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IGF 2020 - Day 5 - DC The Criticality of the Internet for SIDS in a global crisis

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. 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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>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Welcome, all, to our annual Dynamic Coalition of Small and Developing States meeting.  Good to see you all today.  Just for those that just joined us, as you see, all panelists, it means that we're operating as if it was ‑‑ I guess a Zoom meeting or ‑‑ you all can speak and share and at some point during the session we ask you to take a picture.

Thomas will welcome us and will quickly share our intention, it is for us to discuss what's happened in the last year when we met last in Berlin, Maureen was remote, everybody else was physical will there, Rhea Yaw Ching, June Parris, I believe everybody else, was there.  We have talked about doing a whole list of things and unfortunately, what's happened since, COVID.  Our session today actually is going to really push that agenda, as you see in the chat, I see a lot of people joining us.  Hello.  We're discussing that today and in the interest of time, I'll ask Maureen to give us an introduction and I know Maureen would like to share a bit about the memories of Marilyn Cade that passed away unfortunately untimely yesterday.

Over to you.

>> MAUREEN HILYARD: Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you, everyone who is here today.  Just very briefly, I just want to welcome everyone to our 2020 IGF session of the Dynamic Coalition on Small Island Developing States in the Internet Economy and I'm really feeling really good about today's session and it is really great to see we're growing as an organization, gaining traction within the regions and the IGF as well.  Thank you for being here, for acknowledging that we're an important part of the IGF ecosystem and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the session.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you.  Thank you for introducing yourself and the session.

I would ask you to say a brief bit on Marilyn.

>> MAUREEN HILYARD: Yes.  I just wanted ‑‑ I thought it would be really good if we sort of acknowledged, she's someone special who, you know, has just become so dear to the heart of many people, you know, within our area as well especially through ICANN and the IGF.  I think more than ICANN, we'll miss her voice in public if he rim announcing, "Hi, my name is Marilyn Cade, also with a searching query on an ICANN issue that concerned her.  To many of us, Marilyn was also a woman of joy, she will be so sadly pissed by all those that knew her and were inspired and encouraged by her.

Thank you.  Thank you.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you very much.

If you wish, you can post some thoughts in the chat on Marilyn and for those that don't know, there is an IGF link, there's a place to post comments and memories of Marilyn.  We'll really miss mare her.

There is a memorial service later.

>> It is 4:00 p.m. eastern which is 9:00 p.m. UTC.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: We'll look for details.

If you can, that would be great if you can get to that today.  Thank you so much.

With that sad news, Marilyn probably would have been with us today, she's been a friend of the SIDS, a friend of the world, pretty much like Glen and we'll really miss Marilyn.

All right.  With that, in the agenda, as you see, for those that are ‑‑ I guess I should share it now.  For those that are watching, we will be able to see our first item, it is really a report on this year's meeting, the year that has just gone, our intention is to help this run about 30 minutes and we would like to follow the order not of the speaker names but in terms of the groupings, so we want to start with Pacific, and what I will do, I will ask Maureen to facilitate this.

I will unshare my screen again and ask the Pacific members here today to share thoughts.  Our intention is to have each speaker not run more than 3 minutes for their initial interventions and certainly we do want to have everyone jump in as necessary to fill in the gaps with regard to the specifics.

Maureen, perhaps you can assist with that.

>> MAUREEN HILYARD: Correct.  Thank you. 

Thank you, Tracy.

I see that there's Cherie and I here at the moment of the people that were going to speak.  I'm not quite sure if ‑‑ I know we have another ‑‑ I'm not quite sure, we have some of the others from the Pacific joining ‑‑

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Dalsie is here as well.

>> MAUREEN HILYARD: Great.  We'll give a brief overview of what's been happening in the Pacific region and I want to start off with Cherie Lagakali, of course, our Chair of the PICISOC and doing wonderful things in the Pacific, and, of course, Dalsie Baniala, our MAG member.  So grateful to have her and I'll finish with a few bits and pieces.

>> CHERIE LAGAKALI: Thank you.  Hello, everyone.  My name is Cherie Lagakali.  I'm from Fiji.  Thank you, Tracy, Maureen, for having me here.  This is my first IGF, and I think that Maureen has learned the secret of if she needs me to attend something, she puts my name down as a panelist.

We have been lucky here in the Pacific, in fact, when talking about COVID‑19, the internet for the Pacific survived COVID‑19, I give credit to our hard working engineers and our Telecom operators, internet people, everybody has been at home but everybody has been able to work and work from home, it is a new thing for the Pacific to learn and to get used to.  Some things we have had to talk about, some of the things that's been done in the region, we started off the year in February signing off a memorandum of understanding with the APTLD, Asia‑Pacific top domain Association for an event that we'll be holding in Fiji in 2021, September, and the whole purpose of that MOU, it was that we could collaborate online and offline outreach educating and creating awareness for the larger at‑large community as well as the managers in the Pacific and that's something that's on track with, even though hotels in Fiji have been closed for the last 7 months, we're still putting that together, planning that.  We have been able to put together ‑‑ because that event, it will be a colocating for the Pacific IGF and we have created a Pacific IGF Working Group which has about 21 people in the Working Group and we're trying to make sure that it is very multistakeholder approach and also forward‑thinking approach.  We have people from the internet as well as the regulator in Vanuatu represented in that.

This year, even though after March, Fiji went in lockdown in March and before that, we were working towards a Girls in ICT day and the Internet Society with PICISOC and ITU to get people to where it was being hosted, but because of the travel, it had suddenly stopped.  In the middle of March some of our partners, we were I think ‑‑ it was a privilege for us that some of our partners were able to put together the Girls in ICT Day virtually.  And that was through the ICT and the Women in the Solomon Island Groups and they had a day event virtually and they had ministers represented in that.  We had some partners with information technology, it has been running eLearning in COVID‑19, putting together modules and going, visiting schools, helping schools getting more used to and learning online as well because schools were hard hit and closed as well.

