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 morning, good afternoon, good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the first day of the MAG meeting of these Open Consultations. So it's a MAG meeting but observers are allowed, and it's up to the chair's discretion whether or not to allow observers to speak. But as we said yesterday, the focus was on big community and the stakeholders. Today the focus is mostly on the MAG. But our chair is going to go over that just now.
And just a quick reminder that, the meeting will be recorded, and it is also broadcast on the IGF's YouTube channel. There is transcription, and a summary record will be made available after the series of these meeting sets at the end of the week. But the transcription will be made available later on today.
If you want to make an intervention, please, first, try and use the queue. And the link is being pasted into the chat right now. And if you can't use the queue, please put your hand up and then somebody from the secretariat is going to put your name into the queue. And, of course, please wait until the chair calls on you, and then please just give a very short introduction, say your name again and your organization and stakeholder group, if you want to.
I think that's all from me. And I'll hand it over to our chair, Anriette Esterhuysen, to start the meeting. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you very much, Chengetai. Anriette Esterhuysen here from Johannesburg. I just quickly had to drive across town because I don't have electricity at my part of town.
But can we please start the meeting, again?
Luis, if you can please display the agenda.
And I'd like to welcome Juwang Zhu from UN DESA who we were also privileged to have yesterday morning. Very early for him. He's in New York.
But, Juwang, can you please make opening remarks for us on behalf of UN DESA.
>>JUWANG ZHU: Thank you. Thank you, Anriette. Greetings to colleagues from New York. Thank you for giving UN DESA again an opportunity to speak at the beginning of the MAG meeting. At the outset, please allow me to congratulate, once again, all MAG members on your appointment or reappointment.
And congratulations, once again, also to you, Anriette, on your reappointment as MAG chair, as you start your second term.
We very much look forward to supporting you and the entire MAG in your work ahead.
Allow me also to express our deep gratitude, as we did yesterday, to our host, the Polish government.
As you know, Poland provided financial support as well as volunteers for the 2020 virtual IGF. And now we are very much looking forward to working again with our Polish colleagues in preparation of the Katowice IGF for "Internet United."
Colleagues, you have already received the letter of the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. I see it has also been posted on the IGF portal.
That letter has very much captured the U.N. expectations for the MAG work this year. But please let me just highlight a few from that letter.
One, I think MAG members will be focusing on elaborating and adopting a focused, strategic program with clear action-oriented outputs. This was also very much stressed at yesterday's Open Consultation.
Two, MAG members will be strengthening the intersessional activities and the synergies among the various work streams.
Three, strengthening the cooperation of the IGF with other institutions and the process, such as WSIS and the NRIs. That, again, was a message that came up again and again yesterday during the Open Consultation.
Four, stepping up our joint efforts in supporting the active engagement of high-level stakeholders and parliamentarians as well as those not traditionally present in the IGF discourse but who do have an impact on the Internet governance. One speaker mentioned yesterday about the road for ministers, for example.
Number five, developing effective hybrid mechanism to ensure that those who cannot travel to Katowice this year will still be able to participate remotely.
Number six, ensuring the continuous and inclusive consultations and input from all stakeholders across the world. That is really at the heart of the work of the IGF.
And, finally, let us work together with you to undertake a massive outreach effort to increase the profile of the IGF.
Dear colleagues, this is, more or less, the messages that are contained in the USG's letter.
But let me also, if you allow, share a few personal observations very quickly.
The Multistakeholder Advisory Group really embodies the very DNA, if you like, of the IGF ethos. It's bottom-up, consultative, multistakeholder, open, and transparent.
Over the past 15 years, you, the MAG members, have dedicated time and energy to the vision and values of the IGF. And this contribution has become all the more important during and even in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
So it is really no exaggeration to say that the MAG members are really the heroes, if you like, the frontline essential workers, for Internet governance. Not only have you designed year after year the session programs, you have also helped with outreach, with fund-raising, and with continuous efforts -- sorry -- to improve and strengthen the IGF so all the MAG members, the current ones, the past, and the future ones, you are really -- you are really the heart and soul of the IGF. You are the driving force behind what IGF has achieved, whatever imperfections there are.
So the U.N. secretariat colleagues, whether it's DESA, the Office of the Secretary-General, or the IGF secretariat in Geneva, we are all honored to work with you and support you. And we will continue doing so in 2021. Thank you. Thank you, Anriette, for giving us the floor again. Over.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you very much for those remarks, Juwang, and also for sharing the points in Under-Secretary-General Liu's letter which we can discuss later today.
