>> HELANI GALPAYA: Good morning, everybody. We will get started. We have a very multicountry, somewhat multisectoral panel. What is not represented in the panel is represented in the audience. I see people involved in the Internet governance to date. This is a very good thing for this session. We are going to talk about essentially Internet governance, the processes; what good Internet governance is for that, we have a panel here. I will do a brief introduction and they will introduce themselves in any way they wish as they start.
We have Frederico Links on this corner, from Namibia, the Namibia Action Coalition. Quite relevant to this, he is one of the co‑chairs or coordinators of Namibia Governance Forum, which had its first IGF this year, very successfully. And then to my left here is Arda Gerkens (phonetic), who is a Senator, in addition to her role in running I think the hotline and the Help line ‑‑
>> ARDA GERKENS: Yes.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: ‑‑ for Internet‑related activities. So, quite a strong civil society interest and presence but also within government. So I think that is an interesting mix.
We have Sunil Abraham, who runs the Centre for Internet Society in India in Bangalore. Many of you are no stranger ‑‑ he is no stranger to these fora. He is a thoughtful and provocative thinker about what should the Internet governance look like and he can very well play both sides of these debates most of the time, I have seen.
And we have Natasha Tibinaye, also from Namibia, part of the Action Namibia Coalition and also, with Frederico, part of the Namibia IGF chairing and coordination.
And we have Gabriel Ramokotjo. He was the Past President of ISOC the Gauteng chapter and was in the National Steering Committee for the South Africa IGF. He is also and an entrepreneur in his spare time.
Finally, we have Juuso Moisander from Finland, who is still a member of the MAG?
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: Yes.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: And also affiliated with the Foreign Ministry. An outgoing member of the MAG. So North‑South presence, both here.
I thought we would divide this roughly in the 90 minutes we have into two parts. Which is, the first part is to address the local Internet governance in some of these countries and please bring in examples from yours about who are the players.
Where do the Internet governance policy discussions take place and where are the Internet governance‑related policies made? These may not be the same venues we think of as the local Internet governance fora. What does the IGF process look like; how affiliated are you to the UN in our sort of prescribed processes? What are the pros and cons of that process versus taking some other process? Let's have a discussion.
So, first, I would ask the panelists to give a round of reactions to that and thoughts and then we will open up. Everybody then in the second half, we will move to international IGF participation. Where are these fora for participation related to international aspects of Internet governance? What does enhanced cooperation mean and what should it mean? What are the pros and cons of how it is currently being debated and framed?
So let's start with the local and maybe we will start with Namibia and a few minutes on ‑‑ three to five minutes on what that process is, what are the pros and cons of the way you've decided to go about that.
>> FREDERICO LINKS: In Namibia I have to admit we are fairly new to the Internet governance space. It's only ‑‑ how our IGF came about, the Namibian IGF, the Namibian Internet governance forum came about and the one that we we just recently had in September. It was a process that started at SADC, the Southern African Development Community revel already at SADC in 2014 ICT Ministers at meeting in Malawi were actually urged to go ahead and get their national IGFs off the ground, to initiate processes; and the deadline that was set was June 2015. Unfortunately, the deadline came and went and most of the SADC states did not have an IGF by that stage. I think South Africa and Zimbabwe were the only ones at that stage that had actually had held IGFs by the time the deadline came around.
So it was after this, it was the at end of 2015, it was the beginning of 2016 that we were then approached in civil society, myself and Natasha ‑‑ it was midyear 2016, actually ‑‑ we were approached to see if we can assist in getting these processes going; getting an IGF, getting processes towards actually having IGF off the ground and it was in that ‑‑ I mean, these processes then led to the 27/28 September this year, to our IGF in Namibia. It was a whole ‑‑ was a year and a half year process that got us going.
And, as I said at the beginning, we are fairly new to these discussions. Even though at stake level we were part of the WSIS processes from the beginning. But we sort of . . . we fell away. And these discussions never trickled through to sections in society, stakeholder sections in society. So it is only now, now that technology and the Internet and ICTs in general are starting to play a much bigger role in commercial aspects of the Namibian economy and in society in general that we now are starting to have meaningful discussions although still very low‑level, they are there.
And now we are starting to sort of dip our feet into the regulatory ‑‑
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Were these a space to actually debate important issues like the right to access or was it this just like oh, let's get started and, you know, do something and what was the government involvement?
>> FREDERICO LINKS: Because we come from ‑‑ the action coalition is a coalition of freedom of expression and access to information advocates consisting of civil society organisations and media organisations. We were in this space. And the discussions for us have very much become around freedom of expression and access to information, transparency, accountability and these sorts of things. Because we see that these initial sort of interventions on the state side, from the state side have tended to be in this realm; in this freedom of expression/access to information realm and we have had to engagement. So, this was the entry point. This is where we are now.
We still have to actually initiate the meaningful discussions around e‑commerce, e‑government and these sorts of things.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: But the government asked you to chair. I mean, it would have been quite ‑‑
>> FREKERIKO LINKS: No, no, they didn't.
>> HELENI GALPAYA: Cybersecurity, privacy. One conference is being done like many times and it's many technical people come there; but we have had lost the last up couple of years, cybersecurity you laws, which are incredibly stupid and have things in there which are are actually harming the Internet. At that point, I sometimes think well, how come we didn't get to have that multistakeholder approach when that law was made because now everybody's objecting. We are going to have a referendum about that law ‑‑ was that about the process of lawmaking in that instance?
>> Yes, I think it would have been a good idea if the multistakeholder approach had been there. Like you said a, we also have the online consulting. We didn't have the 200 questions. But of course you know this is the kind of process that they call democratic process where you can say what you think. But to really form something as a multistakeholder, you should not have that ‑‑ Internet consultation is good; don't get me wrong. But you have to debate on such a topic and the debate on those topics have not been brought to the N IGF because it is too sensitive and also ‑‑ well, it's about surveillance and stuff like that and it is also sensitivity but it would have done a lot of good if we would have. I am convinced‑‑ natural for many of our countries to say, yes, we will hold IGF for our government because they like ‑‑
>> FREDERICO LINKS: Yes.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Like control.
>> FREDERICO LINKS: Yes.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: So, why was this?
>> FREDERICO LINKS: I think ‑‑ I mean it was emphasized from the beginning at SADC level that this needs to be a multistakeholder process and I think that's ‑‑ that's part of the problem why some of the other countries haven't actually gotten off the ground with the IGFs. Because I think the Namibian government is particularly sensitive about its image regionally and internationally; so it's sort of emphasized that this needs to be ‑‑ the officials that approach this, it needs to be multistakeholder; it needs to reflect this principle. So they asked us in civil society to ‑‑ they took the initiating steps, but then they asked us, you know, let's get this going.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Okay.
>> FREDERICO LINKS: We would like you to be at the forefront of this.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Great. Thank you.
Gabriel, let's move to South Africa. The IG process and ownership has sort of done a tango back and forth with government at certain times. Give us an overview.
>> GABRIEL RAMOKOTJO: Thanks. We started our process roughly in 2014. That is when we had our first Internet Governance Forum. But then you couldn't call it the South African Internet governance forum because the government was not involved in that process.
