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: Good afternoon, good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for joining us. And welcome to our afternoon session. And in this session, as I hope you can see on our schedule, is a meet with Ms. Maria Francesca Spatolisano, who is the Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs and officer in charge of the Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Technology, or the Tech Envoy as we commonly call it.
After she's spoken, she's going to answer a few broad questions if you have any. And then we're going to have an Open Consultation on the proposed multistakeholder high-level body. That is specifically on paragraph 93(a) of the Secretary-General's Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. And we will explain more before we start that part. And that part is going to be facilitated by myself and the IGF secretariat and Yu Ping from the Tech Envoy's office.
And just a reminder to everybody that the meeting is being recorded, and it's also being broadcast on IGF's YouTube channel. And it's being transcribed, and a summary record will be made available after the series of this meetings. So that's end of the week or Monday by the latest.
If you want to make an intervention, please, first of all, try and use the speaking queue so that everybody can see where they are in the speaking queue. And the link is being pasted into the chat right now. And if that fails, you can put your hand up and then somebody from the secretariat will insert your name into the speaking queue.
So either myself or Yu Ping will call your name to give you the floor before you speak. And please, when you speak, please say your name, your organization that you represent, and also the stakeholder group.
And we are going to try on a first come, first served basis but we also want to keep some stakeholder balance, so we'll see how that goes. And please also state whether or not you're speaking in your personal capacity or for your organization.
So with that, I would like to introduce -- give the Assistant Secretary-General the floor.
>>MARIA FRANCESCA SPATOLISANO: Thank you very much, Chengetai. And hello to everybody. Good afternoon in Geneva, good morning here in New York.
I'm very honored to join this first Open Consultation and Multistakeholder Advisory Group meeting of the IGF.
The issues discussed here are intricately, I would say, connected to the Secretary-General's Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and all related workstreams of the office of the technology envoy.
As you know, I recently became the officer in charge of the Tech Envoy office. The other hat I am wearing is the Assistant Secretary-General of Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN DESA, so I am aware of the form and function of the Internet Governance Forum and how it served as a platform for the global community multistakeholders dialogue on digital policies. For the past 15 years, and now preparing for the 16th meeting, the IGF has made great strides, breaking down silos between stakeholder groups. Very important.
Right now, of course almost everywhere in the world, people have lived through unprecedented times of uncertainty due to COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, the digital technologies and the Internet have in many ways helped us keep the world moving, helped everybody to continue with its dynamics online or visually. At the same time the pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities, including the digital divide and it is imperative for all of us to work for a safer, more inclusive and affordable Internet for all.
We also witness the multi-dimensional risks, of course, linked to the Internet in the areas, for instance, of data privacy, cybersecurity, misinformation, and others. So the IGF mandate, anchored in the Tunis Agenda and the Secretary-General Roadmap for Digital Cooperation can advance our joint efforts. We can and we must harness the digital world, Internet, technologies for good, for sustainable development, and for the well-being of all of us.
So in the Office of the Tech Envoy, I am committed to bringing the roadmaps and recommendations to reality, to work towards strengthening collaboration, developing capacity and digital policy and ensuring technologies work for people, not against.
As you know, the roadmap puts emphasis on a strengthened IGF as a model for global digital cooperation, particularly in paragraph 93. The office of the Envoy on Technology has been working closely with UN DESA, and in working together we are both committed to support the IGF evolution towards a more forward-looking and purposeful platform, and to continue to be open to all inclusive, bottom-up, and multistakeholder.
Now, consultations carried across regions and disciplines of the roadmap, including the IGF Plus model, underlined the need for a stronger IGF mechanism. This requires long-term sustainability that can be achieved through stronger stakeholder engagement, and keeping the forum's thematic focus current and relevant for all.
In this context the roadmap also calls for establishment of a multistakeholder high-level body. Now, I am aware of the historic instrumental guidance the Multistakeholder Advisory Group, you, the MAG, has provided to the IGF and world meeting program. While the annual meeting is critical for all of us to meet and exchange ideas virtually this time, hopefully again in presence, to exchange ideas, concerns, I was saying a good practice, we must think beyond it, and we must think longer term.
The proposed high-level multistakeholder body is an opportunity to reach those that do have an important role to play in the Internet's ecosystem but are not yet part of our discussions.
Today, my office, UN DESA and the IGF Secretariat are carrying out a joint effort on consultation on paragraph 93(a). And I call for your participation, representing different and diverse stakeholder groups in completing the short questionnaire. Please do complete the short questionnaire.
We have also requested member states through their missions at the U.N. in both New York and Geneva, of course.
Now, thank you very much for having me. I will stay online a little bit more until my next appointment of the day listening to your thoughts, and I look forward to continuing the engagement with the IGF and all the stakeholders.
Thank you very much.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Assistant Secretary-General.
I would first of all like to give the floor to the chair of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group, Ms. Anriette Esterhuysen, to say a few words.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you very much, Chengetai. Ms. Spatolisano, it's a great pleasure for me to welcome you to this IGF Open Consultation and MAG meeting on behalf of all the MAG members of IGF 2021. The IGF community collaborated very closely with the office of the special adviser to the U.N. Secretary-General in the lead up to the development of the roadmap. And we see this as a very significant opportunity for the IGF to consolidate what it has achieved in building community, in building bottom-up processes, but also working towards being more focused and having more impact. So we look forward to collaborating with yourself, with the Office of the Tech Envoy, and with UN DESA as we always have done. And looking forward to also have the benefit of a fresh pair of eyes, which come with a lot of international experience and which I'm sure will give us insights that we can benefit from. So we really look forward to having you with us. Welcome.
And back to Chengetai.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Anriette.
I would also like to introduce Yu Ping who is going to be the co-facilitator of the next session. If she could just switch on a camera and speak.
>>YU PING CHAN: Thank you, Chengetai, and thank you so much to DESA for organizing this meeting, to all colleagues for joining us. Really it is a pleasure and honor always to be part of the IGF MAG, and we really thank you for all the cooperation, collaboration and support that the MAG has given our office over the last one or two years, particularly in regards to the follow-up to the High-level Panel report, the subsequent consultations in preparation for the roadmap, and then subsequently in response to the roadmap itself. And we really look forward to this continuing.
We valued very much the inputs that the IGF MAG has brought to the entire process and we have tried our best to keep up-to-date with some of the discussions going on. Jason, my colleague, has been with you through a lot of this process as well.
So just to reaffirm that we are fully open and committed to continuing this very excellent engagement and hearing the very important views that all of you bring to this table.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Yu Ping.
I wonder if there is -- anybody has got one or two general questions. We haven't gotten yet to the consultation on 93(a), but if anybody has got any general questions that they would want to ask, we can hear them.
Let me just see if I can see the speaking queue, see if anybody has registered for that.
And we have Rem Bahadur.
If you could just introduce yourself, please.
>>REM BAHADUR: Yes, please.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, please. Speak.
>>REM BAHADUR: Yeah. This is Rem Bahadur. I am from the Nepal, and I am the chairperson of the Jagaran Media Center.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. Yes.
Just I want to -- I'm no. Just I'm hearing.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. All right, all right. Thank you very much.
And then we have Titti Cassa. Please.
>>CONCETTINA CASSA: Okay. thanks, Chengetai. Can you hear me?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, perfectly.
>>CONCETTINA CASSA: Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. My name is Concettina Cassa. I work for AgID, the Italian government. I'm (indiscernible) MAG member and also co-chair of the MAG working group on IGF (indiscernible) and strategy.
So as you know, this working group was established last year with the purpose to develop implementable action in the short and medium term on how to (indiscernible) the IGF and position it strategically in the evolving digital cooperation landscape.
So the working group, starting in twofold. The IGF mandate from Tunis Agenda and also the U.N. Secretary-General Roadmap for Digital Cooperation that was launched in June 2020.
Just very shortly, the scope of the working group is develop strategy for a more focused agenda, and also to produce more tangible outcomes and also for a better follow-up on the action, the recommendation that are emerging from the IGF discussion. But also on -- is working on IGF recognition, visibility as a whole.
