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IGF 2018 - Day 1 - Salle II - OF23 Working together at the regional level - projects & forums

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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>> We're starting our session any minute just for your information.

     >> Good morning, everyone. It's my pleasure to represent you today as a representative from Azerbaijan to express our thanks to our host, the government of France for their hospitality and the ability to meet here for this year's IGF. I thank you for the invitation. I would like to introduce a panel. And we have a -- a -- important topic today, which is all about how to work together at the regional level, projects, forums, and capacity building programs for the innovation progress of ICT and transport

      And our topic today will start briefly talking about the issue and then have a panel for discussion and if you're interested in like specific issues, any questions you can -- for further communication.

      First, I would like to introduce our panel and panelists and first I would like to introduce Ansari, the founder and President of Tech Nation. As well as I would like to introduce you to the President of APALD. And also the head of the department of the information society transfer communications and technologist of Azerbaijan.

      Before we start, I would like to give the panel talking about your project and specifically the new one that you had a conversation.

     >> Thank you very much. My name is Omar Ansari. I run the technology based in Afghanistan called Tech Nation. We have a number of projects and programs that have had the impact, focusing on capacity, training, education in Afghanistan. Within the country, that's where we focus, but also we -- we're willing to collaborate and expand to other regions and work with our neighboring countries and countries in the region.

      Technicians, major contributions as a private sector company has been actively participating and supporting the IGF Afghanistan which is the national IGF. We had IGF, 2017 for the first time. And then IGF Afghanistan 2018, which was this year. We're working on the third one, which will be next year. At IGF Afghanistan we brought together 200 people from all walks of life so they can discuss major problems and challenges they're facing so they can face the challenges that Afghanistan in particular is facing and how we can address the parliament in Afghanistan.

      The additional project the technician is working on is also started in 2017. We had a session at the IGF Mexico. Where a group of women and men taught about engaging women who are in technology to support each other to capacity and doing some engaging regional collaboration.

      So, that's how the idea came in last year in Geneva. Which was a -- a different one was in Mexico, 2016 and last year, 2017, there was a soft launch of tech woman in that issue in IGF in Geneva. If you review the website, you will see what it is, six activity pillars including contributing to a persistent development across the Pacific, skill building, networking, business acceleration, policy and focusing on cybersecurity and safety.

      And inconsistent development, the network tech woman would like to work with diverse stake holder across the issue in the Pacific on various activities with the ecosystem development. That includes working with others across the nation in specifics where they can enhance the lives and livelihood of women. In technology. The network is focused on women and technology that starts from Russia and goes down to New Zealand. The second activity is skill building where we focus on two activities. One is leadership and management. Two is technology skills.

      A lot of events in the purposes for different regions and communities across Asia and the Pacific to work together, share knowledge and experience, and help with knowledge and technology transfer from one country to another country. And this will support business pack sell ration. Women who would like to start a new business. The tech women with the platform where they can come and get mentorship, find the co-founder, and work together to properly set up their companies and enhance their businesses and make it sustainable.

      On the cybersecurity and safety, as all of you know, cybersecurity is one of the key challenges and especially for women at the harassment issues of cyberbullying and so many other challenges and one of the major causes for that is lack of awareness in the issue -- Asian continue tent. That's one of the other areas we're focusing on.

      It provides a membership opportunity, mentorship platform but also a platform for volunteers to come together in support of the activities across the Asia-Pacific.

      I think that's enough for now. But I'll be happy to -- I'll be happy to discuss later if there are any questions.

     >> Thank you for your contribution. We'll have the last 20 minutes for the Q&A. I would like to give the panel to Mr. Leonard to talk about the specific topic or institute perspectives, thank you.

     >> Thank you, Chair. I have five minutes. Let me explain. I'm a general manager of a relatively small yet important original organization which deals with the domain names across the Asia Pacific and beyond. So, we have 61 members and I believe as our members vary from very big CTL registries to very small one for example located across the southern Pacific area. Now, my -- my experience is controversial, frankly. I have very mixed feelings about the capacity building projects being a practitioner. First of all, to pick on a number of my panelists just said, I believe that IGF, whatever regional or national, is not, of course, a vehicle actually to transport and translate what our competences and skills and experiences. Rather, it's a kind of a networking event where people include certain things, no more than that. The IGF has never been meant to -- never meant to be like that.

