Digital cooperation between African and European parliamentarians – Opening plenary 2023
19 June 2023 | 17:15 - 18:30 EEST | Main auditorium | |
Consolidated programme 2023 / Opening plenary
This session will be be organised in direct response to the recommendations made during the 17th Internet Governance Forum's stocktaking process, as well as the valuable feedback and suggestions shared by participating parliamentarians during various IGF events. The objective is to facilitate dialogue between African and European Members of Parliament who are members of parliamentary committees related to Internet Governance or key drivers shaping the global common digital future.
The round table discussion aims to:
- Follow up on discussions and progress from the annual IGF and coordinate continent-to-continent cooperation efforts.
- Discuss current and future digital cooperation between Europe and Africa.
- Make meaningful investments in building capacity in the region.
- Strengthen comprehensive and harmonised policies and regulations governing personal and non-personal data.
- Share best practices and lessons learned from citizens of the two continents.
- Promote enhanced partnerships for investments in green, secure data infrastructure.
The 17th Internet Governance Forum took place in Addis Ababa from November 28 to December 2, 2022, and focused on the theme of "Resilient Internet for a Shared Sustainable and Common Future". One of the main issues that the forum brought to light was the challenge of achieving Universal, Affordable, and Meaningful connectivity, which remains out of reach for many people worldwide and in particular in Africa.
At the continental level, the African Union (AU) has adopted a human-centred, inclusive, and development-oriented approach to digital transformation, with a focus on leaving no one behind. To achieve this goal, the AU has implemented several noteworthy instruments, including the Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (2020-2030), the Data Policy Framework for Digital ID, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), the Malabo Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Security, the Declaration on Internet Governance and Development of Africa's Digital Economy of 2018, the Personal Data Protection Guidelines for Africa, and Regional Model laws on data protection and cybersecurity. In February 2022, the African Union achieved a significant digital milestone with the unanimous adoption of the African Union Data Policy Framework. This framework comprises a common vision, principles, and key recommendations aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of the transformative potential of data across the continent.
As Africa undergoes digital transformation, it is confronted with various complex challenges related to safeguarding the safety of women and children from online abuse, ensuring cybersecurity, protecting human rights, and upholding digital rights such as freedom of expression and privacy. These challenges are further compounded by persistent factors such as Iinternet shutdowns, censorship, and surveillance, which heighten the associated threats and risks. It is crucial to prioritise the harmonisation of Internet governance frameworks both nationally and internationally. This will facilitate a coordinated and cohesive approach to Iinternet governance, which can strike a balance between respecting fundamental human rights and ensuring national security, while simultaneously promoting innovation and driving economic growth. Furthermore, it is of paramount importance to prioritise the capacity building of Members of Parliament as they hold a critical responsibility in spearheading the development of an open, secure, and accessible Iinternet infrastructure at the national level. Equipped with the necessary digital skills and expertise, they can effectively leverage the latest technologies to expedite progress towards attaining the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In the spirit of fostering greater collaboration and unity, in 2020, the Secretary-General issued a Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, calling for strengthened global digital cooperation in addressing issues such as connectivity and digital inclusion, capacity development, human rights in the digital space, and trust and security. This session will behas been organisedorganized in direct response to the recommendations made during the 17th Internet Governance Forum's stocktaking process, as well as the valuable feedback and suggestions shared by participating parliamentarians during various IGF events. The objective is to facilitate dialogue between African and European Members of Parliament who are members of parliamentary committees related to Internet Governance or key drivers shaping the global common digital future.
The objective of this round table discussion is to provide a platform for African and European MPs to exchange ideas and discuss best practices for effective Iinternet governance.
The discussion will focus on the following topics. The panellists were asked to indicate on which topic they would like to speak on accordingly to their expertise:
- To identify existing cooperation between Europe and Africa on digital issues, what are current best practices that can be shared for enhancing collaboration and coordination? Discuss effective approaches that can strengthen the partnership.
- What is the role that MPs can play in the development of international, interoperability approaches to Internet Governance? Identify the knowledge gaps that need to be filled in order to empower MPs to take up their role in Internet governance?
- Developing digital skills is key to meaningful connectivity. To develop Internet governance leaders, what skills do parliamentarians need to develop? Discuss the digital skills and knowledge needed to participate actively in Internet governance, especially for MPs in Europe and Africa.
- In preparation for the UN Summit of the Future, how can the two continents work together to contribute to shaping the Global Digital Compact? Explore how Europe and Africa can collaborate to provide input and jointly advocate for their priorities in the Global Digital Compact.
- How do legal instruments such as the Budapest Convention and the Malabo Convention play a crucial role in facilitating regional and international cooperation in the fight against cybercrime? Based on your experience, where have you seen the Conventions’ impact proven most effectively in addressing this issue across various domains?
Round Table discussion among African and European Parliamentarians
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as of 2022, approximately 2.7 billion people, or one-third of the world's population, still lack access to the Internet. In Africa, this lack of connectivity is particularly pronounced, with 60% of the population still without access. This makes Africa the continent with the lowest level of connectivity. See the ITU Report "Internet surge slows, leaving 2.7 billion people offline in 2022"
In the spirit of fostering greater collaboration and unity, in 2020, the Secretary-General issued a Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, calling for strengthened global digital cooperation in addressing issues such as connectivity and digital inclusion, capacity development, human rights in the digital space, and trust and security. Visit the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation
Organising Team (Org Team) List Org Team members here as they sign up.
- Sorene Assefa, CYBER CZAR , South Africa
- Wout de Natris, De Natris Consult
- Yrjö Länsipuro, ISOC Finland
- Janne Hirvonen, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland
- Sandra Hoferichter, EuroDIG Secretariat
- Pasi Hellman, Under Secretary of State (International Development), Ministry for Foreign Affairs
- Noémie Bürkl, Head of Unit Digitalisation, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (online)
- Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Member of the Europan Parliament
- Sirpa Pietikainen, Member of the Europan Parliament
- Moustapha Daher Mahamoud, Member of the Parliament of Djibouti (online)
- Amina Ali Idriss, Member of the Parliament of Chad (online)
- Sarah Opendi, Member of the Parliament of Uganda (APNIG) (online)
- Neema Lugangira , Member of the Parliament of Tanzania (APNIG) (online)
- Modestus Amutse, Member of the Parliament of Namibia (APNIG) (online)
- Mephato Reatile, Member of the Parliament of Botswana (APNIG) (online)
- Mbongyor Epse NFOR NAOMI, Member of the Parliament of Cameron (APNIG) (online)
- Evert Jan Slootweg, Member of the Parliament of the Netherlands
- Patrick Penninckx, Council of Europe
- Sorene Assefa, CYBER CZAR , South Africa (online)
- Wout de Natris, De Natris Consult
to be identified
Reporters will be assigned by the EuroDIG secretariat in cooperation with the Geneva Internet Platform. The Reporter takes notes during the session and formulates 3 (max. 5) bullet points at the end of each session that:
- are summarised on a slide and presented to the audience at the end of each session
- relate to the particular session and to European Internet governance policy
- are forward looking and propose goals and activities that can be initiated after EuroDIG (recommendations)
- are in (rough) consensus with the audience
Current discussion, conference calls, schedules and minutes
See the discussion tab on the upper left side of this page. Please use this page to publish:
- dates for virtual meetings or coordination calls
- short summary of calls or email exchange
Please be as open and transparent as possible in order to allow others to get involved and contact you. Use the wiki not only as the place to publish results but also to summarize the discussion process.
