Welcome 2021

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29 June 2021 | 10:00-10:30 CEST | Studio Bruges, streamed to all locations | Video recording | Transcript
Consolidated programme 2021 overview / Day 1

Welcome to the Studios

  • Studio Trieste: Atish Dabholkar, Director, International Centre for Theoretical Physics (10')
  • Studio Belgrade: Tatjana Matić, Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, Republic of Serbia (10')
  • Studio Bruges: Philippe de Lombaerde, Director Ad Interim of the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies


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>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: We have to make sure we really get to Trieste next year. The flag did not get there and the dart was remiss. Let’s try something new this year. I would like to hand over the ball to The Hague first.

>> HAGUE STUDIO: Last year we also hosted, three times in a row is a lot. I pass it on to Berlin.

>> BERLIN STUDIO: As you know, 2014, we were in Berlin and we all know where we want to go next year, which is Italy, to Trieste.

>> TRIESTA STUDIO: Now we have the ball! We look forward to meeting you in Trieste in 2021.

>> THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Where are we? Are we not in Trieste? It looks almost like the football stadium but it is actually maybe an amphitheater, we seem to at least be in Italy.

>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: That’s where we want to go, Italy.

>> THOMAS SCHNEIDER: We wanted to go to Trieste. Not Verona.


Nice to see you! Can we see your director, please, Mr. Atish Dabholkar? Mr. Atish Dabholkar, apology, something went totally wrong! You invited us for the second time to Trieste, but we didn’t find our way.

I’m really sorry for misspelling your name and not making it to the right place again! What are we going to do with this?

>> ATISH DABHOLKAR: Well, I would say one, I wish we had all of you, as you can see, this is wonderful.

I think somebody has their Studio Trieste turned off, their audio. There is a – there is a feedback.

>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: We can hear you very well.

>> ATISH DABHOLKAR: I think if we can turn your audio off. Mute yourself.

>> THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Just continue.

>> ATISH DABHOLKAR: Please mute yourself.

Thank you for coming to EuroDIG 2021. I really hope that this is – this is the second time in a row that we are hosting this virtually. I hope to be able to meet you all in person in 2022.

In this year, we are particularly aware and we have learned that the Internet is not only essential for our personal live, but also it is a key to our professional life as we are seeing now. We’re all on Zoom. Most of us have been in touch with colleagues all around the planet thanks to an efficient, open Internet, and therefore I think Internet governance is particularly important for the academic community if you want to achieve truly open science, and this is really phenomenal to the mission of ICTP.

I think that’s better. Somebody has switched off their video. It is much better.

Again it is on. Very good. Okay.

If you want to achieve truly open science, open Internet is a condition and the principle, an ambitious principle based on availability of accessible Internet connectivity and making sure that this kind of connectivity can be sustained with good governance, EuroDIG particularly is becoming even more relevant given the pandemic.

As a scientist, actually I looked at the programme, it looks very interesting. I particularly look forward to the session on the benefits and challenges for unleashing the potential of quantum technologies. It is in another half hour. ICTP has been a key player in the field of information theory and quantum information research. In 2019ICTP created an institute for the theory of quantum technologies, we call it QTP, it is an international centre of excellence promoting research in the field of quantum technologies and a Katowice list for theoretical activities not only in Italy but in developing and Developing Countries. It is related to computation and Internet because by 2030 the European Union is expected to have created quantum safe networks for connecting all countries in Europe. I think this session is of particular interest to me.

This is, of course, raising challenges from the infrastructure point of view or quality point of view and legal perspectives which requires new theoretical framework and robust technological development. I think it is very timely topic for the discussion with EuroDIG.

As I said, we have wonderful weather here. I wish you could actually come here, maybe looking just across the ocean, and in the meantime, I wish you a successful EuroDIG 2021 and I look forward to the 2022 edition in person. Thank you very much.

>> THOMAS SCHNEIDER: In Trieste next year. Some people are in Trieste this year and we’re jealous.

I’m muted. I’m muted? Can you hear me.

I’m told you can hear.

We are not only here in Verona and Trieste, last night we were in Bucharest for a football game and we will go to awful the cities and the country site this time with the football championship. So we have friends in bell great that also have a studio if we manage, if technology allows, we will then connect to Belgrade.

Belgrade, can you hear us?

>> ARVIN KAMBERI: We can hear you loud and clear.

>> THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Good to see you.

>> ARVIN KAMBERI: We’re not in the football championship, European, but we have another competition, which is female basketball in which we just got a gold medal a couple of weeks ago. Yes. We’ll skip video discussing football but we’re a basketball nation.

Hello from the studio in Belgrade. As you know, a track of EuroDIG will be here from Belgrade. I’m here in the Serbia International Domain Registry and I’m from DIPLO alongside others, we’ll help facilitate one track in Belgrade.