Then it took us a two‑year engagement with government to eventually get government being involved within the South African Internet governance process. It was only in 2016, actually, that's when we had an official South African Internet Governance Forum. And I think it's important also to understand that with most developing countries, especially in Africa, there is a lack of capacity building when it comes to IG issues. More importantly, from the government level. And what ‑‑ on our site, what we did was report ‑‑ so, we will do an IGF report from a global perspective to a national perspective, then we will share that with our government and also importantly what we did as a way to get the government involved within the IGF ‑‑ the IG processes, is that we focussed, also participated within the policy processes in the country; and I think that led to our government really getting to understand that the multistakeholder approach is the way to go when you get to engage on issues around ‑‑ around the future of the Internet.
So that was only in 2016 when we had the IGF. But ‑‑ or the South African IGF. But we had two IGFs before this but you we could not call them IGFs because the government was not involved in that; and they were explicit on that.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Sunil, India is a country ‑‑ I mean, I can't find the official Internet governance forum for India and yet it's sort of at the cutting edge or the bleeding edge ‑‑ depending on, you know, whose perspective ‑‑ of making government‑related policies and framing some of the global debates. Who are the actors? Why is there no Internet governance forum and do you think we should have one?
>> SUNIL ABRAHAM: I don't like the phrase Internet Governance Forum. And that's because there is no tech development or outputs from Internet Governance Forums. So I would like to call them Internet governance learning forums because all that happens is people come in a non‑antagonistic space and they are able to discuss issues and learn from one another.
I think the first only attempt at producing an Indian Internet governance learning forum collapsed because of the weakness of the multistakeholder model. It is very easy for both states and corporations to produce civil society because civil society is cheap to produce. So, at this first meeting, civil society was manufactured and as this was exposed, this made it into the media, and the credibility of that process was badly affected.
So this was a fundamental design flaw in one of the variants of the multistakeholder models. I was corrected here yesterday when I referred to it as "the" multistakeholder model. But we do have one of the variants of the multistakeholder model alive and kicking in India. It is at one of the government entities that is responsible for producing laws, policies, regulations, et cetera. This is the Telecom Regulator. And this particular variant of the stakeholder model I like to refer to as the multistakeholder consultative model.
That means that all of the stakeholders are only brought to the table for consultation and the government takes the lead in making the decisions. And I believe that is an essential part of Internet governance: To have some part of policy development led specifically by the government because only governments can temper the power of corporations.
So, why do I think that TRAI, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is the gold standard when it comes to the multistakeholder consultations? It is because they produce sometimes early White Papers. Then after that they follow it up with consultation papers. They open it out for comments. All stakeholders are asked to produce and submit comments. These comments are then uploaded onto the TRAI website, so you know exactly what positions people are taking. Then there is a period of counter‑comments and people submit counter‑comments responding to the comments of others. Then there are Open House discussions and they don't always, unfortunately, hold those discussions in many Indian cities but sometimes they do, for important policies.
And, after that, the Regulator produces the final regulation or the recommendation for the regulation. And when the Regulator does this, they have to give reasons why they have ignored certain comments. They don't do that as comprehensively as they should but that is the spirit of the process.
So, you can see here it's a very carefully thought‑out process; and it really leads to good lawmaking. I'm not in total agreement with the absolute prohibition on zero rating in my country. But civil society at least across the world seems to think that this is a very good thing. So you can see that good regulation and very strict network neutrality regulation is also produced.
At the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, MeitY, they follow a similar process but not all of the time. With the encryption policy, they didn't consult anybody, that was badly done. With the new consultation paper on the data protection law, it is the paper that has got 300 pages ‑‑ no, 250 pages, more than 600 footnotes and 200 questions.
So, if you want to participate in the consultation process and submit your submission, you have to answer 200 questions on data protection. It is a very rigorous process. Then, very quickly NCIIPC, the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre, is following a very different approach, which is the core regulatory approach.
So they are not producing the consultation papers themselves but rather are encouraging various industry sectors to produce self‑regulatory norms under their self‑regulatory organisations. And the NCIIPIC hopes to support this process. And once a mature standard has been produced, that will be ‑‑ will fall into a co‑regulatory framework, where the Ministry will then enforce the very standard that this sector developed upon that standard with the carrots and the sticks. Thank you.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Thank you. Let's move to The Netherlands. I find this sort of interesting because we see The Netherlands in this debate. And I think ‑‑ if I am not mistaken, there is sort of an active engagement and yet a nonalignment with the UN‑defined NRI process. Talk us through why that is, who plays, where these debates are housed and where policies are made.
>> ARDA GERKENS: Thank you. I find it interesting to hear the other stories, because I think there is alignment in there. But that just tells you how we started. We started at the first IGF. The Ministry of the Economic Affairs of a platform we need to ‑‑ it is actually already a multistakeholder platform, so it's an organisation which builds bridges between private industry, civil society and the government. And so the Ministry of Economic Affairs asked them to organise an NIGF, which was in the beginning just a round table with a couple of people talking. But I think it was already then that a lot of the Dutch people were going to the IGF. It wasn't really organized. But at Sharm el Sheikh, suddenly a member of the Ministry of Economic Affairs found out that there were many Dutch people walking around; and so they introduced a dinner and since then we have at every IGF a dinner where all Dutch people are welcome and even today, as I walk around here, I meet people who are not on our list, so we say, hey, come on, join the WhatsApp group, join us for dinner so we can meet up. And I think that's a very strong point that we tend to line up with everybody who is here.
So the IGF was and the NIGF, in the beginning we had with a couple of people. We tried hard to make that group grow and it has. I know IGF, the last one, had about 100 visitors, which was quite good. And you can see that a private sector is there, the industry; but also politicians join and the Ministries also join. What's lacking, I think, is to get those politicians eventually here at the IGF itself. That's very hard to do. That's I think because there is no real decisionmaking going on here. And they feel that ‑‑ I am a politician myself so I can say this ‑‑ they want to make statements all the time, right? And it's very hard to make statements if there is no decisionmaking.
Another think, I think, if I look at the way our process goes, we are already a kind of a multistakeholder country. I mean, we ‑‑ the Dutch polder model has been I think an international word. So we meet with each other, see how he we can improve together. Although I think for civil society it's harder to get a foot down than for industry. I can say this too because I'm civil society; and I think if I look at it ‑‑ and this is what I find interesting also with your process ‑‑ if it's about decisionmaking on economical things, it is quite easy to do. Once it gets to the more lawmaking side, especially on privacy, we have big conferences in the Netherlands around cybersecurity, privacy. One conference is being done like many times and it's many technical people come there; but we have lost, the last couple of years, cybersecurity laws which are incredibly stupid and have things in there which are are actually harming the Internet.
At that point, I sometimes think, well, how come we didn't get to have that multistakeholder approach when that law was made, because now everybody's objecting. We are going to have a referendum about that law ‑‑
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Was that about the process of lawmaking in that instance?
