NRI ASSEMBLY – Pre 05 2020
It is a tradition that European National and Regional Internet Governance Initiatives (NRIs) are meeting at EuroDIG. We would like to keep this tradition also in a virtal meeting. The session is divided into 3 thematic segments (see below). The meeting is open for everyone interested in the work of the NRIs.
PART 1: Digital cooperation architecture and approaches for the future
The UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation submitted its report The Age of Digital Interdependence on Monday 10 June 2019. As a contribution to the follow up process National and regional IGFs formed a task force and developed a survey to provide input on Recommendation 5A/B of the Report of the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. This survey focused on the IGF Plus model that was one of the suggested architectures. All stakeholder, individuals, organisation, governments, the industry or NRI coordinators, were invited to respond to the survey. The Co-Champions, the Governments of Germany and the United Arab Emirates, are facilitating the global follow-up process on the recommendations related to the Digital Cooperation Architecture.
- Dr. Rudolf Gridl from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy will provide an update on the overall follow up process.
- Mark Carvell, Independent Analyst will summarise the findings from a European perspective
- Anriette Esterhuysen, IGF MAG Chair will updated on the processes with regard to the IGF strategy
PART 2: Best practice on possible NRIs legal entities
(related proposals: #163)
Some NRIs have founded a legal entity whilst others are in the process. This part of the session shall serve as an exchange among NRIs on the experiences in forming and founding a legal entity. Potential speaker:
- n.n. IGF Italy
- n.n. IFG Germany
- n.n. SEEDIG
PART 3 (TBC): IGFs as think-tanks for legislative action?
National legislation is in the focus of national IGFs, but to which extend can NRIs become a source for legislative action. How can we avoid unintended side effects with new or changing laws? How can we better connect the legislative bodies with the discussions that are held at IGFs? Potential speaker: Parliamentarians
This session will be a mixture of presentation, breakouts, brainstorming, consultation and discussion.
- The High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation launched its report and recommendations on Monday 10 June 2019.
Read more at : https://digitalcooperation.org/report-launch-10-june/
- EuroDIG held a consultation on this report to discuss and assess the HLP report and collate views from all stakeholders from all over Europe on the report and its recommendations.
Read more at: https://www.eurodig.org/index.php?id=750
- The office of the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General, the Governments of Germany and the United Arab Emirates were named as “Champions” to facilitate this follow-up process on the recommendations related to the Digital Cooperation Architecture.
- Dr. Rudolf Gridl, German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy - Co Champion on Recommendation 5A/B
- Mark Carvell, Independent Analyst
- Anriette Esterhuysen, IGF MAG Chair
- organisers of European National and regional IG Initiatives (see: https://www.eurodig.org/index.php?id=78)
- the EuroDIG Secretariat and Partner network (see: https://www.eurodig.org/index.php?id=74)
- representatives of the IGF Secretariat
- everyone that is interested in the work of NRIs
- Moderation: Sandra Hoferichter, Secretary General, EurODIG
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>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Hello, everyone. You won’t believe! It was a night! Our data center dropped out and our host website, the euro dig website and the Wiki website were down. We had little sleep during the night, but we managed and we are fully back recovered. We hope that this Day 0 which is usually the rehearsal day anyway will go without any delays and without any issues.
However, please be aware, it’s the first time that we are actually preparing for a virtual meeting, and we discovered already that there are a lot of advantages but there may be also disadvantages. Please bear with us, if not everything goes totally perfect. In particular, on Day 0, which was always meant to be the setup day. The day when we’re still rough, when construction work is still going on and when every just arrives and usually we would have met with a glass of wipe during the night but unfortunately this won’t happen unless you have a glass of wine yourself and you clinic in the Zoom room. That’s, of course, possible.
The programme for today, I’m here and I will soon move magically to the studio in the Hague where we’ll have our annual NIR Assembly, the Assembly of European National and regional IGFs. We will discuss the follow‑up process on digital cooperation, but we’ll also use that opportunity of our assembly to discuss what it needs to be setting up a legal entity. Euro dig was a legal entity in 2012 and there are other national, regional IGFs that are in the process to form an entity and it is not always easy. What we’ll do, we’ll invite these are in the process already or who managed the process already to share their experiences. May there be a challenge, a full success? We can all learn from this experience. It is good to have an open discussion about this.
Now I would like to connect to my colleagues in the other studio, the first studio going live today, the studio The Hague on the screen. Hey, Nadia! Nadia is in the Hague, she’ll be the host for the next three days together with Auke and they’re supported by our former host, which is the platform for the Information Society which also facilitates the Dutch National IGF.
Nadia, how is life going on? How are you prepared for injury job during the next days?
>> NADIA TJAHJA: It has been a very busy few days. Everything has come together. We’re very excited.
Our great studio here in the Hague is wonderful. IGF has provided us with the equipment and the studios, and also they were kind to provide us some of the equipment as well, very happy to be here and looking forward to a successful next two, three days.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Wonderful.
Later on in about a half hour, also the studio in Berlin will start stream, from there, we’ll have a session from the Child Safety Coalition, Dynamic Coalition from the IGF and they’ll discuss also the COVID‑19 pandemic, Lessons Learned for Children Safety. The focal point behind the station and we have our team there, they’ll welcome you and this studio is powered by the German Information Society.
Now I think Nadia, it is time for me to find my way to The Hague. It takes a little while, please use that opportunity to introduce the session to repeat our code of conduct. We have hope that we can get through the session without any – I don’t know how to call it, Zoom bombing!
>> NADIA TJAHJA: Without any major hiccups.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: I fully rely on your support and now I have to rush to get to your studio.
>> NADIA TJAHJA: Looking forward to having you here. Good afternoon, welcome to The Hague. I’m your studio host. With me today we have the remote moderator. If you have any technical problem, any issues which you need technical assistance, please send me a private message, you can find me at the top of your participants list as your studio host. If you have any questions regarding asking a question, help raising your hand, reach out to our remote moderator.
To ensure we have a great session, and to foster the dialogue for which EuroDIG is known, we have a few code of conduct points to ensure that you can participate in our session fully. So if you are on your participants list, you can click on your name in this and rename yourself with your full name so we know who you are and know who we can address and present and announce. Because of this encouragement of dialogue, we encourage you to raise your hand using the Zoom function to ask a question live so we can have a discussion. When you enter the room, you’ll be muted and unmuted by the remote moderator to speak to ensure we have a little bit of a control dialogue without too much noises in the background.
When you’re speaking, please switch on your video. It is lovely to be able to see you and please state your name and affiliation so we know who we’re talking to..
Last but not least, make sure you don’t share your personalized links in the Zoom meetings. I hope that Sandra has now arrived in The Hague. Sandra? Are you here?
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Yes. I beamed myself here to The Hague! I hope you can hear me well.
>> NADIA TJAHJA: I can hear you perfectly. Welcome.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: You won’t believe, I’m sitting in the chair room where there’s a lot of stuff around me!
>> NADIA TJAHJA:: You’re welcome, nonetheless.
With this, I introduce the NIR Assembly and would give the word to the Secretary‑General of EuroDIG.
>> Thank you very much. We’re 2 minutes before the official start of the session, we can possibly expect some more people to join us right on time.
Let me use that opportunity already to say a few words about the speakers that we’re going to see today. We have Robert Lexis online already, from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and this ministry is one of champions that’s involved in the follow‑up process on the high‑level panel on digital cooperation, here in particular on the recommendation 5A/B. If you’re not familiar with that, that’s the recommendation that speaks about the IGF Plus model that was kind of in favor for many, that expressed support. He will give us an update on this process from a global perspective.
I see we have also Mark Carvell. Mark Carvell, he was sharing the follow‑up process, hey, Mark! – following the follow‑up process from the European side from after EuroDIG last year. You may remember last year it was very timely that the panel published this report just at the start of EuroDIG, we had a session dedicated to that as well. Later on, throughout the year, we started the follow‑up process where we invited European stakeholders to express what I think about this report along with the report made of this, we’ll look at that later on as well.
