Round Table for Regional and National meetings
17 September 2010 - A Other on in Vilnius,Lithuania
Note: The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during Fifth Meeting of the IGF, in Vilnius. 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 session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
Good morning. Can we… just a second.
Okay. Good morning. Let's get started with this meeting. Introductory remark, originally it was labelled, regional roundtable for regional meeting. Then it was pointed out that national meetings are also important, and we changed it to, regional and national meetings. And on our Web site in the programme, it says, "Regional and national meetings" but in the printed programme it only says "regional."
Unfortunately, some of the national people who would have liked to be here with not with us. But I recognize one representative from the U.S. IGF who is with us. So my apologies for that. We did say, always check the Web site. Oh, sorry, there is one more, UK IGF is also present. We published on our Web site some questions we would like to address. It should not be a presentation of what you are doing but it should rather look at the relationship between the regional meetings and global meeting. I think also among the regional meetings themselves, we touched on that a little bit on the session, during the session on Monday morning.
Since many of you on your own meeting, maybe something comes outs of that. Will you find it, if you go on our Web site, when you click on the slots, you will find what we said as information. And I will quickly recall the question for those not online. Firstly, should there be a common template for all IGF meetings. Secondly, is there a need for establishing common criteria that goes beyond the basic multistakeholder format for holding a national or regional IGF type meeting? Thirdly, should the national and regional meetings set the agenda for the global IGF meeting? And fourth, should the national and regional meetings follow the agenda of the global IGF meeting? Sixth, or fifth, should they set their own agenda? And then lastly, is there need for some formal type of relationship between the national and regional meetings and the global IGF meeting.
I would suggest, rather open discussion and not slavishly follow these points. Could we have maybe perhaps an initial round of exchange on your vision of these issues. I mean, we learned that some regional IGF takes more what I would call a platcom approach. That is, they form the agenda
Approach. However, they set their own agenda and add agenda items that seem important to them. So there are two basically different approaches.
Who would like to kick start the discussion? Marilyn, please.
Would you also, before you speak, introduce yourself.
My name is Marilyn Cade. I act as the chief catalyst for the IGF. At this point, I would like to ask if it might be possible to add one other question. Would it be helpful to have an informal list of contacts for the catalyst or chief contact for the national and regional IGF's who might accept not be online, might accept questions from other organisers of other national and regional initiatives about the informal bilateral sharing of information, so just an informal but private contact list. Would that be helpful, would be my question.
Thank you. That is more, I thought, a suggestion which I would think under the next steps, how to move forward. But it's certainly a very valuable suggestion and I'm sure everybody will agree to that.
As you know, Markus, we recently had
And please introduce yourself.
I'm sorry. Stephen Lau from Hong Kong.
In Asia Pacific, we have in last June organised three events relating to IGF. And we just had a session reporting on, workshop reporting on the findings and conclusions and way ahead for Asia Pacific, IGF related activities. Just as Markus was saying, trying to provide some input to this particular session. Okay. First of all, let's talk about the local and then regional and global IGF. As far as local is concerned, I think every economy or country could organise or should organise an IGF. But to be able to I don't know what the right word is, but to be labelled as or considered as or accepted as an IGF conference, I think on a minimum basis, one should definitely be, you have to have got a multistakeholder approach. It should be bottom up. And thirdly, you should be open to all. In the spirit of the global IGF. I think as, maybe there are other parameters but I think those three parameters would be the cornerstone, having an IGF meeting. And every economy, as long as they have the resources and the network upon which they can draw upon the speakers and setting, organizing and all that, then I think that should be okay. As far as regional IGF is concerned, we are not yet sure in Asia Pacific the exact kind of model there is.
On a personal basis, there's one I believe that any, once again, any economy should be could set up organizing a regional IGF. With the contact, the funding, sport from various stakeholders within the region, then they could do that. In Asia Pacific in our meeting we just had, it was suggested and I think it was also very much in favour by all, we should formalize a MAG for the region, a multistakeholder advisory group body for the region itself upon which advice could be drawn, speakers can be drawn and for economies who would like to organise a local IGF or a regional IGF.
And a MAG group could also in a way decide on a model, it could be once a year, regional one, people bid for it or that could be a free flow kind of format where we can organise a regional IGF. So that model has not yet been refined.
And thirdly, I think as far as linking to the global IGF, and I think there is some kind of endorsement from the global IGF that if the economy does fulfil some portion of basic parameters as I mentioned about multistakeholder approach, bottoms up and open to all, then it could be regarded on a formal endorsement basis that, yes, an IGF meeting conference is going to be held and provide a linkage and so on and so forth for such organisation.
Finally, I just want to once again, the discussion is the role of the global IGF in terms of providing some kind of support or information. For example, it was suggested to me by Jeremy Godfrey, the Hong Kong government's CIO, who is very much sponsoring and supporting the last IGF activity in Hong Kong, he was saying that maybe the global IGF secretariat on the Web site would set up some kind of information, information relating to how to organise an IGF, some of the basic parameters, as I mentioned earlier on, in a way to assimilate that if you're going to conduct one, these are the pointers, these are the requirements or these are pointers or food for thought upon which one should organise it.
