The Arab Internet Governance Forum (Arab IGF): Prospects of Inter and Intra-regional Cooperation on Internet Governance

6 November 2012 - A Other on Enhanced Cooperation in Baku, Azerbaijan

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>> MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We are starting now.  I just want to make sure that everyone has the headsets, obviously the voice is not hearable without them.  So if we can just give another minute for everyone to get their head sets.

  Allow me to welcome you to this session on the Arab IGF.  We understand it has been a long day and it has been trying for some who have arrived late yesterday.  The session today will try to shed some light on the newly established Arab IGF that was held in Kuwait last month.  This session is co?organized by the IGF Secretariat which I'm one of those working for.  My name is Hisham Aboulyazed.  We are co?organizing this with UN he is square and the league of Arab states who are the organizations under which the Arab IGF initiative emerged. 

Allow me to introduce our panel for today.  I start alphabetically with Mr. Ayman El-Sherbiny.  He is chief of ICB policies, ESCWA, in Beirut where he has been leading wonderful initiatives on IG that we will address during the course of the session.  He has also been recently part of the dot Arab project committee which is behind the dot Arab and the dot (Off Microphone) Arab new TLGT applications.  Second on our panel is Christine Arida.  Christine is the Director for Telecom services and planning at NTRA of Egypt.

She is at present leading the work on Egypt national broad band plan.  She has also been establishing the Arab IGF and presently leads its Secretariat.  Christine is also the chairperson of the Arab steering Committee on the dot Arab project and has been a member of the IGF from 2007 to 2012 and has been the chairperson of the Arabic names consortium.  Third, Ms. Hanane Boujemi.  She is coordinator of Hivos internet governance programme.  She has a master's degree in human rights and democratization.  She has worked as senior policy analyst with the ITU and was associated also with Diplo Foundation as the coordinator of internet governance research projects.  Fourth is Mr. Khaled Foda.  He is the head of ICT department.  Khaled is the project manager for North Africa for Google.  He is also until recently a board member of ISOC and has been on the board of AFNIC for some time.  He founded the internet society chapter in Tunisia and has been an active member of the communities of ICANN, IGF, IETF and AFRINIC.  Mr. Paul Rendek, Paul is the Director of external relations for the RIPE NCC.  He was one of the founders of the Middle East network, Minoc and Eurasian group, ITAC.  Paul is currently coordinating all of the RIPE NCC activities in the Middle East region.  Last but definitely not least, Qusai Al?Shattl.  He is the deputy Chairman of the Kuwait Information Society and the first Arab IGF in Kuwait last month.  He is actively involved under the umbrella of the Civil Society on Internet Governance issues related since 2003.

So without further ado, I turn to Mr. Ayman Sherbiny who will give us historic background on how the initiative behind the Arab IGF has emerged.

>> AYMAN EL-SHERBINY:  Thank you.  And dear guests, I'm happy to be here and to address this workshop as I have been introduced.  I am responsible for the ICT policies.  And I have been working hard to launch and to cofound, establish the Arab IGF.  It took us so long.  I have been in United Nations looking at internet governance landscape since its inception of 2005?2006 and all of these IGF's globally we have been participating in on behalf of the region.  The region where I refer to is actually west Asia and partially North Africa.

The economic and social commission for western Asian, also called the Arab region at large.  Before we have them all, we had always had in mind to join hands with the most legally respected umbrella in the region which is the league of Arab states it is like the European Commission for the Arab Commission.  So the journey for establishing the Arab IGF, the topic of which we are referring to today started actually in 2008 when we started our first normative research and studies on the challenges and prospects for the Arab region.  And we launched our landmark study on that during the first IGF who took place in Sharm El?Sheikh which we planned to launch in an Arab region and at that time the study was very highly accepted and we moved forward to an initiative called Arab IGF.  We were inspired by the name at that time and that initiative we had in mind to pave the road for establishing the Arab IGF.  At that time there was only the East African IGF and the EuroDIG.  One year after we convened meeting in Beirut and this was to discuss a road map, the so?called road map for internet governance.  It's another piece of work that ESCWA has led.  It is result oriented for efforts in different issues with goals in mind, with action, with activities, and with specific policies to deal with.

The roadmap for Internet Governance was welcomed by the League of Arab States and when they joined hands with us and became one co?organizing body for subsequent events or so called joint umbrella.  The ESCWA, the UN emblem, the UN flag was the League of Arab States flag.  Together we convened the EGM at that time and the community together accepted it and initiated so?called code from Arab stakeholders for convening Arab IGF.  This was 2010.  We had one year delay because the political plans in the region and the first year under the Arab IGF.  We called for the ?? open consultation to finalize and establish the process.  This took place in Beirut end of January this year.  And we ended up by full consensus from all Arab stakeholders to establish the process under the joint umbrella of the guess fire United Nations and League of Arab States.

The second day we got the blessing of the amnesterial council with resolution endorsing the establishment.  Multi?stakeholderism was already there.  We wanted according to our region the blessing of the Governments and we had it.  Two or three months down the road we got amnesterial decree or resolution by ESCWA and then we got an ECOSOC resolution in the same regard.

Following that legal mandate formation or establishment, we started by establishing the AMSAG to become diversified multi?stakeholder and follow the global process, and I forgot to say two very important things that happened in Beirut.  It was appointment of the Secretariat, a member country for the Secretariat.  There was a consensus to welcome the proposal by the Egyptian Government, and it was widely accepted that Egypt would assume the role of the Secretariat for the IGF process and there was consensus on the choice of the first hosting country which is Kuwait.  Christine will talk about the Secretariat and say about the activity in Kuwait that took place three weeks ago, and during the few subsequent months we established the process, the AMAG.  The host country relationship and many other things I don't want to dwell more on that but I am referring to a speech that should have been also delivered by a colleague of mine, Mr. Khaled Foda, establishing together the joint umbrella.  He is sending you his apologies.  He couldn't make it today, but he wanted me to refer to the efforts that have been going in the League of Arab States how they manage also to put the Internet Governance on top of the agenda of the policy makers, and the ministers of the region.

