Talk:South Eastern European Dialogue (SEEDIG)

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Pre-SEEDIG webinar, 25 May 2015

A pre-SEEDIG webinar dedicated to all stakeholders who plan to attend SEEDIG (either in Sofia, or remotely) was held on Monday, 25 May.

The aim of the webinar was to introduce SEEDIG to participants, and to briefly explain the objectives of this initiative, as well as its programme. There were also brief introductions into the main topics of each SEEDIG session: Internet governance (term, principles, organisations and processes), multistakeholder Internet governance mechanisms at a national level, human rights for Internet users and Internationalised Domain Names.

Call for expressions of interest for financial support to attend SEEDIG and EuroDIG

The deadline (14 May) for submitting expressions of interest for financial support to attend SEEDIG and EuroDIG has passed. The initial call is available here.

Virtual planning meeting IV, 7 May 2015

I. SEEDIG Programme

An overview of the current state of the SEEDIG programme was given:

  • most of the approached key participants and moderators have confirmed their participation in the various sessions. Their names will be soon included in the sessions' wiki pages. There are few key participants and moderators still to be confirmed, and the executive committee is working on this.
  • once all key participants and the moderator of a session are confirmed, an email will be sent to all of them, to put them in touch and brief them on their expected contributions, and on the content and format of the session.
  • as a general rule, key participants will be asked to keep their introductory statements shorts (10 minutes for the keynote - the introductory part of each session, and 5 minutes for other key participants). This is in order to allow for the largest part of the sessions to be dedicated to open and inclusive discussions among all participants.
  • rapporteurs have been identified for all four sessions, thanks to those who have volunteered to take up these roles. Their names will be included in the sessions' wiki pages.

II. SEEDIG input into EuroDIG

As discussed before, all SEEDIG sessions will have reports which will be included in some "SEEDIG messages" to be conveyed to EuroDIG and the IGF.

In addition, SEEDIG input is also expected to go into EuroDIG workshop 1 - Should I click for Internet governance? Where?. SEEDIG participants will therefore be encouraged to also participate in this workshop and contribute to the discussions with ideas, themes and perspectives resulting from the SEEDIG debates.

SEEDIG input might also be expected to go into the EuroDIG WS 9 - Policy menus for connecting the next billion, but the scope of this session is still under discussion.

III. Participation

An update was given on the current list of registered participants: there seem to be around 80 registered EuroDIG participants who have expressed interest in attending SEEDIG as well. Some of them are from outside the SEE region. With the registration still open, there is hope that there will be a total of 60-80 participants present in Sofia for SEEDIG.

Participants were informed about a contribution from the IGF Support Association for funding SEEDIG and EuroDIG atendees. A call for expressions of interestfor financial support for attending SEEDIG and EuroDIG has been launched after the meeting.

Virtual planning meeting III, 25 March 2015

I. Outreach

Participants in the meeting discussed about approaches for further reaching out to potential SEEDIG attendees. Based on previous discussions, it was suggested that invitations should be sent out to such potential attendees, using the template that was previously agreed upon. As a start, SEEDIG invitations will be sent to attendees in the Regional Internet Forum that took place in Belgrade in the beginning of March. Similar invitations could then be sent to other stakeholders from the region, based on suggestions from members of the mailing list. The Bulgarian Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications is currently preparing invitations to be sent from the minister to homologue ministers in Europe (inviting participation from the ministries), as well as to other stakeholders in Bulgaria.

II. Draft programme

Way forward for further refining the programme

Version 3.1 of the SEEDIG draft programme was discussed during the meeting. There was agreement to accept the revisions made as a result of incorporating comments submitted in response to the call for input. It was noted that there are still many blank spaces in the sessions’ outlines, especially with regards to names for possible key participants, moderators and rapporteurs. For efficiency reasons, and in order to speed up the preparatory process, it was agreed that the sessions’ outlines would be further refined and first options would be identified for each slot (key participant, moderator, remote moderator, rapporteur) in each sessions, building upon existing suggestions, and where needed, adding new names. Thus, for each speaking slot in each session, a “first option” speaker will be identified, and other names will be listed as alternatives. The same will be done for moderators and rapporteurs. A revised programme outline incorporating these revisions will be shared with the mailing list, after which key participants / moderators / rapporteurs would be contacted.