With the secretariat's support, the chance of actually getting the right level and the right kind of government support would be more forthcoming. Thank you.
Thank you for your remarks. They're very helpful and interesting. By the way, if you find the sound from the other rooms difficult, the headphones do really help. Thank you, Ginger, for those initiative. Some of you took the headphones, some did not. But they do help.
These were very useful suggestions. I just have one word of caution. Don't ask the Secretariat to do too much. We are not that big, as you know. Also asking: To attend the meeting may also be a little bit touchy diplomatically. Developing guidelines, this is something definitely to think about and would invite to you think about it collectively.
My experience of visiting a number of these regional meetings is that they are all slightly different but in many ways, they were remarkably similar insofar as they were really bottom up, multistakeholder exercises which were endorsed by the government. The endorsement varies. That could be by simply being present with fairly high level people, some an a ministerial level. In all the cases, the government put money forward to finance the meetings. The basic requirement, you outlined the bottom up, multistakeholder character sorry.
I think respect also the very open character. You are asking for the floor. Yes? Who is asking for the floor? I thought you were. Okay. Yes, please.
I just wanted to thanks for giving me the floor. I will be quick
Yes. I was going to do that. Pierre Dandjinou from Binyon. I am wanting to prepare the West Africa IGF. I couldn't be there, but I am following this.
I have one or two points, sort of reflection, requests. As far as Africa is concerned, we do have some sub regional IGF, meaning we do have the west African one, and probably (Off microphone). To say that in Africa, we don't have what I would call is a continental IGF. The second thing for me and the West African, the whole process was actually managed by civil society or driven by civil society, west Africa. And also it happened because we do have an idea of forming a consortium of institution, and finally one of them was able to cheapen some money. That's why it happened.
It would never have happened if we didn't have any sort of contribution by these institutions. I'm saying this because I'm also thinking of the amount of these sort of meetings, if we don't really formalize the way we found those institutions, that would also be an issue, although the interest is still there. So funding is important.
It was quite interesting to notice that the global IGS, the secretariat was helpful in there. In west Africa, and then you yourself, you addressed the IGF in west Africa. At least this is not an initiative but also which is globally supported. I know we don't have a big secretariat. But my concern, in fact, and it is the last point I have, is that although we say we wanted it to be a multistakeholder exercise, I didn't really see the business sector in this thing. It didn't show up. There's some more work to do to bring the private sector.
With the telephone companies, we felt that that would be a part of this but it didn't really happen. And government, I would also say, we happen to do this in Senegal. But we didn't really have government from West Africa participate. It was Senegal. We didn't really have much involvement from the other governmental. We need to do maybe more outreach in that regard. These are a few points I thought I should share
Thank you. Yes, the funding is definitely something that is crucial to each of these initiatives. I heard from a colleague in Europe how difficult it is to sustain this.
Alun Michael asked the floor, one of the driving forces of the UK IGF. Please?
I think I really just wanted to ask a couple of questions. Are we right to think that there has to be a similarity of structure or, indeed, a structured arrangement, or isn't the IGF process, a process rather than just a series of events? I ask that because I think if we end up with something that's too structured, we may lose some elements. For instance, one of the most exciting events I think of the IGF process has been the encouragement of involving young people. And this year, even more than last year for the first time, we heard young people's voices. We heard them come through a number of different events. Curiously, I've been at the workshop on youth participation where there didn't seem to be quite as many, what I would call young people. They all seem to be over 20. But that's a curiosity.
One of the points that was made was that young people communicate differently, not necessarily through coming in, sitting at a meet, taking minutes and so on. And actually communication via the internet is a more free flowing and developing concept.
So that's my first question, first with regards to IGF as a process with the event being something that facilitates the process as it clearly has done this year. And the question about what's developed in each region, does it actually need to be the same. It seems to me as well that there's going to be an overlay. It's not regional to the international. There are overlays of networks and communities of interest. That are flowing right across the continent. The regional pattern is only one element even though I think it's a very exciting element the way that it's developed and has a life of its own in many regions now.
As far as Europe is concerned, I think we've got a real challenge, in a sense we've got a particularly complex network and overlay of organisations that have been there for quite a long time. You referred to EuroDIG.
I'm not sure what it is or where it's gone. There was an event supposed to be while we were here but it moved in time and space. We seem dislocated from it. And we also have, in Europe, you've got the council of Europe and EuroDIG going beyond the confines of the European union and there's certainly a need which European parliamentarians are trying to address through the foundation, for them to engage with parliamentarians from the national parliaments in order to make sure that we have joined up discourse. For instance, you have business coming in at the national and regional level.