So many topics, many sub issues are already on the radar screen specifically related to the original back bone, to digital Arabic content, many other things that will come in time, but generally speaking I'm proud to be here today and I'm proud of my colleagues, the community we are serving, and without their endorsement and their enthusiasm we count have been where we are in.  By this I end my introductory note.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Thank you so much, Ayman.  You have walked us through the history until the establishment of the Arab IGF in Beirut.  And that's ?? you have highlighted that the Secretariat was appointed and the first host also was adopted.  So if I may turn to Christine.  Christine, if you can walk us through the process since the establishment in Beirut.  It has been a few months, and I'm sure a lot of activities, if you can walk us through that.

>> CHRISTINA ARIDA:  Thank you, Hisham.  Actually, maybe the Arab region has come a bit late in establishing an Arab IGF.  But I have to say that we ?? as Ayman was saying the idea was there for many years and when it was established, I have to say the experience having attended other regional IGFs has been a big different in the Arab region.  There were in mechanisms set up, and one of them is the, actually the setting up of the group which is considered to be the core team that will look over the agenda and all of the activities that go into (Off Microphone) and this was actually a request that has come from the Beirut meeting.

The Beirut meeting has said clearly all of the community that was there said clearly we need this process to be bottom up, to be transparent, to be open to everyone, and to be inclusive to all stakeholders.  And so there was this idea of setting up multi?stakeholder group like, more or less like the MAG group which is taking care of the global IGF agenda, and so right after the Beirut meeting when Egypt actually assumed the role of the Secretariat of the AMAG, we called in April for applications of memberships for the AMAG.

And we did that to all stakeholder groups.  We sent through the Arab states, through the different business constituencies, and all through the mailing lists and Civil Society and everywhere, and we received actually around 60 applications spanning across different stakeholder groups including technical community experts that are involved in various partners of the technical community, and even academia.

And under with the cooperation of the umbrella organizations the ESCWA and the League of Arab States a group that is balanced with a gender balance I have to say was established and it has 31 members, 12 from Government, 6 from Civil Society, 6 from private sector, 5 from technical community, academia and 4 from organizations.  And actually at the time when we set the AMAG, I said we are going routes very different than the regional groups, but, as a matter of fact, this core team has worked really hard in a short time and I'm sure my friend Qusai will say how this helped setting up agenda in Kuwait.  So they had to start with who to invite, how to disseminate, what are the priorities, the agenda, how to reach out to various groups.  The AMAG met twice before the Kuwait meeting and they all took the travel to travel and they set an open consultation meeting with the larger community in September only a month's end before the meeting Kuwait.

They set the AMAG under the Chairmanship of Qusai sent various working groups to work in parallel and to work electronically to make the agenda and so by our meeting in September, we had actually a very solid agenda with so many speakers.  And so this is basically what has happened.  The Secretariat has actually tried to keep this process as open as possible through all available tools.  We have had great help from partners like AFRINIC, Cisco and others for remote participation and for using all tools available on the internet.  And so I have to say that it was actually a positive experience to work in that format.  It's a novel experience for Indonesia.  I have been involved in many activities in the Arab region.  This is another one that has worked.

Of course, there were challenges, some of which are getting people to attend in Kuwait.  And so we had ?? the time was limited but we managed to do fellowship programs that I'm sure also Qusai will talk about so looking at next year we have a couple of proposals for hosting the second meeting.  So looking at next year, we should take time more in getting probably the agenda early on done and also how to get people to attend the meeting and putting resources in.  Thank you, Hisham.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Excellent, so if I may turn to Qusai, you have been the Chair of the Arab MAG and the Chairman of the first Arab IGF meeting so if you can share with us your experience.

>> QUSAI AL-SHATTI:  Thank you.  First of all, I would like to welcome you to the workshop and thanks to the workshop organizer for organizing this event today this IGF in Baku.  My colleagues have previously mentioned that as part of the Arab IGF launch process or initiation process we have created a multi?stakeholder advisory group.

This is a process allowed us to have a group responsible to set the programme for the first Arab IGF.  What we did before that, we created a programme paper and we followed the example of the global IGF in doing that programme paper.  We kept the themes open until the Arab MAG at that time was convened.  We were lucky that the issues and that the Internet Governance are mostly was like the openness, the privacy, the security, the content, access, youth and so on, were also issues of concerns in the Arab world.

So we focused on what subthemes that would come under these main theme within two meetings started in June and the last meeting of the MAG, of the Arab MAG was in September and working in between electronically through emails and Conference calls, we were able to set and establish the subthemes that we wanted to be addressed during the first meeting in Kuwait.

Following that we wanted to support the participation of the stakeholders in Kuwait meeting, so we also established a fellowship programme, we set conditions for the fellowship programs and application and set a period of time for submitting these applications.  Again, we did not reinvent the wheel.  We followed the rules of well nobody and well established fellowship programs and we benefited from that experience and we reflected it in the Arab IGF process.

So in a period of really four months we did have a programme agenda, and we did address the issues like fellowships and so on.  And we managed to outreach to speakers from inside the Arab world and outside of the Arab world.  And we had let's say agenda balanced geographically balanced across the Arab world list of speakers.

Workshops were a bit of a challenge, and really beyond expectation we were worried that we may not have that much of people interested to organize workshops within the first Arab governance form, and actually we had more proposals than expected.  We planned to have about, between 13?15 workshops.  Actually the proposals came up to 20 proposals.

We needed to withdraw some, we needed to merge some until we reached the number that is ?? which is 13, I guess, 13 workshops for the first Arab IGF.  And that was really a positive indicator of how the first Arab IGF meeting and how the outcome will be and thank God it was a wonderful successful outcome.  Moving to the logistical or the organisational challenges, of course, the first organizational challenge is the umbrella organizations.

