Closing Ceremony

9 December 2016 - A Main Session on Other in Guadalajara, Mexico

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Full Session Transcript

>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Hello. 

Ladies and gentlemen, can we please take our seats.  We're about to start the closing ceremony.

Thank you.

>> YOLANDA MARTINEZ: Good afternoon. 

It is my pleasure to open the closing ceremony of the 2016 IGF meeting.  In this closing ceremony, we'll have the opportunity to hear from representatives of different interested parties that are part of our community. 

It is for me a great honor to introduce our first speaker Mr. Juwang Zhu, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, speaking on behalf of United Nations. Under‑Secretary‑General for Economic Development, Mr. Wu Hongbo.

[Applause]. 

Mr. Zhu, you have the floor.

>> JUWANG ZHU: Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, friends, those joining us online from around the world, I am very pleased to deliver the closing statement on behalf of the United Nations Under‑Secretary‑General for economic and social affairs Mr. Wu Hongb.

Today marks the successful conclusion of the 11th Internet Governance Forum.  The United Nations is extremely grateful to the Government of Mexico.

Thank you, Mexico.

[Applause].

>> JUWANG ZHU: Gracias, Mexico.

[Applause].

>> JUWANG ZHU: We, the United Nations, thank Mexico not only for their great generosity but for their strong commitment to the IGF.

It was in 2013, nearly three years ago, when Mexico first stepped forward to offer to host this IGF, the first in the new 10‑year mandate endorsed by the U.N. General Assembly at WSIS+10 review last December.

I want to take this occasion to thank the leadership of Victor Lagunes, the Co‑Chair of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group of the IGF.  Thank you, Victor.

[Applause].

>> JUWANG ZHU: This this really beautiful State of Tequila.  We certainly cannot thank enough the great support of the Governor of Jalisco Aristoteles Sandoval and the Mayor of Zapopan Pablo Lemus.  Thank you both.

[Applause].

>> JUWANG ZHU: We also thank all colleagues from the Mexican government who worked with us patiently throughout the preparatory process.  We should acknowledge in particular more than 300 volunteers of the local community.

[cheers and applause]. 

[Continued cheers and applause]

We think the local volunteers that helped tirelessly during the last week and that makes this event successful.

May I invite all of the volunteers to stand up?  Let's give them a warm round of applause.

[cheers and applause].

>> JUWANG ZHU: We are not forgetting the participants seated on the floor.

We would also like to thank you, the participants, of the IGF.  There were more than 2,000 on site participants from over 80 countries.  You allocated your time to be here with us in Mexico this week.  You worked hard to prepare for your sessions.  You were away from your loved ones, your other duties and functions.  That is why we believe you deserve also a round of sincere gratitude and applause from all of us.

Thank you.

[Applause]. 

The IGF certainly cannot be detached from the Internet.  We had many remote participants bringing additional insights and perspective.  There were more than 10,000 live YouTube viewers following our session.  I'm sure the recording of the sessions at IGF 11 will reach many more thousand viewers.

It was also ‑‑ there were more than 100 sessions held this past week ranging from main sessions, open Forums, workshops to lightning sessions and also other informal innovative gatherings and side events.  We gratefully recognize the outstanding preparatory work done by every member of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group under the guidance of Lynn St. Amour, the Chair.

Lynn, can you stand up, please?

Let everyone give Lynn a warm round of applause.

[Applause].

>> JUWANG ZHU: We also thank all the U.N. staff for the conference services, security, news coverage, communications outreach, remote participation and technical infrastructure.  I also want to take this opportunity to thank my U.N. partners, the agencies, including the regional commissions, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, ITU, UNESCO, UNICEF, WIPO, others, thank you for your active participation.

[Applause].

>> JUWANG ZHU: Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the national and regional IGF initiatives should also be recognized as their further expanding the importance and inclusive multistakeholder Internet dialogue.  For the first time this year national and regional IGF initiatives had their own dedicated main session.  We now have more than 70 NRIs around the world and around 40 were present with us this week to highlight the achievements.

A big thanks goes to all NRIs for including those that join us online.

Thank you for your hard work.

[Applause].

>> JUWANG ZHU: Dear colleagues, we thank so many people because, indeed, it takes all of them to make the IGF successful.

Leading up to the 12th IGF next year innovations and programming and intersessional activities will continue to be implemented in the bottom‑up manner based on feedback from the stakeholder community, and in line with our new mandate.  For the greater participation from stakeholders from across the world, in particular from developing countries.

