Fourth Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, 15-18 November 2009
The fourth meeting of the Internet Governance Forum was held in Sharm El Sheikh, on 15-18 November 2009. It focused on the overall theme of Internet Governance Creating Opportunities for All.
With more than 1800 participants from 112 countries the Sharm meeting had the biggest attendance so far. 96 governments were represented. 122 media representatives were accredited.
Each of the main sessions was organized in a manner specific to the issue under discussion. While the discussions on some issues were organized as panel discussions, others were organized as moderated open discussions and some in a mixed format with both panels and discussions.
Parallel to the main sessions, more than 100 workshops, best practice forums, dynamic coalition meetings and open forums were scheduled around the broad themes of the main sessions and the overall mandate of the IGF.
The IGF programme and meetings were prepared through a series of open, multistakeholder consultations held throughout 2009, a process that also designed the IGF's interactive and participatory structure.
The entire meeting was Webcast, with video streaming provided from the main session room and audio streaming provided from all workshop meeting rooms. The proceedings of the main sessions were transcribed and displayed in the main session hall in real-time and streamed to the Web. The text transcripts of the main sessions, the video and audio records of all workshops and other meetings were made available through the IGF Web site. This set up allowed for remote participants to interact with the meeting. All main sessions had simultaneous interpretation in all UN languages.
Opening Ceremony and Opening Session
In his opening address to the meeting, Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic & Social Affairs, expressed his gratitude to the Government and people of the Arab Republic of Egypt for their warm welcome and generous hospitality. The Under-Secretary-General noted that as we progressed in bridging the digital divide and building the foundation for the emerging information and knowledge society, the way in which we would deal with the Internet became increasingly important. The theme of the fourth meeting of the Forum "Internet Governance: Creating Opportunities for All" was therefore most timely and appropriate. It allowed the meeting to re-examine and to reflect on the main themes of the IGF access, diversity, openness, security and privacy and critical Internet resources. He also stressed that though the digital divide was wide with Africa and Arab States lagging behind Europe, Asia and the Americas gains were being made. Mr. Sha described the IGF as fostering dialogue by giving voice to a wide range of views and bringing together diverse cultures. The IGF worked through voluntary cooperation, not legal compulsion. IGF participants came to the Forum to discuss, to exchange information and to share best practices with each other. While the IGF did not have decision-making abilities, it informed and inspired those who did.
The Under-Secretary-General drew attention to a critical decision that needed to be taken about the future of the IGF. He reminded the meeting that the Tunis Agenda specifically called on the Secretary-General to examine the desirability of the continuation of the Forum, in formal consultation with Forum participants, within five years of its creation, and to make recommendations to the UN membership in this regard. He encouraged all participants to contribute fully to the consultations. He requested that people who found the Forum valuable say so and tell him in what ways they found it valuable. To explain how it could be improved, and to explain how the IGF had fulfilled its purpose. He requested participants to be open and honest with one another, as was the IGF custom. Based on the consultations, he would report back to the Secretary-General, who would then make his recommendations in his annual report to the General Assembly, next year, on WSIS follow-up and implementation.
In concluding his address, Mr. Sha invited H.E. Mr. Tarek Kamel, Minister of Communications and Information Technology of Egypt to assume the chairmanship of the conference.
Mr. Kamel recalled that since its earliest days, the success of the Internet had been based on collaboration. As the network had grown to connect all continents and countries, the spirit of collaboration had remained a touchstone that had been captured and embodied in the IGF. The IGF had proved over four years that it was not just another isolated parallel process, but that it had managed to bring on board all the relevant stakeholders and key players. Further, he noted that the crucial development role of the Internet should be recognized globally, and the global community should ensure that barriers to participation by developing countries should be removed. With opportunities there were rights and also responsibilities, and in tomorrow's cyberspace the IGF should address important issues such as crossborder security, youth experience, multilingual content, and enhanced broadband capacity in developing countries, among others.
The Prime Minister of Egypt, Mr. Ahmed Nazif, drew attention to how important the Internet and ICTs had become. During the recent economic crisis, growth of the ICT sector in Egypt continued at double-digit rates, and had been a key driver of the economy. Only through open and consistent dialogue could the true potential of the Internet as a tool for growth and herald of economic and political freedoms be maximized. The Prime Minister saw in the continuation of the IGF a real priority. The IGF had provided a valuable space for continuous education on the prospects of the Internet and the global cyberspace and it was a precious learning tool for the young generations. The strength of the IGF was its all-inclusive, all-comprehensive nature.
The Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Mr. Hamadoun Touré, said that it was a major milestone for the meeting to take stock and look ahead to the future of the IGF and its continued role, looking at enhanced cooperation and at which areas of the IGF mandate needed to be further examined. As the organization that organized the World Summit on the Information Society from which the multi-stakeholder model of the IGF emerged, the ITU had been an active participant in and supporter of the IGF. The IGF was a unique forum where all stakeholders could share opinions on an equal footing. The Forum was a place where progress could be made on certain topics, and matured topics introduced into other more formal processes, arrangements and organizations for further consideration. Among other things, Mr. Touré drew attention to the ITU's framework on cyber security. He also asked participants to look at the bigger picture in the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the objective to meet their targets by 2015. The IGF would be a clear part of that process.
