IGF 2021 First Open Consultations & MAG Meeting - Day 1 - Section 1

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. 


>>CHENGETAI MASANGO:  Okay, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, ladies and gentlemen.  Thank you for joining us.  I know it's very early for some and very late for other people as well.  So thank you for being able to make it.  Welcome to the Open Consultations for the IGF 2021 cycle.  Just to reiterate that this meeting is open to all, to everybody.  The meeting will be recorded and it is also being broadcast on our YouTube channel, on the IGF YouTube channel.  It's also being transcribed, and you can access the transcription through Zoom and also through a link.  And a summary report will be made available after the meeting, at the end of this year or early next week, Monday or so.

If you want to make an intervention, please, first of all, try and use the speaking queue, and the link is being posted in the chat right now for the speaking queue.  If you cannot use the speaking queue, just raise your hand and Luis or somebody from the secretariat will add your name to the speaking queue.  That way, everybody can see who's going to be speaking next and you know when your time is.

And you take the floor when the chair calls your name and gives you the floor.  Could you, please, just say your name again, your organization, and whether or not you're speaking on a personal level or for the organization.  That also helps us.

With that, I will hand over the floor to our chair, Anriette Esterhuysen, to start the meeting.  Thank you. 

>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN:  Thank you very much, Chengetai.  Greetings, everyone.  My name is Anriette Esterhuysen.  I'm the chair of the IGF MAG.  I'm starting my second term.  And I think that many of us expected to have this Open Consultation in a face-to-face setting with participation of people who are not physically there.  But, instead, we are back to the format we used for IGF 2020, which is to work virtually.  And I want us to try and celebrate that, because I think it does create a level playing field and it allows for more inclusion for the many people who are interested in the IGF process but not able to travel to meetings.

So, welcome, everyone.

I will review the agenda later on.  But at this point, I want us to go straight on to agenda number 1, which is a message from our colleagues in New York, from the United Nations Division of Economic and Social Affairs.  

Chengetai, I will hand over to you to present Juwhan's message to us.

>>CHENGETAI MASANGO:  Sorry.  Thank you very much, Anriette.  Juwang Zhu is here, and he is the Director of the department that the IGF reports to.  So here makes sure that we're running well, we have the resources we need, and also communicates with the USG and the Secretary-General's office for us.

So he's here, so I'll just give him the floor, please. 

>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN:  Thanks, Chengetai.  Juwhan, I'm very pleased we have you here in person.  Thank you so much for getting up so early in the morning.

>>JUWANG ZHU:  Thank you, Anriette.  Thank you, Chengetai.  I just want to make sure you can hear me well?

>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN:  We can hear you very clearly.

>>JUWANG ZHU:  Thank you.  Thank you.  I join colleagues, welcoming all participants across the world to this Open Consultation/MAG meetings.

Thank you for giving UN DESA the opportunity to address the Open Consultation.

First of all, I bring warm greetings from the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs who has also written to the MAG.  I hope the letter will be posted soon on the IGF portal.

I also want to start by thanking all participants connected online and those who have responded to the call for suggesting priorities for the 2021 IGF.  

As Anriette mentioned earlier, these issues -- these items will be addressed later on.  But I want to register our deep gratitude to all who have contributed.

My colleagues and I are very much overwhelmed by the responses we have received as have been synthesized in the two documents that will be presented to you soon.

The IGF secretariat has already summarized the 231 submissions into ten themes and 53 clusters.  So your submissions from this bottom-up process have highlighted the very complex range of issues and challenges facing the ongoing digital transformation.  Yet, they also speak to the tremendous opportunities ahead.  The clustering of issues has also underscored synergies among the various issues and point to integrated and the linked-up measures that can be taken to resolve them.

So, indeed, it is our hope that through the multistakeholder participation that is really characteristic of the IGF, we will be able to elaborate evidence-based, focused, and actionable policy recommendations from this 16th session of the IGF.

In this regard, allow me to also thank all the stakeholders for your contributions, taking stock of the IGF 2020, and looking forward to the IGF 2021.

I actually told Wai-Min and Chengetai the other day that all these contributions also form a to-do list for us.  We would be very happy to listen more in this Open Consultation today.

And as the secretariat department mandated to service the intergovernmental process, we in DESA also stand ready to do our share of work to further strengthen the IGF and to bring the outcomes of the IGF deliberations to policymakers across the world.  I think that's a point that has been repeatedly emphasized.  

And I'm sure that under the able leadership of the MAG chair -- thank you, Anriette -- and the active guidance and engagement of all the MAG members, the 16th session of the IGF will live up to the global community's expectations and have a real impact on addressing the growing range of issues confronting Internet governance.

In this context, we, likewise, look forward to the leadership of the host of the 2021 IGF, the representative of the Polish government is with us today and will speak shortly.

The Polish government has already demonstrated unfailing commitment and support to the IGF.  And we deeply appreciate it, its renewed efforts to advance the appropriations of the 16th session of the IGF.

Colleagues, the rapid rise of digital technologies accelerated in the last 12 months by the COVID-19 pandemic is really transforming practically every sphere of our lives and livelihoods.  It sounds cliche but it does present both opportunities and challenges for the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

So more than ever, since it was established in 2006, the IGF and the IGF community at-large now have historic opportunity, I would say, and even responsibility, to make a difference towards Internet governance.  As you all know, the Tunis Agenda has the vision to entrust the IGF with a unique mandate, and that mandate is to be implemented in a spirit of the IGF's consultative, bottom-up, multistakeholder, open and transparent in nature.  So let us work together towards a successful 2021 IGF.

