Internet governance within the system of the United Nations: is IGF on a good path to adapt, innovate and reform? – Pre 06 2022

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20 June 2022 | 16:30 - 18:00 CEST | SISSA Main Auditorium | Video recording | Transcript
Consolidated programme 2022 overview / Day 0

Session teaser

Almost two decades after the initial World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), does Internet governance keep pace with the development of the digital landscape? What’s the role of the United Nations in governing the Internet in 2022? Do existing IGF processes fit the need or more could be done? Will the IGF 2022 be a change we all want to see?

Session description

Much on digital policy and related processes is happening across the United Nations system. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is actively working on ‘adapting, innovating and reforming’. It recently concluded its second retreat, the Expert Group Meeting, from which a number of action points are subject to implementation and expected to trigger a change. In addition, as a concrete action point from the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, the IGF has reformed its structure by introducing the Leadership Panel. What to expect from the Panel?

The Secretary-General went steps further on the Roadmap by issuing his Our Common Agenda Report. Can this vision for “reinvigorating multilateralism” trigger re-energization of multistakeholderism? What are the Global Digital Compact and Summit of the Future about and how can all stakeholders be part of them including those gathered around various intersessional processes of the IGF?


This will be an open, interactive, roundtable exchange between those working directly on the above-mentioned UN processes and those contributing or wishing to contribute to it. It will be an opportunity to challenge the status quo and provide creative ideas to strengthen the existing processes. The proposed draft agenda of the session will develop around the following areas:

  • WSIS+20 – where do we stand today? How much has Internet governance changed? How ‎much has IGF changed? Will the IGF 2022 in Addis Ababa be the change we want to see? How ‎the IGF can feed into the WSIS+20 review process?‎
  • IGF in the context of the implementation of the Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital ‎Cooperation – what’s been done so far and where people can contribute? ‎
  • Can we hope for better days if the Our Common Agenda is implemented? What is the ‎concrete plan for the Global Digital Compact and a vision for the Summit of the Future? ‎What role the IGF could play?‎

Throughout the agenda, a special focus is on the value of local levels and concrete ways EuroDIG and other NRIs could contribute to the UN processes and vice-versa.

Further reading


This session is organized by the United Nations Secretariat for the Internet Governance Forum. It will engage a number of expert speakers:

  • Adam Peak, ICANN, MAG member
  • Anriette Esterhuysen, former MAG Chair; Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
  • Jason Munyan, Office of the United Nations Secretary-General's Envoy on Technology
  • Markus Kummer, former MAG Chair, IGF Support Association
  • Nigel Hickson, UK Government
  • Thomas Schneider, Government of Switzerland
  • Velimira Nemiguentcheva-Grau, European Commission


by session organiser

During the 2022 annual meeting of the European Dialogues on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) hosted in Trieste, Italy, the IGF Secretariat hosted in which experts from different stakeholder groups gathered to reflect on the evolution of Internet Governance and Internet Governance Forum since the original WSIS and share inputs on what is needed going forward. Specifically, the following areas were discussed:

  • WSIS+20 – where do we stand today? How much has Internet governance changed? How much has IGF changed? Will the IGF 2022 in Addis Ababa be the change we want to see? How the IGF can feed into the WSIS+20 review process?
  • IGF in the context of the implementation of the Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation – what’s been done so far and where people can contribute?
  • Can we hope for better days if the Our Common Agenda is implemented? What is the concrete plan for the Global Digital Compact and a vision for the Summit of the Future? What role the IGF could play?

During the session, the following experts were on a panel:

  • Adam Peak, ICANN, MAG member
  • Anriette Esterhuysen, former MAG Chair; Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
  • Jason Munyan, Office of the United Nations Secretary-General's Envoy on Technology
  • Markus Kummer, former MAG Chair, IGF Support Association
  • Nigel Hickson, UK Government
  • Thomas Schneider, Government of Switzerland
  • Velimira Nemiguentcheva-Grau, European Commission

Below is a summary of the main key points raised. The recording and full transcript of the session is available on this page after this Report.

  • Almost two decades since the original WSIS, the Internet has changed and the world has changed. This has been triggering a change in how it is used by people and the ways it impacts their lives. The belief that regulation is strongly necessary is rapidly growing to the extent that it is considered unevitable by some. The global community is faced less and less with the question to regulate or not to regulate; and more and more with the question of how to govern and regulate. The IGF is a critical process through which people and organizations of all stakeholder groups have been strongly calling for inclusive discussions among all before decisions are made positioning the multistakeholder model as necessary and a must.
  • The IGF is a critical space where government and non-government sectors come together as equals under the auspices of the United Nations to discuss what people set as priorities on public digital policy. It is important to maintain the sense that the Internet belongs to everyone under equal terms.
  • The greatest achievement of the IGF so far is its robust community and sense of togetherness. The ability of people to come together on local and global levels, as the NRIs do, is an optimistic motive for a brighter digital future. However, there are concerns that the IGF, as a discussion space created for everyone, is not serving everyone for different reasons. Efforts need to be stepped in to ensure those unrepresented, from the most powerful stakeholders to vulnerable groups, are engaged in its processes.
  • The discussions are overly focused on what the Internet is and what we want it to become. But there is a value in also focusing on what we want the Internet not to become. The Global Digital Compact could be an opportunity for stakeholders to get the basic principles back on the table. Factors such as the current geopolitical situation as well as the views coming from different regional processes much be taken into account when thinking about the potential for universally accepted principles governing the Internet. The starting position could be on the side of all individuals and organizations asking themselves: what kind of guidelines and rules do we want to attribute to the digital space of today and the future? In this sense, the IGF can help to understand what the world thinks and wants.
  • The existing IGF arrangements work. But that does not prevent them from doing better and more. The IGF Leadership Panel could provide more visibility, better sustainability, and political grounding for the IGF, which can lead to better accessibility of the Forum to all people.

Video record


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>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Hello. So we are going to enter into our last session for today. I must say, I’m pretty much amazed how many people showed up already and what kind of remote participation numbers we can see. I was a bit skeptical when we saw the registration numbers in the past days. I’m really happy how it went today.

The next session, the last session, it is about Internet governance within the system of the United Nations: is IGF on a good path to adapt, innovate and reform? you all are possibly aware of the discussion going on with the Expert Working Group that met recently, how we contribute to the Global Digital Compact and all of these processes. We thought it would be a good idea to give you an update on these processes and engage with you because in the next few days we’ll pick up on those issues, just mentioning the stakeholder consultation process that’s going to start, we’ll inform you about the details tomorrow, the Secretariat agreed to take on this session and we have a number of speakers. Before, let me repeat our rules for online participants, it would be great if you switch on the camera when you speak, say your name, unmute yourself when you’re asked to and don’t share the links with anyone else.

With this, I hand over to you. The floor is yours.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much, Sandra.

Good afternoon, everyone. We’re almost through this first day of EuroDIG and I dare to say a very successful. We’ll do our best to confirm that in the next I think 90 minutes we have in front of us. Thank you for coming back into this room.

We’re here to reflect a little bit on the path, see where we are standing in the present moment and look as much as we can into the future in terms of the Internet Governance as an ecosystem, in terms of the Internet Governance Forum as part of the ecosystem. You will probably know that many calls have been around the IGF to adapt, reform and innovate, the community has been doing its due diligence for years now and so to holding in the IGF results in an excellent overview of what the community advises and suggests should be done in order for the process to fit more the requirements of stakeholders from around the world and the Secretariat, the Multistakeholder Advisory Group, we’re trying to respond as much as possible to all of those requests and suggestions.