In his keynote address, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web and Director of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) emphasized the importance of a single Web that could be shared and used by all. He noted the importance of the Web to enhance the lives of people with disabilities. He said the W3C championed open standards that were royalty free so they could be openly shared. He also announced the launch of the World Wide Web Foundation, an international, non-profit organization that would strive to advance the Web as a medium that empowered people.
In a second keynote address, Mr. Jerry Yang, Co-Founder and Chief Yahoo!, saw the power of the Internet in its ability to connect communities. The network's impact had created social and economic opportunities from healthcare to education and fostered a next generation of entrepreneurs.
During the opening session, the following speakers,representing all stakeholder groups, addressed the meeting:
All speakers emphasized the importance of the Internet as an enabler for economic growth and social development. The IGF was appreciated for its open multistakeholder model, with examples of new national and regional IGF initiatives illustrating the spread of the multistakeholder ideal and its value in policy discussion.
A common thread through all the speeches was the endorsement of the IGF as a platform for fostering dialogue. Eleven speakers specifically supported an extension of the IGF mandate. The speakers also emphasized the importance they attached to the IGF, stressing that it had proven to be useful and noted that the IGF should continue to meet beyond the 2010 meeting in Vilnius.
Main Thematic Sessions
The second and third days of the meeting were designed around four main themes, two for each day:
The sessions on Managing Critical Internet resources and Internet Governance in the Light of WSIS principles were held in the form of open discussions without panellists in order to promote greater participation by all stakeholders to inform and provide their perspectives. A chair and moderators managed both sessions, with resource persons called on from the audience. The session on Security, Openness and Privacy was introduced by a panel of expert practitioners who set the stage and brought out options, and were followed by comment and discussion from the floor. The session on Access and Diversity also used a panel of expert practitioners, and then was split into two sections to draw in the outcomes of related workshops on Diversity and Access respectively.
Managing Critical Internet Resources
Mr. Nitin Desai, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for Internet Governance.
Mr. Chris Disspain, Chief Executive Officer, .AU Registry; Chair, Council of Country-Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO);
Ms. Jeanette Hofmann, Senior Researcher, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)/Social Science Research Center Berlin.
The session was held in the form of an open discussion and focused on four main topics:
The Chair, introduced the session and noted that many of the issues were discussed at the IGF in Hyderabad in 2008, and asked that remarks focus very sharply on what had happened over the past year.
The moderators introduced Mr. Paul Wilson, Director General of the Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) as resource person for the discussion on transition from IPv4 to IPv6.
Mr. Wilson described how IPv6 addresses were being deployed, the role of different stakeholders, and noted that ISPs had provided trial and production services. A lot of IPv6 equipment, devices, and applications were also available. Governments in particular had paid more attention to IPv6, and many had led deployment initiatives.
IPv6 had been deployed in what was known as a dual stack implementation, where both IPv4 and IPv6 were run at the same time. In the future, IPv4 would remain, even when IPv6 was dominant, and network translation systems would allow both systems to work. It was important not to think of the transition as a single event like Y2K, but rather as a process of deployment. He added that there was a perception that the transition was slow, or that it could be faster. But, for business the transition had been a choice and would happen when it was justified. The Internet's success was based on competition; ISPs would deploy IPv6 resources when customers needed them.
Many speakers emphasized the importance of training and awareness raising. The Government of Egypt informed the meeting of a national IPv6 Taskforce that looked at ways to accelerate the transition. A speaker from the ITU noted that the ITU Council established a working group to help members with the transition, particularly to support developing countries.
Introducing the second topic, TLDs and IDNs for development, Mr. Patrik Fältström, Cisco Systems Inc., noted that we had entered a period of great change for key resources of the Internet. In 2010, DNSSEC would be introduced and the root would be signed by many TLDs. IPv6 addresses for DNS services, new TLDs, in ASCII and IDN, and IDN ccTLDs, under a program that ICANN launched just a few hours before the session began, would be added to the root. These changes would place stress on the root system. He suggested that the rate of change would have greater impact than the changes themselves.
Mr. Bob Kahn, one of the founding fathers of the Internet, reminded the meeting to remain open to diversity of choice. As an example, he described an identification system used by the publishing industry, the handle system. It was secure and had been working for 10 years. He indicated that it could offer an alternative to the DNS system used today for the Internet. He emphasized that we should remain open to new approaches, so long as the Internet would not fragment.
A number of speakers, while recognizing the importance of all these changes, emphasized the importance of ensuring the security and stability of the Internet. Others noted that it would take time for important applications, such as email, to work and to accept these new identifiers. It would take time even with the fast track on new IDN ccTLDs. A speaker noted the importance of introducing competition in the selection of the registry to run the new IDN registry, and that the selection process should be open and transparent. These represented new national level Internet governance issues shared by the community. This session was particularly timely, as it coincided with the opening of applications for new IDN ccTLDs as a result of the fast track process. Both the governments of Egypt and Russia announced that they would file applications as soon as it was possible to do so.