My DESA colleagues and IGF secretariat colleagues, we will be listening very carefully in the rest of today's Open Consultation and also in the MAG meetings coming tomorrow and the day after to be very much listening carefully to your views and perspectives.

Thank you again, Chengetai, Anriette, for giving us the floor.  Over to you.  Thank you. 

>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN:  Thank you very much, Juwhan.  Please do express our gratitude with Mr. Liu Zhenmin that we have already shared with the MAG and which, indeed, is a very positive letter.  And the feeling of constructive collaboration with UN DESA is certainly mutual as far as the MAG and myself are concerned.

Next I want to give the floor to the representative from our host country.  I hope that Krzysztof Szubert, our co-chair, is still with us.  If not him, one of his colleagues will take the floor.  

And as I give our Polish representatives the floor, I want to echo the remarks of Juwhan in thanking Poland for being so responsive and supportive in 2020 when we had to change the nature of the hosting of the IGF under difficult circumstances.  And it was extremely helpful to have the support of the Polish team for the virtual IGF 2020.  And we really look forward to working with the same team again this year for IGF 2021.

So, Krzysztof, I hand you the floor. 

>>KRZYSZTOF SZUBERT:  Thank you, Anriette.  Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, on behalf of myself and the entire Polish IGF 2021 team, I sincerely welcome all of you at our first Open Consultations and MAG meetings this year.  It's a real pleasure to be here with you and to see so many attendees.  

My name is Krzysztof Szubert, and I'm currently the MAG co-chair but also the high representative of the prime minister for European Digital Policy and the Republic of Poland plenipotentiary for UN IGF 2021. 

This year is a special year for Poland as we are the host of the upcoming 16th IGF in Katowice, between 6th and 10th of December.  

As you will see in our presentation, we have prepared a short update on the current state of preparations for the IGF 2021 for your information and consideration.  And I would like to thank everybody for their submissions and inputs regarding the thematic agenda for this year's IGF.  We will carefully look through them during this meeting, bearing in mind the impressive number and content.  I am counting on the lively and fruitful discussion between the participants.  

I hope we will come up with a very interesting and eye-catching program for this year's IGF.  Once again, I wish to warmly invite all of you to visit Poland and to welcome you in Katowice during the first week of December '21.  Thank you.

Now I will hand over the floor to my team to start with the presentation. 

>>PRZEMYSLAW TYPICK:  Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, ladies and gentlemen.  My name is Przemyslaw Typiak.  I work for the (indiscernible) of the prime minister for the department of (indiscernible).  

I have the pleasure of being with you today and to give you a few remarks on our state of preparations for the upcoming IGF 2021 in Katowice in December this year.

Ladies and gentlemen, here you can see on the first slide a picture of our venue, the ICC, the International Congress Centre.  I would like to kindly draw your attention, first of all, to the quote that we have I put in the presentation.  It's a quote from our great writer and philanthropist Stanislaw Lem whose 100th anniversary we are going to celebrate this year and we have the pleasure of celebrating his 100th anniversary.  "Is a mountain only a huge stone?  Is a planet an enormous mountain?"

I leave you with that, but I thought it would be good to put also a quote from his novel, one of the most common and most recognizable one, "The Solaris."  I kindly encourage you to read his other novels.  We would be very happy to give you some more information on Lem's whole area of work.  And I encourage you kindly to familiarize yourselves with his novels as well.

Can I ask for the next slide, please?  

Why Katowice for IGF, you might ask.  Why have we chosen this particular city?  It's not a coincidence, ladies and gentlemen.  actually, Katowice is an important symbol of transformation from a city dedicated to coal mining -- in the region of coal mining, the Silesian region.  

And Katowice is a symbol of a transformation from a coal mining city to a new technologies hub, which is currently -- stands for.  

And Katowice is also important because this city has already been actively involved in other U.N. important initiatives like the most recognizable ones, the COP24 in December 2018.  But also next year, Katowice will host the World Cities Forum from the U.N. Habitat.

Also, Katowice is part of very important UNESCO's initiative, which is called the Creative Cities Network and it's recognizable as the City of Music.

Therefore, Katowice being a lively, vibrant, and eco-friendly city with many opportunities, with dedicated citizens and great potential for development, we think that it's actually a very good place to host this year's IGF in Poland.

Next slide, please.

Ladies and gentlemen, Katowice is also very well connected as an important place, an important city, situated in the Silesian region.  It has good connections also including the airline connections but also railway connections and road connections.  So Katowice is an accessible city.  And the distance between other main cities of the region including Berlin and Prague is -- although you might think it's not very close to those cities, but it's well connected. 

Next slide, please.

Speaking about -- a few words about logistics.  As I mentioned before, the conference venue is called International Congress Centre, in short the ICC.  Here you have a small picture of this important symbol also of Katowice because ICC is connected with the Spodek Arena, which is a worldwide known symbol of Katowice.  So to all those who attend, and we invite you to Katowice in December, you will see this building live.

Regarding logistics, we have an ongoing tender to choose the logistics operator.  We have already selected the hotel operator, which is called Mazurkas Travel.  There will also be announced a tender for the info promo campaign.  

And, of course, we have very good cooperation with local entities including the Silesian Voivodeship Office, Katowice City Hall, Polish National Run Symphony Orchestra or Silesian Museum, just to name a few.