And the last year, the working group has brought discussion on paragraph 93(a) of the U.S. Secretary-General Roadmap for Digital Cooperation related to the multistakeholder high-level body, and during the discussion, there were different views on the implementation of a multistakeholder high-level body. And the results of the discussion have been included in the document that's been published last September, the response to the paper on option for the future of digital cooperation. And in particular, the annex of this document includes three proposal to establish the new multistakeholder high-level body that have been developed by the members of the working group.
So there are three approaches included in the annex. One, the (indiscernible) is having a new body within the IGF separate and complementary to the MAG. The second approach (indiscernible) to be is foreseen for an in-depth reform of the MAG, the high-level body, MAG Plus approach. And the approach C that is foreseen for a two-year multistakeholder IGF leadership structure, including the multistakeholder high-level body and the MAG.
So now I want to give the floor to Livia Walpen, MAG member from Swiss government, who can give you more details on the three approaches.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. But we haven't got into the discussion of 93(a) first. This was supposed to be general questions to the Assistant Secretary-General. If there's anybody with general questions; otherwise, we will go into it, into the 93(a), yeah.
But I'll call you --
>>PAULA MARTINS: I do have a general question just in relation to the questionnaire. Is it already available? The questionnaire that madam just mentioned.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: No, the questionnaire is going to be sent this week. It's going to be sent this week. So this session is meant to kick it off, and then -- so we'll have verbal -- verbal inputs in this session, and then we are going to send it to all the missions and also it's going to be published on the IGF website and people -- with a web form, and people can give their input in the web form or send it to us via email. But again, that is for the discussion on 93(a).
Here, we were just discussing if there was any general questions about what the Tech Envoy is doing or the Tech Envoy's office is doing, because we also have Yu Ping and Jason here, and they can answer those questions as well.
>>JORGE CANCIO: Chengetai, if I may?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Jorge, please, go ahead.
>>JORGE CANCIO: Yes, I'm starting my camera. Sorry if it takes a moment. I hope you can see me.
This is Jorge Cancio from Swiss government. Good afternoon, good morning, good evening to everyone. And welcome and hello to Ms. Assistant Secretary-General Spatolisano. We are very happy to have you here, to have you in charge of the Tech Envoy office. And we are thankful to UN DESA for being able to deputize you to this very important task.
As a general comment, I wanted to share with you, as our president mentioned at the IGF in -- during last November, that we are firm supporters of the implementation of the roadmap. I think we are doing great work together with the Tech Envoy office, which is building up with Yu Ping, with Jason, with the whole team. And of course also with UN DESA here at the IGF.
So we are very much looking forward to making swift progress in the implementation of the roadmap, especially section 93, but also all the other sections of the roadmap. And I very much agree with what you said, that there is a strong interconnection between all areas of the roadmap and what is in the -- under the purview of the IGF. So the IGF for us has to be the main policy discussion platform for taking forward all the goals of the roadmap. And this, of course, as you said, in a truly multistakeholder, open, transparent and bottom-up fashion with full involvement of the whole IGF community.
So I think it's a wonderful time now to make such progress. As you said, COVID-19 has shown, with as a magnifying glass, all the challenges but also all the opportunities that the digitalization gives us as economies and societies. And we very much look forward to working with you on this.
I will share with you later on some other more specific points on the high-level body, but as Chengetai said, this will come a bit later.
Thank you very much.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Jorge.
The next person on the speaking queue is Timea Suto. You have the floor.
>>TIMEA SUTO: Thank you very much Chengetai. I hope you can hear me. You can see me? Yes. There it is.
Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, everyone. Ms. Spatolisano, thank you very much for joining us today.
My name is Timea Suto. I'm joining you from the International Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the Business Action to support the Information Society.
I will have probably more to input when we get to the discussion on 93(a), but just for the interim, I would like to pose a few questions, general questions on the technology envoy's mandate.
As you might already know, ICC has been following the work of the U.N. Secretary-General's Panel on Digital Cooperation since its inception, and we were also key constituent for the roundtable recommendation 5a and b on digital cooperation architecture. We also joined the Secretary-General in the launch of his roadmap last summer, and we welcome every opportunity to continue to engage with the global multistakeholder community to provide business perspectives on the implementation of the roadmap.
Therefore, we welcome the creation of the office of the technology envoy and are looking forward to engaging in the work of the office on behalf of businesses worldwide.
From the updates provided by colleagues, from the envoy's office so far, it seems that all roundtables are very active in their respective fields, but we would appreciate further clarity on the mandate and work plan on the office of the technology envoy.
Our understanding from briefings this far is the office of the envoy is governed through a project document that is supported by voluntary extra budgetary contributions. So I would like to ask you if you would have an indication for when the document and list of supporters is expected to be cleared for publication.
As I said before, we can see a lot of avenues and synergies for collaboration with the private sector, so we would appreciate any clarity on the work of the various roundtables and avenues for collaboration with business. And we can see also potential value in creating the high-level multistakeholder body that we will be discussing further on. And I will reserve my comments on that for when that's appropriate.
Thank you very much, Chengetai.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Timea.
I'm closing the queue at Carlos Afonso, and then we'll go into the next stage.
But let's see if there's any other questions first before I hand it over to the ASG.
>>SUMAIR GUL: Yes, hello. This is Sumair Gul. I'm working here in permanent mission of Pakistan in Geneva.
My question is related to the multistakeholderism. We see here United Nations has already the mechanisms like WSIS Forum, the World Summit on the Information Society, and ITU is already working with the help of so many working groups of the council that deal with the Internet-related issues. And so where do we see IGF not duplicating the efforts of the United Nations in addressing the issues related to Internet? Because we see so many things that are getting duplication, overlapping of the efforts. So how do we see IGF to be a more force multiplier rather than just a reputation?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much.
The next person is Justin Fair. Justin?
>>JUSTIN FAIR: Sure. Good morning, everyone. Yeah, my name is Justin Fair. I'm at the U.S. Department of State, and I'm speaking on behalf of the Government of the United States this morning.
And I'll be very quick. I just wanted to echo the question raised by our colleagues from the International Chamber of Commerce, particularly concerning has there been any progress in providing more transparency on the mandate or the funding for the Tech Envoy's office and this new workstream on digital cooperation.
Those questions are inherently important as we consider this work but particularly important as we discuss commissioning new bodies and/or advisory groups, like the ones we'll discuss a little bit later. Thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Justin. I think I will just finish the queue because I think the ASG also has to go. And so I will just finish the queue so we can be quick with this section.
Mr. Mattia Fantinati, please. Mattia, you've got the floor.
>>MATTIA FANTINATI: Sorry. My apologies.
Thank you very much, Chengetai. Thank you very much, Mrs. Spatolisano, for your presentation. I'm recently a new MAG member and I'm a member -- representative of the Italian parliament.
I have just a question just about -- I realize that in this year that a lot of parliamentarians want to be involved in the IGF or high digital-level process. And I think it's really important to involve as many parliamentarians as possible.
I have a lot of colleagues that are willing -- are willing to get together to talk about Internet governmentship.
I think there are a lot of parliamentarians in the world that nowadays they don't have permission just dedicated to the Internet governance for digitalization.
I would like to know if there is a plan for UN DESA in a sort of way to involve in a formal way as many parliamentarians as possible in order to share the best practice and to create more awareness in the people and in the policymaking. Thank you very much.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Mattia.
Our final and last speaker in this section is Carlos Afonso.
You have the floor.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: Yes, Chengetai. I put my name there to start the discussion of the paragraph 93. So I can wait for it.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. Great. That's fine then.
So let me just check if the ASG is still online and whether or not she can respond to any of these questions or give it to Yu Ping.
>>MARIA FRANCESCA SPATOLISANO: Yes. Thank you. These are all very important questions. First of all, let me thank those who took the floor and you all for the support you have expressed and interest you have expressed in the work of the IGF, MAG, and the office of the Tech Envoy.
