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: I think it's two minutes past. So I think it's time to start.
Good morning, afternoon, evening, ladies and gentlemen. This is the second day of the MAG meeting. And just a quick reminder that the meeting is being recorded. It is also being transcribed, transmitted on YouTube. The transcription is going to be published after the meeting today. That's later on today when the meeting is closed.
Please, if you can, please use the speaking queues so that everybody knows who's next and who wants to speak.
And when you take the floor, please wait until the chair says your name and then you can take the floor. Please restate your name and also your organization and whether or not you're speaking in your personal capacity, if you're not a MAG member.
Today is a MAG meeting, as I mentioned. So MAG members do have preference, but the chair can call upon other people who are not MAG members, since we are open and inclusive.
So with that, I will hand over to our chair, Anriette Esterhuysen. Please, you have the floor.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Good morning, Chengetai. Anriette here with electricity for now.
Welcome, everyone, to this -- the final day of this week's meeting. So, again, as Chengetai said, we have observers with us. We have MAG members. And we have colleagues. And we have our captioner. Jennifer, nice to see you with us again.
So I actually want to just start the meeting with a quick, asking you all for a show of thumbs up or thumbs down, are people coping? How has it been so far this week? Do you feel you are surviving or not? Are we making progress, or are we not making progress? Try and use the Zoom function for you to do a reaction.
I see some thumbs up. Not any thumbs down yet.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: Where is this?
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Do you all know where to do this or how to do this?
>>CARLOS AFONSO: I'm not sure. I use Linux.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: I also use Linux.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: There's a smiley face.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: That's right. At the bottom towards the right, there is a smiley face and it says "reactions." And then you can choice a thumbs up -- well, there's no thumbs down but there's a crying face.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: Okay. My thumbs are up. I don't have the function.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: It doesn't matter. You can show it to us.
[ Laughter ]
Well, I can see that some people are happy. Some people are applauding. And I think there are many that are still trying to catch their breath. And it really is -- it's not easy. I really can share with you that from my own perspective and from the secretariat's perspective, it's very challenging to start off our work virtually. But I really want to encourage you to not feel too overwhelmed. We are making progress. With this type of work methodology, you often don't see the progress as you are making it. But I can guarantee you that within the next few weeks, once, with the assistance of the secretariat, we pull together all the decisions that we are almost making, we will get a sense of more control and being able to start the work in a structured way. So my advice is don't be alarmed if you feel overwhelmed. It's completely understandable. But, also, don't feel anxious. We are going to achieve our goals.
Today, do we have our co-chair that wants to make any remarks or representative from our host country or UN DESA before I review the agenda? I don't see -- I don't see Krzysztof with us or Przemyslaw. So I will just go over the agenda.
Today we are really dedicating primarily to reaching closure on some of the discussions that we have initiated in our calls this year. We are first going to look at our intersessional modalities, the best practice forums, and the policy networks.
We've already captured your feedback on the best practice forums, so we don't have to do that again. The secretariat will run through what's on the table, and I will run through my proposal for an additional policy network on meaningful access, which I believe is also a way of including some of the BPF proposals.
We will then do a poll where we ask you as MAG members to express a commitment to working within specific BPFs and policy networks. So we'll do a quick poll because that poll is a useful indicator for the secretariat who we then refer to the final decision to because ultimately they have to base the allocation of resources on what is available.
Thanks, Wai-Min. I note that you are here and up very early and available. So, please, Wai-Min, from UN DESA, welcome. And if you need to say anything, please go ahead and do so.
After going through the overview of the BPFs and the policy networks, we will then ask the secretariat to present the annual work plan of the dynamic coalitions and we will hear more about the proposed learning study on dynamic coalitions and we will also hear from the secretariat on the planned collaboration of national, regional, and youth IGFs in 2021.
We then will have a short break.
And then after that, we will have MAG working groups present their proposals and their plans. But before they do that, we'll have recommendations from two MAG working groups from 2020. So we have quite substantial recommendations from the MAG working group on strategy and we have very specific recommendations from the MAG working group on language. So I just invite the MAG members who do those presentations to be ready and to also be brief.
The MAG will then discuss how to respond and follow up to those recommendations.
After that, we will proceed with looking at the proposals for working groups in 2021. And we'll have some discussion and next steps. For example, we might also want to consider how the working group, which is a continuous working group, the working group on workshop process, which has not yet started this year, about when and how that working group should be convened and how it can collaborate with the working group on hybrid meetings which has already started its work.
After that, at 1415 UTC, we'll move to the closure of this meeting. We'll have remarks from Poland. I'll make some closing remarks. And we'll use an online poll to get very basic feedback from you on how you felt this meeting was, whether it worked or whether it did not work.
We will also then indicate what the next steps are, what work needs to be done between now and our next call, which is scheduled for, I think, the 9th -- no, not the 9th of March.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: You are muted, Anriette.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Can you hear me now?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: That's really interesting. I wasn't muted, but I just muted and unmuted.
Chengetai will let us know when the next call is, and that's how we will bring our meeting to a close.
Are there any questions on the agenda? I don't see any, so I now declare the meeting open.
And we will meetly proceed to the secretariat providing us with an overall picture of BPF and policy networks particularly with how they are distinguished from dynamic coalitions and one another.
So I'm not sure if Wim is with us. Wim, are you with us? Wim Degezelle. I can see you.
Wim, are you willing to present -- to run the MAG through that document that you compiled for us?
>>Wim Degezelle: Well, I'm happy to do so but I also would like to mention --
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: If Markus is here, maybe we can also ask him if he also wants to chip in?
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: It would be very helpful for Markus to chip in.
Wim, if you want to, I would be happy to do it myself because I have looked at it very closely. But I think, seeing as you drafted it. The document I am referring to -- and maybe you can just bring it up on screen. I don't know if Luis has access to it.
Some MAG members -- in the last few weeks, some MAG members approached me with a question that comes up every single year, in fact, and that is how are dynamic coalitions different from best practice forums. And now that we have this new modality, which the secretariat has already told us about, the policy networks. How do they all relate to one another? And this is a very understandable question.
So to try and answer that question for MAG members but also for the broader community, the secretariat with the support of -- led by Wim Degezelle who has years and years of experience in working with the secretariat on best practice forums, compiled for us just a kind of table with descriptions on how these different intersessional modalities differ and overlap.
So I would like us to go through that, and I think that gives you all a common starting point from which to proceed with the rest of the discussion.
>>WIM DEGEZELLE: I don't know if everyone has the paper or the table up in front or if you can put it on the screen.
What the -- like Anriette said, the intention -- we were discussing it. Anriette asked me, okay, how could we explain the different modalities because MAG members keep on asking along with questions on the difference between modality. And that led to a draft of -- drafting a table which tries to look at the different intersessional activities based on four or five points that usually come back as questions. What is the definitions? How do they relate to the IGF? How are the topics selected and decided? Or how is an activity established? What exactly is the role of the MAG? And how do -- how does the activity relate to the secretariat, or what kind of secretariat support has been given over the years?
I would like to make one disclaimer, this is a table that is intended to give an overview. Only elements that are relevant for this discussion are in the table. These are not the detailed rules or requirements for that. I think I refer to the secretariat or to the website.
So the table makes a difference between the four activities: The dynamic coalitions, the best practice forums, the NRIs, and then also this year the new policy networks.
I think it's not very useful to read every detail of the activities. I think the most -- the two most relevant ones for the MAG is probably is to have a good insider aware of the selection and establishment procedure and the role of the dynamic coalitions. I really would like to highlight those two, and maybe start with DCs first and then BPFs.
There I notice there's a lot of -- you notice not only MAG members but the overall in the community, people don't see the difference.
Dynamic coalitions described as groups of organizations and people that want to work together on a topic, come together and then go commit to the IGF and say, We would like to be recognized as a DC, a dynamic coalition.
There are a number of -- when they go to the secretariat, there are a number of requirements there. You can see them on the website or in the link. Applications need -- for example, there has to be a mailing list. There has to be at least three representatives of three different stakeholder groups. So there are some basic requirements.
A DC is formed. Comes to the IGF. It is the secretariat's role that has to check whether or not a DC is according to the overall concept of what a DC should be and then it is recognized and added on the website.
And the DC is expected to participate in the DC coordination group. I think Markus will be able to tell you a lot more about how that works. And it's also a point on the agenda. I think it's important to understand the difference with the best practice forums here.
The role of the MAG, as DCs are organized outside -- or work outside the IGF, the MAG has no function in a DC itself. It is suggested that -- usually a MAG member has a volunteered in the past years as a go-between between the DC-coordinating group and the MAG. But, of course, individual MAG members are free to join DCs of their choice in a personal capacity.