What’s been done so far, what’s going to be done, that was discussed in the time that’s in front of us. I’m really privileged to have with me here in the stage and also online a line-up of excellent speakers, those are really senior stakeholders, I have to say I personally was learning a lot from when I stepped into the Internet Governance ecosystem and I’m sure many of you can also say that. The reason why we wanted to have this particular composition of the panel of the busy colleagues that I’m thankful they have agreed to be here, it is because they’re in a very good position to bring us back maybe 20 years before where we are standing now and to speak about where are we now. I think they’re in a very good position to speak about what we might see in the months and years to come. Just because I can surely say that all these colleagues, as much as they’re practical, they’re also having a very clear vision of what the ecosystem should be like and I think they’re very much united in the notion of what kind of internet we all want to see for ourselves.

In that sense, let me just say very quickly who is with us today. Online with us is Velimira Nemiguentcheva-Grau from the European Commission. On sight site, on stage, we have Thomas Schneider, from the Government of Switzerland, Anriette Esterhuysen, former MAG Chair with the association for progressive communications, with the African MAG, I always am thankful for Anriette Esterhuysen to join us. We have Nigel Hickson from the UKCIS government and we have Adam Peak, with ICANN and also a member of the MAG. Online with us, is also Jason Munyan from the Office of The U.N. Secretary-General’s envoy on technology.

With that, I said at the beginning, we’re going to now stop a little bit and go in the past, 15, 20 years back, sorry, I actually missed one name, which will open this session, Mr. Markus Kummer, former also MAG Chair, leadership of the Secretariat now with the IGF Support Association, and I would like to ask maybe Markus to set the stage, he’s been with the IGF, the Internet Governance, a term coined from the very beginnings. He’s been the one shaping all of those process, been with the leadership of the IGF Secretariat for years and a huge contributor now to the ecosystem.

Markus Kummer is online with us from Switzerland, Geneva. I would like to ask very briefly, Markus, bring us back 15, 20 years in the early stages of WSIS and reflect on the time there, what’s changed looking it at the present time in terms of Internet Governance and also in terms of Internet Governance Forum.

I think you are muted.

>> MARKUS KUMMER: Now I’m unmuted. Can you hear me?

>> ANJA GENGO: We can hear you.

>> MARKUS KUMMER: Hello, everyone. Thank you for the kind introduction.

It is a pleasure (poor audio quality).


(Audio quality too poor for captioning).

Then WSIS, as you obviously will remember, it is supposed to be about bridging the digital divide and the Internet Governance was perhaps one of the most controversial issues and then we had a clash between two visions of the world, on one hand, there was a vision that was more government led, top-down, people felt that governments ought to be in charge of the oversight and a hand-off approach. They felt that technology should be left to develop and that too much government influence would actually harm the technological development.

Let’s also take another step back and remind us about the time was then in the early days of the 90s after the end of the cold war, prevalent optimism, a belief in the benefits of globalization. There was talk about the end of history, there was a triumph of free market economics and on the whole, the mood, general mood was optimistic and was felt that free markets would actually be the best way to deal also with new technologies. This vision was shared by more or less all Western democracies, a group in the OECD and there were many conscience decisions not to take a decision in order not to harm the development of the internet and it also showed how the internet had evolved on the utopian beliefs and the free collaboration among technologists. That was the internet as we know it, free, open, interoperable internet. And there were conversations in Geneva talking about the Internet Governance, between two summits, there was a lot of discussion and there was clearly a new mode of operation in the U.N. context. That became later known as multistakeholder approach, free discussion among all participants, among the technologists who actually led the technological development, the private sector who funded and financed it, and also Civil Society who played a huge role as watchdogs of the technology and in 2005, we had, as you know, a compromise on the whole, the prevalent vision prevailed that existing arrangements worked well, it was nailed down in the Tunis agenda, but there was also room for improvement, that was known as enhanced cooperation and more in the middle of that, there was a compromise to set up the Internet Governance Forum, a forum for deliberation, it was designed as a non-output oriented body as a platform for dialogue.

Again, the link to the U.N. Secretary-General, the mandate was given directly to the Secretary-General of the U.N. United Nations to convene a forum for policy dialogue giving credibility to the IGF, giving credibility to those that believed in the intergovernmental, the government-led approach, and because of the very open nature, it also gave credibility to the internet institutions, technologists, private sector and Civil Society because there they found the space where they could participate as equals with governments.

That was in a way the beginning of the IGF, that was where we came from and now time, they have changed since. There is strongly held belief that regulation is inevitable and governments have started regulating and the question is now not whether or not they will regulate, but how they will regulate and there is obviously among the – within the IGF family, a strongly held belief that regulation should involve all stakeholders, should be done in a multistakeholder mode and that the Internet Governance Forum should play a strong role on this, on the way forward.

Also, the call for more regulation, for more outputs, it is something that the IGF has to live up to and look also how to live up to the expectation that now it is called on to provide more outputs.

With this, I hand the microphone back to you.

Thank you for your attention.

>> ANJA GENGO: (No audio).

>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: – the transition, another achievement that probably would not have taken place in the way that it did in the time it did without the IGF.

Another one, just to mention one more example, the Human Rights Council’s recognition that Human Rights apply online as well as offline. Again, the IGF was a very important part of that.

I think what we have lost a little bit, it is this notion, and Markus touched on this as well, this sense of the internet belongs to us all and, therefore, we should all be part of the governance of it. I think there is more formality in many ways at the IGFs, there is more track, a track for youth, the gender focus here, cybersecurity focus here, I think sometimes we have lost the sense of this internet belongs to us all. We all want to be involved in its governance. It should be accountable, it should be global.

I think that intensity has been lost to some extent.

Companies no longer come to the IGF because they want to prevent regulation that they don’t feel is in their interest, they lobby national legislators.

I think that’s a loss.

I think Civil Society activists no longer come to the IGF to fight against slit downs, for example, because the IGF has become much more polite than it used to be in the past.

I think – you know, and then I think finally, and this touches on the global digital compact.

I think we’re at juncture where we need to use this human capital, this community that we have built up through the IGF. It still exists. I think that’s probably its greatest achievement, all of these people, all of these institutions that are here that are at other NRIs that come to the global IGF, to focus on what really matters to us, what do we not want the internet to become in the future, what do we not want the internet governance to become, what do we want it to be, how can we again reclaim the notion of an internet that it is public, open, that belongs to us all, that’s good for business but not controlled and taken over by businesses or governments.

The Global Digital Compact, maybe that’s an opportunity for us to get the basic principles back on the table.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much. These are important reflections. I thank you primarily for recognizing the human capital which was the key idea and all of the concerns, there is that hope that at least there are those that will stand and fight for a free, affordable, accessible secure internet for all.

The IGF in 2017 was hosted by the Government of Switzerland and ambassador Thomas Schneider was directly involved with the issues and the organization of the IGF. Since then, things have changed, things have changed also in terms of the norms and advances we refer to now, we’re not only speaking about the Tunis agenda for the Information Society, there are different documents that are taking our attention, such as the roadmap on digital cooperation, our common agenda, Anriette Esterhuysen had mentioned the digital compact, as a hope to return where we want to be. This is a WSIS+20 report coming soon, we understood to report, what will we report then? Is this the year of a change that we want to see? Especially the context of the IGF and hosting in Ethiopia.


Hello, everybody. Good to see you physically and hopefully also I see you also online.