There was awareness raising and we have had two fellows in the APRIGF and we have had people represented in a multistakeholder group and the program Committee, one of our members from PICISOC is a region of the Asia‑Pacific IGF and the mailing list, it has things being affected because of COVID‑19 and we have launched a project where we have virtual meetings, gathering the community on topics relevant to us.  We had a free, opensourced software discussion and we have had a discussion on cybersecurity where we invited the CERTS in the region that have been collaborating, on events we're regionally collaborating and that was good, we have launched Pacific Women in ICT and we have had two events and we're looking at an accessibility discussion, collaborating with ISOC's accessibility and the Pacific disability forum at the end of this month.  We have an education area that we launched in May and there is an eLearning at the end of this month as well.

Another thing I'm involved with, putting together a global forum of cyber expertise specific hub but because of limited travel I'm having to make appointments with relevant stakeholders in the Pacific and have meetings with them virtually and online.  We also had thanks to Glen, we had some members that were invited to the virtual School of Internet Governance earlier from the Pacific that a number of people had signed on and also Maureen had been taking ICANN learning classes.  A lot of things we have been doing and a lot of things that we have still planned for the coming year for them.  We're excited, even though we couldn't do face‑to‑face outreaches we were doing a lot virtually and a lot of people were engaging, connecting with us.

That's it from me.

>> MAUREEN HILYARD: Awesome.  Yeah.

Cheri has given an overview of what's been happening in the Pacific and it is really cool.

Dalsie Baniala, decide want to add?  There will be another opportunity later.

>> DALSIE BANIALA: Thank you.  Hello, I'm Dalsie Baniala, I'm from Vanuatu.  I'm not on video right now because of my internet connectivity.

Anyhow, just to add on to Cheri, COVID has contributed positively in the development of ICT, especially for the leaders, it is precious for them to stay connected with international stakeholders and also COVID contributed with leaders and even internet leaders at all levels to discuss data protection activities, data protection issues and similarly, with the cybersecurity framework, so that's happening, for example in Vanuatu now, we realized if we continued to use virtual meeting, there has to be a cybersecurity legislation which is going to be debated this week ‑‑ sorry, next week ‑‑ and hopefully it will be approved and endorsed and enforcement.

At the same time, the Prime Minister and the team, they have started to discuss about how can data protection be taken onboard and how could that be addressed, not just nationally but maybe also internationally, regionally due to the limited resources.  Yes, we know the effect of COVID is very bad, people are dying, but at the same time, on the world of technology, I think it is also giving some positive opportunities for development and to especially address those who are disconnected, those who are yet to be connected and now onboard because, for example, for education, they have to stay online and connect with teachers.

Similarly, with the environment, so just to be short ‑‑ I think that people now are starting to move forward with more discussions and more actions in the ICT development.

Thank you.

>> MAUREEN HILYARD: Thank you.  Yeah. 

I guess that just to round it out, from my perspective, I think that it has been mentioned that one of the things that's been pushing with our Pacific members, it is to take greater interest in ICANN first of all through newsletter, announcements, and also through our ICANN learning courses where they can learn not only about at large but other communities within ICANN and what they need to know to participate and engage.

Cheri, you mentioned that the School of Internet governance, we're pleased, you know, that members of the Pacific have taken advantage of that and hopefully more will in the future sessions that are ran.  For nations like our own, we have not been able to establish our own SIDS but with all of the engagements we're trying to encourage with ICANN, it doesn't matter which part of the ICANN community you have, we want people to be involved.

It is important to recognize just how influential voices from our small island developing states are within the ICANN ecosystem and I think, for example, the ‑‑ I can attest, just because ‑‑ because people cannot see the small dot that represents your island and the Pacific and the Caribbean, whatever sea or ocean you're in, it doesn't hinder you from becoming a leader in ICANN and SIDS have had other successes this year that I have to mention.  I noticed my good friend Samuel is here and he's been a long‑time at‑large member, of course, and now he's been appointed to the council of the GNSO, the name supporting organization, the generic top‑level domains.  A recent member Javier from Puerto Rico has been appointed to the council of the CCNSO, the name supporting organization for country code domains and not forgetting Tracy, our own Tracy that's been recently appointed as the Chair‑Elect of ICANN's NOMCM, Nominating Committee, an important Committee of ICANN and I have to mention my own colleague Paula Hunter, one of the Vice‑Chairs of the Governmental Advisory Committee, the GAC for the second year.  These leadership goals are major achievements within ICANN, but it shows it is not impossible for anyone of a Small Island, Developing State actually get there.  What I'm trying to encourage is, yeah, you get involved in ICANN and, you know, it is doable and achievable. 

Thank you.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you very much.  We have had a few people joining us Henriette, a dear colleague from the ICANN NOMCOM and I'm privileged to have you with us today.  We have Pablo, many others joining us.  Thank you for all joining us today and contributing. 

Thank you so much for that great summary.  It is not all that we have in the Pacific team, but that's an interesting and informative introduction or discussion for today.  We have coming up next, we'll have a discussion from the Caribbean and in that list we have quite a few speakers.  I'll ask given that it is an overview, that would be relevant, I will ask Nigel Cassimire, the CTU's Telecom specialist and acting Secretary‑General and happens to be the Caribbean IGF convener to discuss with us some of the going-ons in the Caribbean, especially with the COVID‑19 and how that's affected us here in our IG discussions, plans of action, as well as everything else.

Over to you to start that discussion.  Thank you.

>> NIGEL CASSIMIRE: Thank you very much, Tracy.

I'm not sure how many other presenters we would V I see Carlton and June and I'm not sure what aspects they want to bring that will be interesting.