And for the first Arab IGF we needed to spend much time to have the umbrella organisation which is the UN ESCWA because we needed to follow a certain process for these organizations.  We are lucky to complete this process by June and they endorse the multi?stakeholder transparent approach for the Arab IGF but that gave us only four months to organize the whole event.  That was the first constraint.

For us as a host, of course, we are not experienced and let's say organisation such regional events, so normally what we will do, we will not reinvent the wheel.  We will go to someone who knows.  And in this case we relied on the support of RIPE NCC who gives us guidance on certain organizational issues and really on the ground they assisted us and helped us to address certain organizational issues and logisticals and things like video streaming, so on.

So in that regard, eventually within four months we had the wonderful event, the constraints were overcome because of the cooperation, the synergy and the commitment of the groups that was involved to organize nation the first Arab IGF and if it was successful, it is ?? it was successful because it was inclusive.  It involved all multi?stakeholder and it was transparent.  Thank you.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Thank you Qusai and thank you for stressing the principle that this process tried to follow of being open, being multi?stakeholder, being also bottom up paced.  So if I may turn to Mr. Khaled Foda, if you can share with us, you have been involved as an AMAG member.  You have been in Kuwait.  How would you define the major highlight of the Kuwait event and if it's successful, why you think it was?

>> KHALED FODA:  My name is Khaled Foda. I'm from Tunisia.  I honestly have the honor to serve the Arab MAG this year.  It was a very successful one.  The reason why is simply explained by Qusai who with the team managed to have the process in the right way following the global IGF model which was a transparent one. from the beginning I saw the announcement as anyone from the community, I applied ting in the MAG and I get into the process which is for me a great thing because it allows a lot of people from outside the actual first team who worked on the Internet Governance Forum in the Arab region and allowed other people from other perspective coming from Civil Society and the private sector and as well the process of selecting the workshop was also transparent where we announced a call for proposal, and we gave the opportunity to other organizations around the Arab region and from outside to propose and organize different workshops on different very interesting theme.

The theme, by the way, I was also surprised by the fact that we have covered almost all of the very interesting theme coming from you, social media, political resources, to very technical things.  For sure it's the first experience and for me the way that we did was successful for first experience and this made probably the bar very high for the next years.  I think that next year we will be (Inaudible) in Kuwait.  And for sure there is negative or some lack in other things.

It's true it was inclusive as explained by Qusai and the team.  And there were remote participation.  I think we should also do hard work for the next year to make the process more open, to have more people from the private sector because, I mean, for example, what I announced personally is that the private sector were mainly people from communications side, the content industry, the other part of the private sector are not really very ?? not very involved with us.  I hope we will see more other big company like Microsoft, like others that are existing in the region and they are doing a great job.  We will hope to have them involved in organizing and participating in the workshops.

The Civil Society as well, I think the multi?stakeholder model was very important part.  This is what we know through the composition of the MAG and the people present and the Arab IGF, but, again, also we need to do more work to include other part of the Civil Society as you said the Arab region has survived, have been through the Arab spring which is a great moment in our life in the Arab region.  I hope we will see more and more people from different angle from the Civil Society, from the activists, from people who were really advocating for the on line freedom and for the freedom of expression.

We need these people to be involved in a discussion to express their concern, their interest, their problems while we are criticizing sometimes things that we can resolve just when they discuss with Government or private sector people.  So this is in general what I had noted and, again, I was really glad to be part of this.  Thank you.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Thank you, Khaled, for your notes.  Ms. Hanane, what was your experience of the event in Kuwait?  And after that I will turn to our patient friend, Paul, on the same question.

>> HANANE BOUJEMI:  Hello.  My name is Hanane Boujemi.  I'm the project coordinator for the capacity building programme on Internet Governance.  I'm overwhelmed with the whole experience in Kuwait after, you know, so many years working on the Internet Governance issues related to the Arab region and finally we managed to put the first addition after Arab IGF together through the effort of main stakeholders like the Arab league, UN ESCWA who works the early stages of the Internet Governance discussion, worked together with the Arab region road map on Internet Governance, we designed it together and highlighted the main issues that we should be tackling at the Arab region level.  My experience was from a Civil Society, you know, perspective, it was quite fruitful, and since I was moderating one of the most critical sessions about one of the serious topics at the Arab region level, the open session, I could sense that there is a lot of room to initiate discussions and people actually have very interesting point of views like sensitive topics like freedom of expression and how it is connected with politics in the Arab region.  It was interesting to hear that it's not necessarily ?? it doesn't have to be related to politics.

Because most Governments will suppress people's views and perspective of the attendees that was a political decision.  They would like favorable channels to discuss issues that manner for the Arab citizen with the Government rather than being oppressed.  What happened in the recent year or so helped people to be more expressive about their views and I was really surprised to hear that so many people want to advocate for the right to access information, something that is not existent in the Arab region and no so many countries have a law to guarantee access to information.  So people are aware that just, I think probably couldn't find a Forum to discuss these issues.  Something like access to information is important in the Arab region because it will automatically eradicate a big problem we are experiencing which is corruption.

They also know about how the Government should be transparent and accountable to guarantee more business and opportunities and advance people's lives in the region.  So it was quite overwhelming.  I was happy to be at the center of a very important session where people could express themselves freely.  There were so many stakeholders from Governments and a little bit of representation from Civil Society.  The thing I think we should work on in the future is to engage more people from the Arab region and actually grab them literally and bring them to be part of the process and explain to them what Internet Governance means because I will never forget in the closing session there was a person who asked the question, but I don't understand what is Internet Governance, and that gave me like the heads up, okay, so we need to the capacity building of the Arab region level to literally teach people what IG means and how it can relate to their lives.

So I think that's one of the things that we should be working on and luckily I'm in a position to further that because I'm coordinating the programme that is nothing but Internet Governance and capacity building in the Arab region now.  We are the first, we will be working on certain issues closely related to openness and all of the IG issues from the Human Rights perspective so I think there will be a chance to do something in the region, for the region, and with the people from the Arab region.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Thank you.  So Paul?