Luis, can you put the agenda up for us again, please.
I'm going to stop my video for now.
I'm going to give the floor to Mr. Krzysztof Szubert, our co-chair from the host country Poland. And then we will proceed to review the agenda for today.
Krzysztof, you are welcome to address us.
>>KRZYSZTOF SZUBERT: Thank you, Anriette. So, ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, let me start with a big thank you to Mr. Juwang for the very warm welcome and kind words for Poland's involvement.
Welcome again to our next MAG meeting. We will focus on discussing the IGF 2021 program format and structure based on -- received quite high number of submissions from the communities and our own ideas and thoughts. So, in general, it's not an easy task. We are -- we have so many questions, and we need to find an answer for analyzing those issues.
We also have to look at the other key elements like youth and the parliamentarians' engagement in the IGF 2021. We've been talking about that yesterday, and this is extremely important for us.
While looking at the received proposals, we should bear in mind that provisions of the U.N., SG's Roadmap for Digital Cooperation which contained many valuable indicators regarding the main challenges of the present and future Internet governance, which is also a great idea and direction from our perspective.
With this in mind, we stand ready to cooperate very close with Ms. Maria Francesca Spatolisano, 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.
And we would like to work very close on various important issues of the digital transformation that affect our lives and whose impact has been strengthened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Therefore, it is my belief that we should carefully take all of the received inputs into the consideration while trying to find the best and balanced solutions with regard to shaping the best agenda of this year's IGF, taking into consideration yesterday interesting discussion during the Open Consultations. I'm optimistic about finding the right consensus on choosing the IGF 2021 main issues and themes.
For tomorrow, we will have the opportunity to approve the MAG working groups, the BPFs, and the policy network, as well as the annual work plan for the DCs and the collaboration with NRIs in 2021, which is as well extremely important from our perspective. And when we are looking back to the history of the MAG and IGF design, with this in mind, I'm positive that we will be able to discuss today and tomorrow the overall program structure of this year's IGF in Katowice and be ready to launch our intersessional work.
So that's all from my side for the moment. Thank you again, and thank you for giving me the floor. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you very much, Krzysztof, and also to the rest of your team.
Now I'd like to review the agenda and get from all our participants if there are any comments on the agenda.
So this is really where the work starts. And I actually want to welcome all of you, the observers, the captioner, the MAG members, our UN DESA colleagues, and the host country team to really quite a historical event. In 2020 we had the privilege of starting the work of preparing the 2020 program at a face-to-face event. This was in Geneva in January. And this was much easier for new MAG members.
So, new MAG members, I want to assure you that we are taking you into consideration. And I really want you to feel encouraged to ask questions because I know that to be introduced to the work of the MAG in this way is very challenging.
But in 2021, we are starting the work virtually. We have the benefit of the experience of 2020, and I think we have the benefit of all of us having worked online virtually in our day-to-day work. Therefore, we have a vast body of experience and skills in working virtually and working in a hybrid way, but that does not mean that it's not challenging.
So the primary goal of today is for the MAG to take into account all the input that has been received thus far through Open Consultation processes and online submissions and the meeting of yesterday. And based on that, move towards developing an overall approach to the program, structure, and flow of the IGF 2021, taking on board the idea of a hybrid meeting and working towards the goal of what we know and what we hope will be a face-to-face event in Katowice in December from the 6th to the 10th.
Luis, if you can just scroll down a little bit, please.
So after this opening session, we'll proceed into Item 2, which is shaping the IGF program. The secretariat and myself have prepared a draft outline and some considerations for you to look at. And we will break you then into discussion groups. All nonMAG members, observers, are welcome to join those grouping.
We are going to innovate today. We are going to introduce two breakout groups that are not in English. One in French. One in Spanish. And we encourage people to join them. If you do not want to, that's absolutely fine. And we'll explain more about how that will work later on.
Then we will have a break after that session of group discussions.
We then, after the break -- Luis, if you can just scroll down a little bit, please -- we'll go into the reports from the breakout sessions. And that's where you will be presenting your initial reactions to the proposal that's been developed and your responses to some of the key questions on how to approach IGF format and design this year. And I'm very pleased that we have Mr. Liu's points to consider as well.
We will also in that plenary discussion -- but not only then, you really should take these into account in group breakouts as well -- consider other factors such as youth engagement. And we realize with youth engagement, we have already a proposal of a track for youth. But we also know that youth want to be actively integrated in all the sessions. So youth work, activity should never come at an expense of creating opportunity for youth to be influentially participating in other aspects of the IGF.