Here you have, ladies and gentlemen, the location of the Spodek Arena and the ICC on the map of Katowice.  This map is put here just to let you know that Katowice very well-located.  I mean, the ICC venue is very well located in Katowice in the proximity of many, many hotels, which are in the very close vicinity of this ICC venue.

I kindly encourage you to visit our website which you have already on previous slides, but you will also see it on the next slides, including the link to the accommodation page, which is kindly presented to us by the Mazurkas Travel.  

So please do familiarize yourselves with the accommodations that we have prepared for you.  And we are looking forward to welcoming you in Katowice.

Next slide, please.

A few words about the ICC venue more in-depth.

Next slide, please.

Here you have the plan, the overall plan, of the ICC venue.  As you can see, there are three main levels:  Level 0, level 1, and level 2.

Next slide, please.

Here you have the possibility to have rooms -- conference rooms, 26 conference rooms to hold meetings, bilateral meetings, workshop meetings.  But I will go to more details later on, on the next slide.

So next, please.

Here you have -- on level 2, we are going to prepare workshop rooms and bilateral rooms for you.

Next slide, please.

And on level 1, there will be the main meeting room, plenary and main meeting room, also the food court.  This is a kind of nice surprise we are going to prepare for you.  So I'm not going to go down deep into the details right now.

And, of course, workshop rooms will be also present there.

Next slide, please.

And on level 1, we are -- it will be dedicated mainly to the workshop rooms as well.

If we are going to the next slide, I will share -- please, could you please display the next slide.

Here you have -- the summary of all the rooms, conference halls that we have prepared for you.  So one plenary meeting room, 12 workshop rooms, ten bilaterals, one food court, and one IGF village, of course, because this year, we are also planning to have, as it is the IGF's tradition, the IGF village.

Next slide, please.

Here you have just for your quick view, you have the draft of the blue zone that we are currently discussing with our colleagues from the U.N. security office on how this blue zone, the area of conference secured by the U.N., is going to be displayed.

Thank you very much.  Next slide.

Our headline, "Internet United."  Why have we chosen actually this main theme -- or main heading of this year's IGF?  Ladies and gentlemen, Internet is a free, undivided, and open space for all users, for all interested parties and individuals.  We would like to have it as a virtual agora, and we are striving for doing it.  Therefore, we know there are many challenges in order to achieve this goal and there are no simple answers.  That is why the U.N. Secretary-General Roadmap for Digital Cooperation has been put forward to us, in order to facilitate the discussions, in order to give us some way forward and to give us some future goals and future ways of making this happen.  That is why 15 years after the first IGF, it's almost half of a generation, ladies and gentlemen -- 16 additional already -- we wish to get together and to set the clock for next years to come.  And we would be more than happy to discuss with you the possibilities and a way forward of creating the future IGF and generating the future goals and how to achieve them.

Therefore, we stand ready to openly and very happy to cooperate with you to bring together all your ideas and proposals, suggestions in order to get the IGF process on the next years to come in the best way and the best way of the community's will and desire.

Next slide, please.

What is new and what goes on?  Actually, I put this -- I put this question because IGF has some ideas, some general ideas, which are more or less the same each year.  That is why we would like to continue those good practices by introducing the high-level track and parliamentarians which we had in Berlin in 2019 for the first time.  And we thank you very much, our German colleagues, for enabling this initiative.  We would like to continue, of course, those good practices.

But we would like to also bring something new, some fresh ideas.  One of them -- one of the most important of them is the youth track.  We would like to bring youth into the IGF to hear their voice but also to listen to their views because actually they are going to shape the Internet in the next years to come.  So we would like to very much hear their voice.  As our minister, Mr. Morawiecki, pointed out last year at the virtual IGF, the voice of youth counts very much for Poland.  Not only for Poland, for each of us here.  Therefore, we would like to bring youth and give it a very good -- give it very good view and very good presentation of the suggestions and proposals.

Also, we would like to bring gamers and software developers to the IGF.  Therefore, we are going to have a hackathon.  I'm sure you are familiar with the initiative.  That's why I'm not going to go deep into it.  But we are going to combine hackathon with this year's IGF.

Next slide, please.

Coming back to the youth track because we think it's actually desires and -- well, deserves being -- think of organizing the Youth IGF Summit in cooperation with youth, but, also, we're going to have thematic webinars as preparations. The Road to IGF, we called this the initiative, the Road to IGF 2021. So we are going to organize thematic webinars in cooperation with our colleagues from the UN DESA and from the IGF Secretariat. So stay tuned. Be prepared. In the next months, thematic webinars in cooperation with WEOG communities will be organized. 

We're also going to announce very soon, in the next couple of months, the international competition called the My Internet of the Future. But I'm not going to give you more details. Stay tuned. And looking forward to being with you on this initiative as well. 

Next slide, please. 

A few words about our high-level representatives from the government of Poland who are responsible for preparing this year's IGF. So Mr. Marek Zagorski, Secretary of State at the Chancellary of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland also the government plenipotentiary for cybersecurity. And, of course, Mr. Krzysztof Szubert, whom you already know, is our high representative of the prime minister for European digital policy and the Republic of Poland plenipotentiary for UN IGF 2021. 

These two gentlemen are in charge of our process here in Poland. 

Next slide, please. 

Krzysztof Szubert is also a chair of the IGF 2021 programming committee composed of representatives -- distinguished representatives from many -- from many -- from various and from all communities, government -- including government, business, NGOs, academia, and technical communities. 