>> PAUL RENDEK:  Thank you.  Good afternoon, everyone. I also want to share, I have ?? I would like to share the same thoughts as my colleagues here.  The experience of actually working together with everyone to get this Arab IGF off the ground was great!  It was done as Christine said in a very short time frame.  But I was very surprised to see how many different people from all of the different stakeholder groups actually came together to get involved to make this happen.  I think the highlights that I saw or some of the things that actually impressed me so much were that the topics that were brought forward were openly discussed.  This is the first time I have actually in the region gone to a meeting like this where we had all of the different stakeholder groups and the agenda had pieces that was probably touching from all of the different areas and everybody was discussing this in one room.  That was very important.  And it was nice to see the different perspectives coming from the different kind of stakeholders that were involved there, and I'm happy to see that the technical community because was also very much embraced there and the issues that we bring forward that we have all over the globe really were highlighted totally, regionally and discussed in this case I'd like to, because I am the representative from the technical community there.  There were the issues of IXPs in the region.  There were the issues of technical coordination of the IT professionals in the region, capacity building in the region.

Because I think one of the things that came forward from the discussions or there were a few things that came forward from the discussions that hit me and they were, number one, we need to get the entrepreneurs to be working in the IT area in the Arab world.  This needs to happen.  The content needs to come home.  This is basically spread around the globe and hosted elsewhere.  Why is this not hosted in the Arab world?

It should be.  Bringing the business people and entrepreneurs into IT.  The inclusion of youth was something I thought was very strong and for having had the first IGF from the region it was great to see how well run the youth programme was inside the Arab IGF.  I think the Arab youth had a lot of things to say that opened the eyes of many older folk that were involved in this process.  And it was nice to see they could have a debate with everyone on the same level on issues that were brought forward.  So I was happy to see these pieces.

I think I also have to share with some of the comments that were made that in moving forward I think it's important to disseminate the information properly to try to get to as many people as we can from the different stakeholder groups to come and join.  I think the process was very open and very inclusive, and that's fantastic.  I think that moving forward, I think we have to concentrate on making sure that this inclusiveness is always highlighted and that everybody does feel included in this process.

And another word I would like to say is keep it simple.  This is a start and it's probably the most important thing we can do is to get everybody into one room discussing before you make it too complicated.  Keep these things simple.  So these were some of the things that I saw.  Thank you.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Thank you, Paul.  At this point I want to hear from the floor if you have any questions.  Also we have remote participation.  If we have anyone on remote participation, just let us know at any stage.  At this point we have tried to highlight for you the measured highlights of the process.  Still I want to hear from the rest of the panel on the experience in Kuwait and how we think we can even progress with the future of IGFs.  Ayman, you had something?

>> AYMAN EL-SHERBINY:  First of all, I want to pick up on the last question in the last round regarding the highlights of the main discussions that took place in Kuwait.  And I would like to highlight some of the findings that I had kept in my notes.  Generally speaking, there has been focus on the idea of multi-lingualization and the role of the Internet Governance debate regarding enhancing the Arab content culture heritage on the internet.  In general and the internet domain names, they are big domain names in specific as well.  On this track as Hisham has induced in the beginning me and my colleagues have been leading efforts for the dot Arab initiative the process by ICANN and promoting the Arabic domain name in general.  This has been wildly taken forward by stakeholders during the Kuwait event and there has been agreement that ICANN and ESCWA will join hands in the domain industry in the Arab world because it involves also the business of Registrars, registries, resellers and you name it that are going to be based in the Arab world.  And probably targeting the rest of the world as well.

So the domain name industry in the Arab world is an initiative that has been endorsed and is going to be taken forward in the next year.  Also I have been involved and co?organizing workshop on the IXPs, internet exchange points during Kuwait event and with other colleagues from the IMAG ?? AMAG and we ended by establishing a dynamic coalition for internet change points in the Arab region national and regional level and we hope that we do similar success like the one that has been done by the African union and the ISOC recently in Africa, and this has been also widely accepted and had a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of energy that is going to give us fuel for the next year taking the IXP's initiatives forward.

This is one other thing, and there was other topics, I don't want to dwell on everything, but on child on line protection, there has been the notion of doing more actionable frameworks on the COP frameworks in the Arab region because this is also a priority for the region.  So we have the ?? we have the domain industry we have the child on line protections on top of the agenda of the region and on top of the achievements that have been there during Kuwait.  So these were my few points regarding the achievements in Kuwait.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Still on this same question of the major highlights of Kuwait and how do you qualify the outcomes, how do you think, Christine, the event in Kuwait was in terms of the different aspects that was discussed whether during the workshops or the main sessions?

>> CHRISTINA ARIDA:  I think for the first meeting it was quite good, but I have here to maybe capture again what Hanane was saying.  There is a lot of awareness that needs to be done.  So extending actually this community further is an important issue that we have to look at seriously how are we going to do this because we had a tremendous experience with youth and it was just a great, the workshop with youth was just great and the main session was also great.  And it was coming from a community which is actually not the classic internet community of the Arab region.  They were new.

And I have to say here that probably the Lebanese Government has done a lot of effort to get the youth delegation and to mobilize this together with our friends in Kuwait, so this is specifically the types of initiatives that we have to work out in order to broaden this community.  So and this probably will bring me to the challenges we will face for next year.

One most important thing is how are we going to maintain a strong coordination with the different Government mechanisms that are there.  And I think, for example, Ayman was talking about IXPs as well.  I know within the Arab league there is an initiative and a project going on for IXPs, so how do we want to maybe feed that initiative or provide a venue where discussions can take place through the Arab IGF, this is one issue, but similarly extending to the different other arms, so the Civil Society now in the Arab region which is becoming really mature and talking in various directions we have seen amazing discussions about rights and internet in Egypt.  I can say we have a lot of those and coming from people that are not classical internet community.  They are just Civil Society users of the internet coming with different background.

