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IGF 2018 - Day 1 - Salle XI - IGF 2018 Newcomers Intro Session

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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>> LYNN ST AMOUR:  Welcome, everyone.  We'll let everybody who just came in the room here get settled.  There's still people coming in so I'll give it just another few seconds. 

So my name is Lynn St Amour and I'm the chair of the multiadvisory group.  We run with an extremely lean secretariat so at the moment she's dealing with an issue at registration and will be with us just as soon as she can. 

I'd like to make, or was asked to make a couple of comments on this year's program overall.  Focused probably more on how I it has developed and some of the pieces of it so you get an insight into the IGF and I think Anja has comments on the activities in the ecosystem.  She will talk to and we're joined by the head of the IGF secretariat and open for questions.  This is facilitating your participating and making sure you understand the DNA of the Internet Governance Forum. 

So with that, I'm the chair of the multi stakeholder advisory group.  Both the chair and the members of the advisory group are appointed by the UN Secretary‑General.  The advisory group is made up between 50 and 55 members.  About 40% of them come from governments and they are chosen through the regional process that's active within the United Nations.  The other 60% are split equally, so roughly 20% for each one of the other three stakeholder communities, civil society, private sector and a community that you don't see all that often but has been in the IGF community since the earliest days and that's called the technical community

That's comprised of organization that is have management role over key pieces of the core Internet structure.  They're very active in policy setting globally.  The Internet corporation, ICANN.  The Internet Society with all of their activities and policy in developing access activities and then the five regional Internet areas responsible.  Those are the four categories that make up the advisory group. 

The last three that I just mentioned, we want newcomers to participate fully not only in the meeting but also in the activities of the IGF, the appointment processes for those three other bodies, again, civil society, private sector and the technical community are determined by processes run by those communities.  They all have their own processes for soliciting expressions of interest, for making nominations to the Secretary‑General's office for the appointment is made.  It's region, subregion, country, gender as well as the stake holder group so it's quite an exercise.  That is the group responsible for the program of the IGF. 

The IGF and a community‑led, bottom up process.  So in that vein, slightly different from past years, this year we continue to evolve the process as we move forward, the MAG, multi stakeholder advisory group, had a call for issues, short call for issues.  I think it was a 200‑word limit where we asked the community to say tell us where the issues you would like to see the IGF addressing this year. 

We had I want to say 300 responses but honestly that could be quite right.  That process ran back in March and April time frame. 

Once we had those responses in they were categorized according to tags and themes and that led to a more detailed call for workshop proposals for this IGF.  There were roughly ‑ I wish I remember these numbers.  Here comes Anja.  I will leave the numbers for a moment.  400, I thought it was close to six.  So Mary Aduma said there's over 400 proposals but we are looking for Anja to confirm the number of workshop proposals. 

In any case, it's a relatively high number of proposals for a small number of slots as you can imagine at any IGF. 

This IGF is a little abbreviated.  Normally we've had four‑day IGF with a day zero where a number of community groups meet and then we roll into a four‑day IGF.  There's a rather interesting set of events happening this week in Paris.  This year the IGF is three days. 

So we had roughly a little over 90 workshop sessions that came through that multi stakeholder advisory group proposal and about another 70 or so that are comprised of other IGF ecosystem activities such as open forums which facilitate participation from intergovernmental organizations.  We have a number of sessions from a couple of other IGF ecosystem activities such as dynamic coalitions, which are bottom up, community‑led groups of people who are interested in a topic who work largely virtually but also meet at the IGF and have presentations at the IGF on anything from Internet of Things to accessibility, economic and trade issues.  There are 17 of them this year. 

We also had four best practice forums.  Again, we solicit input from the community and from the MAG members on what are the best practice forums they think will be of most interest and the MAG selects those, again on the basis of expressions of community interest.  We had four this year, one on local content, one on gender and access, one on cyber security and one on artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and data. 

