricultural sector.  What are the opportunities within this community to provide capacity building and digital tools, et cetera? Thank you.

>> VLADIMIR STANKOVIC: The first question raised to Minerva, was it Scarlett, I'm sorry.  Scarlett.  The question on e‑commerce.  Like to address it.

>> SCARLETT FONDEUR GIL: Thank you.  Regarding UNCTAD's strategy, as you say, we don't have a strategy coming to the countries.  We are an organization that works based on the demand of our Member States.  So we do get quite a bit of request to help countries draft policies, assess current policies or plan for future policies to promote e‑commerce and the digital economy.  We do have frameworks that are available, technical assistance programs that are available.  I'm going to post a link to our main page of the program, visit the e‑commerce and digital economy program if you want to get more details, in terms of e‑commerce itself, we have a program called e‑trade readiness assessments where after requests from a country will go in and look at the key policy areas that influence and enabling environment for e‑commerce, that includes those issues you have mentioned, digital skills, what is the infrastructure, in the country, what is the access from different groups, what is the legislation that is framing that digital environment for trade, and in each indicate, as you know, each country is its own world, in each case, we assess how developed or not are these areas and how the country could encourage further development of e‑commerce and the digital economy.

It's never an isolated strategy or policy recommendation, it is always in the context of the broader vision of the country terms of digital development.  It does not only look at the economic issue or the trade issue, but it looks at how can it support the broader development agenda in each country.  So it's actually quite a lot to talk about and could take a very long time.  I invite you to look further into our web page to look what programs we have available and what frameworks we have already available as framework documents or reference documents for all the stakeholders, not only for the National official authorities, but also other private stakeholders or ‑‑ organizations that are present in the country or in the region.  I hope that answered your question.  Thank you.

>> VLADIMIR STANKOVIC: Thank you, Scarlett, thank you for this question.  Colleague from Tanzania, you have touched upon several very important issues and aspects, to which all those who came together in 2003 and 2005 have thought through.  Of course, you know, the technology has been changed and developed tremendously since then, and many of the things have perhaps improved.  Some of things are also having more challenges than before, but this is something that we are all discussing and working together at the WSIS forum on an annual basis.

Going back to your particular questions on women and tech repository, everything we do is linked to the information and communication technologies, which are, these days, really covering almost all aspects of life.

Even though some people, let's say, as the data shows, more than 1/3 are yet to be connected to internet, we are considering them our stakeholders and most important stakeholders, we need to get together to discuss how can they be connected.

Same thing with your question on whether we can have maybe not particular ICT experts, but the experts in making policies.  One of the WSIS Action Lines actually is covering all about regulation, policy‑making laws, called enabling environment.

So I would definitely invite you to explore the background of this WSIS Action Line and other activities that have taken place.  This particular action line is collecting all the good ICT policies put in place on international, and national level and many of stakeholders who are actively contributing to this implementation of this action line.  International telecommunication is the lead facilitator of this WSIS Action Line, and our colleagues from the development sector who are running the issues of regulatory framework in the ICT field are someone who are contributing each year to this process and also hosting events at the WSIS forum.

In addition to this, you have mentioned the challenge that we are all up for, 50/50, gender equality, not only WSIS forum, all panels, all sessions, is definitely something that we have been working since 2009.  As much as we are promoting and inviting the community, it's always the community that needs to respond.

At the same time, you are asking how secure this space is, and what are we working towards this, you should also know one of the WSIS Action Lines is called building confidence and security in the use of ICTs.  Again, those people in 2005 have really put their minds to when they're discussing the 18 WSIS action lanes so they can cover all action lines and what could be the challenges in the future.

We are holding regular sessions at the WSIS forum and beyond.  One of the special tracks that has been taking place at the WSIS forum is called cybersecurity.  ITU is the lead facilitator for this WSIS Action Line as swell, besides the one on enabling environment and information and communication infrastructure.

I do invite you to browse through WSIS forum web sites for each year, look into agenda, type in the key words, see what has been done and to make a point to your question, again, to remind you, everything that takes place at the WSIS forum is being proposed by the stakeholders, so by you in your community.  You go to the OCP, you submit and say this is who we are, and this is what we are interested in.

So your topics on the hub you are having and your activities, we would love to see you present, organize a workshop, bring your community, share your concerns, and then at the same time, see how you can also benefit from   special track on older persons or special track on climate change or agriculture.  As I mentioned, we are running a special track on older persons at the WSIS forum, with different to sees with whom you can work with, you can benefit from joining many of their sessions.  Capacity building related.