As long as they're engaged and there is a system for their engagement, I'm not sure it has to be the same at every level. Forgive me, those are questions rather than answers, I think. This is something that has developed with a life of its own through exemplars rather than us trying to force the templates on them, has it not, and therefore, exchanging information knowing what's worked in other places, exchanging exemplars of best practice rather than trying to be too prescriptive in the nature of regional organisation seems to me likely to be the right place, isn't it?
Thank you for this. Indeed we are here to ask questions. I'm not sure whether we would be able to provide answers by the end of this roundtable meeting. Let's discuss these questions. There are ways always to approach them. One is bottom/up and one is top down.
I think if the IGF tradition and in the internet tradition, the bottom up collaborative approach and also the freedom to choose your own format, I think, would to me at least seem to be more adaptive to the very nature of the IGF.
We're great proponents of the third way. If there are two alternatives which are in conflict, then perhaps the best answer is something different.
And also a quick reaction to one of the points, Pierre mentioned about the lack of business participation in Africa. There may be this kind of exchange can be helpful, but partners in developed regions can actually, especially I see Marilyn that is here, you can mobilize the business sector, but they involve their subsidiaries in the African region, for instance. This may be helpful to this kind much exchange.
Who next would like to take the floor? Marilyn.
My name is Marilyn Cade. I act as the chief catalyst. I have used that term twice. I want to explain why I'm using that term. I actually am a proponent at this point of our sharing information about how we are organizing national and regional IGF's. And I would just say, this is my personal view driven by my experience that we should take a light handed approach to any formalization at all, but that because we are so young and the IGF U.S.A. has done our event twice, some of you are yet organizing your first event, others have done three events, what I see is the emergence of different examples of things that work within that country or within that region but may not translate exactly to the next region. It is very unlikely, for example, that we will do a regional IGF in North America, which might potentially be Mexico, Canada, and the U.S., because we have such large countries that we each need to address. The other unique thing for us is we are likely to stay very focused on the international and global issues much more in the U.S., much more than taking up the national issues. So that would be different. I do think there are some commonalities.
I also recall that there is particular phrasing in the Tunis agenda about the possibility of national and regional initiatives. And I think the linkage of some kind, the identity of some kind between the national and the global initiative or the national, regional and global IGF is very important. I think that in order to be listed, for example, on the IGF Web site, we should have some common principles. We've heard about some of them. There may be very, very few more.
But beyond that, I think finding a very light way to share experiences and perhaps take the questions that Pierre mentioned, how do we get business in our region or in our country, how do we reach business to get them to participate. In my particular instance, our challenge is getting national NGO's and nationally focused civil society participants in the IGF U.S.A.
I think we may find we each have different challenges. I would just say one other thing. I think there needs to be flexibility about the agenda so that it suits either the national agenda, the regional agenda. But there does need to be some thread of commonality so that we understand we are part of the same family. I don't exactly know what that thread is, but I do believe it is important.
Thank you for this. All the speakers more in favour of what I would call light approach, very informal approach of flexibility and also a respect of diversity of the various and national initiatives. I wonder whether anybody would like to see a more formal approach. That does not seem to be the case.
Thank the chair. I want to say one thing, that participating in the IGF process about two years. Our understanding is that still in the regional IGF and global IGF, the business community is because possibly we could not make... in our country, the political decision is to... the whole country, still the parliament is not linked with the process. Neither the government is linked with that process. For example, it is IGF process in Sharm el Sheik and here, the government is... but because of the initiative of the united nations and the UNDP, we have come here. And we have been benefited because sharing your experiences, we have gone back to our country, asked the government to take certain laws regarding security aspects, regarding enlisting the language in the top domain, top domain level, and regarding this transition from IP, six transitions.
There are many things which we have been educated. But still now somehow business community and the government and the parliament is not properly linked. So I think my advice will be, if we can engage the parliamentarians, the government people, and the business people in the IGF process, that will have a more positive effect. The advisory group for regional IGF support this, we can form a multistakeholder advisory group for the regional IGF's.
Thank you very much.
Thank you. Yes, this is one of the ideas that came up. The easiest event to organise may be at the national level. Have you to interest the government, what we heard from Bangladesh, we had a very nice message from the hub that was set up in Dakar. They had more than 50 participants who followed our events here. And there were representatives from government there. The reaction was, they never had such an interesting discussion. This may well be the beginning. We are very grateful to members of parliament from Bangladesh here with us. We hope then that you carry the message back to Bangladesh.
First, Europe hasn't said anything. Lee Hibbard from the Council of Europe.
Thank you. With regard to EuroDIG, like other regional platforms, there are trials and tribulations. There are some difficulties, one you mentioned this morning, but it does work itself out.
I think that I like the idea of something light. I like the idea of more connecting between the regional IGF's, using the IGF here to connect to, also between meetings in a light fashion. I think we have lots to learn from each other. At EuroDIG, there are more and more national IGF's being created. There was a need to connect. One of the things which is developing is sort of an assistant to connect more between national IGF's. And I think it could be the same between regional IGF's.