How are we going to tie with those people and get them on board into the discussion?  This will be a big challenge.  I think we should make use of the momentum of the ISAC chapters building up in the Arab region.  That's one issue.  And lastly but not least, how are we going to extend to the international arena?  So because this, I think, is all about the whole thing.  It's about getting the Arab users into the big picture of IG discussions and the various Forums of ICANN, everywhere so those are the different challenges I'm seeing.  Thank you.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  I want to pick on a couple of items that were discussed by the speakers, and turn to Qusai.  There has been mention of how the youth session was successful and most of the youth were from Kuwait in that specific session.  So my question specifically, how do you think the Arab IGF being host in Kuwait has affected and reached to the community in Kuwait and has changed the dynamics domestically as well?

>> QUSAI AL-SHATTI:  There is a thirst in our region for such an event, an event that is an open platform where everybody on equal footing discussing issues related to the internet and focusing more on social and economical aspects.  There is a thirst for such an event and with the changes that went through the Arab world, it made such ?? it makes IGF a more let's say important or to increase its importance.  Therefore, the outreach for further stakeholders and various communities is porch to bring them on ?? important to bring them on board.

One of the things is if you talk to someone and told him Internet Governance, he will tell you what Internet Governance is about?  But they are well aware of issues when it comes to openness, privacy, content, diversity.  They know these subjects.  They are aware of it.  He knows what he wants from security.  He knows what he wants from privacy.  But he doesn't know if that, if we send all of these issues, it falls under one umbrella, Internet Governance.  We are approaching it and saying Internet Governance and there is a question mark what comes beneath it.

So taking this, reflecting this in Kuwait, the political and social and economical engagement between the youth in Kuwait is active, and it coincides with our event.  Currently we are witnessing, there is an upcoming election where the voting mechanism has been modified and now we have among the youth a team called the blue team and, which is pro, and we have among them a team called the orange team, which is against.  And engagement is going through the internet.

So the reflection of such event on the ground is there, and it can certainly impact the society at any moment.  So what we hope is that we will see a second Arab IGF and a third one and the momentum will grow and continue.  The youth in Kuwait if you are not as focused on the need to have resources, the tools that enable them to seek opportunities related to entrepreneurship and assemblage.  They wanted to communicate with other youth communities in the Arab world to share experiences and best practices and concerns, and let's say activism related activities.  And I think these concerns are common maybe across the youth in the Arab world and not necessarily related to Kuwait.  Thank you.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Wonderful.  I'm alerted that we have a question through the remote participation.

>> MODERATOR:  Hi, I am Laele and I am moderator.  We have comment from Lebanon, it's from the hub.  It said that we think it's important to note that there were core disagreements at Arab IGF for elements that want to restrict internet and people expressing need for open internet and must add that diverse voice from divergent are included in Arab region and from economical association and ?? strong advocates for a more open internet.  It was comment.  Thank you.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Thank you.  I think that comment goes perfectly to Hanane.  How do you want to comment on that?

>> HANANE BOUJEMI:  There was this controversial point of view that was raised by participants in the room that has, sometimes the notion of freedom of expression is strictly associated with the culture in the Arab region but the discussion was shall we blame everything on the culture?  Because the culture is very specific and I believe every region in the world has a specific culture so we cannot keep on blaming oppression, suppression of opinions on the culture.

So, yes, there were two parties, people who wanted to regulate freedom of speech and the other, you know, party wanted to enhance further freedom of speech as a concept, but then have sort of regulation that does not restrict necessarily freedom of people, but put a framework with respect to human rights.  And I was very glad that this point of, you know, put everything into perspective and keep Human Rights in the loop, this was not exercised in the Arab region before, because as I said previously, most of the actions against freedom of expression as a concept were split sized meaning the Government will act from political point of view by arresting bloggers who are advocating for freedom of expression, so on.  So that was a controversial point.  It was discussed and each party had to hear the perspective of each one of them, I mean the pro and the anti?freedom of expression concept.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Actually if I may add to this the notion associated the Arab region is the pro censorship mentality which was obviously not the case in Kuwait.  We had discussions among people especially from youth, young people and on line activism participants as well who clearly voiced their point of view that an open internet is necessary for the Arab region.  It's not the old notion that everything needs to be censored to keep the community in balance.

While on the other side, we had also some other views that maybe the censorship in some countries in the Arab region is serving a purpose, but it was a controversial point as Hanane mentioned, but it was very interesting how to see these dynamics within the same home.

So if we can move from this point and we can now open the floor for questions before we continue with the panel.  If we have any questions?

>> AUDIENCE:  Hi name is Jose Madron.  I work for Cisco in the Middle East and Africa.  I have the honor and privilege to participate in the Arab MAG among the group of distinguished exert experts.  I shared the view that the exercise has been very successful.  The preparation, the meetings of the MAG and then the event itself in Kuwait were quite beyond our expectations.  We were fearful that with such number of workshops and high level points of discussion that the interest would be low, but we had quite packed rooms in most workshops and in the general sessions.

There were points discussed in addition to the points raised by my colleagues were top of the agenda of the panelists and the people present.  One of them is cybersecurity.  Cybersecurity is certainly an important issue, and to governance or to the private sector, and there are ways to combat threats to vital infrastructure and vital components was important to discuss and share experience.

And the rule of CERT either nationally or regionally was highlighted by the participants, and an invitation to cooperate in building national CERTs and the shared experiences among other Arab states and countries was really encouraged.  Capacity building for security domain was also initial call for highlight, and here academia was in the forefront to play a key role in building capacity and programs and building knowledge for engineers to work in that area in the Arab region.