My first point will be to share with you my task here is -- as officer in charge of the tech envoy office is to ensure the continuity of the office. The office is important in the U.N. system. The implementation of the roadmap is important, and that's what I'm set to do, continue the work of the office in my temporary functions as well as I can, with support of a great group of people who are already there and whom I praise already after only two weeks in the job because they are really good. So that's first thing, continuing implementing the roadmap.
Then, I thank you, those who said the IGF is the main platform. I hear those who say we have to do better. Of course, there are already many proposals in front of you. And that's why we are asking -- we're consulting. We want to hear more about the views of the stakeholders, not just the member states. So you're all invited to reply to this survey we are circulating.
Certainly we do not intend to duplicate the work. But this is important in U.N. to understand that there are loft constituencies, and there are a lot of agencies, and there are a lot of regional groupings. What the role of the U.N. needs is to bring them all together.
So I think that this is what we are keeping in mind, being inclusive, be open, and find the functional synergies because sometimes the structures are there. It's very difficult to change structures. But you can find in what you do and what others do the functional synergies, and this is important in an area like this which is all made of intangible, if you want.
So I would say keep working, continuity, functional synergies, inclusiveness.
For the mandate, the mandate of the Tech Envoy Office went through the ACABQ. So membership is fully aware of the mandate. I will certainly ensure transparency. This is a rule for us. There is no secret in the mandate, I would say. But maybe I don't understand the question well enough. And I will be open to discuss it again bilaterally any time.
So let me see if I can -- oh, and the parliamentary involvement is one of the options and proposals which was made previously in some consultations. I think not by the tech office but was raised already. But I will defer to Yu Ping on this one because I'm not fully informed yet. You will forgive me if I only know some things and not yet everything of the office work in my first two weeks.
So, Yu Ping, would you like to take it up for me? Thank you.
>>YU PING CHAN: I'm a little bit confused as to the question on policy engagement. As I've already just noted in the chat, the implementation of the roadmap is really open to all interested stakeholders. And we would be happy to connect colleagues with workstreams that you're interested in.
As the ASG had explained, the mandate of the Tech Envoy's Office flows from the roadmap. And the implementation of the roadmap stands at the core of the Tech Envoy's Office. So I do think that will continue as the ASG has emphasized and that we really do welcome all policy stakeholders and your MAG members' contribution to that part.
So we are happy to facilitate those linkups with the work streams that are now ongoing in support of the entity's work. I believe the question that was raised by the distinguished delegate of Pakistan was that question about how this interacts with some of the other agencies, currently working, like, for instance, the ITU.
This is where the Office of the Tech Envoy has been very fortunate to capitalize on some of the ongoing engagements and the very strong partnerships that we've had with ITU and other U.N. agencies active in this field.
So, for instance, ITU is a champion of the roundtable on connectivity as well as capacity-building so as to precisely ensure as the distinguished delegate had mentioned the complementarity with the work streams and the ongoing initiatives of these U.N. agencies and entities already.
So, for instance, when it comes to global connectivity -- because this is part of the mandate of the ITU as well as a key focus of the Broadband Commission on Sustainable Development. There are very strong complementaries between what the roadmap is calling for, the areas of implementation, and the ongoing initiatives by these agencies as well.
In the same way when it comes to capacity-building, the UNDP is rolling up a lot of very technical programs and very concrete initiatives that the roadmap will aim to amplify. The roadmap won't create anything new but simply put together what is ongoing by the various U.N. agencies within this overall framework of the Secretary-General's vision for how the international community and the United Nations can better support member states in these digital challenges.
I'm not sure that answered the question. Perhaps if there are any further, perhaps the ASG could respond. If not, I could also try and supplement with a few details.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Yu Ping. And also thank you very much, Assistant Secretary-General Spatolisano. Let me just check if there's any foll-up.
The Assistant Secretary-General said she is going to stay on as long as she can to just listen in to what the stakeholders are saying.
But let me start off the next session. As I said, it's going to be co-facilitated by myself and Yu Ping as well. And it is just a very narrowly focused on garnering your views on 93(a).
Luis, if you can just please show the first slide. I just have two slides just so that we can just concentrate.
So just a reminder that on the Secretary-General's roadmap, paragraph 93(a) says: Creating a strategic and empowered multistakeholder high-level body, building on the experience of the existing Multistakeholder Advisory Group which would address urgent issues, coordinate follow-up actions on forum discussions, and relaying proposed policy approaches and recommendations from the forum to the appropriate normative and decision-making forums. So that's what 93(a) says.
We are -- this is a joint effort between us, the Tech Envoy's Office. And we are going to be sending out a questionnaire. It's going to be posted on the IGF website. And it's also going to be sent out to the missions for them to respond because we know it takes some time to consult and to bring back the answers because we just want a little bit more information on what the stakeholders' view is on this particular topic, not on everything. We don't want to reopen everything up. It's just on this 93(a).
If you go to the second slide, so these are the questions that we're asking now, and there will be a more refined version of these questions that are going to be posted and, of course, sent to the missions.
And so after Yu Ping has spoken because she is going to give us a little bit of background and tell us a little bit about the option paper, et cetera, and how -- and where we are now with this.
So after Yu Ping has spoken, we'll open up the floor and we would like to garner your views on any of these questions.
So we would like to limit interventions to four minutes each just in case other people want to take the floor and we can get as many views as we can. If you cannot finish or if there's not enough time for everybody to have their say, you can still send in written responses when we publish their questionnaire on the website and send it to the missions.
So, Yu Ping, please, just give us a slight overview.
>>YU PING CHAN: Thank you, Chengetai.
And, you know, without having to go over some ground, I think colleagues are quite familiar with, I'm just basically going to again summarize where we've been in the last 2 1/2 to 3 years in terms of the process and consultations over the strike-through of the IGF and specifically this issue of the multistakeholder high-level body.
I think colleagues will be familiar with the fact that this all originated with the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation the Secretary-General had convened in 2018 which really discussed how best the international community can come together around digital challenges, not just in the area of the IGF but more broadly as a whole.
And based on that, one of the key recommendations there was the importance of the IGF+ and the strengthening of the IGF as a key mechanism for the digital cooperation architecture and really ensuring that the IGF retained its prominence as the forum for digital cooperation and Internet governance issues.
So based on that, the High-Level Panel had come up with a new of key suggestions including the policy incubators and various other structural improvements for the IGF.
That was then carried forward in the consultation process that the Office of the Special Advisor had actually conducted with a number of key colleagues around the table where we really looked at how the High-Level Panel's recommendations could then be taken forward in action-oriented, outcome-focused ways.
And this consultation process which across all the various thematic areas took over 100 key member states, stakeholder communities, tech companies, multistakeholder initiatives, networks, and so forth, culminated in the Secretary-General's Roadmap for Digital Cooperation issued last June, where it comes to the famous paragraph 93, which lays out very concrete areas where the Secretary-General hopes to make progress in terms of taking forward the IGF, strengthening the IGF and really going towards an IGF+.
In response to that, we were very, very honored actually throughout the entire process of following up from the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation to have the support of the co-champions, United Arab Emirates and the government of Germany, which has been consolidating the roundtable the discussions as a follow-up to the high-level process as well as the preparation for the Secretary-General's roadmap.
And with the Secretary-General's roadmap, they then put together an options paper in terms of how to really actionize and concretize the proposals from the High-Level Panel. And that was the options paper that was submitted by Germany and the UAE to the Secretary-General.
Subsequently to that, that as well as the roadmap form the basis for the MAG -- the Multistakeholder Advisory Group's own submission of the three options in the response paper which I believe our colleague from Switzerland, Livia, will actually be presenting on a little bit later.
All this to say there has been a very intense process of consultations, which our office has been following quite closely from the beginning. What we are really hoping to see in some ways the manifestation of all the various stakeholder views as well as the sense in which we need to collectively come together now to decide how best to proceed, to strengthen the IGF in line with what has appeared to be a general understanding that there really is need to make the IGF the premier discussion forum which has been sent to the United Nations. And from based on the very bottom-up, multistakeholder, open process of consultation and discussion such as to ensure that the IGF can actually have impact in its discussions and a lot of the very important topics and themes that are brought together through this very vibrant community can then be translated into the broader digital cooperation activities as well as the rest of the U.N. system.