I think between the global and the regional, there is a need for greater inclusion between meetings. We have a lot to learn from you and your experience and maybe vice versa. Somewhere in the course of a year between different events, and there are lots of different events to coordinate, it might be a nice idea to try to do a light inclusion between plenary meetings.
I think the planning process is very important to understand how it works, how to set agendas, what are the issues upstream and downstream. Given that there are so many events throughout the year, I think a formal structure would be very heavy to administer. Thank you.
Thank you for this. Marilyn, also the floor, please.
I wanted to make two follow up points. I'm going to be maybe more direct about the point that I was just making about, I do not see, I just want to be sure that Lee is able to hear this, because it's directly to a point that he made, I think.
I don't see an interest on the part of the IGF U.S.A. today or in the future in reporting through a regional IGF at all. And, you know, that's just a perspective from where I'm trying to organise within a particular country. I think that for some countries, the linkage will always be directly to the global IGF. That won't be true for all countries, but for some countries. That's the only thing I would say. The other thing I will say for us, besides our national day, we try to do a very few other things, but we do rely on the consultation in again eve and the engagement and information exchange that happen there is to help us to know what is going on elsewhere.
I had intended to do a study of the stories of the national and regional IGF's, as some of you know, because I have spoken with you. It is still my intent to try to do that but maybe at a slightly lighter level. And I think one final point that I would say is, I think there is going to be a need wherever possible for there to be a presence of some kind from the global secretariat, whether it is you, Markus, or Chengetai, to provide some assistance, even if is by video link.
The point you made, I think it seems obvious that some regions may feel the need to have a regional meeting, whether it be continent wide. In Africa, it seems to be the sub regions. There is the east African IGF, certain logic behind it as they have moved toward regional integration. So they have a need to discuss some of these issues. In other cases, there may be no such need at all.
I sense there is definitely no perceived need for some kind of structured reporting arrangements. I sense those are a general feeling around the table that, yes, interaction, but no formal hierarchy about interaction and exchange of information and certainly presence. And we certainly happily participate in the regional meetings and provide the link to the global initiative whenever we can travel there. But video makes it the internet makes it so easy to have a virtual presence, so we do that very happily.
Who else would like to take the floor? Yes, please. And please introduce yourself.
My name is Anna Olmos. I'm from the Spanish IGF. And I've also been heavily involved in the EuroDIG. I wanted to reinforce a couple of things that you just said. I do not think that any formal structure is needed or that any inter immediate area ease need to be established. The fact that regional meetings may have a light inclusion with the global IGF should not be should not be any problem for national meetings to also be included, even if they are from the same region. Not only if they do not add up to a regional meeting.
And I wanted to say that the EuroDIG has been a catalyst for many national IGF's, has supported strongly IGF's and has helped IGF's. Because of funding reasons and because of organizational effort, it might be interesting for these national IGF's to delegate at some point in regional IGF's for some conversations to the global, or it might not because the message might not always be exactly the same or the singularities might be such that they require a more direct dialogue with the global IGF. As far as that's been said. I wanted to reinforce that, no formal structure or need to have a similar format or anything like that. That's all.
Thank you for that. Yes. Mark, please.
Thank you, I'm Mark Hale from the department of innovation business and skills in the UK ministry. I've been involved in working with the UK IGF, with EuroDIG, the European regional one we just heard about, and also with the commonwealth IGF, which actually falls into fairly distinctive category because we're not regional. We're actually global. It is an association of some 54 states in all continents. And a mix of developed and developing economies. And we don't to date, we haven't held a single stand alone event ourselves.
We do engage with regional IGF's that involve commonwealth country. I was at one of the east African IGF meetings. It's crucial for us to be here at the global IGF to provide a forum for commonwealth member states and a focal point, if you like, for us.
And I think the key function we're pursuing with the commonwealth IGF, which would also have resonance with others, and I think we're hitting on it here, is that of communication and interaction. It is important for the national and regional IGF's and for us in the commonwealth as well to have this opportunity to enrich the global dialogue by communicating what is of concern at the local, national, and regional level. And those issues may be different. They're proven to be different in several cases. The communication of that and the interaction and dialogue about those issues is bound to enrich the global dialogue. So it's important for that communication opportunity to be facilitated. And I think it's been pretty well facilitated at this particular IGF. Thanks I think largely to your very constructive initiative, Markus, in providing space here for the regional IGF's to explain their activities and their varying different approaches. And that will stimulate dialogue as to how multistakeholder interaction can develop differently, perhaps suited to particular environments of different countries or different regions.
So there's an important element of communicating what is happening, and for the national IGF's also to have the opportunity to bring to a global platform examples of best practice or legislative approaches that would benefit those initiatives, but also would stimulate the broadening of those initiatives or the establishment of similar initiatives adapted to local circumstances in other parts of the world. So there's that vital sort of bring to go the global state, if you like, this linkage between national, regional, and the global IGF's should provide. I'm very much sympathetic to the view that we shouldn't try to over formalize this. It should be consistent with the spontaneous development of ideas that initially created these national and regional forums. They were very spontaneous, as was said earlier, led by civil society, sometimes as I think in the UK case, borne out of a sense that governments needed to consult with stakeholders to inform their policy and then consult with them in a more formalized arrangement at the national level to prepare for the global IGF and then another valuable communication link is the downloading, if you like, at the national level from what has happened at the global IGF. So it's all about elements of communication and ensuring that those communications and sharing of knowledge between the national and regional floor does take place in the global IGF provides that opportunity, that very, very important opportunity.