As you can see, ladies and gentlemen, we have a very good representation. We have a very vast and broad representation in order to ensure that this year's IGF would also be a very successful and inspiring one. 

Next slide, please. 

And it's the last slide that I have prepared for you. 

Here, you -- at the bottom of the slide, you have the address to the link of the IGF Polish side, Polish website, where you can find all the necessary information regarding the state of preparations and, hence, on how to get to Katowice, where to stay, how to get issues, including visas and so on and so forth. 

Also, if you have any suggestions, contact -- please do contact us at the IGF2021.ncgop.pl. And we are -- there is also the IGF Twitter. Please stay tuned and follow us on Twitter as well. 

That's all, ladies and gentlemen, from my side. It's been a pleasure having you here and a pleasure to speak to you, to see you virtually. But, hopefully, we will have a chance to meet onsite in Katowice in December. We are very much counting on it. 

So thank you very much, once again, from me. All the best. Take care and stay safe. 

And I give the floor to Chengetai. Thank you so much. 

>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks. Actually, I'll take the floor. Thanks for that -- thanks for that detailed update, and we look forward to collaborations throughout the year. 

So, participants, I just want to quickly review the agenda with you so you're familiar with what to expect today, and then I will make a few opening remarks, and then we'll proceed. 

So if you are -- thanks very much. 

If you look on the screen, at the top of the screen, you will see the -- Luis, if you could just scroll back to the top of the screen. 

And our events this week consist of three days. Today is the Open Consultation, and it is open. It's open to all participants. In fact, MAG members, Multistakeholder Advisory Group, the members take a back seat. This really is an opportunity for the Secretariat and the MAG to hear the open inputs from the broader IGF community. 

And, also today, if you scroll down, we'll have the consultation that's being led by our colleagues from New York and the Secretariat at the U.N. 

If you could just scroll down a little bit more, Luis. I know I'm not going in complete chronological order. We'll have an Open Consultation on the proposed multistakeholder high-level body. For those of you that are following the process of the U.N.'s Secretary-General's high-level panel on digital cooperation and what followed on that, the roadmap for digital cooperation. 

That consultation from 15:00 to 16:00 UTC will be an opportunity for you to talk about one specific dimension of this roadmap process, which is the proposal and to establish an additional multistakeholder high-level body, and it's in paragraph 93 of the Secretary-General's roadmap. So there will be an open discussion on that. 

And then, after that, we are very happy to be -- with all of you participating, have an experimental online social event that's being hosted by the government Switzerland and the IGF 2021 MAG working group on hybrid meetings and together with the DiploFoundation and the Geneva Internet Platform. 

And this event, in fact, responds very much to the stocktaking that's been given on IGF 2020. The feedback on IGF 2020, as a virtual event, was positive. But there was one aspect of it that many people said they felt was lacking, and that's the networking component of it, the face-to-face, the quite sometime unexpected interaction that you have in a corridor at a face-to-face event. 

So we hope, with this afternoon's event, for those of us in the time zone, anyway, to look at whether we can replicate some of that interaction virtually. 

We're going to look at what the issues and themes for IGF 2021 should be. And we'll do that based on input received from the community, and we'll go into breakout discussions. So there will be an opportunity for you to work in smaller groups, and we'll provide more detail on that. 

And then the rest of this week, if you go back to the top of the screen, please, Secretariat, to the very top. 

Tomorrow and Wednesday, we have a MAG meeting. And during that MAG meeting, the MAG will process the outcomes of today's discussions, as well as the feedback that has been received through the Open Consultation processes. 

And, based on that, start making some initial decisions on what the shape, the format, the design of the IGF should be, and what themes should be focused on in IGF 2020. 

So if there are any questions on the agenda, please start using the speakers queue or raise your hands. 

I do have a few opening remarks that I just want to just share with you as we start this Open Consultation. 

I think that we need to reflect on the fact that the IGF is really at a very specific juncture, and Przemyslaw and Juwang has already mentioned that. And there's the roadmap on digital cooperation. There's the fact that the IGF mandate from the U.N. General Assembly, the Tunis Agenda mandate is being reviewed in 2025, and the IGF is being evaluated.

(Distorted audio) 


>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: I'm sorry, Anriette. You're breaking up or you're frozen for me. 

Is it just me, or is it everybody else? 

>>Yeah. She's frozen here as well. 

>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. Let's just give it a minute. 

>>Me too. 

>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: 30 seconds. If not, we'll just go to the next agenda item, and she can come back in. She dropped out. Okay. 

Okay. I'll just give it another 30 seconds, and I'll just do the next agenda item, and she can come back. 

Okay. Yes. 

So just hold on. She's calling. 

Sorry. She's just lost her connection. And she'll try and get back, but, in the meantime, we'll just go to Agenda Item 2, which is basically a report on the IGF 2020 stocktaking and consideration for 2021. 

As you know, the IGF process is always engaged in continuous improvement and in a bottom-up and collaborative matter. So, for the stocktaking and finding out how we can improve for future IGFs and also particularly for the 2021 process, during the IGF 2020, we did have a networking event on 17th of November, asking people what were their IGF 2020 experience while it was still, you know -- while they were still in it and everything was still fresh in their mind, and the Secretariat took notes on that. 

We also had an open mic session on the 25th of November, after the meeting, and we asked people on their experiences and also what they would like to change or keep for 2021 and future IGF meetings, not just for the meeting, but also for the intersessional activities. 