Where -- and that is the same text that is for all of our initiatives.
What is clearly something the MAG does, the MAG advises on how to include DCs in the overall program of the annual meeting. So how -- I think those are very concrete questions: How many sessions, at what moment have to be dedicated or can be dedicated to or given to DCs. That's, let's say, the practical advice on how DCs and also the other activities can be addressed.
And the second point, the MAG is also there to encourage and reflect on how links between the intersessional activities and other program elements can be established if appropriate. Because in my opinion, the MAG is the only one in the period leading up to an IGF, the one with the helicopter view that has an overview of what is going on in the different elements of the IGF and the preparatory process.
Secretariat support, I believe that will be explained later on. There is some support but mainly focused on the supporting -- supporting the coordination group.
The main difference, and moving to the best practice forums, is that best practice forums are a MAG-facilitated activity. BPF proposals are submitted by a MAG member or at least (indiscernible) by a MAG member. So in a way, their starting point is -- or the starting point of their selection process is within the MAG.
The role of the MAG is to serve as a steward of the process, like I said, selection of the topics and the proposals.
And at least one MAG facilitator -- one MAG member is part of the BPF coordination -- the BPF coordination group.
BPFs itself -- and that's something that comes back during the years and keeps being underlined, BPFs are free to define their own methodology tailored to their topic. So once -- traditionally, once the MAG decides it is important that a BPF focuses on this topic, it is left to the BPF teams to look for a working method. That's with (indiscernible) the best practice forums with their topic.
But BPFs, via a MAG facilitator, are still expected regularly to update the MAG on BPF activities and progress. So keep them -- keep the MAG informed, and that's also an opportunity for the MAG to provide feedback and additional suggestions.
And the last points are the same as (indiscernible) individual MAG members apart from the coordinator -- next to the coordinator are welcome to -- more than welcome to join a BPF of their choice and also the same formula I put here. The MAG can advise where BPFs -- how they have to be part of the overall program -- program of the annual meeting and can also make other suggestions on the linkages.
The secretariat provides a BPF with consultant (indiscernible), running the mailing lists, making use of the website space for the BPF, additional support and then research activities. And then in the end, serve as pen holder to help putting together the BPF's final report.
Just pausing here, because I just wonder if it's (indiscernible) continue with the NRIs at this moment or if it's better to leave that and skip to -- wait and discuss NRIs and the policy network.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: I think, Wim, it's useful for you to -- I think NRIs, MAG members are very familiar with them. But I do think it's worth you very briefly, you know, just running through it.
But then I do want you to talk about the policy networks because today the MAG will discuss BPFs and policy networks at the same time as well as how they can collaborate with one another.
>>WIM DEGEZELLE: Jumping to NRIs, I would say NRIs are in a similar position as DCs when you talk about establishing and recognizing that an NRI is an initiative that happens outside the core IGF. If it wants to be recognized and listed on the IGF website, has to fit a certain basic requirement. And it's the secretariat that's in the function to process and check the different requirements.
MAG members, individual MAG members -- sorry, the MAG has no real organizational function in a specific NRI. But, of course, individual -- there are many MAG members, individual MAG members, that are part of their local national -- local or regional initiatives and play an active role there.
As you all know, Anja is doing a great job in helping NRIs as part of the secretariat, helping NRIs guiding them and helping them set up structures, giving them advice. They get, I think -- (indiscernible) -- the amount of support, it's difficult to put a value on.
Second, collective NRI work is also supported by the IGF secretariat, but I think details will be discussed later.
For the policy network, I just wanted to check, Anja, if you would be willing to run through that, if you're available.
>>ANJA GENGO: Yes. I can briefly say a few words about the policy networks. As you know --
>>WIM DEGEZELLE: I would just be reading out the text that Anja had put in the table there. So that's why I prefer that Anja talks herself.
Thank you, Anja.
>>ANJA GENGO: Okay. Thank you, Wim, for an excellent presentation so far.
So very briefly, we spoke about this. The policy networks, as you know, as a concept of the new intersessional work stream are piloted this year. They're coming as a proactive response to the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation's recommendation but also the report on the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. Not just that, they are also coming as a response to multiply calls and advice that we received from the community through the taking-stock open mic sessions for the intersessional work to be more advanced and to look beyond just what the DCs and BPFs are looking in, which are the best practices and particular issues on a particular theme.
So this year we are piloting the project thanks to the generous support of the Swiss government for a budget for a policy network on environment. The policy network, as a concept, will really be looking into in-depth issues, challenges, good practices raised under a very broad topic. That's the aim. We're piloting with the environmental policy network this year to understand, first of all, the relationship between environment and digitalization, what the topic is about, how does it intersect with the digital matters, with Internet governance, what are the challenges, what are the good practices, not-so-good practices, and hopefully to lead us to -- naturally to the -- some sort of recommendations for a way forward on that particular topic.
As Wim said, as a methodological way, we will see how successful we'll be in this pilot this year. And, hopefully, the policy networks could then be implemented and applied on other broader thematic frameworks that are of priority for the community.
The relationship and the role, of course, with the MAG, as you know, it's really a collective effort. We will work and collaborate together. While the policy networks are very ambitious in terms of the scope they are covering, they, of course, require a sustainable funding mechanism. And for this year, we're, as I said, at the beginning very fortunate to have that mechanism. It will also require continuous liaising with the MAG, and we also count on the MAG support in terms of the outreach, in terms of connecting with experts.
And the policy network will have a multistakeholder working group, just ensure that we have an expert group that is going to lead this effort with the focus of the secretariat and with that, of course, with the MAG to engage the wider community through this topic through a wider network that's going to be facilitated through our dedicated mailing list.
The methodology is also very specific in terms of its implementation. Of course, it's going to be completely bottom-up in a consultative matter with the entire community. The idea is really to have an expert multistakeholder working group who's going to raise awareness more on this issue and ensure that the IGF in the broadest sense understands better this issue and, with that, respond better through its annual meeting and other intersessional work streams to the very complex topics that PNE this year and other policy networks will focus in next year.
So I will stop here, but I'm happy to take any questions on this.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you very much, Anja. Thank you very much, Wim.
Before we open the floor for questions and discussion, I would like to ask Markus Kummer, who really has been, from the outset of the innovation of intersessional activities, to provide an overview and make some remarks that I think could help MAG members as they think about these modalities.
Markus, welcome to the floor.
>>MARKUS KUMMER: Thank you, Anriette.
And hello everyone.
And let me start by commending Wim for his work on producing this excellent table. In essence, he summed it up, but maybe I can just add a few words on giving more background on how it all started, especially the dynamic coalitions. They emerged spontaneously already at the very first IGF meeting back in 2006.
But then there was very little guidance also from the MAG on how they should operate. The only established principle was that they were given a slot at the annual meeting where they could meet and discuss their work. Otherwise, they were left to their own devices. And when we actually then looked more into promoting intersessional work, that was in 2014 and '15 and started with the best practice forums. As Wim said, they were clearly under the guidance of the MAG. It was also felt that there was a need, maybe, to have a closer cooperation among the dynamic coalitions, and we established this coordination group where we also developed common principles. So now they abide by commonly agreed these principles. There are listed in this table open archives, open membership, open lists so that you have a minimum of transparency. And I think by having this coordination, by having regular calls, we also create a certain dynamic among the dynamic coalitions, and we developed annual main sessions that are, on the whole, well received where we show the diversity of the dynamic coalitions to a broader community.
But it was also felt, as you said, at the outset, there was a lot of questions asked and what's the difference between dynamic coalitions and best practice forums, and this table is very helpful; but we also felt there was maybe a need to develop paper, and that was building on what we did last year on the best practice forums. It was then known as the BPF or BPFs, where we documented the past experience of the BPFs and also looked forward on how to improve the processes.
And now this year, the project is to develop something similar, a paper on dynamic coalitions. I think you call it a learning study.
The aim would be twofold and to look back and to document what has been achieved because there are a wide variety of dynamic coalitions, and it's not easy to grasp all their breadth of activities. So the first part of this paper, of this study, would be to document what has been done, and then there would, obviously, be a forward-looking path and how they could fit into the IGF+ model and how they can improve their cooperation and their input into the broader IGF work and also the interaction with the other constituent parts of the IGF.
So this study will be developed by the dynamic -- in cooperation with all the existing dynamic coalitions. We're going to have the first call next week on how to go about and develop a timeline. The aim is we'll be ready with a paper, with a report, hopefully, by the end of October, well in time for the annual meeting so people would have time to look at it, to study it.