Engaging parliamentarians, that was raised yesterday as well. So some consideration to that as well. Even if that's not a component that is the responsibility of the MAG, it's been organized by the secretariat and UN DESA and the host country. But it's still worth considering that.
And then very much a cross-cutting point and that was in the Under-Secretary-General's letter as well, that Juwang shared with us, strategies for collaboration and complementarity across intersessional work.
After that in our next session, we will really do a recap on the specific issues and themes from the Open Consultation yesterday. And we'll have a presentation of some of the key points that came out of the Open Consultation and then look at whether we can develop next steps.
I think that we should also not -- you know, not put ourselves under too much pressure. I think we need to look at issues and themes and we need to look at format and design. But I would suggest that we prioritize format and design. They are obviously interlinked. Even if we do just one of those tasks well, that will be really good. And we still have tomorrow's meeting where we have other activities.
But I'd rather that we do quality work and produce clear outputs than try and achieve too much during this MAG meeting. And then we'll close the day with a recap of what we've done, the overall program structure and flow.
And I think that's it. Is that the final session, Luis, for the day? Correct.
So then we will just do a review at the end of day of tomorrow's session so we just have clarity on what to think about and what to prepare for tomorrow.
So I don't see anyone in the speaking queue. Are there any questions about the agenda and purpose and focus of today's deliberations?
And, secretariat and co-chair, is there anything you would like to add?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Not at the moment for us.
>>KRZYSZTOF SZUBERT: We are okay. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks, Krzysztof. Thanks, Chengetai.
So on that, let's now formally start shaping the IGF 2021 program. That's Session 2.
And to start us off, we are going to present the proposal that the secretariat and myself drafted. And we were privileged to have some support from the MAG working group on hybrid meetings. And it's really a very draft proposal, but it is based on input that has been received during the stocktaking.
I'm not sure how best we should display this.
Luis, would you like me to display this? Or, Anja, would you be able to display this for us? I can also share my screen, if that is easiest.
>>ANJA GENGO: Anriette, this is Anja. Maybe it's easiest if you can share so you can scroll down in terms of what you want to focus on. But if it doesn't work, then I'm happy to share as well.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: I will do that.
Anja, while I do that, can you just share with the MAG and other participants the approach that you took to get us to this draft proposal, just so that they can understand how we developed it?
>>ANJA GENGO: Yes, yes, gladly. Thank you, Anriette.
So you will see now that Anriette will share a proposal for a possible approach to the design, format, and flow of the 16th annual IGF meeting.
What the secretariat did, we looked back all the way until the Paris IGF into the feedback outputs of the community on the design, format, and structure of the meeting and especially focused on the stocktaking process this year and what it results and on the particular points related to the design and structure.
We also looked at what we received through the call for thematic issues because there were some comments there also related to the design.
We also looked at the exchanges and advice of the MAG provided on the Open Consultations and MAG meeting hosted on 9th of February.
And taking all that into account and the exchanges of the MAG, the exchanges with the MAG's working group on hybrid meetings, we've put together a possible approach that the MAG can then further consider during this meeting.
And so Anriette now I believe will share the document. So we just tried to be as concrete as possible to still ensure that this proposal is developed in a bottom-up manner based on your suggestions. There were different suggestions, so I think that's something to take of particular note and focus on during the -- your deliberations in the further breakout groups.
I think, Anriette, we can now see the document.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: And thank you very much, Anja. And thanks to everyone who considered this.
I will try to be brief, but I also don't want to be too brief. We will share this document with you. So I think in the meantime, Anja, if you can just create a PDF document and share it with all the MAG members and all the participants.
So these are proposals for IGF 2021 process and format for your consideration.
So, firstly, here are a selection of key considerations. You've heard many of them before, but we felt we just wanted to capture some of the key ones that you can and should take into account because they do come from our consultation processes.
Firstly, developed a more focused and outcome-oriented program but not at the expense of inclusivity and participation.
Better integrate intersessional work and youth participation in the overall program. That includes NRIs, dynamic coalitions, and best practice fora, and now also the policy networks.
Adopt an issue-driven approach to program development. This came from the MAG working group on strategy. And it also emerged from some of the breakout groups yesterday who advised that we actually start with quite concrete issues and not get lost in a taxonomy of broader themes.
Next, decide on format and process early on in the year. This came in response to the stocktaking. And I think it's very difficult for stakeholders to plan their participation in the IGF if they do not know what the format and process will be early on in the year. And that's important. I think last year as a result of the pandemic, we did not finalize the process and format until fairly late.