Rapporteur: Andrijana Gavrilović, Geneva Internet Platform
- We need a better EU-African dialogue, especially on regulatory issues, to ensure that there is no imposing of ready-made ideas and that parliamentarians are empowered to participate in such discussions.
- Cooperation at the policy level and the technical level is needed. We also need capacity building, knowledge transfer and training to unlock further investments and engage big tech. Infrastructure development is needed through investments to secure and build resilience, connected networks are the foundation. We also need projects addressing the connected needs of the most underserved and hardest-to-reach rural populations to bring affordable, reliable, secure, and accessible connectivity. Developing the necessary digital skills for meaningful connectivity is required to develop Internet governance leaders.
- African parliamentarians need capacity building and opportunities for their voices to be heard in tech discussions. Recognition of parliamentarians in global processes is paramount, and their physical presence is also important for their learning process and for sharing their experiences. Parliamentarians are important stakeholders in realising implementation efforts and pushing for these different legislations within national parliaments.
- Europeans can offer an alternative to the Africans based on principles of openness, transparency, and democratic Internet governance.
- On the Global Digital Compact, an issue the European and African countries and parliamentarians can work together on is tackling the digital divide, which means ramping up both public and private investments in digital infrastructure and connectivity. After adopting the GDC, Europe and Africa can work together to coordinate its implementation regarding the standards and capacities.
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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.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: I’m also asked to moderate a session, and most of the people in our – that are participating in the session, they’re actually online, that’s why I will be comoderating basically, one of the moderators, maybe you can show it on the screen, will be Sorena Assefa from Cyber Czar, South Africa, another one in the name, Wout de Natris from DeNatris Consult, his task, it will need to be involving you to draw you in to this conversation. Now, the roundtable discussion that we have foreseen for now, it is basically a follow-up from the Global IGF and to cooperate the efforts, and we want to discuss the current and the future digital development would be operation between Europe and Africa and make meaningful investments in building capacity in the region in Europe and in Africa.
In order to do so, we have invited a number of guests. Some are here in the room and will maybe join us on stage. Others – and there is Wout de Natris, who will maybe sit here on stage with us, Wout.
They will also be speaking from the screen.
In order to start off, to kick off the session, I would propose that we start with the first question to our guests, and one is to identify the existing cooperation between Europe and Africa on digital issues. What are the current best practices that can be shared for enhancing collaboration and coordination, and the states, the undersecretary will also join us on the stage.
I first give the floor to Neema Lugangira from Tanzania. If you could please put Neema on the screen.
>> NEEMA LUGANGIRA: Thank you very much. As introduced, my name is Neema Lugangira, I’m a member of parliament in Tanzania, but I’m also the Chairperson, of the African Parliamentary Network on Internet Governance. And very briefly being mindful of time, the African Parliamentary Internet Governance aims to bring together African parliamentarians so that we can strengthen our own role as parliamentarians in digital development in Africa.
Currently we have about 34 plus members of parliament from about 24 plus African countries, and we’re very grateful for this opportunity, for my colleagues, for myself to be here with you today, and hopefully next year we’ll be there in person.
I also wish to acknowledge that last year at the U.N. IGF in Ethiopia, we had the first opportunity of having a bilateral meeting with our colleagues from the E.U. parliament and it was very enriching to get that access, to have direct conversations with our colleagues from the E.U.
Now in respect of the question asked on terms of what can be done to strengthen the digital cooperation between Africa and Europe, alongside best practices. The first thing that I would like to touch on, it is big tech accountability. All of the tech multinational companies, they are companies either based in the E.U., based in the U.S., and unfortunately many of our African countries do not yet have a strong enough legislative environment that can protect the citizens in terms of the data or in terms of other kinds of behavior, and also we do not have that muscle to make the big tech companies to be accountable.
However, we have recently seen that within the E.U. it has been possible to pass data protection requirements across the board and even going further in terms of protecting even how the online space should be, should be safe enough to protect women, girls, other vulnerable persons.
With that said, I would like to put it on the floor that I think it would be very, very beneficial when the E.U. is making the negotiations with big tech accountability they should have a clause that also requires them to behave in a similar manner, even in countries which do not yet have a robust legislative system like the E.U. I say that because big tech companies have got an excellent behavior, excellent – the way in which they conduct their businesses, the way in which they use the data that’s being generated as per the E.U. regulations, but when they come to the African countries, it totally stops, the accountability ends just because in our own respective countries we don’t have similar – we don’t have yet similar laws in place and we don’t yet have a similar financial muscle as E.U. countries. I think that’s one of the fundamental things that can be done to strengthen the digital cooperation, the big tech accountability.
Second one, being mindful of time, it is very important to also recognize the needs – if we’re talking about – I commend the E.U. efforts towards digital development, you know, the plans, tools contributing to the digital development even in Africa in the upcoming big projects. However, we have to recognize that for African countries to be – to achieve digital development, we need to look at digital inclusivity.
When we are talking about digital inclusivity, we must recognize the needs of urban regions as separate from the needs of other regions.
I, for example, I come from a region, Cadara, a border region with three regions, and the needs there, they are different, we have to look at infrastructure, we have to look at, you know, electricity, cost of data availability, community networks, connectivity, and even the skills, digital skills and literacy, et cetera.
So I think that one is also very important for us to accommodate.
Third one, we need to also find ways in which we can package funding support for local NGOs. Oftentimes there will be, you know, donner funded projects coming from the E.U., but implementing partners in African countries, you will find that it is an international NGO from the respective donner country, who will operate all the way to the level, all the way to the district level.