And, obviously, it would be an iterative process where we would report back to the MAG of where we are and also ask for input, and there would be a public consultation, also, on the report.
So this is, in a nutshell, the project, and we are lucky to now be able to count on the support of Sorina, who works with the secretariat, and she will provide the substantive report and holding the pen for the study.
I think that's about all I have to say here.
Well, maybe just again, going right back to the beginning. There was of two schools among the MAG members in the very first year. There were those who wanted to set up the IGF as an annual process with working groups whereas there were others who said, no, that would be too much like organizations. We don't want that. This is just here to have an annual meeting.
And then the dynamic coalitions, one MAG member said, Well, there may be dynamic coalitions emerging of like-minded people who work on a common project, and that's how the dynamic coalition started. But now, obviously, we have moved on quite a bit, and we are now in the process of having the IGF as an annual -- not just anymore as an annual meeting but as an annual process, and intersessional work, in that sense, becomes almost obsolete as a term, as almost everything now is an annual process.
I think that's all I have to say at this stage.
Thank you very much.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you very much, Markus.
And thank you very much to Wim for responding to my request, which was relatively last minute for you to develop this for us. So thanks very much for that.
And are there any questions?
I see Joyce. If there are other members, MAG members, or participants who have questions, please add your names to the speaking queue.
Joyce Chen, you have the floor.
>>JOYCE CHEN: Thank you very much, Anriette.
I'm Joyce Chen, MAG member, for the record.
I want to say a very big thank you to Wim. This is incredibly helpful, especially for new members, new MAG members, who have to look at all the different proposals for the intersessional work and then have to have some idea of how all these different activities are run. And this is such a clear and concise way of saying so. And I highly look forward to seeing this table on the website. I think it will be just so helpful to everybody.
I did have a question, which was -- I did not see this being mentioned in the table, but I'm not saying that it necessarily has to be inside, but just a general question on -- I think some activities have like a consultant to help and support the work, and some activities don't have them as well. And I wondered if there was some kind of guideline or something around when a consultant is sort of available as a resource or not, that sort of thing. So it's just something -- I don't have this background in history and knowledge. It would be great if somebody could help to explain this.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Joyce, thanks very much for asking that question.
I think the document does try to give you an indication of how those resources are allocated, and maybe if Chengetai can pipe in.
I would say, in terms of the table, it also has a relationship to accountability and coordination. So individual dynamic coalitions really are self-organizing communities of practice. And, therefore, the secretariat doesn't provide support to them, but what the secretariat does is provide support for the coordination of DC. So that's one particular difference.
Best practice forums, on the other hand, because they are very much -- they emerge from MAG deliberation and MAG decision, not about what they do but about which BPFs would proceed.
And, therefore, the MAG, the secretariat has traditionally provided some support to the BPFs.
I think this year we might have a slightly different scenario with the proposed BPF on the governance on environmental data because it doesn't need support initially, and it will be coordinated if it goes ahead in collaboration with the secretariat. So that's one big difference.
I think the policy networks, on the other hand, really are not -- while MAG members participate in them, they fall under the umbrella of secretariat implementation and coordination. And, therefore, the secretariat will allocate support to them, and that's actually quite necessary.
Also, particularly because, as Anja said, they are a proactive response to the evolution of the IGF's architecture.
But, Chengetai, if you are with us, I'd like you to continue responding to Joyce's question because what Chengetai, very importantly -- and, you know, in his capacity as the person who has oversight of all of this, Chengetai always stresses to me that resources to support best practice forums is not just about available funds to contract a consultant. It's about the degree of commitment and engagement from the MAG.
So that's really, really critical.
In fact, Chengetai, if you don't mind, I would like you to present your perspective on this question from Joyce on allocation of resources.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Anriette.
Yes, as Anriette has said, to answer your question on what process gets a consultant or not, as she has said, dynamic coalitions are really bottom-up initiatives with three or more stakeholders who come together and discuss a certain issue amongst themselves while things like the best practice forums, they come from the MAG, they are commissioned by the MAG, and they also form part of the official, I would say, output of the IGF.
So the secretariat does provide consultants to support that in order to provide a neutral pen to hold because, of course, there's so many different views on any particular subject. So it's the neutrality of the secretariat, and they come into -- so the consultant phase is not to lead the process, as such, but it's to do the documentation and also do the support, the mailing lists, et cetera.
And that also reminds me -- sorry -- we have published the IGF outputs, and we have sent them to missions and also the speakers of last year, et cetera. I will put a link in and send the link to people after this meeting when I have a chance during the break.
So best practice forums get a consultant. Dynamic coalitions don't get a consultant as well because we cannot ensure that the output of the dynamic coalition is up to the standard because it's just stakeholders coming together with a proposal. And, of course, they can publish, but they don't have that secretariat stamp of approval, which, in turn, of course, has some bearing of a U.N. seal. So we're very careful with that, but we do provide coordination.
So, Sorina is the dynamic coalition secretariat support for that, coordinating the dynamic coalition, setting the standards, what becomes the dynamic coalition, collecting the reports, writing the minutes of the coordination sessions that happened.
And this is exactly the same with the national and regional initiatives.
Anja provides coordination activities, discussions amongst -- with the national and regional initiatives coordination and also the secretariat together with UN DESA does provide other support to the national and regional initiatives and collaborates with them with capacity building, et cetera, but we don't get involved in their individual discussions as separate national and regional initiatives as such, but we do provide support, giving them access to our website, a whole lot of things that I really can't go into here. So those are the ones that get support, and that's the reason why they get support.
As far as -- and then I'll just go into -- because I was having this discussion with Anriette, and I think this is what she wanted me to speak about. Yes, the Secretariat's got a trust fund. It's got a limited trust fund. It's got a limited budget. And when we are allocating those funds, if we allocate so much money here for consultants, then something has to give somewhere else.
I mean, there's been a call for interpretation, you know, for all six languages and stuff like that, or, instead of supporting 80 people coming to the annual meeting, we can only support 60 or 65.
So those are the balancing because we've only got a set number -- a set amount that we can do.
But, besides that, because we do take into careful consideration the advice of the MAG. If the MAG wants, you know, 10 consultants to do something, we do seriously look at it, and we also seriously look at what effects it has on either parts of the budget.
But, besides that, we should also -- and I'm talking about we as a whole -- we should look at the caring capacity of the community. How well can we support these initiatives, these best practice forums. If we have four best practice forums, are they well supported? Do we have enough MAG members who are interested in signing up and also encouraging the discussion?
Do we have enough support from the community? I will not name certain initiatives that we have, but there are those that are very hot topics and very political topics, which are also very worthwhile topics, but, in the past, we've seen that it's basically the consultant that carries on the meeting, which it shouldn't be. The consultant is there to support, not to carry the meeting, carry that process. So we have to look.
If we have X number of best practice forums, X number of anything, is there enough support from the MAG to make sure that we have enough depth in that? So we shouldn't really look at the breadth but look at the depth of that topic to make a meaningful contribution when we publish its outcomes.
Yeah. So I think I will stop there, unless there's any questions.
And I hope I was clear. I'm not sure if I was clear or not.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: I think you were clear, Chengetai. I think I will put it in an even more direct way.
BPF have to be driven by MAG members. A consultant's role is that of a penholder and a facilitator, but actually the real work, including the writing of the report, does have to be done by MAG members. So I think that's very important. And, of course, MAG members are busy, and MAG members have limited capacity. So it is important that there is time and space, not just financial resources.
I don't see any other questions.
Luis, do we have anyone else in the speaking queue?
Susan Chalmers, you have the floor.
>>SUSAN CHALMERS: Good morning, everybody.
Anriette, can you hear me?
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Very clearly, Susan. Please go ahead.
>>SUSAN CHALMERS: Excellent. Wonderful.
So my question regards the policy network because it's a new function, I guess. I see that one is able to participate or to receive updates by signing up to a mailing list. I'm still unclear on the role of the secretariat on the policy network and who -- I know in the case of the PNE, that our colleagues from Switzerland are organizing and doing a lot of the thinking work behind it. There has been discussion about the policy network on meaningful access. Forgive me. I can't remember what the U -- what the U stands for. It's a bit early over here.
But if a new policy network were to be created, who drives the -- kind of the thinking and strategic aspects of the policy network? Who participates in that, and what exactly is the role of the secretariat?
I appreciate your taking my questions as I become familiar with this new element of the IGF.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you for your question, Susan. I will ask Anja to respond and then later on when I talk about the new or the additional proposed network on meaningful access, it will be easier for the MAG to consider this.