Another point that was highlighted and brought to the front was the issue of the ITRs and the telecommunication regulation.  There was a session dedicated to regulation in the cyberspace and it touched, of course, on the ITRs and the discussion of from the floor along with the panelists highlighted the issues that pertain to the internet in the proposal submitted by the different regions including the Arab region, and we had good discussions from different parts of the Arab regions about the prospects of this proposals, how they can positively or negatively influence the growth and innovation in the internet.  I think such a discussion was important because not everybody was aware about the issue of the ITRs and the process that is going on right now, and I think it was one of the venues to bring awareness and discussion of critical points and their effect if these proposals actually go through as we have been hearing today in the opening ceremony, for example,.

I agree with the fellow panelists that the general concept of internet governance is not very clear and in the Arab region and lots of effort needs to be done to raise awareness among different stakeholders, particularly academia and Civil Society where they are now getting interested but more effort to include them and make them aware and pass on the knowledge that they can be themselves trainers and entities on their own.

And I believe the chapters of ISOC it play a good role.  We have seen ISOC play a role in the issue of ITRs awareness, either in Egypt or other countries in the Middle East so such an effort from Civil Society needs to be expanded and encouraged.

Thank you.

>> AUDIENCE:  My name is Mark ?? I work for ?? she is a member of parliament and focused on digital freedoms in the use of foreign policy so I'm very interested to hear from you what you think how the EU can and whether the EU should help because I can understand that in order to really get things going in the Arab world you need to build up your own capacity in order to gain trust among people you need to work with you.

The second question I have is some of the problems and threats to open internet in the Arab world are based or coming from western companies or European companies so have you addressed that issue, ways and means to create intranets or facilitated by European companies and I think it would be helpful if voices from the Arab world could also raise that issue in the EU.  Maybe that's something for future sessions, but I'm very interested to hear hearing from you because that's also an interplay that we have to build on, I guess.  Thank you.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Other questions.

>> AUDIENCE:  I am (Off Microphone) from Egypt I work with ICFG.  If the IGF, Arab world deal with Arab Governments because if you don't know we have five constitutions are building now and I think you lobbying for freedom of expression over internet and don't use the killer switch is important.  Thank you.

>> AUDIENCE:  My name is Paul Wilson I'm a member of the MAG, actually.  I would like to congratulate you on the Arab IGF.  It seems to have been a really successful, amazingly successful first IGF for the region, and something for those of us who are involved with other regional IGFs to really look at for fantastic effort.

As a MAG member, I'm kind of interested in the interplay between the global IGF with the regional and national IGFs and how they might be a feedback loop that goes from the regional to the global possibly to the national and it keeps a flow of information and some kind of track of accomplishments or of record that helps to keep the whole thing moving along.  So I was wondering if there was thoughts at the Arab IGF about how you would come back to the global IGF possibly in modes other than a meeting like this, whether there was any other way of bringing this IGF into the Arab IGF next time.  What other sorts of interplays can we have between the IGF's at different levels?  Thanks.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  So I think we have three questions.  The first was.

>> AUDIENCE:  My name is (Off Microphone) I'm the Chairman for ISOC potter.  I want to congratulate Jose and team for the first Arab IGF and I want to comment on Christine's point that regarding the society and the involvement.  I think as you mentioned the chapters of ISOC play a great role in getting the internet user to participate in the multi?stakeholder participation, and I just wanted to take also the opportunity to invite you for our event this month, 27th of November.  We will have the first (Off Microphone) so I hope you can join us there and enjoy the discussions there.  Thank you.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  So I think we have two questions addressing the integration and interaction whether with ISOC chapters or other agents through the EU and other Forum.  And, of course, the question regarding constitution and how to advocate the openness of the internet on that respect.  I wish to turn to Khaled Foda from Google.  You have been active with the Tunisian chapter and have served as a member of the board of trustees.  How do you think we can make use of the chapters in the region?

>> KHALED FODA:  Thank you for the questions.  In fact, I wish if I can begin with answering Josem.  I would love if I was able to hear this question in the Arab IGF because we need you as an activist to come to the Arab IGF and to say this question in front of the Arab Government and to ask them to not choose the killer switch.

This is the reason why there is the IGF is to make possible to anyone from the Civil Society to advocate for this.  So this is, I mean, what we would like to have is to have the next year Arab IGF capable and open to anyone from the Civil Society to advocate for their concern.  And I agree with you that this is very important thing.

Regarding the ISOC chapters it's obvious for everyone that ISOC has done a lot of work for promoting the open internet and hopefully the Arab chapters in the Arab countries beginning from Tunisia, Asia, Palestine, Kuwait, Bahrain, we have a really good number of them.  I think they are the most active in the internet policy field which is a very specific one.  So this is their role and their responsibility, I think, their responsibility to (Off Microphone) their local level, their local work, so it's obvious that the next probably meeting in will be a key moment for the Arab ISOC chapters to deal with that and I'm sure there is discussion to energize the discussion, to energize the role of this chapters.

I'm pretty sure as well that the global ISOC and the staff is here and is following the discussion and will be happy to support that.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Hanane, if you wish to comment on the three questions.

>> HANANE BOUJEMI:  I took note of the question how you can help, you know, the Arab countries in terms of preventing certain companies from selling either products, circumvention tools or provide technical help to countries to Iran to set up their own internet or intranet.  That specific question was not raised and I don't think we had anybody from Iran who would be mostly probably interested in that topic, and I think the EU can help by putting pressure, a little bit more pressure on those companies even though I understand there is a lucrative objective of those companies because they are just making business, obviously do not have the same agenda we do have here, you know, just want to do business, and they don't understand the Human Rights dimension by selling those types of products to countries like Iran.

But hoping to involve more Iranian people in the discussion, we want them to be present.  It's just a little bit challenging to get people on board from Iran.  We are working on it, trying to get that done and in the programme managing at the moment, but, no, the question was not addressed and there was no interest whatsoever during the sessions that we had in that specific topic, but I'm sure if there was somebody from Iran they will be interested in that.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Before turning the microphone to the rest of the speakers, I want to stress that the IGF is focused mainly on the Arab region.  The Kuwait event was attended by several nationalities not just the Arab region but still the focus we are trying to keep it on the Arab region make the most out of the Arab IGF process.  How do you wish to comment on this?