Finally, we all wish this opportunity to thank the many donors, some of them are in the room, some are not, for their financial contributions to the U.N. IGF Trust Fund.  We count on your continued support.  Your commitment to strengthen IGF will be crucial as we look forward to the next 10 years.  We wish productive outcomes in the coming year and we look forward to seeing you again in the 12th IGF in 2017.

I would like to conclude my remarks by thanking Mexico again.

Gracias, Mexico.

Thank you.

[cheers and applause]

>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Mr. Zhu, for your remarks. 

Our next speaker is Mr. Andrés Piazza, General Manager, LACTLD.

[Applause].

>> ANDRES PIAZZA: Good evening.  I'm proud to do it in a country where I feel like home, I'll address you in Spanish from now on.

I would like to thank the Presidency of Mexico and its vibrant community for the success of this Forum, the first one since the mandate of the IGF was renewed for another 10 year validating the multistakeholder party model.

It is great for the region to have demonstrated, to be up to the task of this historic moment.  It is also for the Internet community that through an intense work closed up on positions, they had consensus on visions on how to govern the Internet and to manage to carry out its vision of its own supervision in this short history.

However, the transition was a relatively simple task in comparison to the challenges that we face forward.  Being connected, maintaining the main principles that inspired the Internet and face the eruptions without losing tools that enable the exercise of Human Rights.  This is no minor element.  At a moment in which many actors consider that interference in the Internet is going backwards or menaced.  Based on what's been signed in these cities, the debate that's been held in this Forum has given tangible examples connecting the new billion and taking care of these new challenges, even though the multistakeholder fora have been determining to limit matters, they have had feedback at different levels, regional, global, national.  These efforts haven't been reflected yet in the development of policies and regulations and treaties, in decision‑making mechanisms at the highest level.  We still have work to do.  The difficulty is increasing.  I hope we'll keep meeting with this level of commitment for many years to come.  Thank you.

[Applause]. 

>> YOLANDA MARTINEZ: Thank you, Mr. Piazza, for your remarks.

Our next speaker is Ms. Paulina Gutiérrez, Head of Digital Programme in México & Central America, Article 19.

[Applause].

>> PAULINA GUTIERREZ: Hello.

I'm happy to be standing here as a Mexican representing Article 19, some Civil Society groups of Mexico and, of course, all those people that voted in favor for me to make a speech at this closing ceremony.  I would like to take advantage of this speech to make a few reflections on what's been done this week:

I believe that delivering this message in English, it will allow everyone here to more easily grasp this period of my words.

I was told that every speech, especially if it is in a closing session when everybody is thinking I'm going home, should include a joke.  I promise to tell you one.  Before I do that, let me give you a few reflections on this year's IGF. 

If we really want to enable inclusive, sustainable growth and promote social justice there are issues that need to be resolved specifically connecting unconnected, ensuring that the Internet is a real right‑enabler public sphere. 

The Internet is not finished.  Solutions, they're not perfect.  It is, however, very apparent where the Internet and democracy are broken, where they fail.  When people do not have a voice, do not have access to information to make decisions and where the rule of law is not upheld, people are dying trying to access or disseminate information.  The ten journalists this year in my country, it has to mean something. 

We have to find answers for the current and dysfunctional dichotomies.  They're undermining the Human Rights of individuals and communities.  How can we build trust for the next billion when millions of dollars are spent on billions of apparatuses that are proving to be uneffective.

[Applause].

>> PAULINA GUTIERREZ: Thank you.

Access, availability and privacy can never be trumped by false assurances of security and public order.  It does not make people feel safe or empowered.  It does censor and threaten those that dare to dissent.

How will we guarantee access to the Internet and reach the digital and gender divides if we're exclusively thinking of access as a technical or economic problem?  Not as an inclusive, instrumental right?  Discussions of Internet Governance must answer some simple, but deeply rooted questions, access to what?  Access by whom?  Access through which infrastructure and technology.

Users, particularly women and marginalized communities are no passive actors.  They should be cocreators of our future Internet.  Unfortunately, we won't be able to reach that level of progress if particular stakeholders prefer to restrict the Internet transformative capabilities rather than contribute to its expansive, enabling nature.  We need a public sphere where gender exclusion, discrimination and misogyny are no longer Human Rights violations that are fostered by impunity.

[Applause].

>> PAULINA GUTIERREZ: Self‑censorship will collapse democracies.  Trust in the Internet is necessary to insuring their survival.

Here comes the joke:  When Einstein was a University professor in Princeton, a student said to him Professor Einstein, this exam, it's the same as the one given last week.  You're asking them the same questions. To which Einstein said, no worries.  The questions are the same, but I changed the answers.