A discussion was also held on the invitation addressed by the IGF Secretariat and the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group to national and regional IGF initiatives. In short, the IGF this year is planning to take up more intense inter-sessional work. One of the tracks for such inter-sessional work is on “Policy menus for connecting the next billion” and the IGF initiatives have been invited to take up this subject at their meetings and discuss it, with a view to provide input to the IGF. The IGF will then draft an output document based on all contributions received and this will go into public consultations and several iterations up to the IGF meeting in Brazil. In Brazil, the revised outcome document would be presented and a form of endorsement would be sought from the wider IGF community. Given this invitation, the question is whether SEEDIG can positively respond to it and identify a way in which to contribute to this IGF inter-sessional track. In this respect, several issues were discussed:

  • acting upon the invitation would send a positive signal about SEEDIG and would allow it to actively contribute to the IGF;
  • however, the challenge we now face is to identify how we could integrate discussions on “policies for connecting the next billion” into the SEEDIG programme, given that we already have a condense programme outline agreed upon
  • one option could be to propose a flash session for the EuroDIG on the topic of policies for bridging the digital divide. The constraint in this case is that a flash session is very short (only 30 min or so) and this would not give room for much debate.

It was agreed that we should look more into this issue and try to identify a way in which SEEDIG could respond to the IGF invitation.

III. Pre-SEEDIG FAQs/webinars/video

A previous proposal to organise webinar before SEEDIG was discussed during the meeting. In theory, such webinars could be held in the weeks prior to SEEDIG and they would take the form of introductions to some of the topics that are on the agenda of the event. Speakers who agree to participate in SEEDIG could also be invited to participate in the webinars. While participants in the meeting agreed that, in theory, organising webinars would be a good idea, it was also underlined that there is a risk of not being able to ensure a critical mass of participants in such webinars. A suggestion was made to try to prepare a video compiling brief statements from several SEEDIG speakers (on their participation in SEEDIG, on the topic of their intervention in SEEDIG, etc). This video can then act as a teaser and be used in the outreach efforts. Another proposal was to prepare a set of “frequently asked questions” which would explain the aim and scope of SEEDIG, to be used also in the outreach activities. Both proposals were positively received and it was agreed that they should be further discussed, with the aim of putting them into practice.

IV. Next steps

  • a revised programme to be prepared, in accordance with point II.1 above; after that, potential key participants to be contacted and progress to be periodically reported to the list;
  • invitations to be sent to various stakeholders in the region, in accordance with point I above;
  • further explore the ideas of pre-SEEDIG webinars/video and input into IGF inter-sessional work;
  • a fourth virtual meeting to be held once the programme outline is further developed.

Meanwhile, members of the mailing list are welcomed to:

  • provide their input on the invitation from the IGF Secretariat to participate in the inter-sessional track on “Policy menus for connecting the next billion”;
  • inform the group if formal SEEDIG invitations are needed for certain stakeholders;
  • make suggestions for key participants in the sessions, especially where no suggestion exist at the moment.

Call for input on draft session description

Draft session descriptions were prepared by a sub-group and shared with the entire mailing list. Group members were invited to provide comments and suggestions on this revised version of the programme, by 22 March:

  • Indicate whether they agree with the proposed session descriptions or whether they have comments and/or suggestions for revisions.
  • If at this stage there are ideas for possible key participants, moderators, remote moderators or rapporteurs, these can be added as well.
  • members can suggest resources they think are relevant for each session.