I also hope this – she’s not here yet, that Anriette Esterhuysen will join us, she’s the MAG Chair and will give us an update on – I see Anriette Esterhuysen! Wonderful! She will give us an update on the developments within the MAG because also within the IGF secretariat, MAG, a lot of tests around this follow‑up process are taking place. We will then come to – we’ll open a discussion, of course, then we’ll come to part II of our General Assembly, which is as I said already, the exchange on best and challenging practices on funding local entity for a national, regional IGF, we’ll have some community members that will share experiences and I said it already, we are aiming to have an open exchange and we would also like to hear about challenges you may face in your national, in your region, others may really benefit from the advice you may give or from your experience, even if the experiences in every region is differently.
As a third point, we have on the agenda, I only would say, we discussed this if we have time, if we are running short of time, we can also skip that for one of our next meetings, that we discuss how big is the impact of the national or regional IGF on national legislation you may remember the IGF in Berlin invited a huge number of parliamentarians for a good reason, it was found that the gap between the decision – the decision‑taking levels, which is the parliament, and the discussion levels that we have at our fora, that there is a big gap. To close that gap, the host of the I goose baying F in Berlin invited many parliamentarian, contributing in numbers, but also very much with their ideas and content to that session. We were basically as EuroDIG, just following up on this, discussing further how to better connect with decision‑making levels and to what extent national and regional IGFs can basically really have an influence on the legislative – on the legislation drafted later on.
Without further delay, I would like to hand over then to Rudolf Gridl. Very glad to have you here. Please give us an update on the overall global process on the high‑level panel with digital cooperation.
The floor is yours.
>> NADIA TJAHJA: Mr. Rudolf Gridl, you’re unmuted. You can speak now.
>> RUDOLF GRIDL: Is this coronavirus?
>> NADIA TJAHJA: I will unmute you once more and reconnect you.
>> RUDOLF GRIDL: That’s security.
>> Can you try once more.
Nadia, should we move on, take another one first and do a test?
>> NADIA TJAHJA: At the moment, it doesn’t seem that the sound is connected from where I’m sitting. I know that Mark Carvell is online, he’s unmuted himself.
>> That would be my suggestion, we start with you, Mark, you were not only sharing the follow‑up process in 2019, you were also heavily involved when the regional and national NRIs set up a survey and maybe you can give us some summary and experiences on this process.
The floor is yours.
>> MARIETJE SCHAAKE: Thank you, Sandra. I hope you can hear me. I think we’re good with the audio. Thank you so much.
Good afternoon, everybody. It is great so join in our NIR Assembly on the occasion of EuroDIG 2020 albeit virtually, but the technology will help deliver a fantastic EuroDIG this year and meet the agenda and timely, of course, with the high‑level panel, the focus of this discussion now and with the Secretary‑General about to launch I think tomorrow actually the roadmap as a follow‑up to the report last year that Sandra mentioned, the high‑level panel on digital cooperation report entitled the age of digital interdependence, and that report made a lot of very important proposals and with regard to architecture, our specific focus today, it set out three options. There was a kind of common vision I think the panel had, they couldn’t decide exactly how to configure the processes, networking of stakeholder communities, organizations, government, how to configure all of those networks into an architecture. We had the opportunity to as stakeholders look at the options which they came up with for consideration, IGF Plus, which I interpret as an important evolution of the IGF model, going back to the WSIS, World Summit on Information Society from 2005, it was – this option would be a major leap forward for the IGF and I’ll mention some elements that the panel came up with in doing that advance of the IGF.
The other item, the COGOV and the third option, the digital common architecture. So the European regional forum last year, we had the opportunity to undertake a consultation on all of the report, including specifically on the recommendation 5 on architecture.
Sandra has also said that there has just been held, last month, an NRI taskforce specifically on recommendation 5 relating to architecture we have that as well. That that got additional inputs giving people time to digest the report.
There’s been a number of opportunities available for European stakeholders to react, to offer comments, to express support for particular options with regard to architecture. It is a tribute really to the European networks of stakeholders and the national, the IGFs in our region and EuroDIG itself, that they have all been well seen as to the importance of this initiative from the U.N. Secretary‑General and the critical stage we’re at in terms of how that report’s recommendations are going to be implemented. It is great that there’s been so much recognition of this importance by European stakeholders. Private sector, Civil Society, governments, regional organizations, ISOC chapters, so on. It has been very satisfying the level of engagement that’s been achieved. You can look at the reviews we have undertaken of all the responses both last year and also to the NRI taskforce on architecture, all of those responses have been reviewed and summarized and you can look at those to get the detail really of where there are general expressions of support widespread in many cases on specific recommendations and options. You can get a sense of that from the analysis we have tried to do. Also, to pick out some of the interesting individual comments that came through, which I think also merit being taken into consideration.
Specifically, on the architecture, we can see European stakeholders have expressed strong support for the IGF Plus option as one that allows the global community of stakeholders to build on an existing framework for engagement, for dialogue, for examining best practice and looking at critical issues like access and so on, that the IGF has a proud record to build on that and to take forward the IGF into a new era as digital transformation is effecting all parts of life, blockchain, artificial intelligence, so on. The scope, it is really what the high‑level panel really connected with when it comes to the future of digital societies and economies and especially to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The IGF Plus is really coming through as the favored option in most of the responses.
The forum, the IGF, being a non‑decisional construct, but one which helps to inform decisions elsewhere, one discussion cherished by the European stakeholders in support of the IGF Plus to build on the IGF, stakeholders were keen to preserve that bottom‑up multistakeholder to talk through the issue, identify common approaches. Preserving that is important but also stakeholders were ready to acknowledge there were problems with the IGF and deficiencies in terms of participation, particularly from governments, business, users, stakeholders, so on. There is a lot of recognition on what the panel had deduced as strong points of the IGF and deficiency, problems that needed to be addressed. The IGF Plus was recognized I think by many stakeholders as a valid attempt to address those problems. If we look at what the panel camel up with in terms of new functions for the IGF and making outputs more visible, and implementable, there is a lot of support from stakeholders that responded. As I said, we had a very diverse range of stakeholders responding to both the EuroDIG consultation last year and the NIR surveys just held.
We got a wide range of stakeholder representation in the responses and they have all come through really to acknowledge that functionality like defining a cooperation accelerator, a policy incubating kind of function where supportable in redesigning – not redesigning, but building, enhancing, strengthening the IGF. That was all generally supported by the European stakeholders. Some said that the IGF does a lot of this already in the best practice forums as an example, maybe they could be reconfigured as accelerators of cooperation defining norm, defining where best solutions lay that could be implemented with the incubator. There is a lot of thinking about policy, developing the kind of policies that work.
The panel talked about an observatory function, help desk, so on, and in principle there is support for that, maybe there is a lot of that activity, it is not really suited for a global forum that will be dealt with a hand board, not effectively at national, regional levels, so some sort of careful response, let’s see how the practicalities of help desk, observatory – there is a European one that was established in Europe, maybe that should be, you know, taken into account when considering the observatory issue.
So a functional entity, raising support, that raises questions on funding, it is always a struggle to get the necessary funding for the IGF. I know this in my experience, only U.K., when I was working for the government, we were getting other governments to come up with donations to the trust fund, so on. So the enhanced IGF Plus with all of its functionality, that may be difficult. That raises a lot of question was the U.N., a lot of comments, stakeholders in support of a stronger linkage maybe through a tech envoy, a special adviser, in the Secretary‑General office, you can do things. You can help steer the IGF in a direction where the impact will be more effective leading to digital cooperation that will focus on us and development issues, so on. There is that function of the linkage in the U.N. Secretary‑General’s office and then also across the U.N. system saying look, this is what the IGF came up with, a dialogue, disseminating outputs, recommendations from the IGF, disseminating that through the U.N. agency, Member States, aware that – of what the IGF has don’t on specific crucial issues and that can help take forward that and implementing that in concert with other stakeholders. So that was a key message from the European stakeholders, a better linkage to the U.N. that currently exists with DESA, it is rather limited remit if you like in view to wider impacts of digital technologies so support for that approach. I hope the U.N. will keep that.
I think I better stop there. I have gone on for far too long and maybe Rudolf has the audio working now and can say more than I can. I will stop there for now. Maybe questions later.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you very much. Mark.
Before I give the floor to Rudolf, you submitted already so much information, I would like to ask if there are maximum three questions for clarification before we start a discussion, but just on what Mark said, is there something that you would like to have him clarify? Please raise your hand, and raise hand function in your Zoom room. Only questions for clarification, no discussion yet. I see that’s not the case.