Meanwhile, in those areas, there are NGOs and those NGOs are struggling to get funding and for sustainability purpose, the E.U. needs to find ways to better package the funding structures.
Lastly, what I can say, it is as African parliamentarians, up until now, a lot of the digital development initiatives discussions have been happening in exclusion of parliamentarians in the sense that it will be maybe the stakeholders from the Global North discussing and working with CSOs from the Global South, but leaving out the legislators so that as African parliamentarians, we require capacity building and require opportunities such as this so that our voices can be heard at a global stage and that is the whole purpose, and that is the essence of having the African parliamentarian network on Internet Governance. Having said that, I thank you very much for the opportunity and we look forward to collaborating and working very closely with you all. I thank you very much.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you. Thank you.
We will try to make it interactive, Neema Lugangira, I will ask the fellow colleagues here at the stage to respect the three minute deadline that we have given to each of the speakers. I just would like to recall that Neema Lugangira is the Chairperson of the African parliamentarian network on Internet Governance.
Now, we have already heard from Pasi Hellman, the undersecretary, Pasi Hellman, what is your passion about the cooperation programmes? Thank you.
>> PASI HELLMAN:
Thank you very much for putting up this topic, because it is actually very, very important. It is very essential in our development policy agenda, the collaboration between the European countries and Africa in particularly in the area of digital connectivity.
Luckily we have a very solid political context and framework for that. In the E.U. Africa Summit last year it was agreed that both continents will join together in promoting digital transformation that supports trusted connectivity and affordable access to the digital and data economy in Africa, and in my opening comments, in the opening session I mentioned or made reference to the global gateway initiative that, of course, is very essential in putting into action this collaboration.
I will just mention three quick points here.
The infrastructure development, of course, through investments to secure and resilient connected networks are the foundation, but I think we also need projects that address the connected needs of the most underserved populations and hardest to reach rural populations to bring affordable, reliable, secure, accessible connectivity.
I think some of the youth messages were very much to the point in this topic. I don’t need to elaborate more because they said it so well.
Second point, we need cooperation at policy level and at the technical level.
We need also capacity building like our African co-moderator was saying, the level of knowledge, it is not equal everywhere, we need to transfer also knowledge, we need to train, we need to build capacity to unlock further investments and also engage big tech, which was also mentioned in these discussions.
Thirdly, the E.U. Africa partnerships on research, innovation, they are key really for enhancing digital transformation.
I think this is an important area to look into.
All this with the frame of mind of sort of promoting high standards and connections, shared values, principles, they are really underlying the collaboration. I think that the E.U.’s advantage here, it is that the Europeans can offer to the Africans an alternative that’s based on principles of openness, transparency, democratic governance because we know there are – governance because there are other alternatives competing for this attention also.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you so much. Thank you. Of course, I would like you to prepare your possible questions to Neema Lugangira and to Pasi Hellman and also to Noemie Burkl, who is the head of unit on digitalization.
So, please, Noemie Burkl, it is your turn on this issue.
>> (Off microphone conversation).
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: My indications have been different here. Okay. Fine.
Are there any interactions any question that comes from the Internet on this?
>> SORENE ASSEFA: Not yet. I’m asking for any questions or intervention, if they can be able to raise their hands, we don’t have any.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Can you come here maybe for the question.
>> AUDIENCE: I’m a YOUthDIGer, and I would like to raise a concern of mine and of many other people that has not been raised during this session, and I hope it will be raised now.
Basically, we all speak about digital transformation and digital opportunities, but especially when we speak about cooperation between European countries and African countries, we tend to forget how the digital tools we all use are built. The lithium batteries that we all use in our phones, in the majority of the cases, are built in mining where also children work and die, as an example, the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the southern region where the majority of the mines are located, it has the highest child mortality rate. So I would love to hear your opinions about it, and I would love in a future declaration of digital rights that also this will be taken into consideration.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you so much. Digital rights also involve children rights. Any reactions from the panelists on this.
>> NOEMIE BURKL: You have raised a very important point. in many countries, child labour is prohibited. Under the digital rights, child rights, it is also included, so that is something that definitely is of critical importance and it is being discussed and even for us as parliamentarians, it is something that we hold, you know, very highly and we voice and work on it.
Just to add, that alongside child labour, another critical topic that we have decided to take on at Afnic, the issue of, you know, the online child abuse and sexual exploitation, there is another issue happening and again, due to the vulnerability of our legislative systems in most African countries, that is an area that we can strengthen the cooperation within African Europe to ensure that children are protected online so that we can curb the existing online – the child – the online child abuse and sexual exploitation. Thank you.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you so much.
>> I’m a member of the European Parliament, I’m working there in the group also. First of all, let me say that I wholeheartedly welcome the initiative of a good global Convention and international governance of the Internet and digitalization, and that directly comes to this environmental challenge. It is the durability, upgradeability, the energy consumption, and the materials that are used. The whole digitalization, it is environmental and totally unsustainable.
This is going to be our biggest challenge, not only lithium, but the energy consumption too.
So we would – so firstly, that – you need to – that unique design, you need to design the phones, tablets, so forth, in a way that – you cannot create the content, you can reuse the parts and there is no harmful chemical or substances, you can do it.
Secondly, in the governance, and that goes to the sexually abuse, there needs to be the same governing rules than in the real life. No hate speech, this is a growing problem as we know and it is liaison statement close to destroying our democracies. No illegal attempts to probing property rights, this is, for example, for literature, other cultural materials, no sexual or other abuse of the people, plus then the content and the information is always being owned by the people themselves. So you need to have that kind of a structure that The Rights that we draw the content and the materials a stronger than they are in the E.U. regulation at the moment.
Last but not least, forward looking regulation, it always takes a bit of barriers to make the regulation, and ten years, international Convention, and then if you do not see what is around the corner, 10 years, you’re desperately too late.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you so much. Sorry for the confusion before, Noemie Burkl is online – no, she’s not online.
Not for the time being. Okay. Well, you give me a warning when she is. Thank you, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, so that we can include her also in the debate.
Now we have a second question, and this is primarily directed at members of parliament, what can members of parliament you play in the development of interoperability approaches to Internet governance, and I would like to, if she’s online, to give the floor to Sarah Opendi from Uganda. Is she online? Sarah.
>> SORENE ASSEFA: She’s online.