Virtual planning meeting II, 25 February 2015

I. Overarching theme and name of the event

Given that no comment was made and no objection was raised with regard to the previously proposed overarching theme, this was formally agreed as the final overarching theme of the SEE event:

  • „Multistakeholder Internet governance: from global debates to South Eastern European realities”

Several terms have been used so far when talking about the SEE event in Sofia, such as roundtable, pre-event, etc. However, a need was felt to use a term that would better describe the aim of the event and that could be used in a meaningful way in any text/message about the event. Using EuroDIG as a source of inspiration, and taking into account some ideas put forward during the very early discussions on a SEE event, the term “dialogue” was identified as a suitable option. As such, participants in the meeting agreed on the following general name for the event:

  • “South Eastern European Dialogue on Internet Governance”

II. Draft programme outline

The largest part of the meeting was dedicated to discussions on the draft programme outline previously shared with the list. Participants agreed on the general structure of the programme, which, in addition to the welcoming address and the conclusions, would include four sessions:

  • Introduction to Internet governance
    • Panellists to present: the notion of Internet governance (IG), IG principles, IG processes and organisations.
    • Dialogue among all participants on: How is IG perceived by stakeholders in the region? Why IG is relevant for them? What is the impact of IG on such stakeholders? Why is it important for stakeholders in the region to get engaged in IG processes and how to make this happen?
  • Multistakeholder Internet governance mechanisms/approaches at national level
    • Sharing of best practices in the region (ccTLD registries, national IGFs, other multistakeholder initiatives);
    • Dialogue among all participants on whether and how multistakeholder Internet governance mechanisms can be implemented at national level.
  • Human rights for Internet users: theoretical approaches vs realities in the region
    • Brief presentation of the Council of Europe’s “Guide to Human Rights for Internet Users”
    • Panel: one representative per stakeholder group (civil society, private sector, technical community, government); each should ideally come from a different country from the region. Each panellist will have 3 min. to present their views on realities and challenges in the region when it comes to implementing and respecting human rights for Internet users (e.g. privacy, protection of personal data, freedom of expression, access to information, etc.)
    • Dialogue among all participants on: human rights challenges in SEE and how to address them, in a multistakeholder bottom-up approach; how to move from theory to actual implementation, in line with regional realities, etc. Participants share experiences from their countries, ask questions, propose solutions, etc.
  • The domain name space in South Eastern Europe – the case of IDNs
    • Introduction to domain names: explaining the notions (DNS, gTLDs, ccTLDs); roles and responsibilities in the management of domain names (ICANN, registries, registrars, etc.)
    • IDNs: explaining the concept (What are IDNs? Why is/was IDN (both ccTLD and gTLD IDNs) needed? etc.) . Sharing of experiences from IDNs already delegated or in the process of being delegated.

With regards to the human rights session, a discussion was held on whether the session should have a broad focus (human rights in general, with the possibility of touching upon any human rights issue that might be raised during the discussions) or a narrow focus (choose one human rights topic and develop the session around it). It was mentioned that countries in the region might have different problems and challenges when it comes to implementing various human rights for Internet users; as such, participants in this session should be given the possibility to talk about such different issues. In addition, it was also underlined that most digital human rights are interconnected and it would be logical to allow the discussions to move from one right to another. Based on these comments, participants agreed that the session should keep its initial broader focus.

It was underlined during the discussions that all sessions should be as interactive as possible and allow for ample time for discussions among all participants. Panellists interventions would be limited to a certain amount of time (to be decided when framing the sessions in more details) and the largest part of each session should be dedicated to discussions among all participants. In order to achieve this aim, good moderators (able to engage the participants, to raise provocative questions, etc) would have to be identified for each session.