We’ll see if the audio for Rudolf works now.
>> I can see that Rudolf is unmuted on the phone. He can speak now.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: I see that he’s speaking. We can’t hear him.
Nadia, could you try to unmute – Rudolf, could you speak now?
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: No.
>> RUDOLF GRIDL: Can you hear me now?
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Yes! We can hear you!
>> RUDOLF GRIDL: Oh. (No audio). – even after – and then at the end of the consultation process I would say we also had mandated another to carry out an online I would say consultation which took place during the last few days. We also had participants from all over the world and from all stakeholder groups. All the results, but for the one which is still under consideration for the work, all the results, inputs, they have been published under the website minus the global cooperation for digital. I can send the link to the chat now and you will see it.
And others have said this should not be a European dominated process, I will be a little bit careful now about the – we still have to gather all the input, craft an option paper for the Secretary‑General, and I don’t want to preempt the option paper we’ll draft together with our colleague from the U.A.E. and from the U.N. I think it is fair to say that the impression that the European consultation has given has been confirmed broadly, perhaps not in that clarity, but broadly with other stakeholders from around the world and that the IGF Plus model seems to be the model around which people can gather and then we have had several inputs from others saying, yeah, we should take this element that element of the other models onboard so at the end I think we’ll have some joint structures. I think it will be in the optimal case, it is the best of the three, out of the three worlds. We will, as we said, draft an options paper that will take into middle of July and then submit it towards the second half of July, end of July to the Secretary‑General taking onboard all of the input from all of the regions and we do not yet know exactly what the Secretary‑General will make out of it because now this week he will present the roadmap which was not only recommendation 5A but all of the recommendation, it will give us a little bit of the direction where the journey is heading towards, but in no way it will be the end of the discussion. I think with our option paper we will continue the work that’s been started a year ago and that will be continued tomorrow by the roadmap and then we’ll have to go much more into detail of what IGF Plus really means and then perhaps there will be some outcome, some resolution, some paper in the context of the 75 year celebration of the United Nations but we don’t know if this event which was originally planned in the General Assembly in Fall will tall take place, if it will take place virtually, if it is postponed, if there will be any resolutions adopted or just preliminary papers this time, and then perhaps something more elaborated at a later stage. All of this, we do not know, so after July, from our side, at this point in time, also from the United Nations we do not yet have a clear picture of how the process is going to continue on the U.N. level for us, as Germany, as champion of this 5A/B recommendation, it is very important that it remains a bottom‑up and multistakeholder, globally inclusive process, because that’s the only way to achieve sustainable solutions and solutions accepted by everybody. And some are saying this is the beginning of a process that will ultimately lead to the WSIS+20 and 25, I think he’s completely right. We have to put up the process to this major event, rightly from the very outset. That’s why we’re fighting for this multistakeholder approach, so that it may not come from whoever, whatever, it may be a very important international organization. That’s from my side at this point in time. I’m happy to answer any questions that may arise.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Same question for everyone, any questions for clarification you would like to raise immediately. I see Andrea has raised a hand. When speaking, please put on the camera if you have the bandwidth.
>> AUKE PALS: There is no questions at this moment.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: I see that there is a hand raised.
>> NADIA TJAHJA: You have been unmuted.
>> ANDREA BECCALLI: I couldn’t unmute myself.
Next time I will make sure that my hair is in a presentable manner! I haven’t gotten to a hairdresser yet with the lockdown.
A question, this morning, I don’t know how many of you participated in HLAG and there was a comment about the need to get sort of a new mandate that in a way replaces the mandate of the IGF from the WSIS process from 2005. My question is more information from Rudolf, the participants, from Mark, about that passage. I think this is, it is quite important. It is curiosity, I have been observing this process for many years and this, I think it is important.
>> RUDOLF GRIDL: I think what we’re undertaking now, and I would say very broad consensus about this, whatever comes out of this process now, it has to stay within the mandate of the IGF as it stands. Then the mandate of the IGF, that’s actually what I meant with the date of 2025. The mandate expires in 2025, then we will have to negotiate a new mandate. If we manage to put – to set up a good process or a good system now within the existing mandate, it will be much easier and much more cooperative to actually renew the legal mandate in 2025. If we were to – we find ourselves in 2024 in a situation where everybody speaks up, says we have a new mandate, nobody knows where to go. That’s an – a distinction between what is existing right now in the existing mandating. That’s a reason why many stakeholders mentioned why they are in favor of the IGF Plus because there is a mandate already and we have to act within the mandate. The question of the renewal of the mandate in 2025 where this work will set the ground.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: I think that was very clear. Any other questions for clarification?
>> Remote moderator: At the moment there is no questions and no one raised their hands.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you.
I would suggest we invite our third speaker from IGF MAG Chair, Anriette Esterhuysen, she was elected as new MAG Chair last year in November. We’re very glad to have you here! I think you’re based in South Africa right now. How is live going on?
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: It is winter! I’m very jealous of all of you participants in spring or in summer! At least, here, winter is sunny but it is cold!.
Sandra, thanks very much for inviting me. I love to be in EuroDIG. Here is my bottle from last year which I’ll be drinking from as I speak!
It is great to be in The Hague! I like very much you have structured the meeting. I wish you all very well.
To update you on the IGF, it is good to see my fellow MAG member, the Secretariat, they can provide more information. The idea for this year’s schedule, it was – we didn’t know at this point where the IGF will take place in Poland or not. We’re working on a backup plan for a virtual IGF and should that be necessary. There is a discussion underway and you will know very soon what the outcome of that discussion is. It is really good to see how others are taking on this challenge.
The themes for 2020 were decided as they usually are with community input. In the January MAG meeting we finalized those themes, we have four thematic tracks for the IGF this year, trust, data, inclusion, which were the three themes that we used in Berlin and which received really positive feedback from the community and an additional thing we introduced because the community called for it, that’s environment. End of last year, early this year before the pandemic, there was a question on climate change and that will be a theme. The response thus far has been really positive. We have had overall more than 300 session proposal. I think those are about 240 workshop proposal, and then the others, they were open forum proposal or Day 0 proposal. The MAG has completed the initial evaluation process for workshops. We’ll finalize that next week at the MAG meeting and then begin to make decisions on other components of the annual IGF. The MAG meets virtually next woke and we start with the open consultation day on Monday, if you have not registered, please do! We are open to your input as always.
There are definitely two crosscutting themes that we’ll be dealing with in the IGF. In fact, we can see in the workshop proposal that there is a preoccupation with these two crosscutting concerns, on the one hand, the pandemic, which poses an array of internet governance challenges and we see that in the EuroDIG programme as well. Secondly, digital cooperation. So this work that is initiated, that champions are taking forward, that mark and Rudolf told us about, it is definitely something considered and addressed by the IGF community for obvious reasons and we want to find constructive, creative ways of dealing with that at the IGF. If any of you have proposal, please send them in and we can take those onboard and find ways to creatively use the IGF being such a powerful platform for further deepening discussion of the recommendations on the architecture of digital cooperation.
The IGF this year also has best practice forum, Dynamic Coalitions, intersessional work, I will try to share my screen actually here and see if that works. Let me try to show you which BPFs – can I continue with screen sharing, Sandra?
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Only if you have the cohosting rights from Nadia, then you can continue inches I’m not sure if I do.
>> Remote moderator: You have the cohosting rights and you can share a screen now.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you very much! Excellent.
The best practice forums, as Mark mentioned, it is a modality of the IGF that’s existed and we want to strengthen. This year, there be is cybersecurity, it is continuing, if you go to this page I’m sharing, you can read more about that, they continue the analysis of recent cybersecurity agreements and developments and trying to assess what works best achieving consensus and deepening participation.
The gender an access IGF is looking at policy processes and looking at how gender operates in internet‑related policy processes.
The data, new technologies in an internet context, that’s a slightly new theme, best practice forum it is locking at what best practices exist to ensure that user’s data is collected, analyzed and used to bring benefit and not harm.
The local content best practice forums is looking particularly at ways in which policies and approaches to protecting and preserving content can work effectively in strengthening, building a sustainable model for the production, distribution, local fruition of local content. You can read more about these at the IGF website, and also about the dynamic coalitions which many of you, of course, are already aware of.