>> ARDA GERKENS: Yes, I think it would have been a good idea if the multistakeholder approach had been there. Like you said, we also have the online consulting. We didn't have the 200 questions. But of course you know this is the kind of process that they call democratic process where you can say what you think. But to really form something as a multistakeholder, you should not have that ‑‑ Internet consultation is good; don't get me wrong. But you have to debate on such a topic and the debate on those topics have not been brought to the NIGF because I think it is too politically sensitive and also ‑‑ well, it's about surveillance and stuff like that and it is also sensitive but it would have done a lot of good if we would have. I am convinced if you look at the surveillance question that everybody wants a safe country and everybody knows that you need to somehow find a way to keep your country safe and surveillance is a part of that. But to what extent and how do you keep your privacy in the process? That is something you can talk about. The best people who can talk about it are those daily on the Internet. That unfortunately has not happened yet. I hope we can bring to it that level now. As I see the last couple of years not on in the Ministry of Economic Affairs but in Foreign Affairs, we have people from Foreign Affairs walking around here. The next one is the Ministry of Justice. I hope we can get them to come here and listen to everything that is being said about all of the things going on in the world.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Okay. Thank you.
Juuso. Finland. You have a process unaffiliated with UN type of processes. Again, somewhat similar. What are the motivations and the pros and the cons?
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: Yes. Thank you. The Finnish Internet Forum, the Finnish IGF was born through the national WSIS coordination process. We had an open multistakeholder platform to discuss the issues there and after the WSIS process, the coordination group decided to continue in the follow‑up phase and to meet regularly to discuss Internet governance‑related issues. And within that group we realized we needed to do something to fulfill the WSIS outcome document, which encourages governments nor stakeholders to do these fora on a national and an international level. So we came up with the Finnish Internet forum, that is kind of a side track of the WSIS process, which is still going on nationally. It's open to everybody. It is basically the same stakeholders but there are some people who are not so involved in the big WSIS picture but they want to do the national process.
So we kind of concluded that since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the coordinator for WSIS could act as the institutional home and provide kind of ‑‑ the necessary resources. We don't have a budget for that do it so it is basically all voluntary contributions based on in‑kind support and so on. But we are the ones convening it and making sure that we actually follow the principles of the IGF. It is not being captured; it is being opened bottom‑up.
So I think the relationship of a national IGF to the global one should be as flexible as possible. What you do need is the principles of multistakeholderism bottom‑up, free to enter and so on. But otherwise ‑‑ of course we do a reporting to be recognized as a national IGF. But the only thing that actually binds us to the IGF, the global IGF process, is the reporting. So we just consider ourselves to be the national IGF and that's the way it should be: As loose as possible.
So, of course, being the Foreign Ministry supporting the process and being the institutional home, it helps to build visibility. In Finland, we are quite lucky that the Parliament has a committee for the future, which is not a lawmaking body but it is something that has been looking at the future challenges. And they became involved and have been providing us in recent years with the facility. So we hold the annual event at the Parliament; we have Parliamentarians participating. And that's really been great for us in that sense. Thank you.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: I think we can open up to questions if anyone from the audience wishes to contribute thoughts or ask questions from all panelists or any particular panelists? Yes.
And please identify yourself and then speak.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes. I am Yi Chen (phonetic) from China. I am a lecturer in the university, teaching media governance and new media revolution, something like this. My question is for the India representative. Actually, you were talking about the consultative multistakeholder model. I found there are great similarities between the Chinese model and the India model. Because they also have the online policymaking process in China so you can contribute your comments and suggestions although you do not need to read 200 pages. But the thing is I think that the main point is we need to identify to what extent those minority groups in civil society, their decisions, their ideas have been taken into account in the decisionmaking, final decisionmaking process. So you say they have a reasoning ‑‑ give the reasons, for example.
So I want to know to what extent they actually respond to all of this input from the diverse groups in your case? In China's case they didn't have any reasoning processes. They just said, "We received your comments." That is all. That is my question.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Do you want to answer?
>> SUNIL ABRAHAM: I think it varies highly. There is no standard. It varies policy to policy. When it came to the network neutrality debate, there was a very big public campaign with millions of people sending comments and then it became impossible for the regulator to allow free basics in India. But I am quite certain that the Second Ministry, which is responsible for the surveillance policy, they don't even put their policy out for consultation. So it is not done homogeneously; and civil society input is not taken on board in a predictable fashion. And also the reasoning is not always done in a predictable fashion but it's moving in that direction. So we are moving in the right direction. But you cannot say for sure, just because civil society sends in a comment, you can't say it will be incorporated or responded to.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Yes, Frederico.
>> FREDERICO LINKS: Our situation is similar to the Chinese. It is an attempt to make it a more democratic, consultative process. But what we find is, when the comments are received, we find the regulator or the organisation that requested these comments, the ministry or so, what now? You know, how do we treat it now? Do people actually respond? What happens now?
And then it becomes for us also in civil society something we have been hammering on, once we sort of encountered the situation where we now have to engage with government and tell them, okay, so this is what a consultative process looks like. You asked for comments. Now it has to go through these various steps and then you need to produce an editable, a redraft that reflects the comments; and then after that, you put it out again and then ‑‑ so, we also have, in this process, have to train these officials to sort of ‑‑ sort of pushing them to do it this way. We tell them: This will create ultimately the best draft at the end of the day. So, it becomes a ‑‑ the consultative process also becomes a training process for us in civil society to say, you know what, it needs to be an actual, real consultative process. That is what it looks like.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: This question and response goes to two things. The quantity and the quality of this participation and the public debates, the richness. And you are talking about a bottom‑up process in Namibia where you're about a bill, and then taking it through. But, has it been a success so far as I know? Can you give a very quick update?
>> NATASHA TIBINAYE: Well, for the past couple of years, in Namibia we have a number of draft laws dealing with freedom of expression related issues. I would like to say that our latest bill that we are dealing on is the electronic transactions in cybercrime bill. Before that it was the access to information bill, the data protection bill. As Frederico mentioned earlier, we are very new to the Internet governance process. We have had the Internet a couple decades but only the last the last two, three years we began engaging on developing a legal and policy framework and also engaging in this space. So it differs from bill to bill and from issue to issue. Our most challenging engagement with government thus far has been on the electronic transactions and cybercrime bill. The easiest was the access to information. But I think that what I want to note is that it's critically important ‑‑ the Mobius (phonetic) context is rather unique. We have a very small country ‑‑ well, the country is physically huge ‑‑
>> NATASHA TIBINAYE: ‑‑ but the population is small; our sectors are small. So as civil society and as media, we already have an existing healthy democratic relationship with our government. So: We know each other.
My colleagues from the government, ministry, we know each other, we know how to work with each other, we understand how to negotiate our power in whatever space we have. So I think that helps a lot; the fact that there is a relationship. Like I say we are now engaging on the cybercrime and electronic transactions in cybercrime. That's a tough one.
I think our government is also ‑‑ a couple of ‑‑ like a month ago new had, the ruling party had its Congress to pay for our upcoming elections in 2019. And at that Congress it was recommended by members of the party that we should establish a Ministry for Cybersecurity, which is very concerning for us.
