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IGF 2018 - Day 1 - Salle I - High Level Panel Discussion: Strengthening the Internet Governance and the IGF

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Paris, France, from 12 to 14 November 2018. 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 to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>> Good afternoon, everyone.  I'm Pierre Bonis, General Director of Association Afnic.  I would like to welcome Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, as well as the federal council of the federal department of the environment, transport, energy and communications, for Switzerland, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany, and CEO of the Internet Society, ISOC, and Chair of the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group.  I'm delighted to be here with you today.

I would like to thank the Chair of IGF and the Minister of Foreign Affairs for allowing me to moderate this panel.

So, I am very lucky to be the general director of Afnic here in France, we have a wonderful team.  We do wonderful work, but indeed, given the context, I'd also like to highlight that our association has been working on the issue of governance for the last 20 years.  So we know that our approach works.  It has proved its value.  However, this in a context which is quite modest, let's say, in terms of domain names.  Indeed we are affected by some of the issues which were mentioned by the President of the French Republic, as well as the director general of UNESCO, even though we are perhaps affected by these issues on a slightly smaller scale.  The question I'd like to ask tonight are, what kind of means need to be available so the multistakeholder approach can be as effective as possible, when we are addressing nontechnical problems, let's say, do we need to be able to address these problems in a technical way?  Perhaps there might be diverging views regarding that.

But this is really what we need to focus on today, how can we use protocol to have the desired effect, and what consequences might there be of using different types of protocol.

Now we see that there is crossroads here when we look at Internet Governance.  We are looking at values, principles, and ethics, and that is meeting of the crossroads with technology, and so here we can see that we can mix the technical approach and also the approach offered by politics, and by ethics.

I would therefore like the Minister for Europe and foreign affairs share, I'd like him to share his vision of Internet Governance with us, and the relationship between the Government, the private sector and Civil Society, and also the evolution of the IGF.  Before giving you the floor, Minister, I'd like to say that you were also at the Forum looking at cyber attacks, and recently in December, you also put forward the international digital strategy for France.  I'll give you the floor.

>> JEAN-YVES LE DRIAN: Thank you very much for giving me the floor, and for reminding the audience about my past work.  I'm part of a rather interesting structure here in this panel as well as at the assembly and so I essentially am going to be echoing what the President of the Republic already said, that is usually what I end up doing anyway, usually not so quickly after he finishes speaking, but in any case, this is an occasion for me to perhaps summarize what has been said.  I'll be mentioning his initial remarks with regard to the radical changes created by the Internet, as well as the dark side of this revolution, if only because you mentioned by previous roles.  I do the same thing in my current role, just a different aspect of this digital revolution, which is quite concerning to us.  First and foremost, when it comes to the issues of terrorism, Cybercrime, online harassment, disinformation, all of this is part of my daily job to address.

And the idea of this risk mentioned by the President is very relevant today, and therefore, it's important today to address as you mentioned the issue of standards, regulations, because the largest challenge that we are facing is not a technical one, but rather a policy challenge.  What we have invented these days with regard to all of these different issues is standards and regulations, and perhaps beyond these regulations I'm also thinking about the principles behind them that were mentioned in part by President Macron just now.

We know this is a very complex issue.  This is indeed quite a thorny problem, when we uphold certain, when we define certain regulations, because we are reacting usually to a situation, and we have our fellow citizens that obviously want to maintain, we have gained in the digital area while resolving the problems that it faces.  We have to fight against new threats, without undermining digital vitality, vitality of digital economy.

As mentioned by the President, we must not give up any fundamental freedoms or allow law to be undermined, but at the same time, governments have to play a positive role to ensure that the law of the jungle does not become the norm in cyberspace.  And this is one of the principles mentioned in the Paris call to action with regard to the behavior of private actors that are so important when it comes to this issue of the balance of force using force in cyberspace, because private actors also use force in physical space.

There is this risk of privatization, what we call digital violence or privatization with regard to various intrusive actions that could be carried out by companies.

Here we need to uphold our responsibilities, each one of us, and so we need to take action to protect and to build these norms that don't necessarily exist yet today.  We need to establish them together.  We need to establish them in important venues, as this was mentioned in the previous round table which first and foremost consist of legislative frameworks, and a scope of this action is continuing to be defined, because if there is a law that is only national in scope and does not affect foreign actors, then we might be letting too much slip through the cracks.

There are also the risk of uncoordinated national initiatives, that simply leads to a sort of legal arms race, and legal chaos.