There are also several Working Groups. I want to highlight one because it is very pertinent to this topic. That’s a Working Group on IGF strengthening and strategy. It was launched not so long ago, we had the first meeting last week, you can find more information on the IGF website. The purpose of this Working Group is to find practical implementable activities that we can initiate to strengthen the IGF. Currently, as it exists currently, and what we will start a big initiative, it is the new website we’re fortunate to have received funds from the U.K. government to do a complete revamp, an overall of the IGF website. It will take time, so don’t expect to see it launch this year, but we hope to use that not just to give the website a new look, but to enhance its functionality as a platform for digital cooperation.
Now, I just want to share a few reflections on digital cooperation more broadly and the work of the panel.
Firstly, just congratulations to the panel. It was a huge task. The undersecretary general’s office, to the champions, key constituent taking it forward and congratulation was the NIR survey, Mark, Tania, Sandra, everybody that was part of that, it is a useful document. For me, it is not really about pushing the IGF model, I think we see there is already a preference for the IGF Plus in many respects, I think that the IGF is a known quantity. I think we need to look at digital cooperation as something that takes time. It is really not so much which model we pursue, I think all of those models have valuable elements in them. I think what’s important to keep in mind, it is that the goals, addressing the gap that the report identifies, that’s not a question of mechanisms, it is also a question of time, it is a question of deepening value and engagement, and inclusion, as the IGF knows takes time, making inclusion meaningful, in fact, if you look at inclusion in the IGF now in participation, looking at the NRIs as a dimension that’s over time built more inclusion into the IGF, it is really a good example of how we need to develop our solutions over time. It is not a question of selecting the best model, a question of working with what we have, constantly improving it., even knowing the shortcomings, it is a strength of the IGF, it is transparent platform, it has mechanisms for feedback, improvement, you know what those are, the annual stocktaking, input into the open consultations, and this, in fact, is a very important lesson for any cooperation initiative going forward, bold in learning, bold in critical feedback, and ways to address that. I think other strengths that the IGF has, which we think can contribute to whatever model IGF Plus or else, it is that the IGF has a huge community that feels ownership of it. Even people critical of the IGF, who begin to feel that the IGF is not as dynamic as it used to be, they feel a sense of ownership. The IGF is definitely more than just a conference, it is more than a Secretariat, an outcome of a WSIS U.N. process, it is an he went ticks a process that has ownership. Those that participate in it feel a part of it. That’s a strength.
Secondly, there is a strength of the IGF as a learning, capacity building platform. That’s very important. It needs to be factored into implementing the recommendations of the panel. We have mentioned intercessional activities of the IGF, I want to come back to one, I think it is very important ingredient for the general cooperation, that’s the national, regional dimension.
Another strength of the IGF, the relationship with the U.N., it is a part of this international multilateral system but it is sufficiently independent to be able to partner with other initiatives and institutions and it is years of experience, through the best practice forums, the Dynamic Coalition, through the bottom‑up process of shaping the programme. The IGF really builds capacity amongst many different people and institutions. I think anyone who has ever organized a session at the IGF or who has submitted a workshop proposal, even if it was rejected, has learned from that process.
What does the IGF look at the moment? I think Mark touched on this. I will emphasize, I really want to emphasize only two weaknesses I think or shortcomings I think are the primary ones. I’m not saying there aren’t others. The first one, resources. I think without resources it is very difficult to improve, to improve incrementally, to build in new structures, function, mechanisms, that’s absolutely critical. Secondly, the IGF lacks institutional certainty. It has a ten‑year mandate. In fact, we’re currently five years into our ten‑year mandate given by the WSIS+10 process in 2015. We are midway through our current mandate there.
Are other levels of institutional uncertainty for the IGF, exactly who is it accountable to in what way, the MAG has a clear mandate and it protects it and the MAG’s mandate is to develop the programme of the IGF, not to have the IGF as an ongoing, long‑term‑term platform for digital comprehension. Those need to be addressed in the IGF Plus model, but I think any model for effective cooperation needs to have resources and institutional predictability.
Going forward, I’m probably running out of time now! Sorry! Be careful of believing there is grand solutions that will speak to all the gaps identified in the HLPDC report. Secondly, look at different models, look at what we can gain from other models mentioned in the report, and also from other collaborative processes that are around in the world. However, I do believe that the IGF is a core component, the IGF as it is now and a stronger IGF is an essential ingredient to any model that we are going to adopt going forward.
Be willing to commit resources and investing in the legitimacy in different levels. We have seen this with different levels of the IGF and other processes. It has to have legitimacy, that’s important. Because we’re talking about governance, we need legitimacy at the multistakeholder level, in that community, we also need legitimacy among traditional intergovernmental multilateral institutions and processes.
Next, I think build in monitoring, learning, self‑improvement. That’s essential.
Finally, I think my point about digital comprehension, I think a weakness in the HLPDC report in general, it is that it doesn’t look sufficiently at cooperation as something that you have to build bottom‑up, at national level, for example, we will only have Developing Countries participating effectively in the IGF if they have effective multistakeholder accountable internet governance processes at the national level and this applies to all countries, in Europe as well. Global cooperation will only work well if there’s good cooperation at national level.
Similarly, within stakeholder groups, we need the technical community, academic community, Civil Society, governments, so on, and they need their own processes where they’re able to analyze, thrash out issues, learn and form positions. The stronger – so you have cooperation at a fragmented level, geographically, internationally, in terms of sectors, and that needs attention. That’s why the IGF in our process has been so valuable, it has actually built cooperation among youth initiatives and at national and regional level. If you strengthen that layer, it is like the substructure of digital cooperation, then you can build better global digital cooperation.
I think I’ll end there.
Thanks very much.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you. Just to share some funny experience with you, you appear to be in studio in Hague and Berlin, we made a mistake in switching our videos here. You were also visible in Berlin, but not audible! That’s okay.
Then you said you want to share your screen, but basically you didn’t finally. If you have a source you would like to share, then please put that in the chat.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I’ll put it in the chat. Sorry about that.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: No problem.
I have one question for you.
I encourage others to ask questions for clarification as well, possibly you could give a very brief answer on this. I know in IGF a strategy group is set up to discuss the further development of the IGF, how does this relate to the high‑level panel process?
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: It has no formal relationship. The IGF has had Working Groups on strategy, IGF improvements in the past and one of the ways in which the MAG works is to form Working Groups that are made up of MAG members but that are open to participation by non‑MAG members. It is not directly related to that. I think at the same time, you know, I would like Mark to comment on that, he’s a member of that Working Group, at the same time we cannot ignore had the fact that we are in general, there is a broader conversation about strengthening the architecture of digital cooperation. In fact, it has been very valuable for us that are engaged with strengthening the IGF to draw on the recommendations, the ideas that are emerging from the HLDPC process and from the input that’s been gathered as part of the process.
Short answer, definitely we’re keeping an eye on it, and we’re informed by it, but it is not directly related to that. Our focus in this Working Group, it is to come up with – I would say short to medium term structural, implementable improvements and that we can initiate rather than, you know, grander, longer term initiatives. We don’t have sufficient resources to do more than that. We are keeping an eye on both the WSIS+10, +20 process. The fact that the IGF will be up for review in five years’ time and we keep an eye on the HLPDC recommendation 5 process.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you very much.
This was very clear. Anyone has questions for clarification to Anriette.
>> AUKE PALS: At the moment there is no hands or comments in the chat.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: I would like to open the floor to the broader discussion about this high‑level process. I see we have around 70 participants, that’s really great. It is huge.
Do you have any suggestions, any comments on this process, please raise your hand now. We can see that in the participants list and we can give you the floor.
>> NICK KELLY: Yes, thank you very much.
This may have been covered previously. It is slightly in relation to what was being said about the ability to partner with multistakeholders. I’m wondering whether that extends as IGF in a strategy group to interdepartmental functions within larger organizations. I say this as a result of the use case, I’m in touch with a programme manager that looks after I think South Africa, Lesotho, other areas for gender‑based violence, none of the programme, background has been anywhere linked to online abuse and anything digital. I’m wondering whether there is any fostering of increased participation knowledge sharing from the departments within say the IGF’s, other, existing stakeholders like that to incorporate that knowledge, especially now that’s rapidly, rapidly becoming a much larger issue.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Would you like to direct that question to a certain participant?