Participants also agreed on the idea of having key messages resulting from each session. As such, each session would have a rapporteur who will be responsible for taking notes during the session and preparing, 3-5 bullet points representing, in an objective manner, the key messages resulting from the debates. The rapporteur would present these bullet points at the end of the session, asking for agreement or disagreement (NOT a debate, just a “yes” or a “no”) from the audience. Those bullet points accepted by the audience will make it into more elaborated summaries (but not longer than half of page). These summaries would then be presented in the concluding session of the event and compiled into a document to be presented at the EuroDIG meeting (in a manner yet to be identified).

The programme outline needs to be further developed. First, more elaborated session descriptions need to be prepared. A sub-group will work on draft session descriptions, which would be then shared with the entire group, for comments and further input. Once there is agreement on the session description, we should move into identifying panellists, moderators and rapporteurs.

III. Outreach

As a follow up to previous suggestions and discussions, a text was prepared (and agreed by participants in the meeting) to present the SEE event and its objectives. This text was drafted in the form of an invitation and it can be used when doing outreach and inviting people to participate in the event. The invitation would be signed by whoever uses it, on behalf of the entire organising group. A general email address was created and added to the invitation, so that any questions with regards to the event can be directed to a single point and we can respond to them in a coordinated manner. As an observation, this invitation should not be used for governmental bodies, as formal invitations are to be sent by the Bulgarian Ministry.

It was mentioned during the discussions that one key element for the success of the SEE event is the number of participants. As such, further efforts are needed in order to attract as many participants from the region as possible. All members of the mailing list are kindly encouraged to use the above mentioned invitation (together with the draft programme outline, if needed) and reach out to members of their communities. Any suggestions in this regard and any actions undertaken can be added in the shared spreadsheet available here Suggestions regarding the issue of funding participants to attend the event are also encouraged, as this is one of main challenges for attracting participation.

IV. Next steps

  • Continue work on the programme outline:
    • draft session descriptions to be prepared by the sub-group and shared with the list;
    • comments and further input on the draft session descriptions would be sought from the list;
    • once there is agreement on the session description, suggestions would be sought for panellists, moderators and rapporteurs.
  • Continue efforts for outreach and attracting sponsors
  • A third virtual meeting will be held once programme outline would be further developed.

Face-to-face planning meeting, 26 January 2015, Sofia

A second planning meeting for the SEE event took place on 26 January, in Sofia, in the context of the EuroDIG planning meeting.

I. Topics for discussions and format of the sessions

Discussions continued on possible topics for the round-table, based on the list of proposals that resulted from the virtual meeting on 21 January. Below are the proposals coming out from the meeting:

1. General discussion on Internet governance (morning session(s))

  • introduction about Internet governance (IG): explaining the notion of IG, multistakeholderism, IG principles (to be presented by a panelist). Discussions about: how is IG perceived by stakeholders in the region/why IG is relevant for them/what is the impact of IG on such stakeholders?
  • IG processes and organizations in the IG ecosystem: IGF, EuroDIG, national IGF initiatives, ICANN, ISOC, etc (to be presented by panelists). Discussions on why it is important for stakeholders in the region to get engaged and how to make this happen?
  • multistakeholder mechanisms/approaches at a national level: panelists to share experiences/best practices from the region (Serbian ccTLD registry, Armenian initiative, other similar cases, if identified); dialogue among all participants about whether and how these models can be replicated in other countries in the region. [Note: this can be a separate session in itself.]

2. Domain names (afternoon session)

  • introduction to domain names: explaining the notions (DNS, gTLDs, ccTLDs, IDNs); roles and responsibilities in the managements of domain names (ICANN, registries, registrars, registrants, etc).
  • sharing of experiences from the region: ccTLD management; IDN (why is it needed; how to make it happen; experiences of already delegated ccTLD IDNs (Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, etc.) and gTLD IDNs); TLD policies.