But let me hand over to Anja to respond to your question.
>>ANJA GENGO: Thank you, Anriette. And thank you very much, Susan, for all the good questions.
I'll respond concretely for this policy network on environment and digitalization and would leave the next proposal that came from the MAG chair based on the MAG's exchanges on the initial proposal and committed actions for access to speak more about the methodology for that one.
But the policy network on environment and digitalization, indeed, as Susan said, received funding from the Swiss government. But, of course, the organization is not with the Swiss government, and I think we should be explicit and clear on that. The Swiss government will be involved and they show a huge interest in the environmental issues, just as the last year's serving president said at the closing ceremony of the IGF 2020 and committed to contribute along with the community to developing further this important topic.
The secretariat will contract an expert consultant to be a neutral facilitator of this work. The work on gathering all the inputs, contributions, and the whole driving force of the PNE will be primarily through a bottom-up consultative process with the community. That's why we have an open mailing list. I have shared the link in the chat where you can all sign up to be the active contributor to this work.
In addition to the expert consultant for whom the vacancy is open until the end of this week on the IGF website, there will be a multistakeholder working group. The working group is currently in process of being put together. The secretariat is reaching out to international respectful organizations, including also the governments that in their work help the environmental matters focus. And the work group would just help us to understand the specific expert background of this very broad topic.
But the idea is that once we have the scope of the work driven by that working group, then it will be developed further through the community's input. The mailing list is the modus operandi for this work and we are trying to put a lot of effort also through one-on-one communication with the stakeholders to awaken their interest to subscribe to this list.
Once the expert consultant is in place -- and we are hoping that will be in early March -- then everyone including, of course, the MAG will receive a detailed work plan on the methodology. So that means how the consultative, bottom-up process will be implemented.
I think -- and we expect in our internal exchanges, that that will be very similar to how the BPF is conducting their work. So through regular open meetings with everyone, through surveys and questionnaires, through putting consultations every single draft document that's been produced again in a bottom-up manner by the expert consultant just as a neutral penholder, in that way to engage more. I think we will go broader in terms of the stakeholder engagement to ensure -- for example, through leading international processes and meetings but also the national and regional ones, to reach out to communities and to ensure what are their priorities but also to ensure that the output document that's going to be produced through the PNE reaches out those that can actually make a change, which is usually at a local level.
In that sense, I think the national and regional, of course, IGF will be also critical contributing partners to us.
They are but, of course, beyond just the NRIs and the entire intersessional work. That would be for the PNE.
So just, once again, I will post after this in the chat the link to subscribe to the open mailing list and also a link to the page on the website. And just for the role of the MAG, I think Susan also raised that having active involvement of the MAG is extremely important.
I think Joyce and Tereza volunteered to be the liaisons with the MAG and with the working group, including, of course, the MAG chair. But the process is open to everyone, and we really welcome the strong and contributing effort from the side of the entire MAG, especially in terms of the outreach activities. That's, I think, extremely important on this topic that globally concerns us all. But we, of course, don't know who holds the expertise on that.
So in that sense, I think everybody will be much clearer when we communicate the work plan, the implementation work plan, to the MAG and the wider community once the expert consultant is contracted.
Sorry, Susan, if I missed something, please let me know online.
And thank you. Thank you, Anriette.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you very much, Anja. Just note in the chat, Susan, if you have follow-up questions.
I now give the floor to Adam Peake and after Adam, back to Wim. And I would like to close the segment so that we can go ahead to discuss the specific 2021 BPF proposals.
>>ADAM PEAKE: Thank you, Anriette. Hi, everybody.
Yeah, just a sort of general question which perhaps has been covered a bit. But how do we manage for overlaps between dynamic coalitions, best practice forums, and now policy networks?
The dynamic coalitions, there's community connectivity and, you know, network neutrality and innovative approaches. And there's a best practice forum on gender and access, and I am emphasizing the "access" part. I do understand the importance, I think it's women and girls access issues that are very specific to them, and others.
But -- and then there's the one that you're going to describe in a moment with the best practice forum coming up.
And it's not just connectivity, it's other issues where we see data as a sort of flow between these other groups. It's fine. The more people talking about these issues, the better. It's just that as we will see when we come to receiving workshop proposals, we're going to spend a lot of time sort of merging these things. And they're all asking at the end of the day for what is a very important piece of sort of virtual or meeting real estate that we as the MAG are responsible for, and that's space on the agenda.
If we're going to have a more focused IGF, then this is actually going to be a tension. I think it's a tension that I think past MAG members have found quite uncomfortable because generally people are always very pleased with the idea of narrowing the agenda of the IGF. You have heard comments about how difficult it is to find your way around to the session you really want to attend. But at the end of the day, no one is happy to have their agenda -- sorry, their proposal cut or their interest cut. So it's a bit of a tension.
But generally, it's also an issue of organization. How is this organized? Why do we perhaps have this overlap? Perhaps it's not overlap, perhaps it just is I don't know what the work is of these people quite enough. I don't mean to denigrate the work they're doing. It's volunteer, it's good, and it's interesting.
So thank you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Adam, I will try to respond to your question.
And I actually want to proceed that with making a point which I don't think we've made yet sufficiently. Wim, I have noted you are in the queue, by the way. So I have not forgotten you.
And maybe Wim will also contribute to responding to you, Adam.
But the point I want to make very loudly and clearly is that dynamic coalitions are producing substantial work. If you look at dynamic coalitions' annual reports, they vary. But some of them are actually really significant. And they produce books even, publications, that are being used on a day-to-day basis by policymakers and practitioners in the areas in which they are active.
So I think BPFs are different. They've got a much more specific mandate to identify good practices in their topic and to respond to topics that have been discussed in the IGF and that have reached a certain level of maturity, is the term we tend to use.
But do not think that dynamic coalitions are not having impact. They really are.
And then to proceed to how to connect them. I think that is a challenge. And I think as we evolve the IGF infrastructure or modalities, Markus Kummer already explained to us how BPFs and DCs emerged. They emerged in a bottom-up way.
We heard from Anja how policy networks are a proactive response to evolving into an IGF+. And I think that actually is precisely the goal of these policy networks, that they can tackle a more overarching policy area and then bring in relevant dynamic coalitions and BPFs so that there are ultimately fewer moving parts for the secretariat to manage.
And I think this is all work in progress. And I think that's part of the challenge about how the IGF evolves. It kind of evolves by doing. But that's also a strength of the IGF. We don't have some high-level committee that decides the IGF is going to do X, Y, Z. It actually emerged from the community.
But I think your point is really, really relevant.
You will see if you look at BPFs, at NRIs, at DCs, that we have been trying to increase collaboration. There's definitely evidence of that. And Anja will be able to share more about that, especially when she talks about NRIs.
But I think the point is that we want to try and use the evolving modalities, so much as the policy networks, to create these connecting platforms that can bring these different bits and pieces together.
So I hope that is at least a partial response to your question.
I think -- I just want to revisit something that Wim Degezelle mentioned earlier, and that's the MAG's role as the helicopter or having the bird's-eye view. And so even dynamic coalitions are independent of the MAG, as the MAG develops the program -- and you talk about it being real estate -- Adam, I think it's also about a program that is coherent and responsive to what the community cares about. It is, therefore, important for the MAG to understand what dynamic coalitions are available, what they're doing, and how they can be integrated.
I would like us to bring this -- I'm sorry to do this. It's an important discussion, but we do need to talk about the specific BPFs.
And I don't see anyone else in the speaking queue.
So, Wim, can I give the floor to you? And then we need to continue to the next part of this session.
>>WIM DEGEZELLE: Anriette, I actually already had lowered my hand because I wanted to make a quick remark earlier in the discussion that on the experts, consultants are actually in the table under secretariat support. But the fact is that the secretariat has to divide their consultants over different tasks. So that's why they're not in the table as consultants.
Okay. I don't know. As you were asking the questions, I think I wanted to also make a quick -- make a quick remark related to what Adam and you, Anriette, just said.
I think -- I tend to agree that apart -- I mean, there isn't clearly a need for more collaboration, looking for linkages. But part of the reason why it's not happening is actually something you described, Anriette, and I would say different groups within the IGF either are working on the BPF, either working on preparing a main session, either working in a DC, either working within an NRI, are all working very hard to get the best to the IGF, which means they're very focused on their own product and coming with the best they can to the IGF.