>> THOMAS SCHNEIDER: As always, you are there to help! Thank you!

>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Nice to see you. I know women play a big role in your country and I heard that you invited your Telecom Minister, is that true?

>> ARVIN KABERI: It is true, Sandra.

Of course, they reply, and we’ll hear from a Minister.

>> TATJANA MATIĆ: It is a privilege on behalf of the Republic of Serbia to be here at the opening of the 14th European Dialogue on Internet Governance, EuroDIG. More than 500 foreign and domestic delegates in Belgrade participated discussing digital literacy and skills when we hosted this, combating cybercrime and ensuring safety, freedom of expression, future of media, privacy and anonymity and identity. Overall, the European and national priorities for Internet governance..

Fast forward to 2021, those issues remain pertinent and high on the EuroDIG agenda. Yet, many discussions have matured and were followed by various policies and regulatory initiatives across Europe.

Some new topics have emerged that we should put particular focus on, including the role that the Internet plays during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Regulation of digital services and content moderation, cybersecurity principles and standards, challenges of quantum technologies and AI and the link between Smart Cities and environment, rights and the economic growth. Tough issues.

One topic that’s relevant, the challenge that youth face and their role in shaping our better cyber future. As our citizens get increasingly digital young people face a range of risks from finding objectionable content, sexual abuse, addiction and health issues. Serbia adopted the regulation for children’s safety in informational and communicational technologies, and we have formed the National Centre for Children’s Safety Online as a Centre for Prevention, Education and Reporting of Cases of Children on Internet. This area is regulated by the law on information security.

Serbia recognizes for digital to bring social and economic benefits to all, we must also develop a well thought, truthfully discussed digital policy environment based on inputs of all stakeholders. This is why Belgrade is among the host of the euro EuroDIG, virtually this year, along with Bruges and Trieste. It is an honor to be standing to together in this endeavor with partners like the European Commission, Council of Europe, ICANN, European Broadcasting Union, certainly the Serbian International Domain Registry, DIPLO Foundation and the Internet Society that are behind the Belgrade Studio this year. It is also my pleasure to announce that Serbia is coming back to the map of European countries, which have their national Internet Governance Forum, IGF. We have been among the first countries in the world to organize national multistakeholder consultation on Internet governance soon after the United Nations started the global IGF in 2006 in Athens.

After some years of inactivity, the Serbia national multistakeholder IGF will again take place as envisaged in the new national strategy on Information Society. With hopes, Serbia will soon again be able to host you physically, and allow you to feel the vibrancy of our society and beauty of our nature.

I wish you a fruitful work and discussions in our virtual Belgrade studio as well as throughout EuroDIG.

All the best.

>> ARVIN KAMBERI: Thank you, Minister. We heard from Tatjana Matić, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Communications of the Republic of Serbia.

As you heard, we announced a new regional initiative – a national initiative on IGF in Serbia.

With this, we wish you a great start to EuroDIG.

>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you and we congratulate you that you continue with the national IGF. I know that you had one a couple of years ago, it was quite successful and I’m pretty sure you will be a benchmark – set the benchmark again in this regard. We wish you also good luck for the sessions that you’re hosting today and let’s connect to our third studio, based in Bruges this year.

Nadia, nice to see you.

>> NADIA TJAHJA: Good morning! Host.

>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: I see you changed place from The Hague to Bruges.

>> NADIA TJAHJA: I have. It is good to be here. I’m very happy and welcome you here.

>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: I understood that you have invited someone as a keynote speaker to your studio, which will open the day for us.

>> NADIA TJAHJA: The director of the United Nations University Philippe de Lombaerde. We hope he’s unmuting himself so that he can start his keynote.

>> PHILLIPPE de LOMBAERDE: Good morning to all of you. Thank you very much for inviting me.

It looks as if I’m talking to you from cyberspace, but I’m actually sitting in Bruges.

We’re very happy to host this Bruges Studio and I would like to thank Nadia very much for the initiative that she’s taken, and Nadia together with her team, in doing this great job. Anticipated congratulations already to the team.

Just two words: We’re part of the United Nations University. It is one of the institutes of the United Nations University which in turn is part of the U.N. family and it is – if you wish to think of the U.N. a think tank. It is an academic space created in the U.N. system to think, to do research about pressing problems that humanity is faced with. We’re not operating as a traditional university, we’re not organized by disciplines, but we typically do interdisciplinary work on a number of areas, a number of governance challenges that we are faced with. As the U.N. system as a whole, Sustainable Development is the central concept which is guiding our work.

There are about 15 institutes worldwide. One in Bruges where the studio is based. It is focusing on regional governance, regional cooperation, regional integration. And I would say beyond regional governance, it is about multilevel governance, how regions, super national regionals, sub national regions interact with national governance levels and the global level.