I'll basically say that since the last IGF the CTU basically, the telecommunication Union, we convened the Caribbean internet governance forum where we seek to build consensus among our Caribbean stakeholders on internet governance policies related to the Caribbean.  We have also taken the approach of trying to identify, focus on the IG issues of greatest relevance for the Caribbean and that's priority for the Caribbean because I'm sure that being a small island, developing states forum, you will appreciate the limitations to the availability of resources and in particular human resources where people are committed to a broad range of activities.

We in the CTU having done this for several year, since 2005 in terms of internet governance we have documented our consensus on a documentary called a Caribbean internet governance policy framework and part of the ongoing work of the work in the governance forum, it is to keep that consensus current.  Part of what we're doing, updating the last issue of that document, which is in 2016, which is work we have been doing with updated SU4 which we had hoped to get out this year, 2020.  Given the restrictions put on because of coronavirus, restrictions particular, we have made progress but not the amount that we would have expected to have met.  Notwithstanding, we were able to hold our 16th Caribbean Internet Governance Forum in late August, August 26 to 28 this year and COVID‑19 has brought home the realization to the world, I think, the need to accelerate digital transformation, use the technologies to continue life, livelihood.  The theme was accelerating internet governance, internet governance matters and the overall objective, we south to discuss key issues, particularly in the context of COVID‑19, we did what we usually do, taking liaison reports from regional, international internet governance fora and we worked as I said on updating our policy framework document.

Just to give you some numbers in terms of the level of success we have had with this forum, we had 72 registered participants.  It is a little higher than our normal average, normally we would get around 50 or so.  With the online modality, we have used Zoom conferencing, that also allows you to bring in additional participants.  We had 72 registered participants and we had liaison reports from four other IGF, three ‑‑ I should say ‑‑ we had from Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and then we also had the UN IGF, the IGF secretariate also participating.  Over the three days we had 7 panel sessions and a new feature in our youth forum, a youth‑themed session, that was basically ran by the students guild of the local University, the University of the west Indies, their campus, and they looked at different aspects of digital transformation.  We also had three workshop sessions where we looked ‑‑ where we advance the work of updating our work and policy framework document.

I think we did reasonably well there and I expect that we'll have a report, I had hoped to put the link to it in the chat while talking here, but it is not quite ready and it will be ready soon and will be available on the website.

Just to let you know, we have identified six strategic priority areas for the current year, one unfortunately, it is the infrastructure for appropriate connectivity, broadband infrastructure or broadband connectivity or otherwise depending on the applications we're talking about.

The second, internet technical infrastructure, and there we look at critical internet infrastructure and all of the procedures around the internet governance work.

So ICANN stuff and IP address, all of these things.

The third area, legal and regulatory frameworks.

The fourth, internet content, everything around the content with a special focus on local content.

The fifth, capacity building and the last area, it is research.  Those are the areas that we tend to focus on and those are the areas that we have documented in the policy framework.  It is available on the website, the SU3.

What we got done was that we were successful in updating fundamental statements of vision, mission, priorities for SU4 of the policy framework.  As I said, we initiated a youth‑oriented segment.  We addressed infrastructure services and government related aspects of the theme of accelerating digital transformation, and in doing that, we had a session on things like enhancing XPs, data protection, privacy, that's a recurring theme in our recent IGFs and government service, putting government services online, we had a rendition as well about fin techs in the system and technology service, Cloud policies and content standards like, for example, Facebook community standards and that sort of thing.

Specifically related to the COVID impact, we looked at the strategies for achieving recovery in the areas like tourism and education as well.

I think there was some good discussions, some areas that we may have been able to identify common action going forward.

As I said, the report, it will be posted shortly on the CTU website at CTU.int.

Looking forward, we're going to continue our thrust to build Caribbean consensus.  The existence of national IGFs has come through the work of the CTU and the IGFs and we'll continue to push the development of more national IGFs and we also will leverage online facilities to continue and enhance intersessional collaborations.  It is still the plan, to resume our online discussion fora in internet governance and we were supposed to get it done earlier this year with a launch of a new website because of the delays caused by the COVID‑19 lockdowns and so on, the website will not launch until probably next month and we will again seek to get the discussion going.

I'll stop there because I know there are other people to speak.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you very much.  I appreciate that.

In the interest of time, we have exhausted our first block to cover what's been going on in the region.

However, the second block that's in the agenda, we'll segue to the changed screen and I'll put the title in the chat, to discuss the importance of the internet for SIDS and I would ask a couple of our other speakers to kind of bridge the gap between what's happening in the region and the Caribbean and the second topic immediately so we can get this really going, it is a matter of covering the Caribbean as a whole so the other regional speaker that we have today, Bevil Wooding, from ARIN, giving us a brief synopsis of the ‑‑ of what's been happening in the region and also bridging fully into this discussion and on the impact of COVID‑19 and what that means to Small and Developing States, especially the Caribbean and after that I will ask other speakers, Carlton and Lance, June, others to jump in to sort of give perspectives from their particular countries.

Over to you u.

>> BEVIL WOODING: Thank you.  Thank you, again, for convening this.  I think this is a really valuable for rim for the SIDS, it is good to see so many familiar faces even virtual, it is always good to be together however and whenever we can.

I don't think there is much difference in terms of the impact that the pandemic has had on the developing states in the Caribbean as in other parts of the world.  I mean, one of the things I would start the summary around is the whole issue of how much the crisis that COVID‑19 has represented has actually been a blessing or a benefit in terms of the acceleration of a lot of what was proclaimed and a lot of what was prayed for and pleaded over the past few years concerning the need to build out internet infrastructure and putting a focus on technology as an enabler.  COVID‑19 has been an accelerant of unprecedented effectiveness I would say in terms of the impact in the region.  Like so many other parts of the world, economies have been locked down, borders shut up, people have had to work from home and what happened in the short‑term is that the pandemic put a spotlight on many gaps we have been speaking about for so long concerning weak infrastructure and the unevenness of internet access and the issue of meaningful connectivity, not just internet access going to rural communities but connectivity that can actually enable economic activity and social activity in a particular way.