And that probably is one of the reasons why there's just not time -- no time for them to have a 360-degree view of what else is going on. So that might be one of the ways to approach this question on providing more linkages and cooperation within different elements of the program.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: I'm on the speaking list. Can I speak? Carlos.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Please, go ahead. My connectivity dropped again. My power went down. Sorry about that.
Go ahead, Carlos.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: Thank you. Yes, regarding Adam's comments and Wim's, I sympathize with that and I think that my proposal, which we discussed yesterday a bit, is precisely to try to mitigate this connection among the initiatives and themes, et cetera.
The other thing is that I had, some time ago, proposed that we try to do a sort of consolidation or review -- periodical review of the work of the dynamic coalitions. They are independent, of course, and they should be.
But we can profit a lot from what they are doing. And this is not systematized in a meaningful way.
If we had a group or someone in charge of regularly updating their outcomes in a synthetic way, would be quite interesting. It's not like the BPF on BPFs, which is another thing, although it has similarity with that proposal. But these would bring more meat to the work of the DCs and would bring them more to light regarding the work they are doing. In the many cases, it's quite interesting and very important. But we still know that they are there, but we don't have a sort of review showing us that they are producing relevant themes, relevant outcomes. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you very much, Carlos. And I think that's a very, very -- that's a very helpful suggestion for us to take on board.
My apologies again for dropping off. Chengetai's always on stand by, and Anja, to take over. But my power just came back. So I'm back with you.
I'd like us to now proceed -- sorry, is anyone speaking? It's Carlos. Can you just mute your mic, please?
Can I now give the floor to Anja Gengo from the secretariat who will give us an overview of the BPF proposals that have been received already. The MAG, we've discussed them, we've looked at them, and the MAG has given extensive feedback in different ways on these proposals.
So, Anja, can I hand the floor to you, please.
>>ANJA GENGO: Yes. Thank you very much, Anriette. And I see that Luis is displaying the meeting materials page where you can see all the proposals for the received BPFs. So I'll just very quickly go through all of these.
So as you know, we received in total five proposals for possible best practice forums. The best practice forum on cybersecurity is among them. The idea is -- for this BPF, per their proposal, is to focus and have a deeper look at the -- who are the drivers of cyber norms and to build on the work done in 2019 and 2020, last year.
The next one would be the very new BPF focused on the governance of environmental data. That would look at best practices centered around this topic environmental data governance issues.
Then we also have a proposal to continue the formerly known BPF on gender and access this year, proposed to be called BPF on gender and digital rights, that would explore the concepts of gender, disinformation, understanding its relation with online gender-based violence and hate speech and the effects it potentially can have on women and gender-diverse groups.
The best practice forum on local content also came up with the new proposal to build on the work done in past years, with a particular focus this year on giving -- to develop local content production skills and community networks.
And then the fifth one relates to also a new BPF that emerged from a main session on a similar topic last year. It's called the BPF on committed actions to make access to the Internet sustainable and affordable for everyone. The MAG chair will follow up on this. There's been a proposal to have this evolved to a broader concept of a policy network on meaningful access.
And just to add for the record, although we discussed that, another part of the intersessional work stream will be policy network on environment and digitization, which I will shortly share the link in the chat.
That would be the overview of all the proposals, Anriette. But happy to add, if I missed something.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks very much for that, Anja.
If I can just ask you or Luis to put on screen the proposal for the -- or maybe I can share my own screen. Actually, let me share my own screen. And I'll just outline my additional proposal which is for a second pilot policy network and one that can actually include two of the BPF proposals that we have in front of us.
So I'm going to share my screen, if you can give me a minute.
That's not the right page.
Apologies. Just give me a minute.
Sorry. I'm going to stop share and just bring that up very quickly.
I'm so sorry about this. With my power outage, I lost what I had open in front of my -- here it is. Okay. I'm ready.
Apologies for that, MAG members and participants. Here we are.
I hope you can all see that now.
So this proposal really follows up on the comments that were made earlier and also the question from Adam about how to keep everything interconnected.
What we had from MAG members were a proposal -- there are two proposals in particular that I think we can effectively include in a second policy network on meaningful access.
Firstly, that's the proposal made by Roberto and Karim for -- let me just find it here, for a best practice forum on committed actions to make access to the Internet sustainable and affordable for everyone.
This BPF proposal from Roberto and Karim actually references the fact that the IGF has done extensive work on access over the years. And they present a program which, in many ways, actually goes beyond just gathering best practices. They presented a multiyear program that would also look at making policy recommendations.
So when I reviewed that proposal, I thought this is very important work. It might not fit the current criteria for best practice forums but it's very important work that the IGF has done.
The other aspect of the proposal -- and you'll find this in the document as well -- is that it responds to one of the U.N. Secretary-General Roadmap's priorities, which is global connectivity.
And then I also thought, you know, as we are evolving the IGF, as the secretariat has introduced with the support of Switzerland a policy network which is aimed to be more of an overarching space for connecting different actors in a policy area, I thought why not actually embed this best practice forum proposal in a policy network on meaningful access.
And then it can also serve the goal, which I outline in this document, which I apologize you haven't seen yet, of creating a space within the IGF to respond to the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation.
And I actually think there are three areas in that roadmap that is particularly relevant to this policy network. There is the goal on global connectivity and there is -- I'm going to highlight it -- global connectivity, digital inclusion, and digital capacity-building because, in fact, all of those contribute to meaningful access.
And there are already U.N. agencies and champions that are following up on this work as part of the roadmap process and being facilitated through the Office of the Tech Envoy. But we also need to find a way of bringing the IGF community into that process. So I thought that such a policy network within the IGF could, in fact, be a connector between the vast body of work that's taking place on access and inclusion and capacity-building for meaningful access within the IGF.
I then also looked at the proposal of the best practice forum on local content which this year is focusing on -- here it is. I'm just highlighting that -- particularly on the role of community networks in building local content. In fact, I thought that is a very critical exploration of good practices in how meaningful access can be provided by connecting the production and use of content to the provision of access through community networks.
And that's roughly the basis of the proposal.
Aside from this policy network becoming a way of embedding the work or connecting the work of these two best practice forum proposals and making it possible for the secretariat to rationalize allocation of resources, it also is a way of bringing in very specific dynamic coalitions. There's the dynamic coalition of community connectivity, for example. There's previous work done in the IGF through the connecting policy options for connecting and enabling the next billion. This was led intersessional activity led by the Internet Society that under the auspices of the IGF which operated from 2015 to 2018.
And I won't dwell on it any further. The proposal does have more information. I also point out in the proposal that we, in fact, have a vast -- access, we have so many recommendations on how to address access and connectivity. In fact, what could be useful for such a policy network is to explore why are these recommendations not being implemented.
What are the real barriers? And I would propose it operates exactly as the secretariat outlined, the policy network on environment and digitization and would operate through a working group that includes MAG members. We already, in this case, have the MAG members that have proposed the BPF on sustained actions for connectivity and the BPF on local content, and they could participate in this. And we would invite many other institutions that are active in this area within the U.N. and without the U.N., and here's a list of them, you know, just a provisional list of (indiscernible) the MAG. If this goes ahead, MAG members would be able to contribute, but we have UNDP; the International Telecommunications Union; ISOC; UNESCO, who has the Internet universality initiative the Alliance For Affordable Internet.
Some of these institutions are also listed in Roberto and Karim's proposal. The IEEE, Microsoft has expressed support for this idea and so on. There are many other bodies that are active in this at a regional body.
We have the AU level. We have the African Union Commission. We have the European Union submission supported (indiscernible) as such and so on.
We have the regional Internet registries, and they are very active in this area. So that is the proposal.
I don't think that you should use -- we're not asking you to approve this proposal. We just would like to comment on it. And it really is up for the secretariat ultimately to approve this proposal. We would just like your comment on it. And it really is up to the secretariat to decide whether this should go ahead or not.
But I open the floor to questions and comments, and then I'm going to stop sharing my screen.
And then what the next step will be -- you know, we're now going to open it for discussions and questions. The next step will be that we will just do a very brief poll to get your feedback on these proposals for BPFs and the policy networks and the indication of which ones you, as MAG members, will participate in. And then the final decision will be made by the secretariat based on availability of resources.
So now I open the floor for questions.
And, Jutta Croll, you have the floor.
>>JUTTA CROLL: Oh, thank you, Anriette, for giving me the floor.
At that moment, my phone rang.
Thank you for giving me the floor.
Although I'm no longer a MAG member, I'm glad to listen to you, and I really appreciate what you have already presented about the policy network for meaningful access. I do think there are lots of links to work that is done within dynamic coalitions so that should be a critical review, what work of dynamic coalitions is related to such a policy network, I think that could be mutual support.