We have been very honored there really has been this commitment and this enthusiasm of the IGF multistakeholder community as well as the IGF itself, the member states supporting the IGF, that there really needs to be this other province of the IGF so they can take on the role that was envisioned for it in its original mandates and in the World Summit -- in the WSIS Summit documents as well.
So we really looking forward to continuing this process. We actually do hope given the numerous discussions going on for the last few years, we are actually reaching this crescendo where the Secretary-General will be able to take stock of all the inputs he's gotten over the process, your very important inputs today, and the questionnaire that will be shortly circulating so as to come to a informed, considered decision about what next for the IGF. And in this, we really count on support of the stakeholders and all of you present here today. Thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Yu Ping.
So with that, without any further ado, I would like to give the floor to Carlos, please. Carlos Afonso.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: Hello, hello. Thank you, Chengetai. The discussion has, I think, already advanced.
And we have an excellent working paper, position paper made by the working group on strategies, which advances three approaches to treatment of the question of formation of this high-level multistakeholder body and is very detailed. It's an excellent document.
And at the end of it, I decided to support -- approach B which is proposed in the document.
But I don't think we have a way to discuss all those details here because the time is short.
But I would just like to call your attention to that document. Cassa can give us, perhaps, a very concise, executive summary of the three approaches. And we can consider it a very strong contribution to this discussion. Thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Carlos.
Rudolf Gridl is next.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Carlos, your microphone is still on.
>>RUDOLF GRIDL: Okay. Hello. Good afternoon. Good morning. Good evening. My name is Rudolf Gridl. I'm head of the Internet governance section and coordinator for Internet governance policy in the German government and ministry for economic affairs. I'm a former MAG member from 2018 to 2020. And I have been, together with my colleagues, the organizer of the IGF 2019 in Germany and one of the co-authors of the already-mentioned options paper regarding Recommendation 5a and b.
Thank you very much, Yu Ping, for the presentation. And thank you, also, everybody who has contributed to this endeavor.
And, Yu Ping, you mentioned it. I want to bring it up again. We had on the table a ton of I.T. stakeholder consultations already.
In the run up to our options paper, we have had multistakeholder consultations regionally, in Latin America, in Africa, Europe. And we had it globally with our citizens' dialogue.
There have been other consultations, more particularly -- Carlos also referred to and Titti before, we have the excellent paper of the MAG working group on strategy. And I really think that this is now the time to take action and not to consult again.
Or let me put it with a good philosopher Elvis Presley who had his song "A little less conversation, a little more action."
I think that is what we all need now. And I see where you are coming from, Yu Ping. And I see that this is -- now that the Tech Envoy has taken the office -- or the office is established, you want to base your decisions on a broad basis. I think there is a broad basis already that you can draw from. I'm not sure if you really need to prolong the process.
So that's my first message. Rather taking action than taking another consultation.
My second message would be I think it is very important now that the Office of the Tech Envoy is established to put a clear seam where does the Tech Envoy stand. And you had a very valuable consideration, Yu Ping, when you say the Tech Envoy is the one in charge of the implementation of the roadmap. I think that's very important for all of us to hear it from you, because somebody asked me the other day: So what is this task? Is it a new MAG chair? Is it a new IGF? No, it's not. And I think that's very important to communicate this.
And in this context, we also have to see this new multistakeholder high-level body which has to find its role, that's clear, but which should be, in our view, and I think that's the message that we got in our consultation, it should be the body to do the linkage between discussion and decision. Discussions at the IGF, decision-makers elsewhere in the business, in the international organization, in the government.
And I think if you work on these parameters, and on the basis of what the MAG has already elaborated, I think it's a good basis where you could start off right now without having another round and another round and another round of consultation.
Thank you very much for your attention. That's what I have to contribute.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: All right. Thank you very much, Rudolf.
I'd just like to remind people that we're giving four minutes to each person. I mean, we can switch it to five and that would be good.
I would also like to also ask that respondents can also look at the questions and see if they can answer any of them in their response, such as the structure, funding as well which is very important, and also how will it be -- what will be the composition of the body. So those are the questions that we have there in the slide, questions to consider.
Okay. So with that, Livia, please.
>>LIVIA WALPEN: Yes, thank you very much, Chengetai. And following up on Titti's remarks earlier and also on what Carlos just said, I can actually (indiscernible) present briefly the ideas of our working group on IGF strategy on how to operationalize this strategic and empowered multistakeholder high-level body as it is envisaged in paragraph 93(a) of the U.N. SG's roadmap. And of course time is short, so I cannot outline the three approaches that we develped in detail, but I also already posted the link to the document in the chat, so you can consult it there as well.
Also, I would like to mention that while developing these ideas, our working group took into account the discussions on the multistakeholder high-level body that have been taking place at different occasions. Particularly also the roundtable consultations led by Germany and the UAE and between fall 2019 and summer 2020, which then culminated in their options paper for implementing recommendation 5A and B of the High-level Panel's recommendation.
And then, in fact, on many aspects of the multistakeholder high-level body, such as the functions, the governance, appointment and composition, there was actually broad agreement among the working group members. And in this sense, the three approaches, A, B, and C, really share some key characteristics.
And first of all, the approaches envisage the same purpose of the multistakeholder high-level body, which is namely a higher visibility and greater political relevance for the IGF.
Also, the functions are basically identical in the three approaches building on the ones envisaged in paragraph 93(a). And also the main function would actually be to build stronger bridges between the discussions and insights of experts at the IGF and decisions being made in other fora. I think Rudolf also said that very clearly before.
And also, all three options -- in all three options, the multistakeholder high-level body is seen as an integral part of the IGF architecture. And also, all approaches are multistakeholder and build on the experience of the MAG.
And then finally, the profile of its members and their system of nomination; namely, bottom-up and rotating. And it's very similar between all of them.
So what's actually different in the three approaches that we developed? The working group sees different options on how the relationship between the multistakeholder high-level body and the existing IGF MAG could look like. And there, approach A sees the multistakeholder high-level body as separate but complementary to the MAG. It argues that different functions require distinct profiles, and, therefore, two bodies would be needed.
The multistakeholder high-level body would consist of about 25 high-level members from all stakeholder groups. And the multistakeholder high-level body and the MAG would have very strong links by using the respective chairs of each other's body. Also, there would be equality and no hierarchy between them.
Then on approach B, there approach B suggests so-called a MAG Plus approach; namely, an in-depth reform of the current MAG. So they would not be a new body, per se, but within the MAG, a leadership consisting of five to six people. And the composition of the MAG would stay the same with 40 to 50 people, and the chair of the leadership team would also be the chair of the MAG.
And then finally, approach C suggests a two-tiered multistakeholder IGF leadership structure, and it actually draws on elements of both option A and B and proposes to establish a single structure that consists of the multistakeholder high-level body and the current MAG.
And then the multistakeholder high-level body would be empowered to provide strategic leadership and more senior representation while the MAG would continue to focus on the annual IGF process.
Yes, to close, I think it's really fair to say that the working group on strategy did some really profound work by developing these ideas on how to operationalize the multistakeholder high-level body. And, yeah, as I said, there was really broad agreement on many aspects of this multistakeholder high-level body among the members of the working group.
And, yeah, the working group sends these three options to the co-champions of recommendations 5A and B back in September last year, and we really hope they will be taken into account on the next steps of the implementation multistakeholder high-level body.
Thank you very much.
>>YU PING CHAN: Thank you so much, Livia, and thank you so much for the recap of the three options in the paper. I think as we've emphasized, we are aware that there have been many consultations that have gone on, and we hear via Rudolf and the other colleagues in the chat when you say that really there has been a lot of discussion, but the time for action is now. And I think this is part of the spirit in which this final question -- this questionnaire will allow us to sort of conclude and wrap up and make sure that we have consulted with everyone else beyond this very engaged community and give an opportunity to those we have not heard from this chance to really input their views so that there can be this considered proposal that goes to the Secretary-General for his consideration and then his action.