      So, another thing, just a side comment, is that IGF is usually typically very good when it's held for the first time in this -- in this or that area. The second or third time, it's not as successful simply because it draws less, smaller audiences because the topics are the same all the time. And speakers, which is important, are also the same.

      Next, I would say -- the next instrument we use in our activities is fellowships. And I must admit that fellow ships is also a tricky question. If you have fellowships, for example, to train people, to deliver, to share some experience, some records of excellence if you will, over time, fellowships tend to grow to some kind of trouble club because you will feel -- you will see the same faces all the time. And it's questionable whether these fellowships would really bolster any capacity. Rather than the ability in hotels and airlines.

      Overall, the capacity building projects we can talk about with a different degree of success of each and every individual project. While they amount to get the horse to the water, at best. Or if we're really lucky, to get that horse a drink that water, right? But then the problem is how to make sure that horse drinks the water it needs rather than the water that seems a bit sweeter.

      So, another point is that typically these capacity-building projects are developed in some high offices, whether national or international, say, for example, international aid agency. And then, it's a -- it's hard to discern whether their goals are actionable, and their outcomes are measurable. Because it's truly hard because we're lost in different kinds of instruments with which those agencies tried to make sure -- try to refine that project and fine-tune.

      I think our experience shows that. I won't go to detail. If you have any questions, I'll try to explain. I believe the best chances for survival and success have those projects which are customized amid a full account of local needs which means we should have a very trustworthy source of input from the grassroots level with a lot of intelligence, of course, gathering on that grassroots level.

      I would say also that yet another interesting experience, which actually has been a great success and we should think of, I've been to China. And once again, some world internet conference, I was amazed, truly amazed by the number of young entrepreneurs who speak absolutely impeccable English, who hold degrees from the best U.S. universities and are back in China to start their own businesses. We should look at that and check what were the roots of -- what were the roots of that success story?

      So, yet another point is, it's a government-run program in China. So once again, the question is whether it should be the government only to take care of this capacity building project? Or should there be some other stakeholders involved? My sense, from my experience, is that, of course, we should try the multi- stake holder approach. But, again, it's just a question for further discussion and debate. With that, just very few points, thank you very much.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you very much indeed for the -- regarding the topic. If you have any like questions and you have specific gratification, we'll have the last 20, 15 minutes for that information. And I would like to give the panel to the last speaker.

     >> Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues. First, let me thank the host country and IGF secretariat for the invitation to this forum. This is the first time I think IGF is the head of the department of innovative development for informational society and the governance at the ministry of transfer communication of Azerbaijan. I look forward to meeting, listening to, and learning from you throughout the forum and let me thank our speakers that join us in this session. We have here all of the stakeholders who present the most valuable asset of the IGF which is a dynamic discussion, where every voice has a say and every idea of the potential of inclusive policy making.

      The IGF is an open, inclusive, transparent forum that welcomes government organizations, businesses, representatives, and technical communities, and society -- civil society organization as well as any other individual internet user interested in internet governance issues. The government of Azerbaijan pays importance to the development of ICTs. The main project is to empower ICTs for the oil sector for GDP and aid for ten years. The infrastructure has been fully digitalized.

      Today there are 50% of internet users, 50% have broadband communications. To increase the efficiency of public information and to provide transparency and inclusiveness, we have achieved very good results in egovernance making on-line services available for public use. The development of innovative internships, improvement of the legal framework, the adoption of assistance and financial resources and financing. Implementing and maintaining macro stability are the solid measures taken by their government.

      We also tried to support stock OPPS and groups aiming to stimulate high-tech and innovative services and goods. The state established the new agency of innovations that are serving these purposes.

      The capacity building opportunities for a forum provides are truly remarkable, such a variety of stakeholders are able to learn from one another and to give long-standing partnerships that are so crucial for development. My department and our ministry are working with the other UN entities. Going to continue to construct the IGF capacity building opportunities and to help to provide training on the use of ICTs for the development. In our region, we don't have such expectations, the main reason is obvious -- lack of highly developed nation and interagency digital and broadband infrastructure. The government takes prompt measures in that regard to get our country.