A ccTLD operator from Africa said there was a need to support ccTLD technical operations and management in developing countries. He also expressed concern that as new gTLDs and regional TLDs were introduced, the rich culture of Africa would need to be protected, so that the values, culture and history the identifiers might seek to represent could be managed by people from those countries and regions.
The third issue, the Affirmation of Commitments (AoC), which replaced the Joint Project Agreement (JPA) between the United States Government and ICANN, was introduced by ICANNs CEO and President, Mr. Rod Beckstrom. He reviewed the AoC and its 11 key paragraphs. The AoC provided a commitment to the public interest model and to the enhanced role of all governments in the ICANN Government Advisory Committee (GAC). The AoC established four review teams that would examine ICANN's performance.
Speakers from all stakeholder groups welcomed the AoC as a positive development. One speaker noted the AoC took direction from the WSIS Tunis Agenda, another welcomed the AoC as a step towards greater internationalization, and hoped for more and made the remark that the more international and inclusive ICANN should strive to be WE CAN.
Looking forward, many suggested after the AoC, the next step should be to address the IANA contract between the United States Government and ICANN. Some recommended that an international body should be selected to takeover the IANA contract, others suggested that the IGF should debate the issue, a recommendation that was greeted with strong support.
The final item was enhanced cooperation, introduced by Ms. Haiyan Qian,
Director of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) in the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs. Ms. Qian reported on enhanced cooperation and the process within the UN. She informed the meeting that the UN General Assembly adopted another resolution asking the Secretary-General to submit a report on the process of enhanced cooperation and Internet public policy, including the work of relevant organizations. The report had been submitted to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), but the matter had been deferred for review until 2010 in New York. Ms. Qian said major points of the report were the continuation of inclusive multistakeholder dialogue, and that the IGF should be utilized for that dialogue. A number of participants noted different interpretations of what was meant by "enhanced cooperation" in the Tunis Agenda, and that this had caused confusion and difficulty in making progress.
One speaker noted that during WSIS there was no agreement on one interpretation of enhanced cooperation, but it provided room for interpretation. Some were able to interpret enhanced cooperation as improved dialogue between governments, or dialogue between governments and other stakeholders that did not exist before. Or, some argued for one centralized process of enhanced cooperation, and others for multiple processes to improve public policy related to Internet governance. Discussions made clear that progress had been made with regard to all of these different interpretations.
Others noted that in ICANN many steps had been taken to improve the operation of the GAC, and this could be taken as progress in enhanced cooperation. Others asked for more openness and multistakeholder participation in intergovernmental organizations.
In closing the session, Mr. Kamel noted that regarding the fast track for new IDN ccTLDs, it was important to ensure that IDNs could be utilized by users. This would take investment to ensure that applications and content were ready. The AoC was an excellent step forward, it provided accountability and independence, but more was needed. There should be greater involvement of the global community in all aspects of the system, and it would be legitimate to ask the United States to open and revisit the discussion of the IANA contract, and it should start soon.
The Session Chair summarized the discussion, noting that with the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 there was a two-year window with much work ahead. He noted that while participants welcomed the AoC, there would be much more work to do to implement the AoC. Beginning discussions about the IANA contract could be an opportunity to carry this process forward. He said enhanced cooperation was in part about reducing conflict, and that had been achieved in the IGF and elsewhere.
Security, Openness and Privacy
H. E. Ms. Jasna Matic, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Society, Serbia;
Mr. Sherif Hashem, Vice Executive President, Information Technology Industry Development Agency, Egypt.
Mr. Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).
Ms. Matic opened the session by indicating that these topics had been an issue for as long as the Internet had been in existence. They had become much more important recently, given the billions of people using the Internet each day. Security, openness and privacy were interlinked and the key question was to find the right balance among access to knowledge, the freedom of expression, and intellectual property rights. She also discussed the increasing importance of privacy in the light of the new social network phenomenon and reminded participants that children were the easiest targets since they were at the same time the most vulnerable and most trusting group and the earliest adopters of new technology.
Mr. Hashem spoke of the challenges in trying to find the right balance for society and made reference to the Egyptian experience in this regard. He emphasized the need for partnership between government, private sector, NGOs, education, academic institutions, research and development. This was important, because the issues and risks would change over time, with emergent technologies and new societal ways of using technology, and it was only by working within a partnership that the challenges would be met.
Among the points mentioned was that privacy was key to personal autonomy. However, it was often used as a way of simply protecting the privileged. Various laws had been misused and in that context, laws on pornography were mentioned as having been used to limit womens ability to participate in the public sphere. A panellist noted that not only freedom of expression and privacy should be considered rights, security was also an important right.
The discussion evolved around the relationship between privacy and security and it was mentioned that perhaps a real trade-off would need to focus on liberty versus control. The importance of the equitable distribution of access was also mentioned, as well as the importance of accessing different points of view.
Addressing the challenges facing the future of the Internet today, various issues were mentioned, such as the problem of establishing a culture of trust, the separation of valid security countermeasures from those that would be established in order to collect data for control and suppression. Another challenge mentioned involved contextual integrity in data aggregation, and the role of powerful corporate and national entities in the use and abuse of data. The biggest challenge faced was balancing the interests of the powerful with the interests of the worlds peoples, creating a person-focused Internet that would ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems, and the protection of personal data within a global environment.