Next -- and you've heard this repeatedly -- adopt a hybrid format. Do not revert to only previous forms of a face-to-face event with "remote" participation. It can result in unequal participation. And some specific ideas would be to reinforce this format by making it a requirement that sessions have at least one remote speaker and also to consider having a fully virtual session during Katowice. And then there are also suggestions about having phased approaches where we can have components that are virtual.
And then accommodate noncentral European time zones. Very strong message there from our community.
Limit the number of parallel sessions. There was positive feedback on never having more than three sessions running simultaneously in 2020. Have fewer sessions as a whole. Then no more than three thematic tracks, and then also to limit the number of subthemes that we address. This is all part of the more-focused agenda.
Reduce the length of the face-to-face event to no more than the previous format of five days. That's four days plus one. I think this is as a result of the fact that last year we had a pre-event phase which was quite long and then the main event was also quite long. And, clearly, it was too long.
Distinguish clearly between pre-events and the main event.
And then for virtual participation, ensure a more participative and friendly online platform. Simplify the registration process and access to the platform. And there are more comments there on the platform. A very key one was that participants wanted to see who was in the room and to be able to chat with them. So the format we select should allow that type of networking.
Facilitating inclusion of sessions that address topics that are not related to the primary program. So even if we have a more focused agenda, create spaces for other topics, for example, through lightning talks that we used to have in the past.
And then retain the idea of the premeeting guide to issue some themes, a written document that is shared prior to the meeting.
And have sessions that are no longer than 90 minutes. And you'll see we proposed even shorter sessions.
So based on those -- and I've actually realized I've forgotten one very important topic here. I'm going to add it so that we can come back to it. And that is networking sessions. And the reason I'm adding that is because it was in the feedback. People felt positive about the virtual IGF 2020, but they also felt the lack of face-to-face sessions. We did introduce networking sessions, and they received positive feedback in 2020, but they were introduced very late, and, therefore, people didn't know about them. But they also felt that the informal human face-to-face contact, such as which we tried to simulate through the session hosted by Switzerland and Diplo and Geneva Internet Platform yesterday -- and thanks again for -- that that is something we should build in.
But now I will proceed to the proposals that we have drafted. They're very provisional and, therefore, for you to unpack and take apart or support or redraft.
Firstly is the idea of an issue-driven approach to the selection of themes and issues. And this is not entirely new. And if you have looked at the proposals of the MAG working group on strategy or if you were in one of the breakout groups yesterday that raised this, the idea is really as follows.
To have a more focused and interconnected IGF agenda, we start by looking at the specific issues that people said in response to the input. They don't often send very specific issues, but sometimes they do. And then based on those issues, we agree on the overall thematic tracks. So that slightly different approach to saying we're going to focus on, let's say, data, trust, and inclusion, you know, we would actually start with a specific data problem or a specific inclusion-related problem, and we might end up with those same type of generic tracks, but we would start with the issues and then agree on the tracks.
And this is different from what happened last year. What happened last year is that the MAG agreed on the broad tracks and then put out a call for issues and questions.
And the result was a kind of -- to use English, you know, jargon -- issues soup. We came -- we then were faced with quite a clear structure of tracks that was in those tracks, a very vast range of issues, and it became quite difficult to focus that. And the team that developed the pre-meeting guide can actually share with you how challenging it was to create coherent policy questions out of that really vast range of issues and questions that was received during the proposal phase.
And maybe at a later state, someone from the working group on strategy can say more about how they approached this. And if you look at their proposal, you will find some part -- detail suggestions.
Essentially, what they suggest is that once we've agreed on the main issues, we can then put out a further call for more specific input from the community on those issues prior to putting out a call for session proposals.
This issue-driven approach, if we have identified fairly specific issues to focus on, can then also be used to invite the participation of NRIs and other policy forums such as the WSIS Forum, for example, multistakeholder events or stakeholder-specific events. And it's a way of involving intergovernmental fora. You know, we can say, These are the specific issues we are focusing on this year. What do you think about that?
So it creates a space for more directed participation in the IGF process and prior to the actual annual forum.
And then a vehicle that can be used to facilitate this would again be a document which we initiated last year called the Guide to Issues and Themes.
And I think I'm just going to just pause there just to check if there are any questions at this point.
I don't see any yet, so let me continue. It's not much longer.