3. Human rights for Internet users: theoretical approaches vs realities (afternoon session)

  • session to start with a presentation of the Council of Europe Guide to Human Rights for Internet Users (panelist from CoE);
  • next, a panel with one representative for each stakeholder group (from different countries in the region) to share their views about the realities in the region when it comes to human rights for Internet users (e.g. freedom of expression, access to information, privacy and data protection, etc);
  • move into debates with the entire audience (this should be the largest part of the session): what are the related challenges for SEE and how to possibly address them, in a multistakeholder, bottom-up approach; how to move from theoretical approach to actual implementation, in line with the realities in the region.

II. Messages for the SEE event

Based on previous suggestions, a discussion was held on the idea of having some sort of summary of the SEE event. Thus, the proposal is to designate one rapporteur for each session, who will be responsible for taking notes during the session and writing a short summary of the discussions (one-two paragraphs), making sure that all views expressed are objectively reflected. Using EuroDIG 2014 experience, the rapporteur can draft 3-5 bullet points during the session and present them at the end of the session, asking for agreement or disagreement (NOT a debate, just a yes or no) from the audience. Those bullet points accepted by the audience (majority) will make it into the more elaborated summaries. These summaries would then be included in the overall EuroDIG messages.

III. Outreach

A discussion was held on how to do outreach in the region, among all stakeholder groups, in order to attract participation in the SEE event. The following ideas were discussed:

  • We need to elaborate a text about the SEE event, explain the objectives, the overarching theme and the possible topics of discussions. This text would be posted on the EuroDIG website and used as a template for “invitations” all group members can use when reaching out to possible participants.
  • We need to share responsibilities among us (all of us on the mailing list willing to contribute) for reaching out to various stakeholder groups. We should try to reach to anyone we know, from any stakeholder group in our countries: business (national telcos, ISPs, registrars, etc.), members of national parliaments and of the European Parliament, academia, civil society, technical community, media, etc.
  • In order to keep track of who is doing what in terms of outreach, there is a need for a sort of an online tool where we add everything each of us is doing and updates on the progress.

IV. Asking for input from the list

Based on these discussions, input was requested on the following issues. The deadline for such input was 15 February.

  • Overarching theme for the SEE event

Group members were asked to indicate whether they agree with the previously proposed overarching theme ("Multistakeholder Internet governance: from the global debates to SEE realities") or have other suggestions.

  • Topics and format

Group members were asked to provide any comments, agreement or disagreement on/with the proposals for topics and formats presented above.

  • Messages

Group members were asked to provide their comments, agreement or disagreement on/with the proposal regarding messages from the SEE event.

  • Outreach

Group members were asked to provide comments on the proposed actions for outreach, make new suggestions, if any, and indicate how exactly they can contribute to this process.

Next steps:

  • 15 February: deadline for input on the issues above;
  • second virtual meeting: the week of 23 February (to be decided based on a doodle poll) – to start framing the sessions (working titles, participants, moderators, rapporteurs, remote moderators, etc) and provide updates and continue discussions on logistics and outreach.

Virtual planning meeting I, 21 January 2015

I. Objective of the SEE round table

A discussions was held on what it is intended to be achieved with this event (and possible follow up events) and the following points were generally agreed upon:

  • promote a better understanding among SEE stakeholders about Internet Governance (IG) in general, and IG issues, in particular;
  • raise awareness and interest to participate in regional and international IG debates/processes/organizations;
  • explain the importance of developing multistakeholder IG mechanisms at national level;
  • create a framework for discussions on IG issues relevant to stakeholders in SEE (share best practices, experiences, discuss about possible solutions, etc.)

II. Overarching theme for the event

Following the EuroDIG model, the event should have an overarching theme under which to frame the discussions on specific topics. Support was expressed during the meeting for the following proposal for such an overarching theme: "Multistakeholder Internet governance: from the global debates to SEE realities"

III. Topics for discussions

Discussions were held on possible topics for the round-table, starting from the full list of proposals collected through the mailing list. Below are the topics that received most support during our discussions:

  • General discussion on Internet governance: the notion of IG, multistakeholderism, IG principles, IG processes/fora/organizations, etc.
  • Domain names (to include issues related to IDN, ccTLDs, ICANN and its activities, etc)
  • Multistakeholder mechanisms for Internet governance at a national level: examples of multistakeholder IG models/mechanisms (i.e. CGI.br and similar initiatives under way in Europe), benefits of such models; whether and how such approaches could be developed/implemented in SEE countries.
  • Human rights for Internet users: a possible discussion to start from the Council of Europe Guide to human rights for Internet users and go into debates on what are the related challenges for SEE and how to possibly address them, in a multistakeholder, bottom-up approach.
  • Public service media in the digital environment.