Then finally, we've had a major intercessional policy initiative.  This is its fourth year.  It's called Connecting and Enabling the Next Billions.  All of these activities are open to the community.  It's literally just sign up for the mailing list and the sessions and participate. 

If you want to sit on a list and get familiar with the topics and things that's great as well.  Again, we do everything we can to be as inclusive as possible.  So the meetings are open, there are meeting summaries.  The MAG meetings themselves are both transcribed and streamed and all of that is up on the website and, of course, there are meeting summaries as well. 

We have another very, very important part of our activities which are called national regional IGF activities that I will let Anja talk to because she's the focal point for those initiatives within the secretariat. 

In fact the first NRI preceded the first IGF.  They've grown tremendously since that period of time.  Nearly doubling in the last three years and right now we're at a little over 110 recognized national regional IGF initiatives.  So I'm going to tell Anja a bit about what we've done and ask her to talk about the NRIs as they're important and a way for us to advance what's important to us individually and important to the countries and regions we live in as well. 

I did a general IGF MAG.  Anja can talk about the IGF villages as well. 

The secretariat is actually funded from something called an IGF trust fund.  It's voluntary donations because the IGF is an extra budgetary project.  These meetings are actually hosted and funded by a government.  So the French Government is our host here this year for this IGF.  They pay for the facilities, the translation, our interpretation, etc, and we're very grateful to them and all the other host countries that have supported the IGF in the past. 

I think they're the key points f you can talk about the IGF village and if we can come back to the title. 

>>  ANJA  GENGO: I would like to apologize for being a bit late.  The secretariat is a small team and I would like to thank Lyn, the chair for starting this session. 

Thank you very much for coming this early and we're very happy to have you all here.  I will very quickly say a few words about who are the national regional IGFs, or the NRIs in short.  What do they do and how can you meet them if you're interested.  After that I will quickly refer about very important segment of this meeting which I think gives this vibrant tone to the IGF which is the IGF village that I think you can see on the floor that's just above us. 

The national regional IGFs were not mandated by the agenda that is given in the mandates to the IGF.  They exist in the world and currently there are 111 countries and regions that are organizing their national regional IGF processes. 

A couple of years ago we spontaneously started meeting at these IGF meetings primarily but also in some of the regional IGFs, some meetings where IGF is present like ICANN and we realized we were all pursuing the same objectives and same goal.  Given the fact how challenging it is to come up with a comprehensive agenda on the Internet public policy it's just common sense that we should work together. 

So we started working together as a network that was just three years ago relatively small, around 40 countries and regions were present.  And in three years we faced this rapid growth that today, as I said, we are having pleasure to work with more than 111 countries and regions and discuss what are the issues pertaining to the Internet governance and from their respective communities.  How we can learn from each other and improve each other. 

The NGIs and IGF have collaborate relationship.  They're autonomous.  They're not a stakeholder, they're bottom‑up, their processes are open, inclusive, transparent and noncommercial. 

As a network we try to facilitate monthly virtual meetings throughout the year, set up a joint agenda, joint objectives that we tried to achieve by the upcoming annual IGF meeting and present those outcomes at that annual meeting.  So this year is no exception there. 

We're very fortunate, as the NRI's network, NRI is the focal point from the secretariat that supports the work of the network, that the MAG agreed to give the main session to the NRIs to organize a very important topic.  It's called the Evolution of Internet Governance. 

That session will happen tomorrow in room 1 and let me just check, yes, it's from 11:30 until 12:50.  The session will feature, I believe, more than 40NRIs that will be present on site.  It will be moderated by Ambassador Fonseca, and I will be in a supporting role. 

So hopefully in 80 minutes we will see what are the challenges globally when it comes about the implementation of the multi stakeholder principle to the IGF processes. 