And I would also like to raise the question of how that policy network is probably linked to the initiative connecting the next billion that we had during the last years within the IGF ecosystem because I also do think there are links between the two initiatives and the policy network could probably build on the work that was done by the CENB.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks, Jutta.
The proposal actually very specifically references that. Roberto and Karim's proposal also does. But (indiscernible) --
>>JUTTA CROLL: You're breaking up. We can't hear you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: -- (indiscernible) looks again at the work of the -- would be -- for this policy network -- can you not hear me? Sorry.
It would be -- many of those good practices and recommendations identified by that connecting and enabling the next billion have not actually been implemented, but definitely introduce that as a starting point for its work.
>>JUTTA CROLL: Thank you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: I think Gunela had her hand up, if I'm not mistaken.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you, Gunela, you have the floor.
>>GUNELA ASTBRINK: Thank you. And apologies for not using the speaking queue. I'm very interested in this proposed policy network. Obviously, it's very broad, which it needs to be, and from the point of view of another dynamic coalition, the one on the accessibility and disability, that could also have useful input into meaningful access because access can mean so many different things, of course, the infrastructure, content, and so forth.
So we -- well, on the coordinator of that particular DC, that could be something that we could contribute and, also, there can be that interchange of information. So I just -- just wanted to put my hand up for that and look forward to further discussions as the proposal gets firmed up and further discussed. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks, very much, Gunela. Very important.
In fact, there are probably other dynamic coalitions, too, that could participate after seeing this.
Susan Chalmers, you have the floor.
>>SUSAN CHALMERS: Thank you, Chair. Thank you for the proposal, the policy network, which I look forward to reading and spending some time with further.
Just two points: I do agree that the BPF proposal submitted by our dear colleagues, Karim and Roberto, is more suited towards a policy network-type activity.
And the second point would be that this seems that it could be the -- well, how do I say? It could be a very large and complicated project. And I don't mean complicated in a bad way, but, as you had listed all the different bodies within and without the IGF that could contribute to it, there are ongoing activities at the ITU-T, for example, and different activities outside of the U.N. system. It almost seems to me that it could use a year to plan and to even see what synergies could be available with these different organizations.
So that would just be my suggestion. I don't think that it could start off immediately. I think it could require some good, thorough planning for at least a year to tee it up for success.
So that would just be my initial observation.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks, Susan.
And I will respond to that later. Let us first just hear from more people.
Adam, you're next.
>>ADAM PEAKE: Thank you again, Anriette.
Yeah, I think this is a very good idea, a very good proposal for a policy network. As others have said and identified, there's been an enormous amount of work over the years on access in many different forms, from "connecting the billions" themes that were all very common in earlier years, the annual IGFs, as the main themes, through the work of dynamic coalitions, as Gunela has said, and the outputs that's been important of DCs, such as the one Gunela mentioned.
And then also the work other activities where they have raised questions that have been unanswered and where work has been proposed and probably not done.
So what I'm saying is there's been an awful lot of work here, so I imagine one of the first tasks of this group would actually to be look at that, seeing what has been done, where we are, who is continuing to do work. And, as Nigel mentioned, there's also linkages to other ongoing work. So it's an enormous task, and I would hope it would begin by reviewing and looking at what has been done and what is being done in related areas.
So, yeah, I think it's a very good proposal.
I do have a question about the name of it, which is probably not something to get into debate about. "Meaningful access" is quite attractive, but what is unmeaningful access? No access? So I would look at the title of it, and I don't think we need to wordsmith it now, and I don't have any suggestions for it, but cynics like me will always pick up on something like that, and I think it's just a bit vague.
And so think about a title that doesn't have cynics like me criticizing it. Sorry.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks, Adam.
I don't see anyone else.
So I'll just respond to that.
The concept of "meaningful access" I took from the dynamic coalition on community connectivity, but, obviously, we can use a different term. The name is really not that important, and what I do think is important is for such a policy network to have a holistic approach to access. Because, in fact, if you look at the work that the IGF has produced on access and connectivity, it consistently has recommended for a holistic approach where you look at infrastructure as well as the human capacity to make use of that capacity -- of that infrastructure, the sustainability and affordability of that infrastructure and the relevant content that people are able to access and also create in their own languages and in their own context through that connectivity.
So that's really -- the name of it was just trying to connect to that aspect of how the IGF has discussed access since 2006, which is that it's more than just about the infrastructure. But the name is totally open for debate. And I think if this goes ahead, it will be really good to have MAG and dynamic coalitions who work in an area to contribute.
I think the issue of accessibility is another point. Connectivity is not enough unless it is available to people with disabilities that can create additional barriers. So that really is the idea.
Susan, in response to your question about timing, if you refer back to Anja's presentation on these policy networks, the idea is that they do start with working groups that scope the terrain. And so I think they do have time to plan what they do, but I would advise against delaying such an effort within the IGF, either -- it could either be through the BPF as a separate initiative or through the policy network, but I think it's very important for the IGF to have a mechanism that can interact with the ITU and the UNDP and the Office of the Tech Envoy who is taking forward the roadmap priorities on digital cooperation, digital capacity development, and digital inclusion, which I think touches on this area of connectivity and access.
So I think having such a policy network or having a BPF that focuses on this is very important, and it will enable the IGF to play a role in linking the really huge number of stakeholders inside the IGF community that care about connectivity to be actively part of the roadmap process as well. So I think that's the reason why. Even if it starts in a staged way, I do think it would be useful to start it sooner rather than later.
Any other comments or questions? And, remember, you know, we're not -- this is just a proposal. It is open for further discussion. The secretariat will review all these proposals and based on MAG feedback to date, and from that, we'll know exactly what we can do this year.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: I think we have a hand up from a nonMAG member, Abassi Salma.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: I'm not monitoring.
Abassi, you have the floor. Please go ahead and introduce yourself.
>>SALMA ABASSI: Hello. Can you hear me?
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Abassi, yes --
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can.
>>SALMA ABASSI: Sorry. My name is Dr. Salma Abassi, and I'm the CEO of eWorldwide Group. We're a social enterprise, and we joined hands with the IEEE last year, as soon as COVID-19 kicked in, and we've established something called Building Digital Resilience to Mitigate COVID-19 Response and Recovery. It's a huge program that I'll share with you later. But I think this is really a critical recommendation that you're making. I also agree and concur that it should be now, sooner rather than later, but I think the title means a lot. The gentleman before who spoke about, you know, the cynical approach, I understand that, too, but I think that we need to -- there are so many silo activities going on in this space, and I think yesterday there was another couple of OECD conferences going on and discussing. Everybody is looking at digital, and the word "accessibility," the thinking of accessibility is so -- it's one-dimensional. And, actually, you know, as IGF, that it's really complex, and the elderly people with disabilities, people learning -- and COVID-19 has shown that the governments' actual policymakers are not thinking realistically in how to engage and how to make this meaningful for all. And I think there is a great need to have these discussions and actually create these connections of multiple organizations and civil society organizations that are working on how to frame a policy that will support the U.N. Secretary-General's agenda for us to have access and digital skills and everybody to be engaged in the opportunities from the global digitalization that's going on.
That's all I wanted to say.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks very much for that, Salma. And if you do -- if you can, look at the proposal. The secretariat posted the link. I actually added IEEE as one of the key institution to be involved.
>>SALMA ABASSI: Excellent.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Because IEEE has -- and the value of a body like IEEE is that they are active in the IGF. They're also active in the ITU space. And I think that is important.
Any other comments or questions? I'm just checking the chat.
And, secretariat, help me to -- oh, Carlos Afonso, thank you very much.
Carlos Afonso, a MAG member -- he's also in the DC of community connectivity -- posted a link to a discussion by the Alliance for Affordable Internet, also another body that can be included in this and that Roberto and Karim also included it in their proposal.
They work on meaningful connectivity. So they also use this concept. That's the Web Foundation's program on affordable access.
But we do need to move on. So I think, if there are no further hands -- I don't see any further hands, but please go ahead.
I would like the secretariat to do the little poll for us that they have done. It will just be a final request to the MAG to express where they want to put their effort in participating in these intersessional modalities.
Susan, I see your question with the policy network requiring funding. I think, absolutely, the policy network would need support. We actually have had some institutions come forward, even on the MAG list, to propose that they could support this, but I think it's also for the secretariat to look at how they can allocate the existing support. And I think much of this has also -- it can be affected by how the best practice forums -- if Roberto and Karim have very graciously already indicated that they would be comfortable for their best practice forum to be included under the umbrella of this policy network, and they would participate in the working group of this policy network, and that already makes it easier for the secretariat to allocate resources.