So I do hear all colleagues when they have emphasized that there has been much reflection, much thought, and much work that's gone into the proposals in the MAG's three options that in the previous options paper produced by Germany and the UAE, and really in the consultation process that has led up -- led us to this very point.
And so just to reassure our colleagues that I do believe it is the intention of the Secretary-General to move forward on this. And I would also defer and ask my UN DESA colleagues and Chengetai to explain more on the timeline for the questionnaire and what are the next steps on that. But just again to make clear we are very much aware of all that's gone on and that we really do want to reflect all the important work that's been building on one after another across the last two years in terms of taking us to this point.
Thank you so much.
And can I now call on Chris Painter.
>>CHRIS PAINTER: Yes, hi.
First of all, on these prior comments, I've also participated in that consultation, so certainly welcome that.
The point I want to make about this multistakeholder body is that as much as we all care about these issues, and we all do, we are a small subset of the world community. And it's not getting the attention I think it deserves. It's not getting the mainstream attention it does. And I'm speaking both in my personal capacity and as president of the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise Foundation. So we need to make this more of a political priority around the world and get some of those stakeholders involved.
One I think I think the ITU lacks and, frankly, a lot of the IGFs in the past have lacked, is they have attracted even from government more of the ICT ministers, who are lovely people but they only cover one part of this portfolio.
And a question for this multistakeholder body is how can you involve, on the government side, foreign ministers, interior ministers, people who deal with other aspects of cyberspace that I think are getting more attention in the IGF but we don't have the stakeholders there. And it's not just on the government side but the other side, too.
So I think a key part of this is to broaden the participants of the IGF as we broaden the mandates of different subjects that it's been dealing with.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Chris.
Next on the speaking queue is Paul Blaker.
>>PAUL BLAKER: Thank you, Chengetai. Can you hear me okay?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can hear you.
>>PAUL BLAKER: Thank you. My name is Paul Blaker. I'm speaking for the UK government. And thank you for putting together this session. We welcome the consultation on paragraph 93(a). This will be the first specific consultation on the proposal for a high-level body, and we think it is important to consult fully on this because it's a very significant proposal with major consequences for the IGF and the IGF community.
The UK has warmly welcomed the Secretary-General's roadmap as a significant and positive step forward. And it's good that there is so much consensus about what we need to do to strengthen the IGF, much of it set out in the roadmap.
We hope this can move forward as quickly as possible, but there has been a lot of concern amongst stakeholders about the idea of establishing a high-level body. And the UK government would not support a high-level body as a separate new body.
I think we all agree that the IGF needs stronger leadership, but we are worried that if this body is set up separately to the IGF and separately to the MAG, it could actually undermine the IGF.
There is a risk that a separate body of high-profile individuals will take attention away from the IGF itself and undermine the real work it has to do.
There's a risk that a new body would not be accountable to the IGF community. It would not have ownership or responsibility for strengthening the IGF. And appointing a group of high-profile individuals would not be in keeping with the bottom-up multistakeholder ethos of the IGF.
There's also a risk that the role of the high-level body would overlap with the role of the MAG, which could lead to confusion and even rivalry as well as new bureaucracy and new costs.
So we are all agreed the IGF needs stronger leadership, stronger corporate identity and a more strategic approach. And I think many people would agree that the current setup of the MAG means that it is not well placed to do that.
So in the MAG working group, we have developed an alternative approach where the new high-level body sits within the MAG as part of the MAG. It would be a kind of Executive Committee of the MAG or a multistakeholder leadership team of the MAG, perhaps made up of one senior person from each stakeholder group plus the IGF chair. It would provide senior representation. It would strengthen lengths with decision-making organizations, and it would provide strategic leadership to develop and help implement an IGF Plus. And crucially, it would be accountable to the wider MAG and part of the wider community.
Making it part of the MAG would also make sure that their efforts and resources are joined up and we are all pulling in the same direction.
Finally, I'd finish just by saying that this is not a discussion about aims and objectives. There is a lot of consensus on what we all want to achieve together, but the issue is how to achieve it. And in our view, making the high-level body part of a reformed and strengthened MAG will provide the joined up senior strategic leadership that we need.
Thank you very much.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Paul. And thank you also for keeping in time. That was very good and much appreciated.
>>YU PING CHAN: Sorry, if I can just come in on this point. I think just because Paul has made some really important points, I just really want to, again, go on record to say, I mean, we have made this point quite clear over a number of months that we, at the secretariat -- and in the drafting of the roadmap perhaps it didn't seem that clear, but it has never been envisioned that what this roadmap says about 93(a) is for the high-level body to be separate from the IGF. I do think that this is part of the structure of the IGF, and that was why it was situated within the paragraph on IGF strengthening.
So the high-level body in whatever form it eventually takes is not foreseen as a separate body from the IGF. And as laid out in the options of the options paper and the MAG, that the MAG had put forward in response to the roadmap, is foreseen as part of the IGF structure itself and providing, as you said, the high-level leadership and strategic guidance for taking forward the IGF.
So just to reassure everybody on that score that the high-level body as envisioned by the Secretary-General and secretariat at this point, not that any decision has been made about how it will be constituted, in no form or way would there be the option whereby it is separate from the IGF, detracting from the IGF or becoming something that is not part of the IGF structure and community itself. And that is something I want to make sure everybody feels comfortable about and really there should not be any concerns to that end. Thank you.
Sorry, back to you, Chengetai.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much. I foresee us running out of time, so if we could just make our interventions as short as possible and to the point. And also, we are here to listen, and so please, Paula Martins.
>>PAULA MARTINS: Thank you, Yu Ping. Thank you, Chengetai.
I'm Paula Martins. I'm here on behalf of the Association for Progressive Communications.
APC believes that an empowered high-level leadership body that could ensure a more outcome-oriented process, building on a stronger thematic focus during the sessions, and it hastens intersessional work. Sending clear messages to inform and feed other Internet policy and Internet governance processes would be, indeed, an important development.
This body could better bridge the gap between deliberative spaces and decision-making processes as well as strengthen the participation of different stakeholders, including governments from the Global South, for example.
That said, we worry about the format (indiscernible) and attributions to be defined to such a body. It is key to ensure that the experience and lessons learned from years of IGF and MAG operation really feed into this process of strengthening leadership and digital cooperation. And key principles like multistakeholderism, transparency, inclusivity, dialogue are key aspects that we believe should be safeguarded.
We believe there is a risk about with the creation of a new structure of creating a top-down approach to digital cooperation that could undermine the IGF's legacy if not carefully designed.
It is important to ensure that the envisioned body will not be disconnected from the IGF community as was just discussed, and also from other institutions and processes of the Internet governance ecosystem.
Therefore, we believe that extensive multistakeholder discussions should guide any developments. We urge you to create, in addition to the questionnaire, other spaces specifically to discuss the proposal of a multistakeholder high-level body with enough time and publicization to allow a broad and more meaningful participation at this point with clarification of next steps.
So we really look forward to continuing to engage in this debate and we consider that the response document that was just presented to the options paper that was prepared by the MAG strategy working group, it's a very valuable starting point for further consultations and conversations in this regard.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Paula.
>>YU PING CHAN: Thank you so much. The next colleague who is on the speakers' list --
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Oh, sorry. My fault.
>>YU PING CHAN: I believe it's Ben Wallis?
>>BEN WALLIS: Hello. Thank you. Ben Wallis representing Microsoft.
So paragraph 93(a) is obviously at quite a high level but it does set out three tasks. And the one that I'd like to emphasize is that of relaying to IGF policy recommendations to decision-making bodies.
I think this is important both for making better use of the IGF's many outputs and also for raising the profile of the IGF. It's something that the secretariat and the MAG have had limited resources. And I think it's something that can fall through the cracks.
So I think having this as a dedicated and thought-through task done by senior people is a welcome addition.