>> SARAH OPENDI: Greetings to you all. My apology, I should have been with you in Finland. Unfortunately, we have had a bad incident in my country where about 42 people were killed by some suspected rebel groups from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and some were students and this was in my community. I could not travel.
This happened just on Friday night.
I’m happy to be with you, greetings from Uganda, Africa.
Of course, we all know that this new digital era created a different means of communication, and the way we operate and do businesses, also where we communicate within our communities and with our citizens. As members of parliament, we’re representatives of the people and our key roles are first of all to legislate, we look at gaps in the communities and, of course, legislate so that the laws that we eventually pass will help in creating order and guiding people how they should be able to operate in this new digital era.
Secondly, before I get to the seconded issue, of course, Uganda as a country, we have gone ahead to pass legislations, various regulations as well. We have for instance the Computer Misuse Act and the Data Protection Act which are in place and all of this is aimed at ensuring that although the digital – the Internet is there to facilitate communication and the way we do our businesses, we must ensure that we don’t abuse the rights that we have.
With this legislation, certainly we have institutions that have been created like the Uganda communications Commission and they are there as regulating bodies. Of course, we have equally an ICT ministry that’s there to write key policies to govern the Internet use and in the country.
The second role of members of parliament, certainly it is to ensure that we have appropriates funds. That is our key function.
In this digital migration, it requires resources, we need to ensure that we facilitate the relevant agencies to do their work and to ensure that all over the country there is connectivity, but also the access to Internet is made easier and not costly for the population.
It is our role to also provide the necessary resources, support these institutions.
Third, the third key role of members of parliament is oversight. Secondly we have institutions in place and we have the Ministry of ICT that oversees and when we provide the resources to these entities, we must ensure that these resources are put to good use so there is the element of accountability and that’s what our oversight role is. I happen to be a member of the public accounts Committee and of course certainly it is our role to always look at the auditor general’s report regarding what the institutions have done with the funds that they have been able – that have provided the previous year.
Of course, the last role of the members of parliament, it is that of representation, as representatives of the people, it is our responsibility to ensure that we pick issues from the communities, what are the complaints from the people, for instance, sometime back there was a fee on access to data and of course this was a major complaint all over the country, and as a representative of the people, we have to speak and eventually the government dropped the idea on the fee on the use of Internet. The majority of the people, the learners of students today who have no income, they certainly are using the Internet and it was even worse during the COVID time, imagine if there was this restriction and it was very expensive for them to access. It is still expensive but the majority were able to be online and to have access to education, to all of the teachers through the online platforms.
This really is the key roles of members of parliament, these are the things that we can do to ensure that Internet and all of the associated technologies facilitate the way we do business, both in the health sector, in the education sector, and in our social lives generally.
So briefly, I hope I have been within the three minutes, that’s what we can do, otherwise overall Uganda as a country, the Internet penetration now stands at about 49%, which is still low, and as you can see, we have population that is about 44 million Ugandans and only half of that are able to access Internet.
So we need to ensure that we as representatives of the people push government to have – to make it affordable so that the majority of the population can be able to communicate with one another, but also have access to information since this is now the new means through which people are getting information. Thank you very much.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you, dear Sarah.
Sarah is also – she defends the Women’s Agenda and is the Chairperson of the Women’s Caucuses and member of the infrastructure community of the parliament in Uganda.
We have Miapetra Kumpula-Natri online, a member of the European Parliament. Can you give and eye light us a little bit of a role that MPs can play in the development of these interoperability standards. Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, you have the floor. We’re very sorry that our African representatives, parliamentarians unfortunately could not travel. It is a little bit of a situation where we have to manage what we have.
>> MIAPETRA KUMPULA-NATRI: Yes. Thank you. I hope my line is clear.
I very much enjoy meeting some of the African Friends that we had the opportunity to meet last year in IGF. Greetings to them online here. I hope we can also meet on the global level as well. It was very good start and initiative and I enjoy having EuroDIG including African youths here as there is no limits when we go online.
I do very much agree with the previous speakers of the role of the MPs on the building Internet. As we’re members of parliament, we’re representing the opinions of the people, but also the forerunners of keeping the values, and there is no difference on the offline or online values. We still want to keep the human dignity, the fundamental rights and very principles of the U.N. Conventions also on the online world.
What members of parliament can do, of course, respect the values, and also to enhance the legislation to help because we have had still long the taboo that technology, Internet, big tech as was mentioned cannot be regulated at all. I think it is time to break the chapters that while there is a threat to the common principles of humanity, fundamental rights, protecting the privacy of the human beings, it needs to be also given some guidance, even with the regulation.
Then, of course, as mentioned by previous speakers, the good resources and oversights is our role.
Then also to be able do the interoperability, I would underline the necessity to understand and then also to give some power for the data governance. That is what is it about, if you’re familiar with the different layers of infrastructure and Internet, it goes for the very connectivity and also even the affordability comes as a first hinder and also open Internet for everyone doesn’t mean that you cannot regulate on the talk to services, platforms, other uses and then also the content of what’s happening there.
So free speech, free content, not to watch over doesn’t mean that it is allowed to do illegal things, meaning hate speech or violence against women, children, other deprived.
This is the complexity that the members of the different parliaments have to understand and have to have certain skills, not only from the sector that they have been regulating, following, fighting for the freedoms for example on the offline world but also to see how to take it to the life that’s so important for us all as the more connectivity grows, the more time you spend on online issues.
Even to mention, even not everyone has their online connectivity daily, there is more and more technology and data used to convey the society rain then to use the data governance, that’s what I want to build here, so that interoperability, it is not only a technical world, but in also meaningful for the life built on the top.
I will conclude here a very concrete issue, that we are taking now on this seminar, of MPs, member, as elected people, I also try to make it inside the European Parliament so that there are more straightforward connection to the EuroDIG as well as this is our continent as there has been for many years active participation on the IGF. Even that is a little bit Ad Hoc built, I have taken personally part in many times, so we could also intensify the context so that it is not Ad Hoc based on who to contact, to be networking in our own parliaments to building something stronger and lasting and not only that, but so much depending on the persons and then getting the institutions better linked, as I still said, on the individuals on the two continents, there is a big interest on both sides to continue and I’m happy that you have offered this moment.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri. Thank you.
Of course, interoperability, it is one thing, the management, the governance of data comes into play, obviously as well.
Are there any reactions from the other panelists, Sorene Assefa any reactions online, any questions online?
>> SORENE ASSEFA:
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: From the audience here. Yes.