One other valuable communication link is that the regional IGF's can promote engagement at the global IGF. That's one of the drivers of our initiative, was to reach out to those countries that were indifferent or simply unaware of what was happening at the global IGF level, unaware of what the value of the global IGF is and what the opportunities were for them to take part, so the outreach is a valuable one that the IGF's can perform on behalf of the global IGF.
These are all, as we say, things that naturally come out of the dialogue and interaction at the national and regional level but the global IGF should help facilitate that and promote that. But not in any heavy formalized way but just provide that space for that kind of communication and interaction to take place. So those are my sort of thoughts and reactions to your questions and what I've heard at this session today. Thank you.
Thank you very much. It was very helpful. Edmon, please. Please say your name, introduce yourself
This is Edmon Chung. I just want to make sure, we talked about formalizing the report or structure for regional IGF's. I'd like to say that the workshops that are being set up in the global IGF, that one is, I think, something that is very useful, at least for us from Asia. It was a very useful exercise. That is something, for lack of beater word, that could be formalized such that there could be a continuing dialogue from regional to here and perhaps others can join in during the global IGF as well.
The other point I want to make just very briefly, not really not to belabour the point, but I appreciate the sort of diplomatic sensitivities. It would be very useful for us, being such a diverse region, to get some pointers from the global IGF, from the secretariat, where to outreach to especially in the government area in the region and how to reach them.
I think this is something we can certainly help. And again on a case by case basis. I think with your meeting in June, we should have started much earlier to do this diplomatic footwork, so to speak. Up to a point, it can be done within existing resources. But if each regional IGF asks for some diplomatic underpinning, then we definitely would need more staff and expand the Secretariat quite considerably because that can be quite labour intensive.
As to the first part of your answer, I mean, this is, I feel at least that it has last year we said in Sharm el Sheik, we need to give more space to these regional and national initiatives. This year, we certainly did that. We had a curtain raiser session where we brought them together. We gave space to each of you to have your own session. We had a roundtable.
I feel we also need to report back into this afternoon's session which is supposed to look at the global internet governance landscape, what are the changes since Athens. I consider this a significant change that we have now these national and regional initiatives where before there was nothing. So I think this is something we have to communicate to the global platform as Mark said, to upload it to the global platform. I like the expression. It's very Internet related. It's about uploading and downloading and networking.
And I think this summarizes actually quite nicely the relationship between the various initiatives and the global initiative and the relationship between the global initiative and regional ones.
Who else would like to speak? Yes. Sorry. The light here is sometimes I don't recognize people. I realise I know, but it's the light.
[ LAUGHTER ]
Please introduce yourself.
OLIVER “BLOGIE” ROBILLO:
I am Oliver “Blogie” Robillio. I am from a group in Southeast Asia, a bloggers group. I would like to point out that I think it is important that we do have something of a template. It doesn't have to be very formal but at least the new one, the new national or regional IGF's that would have a basis for them to act upon; for example, ways to find funding, ways to communicate with the MAG and with the Secretariat and possibly guidelines for which workshops should or possibly should not be included in the forums.
And again, for how to upload, so to speak, to the global IGF. I do look forward to the collision of stories that the U.S. IGF coordinator is planning. I hope, ma'am, that you will communicate that to the rest of us as well.
It's still very, very preliminary, but the civil society in Southeast Asia, some of us are thinking of engaging a CN, because as far as we can tell, there is not much awareness of IG among the association of Southeast Asian nations. So we would like to engage them. And so possibly organise an ASAN IGF, instead of doing a Philippine IGF, which we indicated back in June or an Indonesian IGF, we are thinking of doing an Asian IGF. Thank you.
Thank you. I'll say again it's a politically defined region, so it's a slightly different ball game if you just say Asia Pac. If you say ASAN, then you know what you're talking about. Then up the governments like the east African, for instance, which is also politically defined region.
The other part of the question relating to guidelines on funding, honestly, I would not know what to tell you. I have not been particularly successful myself. You may be all you can do is approach potential sources of funding. There are UN agencies that may be able to do funding locally. There may be companies. There may be also NGO's involved. I know for instance, in east Africa, there were some Canadian, I think, NGO's.
Again, each situation is slightly different and the funding situation might be slightly different.
On the ways to communicate, with the Secretariat, that is extremely easy. I'm extremely open. Just send me an email and I answer back.