And I think that tells us something about what the profile of the members of a high-level board should be. I'm concerned at suggestions that we need to be looking for ministers and CEOs. I'd actually prefer to see people who can roll their sleeves up and do the work themselves, people who already have contacts and involvement in these decision-making bodies they'll be reaching out to.
So I'd be thinking of a profile of senior government officials and senior representatives and executives who have experience operating within these decision-making bodies.
The other point I want to make now is I do share some of the concerns that Paul Blaker raised about potential for competition or duplication with the MAG. I think his proposal for kind of senior strategic tier for the MAG is very interesting, if I understood it correctly. I don't want to mischaracterize it. And I think it's worth exploring that in more detail.
But if there's to be a body that's separate from the MAG, I think at the very least it's important to have overlapping leadership to help avoid duplication and lack of coordination. So the chair of this new body would need to be a vice chair of the MAG. And the chair of the MAG should be a vice chair of the new body to try to ensure that coordination. And I'll leave it there. Thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Ben.
Next is Jorge. Please, you have the floor.
>>JORGE CANCIO: Thank you so much, Chengetai. I'll try to be brief and try to stick to your questions.
Regarding -- this is Jorge Cancio, the Swiss government again.
Regarding the functions, I think the proposals from the U.N. Secretary-General are very opposite. I think those functions have been (indiscernible) very specifically also by the MAG working group. So I think we have a good basis there on what the functions should be.
The functions leave us from the Swiss government to thinking that they are separate and different to the program development function from the MAG. That is why we think a separate but equal body within the IGF makes more sense because the profile of the people is different. And the program development function of the MAG, you need expert people. In bridge-building function between expert discussions and decision-making processes, you need high-level people. So this calls for us logically for separate and distinct bodies within the IGF.
As to the governance and structure, we agree with the point of aligning with the experience had in the first years in the MAG. So we would have basically the same bottom-up nomination process from all stakeholder groups, however with a more reduced number of people, about 25, and being completely accountable and transparent to the multistakeholder community so as the MAG is but, as was said, with different functions and profiles than the MAG.
But as how to serve this structure within the IGF, we think that the logical choice which is also supported by all the approaches of the MAG working group is that this should be for the IGF secretariat.
And, of course, the IGF Trust Fund should be the source of funding. And for sure, Switzerland is there to support this, if it goes forward.
We think this is a very timely consultation. But as Rudolf from Germany said, and many supported on the chat, it is really time for action building on the three approaches put forward by the MAG working group and seeing what is the best combination of them.
Thank you very much.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Jorge.
I'm closing the list for now. So the last person is Giacomo Mazzone.
So, Giacomo, you're the last person.
So the next person is?
>>JUSTIN FAIR: Justin Fair.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Justin Fair, please.
>>JUSTIN FAIR: Good morning, again, everyone. Again, my name is Justin Fair. And I'm speaking this morning on behalf of the government of the United States.
So for 16 years, the IGF has served as an open forum for a global discussion on Internet policy issues. And it's a unique annual event that is hosted by the United Nations but is driven by the multistakeholder community. This program is created from the bottom up and not the top down and this functions as a platform for developing partnerships, discussions, and debate to fuel policy innovations.
We believe that the IGF has evolved and improved over the years in large part because of these characteristics, which are critical that it retain.
For these reasons, the United States was very pleased that the Roadmap on Digital Cooperation recognized the centrality and importance of the IGF in the work of the U.N. system towards better coordination on digital technology-related issues. And particularly as we implement many of the very policy recommendations that are in the roadmap, which we mostly support.
But in this vein, we must be clear that the United States strongly opposes a new body like the one that is described in the roadmap that would presumably be empowered to translate and prioritize the discussions at the IGF in a multistakeholder setting and the policy recommendations for intergovernmental or normative bodies to make a decision on.
In our view, such a body would undermine the multistakeholder policy discussions at the IGF that we have long supported and defended.
Further, we also agree with some others that have mentioned the central body could risk downgrading the importance of the IGF, particularly within the U.N. system.
At the same time, as per our longstanding position, the United States is open to proposals that improve and strengthen the IGF and the MAG. As such, we would support elevating the level of participation in the MAG and/or organizing the MAG in a way that provides for better outward messaging of the IGF's valuable policy discussions. Not so the IGF feeds recommendations into intergovernmental bodies but instead to ensure that the IGF remains the premier global forum for multistakeholder dialogue on Internet public policy-related issues. Thanks.
>>YU PING CHAN: Thank you so much, Justin. And I do think some of the concerns Ithink you had raised is precisely what I had addressed with Paul where I really do think we are moving away from this -- we have never had this idea that the high-level body would be separate from the IGF. It would be a necessary part of the IGF structure.
And so I think a lot of the issues colleagues have raised, how do we best ensure it does not detract from the MAG, it builds on the work of the MAG, it synthesizes or it really, as you just said, raises and elevates some of the discussions at the MAG to a higher level such that decisions can be taken to precisely achieve the outcomes that you just spoke about. This idea of transmitting the key discussions at the IGF itself to other parts of other international fora such that there can be, in some ways, I think follow-ups or outcomes from what happens at the IGF and have greater resonance elsewhere.
I think some of those key issues are what we need to discuss and where we really are interested in hearing the views of all member states as well as stakeholders as to how we achieve that.
And so, again, I want to reassure all colleagues that we're not looking at replacing the MAG. We are looking at in some ways precisely what you said to really support the multistakeholder approach that's been taken at the IGF.
And so I believe the Secretary-General's proposal in the roadmap for a multistakeholder high-level body is precisely to preserve this multistakeholder nature of the IGF that we all do enshrine and believe in quite firmly.
So, again, just to reassure our colleagues that I do think there has been some certain misconceptions about the high-level body. But in discussing it now, whatever we can clarify to really get rid of some of these misperceptions and how we can move forward, indeed, in building this very constructive relationship between the proposed high-level body and the MAG itself so that we can ultimately achieve what you had just outlined as our shared goal, making sure that the IGF remains the premier Internet governance body forum for these discussions and for where these kinds of discussions can take place.
So the next speaker I have on the list is Timea.
>>TIMEA SUTO: Thank you, Yu Ping. Thank you for giving me the floor for the second time. This is Timea Suto speaking on behalf of the ICC-BASIS.
As I noted before, we can see some potential value in creating a high-level body to strengthen the IGF and to add weight and visibility to the IGF's work and provide a place for some strategic discussions about the role and activities of the IGF, especially as we are moving towards the IGF+.
Also, as I noted before, we have been actively engaged with the IGF strategy working group to share some of our views on also on a multistakeholder high-level body, among other issues. And in that group, we have already expressed our support to options B or option C as presented by Titti before.
So in the interest of time, I will not go through all the points about thinking and supporting either of those options. I would only like to underline here that the basis of our engagement and support is the belief that any such body should be set up in a way that fits organically within the IGF; is in accordance with the IGF's open, bottom-up, multistakeholder nature; and ensures coordination with other parts of the broader Internet governance ecosystem, particularly with the MAG, the Office of the Tech Envoy, and the Secretary-General.
It will be important that the work of the high-level body is closely integrated and coordinated with the work of the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group, so the MAG, with clearly defined and distinct roles, just as Paul mentioned before.
The way we see it, such a multistakeholder advisory body, high-level body, will need to be very closely aligned and working together with the MAG.
On the more specific considerations on the high-level body, and the questions that are on the screen here, I would like to quote our friend (saying name) who always reminds us that form follows function.
So, therefore, my question is: Are we to assume that the role of the multistakeholder high-level body will be as expressied in the roadmap, paragraph 93(c) that foresees three specific functions? And if we are to assume that this will be the mandate of the body, then the composition and the profile of members need to follow from that mandate with specific attention paid to the time and level of engagement expected from the members of the high-level body, just as Ben mentioned before. And the mandate will also determine, I think, the level of support needed both in terms of support staff and budget.
So last, but not least, because we are running out of time, I just want to thank the IGF, DESA, and the Office of the Tech Envoy for this consultation. It is very welcomed that we can discuss on this specific point directly, and I thank you for this openness.