We need to take a different approach, as mentioned by the UN, there already has been accomplished, even though sometimes it's contradictory or complex, we are not going to be able to achieve a well‑established legal framework by tomorrow, but as the IGF, you play an important role in proposing concrete solutions to this problem, because we do need to bring a new kind of multilateralism to the issue, with state actors, with Civil Society actors, and economic actors, each contributing to the development of legislation and regulation.

So as mentioned by President Macron, there is this call to action, in order to lay the foundations of regulation in this area, and this call to action, also goes out to all of you to help make this happen.

This morning, the Paris call to action was launched, and I think that the cornerstone of this call to action is that of trust, the idea of trust, because this idea has come back over and over, trust in the functioning of all social spaces, trust in companies that need to take on their responsibilities with regard to possible vulnerabilities in their system, the trust in the fact that our Internet activities can be protected, that we have to reject, for example, Internet pirating, piracy, and trust in the foundations of regulation.

And I think that the IGF will be a very important player in all of this, because this is a pressing situation, and the conflicting voices and risks that we have mentioned before could lead to fragmentation of cyberspace.

This is France's position, and we have had experience that has shown this, that multi‑lateralism as was in the case for the Paris call to action, can bring about great results.  So the same kind of push was taken for anti‑mining initiatives, or for regulating light weapons for example, so once again here France wants to be at the forefront of this movement, wants to be fully involved, so that we can actually anticipate new forms of common legislation.

I've observed that out of the 50 or so countries that have supported this Paris call to action, there have been all of the countries of the EU represented.  Europe is a sort of sandbox for regulation, as well as G20 countries, Argentina, President Macron mentioned this when he spoke earlier, so all of this constitutes a movement that will allow us to progress toward the legislation we need in order to ensure that we can maintain the benefits of the Internet while minimizing its disadvantages and dangers, that is what I wanted to say, Mr. Moderator.  Thank you.

>> PIERRE BONIS: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister.

  (applause).

Thank you very much.  Madam Doris Leuthard, you represent a country that hosted the first global summit on informatics in Geneva, and which last year also hosted the Internet Governance Forum.  Your country has always been very much involved in the international and multilateral discussions on Internet Governance.  Perhaps this is also because in Switzerland, as we have heard from our Swiss friends in the IGF, you are used to multilateralism, you are used to sort of on the ground discussions that can help show us the way, and can help show us what the benefits are of this multilateral approach.

>> DORIS LEUTHARD: More people understand, also because we have here English speaking panel or majority of English speaking people, so indeed, in Geneva I had the privilege to welcome you.  Also then we had an approach to the IGF that we have seen more organizations, also more Intergovernmental Organisations coming to the IGF.

So I think this shows an increasing interest for the IGF and for the question of governance.  What was told there the first time in the so‑called Geneva messages, which I think are very important, that we should have more importance for the IGF.  Everybody agrees on that.

But this begins with transparency, and what is this cost at the IGF.  While for many years I'm in politics, but I did not know much about the IGF before.  I think you must have a better platform and more people listening to the IGF.  With the Geneva messages, I think that is a very good instrument that you have some kind of theme to this of what is this cost with these distinguished guests but also others who did not participate at the IGF have a idea and can also participate, and especially governments, politicians, they don't go very often to conferences.  They need some kind of conclusion or recommendations.

So I think this should be put forward, that you have more interests, more key players, and more political interests.  Six months after the IGF in Geneva, we had Secretary‑General who launched his High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, which I'm a member of.  Here the governance is at the center of what we have to deliver next April.  The multistakeholder approach for governance, I think that's agreed, largely agreed.  But what does it mean?

What does it mean to the UN, with UN organizations, what does it mean to governments?  Governments, politicians, actually they are not used to multistakeholder approaches.  We in Switzerland have democracy, we have lots of consultations, you might say, that is some kind of multistakeholder approach.  But a lot of countries they have never rotations, only elections all four years, that don't have a lot of interaction, neither with citizens nor with economy, nor with NGOs or IGOs.

I think here we must reflect and we are keen to learn what could be recipes for such multistakeholder approach, because what is created out of the old world with policies, in analog world, they are not applicable to the digital world.

A lot of policies or laws must be adapted, and that is why we had on an international level common objectives for this Internet world, principles which are applicable to all, from Burkina Faso, we have the Minister here, to south Asia, to every country with different levels also of the development of the digital infrastructure.  We need inclusiveness, so what does it mean when we have regions which don't have electricity, which don't have digital infrastructure?