>> I’m the coordinator of the coalition of the standards and cybersecurity and safety of the Internet. What I would like to ask Neema and Miapetra Kumpula-Natri on what they raised, both said big tech company regulated, perhaps we don’t even want to regulate it directly. Have you ever contemplated ways to perhaps go for the products, the way that they operate? What I mean, it is that when you have some sort of a consumer done consumable, you probably have something like duty of care in there.
The sellers of the products, the designers of the products, are they actually taking care of – the duty of care of end users. As with privacy protection, if you have a privacy law, are you contemplating to look at the devices or services from a privacy point of view. In other words, this is just two examples, I can go on, but are you looking at it from an indirect point of view and from there see what you can actually do? Thank you.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you so much.
Any reactions, please.
>> Briefly, the accessibility, we have the accessibility act, so you shouldn’t only plan to design from the white, male, Caucasian, engineer, in 40s perspective, but with the diversity of people so that for example memory disabled people, illiterate people could use it in different parts so you need to have turned around the planning process, how you plan, both the devices and the content programmes.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you. I hear that Noemie Burkl is back online. Maybe she could quickly react to this as well.
You have the floor.
>> NOEMIE BURKL: Thank you so much. I’m very sorry I had technical problems today.
I’m very happy that I was now finally able to join. Thank you for giving me the floor now.
I mean, I could echo everything that’s already been said, it is a super interesting discussion that we’re having. What we’re trying to do, it is indeed to try to use digitalization as a force of good, and we need to, of course, address the risks of digitalization in general. Maybe just one sentence, our Ministry of German Federated Government of Development Cooperation and Development, we’re committed to shaping a digital transformation in a social ecological and feminist way. So I’m very glad also about to have heard this feminist perspective earlier on.
On inclusion as well, we have to – because you just mentioned it, as well, it is a matter of inclusion, it is – we’re very also committed to cooperate with other actors, parliamentarians, Africa, et cetera, on being as inclusive as you can and to support wherever we can. I mean, this in are broad sense, not just on a gender divide but also on inclusion aspects. This is just a quick reaction on this point, maybe I will comment on later points.
Thank you so much.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you so much, Noemie. This is closely linked also to participation and it is linked to the development of the necessary digital skills to meaningful connectivity I would say, to develop Internet governance leaders, what skills do parliamentarians, what skills do we need to develop in order to come to this.
I have someone online that could briefly intervene on this issue. Thank you, we see you.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: There is a very small majority –
>> (Speaking in French).
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: I will briefly sum up what was said, the technical, the skills required in the developing of the digital skills requiring a number of competences that will be a number of technical skills, the knowledge of regulation, the awareness raising, also on data protection related issues and knowledge of the legislation in place, but also to be able to adopt to the realities in different countries.
Next time we will ask you to intervene in Finnish I think, maybe it would be more helpful for the target group here.
Sirpa Pietikainen, what are the digital skills? You don’t know whether I translated correctly.
Sirpa Pietikainen, what do you think the digital skills should be, especially also for parliamentarians, but I will ask the question to you as well, not just for the parliamentarians. I think it is an issue for all of us, awareness raising, digital skills, media, literacy are key elements I believe.
>> SIRPA PIETIKAINEN: I think this is very important question. I would divide it in four categories.
The first category goes to regulation where actually the common knowledge, the common sense, ethics are adequate, like the access ability, or environmental safety, or the question of hate speech, respecting Human Rights, so forth. What applies here on earth applies virtually as well, just sort of a mirroring of it.
The second one, actually it is what are the possibilities? Technologies are great enablers also for example in health technology. For example, mobility on demand, spreading and enhancing cooperation of small businesses. So those possibilities should be included and regulation, that they’re not unnecessary obstacles there.
The third categories it is the technical requirements. Regulating the devices, this is the way, how you can get creep of the essence, the virtual Internet, it is much, much harder to put the regulation, that on.
There we would need this kind of an advisory board, why couldn’t you create that kind of an advisory board to all parliamentarians in Europe and globally, especially Africa to tell what is coming, what is possible, as I mentioned about the delay in legislation, we should be at least four steps ahead understanding what is coming and then the fourth, this is a long story, I won’t dwell deeply, don’t worry, the artificial intelligence, it is a great innovation, great life, you can cut a lot of bread, do great things and you can create hell with that also.
We have just started understanding how to create the algorithms so that they respect the multitude of different values, how to be in control of that, many issues of what you had mentioned before, how to avoid the risks, what about if the terrorists will kidnap the system, the algorithm, how would you know, prevent that, it is a long story. There we would need a lot of A, ethical, B, technical high-level advice for politicians so that we could create that kind of a framework that enables good developments but is caution enough to prevent anything out of hand happening.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you so much.
We have a question here from the room. I immediately give you the floor. I don’t think we need to present you to everyone, but maybe you can do so for yourself.
>> Thank you very much. I’m one of the cofounders of EuroDIG, and retired professor from the University.
In IGF, it was a success for Africa, and the African parliamentarians gave a lot of steam to the new parliamentarian track as part of the IGF, which was for the first time taking place in Berlin in 2019.
We’re moving now to Japan, another big IGF as we have heard from our Japanese colleagues, Al but now the whole discussion is overshadowed by the Global Digital Compact, an additional initiative by the U.N. Secretary-General. My question to our African colleagues is what do they expect from this Global Digital Compact, what will be the extra value and how they see the new proposal now to have another digital forum cooperation, is this an added value? Do we risk to have a senseless competition between the existing IGF forum and the establishment of a new forum which would, you know, also raise the question of who would fund it, who could travel to this, more costs and more bureaucracy probably. I would be interested to hear what the Africans think about the Global Digital Compact and the new proposal.
Thank you very much.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you very much, a question directly directed to Neema Lugangira, Noemie Burkl, Sarah Opendi.
Are they online, Sorena Assefa? Could they –
>> We’re here.
Yes, they’re online.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Please try to respond previously to the question of Wolfgang with regard to the African continent.
>> NEEMA LUGANGIRA: What I can say, mindful of time, the U.N. Secretary-General has clearly said that the Global Digital Compact is not to replace the Internet Governance Forum and they’re supposed to go hand in hand. The mandates, objectives of the U.N. Internet Governance Forum, those will stay and the U.N. Secretary-General also upholded the importance of the Internet Governance Forum. I think that clarifies the two, however, as he was mentioning, for us as African parliamentarians, one of the reasons why even the African parliamentarian Internet Governance was set was to ensure that our voices are also heard, even in the different consultations of the Global Digital Compact we have also tried to provide our own suggestions and during the first week of July there’s going to be a meeting in Cape Town to discuss the African position on this Global Digital Compact and so I believe during that meeting, as parliamentarian, we will concretely contribute towards that and very quickly, what I can say, it is that the voices of the African parliamentarians, being that we represent the people, we also aim and have been and will continue to adequately contribute in the Global Digital Compact to make sure that it represents the true essence that will lead us to develop the digital inclusion and digital development in the African continent.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you for already mentioning the Global Digital Compact.