A few things that have been said, I think the discussion has developed to put it simply, it has been referred to also earlier today, we talked on the infrastructure, domain names, the infrastructure, the centre of the power – the perceived centre of power, like 15 to 20 years ago, there was who controls the infrastructure, the core of the internet resources. That has been to some extent at least depoliticalized mainly by the so-called transition with the U.S. government acceding the unilateral control to a private – to the so-called ICANN community and other issues have risen. It is much more the governance on the internet, data, AI, applications, what have you, it has become on one hand more of an economic issue rather than a technical issue in terms of who controls markets that are based on the internet.

At the same time, the internet and digital sphere has become so much more fundamental for the functioning of every aspect of the daily life. It also has become a cybersecurity, resilience, whatever issue that it wasn’t at the time where we started this. Relevant for the IGF, I think that when the IGF started, after WSIS, it was the only place that exist where had people were going and first of all, politicians, government representatives like myself, to try to understand what is actually going on, what’s happening, what are the opportunities, what are the challenges. I think, of course, the new issues coming up, we still keep trying to understand, but we do know a little bit, we have learned a little bit in the past years.

One thing that has remained, it is that we still do not have an international space. We have an international space for dialogue, some space, the IGF is one, probably one of the most important ones, but we do not have international mechanisms for setting rules.

Some people may like that fact, others may like it a little bit less. Normally this has pros and cons. In some cases, it is good that there are no rules. In other cases, it would be good that there be rules, in particular, to protect the ones that will lose in the wild west, the wild east, whatever we used to call it at that time.

So I think the big question that we need to ask ourselves, it is what kind of rules do we want to give the digital space of today and of the future? If we think it is fine, that we have continued to have no global rules and the U.S., the E.U., other national or super national bodies make their own rules, then we see to what extent this all works together or whether we would like to set international standards and whether it is given the current geopolitical situation whether it is feasible at all to agree on international standards. This seems to be less likely than ever in the last 20 years. We used to think that normally through economic cooperation we can at least agree on technical, economic standards and that’s not necessary given for the time being, hopefully it will come back.

There is a number of questions we need to ask ourselves, it is what is the situation that we’re in right now. What are the most burning issues, fragmentation of the internet, is that the same issue like it has been a few years back, is it a new issue. What is the – what Digital World do we want to live in, do we still share, think that we share, globally share a common vision, has that fallen apart since the WSIS times, and then once we know what we want, we should think about do we have the right institutions to actually get there or do we need to modify or enable institutions or create new ones to get there.

The questions are not necessarily new, but some things have changed in the last 20 years that we may have to ask us, yeah, the questions in a new way and particular, as people that care about the IGF and that have been part of its development in the last 20 years, we also need to think about is this still the right thing to do? Personally, I would say the open inclusive bottom-up approach is the only way to go. The question is, how do we get this organized so that the world actually care, that the world takes note, including our political leaders, our economic leaders in our own countries but also the ones in other countries and our intent as the Swiss government, we basically contributed to giving a new dynamic to the IGF in 2016, 2017 and we’re also at a bit of a turning point where we – some people were fed up with discussions and dialogue for ten years, but not seeing any consequences. I think we managed together with a number of other stakeholders, including the host of the next IGF to bring it higher on the political agenda also with the high-level panel and then, of course, the pandemic came, things changed again. I think we also need to understand what has the pandemic changed, we see it in the way we work.

It is difficult to go back to just having a physical meeting without the expectations that we run in parallel to do 20 things like what we were doing in home office because you could just use the coffee break and did not have to talk to other people but actually send 5:00 emails in the meantime or while others were speaking, you could do something in parallel.

I think we have to readjust on many levels and to understand what is the situation that we’re in and then see what we do about this so-called big events that will come up like WSIS+20 in 25 and we also need to see what we’ll do with upcoming IGFs and host countries. I will not go into detail, it is like what – yeah. There will be some critical issues we need to discuss and hopefully at least we have a coalition and a rough consensus among the constructive groups, among all stakeholders, that we want to use this technologies for a peaceful, fair world.

If we agree on this, I think we’ll find a way to agree on the procedures.

First of all, we need to agree on the basics currently.

Thank you.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much, Thomas. You really brought a lot of aspects, a lot of food for thought for everyone.

You mentioned E.U. a couple of times, you also mentioned the importance of the regional processes, the values, which leads me to Velimira Nemiguentcheva-Grau from the European Commission and maybe you can come in comment on the values when it comes to building the ecosystem that we all want to and in that sense, how do you see coming from a place that indeed, really comes up with new rules and norms, which are coming from our regional process but are impacting all of us, and the IGF ecosystem for all, from the beginning of the IGF, how do you see today’s internet governance state of affairs and also the Internet Governance Forum and in preparing for the 17th IGF, upcoming later in the year, what changes are necessary for the IGF for better conditions for all of us on Internet Governance?


Good afternoon to everybody.

I think there is an echo. I hope you can hear me well.

>> ANJA GENGO: Very well on this side.

>> VELIMIRA NEMIGUENTCHEVA-GRAU: Thank you very much. Thomas started by introducing the WSIS+20 process, what are the different topics and many challenges we have in front of us in order to see how to protect the global internet and also the bottom yum and multistakeholder nature of the internet.

I think I would like to take the questions that you have asked by having to look into how actually the Internet Governance Forum can fit into the upcoming 2025 review process. From that perspective, I think that the IGF and thereby all of the issues it deals with can contribute to the State of play, contribution of the different outcomes, but also the post 2025 agenda and I think here, I refer to the different interesting topics Thomas raised. I believe that the IGF can contribute with the analysis on where we stand today and also where we want to go and what has worked in terms of Internet Governance but also what are emerging issues that are now being included, the international rules and how we ensure that there is – I believe that many of these issues around the Internet Governance, they’re crosscutting.

I believe from that perspective we need to be very careful when looking at the challenges ahead of us.

I think that the IGF can contribute a lot to the upcoming 025 discussions by presenting outputs from different intersectional work and annual meetings, and also into inputting on how we can organize ourself, the IGF community, in order to make this IGF contribution be more realized. I think that one important question, it is also how the Information Society and the Internet Governance world, how we approach this vision that was set years ago with WSIS on the people-centred, inclusive, development oriented vision that we would like to have of the Internet Governance and the Information Society. I believe that the IGF has a best practice platform and also new ideas and also clearing the ideas, how they can contribute on a variety of topics of major social importance.

I also think that the IGF 2022 can be the change maker and address some challenges that we have when it comes to Internet Governance, starting with issues such as inclusiveness. Having the IGF in this area, it is a true possibility that we put the focus for inclusiveness, not just African countries but the entire global South, what I believe is really important are the points raised by Anriette Esterhuysen in the intervention, about different aspects of inclusion and how to make the linkages between different actors that are involved in the Internet Governance.

I also believe that what would be very important for us, it is to show with IGF 2022 that we can contribute to the global digital discussion and this is very relevant in order to show that the IGF community is effectively having evaluated to the digital cooperation and how to further enhance. And here I would like to stop and say that in order for this year, friends, the IGF, to be realized, a number of points are important. One of these points, it is to effectively implement the structural improvement. Here I refer to the need of making the leadership panel as effective as soon as possible that this panel can work with the MAG, effectively with the tech envoy office and to enhance the IGF relevance which also is bringing in participants to the IGF platform. Finally, I believe that it is important, that the IGF (poor audio quality, echoing).

– around the intercessional work and those that initiated the youth initiatives and I believe we’re also working from that perspective in order to contribute to this.