So it's a question that we cannot answer right now. And the secretariat wants to respect the MAG's inputs on the discussion about BPFs and policy networks. And they will inform us very briefly. But today we will get the final indication of input from the MAG. And then I think based on that, the secretariat will be able to tell us how they can proceed.
There's a lot more discussion in the chat. I'm starting to follow it all. I'm trusting that you will raise your hands if you want to speak.
I don't see anyone in the speaking queue or any raised hands.
So I would like to ask now the secretariat to put up the poll that they've developed for you to express where your interest lies and how you can commit to being involved. The poll is open, and I invite everyone to contribute to it.
>>ADAM PEAKE: Anriette, it's Adam. If I can just interrupt a second. I did put down I would contribute to a policy network on cybersecurity, but I don't particularly want to contribute to any best practice forum because I'm already doing a couple of working groups and the dynamic coalitions and the MAG. And in my first year, this is quite enough for me. So sorry about that. But I don't think there's an option that says I don't want to particularly contribute to a best practice forum because I would be making a commitment that I don't think I have the time to commit, to be quite honest, because I've committed to other things.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Adam, thanks for that. Was it compulsory? Did you have to select an option?
>>ADAM PEAKE: Yeah, I couldn't submit without doing so. It's not a big deal. I just wanted to explain it. I think that's -- particularly the first year in the MAG, I'm trying to figure out what happens here again and already picked up two or three things. So that's quite enough for me.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: I think that's completely understandable. We do already have MAG members that have committed to the BPF on cybersecurity. This is just an indication of further support. I'm sorry that there wasn't a "not committing to any" option.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes. If you cannot commit, it would be helpful if you don't commit to anything, if you cannot. This is just an indication. But, yes.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: And I think by "commit" here, it's about -- it's also about following the work. We're not asking MAG members other than those that have already proposed BPFs to coordinate the work of a BPF. This question is really more about will you follow the work, will you be interested in it.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Will you be a member of the group and will you contribute to it?
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Join the mailing list and participate. You are not being asked to do additional work. That has been taken care of because for all of these BPF proposals, we do have MAG members that have committed to facilitate.
I see only 28 people have voted. Observers are under no obligation to respond. But I really would like MAG members to complete the poll, please.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: We will also take a "no" vote to mean you are not interested. So if you are not interested, of course, don't vote.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Maybe that is --
>>SUSAN CHALMERS: Anriette, may I ask a question here?
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Yes, go ahead. That's Susan. Go ahead.
>>SUSAN CHALMERS: Thanks, Anriette. I'm confused. It seems one can express an opinion on whether or not a BPF should go forward given the limited resources of the secretariat, but that doesn't seem to be what the poll's about.
So are we assuming that the poll is to determine who is going to participate in which BPF, in which case that assumes that all the BPFs in the poll are going to go forward.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks, Susan. Susan, we've actually already called for objections to BPFs for MAG members. So this is not the first time that MAG members have the chance to express support for BPFs or not.
This is really the final call for input on where the interest lies, where the commitment lies, where MAG members feel the relevance is. That's the one thing. It's just an indicator for the secretariat.
And then specifically, we are asking MAG members to comment on the idea of the policy network and of integrating some of those best practice forums into such a policy network because that can impact on how the secretariat decides to allocate its resources. So I hope that answers your question.
It does not mean that all of these will automatically go through. But thus far, from the MAG, we have not heard objections. We've heard of revisions. We've had requests for revisions on some of these proposals.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: And the revisions were made.
Chengetai, do you want to add, please?
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: I was just going to reiterate, I mean, it's not really about objections because I'm sure every single one of these best practice forums are useful. And to some extent it's also about the carrying capacity. Can we have enough MAG members to carry on a best practice forum? Can we have enough MAG members to make sure that we have a good concrete output that is useful to the community?
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks for that, Chengetai.
And I think we can end the polling now. I don't know how many people will still respond. And then, Luis, if you can show us the results.
And then I would just ask, if there are MAG members who object to any of these, who have strong feelings about the policy network or not going ahead with it or not including the BPF on local content and committed actions into such a policy network to take the floor and share their views.
Susan, are you still in the speaking queue?
>>SUSAN CHALMERS: I wrote in the chat. I'm not -- I'm not interested in making an objection. I'm just trying to understand -- the poll isn't very clear whether or not we're making a decision, for example, to fold in the BPF on committed actions into a policy network or the BPF on environmental work into a policy network. It's asking which I can commit resources to, which I was not prepared to respond to this poll at this point in time.
So I don't think I can participate. Apologies.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks for that, Susan. And I think that's absolutely fine.
I will just update the MAG on the policy network on the data -- the governance of environmental data -- sorry, the BPF on the governance of environmental data and the policy network on environment and digitization.
At this point, these are two separate proposals that the MAG have been discussing. But they have also met with one another, and there is -- there is a commitment for them to work in a collaborative and complementary way as they proceed with their work.
I don't -- so in that sense, it's different from the idea of the policy network on access where we've already got support from Karim and Roberto that they would be comfortable with their BPF-forming part of that. So that's slightly different.
I see there are -- I see, Carlos Afonso, you have a concern. And I think there are various other questions from MAG members.
So it is important that you take the floor.
So, Courtney, you are next.
But others who are writing in the chat, Carlos Afonso yourself as well, please do ask for the floor.
Courtney, please go ahead.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: I'm sorry, just to interject very quickly. It's important you don't just write in the chat but you speak it out so that whatever your contribution is, is in the transcript as well. So the chat sometimes gets overlooked when we're trying to express what the MAG wants.
>>COURTNEY RADSCH: Thank you. This is Courtney Radsch, MAG member, for the record.
I was unclear in the question about wrapping in the aspect of the local content best practice group, whether that means the best practice forum, whether that means only that element would be wrapped into the new policy network, or whether the entire BPF would be wrapped into that policy network.
I would be in favor of keeping a best practice forum on local content but seeing again where there are synergies or aspects to wrap in.
Could you clarify that, please? Thank you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks for that, Courtney, and maybe that will help Carlos as well.
My proposal is that, that BPF continues as proposed in the proposal that the MAG has viewed but that it does so in a way that is embedded or connected to this broader policy network.
So not just one aspect of it, that doesn't mean that the best practice forum on local content will work with this particular policy network every single year. Might or might not.
I just felt that the proposal from the best practice forum on local content for 2021 relates very strongly to the idea of meaningful access.
Carlos, you are next.
And I want to affirm what Chengetai said. So please others who are writing in the chat, please do join the queue.
Go ahead, Carlos.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: All right. Yes. I was trying to show that at least in the BPF on local content, it goes well beyond connectivity. There are several other issues regarding regulation, regarding intellectual property, and many others that the BPF deals with. And the focus is on curating best practices, not on broader political analysis or trying to grasp broader effects regarding access. The BPF goes beyond that, and so do the other three BPFs which we have approved so far.
So I wouldn't support merging or fusing these two BPFs, at least the BPF on local content, to the initiative which I find very valiant, very significant of the policy network.
But, of course, as Anriette said, we work -- we should work together. There is an obvious interaction. In several speeches today, people insisted on the importance of these interactions. This is it. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks, Carlos.
I think there's an unknown here, which I wish I could answer. But it is still a bit of an unknown, and that is how these policy networks will interact and collaborate with best practice forums. And I think that is something that hasn't yet been clearly established. Maybe Anja can say a little bit more about the thinking there.
But I think the idea is definitely that the policy networks collaborate very closely with NRIs and dynamic coalitions and BPFs.
But the precise mechanics of that, I'm afraid, is something that has not yet been established. And I think that is also why, as Anja said earlier, these policy networks are, in fact, a pilot. And I do think, you know, having two pilots can be -- working in different areas can be very valuable. They are not intended to replace BPFs. I think that needs to be made very clear. They are intended to add value.
And I think my proposal here -- and this is really coming from me specifically, is that I think we just need to be careful that we don't have too many different intersessional modalities for the MAG to participate in and follow and for the rest of the community to follow and participate in.
And I think as we try and focus the IGF program to be narrower, more focused, more outcome-oriented, I think we also need to look at our intersessional modalities also supporting a more focused approach.
But I think we have to also just be willing to see how this works and whether it works. I don't think we have all the answers about how the BPF will interact with a policy network at this point. Not yet.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: Anriette, can I make an additional comment?
