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IGF 2020 Second Open Consultations and MAG Meeting - ARIN

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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 >>BEVIL WOODING:  Hi, my name is Bevil Wooding, and I'm the Director for Caribbean Affairs at ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers.
 What interesting times we find ourselves in with the COVID-19 pandemic running rampant.  The pandemic for governments across the globe and for those in small island states such as those in the Caribbean region that I'm responsible for, this has been a time of rapid transition to technology-enabled solutions.  We are seeing governments taking on projects that would have otherwise been done in years, in weeks.  And realizing that inside of the season, all of the issues that would have formed part of the longstanding debate about digital transformation and movement to the Internet and connecting of peoples now has become much -- very much front and center.  One thing that we recognize now is that these steps that are being taken now will have a profound and lasting impact on how services are accessed, how industries evolve, and how government and public policy is developed to shape the Internet in the region and to cater for what many are considering to be the new normal.
 As a Regional Internet Registry, ARIN's service region includes Canada, the United States, and many North Atlantic and Caribbean islands.  And it is these Caribbean islands, these small island states, that I want to focus my discussion on today.
 One of the things that we have found particularly over the past several months is this there has been a definite increase in what we can call digital dependence, more economic activity dependent on Internet-connected networks, greater social and community empowerment initiatives dependent on online or Internet-based services, and of course more national competitiveness growth and development prospects linked directly to the state and quality of Internet service delivery and to the resilience and robustness and security of critical information networks.
 Now, this digital dependence doesn't stand in a vacuum.  For the regions, for the territories in the Caribbean, of course, they have existing resource challenges such as small size, small population, fragile economies.  They also have to deal with the environmental challenges that are outside of their control:  earthquakes, volcanoes, and of course the annual tropical storms and hurricane season.  And we have just entered into the hurricane season in the Caribbean, and this is coinciding with other climate-related events, and now with the COVID-19 challenge.
 And we have found that there is -- there is something very unique about the COVID-19 pandemic in that it has shone a spotlight on areas that need urgent attention.  It is clear that the build-out of required infrastructure needs to be rapidly accelerated.  It is also clear that the investment in indigenous technical skills is very important to the long-term stability and sustainability of the Internet sector and of the technology sector in general.
 There's also, of course, as more -- more persons go online, greater attention has to be paid to network security, the development of enabling policy, more research and analysis of Caribbean Internet development.
 And then two very important and less tangible points have come up as a result of the focus that COVID-19 has put on digital services.  One is the need for greater national and regional dialogue on the implications of the region's increasing Internet dependence.  And the last point is the increased participation.  The region has recognized that it has been absent in certain critical international fora that shaped the development of the Internet, and as it places greater dependence on the Internet, that needs to be addressed, and addressed quickly.
 ARIN is approaching these challenges by providing heightened support to our Caribbean outreach, particularly to governments, but we're also increasing our outreach to the technical community, improving technical capacity and network engineering, strengthening network infrastructure and resilience through capacity-building programs and working with regulators and technocrats and policymakers to ensure that public policy, regulation, and governments' handling of the growing Internet economy is in keeping with and in alignment with global trends and practices.
 All of this of course helps the region to improve its disaster responsiveness at a critical time.
 For ARIN, the ARIN Caribbean Forum was initiated two years ago to help address some of these needs.  ARIN has been working with the regional network operator group CaribNOG to build network management competencies and network engineering skills.  We've also been working with intraregional organizations such as the Organization for Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS, and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, the CTU, to help build public policy and to help foster awareness amongst government officials as it relates to activities such as building out Internet exchange points, dealing with network autonomy, getting government and government services online, and of course IPv6 adoption and cybersecurity.
 These partnerships are essential to bringing awareness to the diverse set of issues that attend the region.  And we feel that these partnerships are going to form the foundation of our responsibility to ensure a safe and exclusive Internet for all.
 Thank you very much, everyone.  It's been my pleasure sharing these thoughts with you.
 Good-bye.

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 411