So I think what we need to do as civil society is to consistently engage with government, remain open, and government needs to do the same.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: So we can have more questions but if I were to ask you, I mean, why bother to go to a local IGF, is the question. You know, you call us two groups of people, maybe this particular policy stuck, maybe you have personal relationships and you can move that process. Sunil is saying there are many other top‑down processes in India, right; some of which work well, some less well. Why do we care about having another space?
>> PANELIST: Well ‑‑
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Other than your formulation of learning, exactly. You have active IGF spaces, a platform. What has that given us? Can we achieve these same policy outcomes elsewhere? If we leave the learning, which I think is valid thing for IGF as a fora, other objectives can be met elsewhere. Why bother? I would like a reaction from the panelists.
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: Well, if I start, first of all, the IGFs are very much about capacity building but also about having this dialogue ‑‑ I'd keep the IGF separate from decisionmaking. That is a way to have a multistakeholder discussion: To hear the views, especially us doing it at the Parliament with the Parliamentarians. To kind of like have an open discussion with everybody, all stakeholders at the table. That is the key. And then, of course, the government's very open and we have decisionmaking processes separate that are multistakeholder more or less. But the value of an IGF is to have multistakeholder discussion. Not producing outcomes.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: So, the learning, framing of debates and the back‑and‑forth of ideas?
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: Yes. One thing I would like to add ‑‑ it hasn't been done on purpose but we have realized that many of the Europe open IGFs are discussing the same issues. When we do that on a bottom‑up process and we look at what is topical, the European IGF, EuroDIG, has been the dialogue on Internet governance, has been compiling the topics annually. We realize we are discussing 80% the same things in The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Norway and so on.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Okay. Gabriel.
>> GABRIEL RAMOKOTJO: I think in our case the IGF process has pretty much went to an extent where it is influenced policy formulation back in South Africa. Recently, last year, there was a national integrated ICT White Paper and for the first time on that White Paper, which is currently now going through the process of legislation, Internet governance was mentioned in the White Paper, which for us, more on the civil society side, is a big win because that is something we have seen ‑‑ you know, we started it from the inception where we wanted government to get involved within IG, the IG processes in the country. And, to date, we have the government having appointed an entity, which is the Domain Name regulator in our country to oversee the Internet governance process in South Africa. And that is pretty much in the White Paper. And also, having the government itself within its own department, the Department of Telecommunications, appointing a director to ‑‑
>> HELANI GALPAYA: But is that code for "I will take the IGF a little more seriously" in terms of ‑‑
>> GABRIEL RAMOKOTJO: Yes. I think it goes to the extent where, in terms of formulating the programme and the themes around the national IGF. Because what we have learned is that when we started we adopted our theme and our programme based on the global IGF and we didn't look within the local context and the issues that we need to deal with from the local perspective, but as soon as we started that, things started to change a little bit because we started to formulate our programme around social and economic inclusion, you know, how to use ICT's to harness that. And we also brought more people from, you know, from the end‑user side. We brought more people from the marginalized communities to participate within the IG processes in our own country. So I would say, at this stage, where we are currently at now in South Africa, when it comes to IGF, the government is pretty much taking us seriously.
We saw last year when South Africa hosted the African Internet Governance Forum and we also saw within the South African Internet Governance Forum last year, that we also had the participation of AU; we had the participation of AIESEC Global (?) and we also had the participation of ICANN. And also we had the participation for the first time of our own Minister at the national IGF. And also, last year at the global IGF in Mexico, we had our own Minister coming through to give a keynote address. So I think the outcome for us has been positive to the extent that the government has taken the IGF seriously.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Okay. Actually, let's go to Namibia: The government is there but not there. Why should other people come to IGF?
>> NATASHA TIBINAYE: No. Our government is there.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Okay.
>> NATASHA TIBINAYE: They are engaging actively. They are part of the working group. So. Yeah, I don't know what else to say. Our government is there.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Yes?
>> FREDERICO LINKS: I would just like to add to that. But it's not just about the government being there. It's become for is us, we ‑‑ it's a platform where we get to push a model, this multistakeholder model, because we want this to become an accepted practice when we're doing ‑‑ legislating on other aspects as well, other things. It is just a good way of approaching lawmaking.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: So apart from the learning aspects, framing the debate, it is about experimentation of look a different way of governance things ‑‑
>> FREDERICO LINKS: You can take it to other fields as well. I want to support the "learning" insertion in the titling. Because what we have seen in our coalition as well, the action coalition, when we starting talking IG, we first had to train the people within the organisations and activations within the coalition, because they said you know, what is this stuff now. And then we have to do training ‑‑ in our coalition we have to do that training.
Within government just last month there was this workshop on cybersecurity for Parliamentarians and I was involved in that. And the narrative around the Internet was very negative and it continues to be, especially in the older generation, so your Parliamentarians tend to be older people and the narrative was, of Internet, the perception of the Internet was a negative perception; it's a place where threats come from; children are abused. Because that's the sort of information they primarily have been receiving because they don't personally use the Internet.
And the Parliamentarian, the Deputy Speaker of the House had that opportunity, of the National Assembly, had that opportunity, asked us very specifically, when we pointed out, look, the Internet is not a negative space. Negative things happen there. You know, threats come ‑‑ there are threats there. And she asked us, you know what, she said straight out: You know what? We do not know these things. We don't have the people who give us research and can break these sophisticated topics down for us and give us you these bite‑sized information ‑‑
>> FREDERICO LINKS: So we have to now, in the beginning of 2018, now we have to do this for these Parliamentarians to understand the issues and cybersecurity and data protection and these things so it's not just capacity building without ‑‑ and this is where the Internet Governance Forum for us, the Namibian one for us is very important. It allows us to bring the stakeholders we have not approached until this bridge, to bring them to this platform and inform them what's a locally internationally and regionally.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Great. And interventions from Arda and Sunil on this.
>> ARDA GERKENS: Very good with what you are saying. One of the reasons I think politicians should go to this IGF or national IGF is because of the knowledge. I like that word that you want to add. So it is the learning forum. Because I think many politicians are afraid to also in my country, even if they are not old, even if they are, you know ‑‑ I'm not old, but anyway
>> ARDA GERKENS: ‑‑ if they are a bit younger than I am, they still don't know that much on the Internet. They are afraid to engage because they think it is all technical. They think, I cannot; it's technical. It is difficult to know. What is happening around here. The local IGF. At least they tried to explain what it is. It is all about common sense, policymaking. Not that difficult. Not that technical. You can have the techies say: That will work; that won't work.
So I still am really sad that we don't have that condition here. I basically tell them because we have all of these topics that they talk about, whether it's open source, whether it's privacy, whether it's copyright infringement, child sexual abuse issues, the topics are there. I tell them: Go, spend one week, you will know everything. You will have a new knowledge, a base to go on. Unfortunately, they haven't done it yet but this is the reason they should go, in my opinion.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Okay. Sunil.