We need different answers.  We need more radical ideas, new visions, horizons and more people onboard to build new realities.  We need these Forums for dialogue more than ever.

I sincerely hope that events like this plant the seeds for collaboration, communication, and for Latin American countries and the so‑called Global South is included in the Internet ‑‑ in the Internet Governance discussions ‑‑ in order to build a future that will lead us to an era where every human being can develop, flourish and exercise Human Rights both online and offline.

Finally, we would like to lend our voice of support to the Manifesto issued by the Brazilian Civil Society about concerns regarding democratic, Internet right concerns.  The Internet is not finished ‑‑ and hopefully it never will be.  In every decision we make, in every part of the Internet, we're writing history.  We need to remember, we cannot go forward without looking back to ensure that we do not regress into mistakes of the past so that together we can build an inclusive net and a future without oppression and full of creativity, hope and aspiration.

Thank you.

[cheers and applause]. 

>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Ms. Gutiérrez, for your remarks.

Our next speaker is Ms. Cheryl Miller, Director of International Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Verizon.

[Applause]

>> CHERYL MILLER: Buenos Dias.

I am speaking this afternoon on behalf of the International Chamber of Commerce and its Business Action to Support Information Society Initiative.

Verizon has supported the IGF since its inception, and it's great to be able to witness its growth and to participate on the MAG on behalf of business.

Whether large, medium‑sized or small, business depends on an open, stable and trusted Internet. this global business community.  Its diversity spans across sectors, geographies and includes SMEs, women and minority owned businesses as well as large multinational corporations. This variety of vantage points and interests is critical in formulating informed policy positions that accurately address the needs of the Internet community.

I'd like to thank and congratulate Mexico and the wonderful team of organizers and volunteers that have worked so hard to make this event a success.  You made us all feel so welcome in this beautiful city.

[Applause]. 

Thanks also to the IGF Secretariat and my fellow MAG members for their contribution to the continued growth of the IGF.

Finally, a special mention to the IGF newcomers and youth.  You injected new energy and perspectives into the discussions and workshops this year.  I look forward to your continued engagement and IGF participation in the years ahead.  Your voices are critical to the IGF's growth and sustainability.

This week, we came together from all sectors and from all regions of the world ‑ with a common goal ‑ to consider Internet policy options that can be leveraged for inclusive and sustainable growth, to benefit all people.  The 10‑year IGF mandate renewal has given us a timeframe and opportunity to build on the strengths of this forum ‑ where multistakeholder cooperation through knowledge sharing as well as safe and open debates spreads invaluable understanding.

Our work here in Guadalajara will greatly advance our efforts to leverage ICTs and the Internet to attain the UN's 17 universally‑adopted Sustainable Development Goals.  Each goal is supported by or relevant to the use of ICT ‑ to drive societal benefit and economic development in supporting critical areas of living. These include health, agriculture, sustainable consumption, education, urban planning, water energy conservation, and the reduction of inequalities.

I am particularly pleased that this year we had a number of workshops and sessions focused on gender, empowerment of women through ICT, and addressing barriers to women in the Internet space.  These sessions were standing room only, which tells me that many of you also share my belief in the importance of these issues.

The IGF's multistakeholder exchange facilitates understanding of the key Internet issues to date, and highlights the variety of viewpoints on how we might meet the challenges ahead.

This year we targeted our main sessions to closely examine Internet governance in relation to the SDGs, national and regional initiatives, human rights, the future of Internet governance, trade agreements, policy options for connecting the next billions, the work of dynamic coalitions and emerging issues.

Thanks to our intersessional work, including our best practice forums, this IGF also delivered a multitude of case studies to consider when we return home. I know that despite this progress, we still have much work to do in shaping and utilizing the various exchanges and knowledge sharing that make the IGF both unique and valuable.

The delegates that meet at the IGF are actively working to strengthen the IGF's impact in solving real world issues.

And one example I saw this week is the community's collaboration on the new 1 World Connected initiative.  During the course of the IGF's intersessional work on connecting the unconnected, several delegates, from across stakeholder groups, began a new project to address issues related to connectivity.  They met at the IGF last year, and the different discussions around access, local content, digital literacy, and women's empowerment inspired them to make an even larger contribution to the Internet community's ongoing work on these important issues.  I watched the discussions continue and include a variety of new voices that provided invaluable input into the project's effort to collect data, and provide a better understanding of what is working to connect people, what's not working, and how we can evaluate this information.  This kind of multistakeholder collaboration, while seemingly small to some, may not have been possible anywhere other than the IGF.  And the warmth that the 1WC Team spread through their generous and open outreach to all through their booth activities made this IGF memorable for me.