Maybe it is also a question to our undersecretary here in preparation of the U.N. Summit of the future, how can the two continents work together to contribute to shaping this Global Digital Compact and maybe also from our Friends Sarah or Amina, some reaction on this.
>> PASI HELLMAN: I did ask to make a comment on the previous questions related to the roles of parliamentarians basically because as a civil servant, I’m sometimes hesitant to give advice to parliamentarian, we take instructions from them normally.
I think what I would have said on those questions, and equally on this one, first of all, there are – there is inter parliamentarian network, international parliamentarian groupings and fora that can be used also to exchange views, also for awareness raising and for discussions and to have a dialogue and, of course, the governments like ours can support them. Basically underlying everything that we’re discussing here is actually the rules based on international order and there the principles of openness, the principle of transparency, of open procedures, their implementations, I think they’re really key for any progress and for any collaboration unless you really have a common understanding about the values and principles underlying what you’re discussing, it is very difficult to have a meaningful outcomes and meaningful collaborations. I think it is particularly this kind of issues where the parliamentarians can sort of work together and enhance dialogue.
On Global Digital Compact, we as Finland have been having extensive collaboration within the U.N. structures in the field of digitalization, we have supported Secretary-General’s roadmap for digital cooperation in the past years and we have been long-term supporter and doner to IGF and we lead the U.N. Generation Equality Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality, and so I think there is room for all kinds of processes and initiatives to sort of complement each other and there by strengthen the overall impact. On Digital Compact, some issues were the European and African countries, and parliamentarians to work together, just mentioned this very quickly, first of all, to prioritize tackling a digital divide and this means ramping up both public and private investments in digital infrastructure and connectivity. This is something that we are very much doing, and it is not only investing in – it is also investments in digital skills and competencies, also capacity building and training and the compact should have a strong, crosscutting actually focus on gender equality, it should also guarantee Human Rights in the digital sphere, so a lot of the development, traditional development issues that can be brought into the discussion, also the climate footprint of digital technologies as referred to earlier by others.
The digitalization on the other hand can effectively be used to support climate Acts action, enable green energy and biodiversity.
Basically all of these may be somehow in conclusion to say that it should have a strong development focus and highlight really the priorities for the global Sustainable Development that can accelerate progress towards reaching the SDGs and agenda 2023 implementation.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: The question on the IGF, it brought us now to the U.N. Summit of the future and the Global Digital Compact.
Does the YOUthDIG have any particular vision on the Summit for the future.
Any reactions online? I’m sorry to catch you a little bit off-guard. But salavie.
>> SORENE ASSEFA: Patrick, we have intervention from online. We have an intervention on Question 3 and 4 by Noemie Burkl together and then the next one, Amina Ali Idriss would like to add on the Global Digital Compact.
First Noemie Burkl.
>> NOEMIE BURKL: Thank you so much.
I could also speak in French now, maybe I would –
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Speak in German now.
>> NOEMIE BURKL: Half French and half German, I can go with Dutch if you prefer.
I’m sorry, I can’t speak Finnish for today. I just wanted, you asked about the Summit of the future and so let me just reply to that.
I think these are very important discussions and I’m very glad that we’re allowed to be here with you discussing and especially listening in today. We do think that we need to gather all of the input that we can, to shape a good Global Digital Compact next year, and to have a very meaningful impact also for the Summit of the future.
This being said, I think that the commitment and priorities align very well with our view of digitalization, and I can agree with basically everything that’s just been said by my previous panelists, that digitalization has an immense potential and that it can contribute to achieving the SDGs or I would even dare say we cannot achieve the SDGs without it.
Again, going to reiterate what I said earlier, we’ll shape it in a social ecological, feminist way to harness its benefits and address the challenges and mitigate the risks that come along with it. This is why it is crucial to incorporate the perspectives of all stakeholders and in all stages of the GDC process.
To do so, constant exchange, capacity building are a great way to cooperate around the process and next week for example the German government is offering a training for Permanent Missions to the U.N. covering this and other digital governance issues.
According to us, after the adoption of the GDC Europe and Africa with work together to coordinate the implementation.
I think this is an important thing to think about, not just ahead of the GDC but implementation afterwards to cooperate on the standards and capacities. I can say we’re looking forward to working together with our partners and to facilitate the Summit of the future. Yes, looking forward to it. Thank you.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you so much.
We have a question or reaction here first from the YOUthDIG before I give the floor to Neema Lugangira from Tanzania.
>> AUDIENCE: Hello. I’m a fellow YOUthDIGer, I have a question, it is related to artificial intelligence. I don’t know if this is a good time to put it. Yeah.
So my question, it is for mitigating the risk of AI misuse in Africa, Africa is a situation where for instance the Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection, it has not been signed by many of the countries and has been ratified by even less of the countries. My question is, how can – it is a bit of a general of a broad question, how can – are there any ideas or thoughts on how the African countries can unite to come up with something like the E.U.AI be act, what are the plans now in Africa in that regard.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: It is a question, interestingly and more broadly, how do the legal instruments, the Budapest Convention, the Malibu Convention, how do they play a crucial role in facilitating regional and international cooperation in the fight against cybercrime on the one side, but also to mitigate the risks that come from the development of artificial intelligence.
I don’t know if first Neema Lugangira wanted to react to that, otherwise, I have Amina Ali Idriss from Chad online – no, she’s not. Okay.
I will give the floor to Neema Lugangira first.
>> NEEMA LUGANGIRA: Thank you very much.
What I wanted to add on previously, it is that my colleagues and myself, as African parliamentarians, we truly acknowledge the way that the forum has recognized the importance of parliamentarians and the role they play to digital developments, et cetera, to the point that in the U.N. Secretary-General’s multisectoral advisory group there are two members of parliament as MA generation college student member, myself from Tanzania, and then honorable Gambia, from the Vice-Chair of the parliamentarian on Internet Governance. That goes to show how much the Internet Governance Forum has recognized the role of parliamentarians.