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Please, Carlos. Please, go ahead.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: Another thing is that -- regarding the BPF on local content is that we had included a new theme, which is local content in the context of community networks. But we are not abandoning other issues which are, of course, relevant, like problems with local language, preservation of intellectual property rights of the communities, and so on. All those other issues which the BPF is carrying from year to year will still be considered besides this focus on local content and community networks. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks, Carlos. Yes.
My proposal to connect the BPF to this policy network was based very specifically on your program activity for 2021, which was connected to community networks. Yes, absolutely, your point stands. There are many other issues that this BPF has taken on over time and might want to propose again in the future.
Adam, you have the floor.
>>ADAM PEAKE: Thank you. Hello. Sorry. Me again.
Yeah, I'd just like to see that we don't have duplication, there's not too much divergence in recommendations from different groups. The example I was thinking of, as we think of a flow from dynamic coalitions to best practice forums to policy networks, is that flow may not be a hard line but it's certainly acting as a connection. We have a very, very successful dynamic coalition on network neutrality which we've seen the output of that group go into different fora, into multilateral fora, into national forums. A very good example of success of an IGF informalish group moving into the formal policymaking sort of dialogue and influence. A very successful model.
It would be a shame if the recommendations of that were not fed up through the other different fora and if those people were not informed of this work going on.
And then on a sort of ongoing basis, which you touched upon, Anriette, about how do you include them, then if these groups have mailing lists and if these groups have -- and I'm talking more about the policy network, if they have calls, then make sure that these relevant other structures are invited, or the leadership of them, or we will get confused and the MAG will not know what it is it might supposed to be managing and so on and so forth.
So it's just really making sure that everybody is included in the loop, and perhaps there might even be at some point there might be a formal requirement that they are included in the group. In other words -- a divergence would be a great shame if one group recommends one thing and another group recommends another.
Carlos, on local content, I think I probably misunderstood when I completed the poll. And I apologize for that. But I do have some people who would like to contribute to your work, so at least we can add some substance to it. So thanks for that.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you very much, everyone, for your contributions. And thus far, I'd like to actually -- Luis, if it's still possible for you to display the poll results. But if you don't, it doesn't matter actually. I think there seems to be quite strong support for this idea of the policy network. Clearly, there are still some questions.
But I think we have done as much as we can as MAG members to provide input on these BPFs, to give feedback to those who wrote the proposals, to express where there's interest, to participate actively from MAG members. Apologies if the poll was not clear and there wasn't a clear option for abstaining.
I think we heard from Anja about how the policy network on environment is planning to proceed. I think that does provide a model for a second policy network on meaningful access, in quotation marks. Clearly, there's a need for a discussion on further names.
And I think we should now let the secretariat work with all of this input and come back to us with what they feel is a realistic way to proceed.
So, Carlos, I've noted you're asking for the floor. And so you will be our final person on this.
And then, Chengetai, I'd like to hand it back to you to just wrap up on what the next step will be in terms of the decision on the allocation and availability of resources.
>>CARLOS AFONSO: Yes, thank you. Just to inform that I have shared the draft document as a draft, as not yet approved, of the proposal of the policy network with the DC (indiscernible) of connectivity group. The first reactions are very, very positive. Okay.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks for that, Carlos. I'm glad you did.
And my apologies for not having sent this proposal to you earlier. I think just my personal circumstances with no electricity on the weekend and then this week also starting without electricity, just made it very difficult for me to finalize that proposal and to send it to you earlier.
Chengetai, over to you.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Anriette. So what we're going to do -- because already taken from last year, we had budgeted two consultants, each supporting two best practice forums. So what we're going to do is that the secretariat is going to look at this and see what is needed to support. And then since it has an effect on the Trust Fund, we have to talk to New York and through Wai-Min -- I think Wai-Min is here -- and then talk with our finance officer to see what's possible. And then we can come back to you by the end of this week or first thing next week.
That's it for me.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks very much for that, Chengetai.
So, MAG members, we actually really are close to having a decision on this. I encourage further comment on the proposal for this additional policy network and proposals for how to name it. Please share it amongst your networks and give us feedback. But the final call is now with the secretariat.
And I want to thank everyone who submitted proposals. I want to thank everyone who's given comment on those proposals and to the proposal writers for adapting their proposals based on MAG feedback.
My special thanks to Roberto and Karim for being open to see their proposal go forward in a slightly different form.
And I now bring this to a close. And then we'll know what will happen next as soon as the secretariat has undertaken the steps Chengetai just outlined.
Item 9, annual work plan of DCs. We've already heard from Markus, but I want to give the floor to Sorina and/or Anja to just run us quickly through if there's anything else they wanted to share on dynamic coalitions and then Anja on national and regional and youth IGF initiatives.
We are almost out of time, but we are not doing too badly.
So over to the secretariat to take us through DCs and NRIs, if there's anything further to say about dynamic coalitions.
>>SORINA TELEANU: Thank you, Anriette.
Not really on dynamic coalitions, since Markus has already covered that part. Just a quick recap that the coordination group is going to start working on a work plan and the time line for the DC paper that Markus has presented. And as soon as we have that finalized, we will, of course, share it with the MAG. But nothing else beyond that. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks, Sorina.
And now it's Anja. And by the way, everyone, it's Anja's birthday today. So I think once she's given her presentation on NRIs and as we are then going on a break, I invite everyone to put on their microphones and to wish her happy birthday or sing her happy birthday.
But, let's give her the opportunity first to talk about NRIs.
>>ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much, Anriette. Thank you so much for this.
And, yeah, let me try to focus now on the NRIs after your introduction and so much attention on me today.
With the NRIs, at the beginning of this year, we conducted again bottom-up consultations to understand what are the priorities for the network for this year.
And those consultations finally resulted in a very concrete work plan. The work plan is displayed on the meetings page under the meeting materials. I will -- I think this is the link. I'll post the link in the chat.
And you will see when you open the work plan that there are a couple of objectives. One of the objectives relates to an increased communication plan with the NRIs. We try to mutually support the social networks of the IGF to introduce this weekly category of presenting on one NRI in one week, especially with that hopefully strengthening the engagement in the IGF since the Instagram account, which is a new account since 2020, at the latest meeting we had.
In addition to that, we are looking into implementing the observatory for the NRIs with a bit of concerns from our side for limited capacity. But we will do what's in our power to ensure that we have an easier way of looking into the priority topics for the NRIs for a particular year but also in the stakeholders that are part of the organizing committees as well as engaged in the NRIs. I think looking from the perspective of the intersessional work, that is going to be very helpful to us.
We finalized the publication on youth engagement. It reflects the youth IGFs and also the two-year compendium of the NRIs looking at the topics in 2019 and '20, comparing them, which is quite an interesting analysis.
So we will follow up with the MAG through a separate email on this. I think it's interesting to look at the shift that happened with the pandemic last year across the NRIs' discussion topics.
And, finally, the idea for the IGF's annual meeting is to follow the traditional integration mechanism of the NRIs through the main session, coordination session, and collaborative sessions with the addition that the MAG -- sorry, the NRIs will work on integrating better themselves as a network in the other sessions at the IGF and also inviting other stakeholders to contribute to those collaborative sessions.
We're hoping also that the secretariat primarily will be focusing on strengthening better linkages between the intersessional work and the NRIs. We've already mapped last year with the BPF coordination group possible mechanisms for better cooperation between the BPFs and the NRIs. That means that perhaps BPFs could even be better represented through their application in a bottom-up manner at the NRIs' annual meetings. So we'll be looking at that as well. As well as cooperation with the dynamic coalitions, with these policy networks we're speaking about.
So, yes, it's quite a robust plan. I will paste the link so you can take a look. I think via emails we will be following in the next weeks with the MAG to understand more carefully implementation of each of the objectives that's outlined on the work plan.
Thank you very much.
And thank you very much for such kind wishes in the chat. Very kind of you. Thank you.
>>CHAIR ESTERHUYSEN: Thanks very much for that, Anja. Before we go into break and birthday greetings -- and, by the way, it's also new MAG member Joyce Chen's birthday today.
But before we do our happy birthday wishing, does anyone have any questions for Anja on NRIs' collaboration?
I don't see anyone in the speaking queue. And there will be regular updates and opportunities for the MAG to comment on this.
So, everyone, as we are going into our short break -- I can't believe we are finishing on time. I'm really impressed with all of you.
Please before we go into break, just switch on your mics, wish Joyce and Anja happy birthday. And we'll see you back here -- when do we reconvene? Can someone who's got the agenda -- we reconvene at 1215 UTC with MAG working groups. It's a nice long break for everyone.
So now we are going to sing happy birthday.
>>ANJA GENGO: Thank you so much.