I think that another point for IGF from now, up to 2025, it would be how to bridge the different dimensions, the different colleagues on the panel have mentions, and also to Markus of courser and how to reach these different approach, the multistakeholder, the multilateral, the private sector, the governments, and ensure that on one hand it is truly bottom-up and inclusive and the other hand that the IGF process delivers influential outputs linked to the needs of international organizations, decision making bodies and enhancing cooperation between these bodies and corporations. It is an important aspect to look at with you in 2025 and it is linked to what Thomas said with the need for global internet and how to preserve it while at the same time addressing internationally the challenges and to finish, indeed, the regulation may sometimes be taken by the private sector as something intrusive. I believe that the internet is also a public space and we can ensure that it functions effectively and we raise the different challenges that we have there only if we look into this fully internationally and building upon transparent views on what regulation can bring to the openness of the internet which is truly important.

I believe that what definitely matters, it is that in the forthcoming IGFs we remain very conscience of this responsibility that we have to keep the global and open internet, and I believe it is also important in terms of setting the agendas of the forthcoming IGFs and also in selecting the different hosting countries.

Thank you.

Thank you to everybody.

Nice to see you all being online and on the stage!

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much, Velimira Nemiguentcheva-Grau. I really appreciate your time and your valuable remarks.

In everything that you said, it is very complex and very important, you also spoke about the structural changes for the IGF before the WSIS+20. It is that particular part, I would approach Jason joining us online from New York to speak a bit about the concrete vision and plan for the summit of the future and Global Digital Compact as concepts that emerge from the Secretary-General’s common agenda report and just also in that sense because especially Velimira Nemiguentcheva-Grau had mentioned the structural changes, one of the structural changes had already happened and we have the leadership panel whose appointment we’re awaiting, building on the roadmap for digital cooperation. I will just ask you to also build on that, what’s the vision going forward also in the work of the IGF in this new structure.

>> JASON MUNYAN: It is great to be here with you from New York. It is a shame I can’t be in Italy. I hope it is going well.

It is helpful to hear the overview from Markus and others in the session. Markus discussed WSIS+20 and the history of looking at ways to improve the IGF.

I just would like to go over the most recent developments and how they relate to these efforts to strengthen the IGF. One is the high-level panel for digital cooperation. If you look at the report that the panel produced, the age of digital independence, it included recommendations on cooperation and we recommend that as a matter of urgency the U.N. Secretary-General facilitate an agile, open-consultation process to develop updated mechanisms for global digital cooperation with the options discussed as a starting point and it says we suggest an initial goal of marking the 25th Anniversary with a global commitment for digital cooperation to enshrine shared values, principles, understandings and objectives for an improved digital cooperation architecture. It also says as part of this process we understand that the Secretary-General may appoint a technology envoy. Obviously, we have seen several of those things implemented since then, just a couple of years since that report.

The other recommendation is we support a multistakeholder system approach for cooperation, regulation as adapted, agile, inclusive, fit for purpose for the fast changing digital age.

If you recall from that report, there were three proposed models to look at for a possible architecture circle of cooperation, one was IGF Plus, distributed government architecture and digital comment architecture.

The relevant recommendation group convened a series of roundtable, consultations and we’re grateful to the cochampions of that group, the governments of Germany and the United Arab Emirates convening the discussions and as they continued to consult and get ideas, there was overall momentum of support in favor of the Internet Governance Forum plus, so already in the digital cooperation there is a series of recommendations that outline to strengthen the IGF and so one of those was to create a strategic, empowered high-level body and with many of you, we had a number of consultations and over the past months, even years, over what that body should look like and the composition and as mentioned, any moment now we expect that to be announced and we do expect that to be put in place as quickly as possible to be able to support the organization or to support the MAG and the community for this upcoming global IGF.

So that’s one, then there is already progress on the other recommendations from the roadmap on, you know, a more focused IGF agenda, the high-level agenda, the administerial tracks and so on. After the roadmap was issued, and there was work to start implementing the recommendations, if you remember the timing, we were also commemorating the 25th anniversary of the U.N. So as was mentioned in the high-level panel for digital cooperation report, there are a number of consultations held, over 1.4 million voices around the world about urgent global challenges looking ahead to the future for the next 25 years. We heard from a lot of people about what they were concerned about and many of these voices prioritized digital transformation as an issue that warrants cooperation on countries and stakeholders. The U.N. Secretary-General himself compared digital transformation with Climate Change as an example of a challenge that’s something that we need to – the international community needs to cooperate on.

So following these various consultations, then we heard from Member States in their declaration which did include a paragraph on improving digital cooperation.

With that declaration, building off of the high-level panel report, the roadmap, then last year the Secretary-General issued the common agenda. That report noted the potential harms of digital technologies, that they risk over shadow benefits and noted that governments and national and global levels have not kept pace with an internet dominated by commercial interests and it also listed some concerns that have been seen because of lack of accountability, gender bias, surveillance, manipulation.

The common agenda includes several proposal, one is for the future, next year, as you all know, the technology track of that summit, it is expected to result in an agreement on a Global Digital Compact.

Now, this is just – the technology track is one of several tracks in the future, not just about technology but about the other challenges that I mentioned, Climate Change, such as youth, education, so on.

The technology track, for this common agenda, the report, the common agenda, it suggests that this compact can outline shared principles for an open, free, digital secure future for all and suggested issues that could be covered like digital connectivity, avoiding fragmentation, providing options on how data is used, Human Rights online. As we said before, this is just suggestions. In approaching the compact, we start with a clean slate.

We could include all of these issues, but we don’t have to, and we’re also not limited to or restricted to those issues. This is where we look to the snarl community, the IGF, national, regional IGFs to provide input on what the compact should look like and start proposing the themes and text to consider for the compact. In the Office of The Secretary-General Office of the Technology Envoy we have created a platform to receive inputs from entities and individuals for consideration for the compact and we seek to make this as inclusive as possible, all regions, different stakeholder groups, and I would like to acknowledge and with appreciation the Swiss IGF which concluded recently and was the first national IGF to offer submissions for the digital compact, we have post that had on the platform I believe. We encourage other nationals IGFs and regional IGFs such as EuroDIG to also take advantage of the platform to provide input for the compact.

I think to the other question, over the next couple of months, as we continue to receive the inputs, we will make them available and we will synthesize them for consideration and then early next year, as modalities for the negotiations from the compact are clear, then they can inform those that are negotiating the text for its adoption by some of the future – by September. That’s really where we stand. That’s kind of the directory that we have taken since the high-level panel report and the digital roadmap. As you see, a number of key steps have been taken to implement this vision for the IGF Plus and the different means of strengthening the IGF. Any time now you will see the announcement of the leadership panel and we do, we are optimistic, that we will complement the worker of the MAG and others do to complement the IGF work to strengthen the visibility and the long-term sustainability in the forum.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this panel.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much, Jason, for joining us. Thank you for bringing this clarity I would say in all of the processes that I think we needed.

These practices have an impact to the IGF to an extent, not just the practices that Jason referenced, Thomas made an important point that just our lives overall, our lifestyles also change because of the pandemic and how it impacted our dynamic, that also certainly impacted the IGF internally and also externally speaking, the work of the MAG, the way we organize the process, the way we participate, a lot has been happening, you’re at the heart of it, you’re also a member of the multistakeholder advisory group.

Can I ask you to comment on that part especially and tell us what is changing?