However, if I compare that to the Global Digital Compact, I’m yet to see an experienced and feel similar recognition being placed by the Global Digital Compact process towards parliamentarians, however, I acknowledge the great support that the U.N. tech envoy has provided to us as APNIG and we hope to strengthen that visibility and the recognition.
Similar to that, it is important for African parliamentarians to be present physically in these Global North events. For example, right now, we already know for sure that a good number of African parliamentarians will be attending the U.N. IGF forum in Japan, however if you ask me the same question on whether or not we will also be able to attend the Summit of the future, I would not be able to answer that in confidence.
I think those are the things that we also need to take into account, when making interventions to remember that legislators from the African continent are critical and the reason we’re critical, it is that when we’re there physically, it also is a learning process for us, but it is also sharing our experiences and that knowledge exchange which feeds in very well to this intervention about the AI legislation, artificial intelligence legislation, the E.U. has taken steps but with that, and through the African Europe Cooperation, I think it brings an opportunity for ourselves as African parliamentarians to work closely with our colleagues in Europe and be capacitated on how we can also champion the issue of AI in Africa in terms of legislation.
Thank you very much.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you very much.
It is indeed very unfortunate that none of the African parliamentarians could physically be present here. We sincerely regret it and would have hoped that we would be able to do those exchanges in person.
Obviously we’re counting on the IGF to maybe make up for some of this. I hope to see many of you there.
Now, can I maybe ask you also for a short reaction to this initial.
>> It is a very good question.
Europe tends to turn inwards when preparing legislation because it is hard enough to agree on ourselves what to do and how to do. That quite often is seen or felt by our African colleagues as imposing ready-made ideas for them, even though the intention is not that.
Especially important in AI, because we’re in first steps, and I think that the forums would be held with Member States with the European Parliament, with the Commission and others.
We should have this kind of a roundtable to talk about all of the African countries of parliamentarians to enable the opinions and empower the people already in this phase on thinking what are the threats, what needs to be protected, and if you don’t feel like it at the moment that the risks are the people in that continent, that they’ll be robbed which the gentleman on data information consuming patterns, private information, and it is all gone. It could actually be strong, powerful unit, if the African, pan African politics and E.U. could then provide a common solution knowing that the U.S.A. probably is going directly in the other direction, China, not very happy about that kind of a legislation. You would need to balance a bit more power on this, as I feel. It needs a lot of dialogue, better dialogue than what we’re doing now.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Absolutely. Thank you, Sirpa Pietikainen. I notice even you had started speaking French now, I guess it is a good development.
I have a reaction from the floor. Maybe you can present yourself briefly and inform the audience about your question.
>> Yes. Good afternoon. It is lovely to be at another EuroDIG conference. I will speak in English if that’s okay.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: If you can, that effort would be nice, thank you.
>> I work with the U.K. government in the Department of Science, innovation, technology, and really I just wanted to make two points and ask a question I suppose really, and that is the point is the massive opportunity I think that Africa has in relation to the Global Digital Compact and I think here as we heard from the tech envoy this morning, from the discussion in the session this morning, there’s a lot to play for still in the Global Digital Compact, the issues, the document has not been written, the September ministerial has yet to take place. I think that the Global Digital Compact could really make a difference in this area and coupled with the energy and the vibrance and the enthusiasm we saw at the IGF in Ethiopia last year, I think if the Global Digital Compact can build on that enthusiasm, motivation, it can really do something in terms of kicking the Sustainable Development Goals forward.
We also saw this last year at the World Telecommunication Conference at the ITU, the Partner2Connect, the pledges that are made there, again, they’re fantastic to see.
I do hope that we can push this forward.
The question I had, it is that in shaping the digital global compact, quite a lot has been said about data, and about how you can exploit data if you don’t have adequate rules. I thought that the African Union had adopted data protection legislation and I really wanted to understand why it has not been implemented in countries in Africa and whether the Global Digital Compact itself can help in this regard.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Very interesting question.
A message of hope as well as part of the title of the conference of the EuroDIG. A message of hope that we can go towards this Summit in a more positive attitude.
Of course, there are 54 countries, 54 African countries which do not necessarily have the same orientation.
I would like to come back to the question that was raised before with regard to the Malibu and the Budapest Convention, despite the difference in scope, content, approach, there is also synergy and that also goes for the data protection Convention, because increasingly, there is a number of African countries that are joining the Convention, the Council of Europe, increasingly so, same thing for the Budapest Convention. It is a global instrument, a treaty on cybercrime and electronic evidence, has 68 parties, 20 more are there to have signed the Convention, of which also 5 African countries and 7 others invited to it, for the Malibu conference only 54 – out of the 54 African countries, 18 have signed and only 14 have ratified. It is always a question to which extent the unity, that we plan to put forward is also a reality because of the diversity of the countries represented. We have seen a couple of examples now from Tanzania, Uganda, other countries here in the room. It is also clear that will there are very diverse backgrounds and in the Budapest Convention, it provides for a number of procedural powers that appear and that apply, such as the collecting and handling of the electronic evidence in all criminal cases, not only in cybercrime and the Malibu conference, the Malibu Convention, basically the procedural powers are missing, and that’s maybe a bit for the time being the difficulty with conventions, discussed and debated at the African levels, the implementation powers that are required, where we need cybercrime policies and strategies where we need to improve the domestic legislation, where criminal justice capacities need to be improved, where international cooperation remains key.
I think that these are the issues that still need to be further debated.
Unfortunately, I’m now the only one standing between you and a nice reception.
One last comment.
Sorry, I didn’t see you before.
>> (Speaking French).
I will try in English.
I am a part of the end user within ICANN and I wanted to ask a question, do you know other stakeholders that are coordinating as you are doing it at the parliament level and as a comment, we have tried do that with colleagues from Africa and other regions within ICANN and I think it is an important discussion to have here and maybe other stakeholders need to try to do the same.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you. I think our colleague from ICANN is still in the room.
I will definitely take – yes? Please. Would you like to –
>> The question is not about ICANN but other stakeholders doing the same, I know it is not the same within ICANN or I would not ask this question. Is there any other part of the multistakeholder model who are doing such things.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: I don’t know if any of the partners here can respond to that.
For the Council of Europe, the key thing is, it is that we do that based on the treaties and the development of the different treaties are being done largely in a multistakeholder perspective, the data protection Convention, it is definitely one of those examples, and when it comes to the cybercrime Convention, also the additional protocol on electronic evidence, has very strongly been influenced by the consultations that have been held to the side of it, I think there were five global consultations on the additional protocol on electronic evidence. It doesn’t mean that all of the stakeholders are in an equal position of decision making. That’s also the reality, that at some point in time it is those signatories to the treaties that are actually having the last hand at doing so.