So we are also proposing adopting the practice of a phased approach. Now, we had a phased approach last year, but we received feedback that, firstly, it was too long overall, and, also, it wasn't quite clear what belonged to which phase.
So this year, we're proposing three phases. Phase one, which is essentially a preparatory phase continuing on virtual events as well as face-to-face components, for example, if we're working with NRIs.
And this would start six months, roughly -- at least six months before the annual forum. Then we have a second phase which has to be no longer than two -- it has to probably be two weeks before the IGF because we don't want to burden IGF participants with events when they are beginning to start their travel. It also needs to be much shorter than the pre-event phase. So we need to structure it in such a way that it has key pre-events that are held virtually but it also should -- in different time zones but not be as long and dense as it was in 2020.
And then the final phase, the third phase, is the annual forum, and that is our event that we trust will take place in Katowice from 6 to 10 December.
Excuse me again.
And then, finally, I'm not sure I really need to go through all of this. You can look at this, but we added a bit more about these different phases. The first phase, the preparatory phase, will maximize inclusion by being virtual. We can also build in multilingualism into the phase. We could have preparatory virtual events that take place in the language of a particular region, for example.
And also, secondly -- and this is quite important. This came up last year already -- the idea of a mid-year virtual event for intersessional modality, such as best practice forums, policy networks, and dynamic coalitions to present ongoing work, to do outreach and get feedback, and facilitate closer cooperation between modalities and with NRIs.
So this has been a real challenge for these modalities to interact more closely, and we started working on this very actively last year, and, based on that, we felt that it has to start sooner. So having a midyear virtual one-day conference, for example.
And then, in this preparatory phase, we will also do capacity building for session organization -- for organizers, make sure that they understand how important it is not just to have a panel of ten people knowing how to moderate sessions that are virtual sessions that are hybrid.
And more about the second phase, the pre-event phase, and we have very little about that at this point except that it really has to be short, and it has to make sense. It has to build up to the annual forum but still be there because it is a way of being inclusive. And it can also be a way of building toward a more focused and outcome-oriented agenda.
And then, finally, we just have some points here on the annual forum, the third phase. For example, we are proposing adding a shorter session format, a 45-minute session format, for example, you know, that's really focused. And we've already mentioned not having too many parallel tracks and so on and to reduce the total number of sessions. And there's a suggestion that can be achieved by if we use this issue-driven approach, inviting organizations to team up and do joint workshop submissions, and so on, reintroduce flash sessions and really introducing the hybrid format.
And then below we just have some more comments and some initial recommendations from the working group on hybrid meetings on the hybrid format.
So that is the proposal.
So I'm going to stop sharing at this point. Well, maybe I should move it or keep it up for a little bit.
Let's open the floor for general question and discussion, questions for clarification, and then we'll go into breakout groups.
But are there any questions at this point?
>>CARLOS AFONSO: Yes. I think there is a list of speakers already.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: I can't see it. So I need someone to help me.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: Okay.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Chengetai, can you take over the -- Actually, I will stop sharing in the meantime. And I trust by now you all have a copy of this somewhere else.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: Okay. I am -- I think I am first on the list. Can I speak now?
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Go ahead.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: Okay.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Introduce yourself for the record.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: Yes. Carlos Afonso here, MAG member from Rio de Janeiro. First of all, this is a huge document to absorb in a few minutes, to discuss. We need to think about it and digest it, et cetera. Let's try our best in the breakout groups.
Secondly, I am checking the six presentations presented by Diva (phonetic) regarding the MAG work. I see that in the document.
There is -- in no reference to the concern expressed by Diva that the support of the active engagement of high-level stakeholders and parliamentarians. This is, I think -- I remember the experience we had with NETmundial who was a member of the NETmundial MAG, as it were. This was something that was at work because there were champions, intergovernmental organizations and governments, who took the task of mobilizing governments for (indiscernible) to participate. I don't think the MAG itself, say, has the influence or the capacity to do that alone. So this is important to stress.
And I think the other concerns or expectations presented by Diva are somehow contemplated in the document, and this is interesting, but let's see how we can discuss it. It's very detailed. And I thank you for that.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks for that, Carlos. And I realize it is very detailed.
And, as I said, we don't have to conclude our considerations. Just on your response to the high-level sessions, this document really is focused, at this point, on the work that the MAG does, the overall design. So it doesn't go into any depth on the high-level track, which is usually organized by the host country and the secretariat, but it does recommend that we ideally invite them to focus on the same issues that the MAG identifies.
Next, we have Courtney.