I want to look at the impact of COVID‑19 and the internet and its evolving inference on SIDS in this light, small businesses, micro enterprises, I think they're a major contributor to the community.

There is also a unique role in terms of how deeply they're embedded in local communities.  It makes sense that the types of job loss, the suspension of economic activities in many sectors have triggered some very important public policy discussions around ePayment, digital circuits incentives for local hosting, encouragement of local digital content.  None of the information is unfamiliar to us, we have talked about them for some time.  What we have now, it is a new attention being placed by policymakers on what does really take to strengthen that infrastructure in our territories and how are these things best funded when the typical, traditional routes like development agency funding can't move fast enough or will not be tailored enough to meet the specific requirement of local communities.

What's happened in the last 8 months is that the discussions around educating governments, public sector officials, public policies it is going to a other level, the impact of the CTUs, the public policy forum, the collaboration that allows for a lot of the issues that do the simple task of creating a new level of consciousness around how does the internet impact economic decision making, how does the internet and all of the mysterious things we teach about so naturally how do they factor in to the public policy decision making process and what's the bottom line impact on constituent and communities that are facing such hardship as part of COVID and those discussions have been a big part of why the acceleration has taken place.  This issue of digital transformation to me, it is now no longer just a buzzword, it is a necessity for survival with the cutting off of revenues for many of the countries in the Caribbean I can say, tourism revenues represented the largest contributor to GDP, with the falling off of a cliff of the revenue, governments are scrambling desperately to find digitally enabled alternatives.

Getting people back to work requires the internet, keeping kids in school, requires the internet, having businesses continue to operate, requires the internet having telecom operators who monitor and scrutinize to ensure that they provide effective quality reliable, consistent internet services, it is now a requirement, not an urgent requirement, but it is with the regulators across the region and they're up to the task and the ISPs are responding because the businesses now depend on it.  If I had to sum up with digital tall transformation and how it relates to, trying not to go too quickly but I want to leave time for further discussion, critical internet infrastructure, deployment, autonomies network, those have been the spotlight of the conversation in communities like the Caribbean networking group and others, cybersecurity is receiving attention like never before.  Part of what happened in the midst of COVID, there was a spike in cyber attacks and there is a spike in misinformation and false information coming across the channels as new unprepared users started to get online and the cybersecurity discussion is one of the major issues that has to be contended with.  Many of the jurisdictions are dealing now with the issue of trying to find a working definition for meaningful broadband connectivity.  On the dim tall transformation services side, the electronic services, online ports, justice delivery, it is actually critical to keeping society stable in the midst of this current issue, online marketplaces, online portal and hubs, electronic payment, these are not discussion topics any more, it is implementation topics, the hot topics around digital transformation has to do with enabling that environment and the persons that live in it.

I would like to point to the ‑‑ I would like to highlight the importance of education as part of the response characteristic that we have seen, the digital education content, digital literacy and train, both within the public and private sector, significant skills training to create a new class of competent economic contributors that are able to take their place in this evolving are landscape and we have seen the impact of that in Community Colleges, institution, in informal learning programs that are attender tempting to quickly onboard skilled people to deal with these services.  If I have to give an overview of the impact in the Caribbean, I believe it is also relevant to the smaller ‑‑ to the SIDS, that's key points, infrastructure, security, transformation services, facilitating rapid movement of sectors online and education of the human component that's looking very holistically both in the formal, informal education sector at skills that enable a new class of worker to emerge in the times of crisis.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you.

What I will do now, asking a couple of our colleagues from the Caribbean region to jump in on the same topic and specifically what they have been doing in their country.

>> JUNE PARRIS: Thank you.

I don't have a lot to say, two colleagues, Nigel Cassimire and Bevil Wooding have said everything.  From my perspective, as a citizen, I have never seen things move so fast in the Caribbean.  I really have to congratulate ICT and governments because all of the things I have wanted over the years are happening in six months and I'm really proud of the Caribbean and the way they have moved and the guys behind this, the only complaint I have, the price of wi‑fi has increased, so that's something that we have got to come to terms with.

I think because we're getting so much in such a quick time we can expect increased prices in some aspects of the internet.  I'm not really complaining about that.  I'm just really happy that things are moving so fast that, you know, from 2021 I think we're all ready for 2021 and we'll catch up with the rest of the world hopefully by 2021.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you very much, June.

Let me see.  Is Carlton ready to jump in?  Lance?

>> LANCE HINDS: Good afternoon, morning, night, good afternoon all, depending where you are.