My question and perhaps, Yu Ping or Chengetai, you can address this is next steps. So after the input is collected here and from the questionnaire and taken into consideration the input of the IGF working group on strategy and strengthening, what is going to happen after? Will the community be allowed to look through the results of this consultation and the proposal? Will we have the opportunity to comment further on the outcomes of this consultation? And how is it -- how are the next steps envisioned? That would be very helpful to have some clarity on that.
So thank you again. And my apologies for going slightly over my allocated time.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Timea.
As far as the input is concerned, all the input that we are going to receive, we are going to publish on the IGF website so it's completely transparent. Everybody knows who said what and what the general feeling is of the community.
A report a going to be written -- and Yu Ping can correct me if I'm wrong. And a report is going to be written and submitted to the Office of the Secretary-General as well. I'd just like to point out, as well, you know, we would like to do everything that is recommended or that stakeholders recommend. Of course, there's budgetary constraints, et cetera.
As far as another consultation goes, I don't know -- I mean, after the results of this, I don't know because it seems to me there may be a little bit of consultation fatigue that is happening. So, I mean, that is an open question and that is something to consider.
And thank you for bringing it up. And we will discuss it and see where that goes.
So with that, unless Yu Ping wants to jump in, I will give the floor to Paul Charlton.
>>YU PING CHAN: Just very quickly we have heard many consultations. When you say "all the inputs," I think the goal at least from the Office's perspective is to really try and see whether there can be something concrete that is put up in terms of next steps as opposed to sort of a summary of the consultations which we assume essentially would be repeating sort of of the consultation process we have been having for the last two years.
The goal really is to see whether there can be some action-oriented proposal that comes from this.
And if at the end of the day, I'll be very frank with all of you, if the colleagues and member states and stakeholders feel there is no need to sort of change what has been going on, that will be the prerogative of the stakeholders around the table.
I think your views will be important in sort of saying, This is what we think should happen. And if the consensus is that nothing should happen and we should proceed how we have for the last few years, then that will be the message that we will put to the Secretary-General as this is the view of the stakeholders and member states. So I think this is where in some ways, the call for action is also the call to take a decision. This is where in some ways the rubber hits the road.
So if there is a view that nothing needs to be changed or that small changes have to be made, then that is the view of the community and that is the proposal and recommendation that will go to the Secretary-General for his decision.
Or we -- this is where I really ask for colleagues to really sort of think about what has transpired over the last two years and see whether there can be a point at which we agree that even if we make changes and we recognize that not all changes are perfect now, there can at least be a start in the direction where we want to involve the IGF.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you. And that is also why we're asking these specific questions because they are action-oriented questions that we can derive some form of action from. It's not an open-ended consultation. These are very specific questions which can derive very specific action-oriented outcomes from, at least that's what we think.
Without further ado, please, Paul.
>>PAUL CHARLTON: Yes, thank you, Chengetai, and colleagues. And I hope you can hear me.
I just wand to build on some things that other people have said in earlier comments.
First of all, I think we have to make a distinction in the -- in the recommendations under Section 93. Recommendations B through B I think have wide support and consensus on things like focusing the agenda more, improving funding, long term sustainability, improving the participation of certain types of stakeholders. So I think we -- we are already making progress on many of those recommendations, and we can go full steam ahead.
However, with recommendation 93(a) it's very different. As pointed out before we haven't really had a lot of discussion in the broad community about this recommendation.
We would very strongly support the position and the comments from Paul Blaker of the UK and others who have cautioned that there is a real danger, if we get this wrong, we could actually harm the IGF. We could possibly undermine it. And so that's a reason for great caution.
We support, in terms of having any sort of improvement in the governance of the IGF, we would support the MAG Plus model, basically improving the MAG, much in the same spirit of the proposals overall in the high-level report and the roadmap about the IGF which don't try to create a new body but, instead, improve the IGF through an IGF Plus model. We think having a MAG Plus model makes more sense than creating a separate governance body, which even though it may well be inside the IGF will still be separate from the MAG and raise the risk of duplication and other problems.
So we would -- we would urge that to be the basis of our discussions going forward to strengthen the MAG and not create a separate body, but we do need to discuss this issue, because as much as we may have consultation fatigue in some areas, really this is something that needs to be discussed much further.
I would also, if I could add, make a renewed plea for more information regarding the Office of the Tech Envoy and the mandate.
I think there was reference by the Assistant Secretary-General in her remarks earlier about there being a document that provided the mandate that was circulated where in the U.N. but I don't think we have seen that document. So I would ask that it be circulated again to all U.N. members so we have the utmost transparenty and clarity about the Office of the Tech Envoy. I think that would be very helpful and assist with all of our discussions.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Paul.
We are basically out of time. So what I'm going to do now is that we'll just do the speakers one after the other. Please stay in time. If you're not in time, I will stop you and go to the next one.
So we're going to have Esteve, Courtney, (saying name), Lynn St. Amour, and Roman one after the other.
So Esteve please.
>>ESTEVE SANZ: Thank you, Chengetai. I hope you can hear me well. This is Esteve Sanz, I'm head of the Internet governance sector in the European Commission, and I'm representing European Commission. Thanks again for this consultation.
Sorry. I'm going to start my video. You can see me now. Yeah. Can you hear me?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can.
>>ESTEVE SANZ: So very quickly. Let me -- let me start, though, by mentioning that the Commission is actually very happy with the consensus created around the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, and also in particular to what concerns 5A and 5B recommendations. We, as it is well-known, would like a more strategic, more focused, more ambitious IGF, and this is basically the IGF Plus that is mentioned in this document and that we all have in mind.
We think that the multistakeholder high-level body should be an instrument to reinforce this consensus and contribute to those general lines of actions rather than an end in itself. To that end, we've contributed to the discussions in the MAG strategy working group, and we would of course invite all decision-makers, U.N. SG, et cetera, to consider the options presented in the document prepared by the group.
These options, though, reflect some legitimate concerns around the creation of a multistakeholder high-level body. These concerns need to be taken into account. And some of them, we've heard them already, by many different.
So this has been taken into account but we believe there is a relatively easy way out of those concerns, and the way out is probably to take a closer look on what would be the functions of the multistakeholder high-level body. Rather than taking the spotlight, we think the multistakeholder high-level body could be in charge of bringing to the IGF Plus table, the big Internet governance decision-makers to openly and democratically discuss their policies and policy areas with the global multistakeholder community. And here we are thinking about big states, big regions in the European Union, but also big Internet companies from around the global who take local decisions about the Internet but that nonetheless have a global impact. In our view, that should be the central function of the body. We in the EU have noted that the big players need a clear global platform to discuss very relevant policies, such as the Digital Services Act in our case, and at the same time I think that everybody agrees that the IGF would benefit enormously from such level of dialogue.
After agreeing on such more concrete definition of a function of the multistakeholder high-level body, then the relation with the MAG can be revisited in the light of the MAG working group options paper, but bearing in mind that the MAG should continue being in charge of guaranteeing the bottom-up multistakeholder nature of the IGF, the MAG in any case should remain in charge of preparing the agenda based on the input of the community and organizing the work of the IGF in general, including intersessional work, work streams, relation with regional bodies and initiatives, et cetera, while the new body takes care of bringing high-level Internet decision-makers to openly discuss their policy areas with the multistakeholder community.
We think this function needs to be concretized so we can move forward.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much. Courtney.
>>COURTNEY RADSCH: Hello. Hi. Thank you.
Yeah, just a couple of thoughts coming in relatively new to this process as a new MAG member. This is the first time I've participated in this consultation. But I think a couple of things stand out. One is that the function that is laid out in 93(a) does not -- does not seem to match the profile of the people that they're thinking about bringing in. I would go to the point that form will impact function and vice versa.
So if we're looking at -- I think Chris Painter said earlier, you know, people who are going to bring the visibility needed to the IGF and the issues being discussed there and the outcomes being created, then, you know, we do need to think about how to get higher level participants because they will be, for example, media generators. We talked about the importance of increasing coverage by news media, for example, and that will help them then take those into the fora where they're active.