With the MAG, this raises further questions. We have asked for comments on sort of a self evaluation for making suggestions for the future should the mandate be extended to the MAG in a way that would make a final recommendation of self assessment, should it continue as it is, should it continue at all. But I could well imagine that in the future, you would have more representation of these regional initiatives in the MAG. These are people who are doing something, who are showing their energy. And obviously, it makes sense to connect them all and what better way to connect them than actually have them being part of it. But we haven't even started this discussion yet. But please make your voice heard.
We have a deadline on our Web site, and we will make it more prominent after these meetings where we pro actively ask for input into this discussion. I consider this to be a very valid point to have a close integration of these various initiatives into the global planning process. How to do this, again, I think a very sort of formal structured process would not work. There must be some way of recognizing active people. People just emerge, also. There are people who are not maybe in the first meeting but they do their own thing, they are active, and they get known for being active participants in the IGF. And they increasingly will also play a role.
Yes, Stephen, please.
I just want to take sort of a checkpoint with specifically an action. Just now we discussed about the organisation of regional or local IGF. I think I used the Secretariat, I used the word, common parameters. Marilyn used the word, common framework. Markus, you actually used the word guidelines.
I think to be able to organise an IGF, I think the secretariat should have a very light touch. I think that was said. But to be considered, labelled as an IGF event, I want to make sure that the Secretariat should have some high level simple guidelines with respect to the parameters. I mentioned some of them, multistakeholder approach, bottom up, and open to all. If that could be done by the Secretariat.
I also believe that if one does organise one IGF activity, there should be some responsibility to go with it. And I can think of one that I would urge the Secretariat to really put this as a fulfilment, is that all IGF local or regional conference, activity, there should be a report. It's not a matter of reporting. It's more a matter of report, of having a summary, like what was discussed, what kind of challenges specific to that particular issue or to that particular region or to that particular economy. This is more or less to create a body of knowledge with regard to the issue discussed for sharing with the global IGF as well as with the stakeholders in the country and the region.
I think that would be a minimum responsibility apart from organizing the event. So I think that guideline would be really, really useful as a step forward. Thank you.
This is, in a way, somewhat touchy. We are not an organisation. We are a secretariat that provides support to a platform for dialogue. And when you sort of start giving instructions, there may be some resistance, I would say political resistance would see that as assuming an authority which we don't have.
I think again, we can do that the other way around. We can do that in a bottom/up way saying that, for instance, when engaging in the discussion this afternoon, I think it's an important point to make to participants at this roundtable felt a minimum requirement for setting up regional or national IGF were the following. So it's not the secretariat guideline. But it would be a shared feeling among the various regional IGF, in order to be one of us, you have to do the following. I think this could work. We don't consider you as an equal if your are government driven or if you don't include civil society and business and the technical academic communities in the planning cycle, in the organisation of the event.
But it is presented in a way as, we always shy away from concrete outcomes, but this could be very much a concrete outcome of this meeting that participants feel in order to qualify as a regional IGF, you have to fulfill the following criteria, minimum criteria being a bottom/up in your organisation, being open to all who want to participate, be multistakeholder in character.
Maybe there are more coming out of this, but this is, I would think that would be a positive result from our discussions. Alan, please.
I think that's a sensible way of approaching it because obviously, otherwise they are not following the IGF process.
I think it's very important for us to emphasize the elements. I know these things are put in different ways at different times. But to my mind, it's essential it is the engagement of government. It's essential that there's engagement of business. It's essential that there's engagement of parliamentarians. And it's essential that there's engagement of civil society.
Within those four sections, there may be other groups. You referred to academics, for instance. Fine, but as long as those four elements are there, that surely meets the criteria. And we need to be clear about that.
Thank you for that. May I open a bracket on the definition of who are the stakeholders. It has a long history. In Geneva in 2003, we defined the stakeholder groups. And they were governments, intergovernmental organisations, international organisations, civil society, and private sector.
You may think there's an overlap between intergovernmental organisations and international organisations, but this was carefully crafted. Every intergovernmental organisation is an international organisation but not every international organisation is an intergovernmental organisation. In other words, it was a code word for the Internet community, for ICANN, the NRO's, ISOC, and so on.
In the phase between Geneva and Tunis, another category emerged. That was very much nominate who came forward and said, I don't recognize myself in these categories. CcTLD is not an international organisation, but it's not civil society and it's not business. It was said, I'm representing a not for profit organisation. Then in Tunis, we introduced the academic and technical communities. But there were subgroups to the existing groups because diplomats hate to move away from agreed language.
In the IGF context, we recognize private sector, civil society, and take this academic and technical communities but, in fact, it is the technical community, the Internet community. And again, in a second bracket to the remarks by our colleague from Bangladesh, in the global IGF, these categories are actually fairly equally represented. I will read out the statistics. This afternoon, we have 25 percent governments. Business 22 percent. Civil society, 22 percent. And the technical community, 22 percent.
Media a little bit lower, I think about 3 percent. IGO's are 6 or 8 percent, but just react to that. Definitely we can define all the multistakeholder categories as a criteria.