>> SUNIL ABRAHAM: So the problem stated is that the government doesn't show up at the IGF and perhaps in certain countries they don't show up at the national IGF. But they used to come to the global IGF. And at one point, when we wanted to give them some more leverage, we had a ministerial conference to the IGF; then we changed it to a high‑level meeting or something like that. But then civil society, with its kind of naive adherence to the multistakeholder model insisted that they want to be in all those rooms. So civil society entered the high‑level meeting in Bali and at the next meeting governments decided that they don't want to come anymore. This is because our approach, if you were to use a telecom metaphor, is time division multiplexing.
We choose one venue with a limited number of rooms and we have a limited number of days, a limited number of slots on the agenda. And then what we do is put all of the stakeholders into each of those slots and equally divide the time across all of the stakeholders and the ‑‑ even though NETmundial actually produced an outcome, NETmundial actually followed the same format but increased ‑‑ reduced the granularity of the time slot.
So we have to move, just as telecom technology moved away from time division multiplexing to frequency multiplexing, the IGF process also has to move to frequency division multiplexing where we allow each stakeholder community to sit by themselves and the governments can say if the corporations don't self‑regulate in this area we are threatening regulation and the corporations can come together and develop regulatory norms and civil society can understand their differences and create a scale through the norms produced both by governments or standards produced by corporations can be judged. So we need to fix the format. if we don't there is no stake, there is no payoff for government to be here. So, I blame civil society squarely for the lack of participation of governments in the global IGF process.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Does anyone have disagreements with that statement, including the panelists?
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Yes, please.
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: No, I don't think that's a case for us. I think it brings added value to the discussion.
>> NATASHA TIBINAYE: May I?
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Yes.
>> NATASHA TIBINAYE: I think it's critically important that everyone understands their role in society.
In Namibia, I hope, we all operate from the place that it's a democracy; and that each stakeholder needs to understand: What is your purpose in society. And I think ‑‑ it's sometimes difficult for my government to accept that they have a very vibrant set of outspoken civil society and media sector. But I think they also appreciate that we have a civil society and media sector that is consistently building ‑‑ we are consistently building our capacity on issues that are of relevance and we hold our government accountable if they do not act in a way that is in the best interests of our country.
So I ‑‑ for me it's important that each stakeholder understands their role and if they do not fulfill their mandate, they need to be held accountable.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Okay. Reactions, anybody?
From the audience. Yes.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: My name is Jean [phonetic] from Brazil. Actually I have more a question than a reaction to this. I have been to the national IGFs in Brazil. What I see there is that there a lot of open spaces for civil society there; and the most prominent civil society actors, they go up to state forum panels and also for corporations, it has a good popularity for big companies and I think we can see that kind of in a different dimension here at the IGF. But what I saw is that there is a lack of space or interest from the government; and that the learning capability that the governments could achieve in the space is completely lost and then with civil societies and companies, they have to fight for misunderstanding that, on the Congress. So, how ‑‑ seeing that the government, the legislators and politicians participate in your national IGFs, how do you make the space more attractive to governments and to civil societies and governments don't have to fight again and again and again in Congress in all this space?
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Quick, one‑minute reaction to this because we need to move in a way to the sort of international participation side. Yes:
>> FREDERICO LINKS: It is part response to yours but also a response to Sunil. The thing is, we have to understand where we come from in this discussion. India has a much more mature IT sector and is also a pacesetter in this sector. Whereas a country like Namibia, where we don't have IT sectors, to speak of, we don't create technologies and things like this, so it is important for us that, you know, government shows up. Whereas in India, it might be a case where, well, we know what's going on anyway; so we don't actually have to be there. Because whatever happens at this platform for India. For us, it's a very different situation where we actually do need not just government but also civil society and now technical sector to actually show up to platforms like this.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: So, let's segue into the next section, which is not only how do you get government to come to the local one but also how do you get government to come here? Reactions? Juuso?
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: The local one, I don't think we have an issue with in Finland.
Of course, it is a combination of social, cultural and all kinds of aspects. But we do have quite a rich participation from the government, from the business; we are all stakeholders.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Are they here as well?
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: They are not here in the same extent ‑‑
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: Well, civil society is but I am talking about government.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Government.
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: Government. Yeah. You might be government one day, who knows.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: But you are government?
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: I am government. Yes.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Okay.
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: And so we have the Minister for Foreign Affairs here. I think we are three. But it is a challenge but it is a question of the usage of time and money.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Okay. So, we had a question there.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I am from Guyana. I wanted to connect with what my colleague from Namibia was saying. We are a very small space. Small population, big coutry. Growing ICT. We don't make anything. We consume everything.
A number of questions: Does it matter for us, a small space? Like, for example, in Guyana we have opportunities in Latin America. There are immediately so many issues, language, culture. The Caribbean, even just to travel, it is just a massive issue for ordinary people.
With respect to government, I have been following what our Minister of Public Tel is doing. It feel the overwhelming, going to every single thing with one or two advisors. I don't know if IGF would be one of them. They are not here, of course. Because it's a small space and there are lots and lots of issues. And for me, the question is: Does it matter for a small space like ours with the resourcens and the challenges?
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Do you want to answer that?
>> Yes. After (indicating).
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Yes, please.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi. I' from New Zealand. Just a couple of brief comments. I'm here wearing a civil society hat but in my day job I am a government servant, a government employee. So I don't see any conflict there.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Really?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: But from a civil society perspective, I'd like to say that we do have an IGF in New Zealand. It is not called an IGF; it is called another name, but effectively it acts as a platform for multistakeholder debates. And it is successful.
Second comment is that there is no one size model that fits everyone. There can't be. Everyone's circumstances are different. Populations are different. As colleagues have said, travel distances are a big problem. But the main consideration is if you insist on ‑‑ if you develop a model for your national IGF or equivalent type meeting. If you develop a model where you are expecting governments to turn up, be quizzed on what they are planning to do, you will you scare them away ‑‑
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: ‑‑ don't expect them to turn up and have them answer questions. You want to develop a model that is attractive for the exchange of opinions. It is not there for policy development. And then you have to decide what you mean by government: Do you mean officials or do you mean politicians? Officials are always openminded and happy to exchange opinions, in my experience. But you won't get politicians coming along there. So you can't ‑‑ it seems to me a rigid, prescriptive model is not going to work.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Yes.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: It is unrealistic.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Yes. We have to move on.
>> ARDA GERKENS: I agree with you that politicians just want to come and make a statement, to be sure that they are seen, you know? That's important for politicians. But there are some other bodies like the Interparliamentary Union, IPU, with lots of old politicians, actually. But you can see that the IF and things that are happening in the Internet world is also a rising debate over there. It might be interesting to see if we can get some cross‑contexts because all of the knowledge that is walking around here, we could share that with the IPU, with the conferences there. And there, they will debate and share opinions and not come to a conclusion at one point. They just want to first exchange experiences. So . . .
>> HELANI GALPAYA: We are keep moving in and out of the international issues. So the idea that there are these issues not just at the national level, they are actually across borders, which is normal to think of in the Internet governance space and certainly they are being hotly debated in different fora: Here, WIPO, UNCTAD and various other UN bodies. There are other civil society fora to discuss this.
And this wording of what "enhanced cooperation" means. If you look at the Tunis, sort of the two tracks, one that was to create the multistakeholder model fora, whatever, that we have sort of come to in this way, and for a long time kind of ignored what enhanced cooperation means.