>> ADAM PEAK: These are very personal comments and most definitely not from the organization I work from. I have been involved since 2002, we’re a bit ahead in this process. To cheat a bit, to answer a question you asked Anriette Esterhuysen, which I think was as a Civil Society person, how do you feel about where we are now. I wouldn’t be so definite about I’m not happy. I would say I’m pretty pleased where we are, not entirely, there are a lot of problems. The reason that I would say that, it is because today I have a voice and I’m heard, not entirely. This is probably one of the most important things that the Internet Governance Forum, what we have been doing has given us, it has given us as stakeholders a voice which is heard and those two things go together, no point shouting in a room if no one is writing down the comments and considering them in later consultations. These were arguments we went through very much in the development of the World Summit and the work that created the IGF.

I think that’s important.

That’s something that also is very important when we come to the Global Digital Compact. We seem in some ways to perhaps be regressing back to days of 2004 and 5 where we argue about the modalities and shall I as a business representative or Civil Society or technical community have a voice that is heard. That is something that we essentially have to have in this or I suggest that the digital compact will be less useful than it should be.

I hope that as we think about modalities, Jason mentioned early next year, that this is something that we really have to get, right.

Multistakeholder processes, multistakeholder approaches, they are everywhere today. Organizations, intergovernmental organizations, ten years ago they may have prided themselves on being multilateral, today they will present their processes as multistakeholder. They may not be as multistakeholder advisory and bottom-up and as inclusive as the IGF and other things we maintain, this is almost prestige, you don’t have a meeting these days unless you can say that you’re multistakeholder advisory, if you do, you will spend the first two to three days of your meeting discussing modalities about how other stakeholder also participate as we have seen in the U.N. processes this year.

What we have today, what we have learned over the past 20 years from that first prep com, we were not allowed in the room, by the way, we stood outside for a week waiting to decide what the rules of procedure would be. We progressed a really long way, but I don’t really disagree with you, Anriette Esterhuysen, if I did, I would have to leave the stage and run away, I know that!

So that is sort of the one point.

Markus mentioned, you know, in 2005, 2006, existing arrangements worked well. I think they still do. We’re talking about – think about the pandemic, the existing arrangements we talk about, while it is your main resolve, the DNS resolved, the email flowed, it didn’t matter how many people went home, packets flowed across the internet, you went to the website you needed, if you were on Zoom you had access that would have been congestion but the basics of the internet worked and that is extremely important.

At the same time, we also have to recognize that the pandemic also highlighted many harms, words that the UKCIS government uses a lot, these are very real, things that we should be thinking about addressing, whether it is a consolidation of competition within the technical industry, whether it is fake new, whether it is Harms and these are issues I hope we’ll discuss going forward.

The global digital compact, I agree very much with Velimira Nemiguentcheva-Grau that we need the leadership panel and other structures in place so that we can maintain the bottom-up inclusive process but at the same time add more structure, this is not the full structure we need but it is something that’s essential.

We were at the IGF retreat, a so-called expert group meeting not long ago, we were giving tasks to the leadership panel not least around funding and if we don’t have it, the IGF will just continue as it is. We have far too many unfunded mandates coming out of this. When you have a recommendation it doesn’t matter how good or interesting and fun it is, if it is not funded, it is only a wish list. It is only a, you know, a glossy document. We really do need more funding to make these things possible.

I will stop there. Thank you very much.

>> ANJA GENGO: I will ask you to start preparing in the room, online, of course, if you would like to ask any questions, comment on what you have heard so far. While you’re preparing, I would like to ask another person that I know for sure was also shaping those WSIS processes, Nigel, I don’t know if you were in the room or outside of the room with Adam. In any case, how do you see where we are today and do you think that the IGF and the IGFs around the world in terms of their sustainability have a bright future or we should be concerned?

>> NIGEL HICKSON: Yes, thank you very much.

I was one of those nasty governments keeping them outside of the door.

So I’m an optimist. You know, is the glass half full or is the glass half empty is the question that is often asked.

You know, how are we progressing? Have we improved since 2005 and 2010? Have we got better doing this? I think that the answer is yes.

It is yes because of a number of reasons. Many of which have been laid out before us this afternoon.

The world has changed, we all know that, it is very easy to say.

What’s very interesting about some of the changes, Adam reflected on this as well, it is that we as governments now, when we announce policies, when we introduce initiatives, we love to do it with stakeholders. We have changed as a government, the U.K.UKCIS government has changed, 25 years ago, we used to have consultation, people used to write in, people used to bury them under piles of paper – I shouldn’t say that, today is different, we’re not perfect, governments are not perfect, institutions are not perfect. But no one produces policies any more without doing in this consultation with stakeholders.

I think this optimism has come through, where governments are working with many communities, scientist, many other institutions to get through the crisis together and we’re doing it in many other ways as well.

I think if we look towards the WSIS+20 process, which has been touched on, we do so in some optimism to an extent and that optimism to an extent is based on the IGF, based on what’s happened at the IGF and what’s happened in national and regional initiatives. This ability of people to come together as Anriette Esterhuysen and others have come, it has just been so important and it has been so inspiring. It is so inspiring to listen in, I don’t do it enough to some of the national IGFs that take place all over the world. You’re so good to flagging this to us all, what’s happening, Uruguay, West Africa, Paraguay, whatever, there are IGFs that are happening, consultations that are happening, there are people that are standing up, Civil Society is standing up, governments listen to that. That’s inspiring.

So what are we going to do then in the next few years? How are we going to take this forward? How are we going to retain, if you like, this optimism, because we do have challenges ahead and if anyone witnessed what happened in 2015 in terms of the WSIS+10 it was streamlined, cordial, the process, it was reflective, if you like, we had been through this bump in 2012 when we had that dreadful conference in terms of, you know, it’s the debate on the future of the internet and the ITU, the ITU and to an extent, the debate in 2015 was much more cordial and the UNGA extended the mandate of the WSIS.

This is not going to be the case in 2025. We’re in a completely different environment. To an extent, you know, let’s welcome that environment. Let’s welcome the opportunity to argue the multistakeholder approach. We shouldn’t be fearful, this is not a political issue, this is a pragmatic – it is a political issue. It is a pragmatic issue. It is the same issue. Let’s argue from where we come from, let’s argue with our comprehensive discussions, let’s argue the difference the multistakeholder has made to so many decision making processes, in so many different areas.

As we look for with a to WSIS+20, yes, there are going to be issues. We are going to go back and discuss perhaps what was in the Tunis agenda, we have to perhaps discuss enhanced cooperation in some of the other terminologies, bullets do this in a spirit of moving forward. Let’s take this opportunity of the WSIS+20 review to move forward from the WSIS mandate, not to throw it away, get rid of it all, but to work on what we want to see in the future.

We do have challenges ahead. We have challenges in the ITU Plenipotentiary perhaps in the auto. We have challenges at the U.N., the process at the U.N. that Jason described. It is excellent what’s happening on the Global Digital Compact and the way that the U.N. is reaching out to stakeholders, allowing people a voice.

It is not always the same in all parts of the U.N.

It is not the same at all parts of the ITU. We do have improvements to make in many of our processes.

So I’m going to stop there.

I remain an optimist and I’m really glad to be involved in this discussion.

Thanks so much.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much, Nigel.

This is very valuable. I think you have probably prompted some thinking among our participants as well.

I would like to open the floor now, if anyone from the room would like to ask any questions I think this is a good opportunity to take the mic and ask. Of course, this also goes for the online participants, including the chat function. I turn to Sandra to also see if there are any online interventions.