>> NICK KELLY: Possibly Anriette, yes, it is in the same region.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Yes. Thank you.
Sandra, that’s fine.
I think that’s such a good question actually. It really illustrates what I was trying to say about the substructure of digital cooperation, that you need to build it from below. I know for example that GIZ is financing an activity in Africa on digital rights awareness, particularly around data protection. Data protection, gender based violence, they have common issues and concerns.
>> NICK KELLY: Yet one hand isn’t talking to the other. Not as of yet.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Exactly! And the architecture of digital cooperation and new global structures and initiatives are not going to solve this problem. I think it needs to be solved at an institutional level, GIZ, at a regional level, I think that’s why these multidisciplinary regional, national IGFs, if they work well can become platforms where this type of exchange, information sharing takes place. I think of the IGF, the global one, also the national, regional ones, as the public participation platform for broad internet and digital‑related issues. I can’t tell you what the solution is there. I think that’s exactly – that kind of gap that you’re identifying, that’s what the IGF can fill.
An example, let’s say GIZ was forming or developing an input for a regional IGF in Southern Africa. That would create the moment where you consult colleague, we have a global conversation saying is there anything else happening in this region? In that way, you can build more internal cooperation at an institutional level and then it trickles – it is not so much trickling down of cooperation, it is cooperation trickling up.
>> NICK KELLY: Thank you very much.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Anyone else that would like to speak up? Please raise your hand. No other comments or questions, that’s surprising on this hot topic.
Later on in this the week, we’ll have an update on the roadmap that was – that is or was going to be published today. I haven’t yet looked at it, I haven’t read it. I know the date was today. He will speak about this. And UNDESA and U.N. Secretary‑General, they will do a series of events next week where I think also everyone is invited to participate, also online events, of course, and we’ll share that information via our channels so that you have a chance to register as well.
I ask once more. Thomas. You have the floor.
>> THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Can you hear me?
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: We can hear you! It would be great to see you!
>> THOMAS SCHNEIDER: I need to start the video. I’m working with a computer and mobile phone in parallel because the audio didn’t work. Let’s see whether –
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: It is always good to overcome the anonymity of online meetings when we see each other. Great!
>> THOMAS SCHNEIDER: I can see me. I hope you can too.
First of all, thanks to everybody in the EuroDIG team, Secretariat for a great job in had making this whole thing work as a member of the association board of course we were in close discussions with you. We were quite confident that you will manage to do this. I understand you had some challenges last night and everything is now resolved. A big, big thanks to everybody who worked behind the scenes for this. It is Good to at least meet virtually and see that you are all here in the meeting.
Just to jump in on the discussions about the high‑level panel, indeed, the follow‑up, and with that, also, a big thanks to our friends from Germany, including Robert Lexis, of course, his team. As you know, Switzerland has been a key driver of this, the panel itself, and has invested quite a lot to make this happen together with others and we’re very happen to see a momentum of people moving ahead, continuing to develop not only the issues, but also the architecture of digital governance further.
We know this is not an easy task with the World Summit and Information Society, we won’t revolutionize the whole governance system in the next few weeks and months, but I think it is an important moment now where this week, where the roadmap of the U.N. Secretary‑General has published and discussed and that we continue the debate in all of the fora, including EuroDIG which last year has an active role and that we try and go for a shared vision of how to develop digital cooperation, digital governance further because, of course, there’s no single view on this and the diversity, what things should be done, how things should be organized, it is important to keep discussing and also in the end, soon to take steps into the governance system, cooperation system that’s fit for the 21st Century. What is key in our view, the high‑level panel recommendation 5 reflects this fairly well, the title of the report also, the interdependence, our understanding that as the digital world is an interconnected – it is connecting several networks, several docs into a complex, interdependent hole, the governance, the systems, they should somehow better reflect the interdependence and multistakeholderism and the inclusiveness of the digital world than it does today. In our view, the IGF is an excellent basis as a structure that has allowed us for the last 15 years to have an open dialogue with stakeholders and we should build on that experience of the IGF to add to existing IGF structures to better connect cooperating and governing bodies and structures so that there is a more coherent, more inclusive inclusion of governance. We think this is an important moment and I would like to encourage all of you to participate in this discussion and not just in the discussions, but actually in the shaping of a better, more inclusive governance and cooperation structure.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Any other questions.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I have a question I think for Robert Lexis mostly, but also for Mark. Inputs from NRIs, we have seen so far, I think the survey, 85% of respondents showed a preference for the IGF Plus which I think is not an unusual pattern. To what extent do you think that’s attributable to the fact that the IGF is a known entity as opposed to the IGF actually delivering already as a platform for digital cooperation. That’s one question.
Another question, I mean, Rudolf, Germany hosted the most incredible IGF last year, thank you for that, congratulations. Do you have a sense of the resource requirement that goes into facilitating effective digital cooperation, and certainly through that kind of platform, how is the HDLPC process so far addressing this issue of resources which at some point we’re going to have to face?
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: You’re not audible yet, Rudolf.
>> RUDOLF GRIDL: Yet?
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Now we can hear you.
>> RUDOLF GRIDL: Good. Thank you for these two very relevant questions..
The question if I understood it correctly, that there is – there might be a case for the view to say people are opting for IGF Plus because they know the IGF so the other things are not so clear so you go with what you know. I think there’s some merit in that, but not in a way of the intellectual laziness, but in the way of what I described before. This is a structure where we have a mandate. If we have a mandate we can already avoid a huge discussion within the U.N. system with the multistakeholders in limiting any new structure to ICANN, to what exists already, the IGF which exists. I think that’s – that’s any view one of the – one of the reasons why people tend to build upon the IGF, one.
The second one, it seems people are happy with the IGF as a discussion forum, but there tends to be some interest to go a little bit further, at the same time, to stay within the mandate, that’s a tricky one to solve for whoever has to solve it.
The second question, concerning the resources, yes. You have to have resources. We have had the resources of an entire government plus a very powerful agency that was funded plus the whole German IGF community with all of the multistakeholders from the private sector, academia, so Civil Society, everybody was on board, they were all very active, very contributing, and I would say half of – the input, it was not in dollars or euro, it was the people wanting to be engaged and for us to be a success. The answer, it is twofold, you need money, a lot of money for sure, and it is, of course, crucial for many proposal, not only for the IGF Plus, but also for others, envoys, you name it, to have a proper, sustainable foreseeable funding and you need to have a vibrant, active, enthusiastic community in the host country and beyond.
>> MARK CARVELL: Can I jump in with regard to responses seeming to favor the IGF Plus option, that’s the one that people kind of immediately connects with because – because they know the IGF, attended the IGF, so on.
I think that’s risky overstating that that was the initial default, the automatic way of choosing. There were some questions about the digital concept, how applicable that is to internet, digital applications, access, where there is so much public policy issues wrapped up into it, it is not as straightforward as the laws want you to see, and quite a lot of comments about that.
There were certainly comments saying, become, they’re not really developed as well, the digital options, they’re not spelled out very fully whereas the IGF Plus was more spelled out in addition of being an existing evolution. That’s fair to say that. I think they got fair scrutiny, other options, and valid points, we can incorporate comments, in particular from others into the IGF Plus, in the final resolution of the options.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Can I respond quickly to that?
Interestingly enough, I think in 2019 the African school and on internet governance and the European school, they used this report as the topic for the practicum. I found it interesting, in both venue, Europe and Africa majority of the participants had not been to a global IGF and in fact, they did not automatically favor IGF Plus, they came up with a hybrid, I think both independently two completely separate groups of people came up with a strong emphasis, components of the IGF with a hybrid – a preference for a hybrid model.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Any other comments you would like to add? Raising any further questions for you that you would like to clarify?
>> MARK CARVELL: One other thing, it is not really a – it is the name of the IGF, I did see a comment saying digital, a broadening of the scope, is it time to change the name of the IGF to something. There was one comment vividly to that effect. I just wanted to throw that in.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Maybe Andrea was the one with the comment.
>> Andrea: I didn’t make this comment but I share it!
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: That’s what I’m saying.