>>SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Anriette, before anyone continues, I would like to put myself in the queue. It's Sandra speaking, but I'm on the phone only.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: That's fine, Sandra. You will go immediately after Courtney.
>>SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Okay.
>>COURTNEY RADSCH: Thank you. That gave me time to find the unmute button.
Thanks for this. And just to reiterate, obviously, my questions are just based on the high-level overview. It feels like there's a little bit of a disconnect between a call for kind of fewer sessions that are more focused and a call to reduce the time in the sessions in order to open up more time for more sessions. And I wonder if we want to think about kind of having a wide variety of the type and length of sessions to allow different types of work to come forth.
I think, you know, if you're there to present some, you know, groundbreaking research or report that you've done that you think is a real interest to the community and the MAG, you know, decides that that's a session they want, it's more of a presentation style, that might make sense for 45 minutes. But, you know, having moderated several conversations, I think it's very, very, very challenging to actually involve the community, especially when it's remote, and get people engaged in conversation and in back and forth and actually, like, moving debates forward in anything less than 90 minutes.
So I think we should be -- you know, we should actually have a bunch of different lengths of workshops and that when people put in their proposal, they can make a case for why they need a certain length of time and that that should, you know, coincide with what the proposal is.
Secondly, it seems to me that, you know, if there are -- maybe we already do this as the MAG, but if there are proposals that are around similar topics, do we ever suggest that the people proposing them merge those topics or work together to put together a workshop? Because it also seems to me that, as somebody who has organized workshops, you know, you're working from your network to figure out who can be part of that, you know, to select the speakers and the participants.
And so we could help, as the MAG, to bring together people working on similar topics might not already know each other, to increase the youth and diverse stakeholders on each other's panels by helping to do that. So I guess, you know, my question is: Is that part of it?
And just a last thought, which is on networking, I wonder whether we could think about putting networking opportunities kind of in line with, like, some of the, say, dynamic coalition or best practice forums where you have some sort of networking community already. It's a little bit daunting, I think, for people to think about just going into a networking event that they have no idea if anyone they know is going to be there.
So maybe we can, you know, coordinate around some sessions that are likely to bring in a big number of people because they're of that type of format and attach networking opportunities kind of like directly after that session or before that session so that it encourages people to take part.
So those are just some ideas off the top of my head.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks for that Courtney. I think those are excellent ideas.
I think the networking, it also needs to be much shorter. We really need to start preparing for that. If it's not the hybrid meetings group that does this, maybe other MAG members can focus on that.
I just wanted to clarify on the idea of the 45-minute sessions. The idea is not to make all sessions shorter. It was precisely just to offer the option of a 45-minute session. As you suggest, Courtney, organizers would select. So the maximum would remain 90 minutes. But aside from having 90 minutes and 60 minutes as options, we would add a 45-minute option.
And then just in response to your remarks about collaboratively organized sessions, I don't think we need to force that. In fact, one of the sessions that received fairly critical feedback last year was one that was the result of a MAG-proposed merger.
I think we should see if it evolves from the more issue-driven approach. If the MAG identifies an issue, that might have different perspectives from specific different stakeholder groups. It might make sense for them to come together. Let's look at something like lack of infrastructure development. And then you might want to encourage people who are involved in financing and investment of critical infrastructure, such as fiberoptic cables, together with those that have to regulate it. So I think it might emerge from an issue-driven approach. I don't think we should force it.
So next we have Sandra.
Adam, I'm sorry to put her before you, but she is on her phone. So I hope that qualifies as a good reason for letting her speak.
Sandra, Adam, Amrita, and then Auke. Everyone, please do introduce yourself.
I think we will close the queue quite soon because we do want to go into breakout sessions. If you do want to speak, please add your name now.
>>SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you very much, Sandra. This is Sandra speaking from the EuroDIG secretariat. I just want to comment on one point, which is the video meeting that was proposed.
I would ask you to consider using one of the national or regional IGFs that are definitely taking place around midyear to organize those midyear gatherings.
Speaking for EuroDIG, I can already tell you we have, like, six or seven dynamic coalitions that requested a slot on our day zero for their half-year meeting, let me put it that way. They might have other meetings, too. But it's kind of a middle-of-the-year meeting.
And I'm pretty sure if the EuroDIG dates don't really fit any other bigger NRI that has an infrastructure that allows for such a project -- I could think of USA, for instance -- would be happy to host midyear best practice forums, DC sessions, or other intersessional activities that lead towards the IGF. That also helps us connect the global IGF with NRIs much better, and I think it's also a mindful approach with regard to the limited resources that we all have. Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks for that suggestion, Sandra. And breakout groups can consider that further.