On the Caribbean side, I'm from Guyana and we're slightly different from the rest of the Caribbean in terms of terrain.  Certainly when COVID hit and the restrictions were put in place and there was a move to go to the internet space to provide services in education, we ran into immediate difficulties, primarily because of the same terrain, the mountains in the South, the connectivity, rail connectivity probably 14 miles outside of Georgetown, anything beyond that becomes difficult so a lot of it was creativity in terms of how do you continue to provide this level of connectivity, providing education, providing service, despite the fact that you have these challenges.  A lot of things were tried, community wi‑fi, community networks and so in a village you have the internet connectivity and we would get devices like putting content on devices so that students can access those and then there are some connectivity so we take it over there, we update the information and bring it back and all kinds of things that we had to do in order to see as much as possible if we can provide basic services.  In particularly, education, to those rural, internet communities who simply could not get it and I think certainly in our case, when we talk about public policy, we're going to have to continue the conversation as to how we provide persistent connectivity in these areas, it is huge, it is vast.  I have gone to villages 10, 12 hours out of Georgetown, 15 hours’ drive from Georgetown, just to look to see if we could provide some decent connectivity of some kind in those areas.  Certainly as we talk about connectivity, and it is a give than internet is necessary.  It is a given that we have to be able to find a creative way to do that.  There are some projects onboard that would seek to provide connectivity in those areas.  The challenge, of course, it is going to be even though the capital is a loan, a grant, the costs for the activity it is a currently stands, it's a challenge.  It is all of those things that are they ‑‑ there are many moving parts in terms of how do that.  Certainly as we have to tailor some things in terms of in the SIDS context because we're a little different even though the philosophy is the same and the need is the same but we have some specific challenges that are going to be ‑‑ will have to be addressed directly, if the internet is spread, for a sort of business and to be able to spread in such a way that we deliver the content, deliver the services and we deliver all of those things that are required.  That's a work in progress.

We hope that ‑‑ there are restrictions all over Guyana, some of the villages are closed.  We hope that next month and by December, early 2021 that there is some relaxation of the restrictions and we can get back to see how we can provide connectivity and see creative ways to develop content going forward.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you very much.

On that same note, I just want to perhaps close off, the countries who are here from the Caribbean by asking ‑‑ I see ‑‑

>> CARLSON SAMUELS:  Can I jump in?  Hello everyone.  You can hear my choice I imagine.

What I want to kind of emphasize is how the COVID crisis is a blessing in disguise in terms of accelerating digital transformation.  It has a tail on it that will do things that all of us who are here have been working on for so many years and seeing very little in terms of progress, as you say, June, it is something that's just wonderful to bow hold.

The big issue here, in a digital transformation, it is in government and how the government works and the requirements to make it work, so simple things like now that we couldn't do face‑to‑face payments for social payments, you have to go to ePayment, and the role of the internet in enabling that as part of what the things that you need to do.  For example, in policy areas, you have identity and you have to ensure that people are knowledgeable about what they do with the technology that they have.  There is now greater emphasis on digital literacy and the public policy perspective, the public policy posture, it has changed rapidly around that.  Same with education, the problems in education here it emphasized what it means for meaningful connectivity.  This is something that others would know about and what some of us have been saying for years, that we need the internet to do things with it, the economic things with it, our measure of this has to be different from just having a connection and that's it, whether you're online, offline.  These are the kinds of things that are coming forward now.  I don't know how many of you would have seen the paper by the Association for the internet, our colleagues are on that, they have had a conversation with Michelle and ICT Pulse, I don't know if Michelle is here where that became the issue as to what we do now to determine what is meaningful connectivity.  The regulatory responses, they're being pressured to move forward.  This is a great thing.  You have people that are ‑‑ that wouldn't understand what the quality connection means and all of a sudden, they're using their phones to send kids to school and the service is dropping and we can't afford it.  The payment systems that they have, and the needing of the service, all of these things are being heightened regulatory attention so it is a good thing.  I hate to say it.  It is a good thing for the things that we have been advocating all of these many years, the crisis.

There is one thing that's of concern and this is where I think that we have to keep an eye on, it is the way ‑‑ it is the response, the public policy response to misinformation on the internet.  It has become now a matter of grave concern and the public policy response, we have to be guarding against that and that cannot be the answer.  Those of us that understand how these things work, we have to ‑‑ I know it is a stretch, folks, all of us who have been in this fight for a while, we're going to have to take a little bit more on in helping people to understand what kinds of responses are responsible responses.  It is very important for us to get involved and begin to understand how the response from the public policy perspective might actually hinder the kind of things that we're talking about, more access, more meaningful connectivity, more use utilization for economic activity and economic development.  This is the kind of ‑‑ these are the kind of issues that are coming forward now and I hope we don't ‑‑ we don't want to give up the fight just yet.  That's about all I can say.

Thank you.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you very much, Carlton.

I appreciate that intervention and just to repeat, Carlton is from Jamaica, a larger smaller development state in the region.  Going from large to smaller, we have St. Lucie and Diedre is asking for the floor.  Go ahead.

>> Deirdre Williams:  Can you hear me?  Hello.

I'm from a little island.  I happen to be team teaching a history course with my husband at the Community College here when the virus broke and a lot of other things broke as well.  The thing that's troubled me all through the situation of participants has been the fact that the necessity to upgrade the human beings has been glossed over and forgotten about, we do a lot of talking about the technology but I was amazed how many of our colleagues at the Community College really were not digitally literate, how many of the students, young people are supposed to be ‑‑ they know it all, but they don't.  They got lost and stuck as well, they needed ‑‑ there was a lot of things they needed to learn so one thing I would like to see happening is a growth in bringing the human beings up to speed because I think nothing else will work.

You can have a wonderful broadband, but if the human beings don't know how to use it, you just may as well go and whistle.  Another thing that happened, when the virus started and everything very abruptly switched from face‑to‑face to online, it was the disconnect between the techies and the non‑techies, and the proliferation of really clever bells and whistles software apps to do things the capacity of the broadband ability to do things on, that may sound doomy and gloomy but there are things that we can do about it and I hope we'll begin to do them. 

Thank you.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you very much.

I see Paolo would like to speak, but I'm asking if there is anyone from Trinidad and Tobago to jump in and to give insights and input into the discussion.

>> JACQUELYN MORRIS:  Hey.  I was typing ‑‑ I thought we had a short time but since we have time, I'll talk from the judiciary from Trinidad and Tobago which I work for right now as well as the online education area internet in Tobago where I also work and if I have time, I can mention the government part, the government implementation part where I also work.