      We have prepared a road map to roll out the vast infrastructure with model fiber to home in urban and in the rural areas of the country. We pay special attention to the public-private partnership as well in their implementation of this project and consider the private sector as a key contributor to the project. Because of the geographical location and economic potential, the Azerbaijan region is in the spotlight today. In the classic sense, the great continent of Europe and Asia. However, we're talk ugh about the region, the small region surrounded by central Asia, the Middle East, the eastern Europe region reach with resources and the resource which also has high scientific technology competition, resources has the potential to compete with the world in all priority direction of the development. The development of the satellite infrastructure is also very important in the overall development of the region and is seen as a part of the -- currently with turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, and the other countries in the wide region. As a region, also, launched its own satellites. The first one was done in 2013. Now we have already three satellites in the telecommunications sphere. Community -- the internet is an important tool for development and utilized in multiple sectors including health, education, agriculture, industry disaster relief, environmental protection amongst so many others.

      World-wide, communication is easier than ever. Telemedicine and learning are available to people in remote areas and mobile technologies are empowering millions of women in developing countries creating entrepreneurial opportunities.

      The use of ICT providing vital government service is on the rise. While this progress is significant, we have a long way to go in our collective efforts to bridge the digital divide. Nowadays, they're not so significant because we're living in the global world.

      This forum is identifying ways to bridge the divide and the policy making process. I invite all of you to take part in the discussion. Use this opportunity to discuss critical issues in the context of regional partnership. With the principle that we should first and foremost do no harm, it's clear that discussion is required to develop world -- in order to support the internet's dynamic world. Thank you for your attention. 

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you for encompassing an informative speech. Prior to wrap up the final ideas and commence on -- the comments on the topic, I would like to know in the audience if there were any questions that you would like to talk about or any topic that you would like to underline?

     >> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much. I'm the minister of telecommunication technology. Let me -- for a while, we have our Indonesian internet governance established in 2012. Each year we have a dialup -- we tried to form late the idea and -- well, like from multi- stakeholders. And we try to emphasize the -- the conclusions and bring it to NCAT as one of the inputs when the governments want to develop a policy regarding the ICT.

      What I tried to learn from the Azerbaijan is actually we are also in the other countries of the IGF in other countries, but Indonesia, we're facing some challenges, actually, like how we can maintain the balance of not power, but the balance of these the rules of each stake holder because we know that the IGF, it's -- the resources to make a system.

      One to support it is from governments and of course from the private sectors.   And the challenge is somehow the stakeholders will not -- but will see why some one of the stakeholders have become strong -- not power, strong -- impact on the decisions that -- (indiscernible) that have the discussion of the idea. So how we can ensure that the stakeholders equal s balance on the decision process.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you for your question. I believe -- I was wondering if you could explain this that you have in question.

>> First of all, I would like to thank you. Because you've done a great job and certainly I've -- as an Indonesian IGF, you're ahead of whatever work that's being done. The global IGF. Because the global IGF is not supposed to -- by its mandate, is not supposed to be an advisory type, right? You're doing some commendations, to put it mildly, for your government, which I think is a very, very positive development. A shining example for all of us. That's one thing.

      The other thing, addressing your question, I'll be very short. I travel across Asia-Pacific. At times I see people keying in on the thinking of another Silicon Valley. Because one part of the deal is okay, we'll lay the best broadband ever. That's clear. Then we will create our own Silicon Valley. The best experts will work there. We'll benefit from the best ICT and the internet industry examples and that would just help us  the diversify our economy and all those things. Yet, in reality, it happens so that your best and your best and brightest will just go to the United States at the end of the day.

      So here's the problem -- like what we're creating by our capacity building efforts, we're creating a pool of expertise for the United States for the real silicon valley to benefit from. So, we work for the United States in that regard. That's one thing. Secondly, I was wondering, why there's no other Silicon Valley in the world -- across the world, yet. What's wrong with us. And the third question is do I understand there's no Silicon Valley anymore as we used to know it in the United States anymore. I just mentioned that the experience of China. I must say in China for the moment with all of the policy things we'll discuss further, but in China, you may find the spirit of Silicon Valley across Shanghai area, which is much greater than, for example, in the Silicon Valley itself where a big corporation effectively blocked any developments and any innovation. I know that -- I'm sorry to absorb that time. I believe it's important. What we underestimate and what we undervalue in our discussions the role of institutions. That formal and informal relations between people and organizations, which ones helped to develop Silicon Valley and for now, for example, bolstering China's IT sector's development. This, I think, is worth exploring, thank you.