Another challenge concerned the issue that rights were currently protected by the constitutional nation state, yet people lived in a borderless global network. This meant there would need to be a human rights perspective beyond technological development and commercial developments. The interaction of all these elements was from a human rights policy and perspective, which would guarantee that the focus would be on human beings and their benefit.
Another challenge involved the absolute openness of the Internet and the concern that this openness could be used to create more leverage for the already powerful ones and not to empower communities and to let them voice their concerns.
In the discussion on cybercrime, it was mentioned that in trying to protect people some were trying to control everything: to gather more data, and to get information about everything that was done online. It was mentioned that this would not help, because no one would be able to go through that information quickly enough to respond to and fight cybercrime.
The discussion on social networks showed that there were limits to what should be traded in terms of fundamental rights. It was also mentioned that it would be problematic to give rights the same economic status as services and things. Privacy was discussed as a fundamental and inalienable human right and not a commodity; human rights were therefore not something that could be bartered.
In discussing privacy and the protection of personal data, one of the ways forward mentioned was to think about contextual integrity of information; that information given away for a certain purpose could not be used for anything else. Part of this would involve looking at whether consent was an important legal tool, in the context of privacy.
The discussion also touched on anonymity. Eliminating anonymity on the Internet would be very hard, as would designing an Internet architecture that did not permit anonymity. It was also commented that anonymity, as a fundamental property of the Internet, was a social good, a political good, and an economic good.
It was recommended that in terms of achieving the appropriate balance between security, openness and privacy, people should use their buying power to convince vendors to improve the security of their products, and should fund research more broadly. The Council of Europes Convention on Cybercrime was also mentioned as part of the solution on how to deal with security.
In their concluding remarks, both chairs reiterated the importance of trust when the subject of security, privacy, openness was considered. Education and openness were key to achieve such a trust, and trust was a result of education and of involving all stakeholders in the community.
Access and Diversity
The session was split into two parts, and drew on outcomes of related workshops, which had been held earlier in the Forum.
Mr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization.
Mr. Jonathan Charles, Presenter, BBC World News.
The moderator noted access and diversity could be considered as two sides of the same coin; they were issues that affected hundreds of millions of people not yet involved in the Internet conversation, and of concern for the Forum in particular was diversity in language and diversity concerning disability.
The Chair objected to the narrow focus of diversity on language and disability, and recommended that the IGF and the Global Alliance on ICT for Development (GAID), as two children of WSIS, produce a list of issues pertaining to diversity and ICT. Education, infrastructure, open platforms and open source technologies should be included in discussions about access and diversity. Further, in his role as a businessman, he called on businesses worldwide to be more active in these issues.
One panellist showed how he navigated Web pages and used email using screen-reading technologies, in a demonstration of the accessibility challenges people with visual disabilities face using the Internet. A key point of his demonstration was that accessibility versus inaccessibility had no impact on aesthetics or functionality of a Web site for the regular user.
A speaker drew attention to the fact that one tenth of the worlds population had disabilities and that two billion people were impacted by the challenges of disability. They were found in every social and demographic group. The UN Convention for People with Disabilities included stipulations that provided rights of accessibility on the Internet. If the principles of the convention were properly followed, the needs of people with disabilities would be largely addressed. One such principle was that of Universal Design, which called for the design of products, environments, programmes and services in a way that addressed the needs of people with disabilities and included assistive devices where needed.
During the question and answer session, a participant noted that accessibility was not just about the ability of disabled people to access information, but was also about their ability to express themselves freely. It was pointed out that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) did not include disability as a priority.
The panel presented a message, prepared by the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability, addressing the needs of people with disabilities. It raised awareness for the obligations deriving from the UN Convention and the tools available to make the Internet and the Web accessible for people with disabilities. At the Chairmans request, the participants endorsed the message by acclamation.
The second part of the session addressed multilingualism. The first speaker noted that language could be a barrier. He spoke briefly in Hindi, a language spoken by many at the Forum, but not interpreted as an official UN language and therefore not understood by all participants. He asked the question whether agricultural information could be shared with farmers, if it was not in their language?
It was asserted that a majority of the worlds languages were declining in use and faced extinction. The Internet was proposed as a way to help preserve indigenous languages, culture and knowledge digitally. A project to establish Arab domain names was discussed with emphasis on the successes, but also the unique challenges posed by establishing non-Latin script online, not just in the characters and technical concerns, but in the direction they were typed, for example right to left rather than the more common left to right.
The point was made that 2000 languages were spoken by one billion people in Africa. 200 of those languages were spoken by more than 500,000 people and 15 African languages were spoken by more than 10 million people. However, these languages were almost not present in a significant way in the information age. A number of interventions noted that the inability to access information online in a locally understood language could be life-threatening.
A key point was made that IDNs were not the only issue concerned with multilingualism and ICTs. A number of interventions also stressed that many diversity issues could be addressed by technology, now or in the near future.