Adam Peake, you have the floor.
>>ADAM PEAKE: Hi, everybody. Anriette, it's a question about -- you mentioned preparatory sessions and presessions throughout the year. There was a mention yesterday, I think, by UN DESA or by -- or by the Tech Envoy's Office about a series of sessions that they would be organizing or, if I'm not being clear in my memory, that would be organized. It may not have been by them.
I'm also remembering that last year you held a number of sessions that were the chair's-organized working sessions and so on.
How is all this fitting together in terms of the preparatory nature of the -- sort of the six months out, the type of sessions that will be organized there. So that's a question.
Just a quick response on the -- on the length of sessions and the merging of sessions and so on, I think a lot of this may -- if we're going to respond to what I think is a call this year for a reduced number of workshops and so on, then that may guide us somewhat differently on length of sessions, how to accommodate different things, and also the merging. We might want to look at the experience of some of the national and regional IGFs and how they handle the adoption topics and the creation of workshops. Anyway, just a thought.
But, really, the question was about the preparatory-type sessions and the sessions that are a good deal in advance of the IGF itself. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks, Adam. And I'll give you a provisional response.
Well, firstly, I think that the difference between a preparatory phase and a prephase is that the preparatory phrase would build towards the annual forum. So I would imagine that would involve not too many sessions but that they would -- but in terms of the subject and the focus and the content of those sessions, they would help refine the treatment of the issues and the topics so that at the main event, discussions at the main event can be informed. The annual forum can be informed by those preparatory discussions.
So they're not just discussions on any topic of relevance or interest, such as the MAG chair discussions that I -- we shared last year and I hope to do some again -- they would really need to be structured as part of the program.
And we do have the feedback that we don't want too many of these sessions. So we need to keep that in mind.
That does not say that your implied suggestion that we might be able to organize some of these collaboratively or, for example, convene a preparatory session on an IGF 2021 issue at the WSIS Forum, for example. Certainly I think that we would need to rationalize. But the idea is that they would help us respect the idea of deeper discussion on fewer issues.
So I hope that's enough of an initial response. But, in fact, the answer would have to come from the MAG itself.
Next we have Amrita.
>>AMRITA CHOUDHURY: Thank you, Anriette. Amrita Choudhury for the record.
While I -- you know, it's a hard task for MAG because we want to reduce the number of issues which would be discussed (indiscernible) sessions but also cover diverse issues, you mentioned that there would be different lengths of sessions.
However, the short sessions, perhaps we may think of having these speakers, perhaps, share their thoughts or the presentations or what they would present in advance so that the discussion during the sessions are more interactive.
My observations in the last -- in a few of the IGFs has been that despite -- requesting for more time for interactions, very less time for audience interaction is left. I think perhaps that could be addressed if these session speakers can share things in advance.
And, also, to -- you know, perhaps the overlap between topics, it's difficult but how do you reduce the overlap of topics between sessions? The topic names may be different. The paper may be different. But at the end, sometimes there's a lot of overlap between sessions.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks, Amrita. And I think that's exactly what MAG should give consideration to, as you say.
Next we have Auke and then Hazar, and that will be the end of this round of the speaking queue. And then we'll divide you up into groups to have further discussion.
Auke, you have the floor. Please, please introduce yourself.
>>AUKE PALS: Thank you, Anriette. My name is Auke Pals, working on (indiscernible). And I'm Dutch youth IGF representative for the past two years.
And my observation in the past years was that at the moment, it's quite difficult to create a proposal, while you have to have a regional balance, gender balance, and also a stakeholder balance.
And actually in my view, this leads to a big panel resulting more in a monologue from the panel instead of having a good discussion. And my suggestion would be -- is to really request half of the time, or even force it, for a discussion that could improve the diversity of opinions and all those kinds of.
So my first question would be: Would it be possible being less strict in the balance and increase more discussion?
I also prepared a second question, and I also want to address -- I really enjoyed the session of Wout de Natris at the IGF of 2019 with politicians. What we did is we went more into groups -- a little bit of breakout rooms, and it was really good discussion atmosphere where we really created an output.
This leads to my second question: Would it also be possible to simulate those kind of sessions instead of panels? These were my questions. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you very much, Auke. I'll just respond on your first point because I think that was already acknowledged by the MAG in 2020. The diversity really can be -- or should be diversity in discussion. It shouldn't just be a checklist approach where you have a panelist from every stakeholder group or every region.