To start with the judiciary:  The judiciary had started this going virtual since before 2013, but in the 2013, 016 Strategic Plan, one of the reason was they wanted to become the citizens of the judiciary out towards a lot more of the people in Trinidad and Tobago but there is a cost.  The legal court, it is very expensive, outfitting a court is very expensive.  They decided to start doing that, there was also the cost of running the risk of bringing prisoners into the courts and there was also a risk of people coming in and paying money and having lots and lots of cash in these areas and courts.  They started off with programs to do remote court.  They started videoconferencing and in about 2018/2019 three switched to internet base and none of this, it was really focused because of COVID, they were doing this already.  COVID just pushed the speed of it a little bit because a lot of people who are internet ‑‑ that were really already on the way to digitalization, but they weren't ‑‑ they had started their digital transformation but there was no real urgency, they were taking their time, going along.  That also happened in the government where projects had been onboard with the information since 2016 and there had been projects and so on and the government, they were moving slowly, they needed approval, cabinet would take time, and everything ‑‑ a lot of things were ready and proposed so that when they decided yeah, we have to go ahead, start doing this, that's when we have only now really started implementing program, a lot of things, so that cabinet would like a two‑year program for digital transformation for the government, which is a really, really short time, but a lot of things could possibly happen in that time because there were plans earlier.

Education, it is an area that we had had some training since 2012, they had been sending people to learn about blended learning, integrating internet and virtual learning, training them ‑‑ into the teaching that they were doing.

At the end of that time, we had trained I think 5 to 7,000 people, but since they were not using it, they obviously didn't remember anything that they had learned 5 years, 6 years before.  So a main issue that we have had in trying to train them up very quickly, it was that a lot of people don't understand the difference between face‑to‑face learning and online learning and there's been an idea that we must translate it literally so that we have children logging on to Zoom or Microsoft teams, Google people, whatever, at 8:00 in the morning and then logging off at 3:00.  Recently they have adjusted that and they still need children online for four hours or so.  The teachers are also keeping to that mindset, that's what they know.  That's what they have been doing for 15, 20 years, they don't have time, they have not had time to be trained in that before it was implemented so the training, redoing courses, teaching, that's all at the same time and of course what the natural response is, it is to fall back to what your accustomed to, comfortable with.  That's one of the major issues.  It is not even ‑‑ we can get laptops, we can get tablets.  Those are not real basic issues.  A real basic issue, it is that people do not know how to translate teaching in the classroom to teaching online and even if they do understand that there is a change, they don't necessarily want that change and that's one thing I have noticed across the board, it is that it is culture, it is a mindset change that we have a real issue that we need to focus on there because the technologies, you can buy it, you can ‑‑ that's not ‑‑ I don't think that's not as big of a problem as the people buying into it and making the changes.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you very much.  I think we have covered what we will call the English‑speaking Caribbean.  Before I move on to our final section, where we will want to have all of the regions jump in, I know we're missing some, but I would ask our colleague from the Caribbean, Pablo, who is probably watching the results as well of the election, to jump in.  Pablo is from Puerto Rico.

Let's see what you have to say about what's happening on all fronts.

Proceed.

>> PABLO RODRIGUEZ:  Thank you.  It is an honor to have an opportunity to speak here and a pleasure to see so many familiar faces which I have not been able to share face‑to‑face with a big hug to all of you.

Just to notch on a few points, I was applauding what Maureen brought to the table on specifically I have heard several times we're small islands and we sure are, geographically.  As you all know, we're giants, and we have lots of things to contribute, and have to contribute to this community, to the global community, and as you know, already as we have mentioned, there is a number of leaders that come from this ‑‑ of these islands that are making an enormous contribution to ICANN and so many players in the ecosystem.  Let's keep that in mind.

Like has been mentioned from many of you, Carlton, Nigel, others, and you, Tracy, COVID has without a doubt become an accelerator.  This is the one positive thing when many people, the baker, the secretary, the paralegal who has small office did not think it was important to have a presence online, much less to charge for their services and or sell their products online, it was a big priority and now it is their number one priority.  We are talking and we have heard on all of the important subjects that were needing to be discussed about cybersecurity and so on, and just recently I completed my doctoral dissertation on the perceptions of IT decision makers on the use of technology in our region.  Out of the 47 to 60 LTDs in our region, 44 participated in this study and by no means think that when I talk about this, I'm talking about the technological part of that's been ‑‑ that wheel has been invented already.  What I'm looking at, it is the social aspects that may promote or impede the adoption, but not only this but so many protocols.  When it comes to that, I realize that every one of us play an important role in the adoption of the technologies and we need to become aware how the technologies may affect us and why it is important that the organizations with whom we do business or obtain services from have these technologies in place.  In other words, the cybersecurity is not an issue that belongs only to the technical community.  It belongs to the everyday person, for example, it is important to know if your bank is using IP receipts or not and if you don't, you should find out, you should ask.  If you don't know who to ask, there are so many people in this panel with whom you can talk to.  We have experienced many of the same issues that you have where our children have to go online and all they have is a phone for 3, 4 children in the house and how much are they paying per minute or per a gigabyte of services rendered and how much is that costing?  Is there a role that regulators should play in not only what becomes the billing but what is the role that the regulators have to play in order to ensure that our connections are safe and how much do they know about all of these protocols that need to be in place and should the government get involved in those things.  What I am trying to bring to the table here, it is that our participation, it is critical in the measure that we can become more involved in different venues such as ICANN learn and the virtual School of Internet governance and other virtual school and that's been virtual schools as you can get involved and begin to bring this idea, these questions and to get answers to it and act on them.  It is going to make a tremendous difference.

So the operator, it is in my interest to promote any initiative that can educate, enhance security and access to the internet and I think this is a fabulous venue that I am honored to participate in and I'm honored to be able to promote.