As we have to think about also this afternoon's session, I would like to make a suggestion.
Markus, you explained, the Welsh word for it is kemlas, the complication of definitions. I just think it's important for us, without disturbing the carefully crafted diplomatic definitions, to encourage and remember the engagement of parliamentarians.
One of the problems, when actually registering, you will recall I made this point before, is that you can't actually register accurately because the parliamentarian is not a government representative. And that cross party element is actually, in our view, quite important.
I'm not concerned about excessive definition or disturbing things that people are comfortable with, but the voices of parliamentarians are being increasingly her. That gives a flow back into parliamentary engagement. Indeed, the commonwealth parliamentary association for the first time has a section on internet, on the agenda. Unfortunately, it's this week. But that is a sign of increasing interest in a place where it's quite important because that's one of the places where unintended consequences of legislation may emerge if the value of the IGF process is not fully appreciated.
The criteria were established in Tunis. The IGF was also a result of Tunis. And parliamentarians have emerged as a new category in these discussions. And it's no coincidence, in a way, that we provide a platform for discussion which is interesting to parliamentarians. If we were in a traditional UN negotiating mode as was Tunis, and you know yourself what Tunis was, you were there, were you a delegate, I don't think they would have been interested in following that.
I was going to follow up on that and suggest I mean, we don't need to establish a formal spokesman. I encourage all of you to participate actively in this afternoon's discussion. But in particular, Alan, I will be grateful if you could talk in this afternoon's discussion, let me look at the broader landscape, so closely involved in Tunis and in the development since. And I think it would be very nice if you could report in from our discussion into the stock taking session.
Who else? Lee, please.
Thank you, Markus. A light touch, to be pragmatic about this, I think we're saying many of the same things. I think all the platforms going through development, they're going from crawling to walking to running, they're at different stages, that will always be the case probably. So we all need to learn and we're all having teething problems. One of the things that can be done quite soon is that I think we all need some advice. We all need a little bit of, you know, how do I handle this situation or how do I connect for that, or what's your experience regarding this.
So you know, a big brother role, occasionally, when it's needed on a case by case basis. I think it would be quite. I think simply maybe to have organised a teleconference call maybe every couple of months with all regional platforms and anybody else and have a one hour moderated call to say, how is it going?
Do you need any how is the organisation of your platform, etcetera. So this could be a way of not looking at the themes, not looking at substance necessarily but the process to make sure that the platform is delivered and there's a sharing of information.
I'll be happy to talk to Lee about this afterward but I'm going to express a point of view that I suspect is actually shared by everyone in this room.
Creating, catalyzing, creating, building, and sustaining a national IGF is practically a full time. And none of us are doing yet as a full time. And building the relationships and maintaining and strengthening the relationships at that national level or even within a region. I frankly am concerned that adding a layer of other activity is going to burden what I consider to be very fragile activities. I'm not saying if people want to do something voluntarily, but I'm expressing a concern that we all the springing up much the national IGF initiatives in an organic manner is a fan tack. I guess I'm sort of thinking, we really need to the ability to do not just one and then fade away but continues.
So as you think the about snow I would go back to my question, what would be helpful to me and I think to everyone would be a private. I'll let you know who are cat a lying or chairing or organizing a contact list that has peopled. I am cautious about anything that adds, something else that I have to sustain.
You at the very beginning asked for an informal list of contacts. This is a very problematic way to continue a discussion. We can also set up a listserv. We can see how it works. We could ask each organiser to add a name or two from that list. Whether they see any need for this, whether it develops. It may fade away. We don't know that in response. This is something we can also organize if question. Or a head of a consultation or whatever. Is there any input, is there any input from the regional ones again. We would not false.
If there's a felt that it could serve a purpose, we happily do so. Just to facilitate communication. There may be some interesting ideas coming up in. What should the agenda be for the next, things we could put then. This is the input we get from the regions. I think this can be done. Of course, give us an email address or be on the list. It's an operating sort of process. With this, on an pecks. Yes, please, Mark.
Thanks very much, just a quick thought off the top of my head. And now on an experimental basis, see who comes forward. That could spring something forward to help things. Thought a thought. I don't know. Just to set aside a short amount of time in Geneva where they usually are. Thanks.
One question will be the availability of those who are not in Geneva. I see around the table quite a number of people who are not in Geneva. It might be easier for interaction to have a Webex session, just find the slots. There may be restrictions with regard to time differences. We don't have to go until 1:30 because we have reserved the room. We can finish later, have more time for lunch. Yes, please.
One of the questions, which was, what is the relationship, if any, you see what is the relationship, if any, between the agenda, what is the difference between the IGF's. Do I summarize this properly by saying, there should be an initiative could choose to follow the themes or workshop opportunities for the national IGF set the future.
I think that sums it up nicely. It was a general feeling, for each of the national and inter-nation, where we had a discussion. They can talk among themselves and be working well and be of interest. And you summed it up nicely. I think that was also the general idea. They should follow more or less also explore the… we have three shouts out and look at issues that are important. IFT and this is not part of things. Bangladesh was clearly about ICT 4 D, make use of the time. It's important that we discuss this in a multistakeholder approach. I think this is the way we have to move forward, have enough flexibility.
