Welcome 2019

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19 June 2019 | 9:00-9:15 | KING WILLEM-ALEXANDER AUDITORIUM | Video recording | Transcription
Consolidated programme 2019 overview

Welcome 2019


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This text, document, or file is based on live transcription. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), captioning, and/or live transcription are provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. This text, document, or file is not to be distributed or used in any way that may violate copyright law.

>> MARJOLIJN BONTHUIS: Please, can everybody come forward a little bit. We're about to begin.

>> ARNOLD VAN RHIJN: Dear guests. Good morning to you all. On behalf of the ministry of economic affairs and climate policy, as hosts of this event, and also on behalf of the entire multi-stakeholder host team, a warm welcome to you all in the auditorium and online, because we have remote participants.

A warm welcome, despite the current bad weather. We cannot rely on that in The Netherlands. But we can rely on you being here and we thank you for that.

We have an interesting but busy program ahead of us, so we should get started. Don't you think so, Marjolijn.

>> MARJOLIJN BONTHUIS: I think so. At the end of the day, with we go to the beach, it will be very dry weather, but for now, have a very good today, and very inspiring and I invite the mayor of The Hague to start the dialogue today. Welcome to Pauline Krikke.



>> PAULINE KRIKKE: Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, a warm welcome to The Hague, the city whose honor it is to host the European dialogue on the Internet Governance, a meeting which follows in the footsteps of other conferences held in The Hague on this topic. Like the global conference on cyberspace and the summit on accountability in the digital age.

But this European dialogue on Internet Governance also fits in the wider Hague tradition. A tradition which dates back to the end of the 19th century, but which is still very much alive today. Because of its part that makes -- because it is part of what The Hague makes what it is. And that is, building a better world. A peaceful, just, and safe world. And anyone wanting to create a better world in the 21st century cannot, of course, do that without taking cyberspace into account.

We can no longer imagine our lives without the Internet. It offers us a wealth of opportunities. But at the same time, presents us with complex problems. Because where does the boundary lie between what is and what is not acceptable in a digital world? Where does freedom of expression end and censorship begin? And to what extent do we want governments or commercial parties to decide what we are going to see?

A great deal has been written about the capacity of social media to promote democracy and build bridges. But at the same time, it also becomes clear that social media can create an even deeper social divides and turn groups of people against one another.

As the city of peace and justice, The Hague wants to be actively involved in finding answers to the question of how to deal with this new reality. Because it is only the -- because if only the Internet is free, safe, and accessible to all, that it can support freedom and democracy and foster innovation, along with social and economic progress.

In short, only a free and safe Internet will help to build a better world. Attempts to nationalize it, and place it under government control will rob the Internet of its unique power, the dynamism that comes from the fact that everyone can put something on it. Of course, we all want to see crime and abuse banned from the Internet, but that should never be a pretext for censorship.

Which brings me to the next point. Last November, we celebrated the 17th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A human life span later, this universal declaration has lost none of its -- has not -- okay. Again. Has not lost anything of its importance. And is still desperately needed as a measure of human dignity.

Far away and also less far away, including in Europe, we see nationalist forces gaining ground. And freedom coming under attack of new -- on numerous fronts. For example, press freedom and education, as well as at the Internet. I can honestly say that these developments worry me. I do not believe in the notion of every man for himself. I believe in the power of openness. And international cooperation. That is also the strength of The Hague. The city where the world is at home.

The question which this raises, however, is what about human rights in the digital world? International law, the foundation of which were laid at The Hague peace conferences applies to the digital world as well. But it has to be observed, of course. Something on which agreements have to be made. And that is precisely why I'm so delighted that European Dialogue on Internet Governance is taking place right here in The Hague. Because this is a process which humanity will have to develop together. The Hague sees it as its task to support that process in whatever way it can. And our deputy mayor is very much involved in that.

There is already ample expertise on this subject available in and around The Hague. In the field of cybersecurity, for example, but also increasingly in the field of artificial intelligence, and the use of big data for humanitarian aid.

A few days ago, a hackathon for peace, justice and security, again, brought many people with cyber talent to The Hague. Apart from this concentration of knowledge, The Hague has proven itself to be a unique setting for building trust between parties, confidence between nations, faith between businesses, and as a place for international dialogue.

I wish you plenty of inspiration and success today and tomorrow and know that you will always be welcomed in The Hague.


>> MARJOLIJN BONTHUIS: Thank you very much. And thank you for your hospitality as well. I think after these two days, everybody feels the warm welcome in The Hague. And welcome back. Thank you.

For now, I'm very short. I invite Sandra Hoferichter to the stage from the EuroDIG Secretariat, and without her and her team this conference was not here. So we're very happy to invite you and take the floor. The floor is yours.



>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Dear, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends of a free and open EuroDIG, dear friends of an open Internet. This year's model cooperating in the digital age is in my view one of the strongest we ever had.

First of all, it describes a need that comes more and more evident because no single stakeholder can claim to have the solution to shape our digital future. Secondly, it comes very timely. Just after President Emmanuel Macron, during last year's IGF, just after governments, the private sector and many civil society organizations signed the Paris Call of Trust and Security in Cyberspace and just after the report of UN secretary Antonio Gutierrez's high-level panel on digital cooperation released a report.

Our title hits also the right place and it's not by accident to have this model in The Netherlands, since cooperation is in the DNA of the Dutch people and has a long history here in the country, not only in relation to the Internet. However, cooperation is a big word. The good thing is it's better understood than Internet Governance because it is a universal word and has similar syntax across the globe, but opinions on wide spread of how far cooperation goes. It bears a promise that can be broken. For instance when the commitment to cooperate remains lip service or when cooperation is on a level and a level of discussion is disconnected from the level of taking decisions.

In many cases, this is still reality, and we should be creative how to overcome this gap. We will summarize the results of the debates from these two days in the messages of The Hague and you will find and your delegates the messages from CDIG, the southeastern governance which took place a month ago. Please take these views into consideration when discussing the issues here.

During the next two days, you will have the opportunity to experience the Dutch way of cooperation. They have even created a term for it, it's called polderen, that comes from a process of making land out of water and it literally means finding common ground. But you can also expect and experience Dutch hospitality, and I can promise you our host has put a lot of effort into making your stay in The Hague unforgettable. Furthermore, they prove to be an excellent cooperation partner when planning this event. I would like to express my deepest thanks and appreciation, in particular, to Arnold van Rhijn, and Marjolijn and the city council.

I have a feeling we reached another level registration for this conference. We, indeed have nearly 800 registrations, but I guess weather and some traffic jams is hampering the people from reaching this venue in time. However, it gives me confidence to continue promoting multi-stakeholder dialogue and cooperation in the digital age.

Next year, I can say already we will go back to the roots of the Internet, be curious, who will take the flag from The Netherlands last session of the dialogue. And now I wish you two days of happy polderen.

>> MARJOLIJN BONTHUIS: Thank you, Sandra. Indeed, I hope everybody will be inspired after those two days, and will never forget this conference even if you are not here yet. I think you will hear everything from everybody.

This text, document, or file is based on live transcription. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), captioning, and/or live transcription are provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. This text, document, or file is not to be distributed or used in any way that may violate copyright law.


Find an independent report of the session from the Geneva Internet Platform Digital Watch Observatory at https://dig.watch/sessions/welcome.