We have organized our work around the concept of regional public goods and we’re looking at how regions can contribute to the implementing policies in a number of areas, migration, trade, security, health, environment and so, but since a few year, we have also been organizing work on digital governance, the understanding that the Digital Transformation is indeed crosscutting if he phenomenon that challenges many, many aspects of our societies and which challenges policymaking in many areas.

We have organized a cluster and Nadia, who is chairing the Bruges Studio is part of this, along with other professors. Recently we have launched a committee in digital sovereignty with the support from Microsoft. We’re developing activities in this area and you are very much invited to have a look at our website in you’re interested in what we’re doing.

We are very happy to connect with EuroDIG and because we’re very much convinced that these multistakeholder conversations about how to regulate, how to govern cyberspace are extremely important. This is not something that you can organize at the national level or at the local level, you necessarily need the conversation which involves different levels of governance and also different types of actors. We are struggling with finding the right balance between the public sphere, the private sphere, the national sphere, the international sphere, transnational sphere. So this is – this is at the core of all of these debates on digital governance.

We are very happy to be part of this, and EuroDIG plays an important role in this, also to hear the voice of especially the young people and not only to create let’s say our own environment in which we want to develop these neck knowledges, but to especially formulate positions which are then – which then enter wider conversations at the global level. Conclusions from your debates, conversations through the coming days, it will be then inputs in the Global Forum on Internet Governance held later this year in December. So this is very important, that we establish these links between different fora and this is exactly what you are doing.

Thank you for the initiative. We’re very happy to be the host and we wish you a fruitful debate. I have seen the programme and it looks very promising. All of the best.

Over to you.

>> THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Thank you for a historic moment for connecting us for the first time in the history of mankind to a U.N. University in outer space. This is after last night’s outer space football game, another historic moment we’re happy to share with you.

I will now leave new the able hands of Sandra who will continue to get us – we’re going to another town, another experiment we’re using in EuroDIG. We think we have to move forward. I will go there and try to get people in the Zoom rooms.

Enjoy, everyone, enjoy your place wherever you are. See you soon.

>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: See you soon, Thomas.

Let me just – because we have five minutes until the official start of the sessions, I know that at least some of the key participants log into the sessions directly. Let’s give them a chance to connect in the next 5 minutes.

I will ask the studios to check if all of the stream something on and the cohosting rights are assigned to perspective speakers, and I would like to make participants aware of the new session format.

The format of the focus session, this is an experiment this year that we’re trying to do. It was born out of the necessity that we have to deal with conditions under a pandemic and our aim was that we’re not going to spend too much time in closed rooms, therefore we made workshops only 60 minutes and the focus session, which is the three-fold session, it is 45 minutes with 15-minute break in between.

We didn’t make it to Trieste as you know, but we thought we would keep that format which is kind of a subsidiary for what we usually knew as Plenary. Plenary, they were sometimes a little bit challenging in terms of that they are not very interactive and since we have the dialogue in our name, we keep exchange very high, high on the agenda. We will try with this focus session to achieve both, to give high-profile speakers the opportunity to deliver input, but then we would like to discuss and have breakout sessions on what the input was about, where there were difference, agreement, then we have an output part and that output part is particularly important for our messages.

After the EuroDIG event, we will all – we will formulate sessions, messages from all sessions and these will be distributed among policymaking institutions and to the Global IGF as well transporting what’s been discussed at EuroDIG.

All focus sessions will take place in Studio Bruges, and all other workshops will take place in Studio Trieste and Belgrade.

Be aware that the breaks this time, they’re not carved in stone. We would like to organize this EuroDIG as much flexible as possible. That’s one of the reasons why we set up this Gather.Town where people have the opportunity to meet randomly. This is what we all miss the most, the side discussions in the corridor, and to bump in people that you have not seen for a while. It gives you side conversations to give you new ideas to create creativity is what we’re missing. We’re aware that we cannot achieve this with a virtual meeting, but we try our best. If you want to continue the discussion, in the break, find your space in the Gather.Town, in this town you will find – usually this is a place with two Chairs and a bench and there you can have a private conversation and this is also like an – in a normal setting. Usually when you want to have an in-depth conversation in the conference centre, you go into a seating area and you can have a discussion in an undisturbed way.

Something important I would like to make you aware of, to give us pleasure in the evening for all of those who are not interested in football so much, we have invited a mentalist tonight and you will be able to follow his show in the theater where I am. At the moment, you see it is empty; in the evening, I hope to see many of you in the theater. You will find your way in Gather.Town and be prepared that this is going to be an interactive. Show and with your email, registration details, you got something to print out and to have that ready, printed out.

This person will talk to you. He will call on you. Don’t be shy! Switch on your camera! Enjoy this day, and also enjoy the programme in the evening.

With this, I hand over to all studios and wish you a very successful and pleasant day and we will reconnect in one of the breaks.