And we had a call for written inputs, which we collated and summarized. And we had an open session on the 9th of February asking stakeholders to speak on their experiences and also suggestions for 2021. 

As far as taking the written inputs were concerned, we did have 50 contributions -- 50 written contributions and 15% were from the private sector. 11% were from government, and 4% from intergovernmental organizations, and civil society was 55%. 

And, as I always say, I think this is fairly representative. I mean, civil society organizations, in their in sheer number, of course, are more than private-sector communities or governments. And so we shouldn't be too surprised by this. But, of course, yes, we would like to have an increase at least in the private-sector participation in our cause, et cetera. But I don't think the other participation from the stakeholders is too much to worry about. 

As far as the regional distribution is concerned, Africa had 30%. 14% were IGOs. So they didn't choose a region, since they're international. And Western Europe and other groups is 28%. GRULAC is 8%, and Eastern Europe is 8%. Asia-Pacific was 12%. 

We would, of course -- would like to see some improvement in the Asia-Pacific because they're not really the representative of the percentage of people, organizations, or countries, but, as far as Africa is concerned, I think that's very good. 

WEOG is good as well. 

GRULAC and Eastern Europe, I think it's perfect, as far as their representation is concerned, but, of course, we have to increase numbers is always good. 

So I think just more effort has to be concentrated on the Asia-Pacific region. 

That's just for what we've received. 

Now, just a very concise summary of our inputs, you can, of course, see the full -- all the inputs and, of course, the summary report on the IGF website. And I think the link is being put into the chat right now by somebody from the Secretariat. 

Thank you. 

But the main takeaways that we got from these inputs was, first of all, people wanted a more concise and -- this is in no order of preference, of course -- a more concise and coherent program with minimum of duplication of sessions. Fewer sessions focused on a limited number of strategic issues. 

The second point that I've got down here is there was a call for hybrid meetings to ensure that -- first of all, to ensure that off-site participants are not disadvantaged because they're off-site and have the same opportunities as on-site participants to be panelists and also to make interventions during the meeting. 

There's also a call to improve session formats to ensure more interaction amongst participants. 

The third item I have down is there was a call for more output-oriented meeting, and the -- and also to advance the call for voluntary commitments that we had for the first time last year, and I think this was very well received by most participants. 

There was also praise for the high-level tracks, and there was a call to engage more private-sector participants at the CEO level and heads of governments and states. 

The -- there was also a call to improve the interconnect for intersessional work with other global processes. That's for the dynamic coalitions, the respected forums, et cetera, and I think we have been trying to forward that with the help of the UN DESA, of course, but we also need the help of other stakeholders, especially the private sector and other intergovernmental organizations as well. 

There was a call to simplify the access to the online platform, and, also, the dedicated meetings page was praised, and the calendar of meetings being published well in advance so people could time -- manage their time properly well in advance was also praised, and this is to continue. 

Again, I'm just saying the highlights. Of course, there was a lot of praise for the organization. There was a lot of praise for UN DESA, the IGF Secretariat, the MAG, a lot of praise for the Polish government for also stepping in and supporting even though they were not host country. 

On the 9th of February, we had to report back in a discussion of the taking stock, and we did have some breakout groups. 

And I am going to try and share my screen. If not, I will ask somebody to share -- I hope you can see it. 

So we had five breakout groups. The first one, discuss the preparatory process; the second one, intersessional work and the National and Regional Initiatives; the third group, annual meeting structure, design, and content; and group number four was discuss improving participation and participation modalities as well; and, group five, discussed communications and technical improvements. 

So, just quickly, each group had a rapporteur that reported into the meeting. 

Group one for the deliberatory process, this was the key points that they put in. 

So based on the call for issues, there was a recommendation to ideally select three, a maximum of four, main themes for their 2021 IGF meeting with three specific policy questions, both theme and also to invite workshops to explore and respond with three questions plus space for other workshops. These also include these 30-minute flash sessions, et cetera. 

Not to be overzealous about managing -- about merging proposals and the design of hybrid meetings should also allow greater interaction among participants and treat participants equally. 

On youth inclusion, rather make it a recommendation for workshop organizers to include youth in their panelists, if they can. Improve regular communications with stakeholders and have a comprehensive communications plan and also increase transparency in the MAG evaluation process. 

Improve regular communications with stakeholders.  But as far as Africa is concerned, have a comprehensive communications plan. 

And also increase transparency in the MAG evaluation process.

For group 2, which concentrated on the intersessional work and the national and regional initiatives, make IGF deliberations relevant to other U.N. bodies and serve as a repository of work and practices.  Good practices, well, also bad practices.  Not so good -- practices that don't work also has value as well.

More coordination and communication among the various groups doing intersessional work was also suggested and ideally have a focal point within the secretariat for this.  There was also suggestions for better coordination, sharing of practices, schedules, outputs, partnerships in sessions, thematic organizations of topics to be shared by these groups. 

Intersessional groups need to be transparent and bottom-up.  And the national and regional initiatives was to bring their topics relevant at the regional level to the global agenda.

Group 3, discuss the annual meeting structure and the design and content.  There was strong support expressed for a hybrid meeting.  

Suggestions for side events and preparatory events to be held online.  

Strong emphasis on interaction and networking.  Stong emphasis on interaction and networking.  Support for shorter, more-focused agenda to allow time spent outside formal sessions in smaller groups.  This was also part of the serendipitous meetings that Anriette was also mentioning about.