You also asked for the floor.
My name is Roman Woznik. I'm from the association of the German Internet Industry, ECO. I'm going to speak for myself right now.
I think it's of invaluable importance to separately discuss their own approaches and their own topics. Also, it is of even more importance to share and benefit from their own experiences no a regional IGF meeting separate, to kind of bridge a time gap between the different global and regional IGF's, to keep the discussions going and then there's like two Sharing benefit from their own experiences. It should not be just an event. It should be a process.
Of course, the main difference as I see it between the global IGF and international IGF, we have no decision making authority. At the national IGF, you are involved, closer involvement. You have the concrete possibility to influence decisions at the national level. You want to come back to that, Ramon?
The different situations we had, we actually also taking part and representing the governmental section. And I think this is maybe just one item which can be discussed. Different IGF's, they have different people and organisations hosting their national IGF's. And we were talking about funding and different countries finding different solutions for the funding and people inviting businesses and different corporations who might be interested in developing the internet industry as will as an economic factor would be maybe an important and useful information also to give away to the regional IGF's.
Thank you. Who else would like to say something? I don't see much opposition against finishing this discussion early, unless anybody else has anything urgent or important to add.
I think we found quite a good level of consensus on what a national and regional IGF should be as a bottom/up, multistakeholder initiative. I think this is something we can communicate to the world at large in this afternoon session on taking stock on Internet governance as this is an important part of the landscape, these national and regional initiatives.
And at the more practical level, we can start collecting the email addresses for maintaining contact. And I will talk with Chengetai maybe about setting up a Webex link also on an experimental basis ahead of the next consultation we have in November.
Ginger, is there remote participation?
We have had several comments during the discussion just affirming that they agree with the speaker. And now I do have a question from Pakistan asking if there is someone who will be summarizing this discussion about the regional national IGF's as it is being discussed here. Is there a summary or do I just refer him to the transcript?
Do we have a volunteer to give a summary? But I thought to do it more oral into the meeting this afternoon. I mean, it's summarized fairly quickly, that we all agreed on a light approach. We all agreed on flexibility with regard to setting the agenda. We agreed on a light relationship.
But we agreed that there should be interaction among the various initiatives just to exchange and share information; also very much practical issues such as how to organise it, how to finance, to help each other out with contacts like, for instance, the lack of business participation in Africa, then we could have some positive interaction between maybe other regions. That could help. Those regions that we will continue the contact among the various initiatives in an informal way. And we will provide the same platform for discussion also to the next IGF as this was found generally to be useful.
Was there anything I have forgotten. Ginger?
The remote participant thanks you and would just like to confirm that the idea of secretariat is informing that there is no formal requirement from the UN IGF to hold or regional or national IGF.
Institutionally, we have no relationship whatsoever. So we cannot require anybody to do what though want to do. But they cannot say they're a UN IGF. They can say they are Pakistan or whatever IGF. And then all, collectively all the national and regional IGF initiatives say, if you want to be one of us, you have to be open, you have to be bottom/up, and you have to be multistakeholder. And if you fulfill these criteria, then we allow you collectively to call yourself IGF.
Have I summed up more or less? There doesn't seem to be any disagreement. So I think we can conclude this session. Oh, sorry, we cannot. Marilyn, please.
Actually, I don't necessarily agree that we should call ourselves IGF. I think we should call ourselves IGF initiatives. I make that distinction because if you know a lot about the Internet Governance Forum and you've attended the global forum, you know what it is. But we're in a delicate political environment.
And I would actually prefer that we maintain the and certainly welcome everyone's view, but my own assessment is we are better off to call ourselves national and/or regional IGF initiatives because that allows us to strengthen the brand of the IGF and be associated with it.
If we call ourselves IGF, I think at this political juncture, we create confusion.
Markus, can I suggest that that's a reasonable subject for light touch, and if that suits America specifically, not a problem. We've, for instance, had the UK IGF and I know others have done the same. And there's a name by which it's already known.
I'm so sorry. I don't mean what you call yourself. I mean what we call ourselves on the IGF Web site.
You may have noticed that this is exactly the approach I follow. I call all these IGF initiative, not create confusion, to make it clear, there is no institutional relationship between us and between these various relationships. There's a light relationship. We communicate, but you don't report to us. And I cannot give instructions to you.
With this, can we close the meeting? So thank you very much for attending this meeting and for your valuable input. If you're interested in becoming part of this communication, can you give me your business card now if you have one here or send me an email. I may remember most of you, but it's helpful to collect the information.
May I suggest you send an e mail to IGF@UNOG.CH, heading, regional initiatives, "I would like to be part of the LISTSERV" or something like that.
I would invite you to go to the stock taking session and participate actively in that session. I wish you bon appetit. Thank you very much.
(End of meeting.)