As we look to the future of the IGF, the global business community hopes for continued cooperation among all stakeholders to work towards attainment of the sustainable development goals.  We hope to address business models that can adapt to the future and ever‑evolving circumstances, as well as ways of working to address employment, skills development capacity‑building and inclusion. And we will continue to demonstrate how a flexible policy environment is indispensable for businesses to continue to invest and innovate as ICTs and the Internet emerge as the underpinning for achieving common goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that no one, including the young, women, and those who are differently‑abled is left behind.  It is important that we remember, at the end of the day, everything that we do here, is about people, regardless of the long acronyms, the gigabits.  It is about people. 

Achieving sustainability requires a respectful and informed balance of interests among all stakeholders, based on meaningful engagement and a comprehensive understanding of the impact of Internet policy decisions.  Private sector investment and innovation has transformed the Internet from an information exchange network to the platform for sustainable, social and economic development we recognize it to be today.

Let us continue our multistakeholder efforts to continue progress in this way.

Gracias.

[Applause]. 

>> YOLDANDA MARTINEZ:  Thank you, Ms. Miller.

I would now like to call Mr. Thomas Schneider, Deputy Head of International Affairs, Federal Office of Communication Switzerland.

[Applause].

>> THOMAS SCHNEIDER: Good afternoon.

I would like to sincerely thank our Mexican friends and all those who have contributed to the organization of the IGF which has been extraordinarily interesting.  It has been a pleasure for me and our Delegation to be here with all of you today this week in Guadalajara.  It has been since the beginning an exciting opportunity to listen to, learn from, and meet people from all around the world and from all stakeholder groups.  For us, dialogue with all of you is a prerequisite to be able to together recognize and realize opportunities, identify challenges, find solutions that should allow all people all over the world to have a better life in the future using the opportunities that the Internet and its services offer. 

Having actively participated at all IGFs we have seen the IGF develop over time and we are happy to see that the discussions on substance has also developed over the years and we are definitely at the stage ‑‑ at a different stage than from where we have started back in Athens back in 2006 on a lot of issues.

With the prolonged mandate of the IGF for 10 years we have now we think a unique opportunity to reboost the IGF to bring in new ideas, new formats for discussions, even more interactive formats, more tangible outcomes and also for giving a higher profile to the issues discussed here for better connecting with other fora and other people that are discussing the same issues elsewhere.

Switzerland has been a strong supporter of multistakeholder dialogue and Internet Governance since the beginning.  As some of you may remember, we have hosted the first World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva in 2003.  We have facilitated the outcome that led to the Working Group, the creation of the Working Group on Internet Governance which is the first multistakeholder Forum, a small one, but an important one, to discuss Internet Governance in Geneva from 2004 to 2005.

We have supported the creation of the IGF as a result of the second World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in 2005.  The Swiss government is the first owner of the Secretariat to the IGF to allow it to start its work and to take on the IGF as a process.  We have been the third largest owner in the first ten years from 2006 to 2015.  We have been among the initiators of the biggest regional IGF structure, the EuroDIG, and we have hosted the second EuroDIG conference in Geneva in 2009 together with the European broadcasting union.

We have continued to support the multistakeholder model all over the years and we will continue to do so.  As the host of the U.N. and many other IGOs and private institutions that deal with these issues, Switzerland has a special responsibility and we also have a special interest in the dialogue on Internet Governance with all stakeholders.  It is, therefore, of utmost importance for the Swiss government that there will be an opportunity for the global Internet community to meet again at the next IGF in 2017.  For this reason, we have undertaken in the past weeks all possible efforts to facilitate and support the organization of the IGF 2017 in Geneva so that the IGF can come home to the city where it was born 13 years ago, the discussion on Internet Governance. 

The dates that we have given by our colleagues from the United Nations in Geneva for the IGF 2017 are 18 to 21, December.  We know this is rather late in the year.  Everybody should nevertheless be able to get home safely and in time for the end of the year vacations.  During that period of the year, there will be enough hotels available in the small, but interesting City of Geneva, at good rates to accommodate all of you.

This is how far we have come with the preparations in a very short time.  We'll be working with our friends at the IGF Secretariat at the U.N. in Geneva to sort out the details in the next weeks and months so that we will all be able to meet in one year's time in Geneva.

I have heard that some of you have not yet been to Geneva or Switzerland at all.  You may know we have nice lakes to swim in, beautiful mountains to climb up to in summer, to ski down in winter, and ‑‑ that is not a joke!  That's true!