>> A bit is going on in the chat, I will forward a comment A question from Monica, she is a journalist, looking critical on things, she asks how far does the voice of the IGF community travel? Do we see past fears, those exercising the multistakeholder advisory discussions and those just going off to legislate and to govern with no real link between the two spheres, creating sometimes bad policy on the one side and frustration of the governed who are kept busy reforming the processes.

And there is a reply by bill drake in the chat to Monica, yes, there are two spheres. That’s possibly something that you could take up.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much, Sandra.

I know that Anriette Esterhuysen would like to intervene. I don’t know, Anriette Esterhuysen, if you could maybe also reflect on the questions.


I want – I also do want to respond to Adam, the very happy Civil Society activist now working for ICANN.

Firstly, to respond to Monica’s question. I think it is quite challenging actually. I don’t think we should feel a glass half full, although in South Africa, a full glass of wine is approximately 10 times bigger than a full glass of wine in Europe where they fill it only to just bosh the bottom.

I think we have to be realistic. I think we cannot just rely on multistakeholder advisory having got sort of the kind of legitimacy and widespread uptake that Adam is talking about.

I do think that the bottom up inclusive governance we talk about, that we want, we have to actually define it, we can’t just use jargon any more. We have to define it and make sure that it exists and that it really works and is really inclusive for different sectors of society. Different industries. Et cetera. I think that the UNESCO universality stakeholders we discussed this morning, it is a way of doing that.

I think we need to be realistic, look at the U.N. itself. The open ended Working Group of the U.N. first Committee which was first established to deal with international cybersecurity established to be a multistakeholder forum, it never really became fully multistakeholder because Member States couldn’t agree about including non-state actors.

You know, the Secretariat, the Chairs of the Committee is doing its best to create spaces for non-state actors to have side meetings, special consultations, and it is not really inclusive.

Nigel, I’m not sure how frequently you attended in 2014 and 2015, it wasn’t all that civil, ask Thomas, he was there! I think we now are dealing with the IGF – I mean, the strength of the IGF is its amorphous distributed character, the weakness of the IGF, it is that it doesn’t have institutional or political clout. Maybe the leadership panel can give it that.

I think it really needs that. If we look at the roadmap on digital cooperation, we see the ITU, others as strong agencies in the process. We don’t see the IGF as prominent enough. And the IGF’s identity, it is as a platform. It is not a policy space, it was never set up, never intended to be a policymaking space.

All I’m trying to say here, yes, let’s be positive. Also let’s be vigilant. If we want to keep the IGF as a platform for bottom-up and inclusive debate and deliberation on internet governance, we’re going to have to work bloody hard to do so.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much.

I think Sandra is signaling we may have someone online.

We, Wisdom Donkor contributed a lot in the chat. His concern, it is merely about the rural and poverty areas and I will summarize this and forward it to the people in the room, the major problem identified of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, homelessness, crime, violence, these problems I think are far from being reduced, taken into consideration the failures of political systems in the developing countries.

My question is, what can we do differently with these political systems we have in a developing world. He adds a concern, IGF in its present time can only be more meaningful if we channel more of our energies towards developed and rural, urban, impoverished communities and the future without this communities will be basically meaningless.

That’s possibly something.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much, Sandra, for summarizing this.

I think if I may add, from the perspective of the NRIs, digital inclusion in terms of the inclusion in the processes primarily, it is very important. I think we can really learn from many of the young NRIs. I can tell you, for example, because we’re in Italy, I’m going to reference the Italian case just because they really pilot that strategy, that the process is not hosted in the capitol if it doesn’t have to be the capitol, we’re moving outside to the cities. That’s why Italian IGF was hosted in several areas of the city. I think it helps to reach those that are not part of the processes, not necessarily obviously rural and remote areas. I think it really requires a lot of careful Strategic Planning to engage those that really need to be engaged in all our processes. That could be one of the example, I hope that we can take from this panel as an idea for the NRIs to implement going forward.

With that, I think Nigel has his hand raised, please.

>> NIGEL HICKSON: Yes. Just very briefly, thank you, Wisdom, thank you Monica for that previous question.

Just two very brief points: First of all, as Jason and others stated, the leadership panel could make a difference in this. We had an excellent session this morning where we talked about the IGF message, we talked about the importance of taking these messages into the policymaking arena. Certainly the leadership panel can help with that.

The second point is that, of course, you know, many of us are in this game because of the need for development.

We see the linkage between an open, global, innovative internet and economic growth and prosperity and reduction of the digital divide. You may say, well, governments always say that. It was inspiring listening to the ITU’s partner to connect programme last week, the week before actually in Kigali.

It was – I wasn’t there, I listened to some of it and – because I wrote our Minister’s speech, but it was so many people coming forward to make those pledges. We must keep those pledges. We must make sure that the pledges become a reality and it is the same in the IGF. We can make a difference if we really not only talk but do the walk as well.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much, Nigel.

I think Adam is the next one taking the floor. Just a heads-up, maybe before Adam speak, I see interesting comments and discussion happening prompted by comments from Mike Nelson, it is good, useful for this room as well to hear from Mike. If Mike will be able to speak maybe after Adam he could take the floor.

>> ADAM PEAK: I was just going to say that in 2006, another outcome of the IGF was a digital solidarity fund. It wasn’t just the – sorry. Yes, one of the outcomes of the World Summit was a suggestion, A, for the IGF, which has gone forward, we’re still continuing and the other was a digital solidarity fund which was meant to provide a mechanism for funding all of the issues that Wisdom mentioned. As often happens with funding, it doesn’t come forward.

It is unfortunate.

I don’t have an answer to that at all.

Actually I was going to say, let’s wait for Mike and I’ll stop.


>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you, Adam.

Maybe to hear from mike online. I think he’s ready. Then we’ll go to Thomas.

>> Mike: Thank you very much for the opportunity – (mike Nelson) thank you for the opportunity to Zoom in and thank you for the great discussion. I particularly enjoyed hearing Markus Kummer describe the history of 25 years of Internet Governance in 5 minutes.

My question is about the role of the IGF in influencing national governments and particularly I wanted to ask why is it that we don’t see national leaders stepping up, describing a better internet and what they’re going to do to make it happen. 20 years ago when WSIS was in the process we had national leaders. I went with Vice President Gore to Buenos Aires for the first World Telecommunication conference, we had national leaders speaking at IGFs. Today they all just complain, they don’t talk about how the world will be better, they just complain about the present, they seem to be only interested in tweeting or tech tock videos. Is there a way to talk to the leader, we have two different agencies too many times in charge, all pursuing different agenda, without the Prime Minister, the President saying this is what we’re going to do, nothing happens. We get mass confusion. How is that for a challenge?

>> ANJA GENGO: Sounds like a challenge. Let’s see who will take it. Thank you very much. We’re going back to Thomas and I ask the panelist to prepare a response to the difficult question.

>> ADAM PEAK: A question about the so-called digital solidarity fund, that was Geneva, 2003 and that was voluntary fund that was set up. There were two cities that gave some money, it was Geneva and Leon, it was like a million or so, basically it ended up nowhere, there was no governance of the fund that was trustworthy and no one had really had an interest to actually make it work apart from those two cities. They were not strong enough to do it. Just to – I was part of the whole discussion in that time.

I think, yeah, Mike raised a key issue, it is how to get the community’s voices to the leaders? I mean, we have been struggling with this, what’s actually supposed to be the outcome of the multistakeholder approach. It is find a remit, to have a place in the evening, to meet. The goal of this, it is that the leader also hear what the people want and SMEs need in India, Sicily, I don’t know, not just Paris, New York, Rome, Beijing, it is somehow difficult to make this work, we have heard some answers because not all politician, even the ones that say it, they do actually have an interest because it is work for them to listen to everybody. It is easier to listen to a few begin industry lobbyists that do the shortcut and go and see them in dinner, it is much more efficient.