That session will be followed by a very important work meeting that I hope the majority of you will join.  It's an open work meeting between all the NRIs that are present at the IGF.  Many of them will be present online between the chair of the MAG, interested members of the MAG, between the IGF secretariat and colleagues from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 

The purpose of that meeting will be to see how can we help each other, how can we as a global community support these valuable processes that exist on a level of a country and region. 

If you would like to learn more about the NRIs, maybe meet with me, meet with some of the NRIs, you can do so.  We do have a joint booth at the IGF village and please stop by and we can chat and show you what was done in previous years.  The network really did some excellent work and produced some very concrete outputs from their work. 

Finally, about the IGF village, what I said that I will say a few words.  So the IGF village, as you know, is located on the first floor, so basically the ground floor where you enter.  It consists of 56 individual boards.  That means that 56 organizations from all over the world decided to present their work at the IGF.  They are all noncommercial and they're presenting their missions and their objectives and how they fit in within this IGF global ecosystem. 

So please, if you could tour the village, I think it would be also very valuable for you to engage with these individual organizations and ask directly the focal points present there how can you maybe establish certain partnerships, how can you work together, learn about their work and so on. 

I will ask Lynn to take the floor again. 

>>  LYNN ST AMOUR: I will open the floor for questions but Anja reminded me, the mandate for the IGF comes from the World Summit Information Society Process.  It was a two‑phase full‑fledged United Nations summit 2003 in Geneva, 2005 in Tunisia and the Tunis agenda lays out the framework for the Internet Governance Forum.  That's actually what drives kind of the principles and processes, about exclusivity. 

As I said earlier, some of the unique things about the IGF is all stakeholders, all participants participate with an equal voice and equal place within the process here. 

If you go to a number of other United Nations or governmental meetings, quite often there's a segment or a time for governments to speak and then the other stakeholders or it's a consultation as oppose to do an equal dialog.  The IGF really strives to make this an equal dialog across all stakeholders. 

There are some protocols we need to observe from time to time and we will see that this afternoon where we're very fortunate to have, for the first time ever, United Nations Secretary‑General Guterres will be here to address us and also for the first time ever ‑ no, that's not exactly true.  President Macron is here as well.  But last year we had the President from Switzerland as well. 

So we're very fortunate to have those two individuals.  Yes.  And Rio as well we had the president.  If you have more questions and the IGF mandate.  There's a lot of information on the website.  There's a code of conduct as you participate in the IGF, there's the terms of reference for the multi stakeholder advisory group and we're encouraging everybody to get involved.  We're also looking for new participants. 

We typically serve three one‑year terms so a third of the MAG turns over every year.  That's roughly seven or eight positions open up every year. 

We have some MAG members in the room.  See if there are any questions from the newcomers in the room.  Say who you are and your background.  Renata. 

>>  AUDIENCE: Hi, I'm from Brazil, a MAG member and Mary Aduma is helping me assist all newcomers.  If you have any questions or anywhere you want to know about it IGF find us.  And there will be others of us and there are the knowledge cafes which are spaces that are really for you to come and decompress and ask questions and meet other MAG members.  Present your projects. 

So keep a look at the knowledge cafe sessions.  They are at lunchtime, mostly they do not compete with any other activity.  So you can come, bring your sandwich, decompress, and, yeah. 

>>  LYNN ST AMOUR: Those are excellent points and thank you for introducing yourself and Mary.  Any comments, questions?  Mary? 

>> AUDIENCE:  Good morning, everyone.  I'm Mary.  When I was a first timer, first comer in IGF I got lost because there were so many workshops, so many open forums, so many of them so you would find out that there are some that you want to attend, they conflict.  But I will advise that you draw your own timetable and make sure you follow it or else you get more confused.  So make sure you know the room where the meeting is going to be held and what you're interested in. 

Don't go to every track, pick a track or session or your particular interest.  If you're interested in new technologies, follow them.  If you're interested in human rights, gender or evolution of Internet governance, or media or digital inclusion.  So anyone that you're interested in, check through the schedule and follow it because if you don't focus, you get lost.  Thank you. 