Group 4 discussed participation.  And some of the suggestions coming from this group was improvements needed in the process of attracting IGF participation.  Online priority should be to get the youth more engaged, e.g., through mentorships, ambassadorship programs, et cetera.

To engage parliamentarians and the private sector more actively, communication with them needs to be improved. 

Group 5, communication and technical improvements.  For communication, more focus on a year-long communications strategy.  Professional lead to the communications would be helpful.  Need to communicate more effectively within the IGF community and the IG community and also other communities beyond the Internet governance community before, during, and after the IGF.

Improve use of these social media and more clarity on outputs, messages, maybe fewer but clearer outcomes.  The different types of outcomes must be better integrated into a single outcome document.

So the last suggestion was from group 5, again, with communications and technical improvements on the website.  And technology better show the content that is produced by the several IGF work tracks.  

Make navigation clearer.  Ensure more interactivity.

The archive of materials going back to 2006 needs to be made more searchable. 

More interactivity in the tech platform used during the IGF.

Don't begin the discussion on technology but on what we need and want and then see how to make the tech work.

Objectives should drive the platforms, the session design, and how everything is communicated.

And just a note on that, we are currently in the process of a revamp of the IGF information portal.  And we are taking everything that's been said here into consideration.  And we'll also be beginning focus groups as well with the users of the IGF website starting from the beginning of March.

So those were the take-aways that we have.  But just remember there is also the full report from the 9th of February meeting, which is available on the IGF website and also the link has been posted in the chat right now for those who want greater detail.

And, yes, I did concentrate here on what needs to be improved, not on what's worked well.  I mean, we are going to keep what's worked well, of course.  But I think it's also very, very important to work on what needs to be improved.  But there was a lot of praise on things that have worked well and have been working well last year and in previous years.

So with that, I will pause and see if, first of all -- I will stop sharing.  And I will see if Anriette is online now and is able to participate.



>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN:  Thank you very much for that, Chengetai.

Actually, I think we should take questions on your presentation at this point.

I have a brief overview of the IGF improvements that I can present.  And then I will make my opening remarks after the break.

So at this point, shall we take any questions on Chengetai's presentation of the stocktaking on IGF 2021?

As Chengetai already explained, we've done this in quite a lot of depth through different processes.  So we cannot allocate too much time to the stocktaking today.  But if there are any questions from the floor, now is the time to raise your hand or join the speaking queue. 

I don't see any hands.  So I will just then move to item Number C, which is the feedback from the IGF community on IGF improvements.  Now, you will actually find this in the same synthesis document that Chengetai referred to earlier.  It's the final section of that document.  

And I'll run through some highlights.  I've just done a very quick summary of that.

I'll share my screen.  

These are just so you can have these ideas that came from the community in the background as you deliberate on IGF 2021 issues and themes.

Thanks very much for that.  Let me just share my screen.

Is that visible to you all?  Chengetai?


>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN:  Good, great.

So this is just a very -- I've just literally taken the section of that document and highlighted some of the inputs.  So it was said that the IGF needs to evolve from one annual event towards a year-round platform focused on a continuous collection of inputs on Internet governance and addressing them through a multistakeholder effort. 

So there was a proposal that we should really -- in the context of the strength of the NRIs and the dynamic coalitions and best practice forums and other emerging intersessional activities, that we look at the IGF having a year-round program.  In fact, we already heard from Przemyslaw how Poland is planning to have Webinars as part of the youth track throughout the year.

And, secondly, there was a suggestion that the IGF should act as an observatory on Internet governance issues, processes, and major outcomes, including announcement of important events and processes.

So that's something that was proposed the secretariat should undertake.  But, of course, the resources of the secretariat need to be considered.

Then it was proposed that the IGF really needs to foster closer linkages with the WSIS processes as well as with the U.N. General Assembly.  And there was also a proposal to link the IGF to the office of the U.N. Secretary-General.

Then there was a proposal to -- around the functioning of the MAG.  And I think these are made every year, proposing that the activities that are carried out by the MAG are expanded.  As many of you might know, the MAG's current terms of reference is really focused on developing the program of the annual event.  There was an input that noted that in IGF 2020 where we had digital cooperation as a kind of a subcross-cutting them, there was relatively strong support for improving the IGF in line with the IGF+ model.  There was also an input that expressed support for the multistakeholder high-level body.  We will hear more about that later today.

Then there was also an expectation that there should be good collaboration between the Office of the Tech Envoy and the IGF.  

And then I'll jump -- I think that was it.  Those are the primary suggestions that came out of that session.

So I'll take us back to our agenda.  And I don't see any questions or hands on the stocktaking.  So -- please don't hesitate to do that.

Item D on this agenda, Item number 2 is really a discussion of the IGF 2021 process, annual meeting, and intersessional work.  Now, we don't have to have an in-depth discussion on that.  I just wanted to brief you on some important processes and innovations.  And you'll hear more about that during the MAG meeting.

Firstly, as before, the NRIs will continue to be a very close and integral part of the planning of IGF 2021, and the secretariat can add if they want to.  And that process has already started of the NRIs collaborating and talking about how they will participate in IGF 2021 based on the success of IGF 2020.

Again, there will be several best practice forums, and the MAG will finalize the decision about which best practice forums there will be for 2021 later this week.