Thank you for this opportunity.  I put a link on my doctoral thesis on the chat if you would like to read it, it is free, if you have questions or want to comment Firth, don't hesitate to contact me.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you very much, Pablo.

It was a really good intervention especially coming from I guess a slightly different perspective.  Yes, we're in the Caribbean, but Puerto Rico, as you know, as many of you know, it is in many ways a part of the United States and given the situation that the U.S. is facing currently there is some significant challenges that a country like Puerto Rico would be extra sensitive to.  That's important to bring to the table essentially amongst us in this small island and developing states category.

In this point, I put in the chat our next block of discussion which is really our next steps.  Most of our discussions in the IGF, you know, sometimes people criticize us for not having a way forward, next steps, decision points, so what we're trying to do as a Dynamic Coalition, it is to really formulate something specific that we can put forward as part of the IGF they have asked to us create a list of voluntary commitments as well which would look in some way going along with the action plan.

What I would like to do now, is to have an open discussion.  I'll ask Maureen, she may want to jump in, I'll ask colleagues ‑‑ sorry about the vehicle driving, very loudly!  I'll ask colleagues to jump in now and to try and participate as fully as possible in the final 20 minutes.

Maureen, is there anything awash to add at this point to kick us off and for everybody else, please raise your hand to jump in at this part of the discussion to contribute in terms of formulating the next steps of the action agenda.

>> MAUREEN HILYARD: Thank you.  Thank you, Tracy.  I want to be very, very brief.  I just ‑‑ I have really appreciated hearing from and seeing everyone participating today.  It has been absolutely fabulous.  I think from my perspective, based also more than I have been involved in the IG side and like Cherie, she may have a summary of what's our next steps.

I think I just sort of would like to consolidate sort of what I said earlier, it is that we really do need to get more people from our small island states involved as Pablo mentioned and also that there are resources there that we can actually help and just remember that we're always available for any support that you might neat.

I'm really keen to hear what others have on their plate as well.  Thank you.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: We're not seeing hands as of yet.  If we wait one more second ‑‑

>> RHEA YAW CHING: I would like to contribute.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Please!  Go ahead.

>> RHEA YAW CHING: I have been listening to the very vibrant discussion going on, I want to jump off something that Pablo said that could help us with our commitments.  It is that we do ‑‑ we do contribute, that's clear, and Jackie said something that was also important, we have been dealing with this for many, many years as a vulnerable set I've lands, particularly on the disaster recovery side we have been talking about this and making iterative steps along the way.  COVID presented this boon for, I want to highlight based on what everybody was talking about, some of the ‑‑ some of the areas that many countries, and if we combine them all makes this a great opportunity to have various test labs if you will.

Talking about IXPs, we have an obvious lead in Granada, education on ICT and education, I have seen an indigenous solution rollout and that's impressive, the Bahamas, the OCS, decash, both numbers 1 and 2 central bank, 1 and 2 deployed worldwide when talking about digital financial inclusion we're on the map.  Digital legislation, precursors to national digital identity systems already passed in Jamaica, moving on to the next steps.  Barbados has gone light years, you know, ahead on the smart government initiatives while other governments have done activities, I don't want to discount that.

I have seen Antig have open‑innovation architected in the education policies which means that they were able to create opensource‑innovative software and platforms to pivot immediately as they went digital.  Guyana, the test bed for connectivity opportunities in remote, not just rural, but remote areas and, of course, in the judiciary, we have talked about the judiciary pivoting the judiciary in Trinidad and Tobago long ago.

We have so much to talk about and we have so many examples that are being led by different countries and this is just the Caribbean speaking and of course I heard from the Pacific as well talking about free, opensource software initiatives that I think going forward if I have to triangulate the opportunities for commitments we should be doing them as test beds looking at various areas in countries or in countries with specific areas that are actually advancing faster than others based, of course, on local realities and showcase the efforts being done so that others can jump on that bandwagon.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: You set an excellent stage to proceed forward with this action plan and voluntary commitments.  I see Nigel would like to jump in now and I just want to remind everyone to feel free to raise your hands and jump in to the discussion.

>> NIGEL CASSIMIRE: It was an idea formulating in my mind.  I think what Rhea Yaw Ching's intervention, it was a perfect lead‑in to what I was going to say.  Yes, we're ‑‑ she gave all of the example, so on, but around the SIDS, do we know what success is that we're having?  Possibly the way forward, something we have to create then, it is some repository, someplace where we can share and maybe make contacts, leave contacts so we can contact one another.  Maybe there is an opportunity for this.  I was going to throw that out as general framework, but from the long list of things that Rhea Yaw Ching went through, some of the interventions before, there are so many things we could start with in such a case.  Thank you.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you very much.

This is something that we have actually discussed as Rhea Yaw Ching will recall in Berlin last year, we discussed the very same potentials of shared platform unfortunately as you know, COVID‑19 has derailed much of each island's thinking but as we push together, we wanted to push forward joining our hands across the oceans as we say it and this is moving and it is the right opportunity to find that space to go forward.  I list this as a voluntary commitment among the first ones, that we commit to share on the platforms and tied to this, we have discussed obviously developing a website for SIDS and that fell through the cracks.  I think that's something else I want to list.

I'm waiting for contributions from my numerous colleagues in the roundtable.  Numerous colleagues and I'm looking virtually at for them to jump become in and help me so I will not have to continue talking and filling time and space and I'm waiting to see if anyone would like to jump in.

Judith, thank you for helping me out.  Jump in, please.  Thank you.

>> JUDITH HELLERSTEIN:  We have touched base on a little bit of the cyber challenges, and I think ‑‑ I think we should in the Pacific countries, other countries, we should work from a presentation I was at yesterday, that the GFCE has been doing a lot of capacity building, helping small islands create cyber strategies and so I would like to hear Cherie talk about the new capacity building tool but that could be one thing that we could also focus on because as more services get online and more people get online, the hackers are following.  It is a very short time when they're going to be attacking hospitals like they are in the U.S., hacking into cities like they are in the U.S. and holding things for ransom.  Everyone needs to build up their cyber capacity tools. 