For the industry, for the politicians, I mean, this is a reality, it is not necessarily badly meant, it is just the way it is.

With Anriette Esterhuysen and with Nigel Hickson there, what we have is better than nothing. It could be much more. That would need much more work of all of us to fight for it, to be more.

There’s enough reasons for this to exist, but we don’t really care type of situations because it is just more comfortably more work.

Inclusiveness means work.

I know this, we live in a country that we have to vote about 1,000 things four times a year. It is hard work to be part of the decision making. This is a key struggle. As long as we keep fighting about whether the leadership panel should be 15 people or 16 and a half people, 12 and a half people, meeting twice a year, three times a year, and we are not able to concentrate on the big political vision and the big lines like what do we want to achieve with the leadership panel, things like that, of course we’re also ourselves not that efficient.

That’s also not part of the reality. There is cultural diversity and different expectations and different histories with all of us.

I think that the big thing, the key thing, we have to keep on fighting for a shared vision and say, okay, this is what we want.

Fortunately, some governments and some Civil Society and business organizations, they try to move on, try to get a coalition of the willing and whether we like everything that the E.U. is producing in terms of regulation for the time being, it is something to discuss.

At least they try and do something about problems or issues that most of the people agree that they somehow need to be dealt with.

I think we can learn from each other and have to learn from each other.

It is work.

The easiest way, it is not listen to nobody and do whatever you can on your own and multistakeholder reason, it is hard work.

That’s something that, of course, not everybody is looking forward to.

>> ANJA GENGO: Almost everybody is nodding to that. I think we fully agree with you.

I know that we have Markus Kummer and Velimira Nemiguentcheva-Grau online waiting to come in.

They’re sitting in the comfort of their home, we’ll give you priority to you here and then go online.

>> Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

First of all, about the suggestions to involve top governmental leaders, why not – just to give you an example.

In France, we don’t know tomorrow, but the last few weeks we have had a new government and no one is specifically in charge of the digital, there is no anymore Minister in charge that have specifically. The only thing, it is digital sovereignty. It belongs to me but not belonging to the rest. That’s a pity both for internet governance and also for the reemerging France in general on that topic.

The other reason I guess, it is that you are the very few who can follow everything that’s happened in this field.

If we had the peace conference, and a lot of other conferences, there is no people who are willing, able, who has the time to follow what is happening and therefore I think we need to decrease the complexity of the overall system about the internet governance. I don’t know how.

It could be a very good objective.

Each one, each time you have an idea, the General Secretary gets an idea from somebody, you create a new group, you create a new function, you create – to what? Complex, complex, complex systems like that, you know but I can’t know because I can’t follow everything.

Thank you.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much.

I think we have just one more intervention in the room. Let’s hear from the room and then we’re going to go online.

>> The discussion in the room, in the Zoom room, it was in a chat, quite lively, I would really urge all of the participant here in the room to join our online participants. You will just get half of the fun that they’re having.

So let’s get to Velimira Nemiguentcheva-Grau first and then Markus Kummer. Velimira Nemiguentcheva-Grau, I think you’re cohost and can unmute yourself.


Thank you.

Still echo.


I still hear echo.

I wanted to come back to a number of point that were raised in the chat..

Probably I start with the comment that was in the chat, the question about initiatives, regulations, bottom-up and multistakeholder. I think with the experience that we have had with the European Union and that Thomas was referring to, I want to come back from the approach that we have in the European Commission today and also to our link with the Internet Governance Forums and the national and regional initiatives and (indiscernible) in particular.

The first point, it is I don’t believe that policymaking, the way we’re making decisions is a top-down approach. I believe that we have a very heavy process in which we’re taking into consideration the different visions of the different parts, not only of the private sector who is usually regulated in order to address on specific issues that you’re encountering from the social perspectives but also trying to include the Civil Society.

I believe that the fact that we’re so present in the Internet Governance Forum, in the annual meeting, but trying to do so with the intercessional work is precisely because from our perspective, the Internet Governance Forum is clearly a platform where we hear a lot and where basically we have the different priorities of the society, we’re very open about the issues that are at hand and this definitely helps when shaping legislation or policy initiatives.

I think that nothing can really erase this because we hear things that we could never – it only comes, you know, being – (poor audio quality).

– the overloaded organization, they come and have their position on a given issue.

So this is one point that I wanted to make.

The other point, somebody asked focused on the role that leadership is playing in terms of outreach and bringing IGF messages out in the political arena and international organizations. I believe this is important but I believe that in order to save the bottom-up, multistakeholder advisory approach that we have in the IGF and that both Thomas and Anriette Esterhuysen were saying, this is valuable and we need to save it. I believe what matters, also the political leaders, they come, they attend the IGF. Usually messages heard there, they are given in a given context and this context, it is important also in order for the top leaders to hear what to take and to reflect upon it.

Final remark on Sebastian had said, I truly believe that indeed there is a variety of platforms, forums, groups, I tend to think that some simplification could be helpful and on the other hand, how to ensure the specification happens in a way which makes or grasps the complex aspect of IGF and the digital issues related to it. I don’t have a response to it, I just wanted to echo on this.

Thank you.

>> Let’s go to Markus Kummer.

>> MARKUS KUMMER: Thank you. A great discussion. I enjoyed being part of it.

I don’t have the answer to all of the questions, but there were many good questions raised as well.

I would like to circle back a little bit to what I said at the beginning and also thank you for the nice segue for what the IGF was set for, not set up as a policymaking body but as a policy shaping platform. As such, it can shape policies.

The world has changed since the beginning. At the beginning, private sector was against any regulation, itself, regulation is best, we know what best what to do with, and there has been a paradigm change since. Now, the private sector, the big tech, there are actually themselves calling for regulation and there are calls for the IGF to provide solutions. The IGF, others have also hinted at, Anriette Esterhuysen had mentioned, it was not designed to be a decision making forum. Now we have this paradox that we are called upon to turn around, change our way of proceeding to produce outputs that can be used by policymakers. That is almost – it is a difficult task. I shall put it that way. It is an issue of moving from one mode of operation to maybe another, maybe actually producing outputs that can be used as binding outputs.

Also, the point was made, I think, Tom Marcel Krummenauer had made it, the current environment, it is not particularly conducive for global outcomes and we face increasingly the problem that the national level, actors like especially the European Union go ahead with shaping regulations that, in fact, then become global standards. The GDPR now is de facto, a global standard, and the DSA and DMA will presumably become also something as a global standard. Again, the positive side is the European Commission goes to the IGF and listens to the voices there. There is definitely a future of the IGF.

We have to think hard about fitting in the current environment. Those are concluding thoughts. Thank you for organizing an excellent panel.

Thank you.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much, especially for you for walking us through as Mike said 25 years in 5 minutes of complex history.

We have one colleague I can see from here to take the floor. Please, you have the floor.

Thank you.

This is Rachel from UNESCO. Great to see many of you on stage and by Zoom.

I have two question, I think we’re out of time so, maybe they’ll more be food for thought than actual discussion.

One is about – we talked about in the multistakeholder advisory model that we need Civil Society, we need academia, of course also the private sector and I have the impression that the tech companies, social media companies may actually be less engaged now than five, ten years ago in the IGF and they are only paying attention to regulation, not governance, discussions, so I wonder if you have, if the MAG, high-level leadership panel, the Global Digital Compact have ideas about how to engage the tech companies and for them to take this exercise seriously, first question.