In concluding the session, the chairman asked participants to join him in commending the Egyptian efforts towards the development of a knowledge society and in encouraging ICANN to accelerate its process on multilingualization and to make it a priority in order to ensure the continued coherence of the Internet.
Mr. Amr Badawi, Executive President, National Telecommunications Authority Regulation (NTRA), Egypt.
Mr. Hopeton Dunn, Director, Caribbean Programme in Telecommunications Policy and Technology Management (TPM), Mona School of Business, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.
The chairman stated that access included financial access, the relevance of literacy to access, political access which gave voice to linguistic access, and access by the disabled. Desirable access to the Internet was further defined as being connected to the Internet at the right speed, linked to the right content at the right time and place. Issues concerned with infrastructure were now secondary, because advances had been made, specifically with mobile phones and Internet penetration in many parts of the world.
The main issues where progress was most needed were characterized as policy, regulation and rights. Speakers noted that regional and national backbones should be strengthened as well as security issues connected with new services and higher bandwidth and availability needed to be addressed. One speaker noted serious policy and regulatory bottlenecks in many developing countries and regions. True access would not be achieved without appropriate regulatory regimes being put in place.
Many agreed that progress had been made regarding infrastructure, notably that submarine fibre cable systems had been built and provided increased bandwidth and higher quality connectivity. However, it was noted that landlocked countries still struggled to access coastal Internet cables, and that broadband access was still limited and costs were still high.
Spectrum and its management was indentified as a major and a fundamental component of access. A speaker suggested spectrum should be used more effectively, for example reclaiming unused spectrum space. Also, new technology that used spectrum more effectively should be adopted in the developing world, not just developed markets.
Speakers proposed ways to effectively provide access for rural areas, and wi-fi solutions were named in particular, as they were easily modified to provide connectivity to meet local needs. Taking advantage of geography and special antennae, a test project that was able to span a distance of 240 km with normal wi-fi connections was described as a promising solution.
A participant proposed developing government policies that would leverage and extend mobile technologies into the Internet sector in Africa and Latin America. This model had proven to work in South Asia.
In conclusion, the Chairman noted that the access panel sought to provide ideas and food for thought about affordable access, notably regarding better spectrum management. He suggested there was an opportunity to provide broadband at reduced cost if governments managed spectrum more efficiently, for example, utilizing empty TV channels in areas where TV was not much used. Especially for rural areas, universal service funds could be a means to reduce the cost of accessing the network. He recalled that new submarine cables had provided much cheaper international bandwidth to all developing countries, and those savings should be passed on to end users. Lower costs for consumers would accelerate growth, and he encouraged operators to do that.
Internet Governance in the Light of the WSIS Principles
Mr. Ahmed El-Sherbini, Deputy to the Minister for International Cooperation, Director of the National Telecommunications Institute, Egypt.
Ambassador J?nis K?rkli?, Ambassador of Latvia to France and Permanent Representative to UNESCO;
Ms. Anriette Esterhuysen, Executive Director, Association for Progressive Communications (APC);
Mr. Bill Graham, Global Strategic Engagement, the Internet Society (ISOC).
The chair began by recalling that the IGF was created as a product of the WSIS, and that the IGF was mandated by the Tunis Agenda to promote and assess on an ongoing basis the embodiment of the WSIS principles in the Internet governance process. The session was therefore intended to exercise that right and to determine whether the WSIS principles had been taken into consideration in the governance of the Internet.
The session was divided into two main segments. The first section concentrated on principles, which were adopted in Geneva and Tunis, and particularly on paragraph 29. The second part was devoted to a debate on how Internet governance influenced the evolution of inclusive, non-discriminatory, development oriented Information Society and made reference to paragraph 31 of the Tunis Agenda.
In the first part, several of the major Internet governance institutions indicated that even before WSIS, there had been a commitment to what eventually became the WSIS principles. This was taken as an indication that the WSIS principles had not arisen suddenly out of a few months' meetings in Geneva but, in fact, had been a developing trend in the world towards more transparent and more democratic multistakeholder processes. The convening of the IGF and the processes it had followed were part of an ongoing evolution, as the WSIS before it was part of an ongoing evolution, an evolution that had not been completed.
Many specific examples were given of work that was being done that clearly responded directly to the WSIS principles. One example was the multistakeholder work that had been done by the Council of Europe, the Association for Progressive Communications and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on the development of a trilateral initiative to launch a code of good practice on information, participation, and transparency in Internet governance.
Another example was given by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) of the process it went through when it brought the technical community and civil society into its structure as advisory committees.
There were also many indications given of areas where work would need to be done in the future, for example in the area of multilingualism. Some institutions also identified problems that various stakeholders still had with full participation of all stakeholders.
The discussion looked at ways in which the IGF could become more inclusive to participants from the developing world. There was no doubt that the developing world had made progress in many cases due to increased multistakeholder participation and more open processes, with examples being given of improvements in Argentina and Pakistan.
There were comments on the importance of the WSIS statement about respective roles of the different stakeholders. Participation was not a simple thing and there were different levels of participation by different stakeholders that were required at different stages in the process, moving from discussion through to a decision.