But I think that that is at odds with kind of the work that is considered to be needed by those -- by those high-level, you know, members of the panel. So I think that, you know, rethinking that to focus on kind of the communications role and the visibility role might be helpful. To that end, I think also that the -- you know, that that could then be more explicitly mentioned perhaps. And so if they want to focus on.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Courtney, you're suddenly muted for some reason.
>>COURTNEY RADSCH: Of the -- can you -- hello?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can hear you now.
>>COURTNEY RADSCH: Sorry.
I'm just wondering whether, you know, part of the responsibility of the MAG and how members are selected for the MAG could also have to do with that. You know, just thinking that, you know, you have the expert level people who are involved in the MAG, and those are the ones who are likely going to be in other decision-making fora, not at the governmental level but, you know, in other fora.
So then it also -- I was also wondering whether, you know -- the issues around diminishing the competition with the MAG I think is really important. And what this entity is called and where it is embedded, despite the fact that, you know, everyone might be agreed that they don't want it to be competitive or that they don't want it to undermine the MAG, it will -- you know, how it is -- how it is formed, what it is called and where it sits will nonetheless have that impact. So I would reiterate I think some of the comments that Paul from the UK made about needing to, you know, maintain the centrality and influence of the MAG, and so probably thinking about embedding this within the MAG would be important.
So thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Courtney.
Lynn St. Amour.
>>MS. LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Chengetai.
I'll try and be really brief, but I would like to bring up just one or two hopefully newer points.
First I would like to say, though, that I strongly support Paul Blaker's comments and his clear desire for a stronger and more empowered MAG and IGF. And that's something obviously the community has been working to since its very, very earliest days. I also agree with his concerns.
If you look back at the original intent for the IGF from the Tunis Agenda, most of the functions that are proposed through this MLHB is in the Tunis Agenda. And, in fact, the MAG had -- as it was established, the MAG and the IGF community had actually tried to meet a lot of those functions. I think one of the things that happened is over time the IGF annual meeting group, the intersectional activities group, and the MAG became more of a program committee or a, you know, management body, if you will. And I think that was primarily because we didn't have the resources to scale to meet those activities, either with respect to support for the activities themselves, BPFs and DCs an,d importantly, all the national and regional IGF initiatives, but also the secretariat.
So one of the things I worry about is if you -- it's easy to get caught up in the details. And if we had to, I would support B or C. I do agree a consultation is necessary. And while it is really easy to get caught up in the details, you step back and you look directionally at what we're doing, we're actually moving to a multi- -- a high-level body, theoretically composed of ministers and CEOs and not out to the community. Not -- If you want to look at an amplifier for our messages and our work, it's through the national/regional IGF initiatives and a number of other community efforts. Internet Society chapters is another.
There are so many multistakeholder bodies and activities we could work with that would help amplify the messages where the activities and action is actually going to happen and be implemented.
I really worry that we're -- we're really centralizing and reverting back to old models, that some people are quite comfortable with. And I worked a lot with the World Economic Forum as well for 10, 12 years, and chair of various of their bodies. So I know how they work and how those sorts of bodies work. And I know how the multistakeholder bodies work. And I really would ask everybody to think about the functions we're trying to meet through this high-level body and whether or not that couldn't be done by leaning more into the multistakeholder body and into the national and regional IGF initiatives. I really think directionally, it's the wrong -- the wrong way.
So I think I'll just stop there. But I really appreciate the efforts for this kind of consultation and do think we need more time on this.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Lynn.
>>ROMAN CHUKOV: Hello, can I be heard?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can hear you.
>>ROMAN CHUKOV: Thank you so much. This is Roman Chukov from the Russian Federation. I represent the governmental stakeholder group. I would like to make my habitual point about the fact that we need to be action oriented. And we would not like to have another consultative body just to give another sort of advice to seek for another support or some policy recommendations producing, and so on and so forth.
Last year we already heard the Secretary-General who said that he wants the IGF to be more policy oriented, and it shouldn't mean that we should make it (indiscernible) between different new offices or old offices who will be taking responsibility over the IGF. We want to follow the Tunis Agenda for the already-established mandate of the IGF to work with the stakeholders, with the policies to compare and elaborate norms to make sure that people on the ground understand why IGF exists, how stakeholders coordinate their vision, how they make the global norm regulations and how do they actually facilitate the global digital cooperation and Internet governance. This is the mandate, and nothing has changed.
So we are here, I'm reflecting Russia's official position, we are for practical orientation of the IGF should be through MAG or through high-level body. It right now doesn't matter. But the mandate shouldn't be forgotten, and action should be prioritized, especially in terms of real digital framework for cooperation.
>>YU PING CHAN: Thank you, Roman.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Roman.
The last person is Giacomo. And then we can have closing remarks from you, Yu Ping.
>>YU PING CHAN: Just very quickly, I just wanted to say, again, the whole process of consultation from the High-Level Panel on is such --
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yu Ping, sorry, sorry. One more person and then you can do closing remarks.
>>YU PING CHAN: No problem.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: One more person and then you can have closing remarks.
>>GIACOMO MAZZONE: Thank you. As many of you know, I follow the MAG work since the very beginning, 16 years ago. I've participated in all the meetings till now. And, believe me, my feeling is after all this experience is that one of the strengths of the MAG is also its weakness. The strength is that every three years people change, everybody, every year. New people arrive with new ideas representing and reflecting new worlds and new priorities, et cetera, et cetera, and the people with more experience leave and others arrive, et cetera, et cetera.
This is good because you can intercept bottom-up all the things that comes from the reality around you. But what is bad is that you lose the continuity. And despite the secretariat's work, or the chair's work, trying to compact all this, then we have a high risk that lots of things are lost.
So the idea of the high-level body, if we expect all the fears and doubts that Lynn, Paul, and others have expressed because, of course, we are all here to get the better out of the IGF, we simply need to streamline exactly what we expect from one body and what we expect from the other, how they can work together, not to be more effective. One, intercepting the bottom-up reality, and the other one bridging with the reality in order to make effective the policy recommendation and the policy activity that the MAG wants to structure.
That's my opinion. I don't see any contradiction. That's the message.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: All right. Thank you very much, Giacomo.
And before I give Yu Ping the last word, I'm just going to say that -- so we will be publishing the survey on the IGF website. And it is going to be distributed to missions as the Assistant Secretary-General has said. Hopefully we'll be able to do that before the end of this week. If not, it's going to be the very first thing next week. And we intend to give about two weeks for people to bring in their suggestions on this.
So -- and so that's it. And just, remember, we have the social event straight after this.
So with that, I give the floor to Yu Ping. Thanks.
>>YU PING CHAN: Thank you so much, Chengetai. And thank you so much, everybody, for participating today.
I think my end message really is that we are listening and that even though the consultation process that we as part of our office had led, as part of the high-level panel process and the roadmap and given us the impression that there was that consensus around the IGF+ and, perhaps, some extent to what's a high-level body, we are happy to look at what are the views expressed and really take forward in a constructive way in partnership with all of you the best way that we can collectively strengthen the IGF.
I do think Paul is right in that there is a really clear consensus in a lot of the aspects of paragraph 93. And really those are the areas we need for make progress.
When it comes to the high-level body, perhaps -- and as colleagues have already stressed, there is that need perhaps for a little bit more of a consultation as to the exact scope of the high-level body and how to make sure it addresses a lot of the concerns that colleagues have raised today.
Just to reiterate again, that we hear you and that this will be a continuous process but that there is still that hope that the Secretary-General can make recommendations and take positions as to how we can allow the IGF and the MAG to strengthen and evolve over time so that we are collectively united in moving the entire organization and process forward.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Yu Ping.
And thank you, all, for staying a little bit beyond time. And thank you for the scribes for staying as long as they could. We really do appreciate it.
Again, we will have a summary report. It's going to be separate from the MAG meeting and open inclusions. And we're going to post this on the IGF website. And we're going to include it with all the other contributions that we have received. So thank you all and have a good rest of the day.