There is a new intersessional activity, which the secretariat is launching this year.  And you've probably heard about that, and that's the Policymaking Network on Environment and Digitization.  We are also considering the introduction of a policy network on meaningful access.  So those two very important aspects of the IGF's work can be addressed not just through dynamic coalitions and BPFs but also through this policy network.  And these policy networks are in a way a mechanism that responds to the idea of the IGF+ and evolving the IGF+.

I also want to announce that while the dynamic coalitions continue to thrive we have some new dynamic coalitions that were launched in -- at the IGF in 2020.  But this year, there will be a learning study of dynamic coalitions.  

Some of you might be aware that during 2020, Markus Kummer led an initiative to look at best practice forums and what worked well since their inception and how they can be strengthened and improved.

And based on the outputs of that study, we have modified and adapted the BPF criteria, BPF process.

So in 2021, Markus will lead, working with a MAG member and the secretariat, a process of looking at dynamic coalitions.  Dynamic coalitions have really evolved in very powerful and inclusive communities of interest and communities of practice.  So we'll look at that this year and assess how we can work with them more effectively.

And I think that is it.

Secretariat, do you want to add anything on the intersessional work plans for this year?  Excuse me.

>>CHENGETAI MASANGO:  I'll just say we are also going to also focus -- I don't know if you mentioned it -- the parliamentary track is going to be intersessional.  It's not going to be one session at the IGF 2021.  So together with the government of Poland, we're working on an intersessional lead-up to these sessions as well so that we have a document that is produced that all parliamentarians have had a chance to participate in its construction and discussion.

Apart from that, I will just ask Anja if she has anything to add. 

>>ANJA GENGO:  Thank you, Chengetai.  Nothing to add on this.

>>CHENGETAI MASANGO:  And we also do have a question, a hand up. 

>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN:  I see that.  

So thanks for that, Anja.  

Thanks for that, Chengetai.  

And I give the floor to Pruthvi Raj.  Can you just introduce yourself when you take the floor?

Pruthvi, can you hear me?

>>LUIS BOBO:  Pruthvi is not in the meeting.

>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN:  So maybe it was a dropped connection.

>>CHENGETAI MASANGO:  We also have Mohammad.

>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN:  I see we have Mohammad.  And I see -- just before we go to Mohammad -- Mohammad, I'm going to give you the floor.  

I want to recognize Horst Kremers' comment about there's no really focal point on the role of media and journalism, not just invited for the IGF but much more needed.

I think that's an important point, Horst.  And, please, do feel free to take the floor to address that.  

I can say that during the MAG meetings -- MAG, by the way, everyone, the MAG has been meeting regularly since the end of last year actually.  And there has been a discussion within the MAG to create a MAG working group that focuses on IGF communication strategy.  And this is, in fact, coming from MAG members with media expertise.  And it was proposed in recognition of the fact that there is not enough of a focus on the role of media and journalism. 

So, Horst, I suggest that you keep your eyes and ears open because once that working group is launched, it will be open to nonMAG members to participate.

>>CHENGETAI MASANGO:  Sorry.  I'd just like to also say that we are working on getting somebody to -- who has worked in the media for quite a number of years to come in and advise us as well.  So once that is settled, we will announce something. 

>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN:  That's right.  And that will be somebody located within the secretariat to be -- to be such a focal point, in fact, Horst.  That is not yet finalized.  But as Chengetai says, the secretariat will announce that.

So, Mohammad, you have the floor. 

>>MOHAMMAD HANIF GHARANAI:  Thank you so much for arranging the event.  Actually, I'm attending the IGF events, for example, last year, online and 2019 in Germany, in Berlin.

As you know, the vision of His Excellency, the President Ghani of Afghanistan, is to transform the current situation in Afghanistan in terms of a digital government.

So we have some improvement in the past couple of years and also some problems.  So we want to present the achievements and the future plans to the international scholars and practitioners to receive their valuable comments and feedback about how to shape the current situation in Afghanistan, in which area they can contribute with us and what should we do from Afghanistan -- from government side and from academia also.

And, also, as I mentioned it, the Kabul University and also we at the President office interested in having a session in the coming year, or event in Poland.  We would appreciate to give us a chance to present the entire picture of Afghanistan because Afghanistan is a land-locked country.  So we can count on technology about how to promote a digital culture and also digital economy and how to bring digital tracks that can prepare an environment for implementing the digital government.

So this is the point.  We do appreciate your cooperation in this regard.  Thank you.

>>CHENGETAI MASANGO:  Anriette, are you still online? 

>>LUIS BOBO:  I think we have lost Anriette again apparently.

>>CHENGETAI MASANGO:  Okay.  I think she may -- she may have dropped out again.  Unfortunately, there are good days and bad days of communication.  And I think today is a bad day for the communication.  I will have last call for any questions or interventions on this side.  So I will just give that a six-count.  And if nobody raises their hand, I will move on to the next topic. 

Okay.  None.

And I would also point out that the IGF secretariat did produce a high-level plan, or diagram, where we are going to have our major meetings, the next Open Consultations, where we propose to have the call for workshops.  And, unfortunately, I did not discuss this previously.  But if somebody from the secretariat could just post a link to that document into the chat as well so people could just see the high-level plan for 2021.  And I think that will also help.

We are also publishing it on the IGF website.  Thank you. 

Yes.  That's it exactly.  Thank you very much. 

So this is, of course, subject to change depending because we're still not sure when things like the travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 will be lifted.  As far as we know, I mean, at the moment at least where I live in Geneva they're actually tightening the restrictions.  So we don't know when they're going to be lifted as such.  If they are not lifted, then, of course, we will shift, at least for the beginning of the year, online.