So it's easy to talk about a lot of initiatives when you have largely people and regions which don't have anything of these.  So inclusiveness will be one of the decisive elements, and trust confidence, I think we also share these principles.  Human rights are also common principles internationally agreed.  Is it applicable to robo, how do we handle ethical questions.

That is why human values must always be and stay at the center of a international governance.  So we try hard, that we can deliver our report and recommendations in April next year, and once we will have a draft, we will be very happy to share it with you, all the way from multistakeholder approach that we get a lot of expert information and your advice, because it's a process.  We launched a process.  We don't have objective that what we will present that's done, but it's a draft, it's a proposal.

Then I think the international community could work and the IGF perhaps could be a Forum where additional work can be elaborated until we have in Berlin next year the next IGF.

>> PIERRE BONIS: Thank you very much, Madam.  That was very enlightening.  I will continue in English, because if we are talking about democracy we have to follow the majority of the panel at least.

So, Mr. Secretary of State for the economy sector, Christian Hirte, welcome.  You are representing the next Host Country, but this is not the only thing about Germany, of course.  Why Germany is so keen to welcome the IGF next year?  You knew you were welcoming it before we knew we would welcome it, by the way.  Why are you so keen to welcome the IGF and what are the interests, I mean, Germany has a vibrant industry, how do you see, maybe this is a notion of private sector within the multistakeholder approach, what are their role and how they can cooperate with the government.

>> CHRISTIAN HIRTE: Ladies and gentlemen, first of all I'd like to thank France for hosting this year's IGF, as you just told, next year Germany will host the IGF, and we want to take our example from you in France, and from you in Switzerland to do it at least as good as you did.

The question for us is how can we strengthen the IGF, both nationally and internationally.  It's not about whether we strengthen, it's about how we are going to do it.  This is because we recognize that the IGF is the world's most important platform for discussing the future of the Internet.

Our multistakeholder approach is crucial in this.  Nowhere else do representatives of national governments, Civil Society, business, technology and others come all together at international level, as equals.  They discuss Internet and digital transformation.

In view of the digitization and given it affects all of us, this is what we need.  The Internet is the operating system that powers our society, there is a whole range of issues from protecting human rights to data protection, trust, Cybersecurity and fair competition through development of new technologies and much else besides.  This is why IGF is important.  The IGF, is where different kinds of expertise meet.  It is where open and inclusive dialogue, where best practices are shared and key challenges for the future are identified.

It is also where there is open, secure and reliable truly global Internet acting as a driving force for innovation and social development free from censorship, discrimination and propaganda.  How far, we mustn't forget the IGF is not only there to identify these pressing issues, it's also there to develop an awareness among the general public.  This is also part of its mandate.  This is something we need to do more work on.  We need to develop representation of certain groups within the Forum.

I'm thinking here under underrepresented global south which needs to be integrated much more strongly, I'm also thinking of the business community and representatives of Government.  France is leading by example, not least with the involvement of President Macron today.

The Government of Switzerland is also represented at the high level last year with Doris Leuthard attending.  We want to continue in this tradition next year in Germany.  We are planning to have a high level segment as well.  After all, when those hosting the IGF attach a high level of importance to the Forum, so will those attending, this raises the level of attention around the event and also gets the media interested.  The result is the topics talked about at the IGF gain greater focus among the public.  But it is also something we need to be prepared for in advance.  We need to prepare the content, groupings and shape of the discussion better so that the public can pick up on these more easily.

Some things are already happening here, such as the Geneva messages which were introduced by our Swiss hosts in 2017, the new feature that was well received and it has been taken up again this year by France, in good French style.  Germany wants to carry on this new tradition next year.  In turn there is now a greater number of standardized reports on the sessions held.  The key question for policy are now being developed in greater detail and the media work is also being stepped up.  Ladies and gentlemen, new ideas are needed to generate greater interest in the IGF among the public, and also to really get all key stakeholders from all regions of the world on board.

I understand that this is also one of the main targets of the new UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation.  We need to make sure the work is integrated with the work of IGF.  This is something that Germany as host of the IGF 2019 wants to beat the drum for.

We want to continue in close dialogue with Switzerland, France and the future host of the IGF 2020 and we want to do everything in close collaboration with the MAG.  We will of course preserve the fundamental character of the IGF.  This means strengthening the IGF based on the multistakeholder model, with nothing ordained top down.  We are looking forward to continuing this work, the German federal government is proud to be hosting the IGF 2019.  We hope to be able to welcome all of you here and many other guests from all around the world besides, when we host the IGF in Berlin next year.  Thanks.

>> PIERRE BONIS: Thank you very much.

  (applause).