IV. Format of the event

The following general outline was proposed:

  • have the event split in two distinct sections:
    • a morning session for a general overview on IG (notions, concept, processes, organizations). This session could start with an introduction on “how the Internet works and why should we care”.
    • The afternoon would be dedicated to discussions on the specific IG topics to be agreed upon: why are these topics relevant to the SEE region, how are they currently addressed and how they could/should be further addressed, based on existing best practices and experiences.

Once a decision is made on the topics to be discussed, a more detailed discussion will be held on the exact format of the event, the number of sessions, their format, etc.

V. Next steps

  • agree on the overarching theme of the event;
  • narrow down the list of topics presented above to maybe a maximum of three topics;
  • once the topics are agreed, start more detailed discussions on the format and content of the sessions.

VI. Asking for input from the list

Based on these discussions, input was requested on:

  • Overarching theme for the SEE event

Group members were asked to indicate whether they agree with the proposed theme (point II above) or have other suggestions.

  • Topics

Group members and other interested stakeholders were asked to indicate which of the five general topics listed at point III above they would want to be discussed at the SEE event.

  • Format

Group members were asked to indicate whether they agree with the general outline presented at point IV above or whether theyyou have other suggestions.

Call for input on themes and topics to be discussed at the South Eastern European event

Between November 2014 and January 2015, input was collected on themes and topics to be discussed at a South Eastern European event to be held as a pre-event to the eighth EuroDIG meeting. This was done via the dedicated mailing list.

Summary of input

Proposal for an overarching theme:

  • "Multistakeholder Internet governance: from the global debates to SEE realities"

Proposals for topics:

  • the need for capacity building, and responding to a perceived lack of information on IG issues;
  • capacity building in relation with IG process;
  • recognizing what are Internet governance issues in the first place;
  • the multistakeholder model - what is community-driven policy? How does it work?
  • learn more about what is ICANN; what are registries / registrars;
  • security & privacy;
  • cybercrime;
  • digital divide;
  • content localisation;
  • censorship/interference with content;
  • human rights for Internet users;
  • IDNs;
  • multistakeholder approach in national IDN domain management;
  • challenges for regional Public Service Media in the New Media Environment.

Start of discussions for an Internet governance event dedicated to SEE

Discussions on the idea of building an Internet governance event dedicated to stakeholders in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area started in June 2014, among a small group of stakeholders from the region. During these discussions, it was observed that there is an interest in creating a 'space' for discussions on Internet governance related issues focused on South Eastern European and the neighbouring area. This could be viewed as a venue for multistakeholder discussions on issues which are specific and relevant to the countries in the region (see below). It would also represent an opportunity for raising awareness within these countries about the international discussions on Internet governance and the fora where such discussions are being held, and, thus, encouraging more participation and involvement from within the region.

Following discussions with the EuroDIG Secretariat, it was agreed that such a SEE initiative would be put in place as a pre-event to the eighth EuroDIG meeting. This was seen as a good approach, given that the EuroDIG meeting will be held in Sofia (therefore, within the SEE region) and that organising the two events back-to-back could attract more participants, especially from the region, and would also generate more interest for and attention towards the SEE event.

A mailing list was created to continue the discussions on this SEE event, and all intersted stakeholders were (and still are) invited to join and help sape the initiative: icann-see@rnids.rs The archives of the mailing list are publicly available.