The other hook, it is also we should look to the governments and get the governments to all work on acceding to the Budapest convention.  Once you do that, you then, instead of having only one country, you could have a whole bunch of countries at your ready and they're putting together a new protocol that will be helping more countries together and especially I think it has especially helped out other smaller countries, it is that they have a place to call and as the U.S., as many of the larger platform companies are based in the U.S. they are responsive to requests for the preservation of data.  I think that's something that we want to at least look at.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you very much, Judith.  Yes.

Those are some key potential action items that we can list on the table.  I'm hoping that my Rapporteurs are taking these notes for me so that we can compile these voluntary commitments for submission to the IGF secretariate.  Those are fantastic points and I see in the chat, yes, there is agreement.

Just before you jump in, Cherie, I want to remind everybody we have about 10 minutes left and I would like to end with a group shot.  If you need to touch up and fix up as we say, we'll turn on our cameras for a brief moment at the end and do a group shot.

>> CHERIE LAGAKALI: Thank you for highlighting that.

I have been recently appointed the Pacific liaison because of the scoping of a Pacific hub that the GFC is looking at for better coordination and collaboration in the area of cyber capacity building in the Pacific and they also have a civil portal where there is a lot of information sharing on work and tools that she's mentioned and I wanted to comment on the further discussion that I was involved in earlier this week where from a security perspective that's been found in the Pacific with the COVID‑19, a lot of organizations, countries have had to accelerate, get themselves online but Social Security is becoming an issue and the tough challenge of working between ‑‑ between ‑‑ yes, security is an issue, what cost what, are the tools out there, what's been mentioned and how do you convince organizations that this is something that you need, what is the priority and we're so quick at implementing there are no strategies on in two years what have you implemented now because COVID‑19, is it going to last, be sustainable?  One of the challenges that the Pacific is going to face or is starting to face, it is that it is a small community, it is a small community that is doing this work in cybersecurity, cyberspace, how do we get the rest of the communities and other people involved, how do we expend this community so that more people will be interested in interesting these discussions and, you know, it can't just be on the CERT, but community awareness and everybody involved and really how can we look at that.  That's something that the SIDS could focus on.  A point we can look into on how to grow the community, that would be something really great.

Thank you.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Thank you very much.  Yes.  I really think that especially for the Pacific perspective, we really need to get moving on these action items so that the SIDS can drive forward, I really believe that we need to cooperate together and push forward as a unified grouping and I have very strong belief in that.  I'm hopeful that maybe this platform, the coalition, maybe they can drive us forward in this area.

We have 7 minutes left.  I'm waiting to see if there are any further interventions coming in.  I don't know if I could probably lean on Andrea, Jane, someone who may ‑‑ you know, not from a small island developing state or Peter, just to give us some thoughts, quick shuts on what they're thinking that could happen from their work from the services perspective.

>> Jane Coffin:  I will go quickly.

My father comes from an island, I come from a sort of island, there is a land bridge between the points on where I'm from and the northeast part of the U.S.  I have lived on islands, worked on them as well, the environment is very different and you do know everybody and there are things that do need to get done and COVID is making our work a little bit hire but also easier as many of you said.  You're see change, June mentioned this, let's take that opportunity, there is so much great knowledge here and across the IGF and in our different organizations where we can help you, we have toolkits, we have brains that can be put to use, and I like the idea of staying in touch during this period because we do need to see change.  We need to see people get connected, making sure that they're secure, we need to make sure that kids are okay online, that parents can work and study and do what they need to do and to stay in touch with people right now.  This is really important, the social side of things, because you get a little depressed with what's going on around the planet busying all of you, it always invigorates me.

I'll be quiet and touch it over to others.  Keep up the good work and continue the connectivity with others to build a bigger community.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: Yes.  Just asking for your perspective especially as the MAG Chair, how do you think that SIDS can work together especially within the coalition to really get us really moving on these action item it is and the voluntary commitments.

>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN:  Thank you.  It is good to listen to you.

A thing that really strikes me about SIDS, it is that many of you are in government, regulator, in Civil Society, there's a ‑‑ it seems fast you're just that much closer to actually working together tan is the case in many other parts of the world and I think what the pandemic has done, it is highlighting the need to go back to basics, it is as people were saying in the beginning of the session, we need to address the equality, the inclusion, the access, the infrastructure, the human capacity and that is something I think ‑‑ as Jane was just saying ‑‑ people should stay connected but I think the ability you have to quite quickly connect policy with action, with implementation, it is actually quite unique and that's something that you can document and mobilize and I think inspire other people.  I don't see that happening, I don't see government pulling together with business, with Civil Society in most of the places where I work, I see them often just pulling in opposite, different directions.  As for the IGF, I just think it is a privilege for the IGF that you find it a worthwhile platform and I just hope that the IGF can continue to be a worthwhile platform for you.

>> TRACY HACKSHAW: I know you fought very hard to get this Dynamic Coalition moving and together and I'm very gratified to see us altogether.  We need to move beyond talking amongst ourselves and as far as action as soon as possible.

I think it is time for group shot.

I will wrap up by saying thank you for joining us today.  I think your Rapporteurs have gotten plenty of submissions to share with you if you have not joined the meeting list, let me know.  Many of you know my contact information, you can let me know and I'll share that with you so that you can get the report as well as the voluntary commitment listing.

It is a different IGF this year, a different meeting.  Certainly it is good to see everyone.  To do that, I would ask that we all turn on our cameras and straighten up ourselves.  

 

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