>>  LYNN ST AMOUR: That's a very good point, Mary.  There are eight tracks this year and the tracks in both the sessions within those tracks represent the kind of expressions of interest and percentage of interest across the community.  So again, that's why engagement is so important, both in things like the call for issues in your local activities, in the workshop submission process because we really depend on the community to both identify and then, of course, support the particular topics that are of interest. 

We've also, with virtually all the sessions, all the workshop organizers were instructed to make them as interactive as possible and the guideline was that 50% of any session should be for engagement and dialog between the community and panelists or organizers, trying to kind of break down that barrier. 

Again, we really do want to hear from everybody and are looking for engagement. 

There's also, we introduced some additional kind of reporting within the framework of the workshop here today to help facilitate kind of key messages coming out on a daily basis but we've also asked for each one of the session organizers to ask specifically kind of what impact do you think the IGF can have on this particular issue over the coming year.  And we're looking for really concrete, specific ideas. 

That question should, in various variations, come up during the sessions themselves but we've also put a survey up on the home page with a link so that you can specifically ‑ because in any session, if it's an hour‑long session, even if you have 30 minutes for engagement in the larger sessions you're not going to hear from everybody, not even from nearly everybody.  But we really do want the opportunity for everybody to get their voices in so we're asking people to submit through that survey. 

Again, any concrete suggestions, any ideas you have on what the IGF or the IGF ecosystem could do to concretely advance those topics over the coming year.  Renata. 

>> AUDIENCE:  Just a quick addition.  We are really ‑ this is a really interactive and community‑driven IGF.  So in addition to what the chair has just said, we are receiving inputs from multiple number of ways and the outcomes and the survey.  The main sessions have new formats.  So do you want to be up there, do you want to be a speaker, you haven't got a speaker slot yet, come to the main sessions and I would recommend you coming to the human rights main session because we're going to leave a chair up there for you to come and speak. 

So these are innovations.  They're sessions we're working on, ideas lab, so please make sure your voice is heard. 

>>  LYNN ST AMOUR: Another excellent point, thank you.  Any question is fine.  Modalities of participation, Tunis agenda, code of conduct.  We're here to facilitate participation and get a ramp up in terms of your participation. 

I can ask Anja if there's anything else she would like to add. 

>>  ANJA GENGO: Not now that you know our faces.  We hope we get to speak one‑on‑one with you at the venue.  We hope for a big registration.  We had the highest number ever.  So we'll see what the next three days will bring to us and that's all I would like to add and we can maybe conclude this session because we're tonight top of the hour.  Yes, Mary. 

>> AUDIENCE:  Can you tell us about the interpretations, the sessions that will be interpreted? 

>>  LYNN  ST AMOUR: All the main sessions, eight main sessions coincident with the eight themes we have and there are the opening and closing ceremonies.  All of them have simultaneous interpretation in the six UN languages but it is only those sessions that do. 

So again, the main sessions, opening and closing ceremonies have interpretation in the six UN languages.  I was going to mention that we also have a very robust online participation as well and platform. 

Again, we strive to be as inclusive as possible and you needn't have the time or means to travel to some city to participate so we have a very robust platform with all of our sessions again are streamed, they're all transcribed.  There's facilities for remote participants, or online participants as I prefer, online participants to come in and participate in the sessions and get their questions or comments fed into the session as well. 

So we're continuing to work to improve that but if there are people back home that you think would be particularly interested in some of these sessions, then, again, the information is available and I think the sessions, once they're streamed and transcribed, are put on the web the same day, sometimes within hours of the session happening. 

If there are no more comments and as somebody said, we had the luxury of returning 10 minutes, six minutes or something of time back to you.  We thank you very much and very interested in your perceptions and reflections and comments given you're the first ‑ this is your first IGF.  So please, take advantage of the stock taking and all the opportunities we have to actually hear from you.  Thank you. 

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