In general, business held the view that they had increased their outreach and credited that, to some extent, to WSIS. Civil society and technical organizations indicated that they too had become increasingly engaged with other stakeholders in a multilateral and transparent fashion. More examples of the influence of WSIS principles were given by civil society and the technical community than were given by governments, although it was made clear that some governments had made an effort to adapt to multistakeholder processes.
During the discussion of people-centred and inclusive development in the second section of the session, it was pointed out that three years of workshops had gone on before there was a main session on this topic. It was explained that these workshops had gone a long way in clarifying the concept of Internet governance for development and the specific things that should be focused on in going forward. Several times in the discussion, the point was made that there needed to be more main sessions on the WSIS principles and that Internet governance for people-centered development should become a main theme, rather than being an overarching theme, as it had been for the first four years.
Some speakers saw a need for benchmarks of a people-centered development, and a few examples were given such as, human rights and the degree of participation by developing country government in the IGF, both international and regional/national. Suggestions of ways to draw in developing countries included capacity-building for government officials in national governments. It was also brought out that participation in these open mechanisms and concentration on development was not a simple thing, but was complicated and time consuming. There were questions about whether it could be simplified to make it more accessible and easier, particularly for government officials, to participate.
A final point discussed in the session involved the consideration of economic realities, specifically some of the economic factors that have worked against the ability of developing nations to participate.
In concluding, the chair brought out two main points for emphasis. The first point was that a serious and sincere effort had been made by many to adhere to the WSIS principles in the Internet governance ecosystem. He also noted that there was still a lot of work that needed to be done to get everybody on board and to adhere to the all WSIS principles. The second point was there was a need for more serious engagement of the developing countries in the IGF activities.
The chair made a call on governments from developing countries to get more involved in the IGF activities, to make use of this forum, to get their voice heard, and to get their opinions on the issues related to Internet debated. He also called on the IGF secretariat to devise means and ways to motivate the governments of developing countries to get more involved in the IGF.
Host Country Honourary Session:
Preparing the Young Generations in the Digital Age: A Shared Responsibility
The First Lady of Egypt, H.E. Ms. Suzanne Mubarak, President and Founder of the Suzanne Mubarak Womens International Peace Movement, addressed Forum participants in a special session. Her address focused on youth empowerment and the safety of children and young people on the Internet.
The First Lady was introduced by the Chairman, Mr. Tarek Kamel and she was thanked for her address by Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang.
An international panel commented on the issues raised by the First Lady.
The signing of a number of MoUs between the Suzanne Mubarak Womens International Peace Movement and several business entities and NGOs concluded the Honourary Session.
A more detailed report is made as a Special Annex to this Chairmans Summary.
Taking Stock and Looking Forward on the desirability of the continuation of the Forum.
Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
The session was held in two parts, one part before and the other after lunch. The focus of this session was on whether or not the mandate of the IGF should be extended beyond the provisional lifespan of five years, as stipulated by paragraph 76 of the Tunis Agenda, which requested the Secretary-General to hold formal consultations with Forum participants on the desirability of the continuation of the Forum.
These consultations were initiated by an online process, starting with a questionnaire prepared by the IGF secretariat. A synthesis paper reflecting all commentaries received was made available in all UN languages as an input into this session.
Mr. Sha, in his introductory remarks, recalled that this question had been a common thread throughout the meeting. There were powerful statements for an extension of the mandate at the opening session, starting with the Prime Minister of Egypt, but also other Ministers and representatives of the other stakeholder groups who spoke out in favour of a renewal of the mandate. Similar views were echoed in the other sessions, when panellists and chairmen noted the usefulness of the IGF in promoting a common understanding of issues.
Compared to the other Main Sessions, the consultation was held in a more traditional setting, with 47 speakers, representing all stakeholder groups, delivering a short statement on this subject from the rostrum. In addition, nine statements of participants who were not given a speaking slot due to time constraints were posted on the IGF Web site as part of the official record of the formal consultation.
The first two speakers were the two men also known as the Fathers of the Internet, Mr. Bob Kahn and Mr. Vint Cerf (through a video statement). The two co-inventors of the TCP/IP both valued the IGF as a neutral space for dialogue and supported the extension of its mandate. The IGF was an ideal setting in which to raise many issues ranging from abuses of the Internet to cooperation and could be used for making the Internet a better, safer, and more effective place in which to conduct global affairs.
Many speakers emphasized the usefulness of the IGF as a platform for dialogue, free from the pressures of negotiations. The spreading of the IGF model to regional and national IGF type processes was mentioned as a witness for the validity of the IGF concept.
H.E. Mr. Samuel Poghisio, Minister for Information and Communication of Kenya, expressing his support to an extension of the IGF mandate, made an offer to host the 2011 meeting.
45 speakers and nine written statements supported a continuation of the Forum.
A majority of speakers and written submissions supported an extension of the mandate as it is, that is, to continue the IGF as a multi-stakeholder platform that brings people together to discuss issues, exchange information and share best practices, but not to make decisions, nor to have highly visible outputs.