So that is a problem, the point you've highlighted; but the MAG has already recognized. I'm not sure that the MAG has yet found the way of how to avoid that happening. But it's very good that you raise that because that can then be addressed also in the criteria and selection of sessions.
And I think your point about breakout groups and having more dynamic formats, I think that already is an option. But, again, I think that giving very clear guidelines to session proposals -- proposers is something that can be done to help and encourage those more dynamic formats such as breakout groups that produce outputs.
Next we have Hazar. A special welcome to her as a new MAG member. And she'll be the last speaker in this round.
>>HAZAR ALZAKI: Thank you, Anriette. Hi, my name is Hazar Alzaki. I work for Microsoft. And I'm based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Thank you for this opportunity. And as Anriette said, I'm a first-time member. Very excited to be here.
So I just would like to make a recommendation regarding the request for sessions. So based on the call for issues, I would propose that the MAG would select ideally three themes for IGF 2021, maximum four probably, and then select three specific policy questions for each theme and invite workshops to explore and respond to these three questions and, also, allow space for other workshops and then finally for the MAG to allocate space in the agenda in advance for workshops on preselected questions and on other workshops.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks a lot for that, Hazar. I think that's exactly the kind of input that we are looking for in the breakout session.
So I realize this might feel a little bit overwhelming. My sense is that even if you feel that you cannot and you don't have the time to look at that document in detail, you will still find a way of giving us valuable feedback during these breakout sessions.
I'm going to ask Anja from the secretariat to just present to you our guidelines for the breakout sessions before I can ask her to give it back to me and then we'll do the breakouts.
Anja, if you can just please run participants through what we are proposing for the breakouts.
>>ANJA GENGO: Yes. Thank you. Thank you, Anriette.
So for the breakout groups, our plan is that you are assigned randomly in six breakout groups or rooms. Two of those rooms will be for French-speaking and Spanish-speaking members. So MAG members, including other nonMAG members, they can join as well.
My colleague Luis told me you will be joining the room yourselves. So he will just display them on the screen.
Regarding the guidelines, what you need to do, in the next minutes as per the agenda, you would like at a proposal that Anriette was just going through. We will share the proposal with each group in a separate Google document and discuss it and then against that proposal, share the comments with us.
The best thing would be to put the comments in the Google Doc. That way we will have access to it so we don't have to bother you to send us the reports.
And it's important that the comments really emerge as a consensus from the group and are posted there.
We also advise that, as yesterday, you assign a person that's going to be the facilitator or the overall discussion. Maybe another person as a rapporteur or that person as a facilitator can also add comments in the Google Doc. That way you don't have to write formal reports but really observations in form of comments attached to that Google Doc. And I think that will be most helpful also to us.
I think that would be all, Anriette. But please let me know if I maybe missed something.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: I think that is clear. And we'll share -- I've just posted the guidelines in the chat.
And as before, we need each group to appoint a facilitator and a rapporteur.
So at this point, I think we can initiate the breakout sessions. And we want to give you at least an hour. So we will then go into a break at 1430, sorry, my time. 1230 UTC.
And after that break -- and we're giving you a 30-minute break, we will come back and at 1300 UTC, we'll come back to plenary and you will share the outcomes of your discussions. Myself and the secretariat will be around to answer any questions.
Luis will be waiting in the main room in case anyone gets lost and needs help.
So on that, please, Luis, can you start the process of dividing us into groups.
>>LUIS BOBO: Thank you. Thank you, Anriette.
Just if I may, to clarify that in order to keep the same number of people -- or more or less the same number of people in each group, I will name one French and one Spanish and the other four rooms as English 1 to 4. Initially, I wanted to randomly assign you. But I can move French-speaking people or Spanish-speaking people to one group or another. So I think this is the best way of doing it because we have almost 80 people. And, please, wait for two or three minutes -- yeah, two, three minutes to be in your final group. And then start discussion.
It would be good if any French-speaking person or Spanish-speaking person can write in the chat now if they would like to be assigned to any of these groups so I can move them.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks, Luis. If anybody finds themselves in a room that they -- that's not the language they want to be in, just leave the room. You will then automatically go back to the plenary. And Luis will help to put you somewhere else.
>>LUIS BOBO: Exactly. When you leave the room, you can chat with me again, please move me to the Spanish or move me to this other room, okay?
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks, everybody. Good luck. And I'll be around to answer questions and so will Anja and the other members of the secretariat. Good luck!
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