The second question, it is whether you’re looking at web 3.0 and blockchain, crypto currency, it strikes me there is very interesting good models coming out of that with decentralized autonomous organizations.

That may be where governance is being shaped and not done yet, that’s something that may be on board.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you for waiting, for being patient.

>> ANJA GENGO: Do you want to go first, Adam.

>> ADAM PEAK: One of Rachel’s questions relate to what Mike Nelson had mentioned, which I should say the digital solidarity fund, I will discuss that later before I slander one of the leaders that Mike wants to bring to the IGF.

Anyway, we sort of tried it, President Macron was interesting for 90 minutes, that was important. I don’t think it led to discussion at the IGF itself. It was interesting.

We also had an experience in Sharm El Sheikh, where the cybersecurity for the leaders disrupted the conference significantly. I would like to see, this really goes to Rachel’s point, I would rather see the people who shape the policy for their Ministers, people like Nigel, the whole team of them, people that are shaping the strategy for a country rather than the Minister participating or pretend to participate for four, five day, same for CEO, we can encourage people to attend by giving them a role, it may not be the CEO but maybe the people working on the strategy within the tech company who understand and have the opportunity to discuss with people who are closer to being their peers and perhaps don’t have the schedule, conflicts that would arise.

I would look to bringing the policy shapers from within government, the policymakers, the strategists from within technical cooperations into the IGF, how we do that, it is something that we have to discuss, is it introducing some top-down programme making process without losing the bottom-up inclusiveness that we cannot do. It is very complicated.

Those are the targets I think we need to look at, those are the people that make policy within companies and governments.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you.

>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: To respond to Mike and to Rachel.

Mike Nelson, not all countries have Presidents that are as adept at using social media as some of yours have been. Just keep that in mind, not that they are the only ones.

I actually see a lot of presence from governments in spaces, maybe not in the IGF, but if you went to last year during the 75th anniversary celebrations of the U.N., U.N. General Assembly debates on digitalization, on the digital transformation, the discussions that Jason was referencing, leaders were very active in talking about the importance of the internet and digitalization more broadly.

I think at the same time governments feel quite exposed. I think we underestimate the difference in being a government participation than a multistakeholder advisory space and any other stakeholder. I think that they are quite cautious about being held accountable, about being quoted, about what they’re committing to, and then in my experience of working with developing country government, they find it extremely difficult to know how to deal with companies. There’s enough distrust between governments already, we know that, particularly in the area of cybersecurity, it is difficult for governments to agree on things, and it is difficult for smaller, less powerful governments that don’t host large internet companies to know how to deal with internet companies and for many of them, they see the multistakeholder platform as a way of giving in, of giving up, multistakeholderism for them equals an approach to internet government where the companies get their way..

Companies are now focused much more on national processes. That’s where regulation is being made or regional as in the case of Europe.

I think Europe has shown a lot of leadership in this in terms of commitment to the open internet, the E.U.’s global gateway recently launched as well and I do think that companies are shifting how they – they have to be pragmatic. I do think – how to respond to that? I think we have to make our multistakeholder spaces, our Internet Governance Forums more active, more challenging. Bring the controversial issues back to the floor. Make it – talk about regulation in a way that actually makes it necessary for companies to be here, to be part of that discussion.

I think we have become very polite and we sort of almost avoided controversy rather than being what we’re best at. A multistakeholder platform for dealing with complex, controversial Internet Governance issues.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much.

I know we’re 8 minutes overtime.

I promise, we’ll con condition include soon.

>> THOMAS SCHNEDIER: I’m very short. I know. You’re right about the government, but it is not the same for all.

Let me tell you one thing, the most hardest life are representatives, they’re big tech industry, we need to really feel sorry for them. They are treated so badly and so unpolite in these forums. They have probably the hardest time of all.

Thank you very much.

>> That was a joke.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much, Thomas.

Sandra, do we have a minute to cover these three requests we have? Each 25, 30 seconds?

>> Actually, there are hands raised for a while, since we want to put our remote participants in focus, I think they should get the floor and also I would like to read the comment from Laurie, she is giving a comment on the private sector, it would be great to go beyond tech and social media to businesses from all sectors, however, they don’t find value given the uncertainty of outcomes when speaking about the IGF. This goes to the point of the lack of enabling mechanisms, it is always about avoiding regulation, it is about getting the appropriate regulation. That’s the difficulty on getting involved with the private sector.

Let’s give the hand – the floor to Wout as well as to Jason and with the kind request to be very brief.

>> WOUT DE NATRIS: Yes. Sorry that I can’t be with you. Nice to see you all.

We have been discussing this morning on how to get the messages across. From what I have heard you all say, I have got two ideas: The first one, it is that a lot of intercessional work being done all through the year we have also ideas that we can share. I didn’t not present these outcomes, on the important people, when they’re present, so let’s present them on day 1 of the IGF and not on day 4 or later in the report that hopefully some people will see.

Secondly, when we have the message, we need to select where to share them. It means that the messages come across again with the people that need to hear them and who can start working with them. It could be high-level people, mid-level people., policymakers as mentioned by Adam.

Let me leave it there, it has to do with shaping the IGF perhaps a little differently than we have ever done before. I wish you good luck with that.

Good to see you all. Stay healthy. Bye-bye.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you. Jason, you want – you are cohost, unmute yourself and then after Jason, I hand back to you.

>> JASON MUNYAN: I’ll be brief on the private sector involvement.

One thing, this leadership panel, when announced, you will see that the two slots for the private sector will be occupied by CEOs of companies. We’re very – we appreciate that they have accepted the invitation to participate in the panel.

So you will see that. We do hope that that will help with the visibility and connecting with the private sector.

As far as the compact and so on, the recommendation groups, they continue to – the recommendation groups for implementing the roadmap, they continue to be active and include a number of companies and as Nigel mentioned, the partners to connect with the pledges, a lot of them came from companies. They are involved in a number of ways. Also in our platform for the global digital compact, then, you know, that is open to companies as well to provide inputs and we do understand many have expressed interest in consultation. There are a number of different ways that companies can contribute the views throughout this process.

Thank you very much.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much, Jason.

With that, we have exhausted our sign-up list.

I know you have been waiting for some time to ask a question. Do you still want to ask in 20 seconds’ time? I’m ready to sacrifice my concluding remarks in your favor?

>> I’m a co-Chair of the Swiss IGF. I wanted to share interesting observations we had in our national IGF just two weeks ago.

Namely, we had a huge participation by the state officials which was actually great for everybody to see and to talk directly in a direct conference. From this, already, there is a horizontal aspect, not just a vertical aspect and this is my point. .

The national IGFs, they have a very important role to just horizontally to bring people and busting bubbles and the other one, it was that we had a tech company, and other companies that were refreshingly open, taking question, sitting on the floor, not on stage, but on the floor, just discussing with everybody and it was extremely helpful and inspiring trust in a way and then tech company, they may be good, bad, whatsoever, at least they were present and were just holding their ground.

>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you very much. With that, we conclude the panel. Thank you to the panelists. The moderator. Thank you for staying here. It could be anywhere in this beautiful area, you choose to be here. Thank you. You have given us a bit of homework to do. Please let’s continue to discuss. I will certainly go to the Secretariat back with a to-do list and we’ll see what’s in the capacity to do.

I’m sure Adam will do the same with the MAG. We have a lot of opportunities thanks to the NRIs, IGF and other forums.

Thank you again. Enjoy the evening.