Can't wait to be in Berlin.  First we have to finish Paris.  Andrew Sullivan, we are glad to have you here, you joined the Internet Society recently, while you are not a fresh fish in Internet of course.

You were very, you worked a lot on the unknown Internet, the things that make it works, let's say that way.  Also, looking at the beginning of the Internet Governance, of the protocols, and underlying infrastructure versus the governance of the content, you were working and you are still by the way, because ISOC is still working on that of course, on the underlying landscape that let Internet works.  Please, you have the floor to give us your vision of not only the IGF, but the Internet Governance in general and when you are, where are you on that kind of cake when you have the infrastructure layer and political layer.  Thank you.

>> ANDREW SULLIVAN: Thank you.  I'll continue in French, because I'm very bad at speaking French, everybody at my university in Ottawa would be very angry with me.  In any case, I think that there is a important point in what you just said.

The Internet Governance Forum is about the Internet, and the Internet is not one thing.  This fact eludes us from time to time, because we talk about the Internet, right, we talk about the Internet as though it's the table, as though it's the Chair, but it's not like that.  It's a network of networks.  It's a thing we use all the time.  It's a way we access E‑mail or send a telephone call to our mother or sometimes it's a way of reminding ourselves of how other people are misfortunate because we see the news across the Internet.  There are many dimensions to the Internet.  When we talk this way, we don't always speak in a way that makes clear what it is we are talking about.

If I want to talk about what the Internet Governance Forum can do for Internet Governance or if I want to talk about Internet Governance generally, what I should do urgently is remember what the Internet is.  What we are talking about is a series of different pieces, each of which is operated independently, it's necessarily collaborative.  You can't Internet alone.  You can only Internet with other people.  You can only Internet with other networks.  That is a fundamental fact.

This isn't a political decision, this isn't a political discussion about whether we have to collaborate.  It's a technical fact of the way the Internet is designed.  We have to collaborate, because we don't have a Internet otherwise.

That means that the fundamental ways of talking here at the IGF or in any of the Internet Governance discussions, where we take that seriously, they are automatically better precisely because we get that opportunity to recognize, somebody else is trying to do something with this network, and if I want to collaborate with them, if I want to connect with them, if I want to gain the advantages that the Internet brings me, I need to take into consideration what it is that they want, what it is they need from the network and thereby, we can build a better network together.  That is the fundamental thing.  That is the necessary condition.

That is the reason why discussions about one Internet versus two Internets versus the Californian or Chinese Internet or something like that, none of those things are precisely the right way to think about this, it's the wrong filter.  The right filter is to think about what do we collectively want to build, what do we want to experience, how do we want to communicate with one another, how do we want to achieve that greater value and then how do we build that network.  There are some concrete things that we can do, one thing we can do is focus on specific things that we could work on, specific problem.

Here is a thing that we can actually solve, we could pick up some piece of this and work on it today.  That doesn't mean that, for instance, the IGF needs to become a decisional body.  But it can identify these things.  I like these statements that say at the end, here is something that we accomplished, we understand what this is.  Then we can use the Dynamic Coalitions to identify those things and find people who want to work on them, and they go away and do a thing.  Going away and doing a thing is also part of the Internet.

You go off and make a difference in the world, the other thing we can do is spend more time listening.  I'm conscious that I'm talking and other people are not.  One of the things that we should do is spend more time listening.  The sessions sometimes are taken up entirely by panels, and not enough discussion and uncovering those things.  This is a bit of a scheduling problem at the IGF.  We could make concrete moves by saying, fewer panels on the same topic, one panel, may be a longer session, actually dealing with this issue and trying to hammer out what the details of the issues are.

I think the MAG has gone some distance in trying to do this.  But of course there is always pressure from the community to go the other direction.  What we need to do as a community is to recognize that that is a discussion that we have to have together, having a discussion of course involves more listening than talking.  That is the reason that now I'm going to shut up.  Thank you.

>> PIERRE BONIS: Thank you very much.

  (applause).

Andrew, not to shut up, but for what you said before of course.

Now I have to give the floor to Lynn Saint‑Amour.  Everyone in this room knows Lynn, I guess.  I'm not going to take too much time to introduce Lynn.  She is the Chair of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group.  She has been involved in the IGF from a long time.  She was also at a very important position.  As Chair of the MAG, maybe you have heard several proposals or vision, how do we set the scene, if I want to quote who invented that, how do we set the scene, how do we make sure that everything, the topics are understandable, clear?  This job is an incredible job that the Multistakeholder Advisory Group does.  But how do you see the link between finding the topics, choosing them and in a way making the Internet Governance evolving, making it more understandable by the people.