The other speakers, while supporting a continuation of the IGF along similar lines to its current form, called for some change, ranging from small operational improvements to major changes in its functioning, such as adding provisions that would allow it to produce outputs, recommendations and decisions on a multistakeholder consensus basis, or to finance the IGF through the regular UN budget.
Among the suggested areas for improvement were the following:
Most of those who supported the continuation of the forum would like to do so for at least another five-year term.
Two speakers, while welcoming the success of the IGF and not opposing an extension, said it had not met expectations as regards enhanced cooperation in the area of Internet governance. They also linked the IGF to unilateral control of critical Internet resource, an issue that needed to be addressed in the future.
Egypt, the host country, supported the continuation of the forum, while stressing at the same time the need to review its modalities of work, to increase institutional and financial capacity of its secretariat. Egypt supported maintaining its dynamic nature and multistakeholder approach under the UN umbrella, which gave it legitimacy.
The Chairman concluded the meeting by stating that he would now report back to the Secretary-General on the discussions held in Sharm El Sheikh. The Secretary-General would then make his recommendations to the UN Membership, as requested by the Tunis Agenda.
Emerging Issues - Impact of Social Networks:
H.E. Mr. Samuel Poghisio, Minister for Information and Communication, Kenya;
Mr. Tarek El-Sadany, Senior Adviser to the Minister for Technology Policies, Ministry of Communications and Information technology, Arab Republic of Egypt.
Moderator: Mr. Simon Davies, Founder and Director of Privacy International.
The session focused on the development of social media and explored whether these developments required the modification of traditional policy approaches, in particular regarding privacy and data protection, rules applicable to user-generated content and copyrighted material, as well as freedom of expression and illegal content.
The growth of social networking in Brazil, a country with 68 million Internet users, was given as an example of some of the problems that could arise. Most of the popular sites in that country were those offered by companies based in the United States. Legal problems experienced by Brazilian users of online social networking sites had lead to US companies, with small branches based in Brazil, being sued for liability in Brazil. A proactive response by some companies had led to criminal activities being reduced, primarily in the arena of child abuse images. The main issues raised by these cases were questions of whether the local arm of an online company was responsible individually or whether it was the whole transnational entity; the capacity to enforce national laws on crimes committed on social networking services; the feasibility of ensuring minimum levels of social accountability and transparency. The panellist finally emphasized the importance of foreign companies in complying with local laws, in order for the successful Brazilian case to be replicated in other countries.
One panellist raised nine emerging issues regarding social media Web sites and categorized them under a wide spectrum; intellectual property rights, morality laundering, the hegemony of the connected; and the hegemony of text. Morality laundering was claimed to be used to impose a morality regime by owners of Web sites. It was noted that the online industry worldwide conducted a lot of filtering at the back end, and there were linkages to governments and law enforcement. When asked if the automation of enforcement should exist, the panellist agreed, however more transparency should exist first.
The impact of social networking tools was analyzed with regard to marketing activities of performers and producers of artistic work in Kenya. The theatre company the panellist works for targeted actors that came from slums and ghettos. The emergence of social networking had transformed how they sold their plays and developed their concepts. The panellist described how actors and fans (via Facebook) were said to have a major influence on the way in which their plays and scripts were developed. There was also an issue of fan participation and contribution causing abuse, excessive traffic, and the difficult issue of how to manage and to address speech that was controversial or abusive, which was sometimes directed from competitors using anonymous names. The tools of social networking had opened up new horizons and promoted freedom of expression, however at times also highlighted the problem of balancing between traditional cultural boundaries, in what might be viewed as abusive content, and what can be referred to as artistic expression.
One panellist reminded the floor about the power of social networks in citizen empowerment, and making governments and other institutions more accountable to individuals. Concerns over how to deal with liability issues, and content regulation by governments were raised. This highlighted the dilemma of social networking sites which had to choose whether to regulate content due to government pressure, or not to provide their service in those countries. Civil liberties of users would be infringed in both cases.
A speaker from the floor informed Forum participants that a dynamic coalition on social media and legal issues had been formed during the Sharm meeting. Issues such as the right of anonymity, deletion of personal information, child-generated content, among others would be considered by the coalition. Policy issues associated with cloud computing were indentified as critical new concerns that should be considered by the Forum in the future.
Several speakers, representing all stakeholder groups, addressed the closing session. They acknowledged that the issues of access and diversity remained central to the IGF. As the next billion people was coming online, new challenges and opportunities would emerge. The importance of what the Internet offered was unprecedented in terms of opportunities for mankind to promote economic development, social inclusion, expression of culture, and ideas in the rich array of languages. Common to all the speeches was the recognition that Internet governance needed to be based on multistakeholder cooperation. As one speaker pointed out, the lack of multi-stakeholder involvement in the past had often led to ill-informed decision-making.
Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, in his concluding remarks stressed the centrality of the principle of inclusiveness and the need for continued discussions on public policy issues related to the Internet. He recalled that he would present a report to the Secretary-General on the consultation on the desirability of the continuation of the Forum, as mandated by the Tunis Agenda. The Secretary-General would then communicate his recommendations to the UN Membership.
All other speakers expressed their support for an extension of the mandate and emphasized the value of the IGF as a platform for multistakeholder dialogue.