>> AYMAN EL-SHERBINY:  I will comment wholisticly the questions in general without going to specificities.  I want to just re-highlight, again, the tight of this special event.  The special event is called the Arab IGF prospects of inter and intraregional corporation on Internet Governance.  So our main focus of this session besides, of course, shedding information, is actually to investigate and pave the ground for intraregional and interregional cooperation, that involves the EU, the African IGF, the Euro dig, and the so called as has been coined by Paul, the interregional play or the ?? from national to regional and from regional to global and closing the loop.  So this is actually our focus from this very event.  This very event is actually the interface between what we have done regionally and globally.

This is the first step, I mean, in forming and engaging the global community and what we are doing.  Then snow ball effect would continue.  Next year I will be part of our community, why not also part of our AMAG and we increase our engagement.  This is on the vertical level between the national region and the global, but they use the word here, I refer to the world interregional corporation.  I see a huge opportunity for interregional cooperation.  We have started talks about African IGF that we will do in the few coming years joint activity between the African IGF and Arab IGF.  When we mature and they mature more, then we will do something what they call it in our international development jargon IGF thing.

And this interplay is in mind when we started the process to put our block in this machinery, the big machinery of dialogue between parts of the world.  So this is regarding, I mean, several questions from several contributors, we have this in mind.  There is a huge opportunity for other regions to be part of the process, and we also be part of the processes as well.  Regarding specific question for the role of governance, I think we in our region need the Government presence, and endorsement because policy making still is at its infancy model which is usually still being done in a narrow band approach.

From our perspective as multi?stakeholder custodians of further dialogue, we would like the policy makers really to, I mean, listen to others, but it is not really logical that the others speak only to themselves.  The role of governance is essential.  If you talk about the role of governance as a word you might see it as hindering.  In our part of the world it is really essential and that's why part of our challenge is for the next year and years afterward is having instigated already the multi-stakeholderism, having put already the grounds for the Civil Society and private sector to be part of this process.  We would like the governance also to be on the leadership level as well, and I think this is what some of our colleagues in the ministerial session yesterday said it is equal multi-stakeholderism, not just multi-stakeholderism.  So this is one other point.  I think the colleague from (Off Microphone) who invited us it is essentially that we will be there.  Whoever from our core team is going to be there.  We would like to convey the same thing through (Off Microphone) also our colleague through RIPE, and other venues would like people to know there is a platform here and share views whatever controversial it may be and the dialogue is is there and we will continue and within a framework that we have goals we will take stock after three years and we hope we will make a difference before and after.  This is my comments in general.

>> AUDIENCE:  Well, regarding the introduction between IGF, I had the opportunity to join the organizer of the EuroDIG twice and to see how they were developing or setting the EuroDIG.  And we learned from them a lot.  For example, yesterday I also had the opportunity to join them, and I found out that they have something they called the message of Lisbon, the message of Belgium, the message of so and so.  So is no outcome but there is a message that they want to deliver, and this is, for example, it's a good lesson or a good best practice for us to learn from in the Arab IGF and maybe will reflect it in the future.

For the interaction between the national and regional IGFs, this is important because actually seven years down since the WSS if I don't know what I want from Internet Governance on a national level I don't know my priorities on regional level and if I don't know my priorities on regional level, I don't know what I want from the global level.

So, yes, we do need to have that interaction and build the understanding and set our issues and priorities to, in order to share it and present it and have it as a dialogue with let's say other parts of the world.  For my colleague from (Off Microphone) I will thank him very much from his comment and the INET is an equivalent platform for us to discuss the issues and we are happy to know that the first INET is in Qatar and this is happening news, and it is these events that compliments each other and bring these issues to the table and the more we Gus discuss them, the ?? discuss them the more we will have a better understanding.  Thank you.

>> AUDIENCE:  I think most of my colleagues have responded, but maybe I can add to what Hanane says.  The prospect of cooperation with EU is focused on capacity building. So here is where we can actually look into what could be and I think we should target those specific directions because we have had outcomes coming from the Arab IGF that we need, for example, in the area of IXPs or child on line protection or domain name industry development.  So possibly those are areas where could be reached out to the mechanism and the vehicle is the dynamic coalitions being formed and this is where you could actually put something in there.  And regarding Paul's question on the issue of how to make this relation between the global and regional IGFs, I mean, we are following the normal venues that are taking place whatever is available.  So actually preparing a workshop, we have more than one workshop here at the global IGF.

We are also participating in other regional IGFs, and in the regional dialogue session which is taking place.  We will have a report of the meeting come out.  It's not finalized.  We did not have ?? there was the application in between, so there was not a lot of time but it's coming out.  It will be a simple report from the meeting coming from the meeting Chairman.  So it will be there on the Web.  I think it will also be posted on the global IGF web.

One last thing regarding the killer switch and the question from the gentleman at the back, I think ?? I think this is what it's all about.  It's about having the dialogue and I was happy to see Civil Society representatives come to the Arab IGF which I had never met before being from Egypt as well, and I met them there, and will continue the discussion within the ISOC chapter in Egypt.  And one good outcome of that is that we are having different national IGFs so in Egypt we are having one very soon so maybe we can take that off line and have a discussion how to inject those ideas within that venue of discussion afterward.  Thank you.

>> AUDIENCE:  Thank you.  One of the things that the RIPE NCC provided in the IGF is to provide the pap per tours for the session this is touching on what Paul Wilson had said.  We have provided.  We do have very good summaries of the outcomes of what happened there and I know as Christine said the Secretariat will be putting these on line.  One of the reasons why we wanted to give this as support was because we felt it was very important for the rest of the world to see what the positions of the Arabs are on certain issues that you see in other regions and globally.  This is the reason why this was documented.  I hope that we will continue to do this, and I can't actually say that the RIPE NCC would be more than happy to give support for this at an upcoming IGF because we see the importance of making sure the Arab voice is there.  Another point I would like to make is that from the area of the internet society chapters, we have seen the increased growth of local internet society chapters or even kind of revamping chapters that that already exist.  I can say that, again, the technical community, MENOG and the RIPE NCC are working with chapters on capacity building efforts in the region, especially things like IPv6 training so we have the right kind of capacity in the Arab world so the development of the internet can continue.  This is certainly something that we want to do.