>> LYNN SAINT-AMOUR: First of all, if everyone in this room knows me, our outreach efforts have failed.  We have tried quite hard to expand and bring in new introductions.  In fact, we have had a number of, in the hundreds, of people that are new registrants, first time participants.

I'd like to speak quickly to some of the concrete improvements, the MAG, multistakeholder advisory group has made over the last several years, because they go to the heart of more tangible outputs.  We really need to hear from the community.  We need your participation, in this meeting in particular, in terms of helping us advance some of those.

For instance, with, how long will you speak, each workshop organizer was asked to keep 50 percent of each session for participation with the participants.  Participant engagement, today we haven't quite met that yet, but it is a goal that was set, and other workshop organizers are reminded, because it is about a dialogue.  Dialogue of course informs us, and will help us take those decisions away to the forums and places where they can be appropriately acted on, whether that is policy or a commercial policy.  We have built on the Geneva messages this year.  Last year it was for the main sessions, this year it is for every workshop session here, of which there are about 160 this time.  There will be IGF messages going forward because they are messages from the community so that is most important.  We have worked with the workshop organizers to try and facilitate how they actually draw conclusions and what were the key points that were made in the sessions, and then how they are represented.  We tried to learn from some of the efforts in the national, regional youth IGF initiatives which there are now over 110 formally recognized within the IGF.

With respect to a lot of their processes, so try and do a quick call for those participants that are in the sessions, to see if the messages that they are reading out resonate.  It's not a consensus call per se, because it's not robust enough for that.  But it should give a sense of the key messages and provide additional support to some of the outputs, working more thematically.  We are going to change the Chair summary to look like a thematic report, and more of what I would say an executive summary as opposed to a he said, she said, it was said, it was noted.

Of course, all of our sessions are transcribed and streamed, and up on the IGF Web site, within hours of them happening for the most part.  We have put a new survey in.  This is where I would like the support from the community, because even if we have an hour session and there is 30 minutes and it's robust participation, we are still hearing from a very small part of the community.

The question we are asking every participant, both those participating here in the room and those participating online, to answer specifically is, what can the IGF ecosystem do to impact this issue over the next year?  We want to hear from everybody.  We are asking everybody to go to the Web site.  You have to log in as a IGF participants, but specifically, concrete specific, we would like it framed in a year or two so that we can actually do something with those suggestions.  But what can the IGF ecosystem do to impact this particular issue.  It is nice if it's workshop specific.  If not, then even just sort of tag specific.

Coming to I think and there are a lot of other, we have a number of working groups and a multi‑year strategic work program, working group on fund‑raising, working group capturing on improvements that have been suggested, the taking stock exercises that we go through every year, retreat that was organized by DESA a few years ago.  We have captured all of those.  They have been consolidated.  They are attributed with respect to what sort of issue it is, where can it best be addressed.  A working group is looking to put those out in the appropriate places in the community to advance on those improvements.

There is a lot of things we are doing within every one of the work groups.  But the more strategic question for us and one that has been a priority for IGF and the MAG for some years is how we increase engagement, from governments and policymakers, senior policymakers, whether that is in a academic institution or IGO or of course governments, how do we increase participation to senior level from the private sector, and certainly how do we continue to reach out to those parts of the world that don't participate fully in the process here from those communities that are either marginalized or not able to participate deeply.

That is a strategic question.  When we began the IGF, the day before the IGF opened, there used to be a full day of high level Government meetings.  The first one or two, this is roughly accurate but not exactly, the first one or two were closed.  They started to invite experts in for a few topics.  Then it was open to observers.  Then it became more multistakeholder.

Then frankly at some point it started to look like a lot of the other sessions that were here.  We have experimented with that over the last few years.  Last year in Geneva we discussed with Thomas Snyder what was the right format, it turned out that the day before the IGF was a Sunday.  That was a little limiting in terms of structuring something here.

But we need to understand, we hear of governments calling for more space, for more information, for the opportunity to talk amongst themselves as well as with the community.  On the other hand, the IGF community thinks we provide that because IGF is supposed to be the platform that everybody participates on a equal footing.  But we have some governments and countries confident of that and others that are not.

We need to find a way to break discomforts and at the same time we need to find a way to understand better what it is that governments and policymakers are looking for, what could be helpful and how can we best accommodate that across the entire IGF ecosystem.