     >> Thank you for a very interesting question. Interesting.

      I just came to Paris not from Azerbaijan. I'm returning from Silicon Valley. I've been in Boston in Massachusetts technological institute. And can tell the things -- yes, of course, be some -- but nevertheless, we are looking for a making of this global. And if we are thinking about the regional development, we must consider to establish the regional hubs. If we're thinking about their evolution, we must consider taking it to consideration that the success means that global success. And without silicon, without United States, it's the biggest market of the world. It's a bit difficult to do to catch success.

      That's why we must go to the direction of establishing the regional hubs. Azerbaijan. It's because of their -- it is -- it's CIS country. It's the language country, speaking. Also, it's a Muslim country. There are too many things that is very common with different stakeholders.

      What about the role of the government. Obviously, the heritage, Soviet Union, the state power is very strong in these countries. We must understand that a crucial role of the private sector in this process, they are developing power of stock ops and ICT and the state must help to them. But the market is established by the private sector. That's why at the moment when their state can do try to do the best for the -- to make the equality between the project stakeholders. That is the key to the success in this field. 

     >> MODERATOR: Would you like to add a comment?

     >> No.

     >> MODERATOR: Thanks again. I agree and the other colleagues of the panel that we need to do more on the original collaboration so much to be shared among the countries in the CIS countries and in the Middle East, Asia, central Asia, and others. The government's role is to provide for the environment for the sector to develop for the startup to get nurtured. I'm glad that Azerbaijan is doing so much. As usual, it's also possible for the country to play a role in the region. That would be to create a collaborative mechanism in other countries in the region. In the next 25 to 30 years, Asia would become a major hub for economic activities and we need to get ready for that, be prepared.

      If you see Asian countries, the majority of them are doing business with Europe, with America. But they don't do business with each other. That's due to conflict in a lot of instances. In the next 35 years, it will change. India and China will start doing business with each other. Japan and China, for example, Azerbaijan and a lot of countries in the region, they would stop doing business together and trade in for the transportation in connecting central Asia with south Asia, the Middle East with the rest of Asia. That would create a lot of opportunities for startups and trade. Before the trade, there would be sharing in knowledge and experiences with each other.  So, this -- that's where we're agreeing withe need to be prepared for that.

      And I think the business in the program study or supporting would really help contribute to that. But we need to look into how we can expand this to other regions and collaborate, for example, India, Afghanistan, China, other places. So that we can share experiences. Thank you.

     >> I hope panelists indicated and underlined all of the information that you were asking for in the question. Before and prior to wrap-up the session and we're making on -- talking about the conclusion, I would like to know firstly in the audience is there any questions or is there any -- (indiscernible) I would like to ask a panel if there's any questions or anything you want to address.

     >> My point is as a practitioner, I deal with quite a number of nations once again across the region. And I can see they are very, very much in terms of the stages of economic development. So, the question is not what we are foreseeing, the question is how we can actually lay the foundation for that progress, the future progress. And which instruments or vehicles we should employ which would surely bring us there.

      So, I think the thought is more or less clear, but all of the technicalities we're talking about are still -- well, for example, they're not that clear to me. So, it's a long way to go. Thank you.

     >> Thank you. I would like to thank our panelists for their participation today as well as your participation. And before we wrap up, I would like to mention several points. First of all, we have a booth in the village. Feel free and we would love to see you there and discuss this issue. Also, if you needed any kind of information, we would be most welcome and happy to help you. And other -- the host of the 2012 event of IGF, we will organize in the beginning the Azerbaijan. And if you have any questions regarding that forum and would like to attend and get registered, feel free to contact me or us in the delegation in the village and so to end, how -- today we have a -- (indiscernible) a small but critical discussion regarding what are the trends in order to how we are trying to make this place action only -- talking only, but also in the place where the actions are indeed seen. Thank you for coming and have a nice day. Thank you.

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