I think when you look at the internet society, you have to be careful to note that this is also a multi?stakeholder platform.  This is not only about Civil Society here.  The technical community has a strong place inside the internet society chapters and we would like to continue this so we are very much supporting the meeting in Qatar.  And I'm looking forward to attending the meeting.  The last point I wanted to make and it has been made here, but it's important for Governments to increasingly embrace the multi?stakeholder model of Internet Governance inside the Arab world and to focus on positive engagement with processes that already exist, these including the ITG, ICANN, RIR meetings.

I am now based in the region.  I spend so much time asking my technical colleagues why there isn't a voice from the Arab world on policies on ?? in the RIPE NCC and the RIPE open policy Forum.  Why are the Arabians not engaged and talking about what is important for them on address space management, just one piece of Internet Governance.  And I think that as we are moving along it's very important to promote and make sure that the Arabs are going to these other Forums and that their voice is heard there and their positions are clear.  Thank you.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Thank you, Paul, and just to recap what has been mentioned the youth engagement was something that we need to continue with and even enhance more.  We need to spread the word about the Arab IGF further and I'm sure everyone in this room will help us in their communities to spread the word, and also within the region try to explain what is Internet Governance as a term, and what it has inside.

There is obviously a need for further capacity development, and I'm happy to hear that other regions and organizations are willing to give a hand on that.  There has been also a discussion on the integration within the region and with other as in other regions as well.  I'm glad there has been mentioning of the national IGFs that are starting to emerge in the region, I'm aware of the one in Egypt I'm also aware that we have something in Aman so there is building up in the region.  Also there have been discussion about the ISOC chapters and how to integrate and make use of the discussions and capacity between these communities.  If I may turn to our panel for one minute wrapping up, if we have missed any ideas.

>> Thank you, I would think the two points I would like to discuss and close with them you already mentioned.  I have two words to close with this discussion, two words that are multi?stakeholder and local.  I think for our Arab IGF to be successful for the next year we have to be and stay and really do the open multi?stakeholder and equal stakeholder so we need to work on more capacity building for the private sector and Civil Society because the private sector of the Arab world needs some capacity building.  The second is the local.  So as you mentioned in Tunisia as well, the Government has initiated since last year and putting the national IGF that will be soon organized I think it's very important that each country has its own national IGF because there is no way to concerns and discussion to bring at the global level which is the internet, and we need to don't forget that the internet is a global network.

So if you are not able to bring the discussion from a local to a regional to a global level, it has to become local IGF, then regional IGF.  And with Google, we are very supportive of that.  We have been supportive of the North Africa IGF as well, which is semi regional platform that is being created as well.  So let's move on on that side and we hope we can succeed.  Thank you.

>> HANANE BOUJEMI:  I'm very enthusiastic about the process and I'm glad I'm part of it, but I'm going to say something unusual for a Civil Society advocate, like I think we need to do as well capacity building for our Governments and it's important because they don't seem to be really very interested in what we call Internet Governance process as a whole.  And this meeting, you know, translates my concern that there aren't so many representatives from Governments especially from the Arab region.

And as one of my colleagues just said, in the Arab region things happen the other way around.  You need to lobby with the Government as well, like bring the bull from the horn and bring them to the table to discuss issues with everyone so they can hear the voice of people from Civil Society.  So that would be my last word.


>> CHRISTINA ARIDA:  One last point, I will use this venue to make an invitation to all of the different international and global partners to come to our next Arab IGF to engage with us and until then to maybe get in touch with our various members of the AMAG the different stakeholder groups to engage in intersessional activities.  Thank you.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  Well, the slogan for the first Arab internet governance is a better internet for a better Arab world, and if we with continue this moment and this, in the way it happened for the first event, I think we will reach there with the support of all, and I will take it from where Paul ended here, we have wonderful sponsors from Kuwait, Telecom, quality net which was the business I biggest ISP, we have the support of RIPE NCC, the support of ICANN and the support of a media group called (Off Microphone) which is a major business magazine based in Lebanon.  We also had support from the youth who they are a small company called web master.  They host website for us, and this was a bright, let's say, point.  We really urge the involvement of supporters and sponsors, and this is to take place under the preparatory process to the conclusion of the event of the Arab IGF and we wish we will win support and better response next time.  Thank you.

>> AYMAN EL?SHERBINY:  Thank you, Qusai, I will pick on the last word and which is we will move from sponsors to partners, from sponsors from an event to partners in the process.  By this I would like to really conclude that the process is maturing.  We are having capacity building programs.  We are having fellowship programs.  We are having also sponsoring for engagement with other processes.  So this is holistic big picture initiative that ESCWA leading jointly with the league of Arab states.  Partnership for the process is welcome.  Please contact us, ESCWA or the League of Arab States or Secretariat or defining roles and responsibilities.  We already have the list that Qusai mentioned that they want to carry on with us in the next few years and we also have our partners, Cisco, Google and Microsoft and we are welcoming everyone who would like to take this further and with this, I, as a co?organizer, I thank Hisham for the excellent moderation and for the planning and organisation, and you all for your portion insightful thoughts and the last word is yours, Hisham, so close, thank you.

>> HISHAM ABOULYAZED:  I want to stress the importance of continuing this dialogue with everyone.  We have established a public meeting list through the website,  You are free to join and subscribe to the meeting list.  You can just write to us at Secretariat at  We will be happy to listen to your ideas and how we can make bridges to other activities around the globe and within the region as well.  If I may also thank our speakers and if I can invite everyone to thank them in the proper way by a round of applause and everyone for participating in this workshop.  Thank you.


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