I'm over time, which is why I'm trying to speak so quickly.  But I'll point out it's not just this annual meeting.  There is over 110 national regional IGF and youth initiatives.  There are 17 Dynamic Coalitions, artificial intelligence, trade, access.  We have this year four best practice forums, and we have a major policy initiative called connecting and enabling the next billions which is in its fourth year.

There are a lot of activities.  We have a lot of structure in place that could allow us to progress all these issues, a lot more completely.  What is impacting us at the moment, frankly is the resource within the Secretariat to do that.  That is maybe a comment for, closing comment.  But thank you.

>> PIERRE BONIS: Thank you very much, Lynn.

  (applause).

Now we have 13 minutes to have this exchange with the room, 13 minutes that would lead us to 10 to 7, I guess.  No?

We will take the first question.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hello.  Thank you for giving me the floor to ask my question.  I'm Director General for the Council of Ministers in Lebanon, also President of the Arab region in 2014, 2015.  Mr. Bonis, following the speech made by President Macron and the discussions that took place, during discussions that took place in the panel led by Mr. David Martinon and this panel, certain ideas seem to suggest that now it's a time for reform, indeed, as there is a risk of fragmentation.  Yes, this is a risk.

However, I would actually speak more about a threat, and I speak under control of the Chinese or Russian delegations, going back to 2014, the Chinese Government said that they would perhaps create their own Internet, which would be, which would therefore create a divide between the Chinese Internet and the Internet used by most of the world.

When it comes to reforming the IGF, so as to create an entity or framework for regulation of the Internet, with the Secretary‑General, I would like to remind you of the history of the IGF.  It's a Forum that works on the bottom‑up principle.  And indeed this Forum which we are participating in today came to a end in 2015 and if its mandate hadn't been renewed, we wouldn't be here today, because this is a Forum of discussions.  We come here together to debate, to deliberate, to discuss.

We produce certain outputs.  However, we don't really know what happens afterwards.  We don't know if this information is quantified somewhere, we don't know if the outputs become inputs for something that goes beyond the IGF.  Indeed, we don't know if IGF is not that well financed, we know that there are members of the Civil Society, students, interns who want to come and participate in the IGF, but some member states don't really contribute as much as they could to it.

It is more like an informal space between those from rich countries and poor countries, including Government delegations from rich and poor countries.

It's more like a space for sharing ideas.  When we speak about regulation, we can say that it's authorities that regulate, in a formal framework.  It's a formal framework that works with the partnership of governments and we need to have an authority to impose these regulations.  But I picture this as very different from the case of the IGF.

If we go back to some of the comments made by Tunisia in 2003 and 2005, Tunisia which launched the IGF and it wasn't just the IGF, in fact, that was launched.  There was the IGF and then there was the other which was enhance cooperation.

>> I'd like to ask you to bring your question to a close, because we would like other comments to be made.

>> Yes, but I would like to get to the end of my idea, to say that I believe that the IGF should remain space for discussion, cooperation, negotiation, dialogue, a bottom‑up initiative, and I believe that we actually need to implement the enhanced cooperation between states.  I believe that you remember what happened in 2014, and what happened at the IUT's plenipotentiary meeting in Dubai.  The United States would not accept this becoming a regulatory body.

>> PIERRE BONIS: Thank you.  Would anyone like to respond regarding the issue of enhanced cooperation?  That is something that we have been speaking about since the World Summit.  Minister?  Mrs. Lynn Saint‑Amour?  You have the floor.

>> Two words regarding what I perhaps didn't fully completely understand what was said by a colleague from the Lebanon, regarding the way that the IGF works.

The President of the Republic made two proposals.  The first was not to turn the IGF into regulatory body, but that it continues to put forward ideas and to think up new ideas, that could contribute to regulation.  That is something that I believe strongly in.

And also, we also believe that the IGF could if it wishes to become an observatory that could oversee the goods implementation of the different ideas that stem from this Forum.  So I see it partially a bit different from the vision that you, sir, had in mind.  I'm going to have to leave the panel discussion very soon, because I need to travel to another destination just after this Forum.

I don't know if you would like to come back to what was said now or perhaps in the closing remarks.

>> PIERRE BONIS: Thank you.  Are there any other comments from the floor?

>> From South Africa, I think the topic we are talking about is how to strengthen Internet Governance.  But I am surprised that the panel is made up of people from developing countries.  My question is ‑‑ from developed countries.  My question is, does the perspective from developing countries not matter in terms of how we move forward in strengthening Internet Governance?  Because when you go back to the mandate that established the Internet Governance Forum, it was about inclusivity, participation from all stakeholders, equally.  It was about transparency and all of that.  I find it strange that we have a panel that is sitting there, that is not inclusive.  I hope going forward, this will be taken into account to say that all the voices from developing and developed countries needs to be heard.