>> ANDREA BECCALLI: It sound like a new mobile, IGF Plus, I think it is okay for a working name. But I think it is time and it is not 2005 anymore and it is quite clear, and probably best to reflect that.
My question, I put it in the chat going to Enriette, she made a good point on the need for having this cooperation happening at the community level, I think we’re all seeing what’s happening in the U.S. on a different topic, you see how much changes and leadership comes really at the local level more and more, you can expect it from the leadership level in this current environment, and the IGF has been, you know, it has been a work class model in that and the national, regional IGF, they are almost a consequence of the IGF, nobody thought when the IGF was first conceived in 2005 that something like this would happen and yet, it become, and EuroDIG is an example, others are example, it was one of the places where you actually get – can reach new communities, new people, and get these sort of granular perspectives on the issues that are global, of course, but there is a lot of local recognition.
To make it short, a good example of what the IGF did, the toolkit on how to set up a local IGF. I think that was very successful work.
I would like to consider, I would like to suggest to the IGF Secretariat to keep developing that, to make more of these sort of documents, know that it is resources to add, I totally agree there is only so much you can do with the stuff that you have, and although this is very good quality stuff, and there’s a leading force behind that with Anriette, this is an initiative where you could have seen, you have already clear examples that it works and the toolkit, I have seen that it is being used. Proudly, along the same line, further involving the toolkit, giving more support, leads, operating the toolkit also to, you know, get in a way to how institutionalize, we have had a discussion later on, on the legal entities that the national, regional IGF can have. It goes into these level of institutions, the institutional credibility that also was mentioned before. That’s my two points.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I will respond, it is not really so much a question, I think absolutely, the toolkit is very valuable. I think behind that, I have been working with the Secretariat quite closely, and the amount of effort goes into supporting the NRIs, it is – it is not always visible but there is relationship building and support on a one on one basis beyond the public support that you see through the toolkit.
I think the real gap for me with NRIs, they’re institutionalizing at national level. What we don’t see enough, it is the political will from government to use the NRI as a platform for building cooperation and public participation on policy. You see that in some countries, you see governments and different government departments and legislatures using the national instrument in that way. In many other countries, what you see, it is often a Civil Society, a technical community organized event that has participation from government, but not the level of commitment that is actually necessary. For me, what’s more important than institutionalizing the NRIs themselves, it, it is getting some kind of confirmable affirmation of the political will from governments to believe in this format, to believe in the multistakeholder process and to be convinced it is their friend, not their enemy.
I’m speaking here from somebody from Africa who does a lot of my work in the developing world and in countries and regions where the multistakeholder process is still looked at with sustainable pigs in many cases. In Europe, you have a healthier balance of relationship and belief in the value of NRIs.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Anriette, you built a perfect bridge to our next topic. The will to support NRIs which pretty much goes along with forming a legal entity. Before I close this topic, and lead over to the other sonic, I see we have one more hand from Monica, and I would like to give her the floor for our last comment or question and go to the next topic on the agenda.
Monica, you have the floor.
>> MONIKA ERMERT: What’s the relation of the roadmap that will be presented today or tomorrow whenever to the ongoing discussion, as I understand, unfinished discussion of 5A and 5B? Will you not be limited in what you do? Will there be kind of things decided for you that you might have to stay within? That’s my question, it may go to Mr. Gridl and Mr. Carvell.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Who would like to answer?
>> MARK CARVELL: As I understand it, the roadmap is a timeline primarily. There will be discussions WebEx facilitated as I understand it next week for interested parties to connect with the process from the U.N. side. How the architecture issues resolve, they’ll be part of those discussions I suspect and then the final decision, but maybe others can add more to that. Unfortunately, not so much, it is a very inclusive process, it has been centralized and limited process not many have been involved or stakeholders, certainly not Germany for sure. We don’t know what it is, the roadmap, it is our understanding that it will be – it is a roadmap, it is leading in the direction of where we’re heading toward. That’s the reason why we see what we’re doing with our options paper, complimentary, or as a natural follow‑up to the roadmap, because it will dig deeper into the substance of the issue and give options to the Secretary‑General, from there, as I tried to say before, we do not really know where it ends up because the first plan to have a document adopted at the 75‑year celebration, it needs to be off the table probably, we do not have a clear indication, I think it is fair to say that we probably will not have it take place in the way planned, and we don’t know where it goes. Even whatever comes from that document, it certainly will not be the last one in this process we all go to the 2020WSIS+20 deadline or ending point, starting point.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Okay. Thank you both of you.
I think as we said already we’re going to close that topic here in the interest of time, we still have 40 minutes. It was a good discussion, it continued longer than I suspected. I thank you for the contribution and I hope you stay also online for the second part of our meeting, I think we’re going to skip the third part.
On founding a legal entity, there are some NRIs on the call that are prepared to share experience, which is IGF Italy and others, of course, I see Macedonia, Alexander, and I know that Peter had prepared to speak for Germany and possibly our colleagues from SEEDIG, and let’s start.
Would you like to give an update on the process that happened recently or still is happening in Italy? You are muted, someone needs to unmute her or can she do that herself.
>> Thank you, Sandra, for giving me the floor.
To share a few words about the process that we have in Italy, from 2017, actually, it is an initiative that started years ago but never had a legal entity so starting from 2017 a Working Group was set up over from our Italy community from IGF and they actually tried to craft a statute of the legal entity and they collected input from the community and legal entities that was also shared during Italy IGF 2019 and approved in that occasion. To draft this, we used the reference, the resilience, the EuroDIG, also SEEDIG and we used as reference the NRI guideline and the IGF global MAG model. Essentially, our legal entity is a multistakeholder entity in the participation, it is hope to all national and international subjects. We actually – I think it is the same as global IGF, and we have also included the observer, possible to have some people that are participating as observing, so on. Mainly we have an assembly of a Committee made up of four groups of stakeholders and now we are actually – so the draft of the legal entity, it has been approved. Also we have a new Minister, the Minister of innovation, digitalization, and she likes a lot the idea to have this association. We are in the middle, the governors take the initiative and we’ll initialize the new legal entity. – legalize – we’ll ask Andrea, a, she drafted the group, Andrea, do you want to talk? Add something else? .
>> Turning to the – my hair, it is so long! I need to go for a cut! We pretty much said where we are at. This has been work that’s been inspired by others, the example of others, Brazil now, it is kind of out of the landscape for different reasons. Indeed, that’s still one of the most comprehensive, relevant multistakeholder national institution. We took also note of the U.K. and we looked carefully at the work that was done within SEEDIG, the Southeast European Initiatives, and so we started this work of drafting a terms of reference of what this platform is, how to be part, what is the mandate, now hopefully we’re in the process of going through the official institutionalization through the endorsement and the participation of the public authorities. That happens and goes through, I think, probably this is the best moment to do this, now everybody is aware of what is the governance of the – the issue, they have become so evident, there was during the lockdown in Italy, the prime Minister in a televised address, he said, no, I thinker the internet should be arrived, part of the constitution, and now there is a whole plan funded by European Union to help boost the economy in the one part, we hold it here this morning, it is about supporting the digital sector, but also the governance side of that, and you know, if this community is unprepared, it is not able to have a role and be recognized by the institutions that actually would have to deal with new regulation, loans, money coming in, there would be a huge missed chance. I think for, you know, the global level is different, we have just heard about the mandate, you know, we have to wait until 2025 to seek out the newer form of the IGF, that’s not the case at the national level. That’s why also where the NRIs, they can move at different speeds and they can lead the way of how to respond to the government’s challenges. In Italy, hopefully we’ll see these experiences going through a final vetting and becoming an institutional reality in Europe. I’m sure that other NRIs will take notice, and this is great. This goes really – it gets buy‑in, another word that took another meaning now in these times. You really can spread a ripple effect overall of the other NRIs. I hope that this coming EuroDIG, the next EuroDIG that will also be in Italy, we won’t lose the political support and I think this is something that we have to be – that we have to do, we have to be smart and seize the attention that everybody is now having on governance topics. Sometimes I think you have the same – you have the same reaction when you read the news today and now daily you have issues that have been discussed over and over the IGF for the last 15 plus years if you count the WSIS and probably in this community we can provide some answers. We don’t have the tools to do that at the global level. Things are moving, but I think they can move faster at the national level, that’s what the experiences are, trying to do in Italy.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you.