You can contribute to these tracks.  One of the WSIS youth is on climate action.  One of the WSIS Action Lines is called environment.  It's what is being dealt with.  Another action line called e‑agriculture is covering the topic of agriculture, digital agriculture, we are currently working together with our colleagues from FAO.  I am just coming from the session where we are listening to some of the pitching visit the solutions to the FAO global challenges that we are contributing to and who with all also be presented at the WSIS forum 2022 and one of the special initiatives that is being currently shaped is called ICTs against hunger.  We are yet to announce the dolls about this, but you should know ‑‑ details about this, but in 2018 we have hosted the special hack‑a‑thon against hunger together with the FAO colleagues and other stakeholders, there are things that are already there, things we can shape together or you can lead, coordinating and shaping, some of these things, for some communities are already known, perhaps most are yet to be understood and replicated.  We do invite you to look into various outcomes, reports, publications for more information.

All that we do at the WSIS forum has been well recorded.  So each session, there is a recording online, on a dedicated web page of the session.  To again give a point of how can we increase this capacity building, the last year and a half has shown that ICTs are indispensable in getting us together, still connected, working together.  So, yes, we have been having participants do the visual formats.  The 3,000 participants have turned into last year 50,000 cumulative attendance, which is really huge difference.  Why the community around the world has not used all that's available, remote participation at the WSIS forum sessions, which, you know, has been handled by ITU and which ITU is one of the best examples in the past and in the last year and a half, is something that now is to be analyzed and understood, but most likely the future will be in a more hybrid format following the challenging times.

So there will be more space for capacity building at the WSIS forum virtually for all those who cannot join us physically in Geneva.

I hope I responded back to our colleague from Tanzania, I invite you to explore the WSIS forum 2022 and submit to the Open Consultation Process and take active participation and contribute to various opportunities.


I would like to go back to the question from Mark Carvell, and this question is for Joe.  The question, Joe, what should the IGF do to prepare for WSIS plus 20 in 2025?  Should it initiate a dedicated business policy track.

>> JOE HIRONAKA: Yeah.  Thank you, thank you, Mark, Vladimir.  You know, I would not venture to propose such.  I imagine a review would mirror the process of 2015, at least our process at that point.  But with the emphasis on closer collaboration, all the action lines facilitated.  And analogous type of events in June 2014, for WSIS, was organized by UNESCO and UNDP and UNCTAD, and so forth, and get involved in those.  Here we are 2021, a year before the impact to the drafting of (?) I don't have to go into those, but, you know, there are eight U.N. agencies that are lead facilitators and ten agencies that actively report, by which they exist.  And by the way, have no fear, I know I'm overly focused on U.N. and governmental methods, but what outcome within UNESCO ‑‑ one was the adoption by the general the ROAM principles of Internet Governance.  Life based, open, accessible and multi‑stakeholder.  A set of 300 indicators, more than 30 Member States have implemented at all levels of development actually at this point.

But multi‑stakeholder, and I think we have done it before, in 2015, but that's so long ago.  Really radical things have happened, internet access of over a billion by all estimates.  Of course, a lot of technologies are impacting.  What we ‑‑ what I can imagine we would do and sorry I'm giving you a wishy‑washy answer, I won't venture to say actually what we'll do, but what we will do will be multi‑stakeholder, very cooperative.  This is what our members want.

>> VLADIMIR STANKOVIC: Thank you, Joe, very much.  Thank you, Mark for your question.  There is plenty of time for discussing and negotiating, proposing what will take place at the WSIS forum 2022.  Let's start with this event and beyond that.  I would like to also thank to all of you who have been with us today.  It's been a very successful session, I would like to thank all the colleagues from the co‑organizers, Minerva, Scarlett and Joe, thank you very much for joining us at the IGF, and at this meeting, and I look forward to be working with you on many different collaborations that you have shared to date, and we will look forward to receiving the submissions to the Open Consultation Process from the community, reach out to us individually or to the WSIS team at ITU for anything that you would like to clarify or any questions that you might have.  Use this global opportunity to promote the ICT work of your communities and networks, submit to OCP, submit for the WSIS prizes, join us next year, help us shape the program and agenda.  And we look forward to our next meeting where we will be presenting the next development and news on the ongoing plans towards the WSIS forum 2022.  The next meeting scheduled to take place on 31st of January.  Until then, I wish you great holidays for those who are celebrating, great winter or summertime for those who are joining us in the other hemisphere and look forward to hearing from you soon.  Goodbye ‑‑ virtually from Geneva and good luck to colleagues at the IGF.