>> Thank you very much, Madam.  Just a very quick explanation.  You have here the former, the actual and the next host of the IGF, that three people out of the panel already, okay.  Europe, Europe, Europe, the three who agreed to host the IGF, and then you have one international organization.  That happens to exist and is also present in Africa which is ISOC and also the Multistakeholder Advisory Group has a lot of African in its members.  I wanted to say that.  Especially for ISOC and MAG, they are not from developed or developing country.  They are global.

>> Yes, thank you, Chair.  I'm Isabelle, Secretary‑General for the United Nations agency, which gives support to developing countries, when it comes to legislation in this area, when it comes to data protection and fighting against Cybercrime and indeed, the experience that we have with 20 developing countries, shows us how the issue of pulling together multistakeholders is something which is of great concern.  Even in developing countries, often the ICT expertise is something that is not that visible, and indeed often ministries do not actually look at digitalization as being at the heart of development.

Now I believe that the IGF, therefore, also needs to be a Forum that can actually come up with concrete, tangible ideas, and without wanting to incriminate the panelists on the stage, but I believe that there needs to be the need to have the inclusion of developing nations, because Mr. Guterres and the French President Mr. Macron himself mentioned the digital divide, enormous in the developing world.  The developing world is putting a lot of energy into trying to catch up with the developed world.  And indeed, this even in the area of existing legislation, not just legislation to come.

I wanted to add my understanding to the discussions because we do a lot of work on the ground, working with governments in developing nations.  We would be happy to share our work with anyone who is interested.  Thank you very much.

>> PIERRE BONIS: Some very quick closing remarks, okay.  So Mr. Minister, thank you for your participation.  I know you have other obligations, thank you very much for being with us today.

  (applause).

Now we will give the floor for closing remark, including maybe the answer to the various questions and remarks that has been said.  Who wants to start?

>> Okay, then I'll start.  What is said is really for us very important.  In the panel we have from UN Secretary‑General, one of them will also be how can we use the digital technologies that are, especially developing countries can be helped to reach SDGs.  I think this is a bridge builder.  This will help also to what you said, that all these technologies, but also the skills and the capacities you need might be really helpful for developing countries to even accelerate their economic development.  I'm sure they will not do the same mistakes with it.  So they will have the best profit from digital technologies we have.

Perhaps another element which could be helpful, my portfolio is also climate change.  You look at the Paris Agreement, it was also a Forum where it was a lot of interaction, a lot of informal exchange.  This is also for our colleague from Lebanon, but you had always the informal dialogue, and the Government representatives, because at the end of the day, we concluded an agreement, soft law but we had an agreement so it was a mix between formal and informal.

It was very helpful to have at all the time NGOs, Civil Society, which advised us that is a no go, or this should be part of the agreement.

I think it is an interaction, and perhaps we could think about the IGF as a platform of discussion like you mentioned, but also being a platform where political relevant people, governments can meet and from the, advise from their informal interaction with the community, then pass a regulation.

I think this could be perhaps a result of a process.

>> As Doris Leuthard just told, the IGF is like a multistakeholder Forum which guides politics, and Germany, we would like to invite the ministerial high level to our next IGF in Berlin.

We think it's important that we have politicians as well to talk about topics that IGF is giving us, and the colleague from Lebanon is right.  You need politics to put thought into law.  So we in Germany, especially our parliamentary group who joins into the IGF to create something like a parliamentary level next year, so parliamentarians from different and various country have the possibility to talk about the topics IGF is giving us.

The colleague from South Africa, I can tell that we in Germany see that it is important that we have a broad agenda and possibility for lots of stakeholders to join in the IGF, especially the participants from the other parts of the world so in Germany we will give even money to join in for cost of traveling and for accommodation in Germany, so that people can join the next IGF.  Again, in Europe what we know is it's a bit expensive for lots of stakeholders.

The last point, what we in Germany think is an important issue and we would like to address the next IGF is that it's part of our German industry situation that SMEs should put into focus on what is their special role on the perspective on Internet, and as you know, our German industry is quite successful in IoT and industry 4.0 and so we think we should focus not only on the big companies, but also for the SMEs.

And the last point, we think that IGF should focus a little bit on AI, because it is one of the very, very big topics for the future, how it will drive the world on all its, all what comes out of AI.  Thanks.

>> PIERRE BONIS: Thank you.  Mr. Sullivan.