In the interest of time, let’s move to the next one..
Who would like to go first, Alexander or Peter? Peter has turned on the video. We’ll go to Peter. Alexander, you’re the next..
Peter, can you speak.
>> Peter: Hopefully, you can hear me now. Good afternoon, earn. Yeah. Thank you, Sandra, for the invitation and the opportunity to add a bit of input from the IGF‑D perspective.
IGF‑D has been an informal gathering of a Steering Committee, we call it a Steering Committee of 28 individuals that were picked from 7 stakeholder groups and four each and then the origins, the other NGOs go back to 10, 12 years in the past. We have had annual meetings over the course of time. We had an opportunity to contribute to the main IGF in Berlin. This informal setup, it has worked rather well. It is really multistakeholder, everybody is participating on equal footing. Why change? Last year we did not have any big problem, thanks to the generous contributions of the German government or maybe German taxpayer I should say. When it comes to holding an event we have also always had contributions from some of the participating organizations. Dealing with money, it is an issue. You really want to have a bank account, and it was a major driver for us to set up a legal entity so we could have a bank account, own our own domain name and we could be able to write invoices or maybe even hire a Secretariat. There is an obvious choice of legal entity, which is the so‑called voluntary association, what every football club does and ISOP chapter, for example. That’s the organization form of choice. We’re in the process of getting this finalized. The point is, we need a number of people to meet with a notary republic to meet at the same time, same place, that’s a bit of a challenge with our current situation and the bylaws can be reviewed and taken to the registration court. That’s going to be a not‑for‑profit organization by definition, we have discussions about having a public benefit, a special privilege tax status. That’s a German thing I believe, not the text thing, having a discussion about that, a lot of risks involved, probably something that we’ll go decide later. More important, it is to have this entity set up.
An advantage of the informal setup, it was, again, this was completely multistakeholder, consensus driven, you have the legal caps tip where the legislation requires that in the end there is a board that is responsible for the financial transactions and other compliance issues that an association has to fulfill.
The challenge in a way, it was to combine the multistakeholder spirit, increase openness, participation, and combine that with the legal requirements of really having a handful of people that are responsible in the end.
The method we have chosen, we’ll have a board, a supervisory board and we’ll have the Steering Committee as a separate organizational structure in the association and the membership and Steering Committee will not be restricted to members of the association. There’s no barrier to entry. You can participate in the Steering Committee and not be a member of the association which makes sense, because some organizations just couldn’t join for a variety of reasons.
Also, participation in the event submitting sessions and participation in the event, it has never been restricted to the Steering Committee, it has always been open. We want to make the membership – it is already per the draft bylaw, make the membership in the association open to everybody interested in internet governance. We will collect a fee to cover some administrative costs and to bootstrap the organization, but we also rely on extra contributions from sponsors we have had before. Again, we don’t foresee that membership in the organization should be necessary for active participation. This separation of the association which will be an umbrella association around the Steering Committee will hopefully help us attract more people and attract especially those from the German Internet governance Committee that have discovered internet governance through the IGF 2019 and would like to participate or would like to show their commitment to internet governance by becoming a member of the association. We’re in the process of getting it stamped and sealed and we’ll get somebody to give an update next time, we’re looking forward to getting the final paperwork done.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you, Peter.
Have we discovered more questions or comments?
>> AUKE PALS: There is no questions at the forum. Or any hands raised. I have also indicated that it is said in the chat by Badriyya, it would be interesting to know what the IGF is doing to mitigate the suspicions on what internet governance entails. This hampers efforts of NRIs, for example, even the term governance is found to be intimidating by some governments and funding support from them is limited.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: That’s a very good question. That possibly leads directly to the next contribution from Alexander.
In your language, I know internet governance, multistakeholder, it is a term that’s difficult to understand and maybe you can say a few words and try to answer this question or to address this question as well. We had that discussion already about what is multistakeholder and internet governance in your language, please go ahead. Let us know your experience and maybe try to give a small answer on this.
>> ALEKSANDAR ICOKAEV: Please, notify if signal is weak. I have some difficulty so I can switch to another router.
Hello, everyone, Sandra, excellent timing. This would have been anyway my favorite session. It is a record to see 63 participants at the NRI Assembly, which leads us maybe to the concept of overlapping sessions when the event is going on on‑site.
I would just briefly repeat what Peter said now, it was Peter from the German IGF, yes?
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Right.
>> Aleksandar ICOKAEV: We had similar drivers going from switching from informal gathering to legal entity small introduction, we started our informal gather, consisting of internet governance, enthusiasts, people involved in ICANN, ISOC, subregional initiatives such as SEEDIG and we had contact with the concept of IGF, personally me and I think many of you know such, and there was a presentation of IGF at ICANN led by Marilyn CADE and Marcus Common.. We thought this was more feasible to introduce let’s say IGF on a national level than to go for ISOC chapter, ISOC chapter has much more – how is it named in much more demanding for establishing local chapter. I sense yesterday – I sent yesterday the mailing list, brief information the information that was going on. I will try to read some of this. Following the ongoing discussion, subregional, regional, local level, the effort, and the effort that’s put in identifying the format of organizing this, the recognized need by many of us in these discussions, the legal structure would be significantly prudent or at least an attempt to address the issues that’s been faced with by NRIs in recent years, funding, transparency, steering structures, inclusion, visibility, and all this by respecting the multistakeholder approach. We tried to assemble the relevant representatives from different stakeholder groups in our country. This has started, as I said, three years ago, by identifying relevant representatives of different stakeholders and we have been faced with this challenge as Peter said now, not having bank account, not having possibility of administrative oversight, financial management, because it was a major difficulty, we.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Are you still here?
>> AUKE PALS: He’s not in the meeting anymore.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: We’ll wait until he comes back. We have SEEDIG giving the floor, nice to see you.
>> SORINA TELEANU: Thank you for taking care of the technical part. Yes. SEEDIG, this has been mentioned a couple of times, I see new names in the list of participants, we’re the southeastern European dialogue on internet governance, the IGF focused on southeastern Europe and that area, it is a loose concept if we look at the region. We’re 6 years old this June really. We first met 6 years ago with the IGF and the EuroDIG, but here we are.
We have been trying for the past few years to build a legal entity. I won’t say why, because my colleagues before have said a number of reasons why this legal entity is helpful and the same applies to the original IGF as well. Some things we’re looking at, that’s relevant for the German IGF, how we adapt the current Wyoming we work, the current governance models if we call it like that to a legal entity. That’s probably our biggest challenge. We have the Executive Committee that’s elected by the community and how do we make sure we don’t lose the multistakeholder concept behind all of this, that’s something we’re carefully looking into, there is a dedicated Working Group discussing this issue on the governance model, they’re looking at membership structure and all of these things that will allow us for a smooth transition from the current governance models to the new ones. I think we want to keep this distinction between the legal entity and the broader community because the legal entity will not take on what the community is doing now. It is just a way as has been said, raising more money ideally and taking care of legal responsibilities where those apply. Other than that, everything else that is done by the community, for example, planning meetings, that should be in the community and that should be very clear as when we’re building this structure. Unlike the other national IGFs that’s been speaking here, another thing we have to pay close attention to as a regional initiative is the choice of jurisdiction. Where this initiative is going to be built across our region. We have 20 countries in the region. Where are we going to build this? Why? There is research going into that. We have done some of it, there is more discussions going on, what is the best choice for this also because the legislations in our countries, at least around here, they’re not that different which makes the choice a bit more complicated but I just wanted to say a few words about the things that we’re looking at.
The plan was for us to have some sort of a proposal ready by the next meeting which will be held that will be held probably online in September. We’ll see how much the group manages to progress by then. We’re confident we’re on the right track and I also have my colleagues here if they want to add something else. Thank you, everyone.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you.
Would you like to add to what was just said? I ask you to be brief so we have time for one or two more questions or comments.
Looks like you would like to say something? No?
>> No. I don’t have any additional comments on bow half of SEEDIG, if you may give me the floor if we have team to share some things about the Armenia –
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Of course. Go ahead, please.