But as you can see here, we have the first Open Consultations and that's where we are, 22nd to 26th of February.  And then we plan to launch the intersessional work after this MAG meeting because part of the tasks for this MAG meeting is for the MAG to actually certify the working groups and the best practice forums, et cetera.  And Anriette has mentioned that -- of course, these are also the prospective dates for the various calls that we're going to be having during this year.

And the next -- the second Open Consultation, of course, we have for the 21st through the 23rd of June.  And then all the way up to, of course, the IGF in Katowice, 6th to 10th of December.

I think Anriette is back on now, so I will hand over the floor back to her, if she's able to take it.

>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN:  I'm here.  Thanks very much.


>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN:  My apologies to everyone.  This is really the most developed cities in the developing world, and I am having, first, Internet down and now electricity, power failure -- an unscheduled power failure.  My apologies and thanks to the secretariat checking in.

In fact, what I think what I will do, Chengetai, is just make my brief opening marks and then actually hand over to you to chair until my power comes back. 

Maybe I can explain the breakout sessions.  

In the meantime, if the secretariat can bring that part of the agenda on the screen as well as the guidelines that we have for the group breakouts.

I did want to leave you with a few background thoughts on our discussions today.

I think that we are at a juncture where we need to build on the continuity of the IGF.  This is after all the 16th IGF.  But we also need as a MAG and as a broader community to be open to change and open to innovation.  And as most of us know, that if you don't change, you can, in fact, stagnate in this context.  And that doesn't just apply to the context of digitization.  I think it applies to the context of development and building a more sustainable and just world.

So I do urge people to recognize all that the IGF has achieved in its bottom-up and inclusive character but also to be open to evolving the format, the structure, and the time line.  And as we've already seen from Chengetai's report, there's a strong desire for the IGF to take on a hybrid format, to not be just face-to-face or just virtual, and to maximize the opportunity of online participation for being more inclusive.

Secondly, I also want to urge people to keep in mind the challenge of what is entailed by having a more focused and outcome-oriented IGF.  Chengetai highlighted this in his presentation.

And I think what lies before us is how to achieve that, to have an IGF that discusses fewer issues in greater depth but not to do it in a manner that excludes people that have their own concerns, concerns that might be quite regionally specific, that have very different perspectives depending on their stakeholder experience, their context, and their views.  So how to be more focused but not at the expense of being inclusive, so that's another background challenge.

And, finally, I just want to say as we look forward to having a face-to-face event in Katowice, let's also not ignore the fact that the world is still at a very challenging juncture in terms of responding to the pandemic.

The distribution of vaccines is very different in different parts of the world.  In terms of where people are, what resources they have, what access they have to vaccines and what access they will have to the ability to travel.  We always have this as a challenge in the IGF community, and travel is always more of a restriction for some people than for others.  It's a restriction for people that are living with disabilities, but it's also a restriction for people based on financial resources and distance.  But we now have an additional restriction that could really impact on the face-to-face event.  And that is the ability to travel based on access to vaccines and permission to travel and open borders.

So just to take all of this into account, when we look at how to design an IGF that is hybrid, that is inclusive, that maximizes the value of having a face-to-face dimension, which we missed out on last year but also that maximizes the opportunity, that hybrid formats -- virtual formats provide us.

So those are my opening remarks, and I'm glad I got them in.

And I just want to now address that agenda item that is next which will come after the break.  Then we can have our break, but I just wanted to give you a short description of what to expect.  That's Item Number 3, issues and themes for IGF 2021.

We will have a few opening remarks there about an idea of a more focused IGF.  We've already addressed that, so we won't belabor that.

The IGF secretariat will then present a summary of the community input on issues and themes that should be discussed in IGF 2021.  We'll just mention the idea of a multi-year approach because I think this is one innovation that can be considered that as we identify priority issues and themes, we do that not just for 2021 but we actually consider doing it for -- I hope I'm not on video.  I'm not, good -- that we do it for the years ahead, that we actually begin to think of the IGF in a more multiyear way.

But then for the bulk of that session, we will break out into groups and the groups will be assigned randomly.  They will be based on the themes that have emerged from the community input, and we'll give you some very specific questions to address in your groups.  You'll have roughly 50 minutes in those groups.  Fortunately, we are running ahead of time.  That's good because I think we'll need that time.  

And each group will be asked to appoint a facilitator or chair as well as a rapporteur.  Reports will be presented in very brief form when we are back in plenary, three minutes each.  But we ask the rapporteurs and the facilitators to make sure that you submit those reports in writing to the secretariat because, remember, we won't have a live transcript.  There will be no captioning for the breakout sessions.  

And that's essentially what waits for us after the break.  I'm on my phone.  So, secretariat, just help me and monitor for hands.  If there are no hands, I would suggest that we start our 15-minute break and come back -- shall we make it -- come back at 20 to 11 UTC.  That would be 10:40 UTC.  Over to you, secretariat. 

>>CHENGETAI MASANGO:  Thank you very much, Anriette.  I don't see any questions.  I do not see any hand up.  I will just give it a six count.  If there isn't any questions, then we will take a 15-minute break and come back, as Anriette suggested, 20 to 11:00 UTC.

Going once.  Going twice.  Okay.

Thank you very much.  We have now concluded the first part of our consultation.  So we'll come back at 20 to 11:00 UTC.