Now there is a deep sort of interest in all parties to either define what that means. Is that a very UN‑led process about solving the governance issues related to the issues which are inherently trans‑border, cross‑national or is that again a multistakeholder process? Should it be within the IGF process and fora; should it be a part but a separate track? Should it be completely a new entity or body that is set up?
These are all being hotly debated. And this really has to do with who gets to decide? What is the level of governmental participation in matters at the international level that govern the Internet? What should be the civil society participation and where are the fora for this?
What are the thoughts ‑‑ I would like to start with somewhat government ‑‑ actually explicitly government people in terms of what your thoughts are. Certain governments have very strong opinions and they have played at these two extremes of these debates. India has been quite active in some ways. So, let's start with Europe.
>> ARDA GERKENS: Good question. It's all about do you want to be effective and at the same time ‑‑ the most effective and at the same time ‑‑ I meant the most effective would be if you do it again in a multistakeholder environment. But I know that governments would be very reluctant to do so because they would feel it would have been imposed upon them. So then a UN process would be a better process but we know those kind of processes are maybe longer and more difficult than a multistakeholder approach. I would take a multistakeholder approach and if we can put that together with the UN we might get somewhere.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Where would you do this? Change the nature of the IGF to be slightly more . . . recommendation powers for example; as opposed to not coming out with formal statements? How would multistakeholders be incorporated into this; how would these merge?
>> ARDA GERKENS: Personally I always have been really for the fact to get some more statements out of the IGF. Because that ‑‑ I truly believe we have a lot of common sense around here. So, we can get some common sense comments out statements out of the IGF, which would then merge into the national processes. It could be advisors. It does not have to be binding, we could advise as an idea.
Of course, we have the difficulty that we have three kinds of Internet: Free and open and closed Internet and something in between. And you have governments that pick to close Twitter at one time then open it again. It is very hard to see if it will then fall to the open and free world, which I'm all for. But, I think, yeah, it would be best because it would give us more body, give more importance to the IGF itself.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: To the IGF itself. Juuso. And then Peter. Yes.
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: Challenging to speak before Peter. You may then correct all of my opinions.
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: First of all, I wouldn't change the IGF. It is unique. It is dynamic. There is always room for improvement. We do have a lot of output for the IGF. Every workshop proposer, when we're organizing a workshop, needs to do a report, right?
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Yes.
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: Who reads the reports? Probably no one. Are they available? I don't know. I am a MAG member, so I see them. But I am not even sure they are available.
The way that we built, for example, our national process is that we do a report and we hold our forum before the EuroDIG and that feeds into the EuroDIG and the EuroDIG feeds into the IGF. In the back you have the messages (?) whatever the document is called. There is a lot of output already. Now that has been going on 12 years. That is my view. It is happening all the time. Happening here.
IGF might be a separate track or it might be building kind of like this ladder with enhanced cooperation. The topics of the IGF have changed a lot. I don't think we need to change the IGF to serve the enhanced cooperation process anymore. A lot of organisations have developed discussions. You mentioned WIPO, UNCTAD, WTO, ICAAN. So much improvement. So you have to notice that basically it is ongoing and it is going good.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Peter? We know you, but please introduce yourself.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I am Peter Major, Vice Chairman of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development. I have been chairing the first Working Group on enhanced cooperation. I have been chairing the working group on the improvements of the IGF. This is the introduction.
The enhanced cooperation. On an international level, we have a document called the Tunis agenda. In 2015 the UN General Assembly took a resolution which extended the mandate of the IGF by ten years and also called for the work carried out by the first Working Group to be continued in the second Working Group on enhanced cooperation.
The mandate of the IGF is a non‑binding process, a separate process from enhanced cooperation. It has been reinforced in this resolution. it is not producing any resolutions, no recommendations.
It does produce some reports. It used to produce some 400 or 600 pages of transcripts, which is a very rich source of knowledge. Probably it's not very easy is to digest. And I have to tell that all IGF's are extremely rich and they should be used. As for enhanced cooperation, it means that the role of the governments in the international public policy issues related to the Internet but not on a day‑to‑day operational basis.
As a background, you may know that the private corporation ICANN is taking care of the DNS system, that is, the Domain Name System, and the Internet protocol numbers.
Now, enhanced cooperation was a kind of term which came up in Tunis phase of negotiations. Nobody really knows what it means. It was deliberately a kind of diplomatic ambiguity. Everybody was happy with the term. And that created these kind of processes which we are in the middle of. And everybody tries to convince the other parties about his convictions.
Right now, we are at the end of the second Working Group, which is going to have its meeting at the end of January; and the basic issue is whether to continue doing nothing or whether we are going to have a a kind of consultative meetings within the CSTD or shall we use the IGF as a forum for enhanced cooperation or shall we create a new mechanism.
Now, in the previous Working Group we identified a lot of issues, about 200 issues related to enhanced cooperation and we have identified existing mechanisms in the UN framework and outside the UN framework. We also have identified gaps.
Some issues are not covered by UN processes. And everybody was equally unhappy. Which is a good sign. It is really a good sign. Because if everybody's unhappy, then probably there is a way to go forward. So right now we are about to finish our work and will come up probably with a kind of recommendations which will be in the form of options. It will be taken up by the CSTD, Commission of Science and Technology for Development, for discussions. But we have to be careful about that.
Vint Cerf, in the opening ceremony, said that we are just reflecting the real world. So if there are political differences and basic political differences, they are being reflected in the IG world, our discussions in the IG world, in the Internet governance world. So we can't be better at least. We try to be, but I'm not always easy.
Getting back to the Working Group itself and some words and I will stop there, it is a multistakeholder working group, which is a big achievement in itself. So, within the UN system, you have officially a multistakeholder Working Group, made up of 22 member states and 20 representatives of different stakeholders, including civil society, technical community, academia, international organisations. Personally, I am very proud of that. It was a big achievement.
In the first Working Group we have been talking about the participation of other stakeholders as well. Invited members. And this is not the case anymore. They are on equal footing. So, they are being recognized and they are not disputed anymore, what they are doing in the room. This is something very promising. Now, as far as the results, probably we have to be patient. And we try to do our best. And I am, as always, optimistic. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I was in Tunis 2005 as a representative. Peter said it well. I couldn't say it better than that. I am going to make a personal comment: There is an image problem be or a marketing problem. We have to persuade stakeholders in our various countries that the Internet is not a threatening private space where secret things happen. We are, again, to quite various people who spoke at the plenary, we are dealing with real life. We are dealing with all our lives. We have to explain to people that the Internet is dealing with a utility which is common as tap water and should be just as clean, in fact.
We need to promote an understanding in society of the Internet as normal daily resource and the importance of all actors in society taking an interest in how that was manage the, districted and usable that is all. It is a marketing problem, image problem we need to tackle somehow. Thanks.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Actually this is for Peter. As you know, China is (?) Internet governance. I am surprised by the Chinese government didn't (?) enhanced cooperation Working Group. I went through the meeting document. I didn't find any input from the Chinese government. I am curious, what is the reason?