And that you can eat a lot of hot cheese, smelly hot cheese during wintertime!  I would like to show you a short video that will not concentrate on the mountains and on the cheese and on the cows and whatever, and on the watches, but it will concentrate and focus on a particular feature of Geneva we're very proud of, which is special I think for us as well as for many other people, which is the so‑called Geneva international, a space for international dialogue on peace, Human Rights, but also on technology and Internet Governance.

Thank you very much.

[Applause]. 

>> CHENGETAI MESANGO:  Thank you, Mr. Schneider, for your remarks.  Thank you for the gracious, generous offer and we look forward to being in Geneva. 

  I would now like to invite the Chair Mr. Victor Lagunes to make some closing remarks.

[Applause].

>> VICTOR LAGUNES: Mr. Zhu, with your permission.

Good afternoon to all. 

What a journey!  We can feel the energy, some of us are very tired, but I feel we have progressed very much in our Agenda and a sense of satisfaction that has permeated.

We are bringing back many comments on your behalf and taking them back home.

A year ago before the endorsement of the mandate, Mexico endorsed in Brazil its commitment to hosting this event.  During the following months we worked with dedication on several aspects on the needs for hosting this community.  This wouldn't have been possible without the support of the staff, technology, over 300 volunteers and the professors that lent them to us and that tirelessly guided us in the last five days.

I would like to share a video with you.

[cheers and applause].

[cheers and applause]

[cheers and applause]

>> VICTOR LAGUNES: Truly, I have no words to thank you enough!

During this week over 2,000 people coming from 83 different countries met in Mexico to exchange points of view and dialogue around the matters that are most relevant for Internet Governance.  The dialogue was held openly and honestly.

A year ago we took on the task of launching an initiative group in our country, the voices exist, the voices are real.  We also acknowledge that we're very disseminated.  This platform gave us the opportunity to come together to understand the topics and we can talk about them and dialogue on them.  It is up to us to continue this conversation.

Jointly, representatives from all interested parties shared their opinions and experiences in a dialogue that was informed, diverse, inclusive, open, participatory.  Since its inception, the IGF has been consolidated as a main normal space for generating bridges between the members of our community, becoming a reference in all international efforts on these matters.  This has been translated into a support that's been generalized on behalf of the international community to obtain the renovation of a mandate for another 10‑year period in the framework of the results of the World Summit on Information Society of December, 2015.

In this context, the addition of the Forum that today ends, sadly, became the first one of a new cycle through which we have determined the path towards a future with an inclusive, sustainable approach taking into account the 2030 Agenda and the spirit of the World Summit on Internet Society and the role that being connected plays in this context.

Also, the discussions emphasized the need to keep promoting partnerships in our community in order to strengthen international cooperation in relevant topics such as Human Rights, cybersecurity, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, Intellectual Property, among others.  This varied, pleural participation was displayed when during the almost 200 sessions almost 32 were held in an open format, becoming a record in the history of this event.

Furthermore, thanks to the efforts of the multistakeholder advisory group and the support of the Secretariat of the United Nations for the Internet Governance Forum, this addition had new formats of sessions allowing for the participation of more people, especially our youths.  The Government of Mexico is committed to the principles and values of the Internet Governance Forum.  This is why we have participated proactively in local, regional, global efforts in these matters.

In Mexico, we will keep working with the different actors of our community through the initiative group on Internet Governance.  In Latin America, the Caribbean, through the efforts such as the Regional Forum on Internet Governance and the ILAC of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean of which Mexico is Chair.

Globally, Mexico will keep collaborating through the multistakeholder advisory group and diverse efforts generated through the community.  We know these efforts are essential to give youth and continue to work on the Internet.  The Internet thanks to the model of ‑‑ the decentralized model, it is open, participative.  It is the tool most powerful to promote access to information, exercise of Human Rights and promote the development of people and nations.

I want to thank the community of the Internet, the Technical Community, reputations of governments, ‑‑ representations of government, private sector, Civil Society that supported us.  Their participation has been essential for the discussions that feed this Forum.

Finally, I would like to thank the United Nations for having given us this great honor and privilege of hosting this event.  The federal entities that supported us, the Government of The State of Jalisco and the City Council of Zapopan and panels of culture and communication as well as to all those who made the Internet Governance Forum Mexico 2016 a reality.

So, at 5:52 p.m. of December 9th, 2016 I formally declare as closed the 11th meeting of the Internet Governance Forum.

Please have a safe trip home, and we wait for you again.

Thank you.

[cheers and applause]

(Mariachi music)

[cheers and applause]