>> OLGA KRYLIUK: For Armenia, we don’t have a legal IGF yet, we have a stakeholder body, it is an interdepartmental commission, internet governance counsel and the members represent different stakeholders and they’re being approved by the Prime Minister. This counsel works for several years and we have a roadmap with this council dealing with, dealing with policy issues on the topics on the internet and internet governance. The work of Secretariat is being carried out by the registry, which used to be the ISOC chapter and now we have different organizations in the chapter and the ISOC, the registry that I mentioned already.
So the whole work, it is being done by this organization. In this case, we do have the bank account, the working system over there so everything has been done by our staff and the coordination of the work.
We do have a good relations in this regard with all of our partners in Europe and globally, and in this case, we do not need the IGF itself, there is no need for setting up a legal entity so far.
So we use this model. I don’t know if that happens with any other country. Whether they find it useful or not. It is what we do. It is an interesting model to work with. Thank you.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you.
I see Alexander, but in the interest of time, I would rather ask fee regimes if there are any questions or comments from anyone else that was not prepared to be a contributor or a speaker? There may be questions from the many people here on this call.
>> AUKE PALS: To remind you all, if you have any questions, employees raise your hand and I can unmute you.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: I see no questions.
>> Remote moderator: I have seen two hands.
The first is Jacqus Beglinger.
>> I’m not sure if I’m on video. Nevertheless, great, great.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: The nose and mouth only, maybe you can move your monitor a little bit better. You can also see your eyes..
>> I’m involved in the Swiss IGF work, we are currently – currently we don’t have a legal entity. We had discussions on, and I wonder, there was a point already mentioned a bit before about funds. We see some issues with acquiring and managing funds for organizing IGF when not a legal he went entity, a related account but also making – those that want to contribute, know who is finally receiving the funds.
My question is to those that have spoken, is this one of the major drivers for funding a legal entity, was it just a side issue?
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Good question. Who would like to answer on this.
I think Peter mentioned it already when he spoke, that that was one, definitely one of the reasons, but what do others say.
Would you like to answer? You’re muted.
>> SORINA TELEANU: All right. Yes. I just wanted to speak.
Yes, this has been one of the main reasons why we’re trying to be a legal entity, it is difficult to have funds managed by somebody else. A quick example, for example, last year, the meeting, it was held in Romania, we had funds in three locations.
Funds in Romania, EuroDIG had some of our fund, they have been again listening, supporting us and we had funds left in Slovenia, the host of our previous meeting. Managing that has been a bit of a nightmare. Beyond the managing of funds of different places, there is also the issue of being able to apply for projects and – you can do it easier if you have your own legal entity rather than waiting for somebody else being the legal entity. Yes. Funding, fund‑raising, budget‑related issues have been an important consideration and decision to try to get that legal entity.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: I can underline from the experience of EuroDIG, we started as a grass root initiative, only in 2012, 4, 5 years later we decided to fund an organization but the main driving reason was the funding issue and what my experience, my personal experience, in this process, it was that once you have the bank account it is also easier to step up as an organization and to say this is who we are, this is our statutes. When funding an organization, even if you just do it for the primary reason to have a bank account, you also go through a governance process and that make it is much more easier than as you rightly said to apply for funds and step up and being recognized as something. This was really the positive step that we took in 2012 for EuroDIG.
>> AUKE PALS: The next hand was from Alexander.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: I think he wanted to finish what he started to speak. I ask you in the interest of time to be very brief.
>> Very brief. In fact, that was exactly what I mean to add. I mean, from the perspective of recognition and the institutionalization by the government, recognition by the government when approaching the government, someone mentioned here maybe the governments are afraid of NGOs being their opposition or something, now having legal entity, having bank account, having governance structure and showing to some extent the local IGF belongs to regional or global structure opens doors. For example, Sandra, maybe you remember with the project of involving the parliamentarians for the global IGF when we approach the parliamentarians in our country we needed to explain a lot who we are, but thanks to the infrastructure that’s already visible we were successful. I just wanted to add that for example, from a practical reason recently we have been contacted by Mission Public for their global project and not having bank account, legal structure would make us difficult to be part of this project as a national partner.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: that was a good wrap up of your contribution.
I see we have two questions, Olivia, and then we’ll close the queue for questions..
>> Yes, hello. Can you hear me?
>> LIVIA WALPEN: Thank you for all of the insight, hello from Switzerland. It was interesting it hear the developments in your country. I think my colleague has already said, in Switzerland, with the Swiss IGF, we’re still an informal gathering without a legal entity and so far one of our fears regarding a legal organization, it is – particularly in the private sector, in Switzerland, the private sector, it is more reluctant regarding an association particularly. I was just wondering if you in your IGFs are have some experience in this regard and how particularly how the private sector has reacted to the founding of an association.
Thank you very much. It was interesting.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you for the question, Livia.
Anyone that want to reply to this? Maybe someone that’s connected to the private sector? No one.
Let’s take the question next and see if somebody comes back to the question, Livia.
Can someone unmute?
>> AUKE PALS: We’re unmuting her. She appears to be muted again.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Maybe you don’t do anything, but let Auke, Nadia unmute you.
>> AUKE PALS: I try to unmute her. She’s not responding.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Maybe you can type your question in –
>> AUKE PALS: You should not double‑click on the item. You mute yourself again.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Doesn’t work.
Maybe type it in the chat. Okay. On the question that was raised regarding the private sector I know in the German IGF the private sector is involved. Peter, would you be in a position to say a few words about that.
>> Remote moderator: It is a bit of a struggle. Now it seems to work.
>> Peter: I’m not sure I got the question complete. There are two aspects. One, that in part, the private sector, the industries say, and in those cases, when they want to make donations, they’re, of course, more interested in making that donation to a public benefit for taking advantage of tax privileges. That’s one thing.
The other thing, it is – I think that’s the direction that Livia was going into, becoming a member of an association may be a challenge for big corporations. Depending on their legal structure, that takes it up to the board or even to the supervisory board but we haven’t identified that, people involved haven’t identified that as a big issue, but I know from other association that that sometimes is a problem and we have kind of the same thing with the government and they are limited with their ability to become a member of the association. For that reason. We would allow individual membership and working in the structures, within the institution without being a formal member of the association. I hope that helps, we can go offline and go in details there. Thank you.
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you, Peter.
Then let’s come back to the question from Rowena.
>> Do others have IDs or multiple filing sources? She says we don’t have an issue of – we have one funding source.
>> I think the unmuting finally worked. I think my headphones were overriding it. That’s the main gist, it is that it seems that this issue, multiple funding sources and needing a legal entity relies best when having multiple funding sources and that’s been a bit of a challenge for us. I was interested if anyone had any kinds of tips as to how to do that.
>> I will take the liberty to answer first, basically if you have a Good source to manage your global IGF with one donor only that’s a luxury problem I would say.
>> For EuroDIG, I can only say every year we’re reaching out to our donors, trying to convince them that had they continue with fund. Europeans, they’re among them, otherwise it is a hard job, I must say. Of course, it also gives you credibility if you have donations from multiple funds, from governments, from the private sector, from the technical community, because then basically it shows that the community that is concerned about the governance of the internet stands behind you.
I cannot really give you an idea how to – a good tip how to get the funds. You have to apply, you have to speak, it is basically going back to a good network that you have.
I think being supported by the local CCT LT is not a bad thing that’s the case for many other countries, Finland, Germany, I know they’re playing a big role, I think that’s the case for other countries as well. It is, of course, better to show broad support from the other sectors as well..
I hope that at least answers a little bit your question.
In the interest of time, I would like to close the session here. I think we could have gotten more into depth. Maybe this is something for another NRI assembly. I heard there may be plans to do something also at the global IGF. I think the question about impact on legislation is a question we can take forward. I think this discussion can be continued on a global level and I would say we close that session here and I give back to Nadia and Auke, our studio hosts. I thank everyone for the active participation.
I enjoyed it very much.
Back to you.
>> NADIA TJAHJA: Thank you, Sandra, for your moderation and for every one of you that participated, sharing your experiences and thoughts.
For our next session, we’ll have a small coffee break. We hope that you will join us back at 4:30 here in studio The Hague for the pre-event session on Quantum Technologies, from basic research to market. At the same time studio Berlin will host a session on creating synergies and the way forward. I look forward to seeing you back here in Studio The Hague and until then, bye for now!
>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Good‑bye!
>> AUKE PALS: See you soon!