>> PETER MAJOR: I'm curious too.
>> VOICE: Me too.
>> PETER MAJOR: More seriously, I have raised this issue with the appropriate responsible people in China. I was in Wuzhen two weeks ago. Before that, during the WSIS forum, I also raised the question, that if you want to influence things, you have to be at least present. So this is the first step.
And I think China should be there, considering the leading role China is having right now. So it should be there. I mean, we can discuss things ‑‑ at least India is fortunately there. At least the two big emerging powers are there. I really encourage China and I think there will be a lot of occasions where it can contribute. Well it is most unfortunate in this Working Group they are not a part.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Sunil, what has been India's position on this and there have been very active actors of the India civil society in this space. Do you agree with them?
>> SUNIL ABRAHAM: The trouble is I haven't followed the second Working Group's process closely enough. I think in the first Working Group, India gave various proposals, as Peter pointed out, on how enhanced cooperation could be taken forward. There are three different entities in India that participate in global IT process. What used to be the Department of Information and Electronic Technology, they were the biggest champions of the multistakeholder model as understood by what happened at ICANN.
The people who were the least convinced with the multistakeholder model, were most invested in the multi‑lateral model were the Department of Telecom. They were interested in what was happening with the ITU.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs kind of oscillated between those two positions over the years. So, if you looked at some of the contributions that the Working Group ‑‑ sometimes you couldn't see a kind of cogent historical thread. Indian civil society I think is quite active I think in that Working Group. Unless I go through the documentation of the second Working Group and am unable to answer ‑‑
>> HELANI GALPAYA: That was part of my question.
>> SUNIL ABRAHAM: Going forward, to address the needs of the small island developing countries and other countries that don't have these big budgets to be at all meetings, we need I think, in my view, the enhanced cooperation to be instantiated in ‑‑ whether people are I WIPO, ITF, WTO, they come and report on what is happening in each location and come back and report. So, countries with limited budgets for the foreign ministry, you go to one meeting and you get a whole swath of what is happening globally. And the second thing enhanced cooperation has to address these gaps which Peter outlined.
So, who should take on that role if it is going to be some kind of global institution and whether it can be addressed by industry self‑regulation. So industry also should perhaps look at the gaps listed as their homework and see whether they can pre‑ empt government regulation by self‑regulating. Again in a consultative fashion.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: So when some parties call for a UN‑like or UN‑led process for the rules that govern the Internet across borders, it comes down to sort of the mechanisms they currently have to participate in that process, and for who. So, civil society, the argument is that they are traditionally not there because this is the primacy of the member states and many civil society and private sector have been invited as observers and certainly they are allowed to speak after the nation states speak.
So how multistakeholder can this be, for example? So you are proposing, slightly giving more teeth to the IGF process itself to be somewhat let's say recommendatory, instead of just talking and learning to come out with a little more concrete outcomes. And what I hear from Juuso is slightly a process‑oriented thing, which is there are multistakeholders, let's say in the Europe ‑‑ at the regional level; and then you could take those perhaps into the UN process if that is what we end up in what we mean by enhanced cooperation. So there is multistakeholderism bottom‑up but somehow it ends up in a UN‑type process.
South Africa, Namibia, reactions? How do we feel about this. Or do you think UN should allow all civil society into this or should we create yet another organisation?
>> GABRIEL RAMOKOTJO: No.
>> GABRIEL RAMOKOTJO: Well, I don't think we need to create another organisation. I mean, one of the reasons why we don't have so many African governments or governments from developing countries participating in such meetings is what was mentioned in terms of resources. If we go to create another forum that will just not be a wise move, if I can put it that way. But then, going back to your question, I think what Sunil said is very important. We need a platform where all governments, everyone comes ‑‑ once in five years, where all of these issues are pretty much discussed.
So, if you look at NETmundial, everyone gathered at that meeting with one focus ‑‑ the Queen's language; finding a way ‑‑
>> GABRIEL RAMOKOTJO: ‑‑ they came out from the issues, one purpose. You are able to see governments from developing countries, coming there with one purpose. A process like that ‑‑ and that had tangible outcomes. (?) And the previous ICANN CEO had a good strategy whereby he used a platform to ensure that pushes the IANA transaction, because that is where it all started.
I think if we come again to have these forums once in five years, that is something that should be pretty much ‑‑ maybe my last point is that, even with the global IGF, I mean, we had this discussion at the academy: What is the legitimacy of Internet Governance Forum?
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Do you want to change it?
>> GABRIEL RAMOKOTJO: I don't want to change it. But I don't think it is legitimate without the involvement of government.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Okay.
>> GABRIEL RAMOKOTJO: You never question why the private sector is involved. But you always question if government is involved.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Arda, you had a reaction to this.
>> ARDA GERKENS: That is a good point you made, actually. That is true. I like the idea. I mean ‑‑ this is all being recorded; you can read reports. We make conclusions in every debate and workshop we have, but it seems to stay within the IGF here. And I think you could make one every five years, a special IGF, high‑profile, IGF that would make it even more interesting maybe for policymakers to come. So it could be a nice idea and we could scale that up, work on that in the other IGFs and maybe in the same processes as the local, regional and then going up to the international.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Namibia, either of you.
>> NATASHA TIBINAYE: I agree with Gabriel and my sister from ‑‑ which country?
>> ARDA GERKENS: Netherlands.
>> NATASHA TIBINAYE: I think the IGF needs to have a bit more teeth. I am not saying they need to pass a motion to make recommendations to the community of where we can go. I agree with her 100% that this is an emerging space for knowledge sharing and learning.
But I think critically important is we need to start at the national IGF level. If we are not announcing our cooperation at the national IGF level and not supporting each other and there is no capacity building and we are not developing an environment where innovation and freedom of and expression and technology, all that ‑‑ the environment is not going to be used to address all of that, as national IGF's I don't think we will be able to make an impact at regional or global level.
I must say that this is only my second IGF. I went to Mexico last year. This is my second IGF. And it is very obviously to me that this space is a very unequal space.
For civil society, for example, for me as a civil society organisation from the Global South, if I didn't have the support of the IGF Academy, I would never get here. There is no way I would be able to get to Switzerland or Mexico if I didn't join the IGF Academy. And also nor would I have the access to the amazing network I have, thanks to the IGF Academy. That space is dominated by the global northern governments and the corporations.
So there is always room for improvement, as I said. I hope that we as African national IGF's are getting stronger and the regional, as a result will I believe get stronger and the African IGF will get stronger we have to change the narrative of my continent. We have to.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Sorry. I am going to force each of you to respond to my last question, which you're not sort of sidestepping. Okay, we should change to IGF, we should have some stronger outputs, we should have our relevance, all of this things I hear.
So, great. Who do we give the recommendations to and who should be making the rules about the international aspects of governing the Internet. Do we leave it up to the UN and the ITU?
What are your ‑‑ give me your top two candidates for where rules should be made and why.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Yes.
>> Privacy, security, stability of the Internet. Cross‑border data flows. You take the four, top five picks of the panelists that are organised here.