Apart from EuroDIG and IGF, are there other fora of this multistakeholder dialogue, do you have – anyone want to respond to that? Not for the time being.
>> NEEMA LUGANGIRA: Can I quickly come in there?
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Okay. Yes.
>> NEEMA LUGANGIRA: Thank you.
One of the reasons why we set up the African parliamentarian network on Internet Governance is to bridge the existing gap because oftentimes even when discussions are done at continental level or country to country, continent, Africa, Europe, it ends at the very top level, and we tend to forget that parliamentarians are also very important – a very important stakeholder in realizing implementation and pushing for these different legislations in – within our national parliaments.
And that could potentially be one of the reasons of even the data protection act, for example, in Tanzania, we were able to pass the data protection act last year, and that was after having more members of parliament within the international parliament understanding the importance of the data protection act and pushing for it within the national parliament. It is something that other entities, other moving blocks need to also recognize that much as you deliberate amongst maybe Heads of State level, it is equally important to make sure that parliamentarians are part of the discussions and have that understanding and are able to do so in the respective countries, through the national parliaments.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you so much. I look forward to discussing this further in Tanzania as well.
Any fellow remarks from the fellow panelists here? Please.
>> WOUT de NATRIS: I think what I want to do, to inform us, thank you, Soreen for the hard work that you have been doing to make this session possible. She has been doing all of this work from South Africa, not able to be present here. I think that this session was a success because of Sorene primarily. Please, applause for Sorene.
That said, what I think is important, it is that we have managed to get one parliamentarian from Europe in this room. Thank you very much perhaps we should look if we continue this in 2024, what would be the topics that would draw European parliamentarians to EuroDIG, even if it is online but what would the topics be, I think that if we’re to continue that, we have to start thinking about that early and not three months before. Perhaps that’s something we should be thinking about for the near future.
I think with that I conclude my comments and thank you for all who participated and shared this very important views and cooperation, because it is quite clear that there are is a field for cooperation.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Absolutely.
>> WOUT de NATRIS: Thank you.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Absolutely. Please, go ahead.
>> PASI HELLMAN: Just very briefly from my side, thank you very much to the organizers. I think the discussion has been very useful, very illustrative also of the role of issues related to the digital agenda, digitalization, Internet governance and all kinds of risks and threats related to them and that’s why we talk about them, that they are political and they have become even more political given the current world situation.
I think that’s the big reason why I also talk about the need to pay attention to the principles of democratic governance, good governance, transparency, shared values, principles, because you have to understand the nature of the things that you’re discussing.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you so much. Sirpa Pietikainen, would you like to have a word at the end?
>> SIRPA PIETIKAINEN: Thank you. Thank you for inviting the European Parliament to be a part of this dialogue.
A direct comment on the suggestion of why don’t you write to the President of the European Parliament and suggest that your next conference would be the European Parliament together with the parliamentarians. We do it once in a while so there is certainly that kind of a topic and why not to ask our African colleagues and partners to join there. The second there, it is this kind of a moral principle, we’re still living past the digital world with artificialization, artificial intelligence, Internet, all of this, but it does not need to be so.
There’s a lot of knowledge, there’s a lot of ethics, there are a lot of new technologies and possibilities, but we need a strong movement of people, scientists, a bit like what’s happened in the climate scene, to push these ideas in the E.U. and in European legislation and globally forward, and yes, I think that we can do it.
There is no alternative. We really need to do it.
Thank you for all, everyone. Best access to your work.
I hope to see you and hear your suggestions.
Send them to all members of the European Parliament.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you. Thank you so much, Sirpa. It has not fallen on deaf man’s ear it is I look to Sandra, she will definitely write to the European Parliament I’m quite sure of that.
There is still a reaction here in the room? Online?
>> SORENE ASSEFA: Yes. We have two interventions, one from Noemie Burkl, making a concluding remark and also we have a conclusion remark. Thank you so much. First, Noemie Burkl, and then next.
>> ASHRAFUR PIAUS: Thank you. Thank you so much. I hope I didn’t pronounce that wrongly. Thank you for EuroDIG for organizing such a wonderful programme, where the multistakeholder participatory programme must I should say.
I have short questions, what policy, what initiative you have to engage more with the EuroDIG, especially can we focus on the Asia-Pacific region for the bilateral programme, that’s my question, nothing more. Thank you.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you.
That’s also probably a suggestion that we will give to the organization of the next EuroDIG. Sandra, are you taking notes? It is all being registered.
A last comment.
>> NEEMA LUGANGIRA: Thank you.
Definitely don’t want to stand before your evening programme, but just thank you very much and I just wanted to say of course the joint effort, the European effort is essential to ensure that all of the people can benefit from digital technology. It is a very important, generic point, I just wanted to underline this and I have learned a lot in this discussion today.
Thank you very much to all of you. I wish I could be there with you. I’m sure that we will all benefit from these discussions.
Thank you so much.
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you.
I would like to give the floor to Sorena Assefa who has been pulling all of this together. I’m just an added person, but Sorena Assefa is instrumental in putting this altogether as pointed out. Sorena Assefa from South Africa.
>> SORENE ASSEFA: Thank you, Patrick.
Thank you for the kind work and kind words.
I think it would be too biased to say I did all the work because Sandra came up with the idea during IGF Ethiopia, and Sandra, thank you for your leadership and for giving us the platform and Wout de Natris has been working hand in hand and the foreign ministry, others, if I mispronounce, I’m sorry, from ISOC Finland, there are so many people that came together to make this parliamentarian session work.
Thank you for the platform, I hope that you enjoyed the discussion.
Thank you! Thank you from South Africa!
>> PATRICK PENNINCKX: Thank you so much. Thank you. Dear Friends, we tried to with this roundtable, introductory roundtable to follow-up on the discussions and the progress from the international IGF and coordinate continent to continent cooperation efforts and apparently we will continue to do so because there is an invitation from the Asian subcontinent or continent to do so.
We tried to discuss also the current and future digital cooperation between Europe and Africa, we tried to make some issues about the capacity building in the regions, strengthen comprehensive, harmonized policies and regulations that will govern our common geographical area, and let’s hope that we hence have promoted an enhanced partnership and investments for the future.
Thank you very much.
Please enjoy the evening programme. Thank you.