>> ANDREW SULLIVAN: Thank you.  It occurs to me that there is a link to be made between this specter of balkanization or fragmentation of the Internet and this question about development and diversity of the panel that was here.

The Internet Society spends a lot of its effort and money on trying to connect the unconnected.  It is one of the main things that we work on.  The reason we do that is not because, not just because we believe the Internet is for everyone.  Of course we believe the internet is for everyone, it is what we try to do every day.  But it's also because diversity in networks is better for the overall Internet.

The Internet is better if it has multiple ways of connecting.  It's better if it has multiple things that it expresses, and it's better if there are more views expressed through it.

That is the reason that we are so committed to that.  Now, with that in mind, we can come back to this question of the balkanization of the Internet.  The Internet because it's a network of networks is almost automatically fragmented.  It's almost certain for instance that in the network in your office or in your home there is a printer that you can't print to from the entire Internet and that is fine.

That is a fine thing.

There is nothing wrong with that.  That doesn't mean that the Internet is fragmented.  It means that there are things that you have that you don't want to be part of the Internet.  There are ways that we could gradually expand that, so that whole countries or whole large provider networks do not provide that access to the Internet.  We think that would be a terrible thing.  It would be a tragedy, because the people who make that decision are depriving themselves of this marvelous tool.  We want to reach out to everybody and say, here is this tool for you.  Here is a thing that we think really helps you, helps you achieve your goals, helps you do the things that you want.  It has problems.  It needs some work on security.  We can work on that.  We can work on it together.

It has problems with the way the routing system works, it has problems with inclusion.  There are a bunch of people who can't connect to it.  But the solution to that is actually to make those things better and not to try to break up the Internet into tinier pieces controlled by fewer and fewer people.

That is the mistake.  That would be the mistake.  What we must do is make this so attractive and so marvelous that people don't want to disconnect from it.  That is the challenge to all of us, the challenge of the technical community, to industry, to governments, to all of us to make sure that we actually provide that, and in that case, the next time this panel will not look like this.  It will instead be much more diverse, because the Internet becomes more diverse that way.  Thank you very much for inviting me today.

  (applause).

>> PIERRE BONIS: Thank you very much, Mr. Sullivan.  I'd like to take the final few seconds of interpretation left for us to give the floor to Mrs. Lynn Saint‑Amour.

>> LYNN SAINT-AMOUR: The reason the Internet Governance Forum was necessary coming out of the WSIS is because a lot of the things we are facing, the world is facing for the first time.  They are extremely complex, intertwined, nuanced, they deal with political issues, cultural issues, economic, social issues.  Dialogue is important.  Listening is important.

We are not just a talk shop.  I don't care if you are en route to a regulation or policy or soft norm, it's important that you talk and that we talk and listen broadly across stakeholders.

That is what we try to do.  We have tried to work very hard to make the IGF as inclusive for those that are participating online as those that have the means to come to wherever the IGF is held, and we are very thankful to France for stepping up.  In February we didn't have a host.  By April, we had a host.

The way to get more participation from other parts of the world in the IGF is volunteer to host an IGF.  Then we can pull in lots more people from these other regions.  The earlier years of the IGF were good in terms of how they were distributed.  The last few years, Switzerland stepped up last year, because we didn't have a host.  We thought that was because with the 2015 WSIS+10 that people were uncertain if we were renewed or not.  We lost some momentum.

But we had a problem this year as well.  Germany has been in the queue for some time.  We are very thankful for that.  But that is why we have this aggregation of European IGFs here.  We desperately want to go to other regions.  Please, if anybody has an interest in hosting an IGF, we would be very happy to talk to you and explain what that engages.

With respect to enhanced cooperation, they met over several years, earlier this year and they concluded by not being able to approve a report on their work.  A lot of the arguments there that they were polarized on were frankly the same arguments in WSIS 1 and WSIS 2.  Out of that set of activities though, there were a lot of good suggestions and a lot of good problem statements, if you will, about what would help governments and what they were looking to resolve.

I think the IGF can go some ways towards addressing those.  I think the IGF community needs to think, as I said earlier, strategically about how we engage and how do we understand what is the right way to help the governments in the way they want to be helped and in a way that actually works with of course the DNA of the IGF and within the Tunis mandate.  I'll stop there because I know we are over time.  There is a lot more I'd love to say.  Please come find me if you have any specific questions or points.

>> PIERRE BONIS: Thank you very much, Lynn.  And thank you, everyone, for being here.  Thank you to all the panelists, and have a good evening.

 

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