What are the four (?) In our existing spaces, some of these are discussed in the UN. So I am asking: Should we make those rules here? Nobody seems to say the IGF should stay as it is or maybe a little more teeth coming out with documents. So where, then? If not here, where?
>> ARDA GERKENS: I think it really depends on what topic you choose on that. We know, on privacy and security, all governments will make their own laws.
My idea would be if you are going to make such a law, we give them guidelines, IGF. If you are going to make such a law, please consider this and this and that. That will maybe make sure we get better laws.
If it's about stability of the Internet, I think they we're doing a pretty good job already. So I don't think there should be such a body, one body who would make rules.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Right. Okay.
>> FREDERIKO LINKS: I think some of the systems already exist, these decisionmaking systems are already good enough. And states and regional associations are already doing things. I don't think there is ‑‑ I like the idea of guidance being provided at an international level. But I think some of the decisionmaking power should also reside in the regional bodies, such as SADC, at that level. And it gives us room, at the international level, to negotiate, you know, to work with each other.
Well, I do believe ‑‑ I haven't in any way done a proper evaluation of why I feel this way. But I do believe that, yes, this platform needs some teeth. It needs to be strengthened in some way. I don't know where exactly but it does need some strengthening.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Finland?
>> JUUSO MOISANDER: I am perplexed, to be honest. we're talking about the communications network that has revolutionized everything. And we have a lack of communication in where we are taking decisions and what's happening. It's all there. It's just a lack of communication.
So, it's absurd to be talking about a new body to discuss policymaking on the Internet.
We have everything. We just have to realize it's all happening and we need to be there and we need to contribute and we need to find the information and try to communicate better. It is there.
NETmundial was mentioned on a couple of occasions. That's an excellent example of a conference where, at the time, there was a need for an conference like that, an ad hoc conference that came up with an excellent document. And then we followed up with enhanced cooperation discussion and some of the players refused to acknowledge that this meeting took place. I mean: Please.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Yes.
>> GABRIEL RAMOKOTJO: I think that when the time comes when most governments will feel safe to come to spaces like this or forums like this, because in most cases the IGF, well, the civil society has used the IGF to bash on government.
So government, whenever in this space, they feel that they are the target. So I think to the extent to which civil society and all the stakeholders involved within this process of this IG, they get to, you know, understand and respect each other in terms of their positions. I know the IGF is all about equal footing but in the real world that doesn't exist. It doesn't.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Sunil?
>> SUNIL ABRAHAM: So, I think the IGF is fine as it is. I only want to change its name.
>> SUNIL ABRAHAM: When it comes to the list of issues ‑‑ so I want to agree with Juuso that enhanced cooperation is already happening, but unfortunately some of it is happening in secret pluralateral trade agreements and some of those outputs are not respecting of human rights; and some of the other fora are not really even doing multistakeholder consultation. Like ITU standards development we don't even know what is happening there until the standard is finally published.
So, some of those existing fora need to be fixed. When it comes to the list of issues that you identified like rate of attraction, God bless the European Union, because through soft power and economic power, the GDP, which precedes the GDPR, already has influenced data protection law in 108 jurisdictions according to Professor Graham Greenleaf.
And hopefully the annual conference of the privacy commissioners and data protection authorities could become the place where these regulators learn from each other and harmonize. There is a standard, although some people do not like to accept it, which is the GDPR has become the global standard for cybersecurity.
We should not give up on the UN GGE, even though the fifth meeting didn't produce an output. And on cross‑data flows, I think that is also an issue for the annual conference of the privacy commissioners and DPS.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: So you are saying there are other fora. Okay. We are about two minutes over time but if anybody can stay we will allow one last question.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: My name is Mel Lin Fung. I am with the People‑Centered Internet. I wonder about looking at the process of how we move forward within the IGFs. And I just want to bring attention and ask if you'd consider the original ideas of Douglas Engelbart, who was also on the first two nodes of the Internet with Vint Cerf. He says we have to work in networked communities that work on an improvement process. And all that writing is back there, at the beginning of the Internet but that we have actually not operationalized some of those concepts.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Actually there are several online questions and comments I will take, and then the panel can react as they wish.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: This is from Chris Prince Udochukwu Njoky. This is a crucial session. Government involvement is improving in developing countries, including my continent, Africa. More improvement is needed however. Presently governments where they are involved believe they must be at the head of the forum. When they are which is often the case because they fund activities, they tend to play down the multistakeholder nature and always exert authoritarian rule in IG decisionmaking.
In Nigeria, for example, the head of the national IGF has been a government representative, who is always the only person reporting for the country in African and global IGF. Nigerian government finds it difficult to allow national IGF Secretariat to be hosted outside the government quarters.
How do we handle this sort of scenario and how do we handle the scenario where government deserves opinion and decision looking down on other stakeholders? There's basically no democracy.
>> ARDA GERKENS: Can I?
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Yes, very short.
>> ARDA GERKENS: Very short. And I'll take into account what the lady said at the end of the table. It's not all politicians. Because I am very pro multistakeholder model and I think we are at the beginning of a new era of democracy and how we look at things. We're struggling with it. But you know, the next generation or maybe my children's children, they will be ruled by multistakeholder model because I think that is the only most democratic model we can have. So, yeah, I think we'll get there. We just have to keep on pushing it.
>> GABRIEL RAMOKOTJO: Well, I could easily relate to the situation that my brother from Nigeria mentioned. Because we are currently in South Africa in that position where government pretty much has taken over the IG process. So, we now go back to, trying as civil society, now to get involved within the multistakeholder process. That we have initiated.
So I think how to go about finding proper, meaningful ways to engage government on that is to build that capacity building, I think, is still much needed for government officials when it comes to Internet governance discussions.
>> NATASHA TIBINAYE: May I?
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Yes.
>> NATASHA TIBINAYE: Responding to the brother from Nigeria: We were at the launch of digital rights in Africa report last year ‑‑ last night. It launched by Paradigm Initiative, which is the Nigerian civil ‑‑ social entrepreneur organisation focusing on digital rights, obviously. And a lot of the speakers and people there were Nigerians. From civil society in unofficial capacity, the spokesperson, communications person of the Nigerian President. So what was very obvious to me in that room is that Nigeria, just like the rest of Africa, we are on a new track.
We need to recognize and understand our role at an individual and sector level at which you work. If we haven't figured that out, we won't be able to move further.
I am very positive about the future of Africa. I am very certain that the Internet has changed the trajectory of my continent and we need to use this moment where things are changing and just take us to a different, innovative place.
I want to also advocate for the use of a multistakeholder funding model of the IGF. I must say the Namibian process is new, we've just launched our IGF three months ago, we only have been working on it the past year. It has been going well, I am so proud of the process. I hope it is going to continue.
But the multistakeholder funding model is everybody contributed financially to our IGF, the technical community, civil society, government, everybody put a cent or two into the pot. And I think that's important as well.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: I think we should wrap up. Thank you very much to all the panelists and the audience for questions and active engagement. I always wanted to do this in all my panels.
>> There you go.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: (Striking the gavel on the table) We are adjourned. Thank you.
(Session concluded at 1:30 p.m.)