The speakers included the following stakeholder representatives:
The representative of Lithuania, extended an invitation to all participants to attend the Fifth IGF Meeting in Vilnius on 14-17 September 2010.
In his concluding address, the Chairman of the Fourth IGF Meeting, Mr. Tarek Kamel, called for further steps towards enhancing international involvement in the management of critical Internet resources. With regard to the IGF mandate, he noted that the unprecedented participation in this years meeting showed the need for further deliberations and for the IGF to continue. The Chairman saw a wide consensus on the need for the extension of the IGF mandate, with the legitimacy provided by the United Nations umbrella as well as the dynamic nature of the event, which had been very clear in Sharm El Sheikh and needed to continue. He was confident that this message, representing the views of all stakeholders, would be conveyed to the Secretary-General.
IGF 2009 - Sharm El Sheikh
H.E. Dr. Tarek Kamel
Minister of Communications and Information Technology
18 November 2009
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to start by thanking the U.N. team and the IGF Secretariat for co-organizing this successful event in Egypt. Special thanks are due to Mr. Sha Zukang, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic & Social Affairs, Mr. Nitin Desai, and the whole U.N. team that worked behind the scenes in contributing to the success of this event. But also, special thanks to the IGF Secretariat, led by Mr. Kummer, and his staff as well as the interpreters and the scribes.
I want to thank the local team from Egypt at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, the technical team, the organizational team, as well as all the support staff. Special thanks are due, as Chairman Desai has mentioned, to the team led by Dr. Hoda Baraka, the Deputy Minister, Nermine El Saadany, Christine Arida, Manal Ismail, and Nevine Tewfik and their supporters.
I also want to thank the chairs of the various sessions and the sponsors of our events, the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, Telecom Egypt, ITIDA, as well as the private sector sponsors. Special thanks are also due to the high level participation of Egypt's First Lady Mrs. Mubarak, as well as Prime Minister Nazif, and also special thanks are due to the very lively participation and thoughtful deliberations from all over the world that were really remarkable and unprecedented.
This huge participation showed the need for further deliberations for the IGF to continue. As Mr. Sha has mentioned, we have had participants that exceeded 1800, representing governments, civil society, and private sector, throughout the event more than 200 remote participants from all corners of the world were following up what we are doing, and 27,000 viewers from 116 countries have watched the live on demand webcast using streaming. Egypt's technical team, led by Raafat Hindy, has immediately responded to the request of the forum participants during the CIR session and has established on the spot an IPv6 networking in the congress center. I want to give them special thanks for what they have been doing, not only on the IPv6 level, but also for the support of the whole Congress.
The participation at this event has really shown us the need for cross-border cooperation on the main themes of the IGF that were well selected by the Multistakeholder Advisory Group. Child safety has evolved as one of the emerging issues. And Egypt has shown its leadership with the participation and initiatives of Mrs. Mubarak. We think this needs to be broadened on a geographical level in the future.
Access, ladies and gentlemen, should remain on the IGF discussion table, because African countries and other developing countries still have issues of affordability and other major barriers to broadband connectivity. We need to come up with innovative solutions and business models for remote access in deprived areas.
The importance of multilingualism was very much highlighted. We still need to work more together on enriching local content. We welcome ICANN's decision for starting the fast-track process and choosing the Sharm El Sheikh IGF to announce this major step. This shows that we are on the right track.
We acknowledge the U.S. administration for signing the Affirmation of Commitments with ICANN, but we still need further steps for more international involvement in the management of critical Internet resources through revisiting the IANA contract as it has been mentioned. I sense consensus among our participants for my call, the other day, upon the U.S. administration to start an early dialogue in 2010 on the IANA contract before its expiration in October 2011. There are workable solutions that need to be explored for a more constructive dialogue on the issue, and this will add increasing maturity to the already maturing process of the IGF. This step will add a lot of positive spirit to the improving overall spirit that we have already been witnessing here in Sharm El Sheikh. And I fully share the vision of chairman Nitin Desai that we have been witnessing a very positive spirit, even between some constituencies that we thought are more or less competitive and confrontational.
My thanks to all the stakeholders for the spirit of cooperation and a special thanks to the ITU for their understanding of the IGF issues and especially the opening remarks of Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun Touré. There has been a very positive spirit from other decision-making bodies to work on implementing the outcomes of the mature discussions within the IGF process. We think this is a step forward.
The global IGF requires more localization, and there is a rising need for the regional IGFs to become part of the process in the future, and we will also need more funding mechanisms, for stronger regional participation, especially from the developing countries.
We have seen a positive contribution from the youth within the last couple of days. I urge the IGF MAG advisory group to increase youth participation and have for them a separate panel in order to engage them early enough in the process.
In my view, I could almost see a wide consensus on the need of the continuation of the IGF process with the legitimacy provided by the U.N. umbrella as well as continuing the dynamic nature of the event, which is very clear that it needs to continue. I see this well reflected in the Chair's report that was just printed and distributed. And I am confident that Mr. Sha will convey this message to the Secretary-General of the U.N.
Lastly, I wish Lithuania, our next host, all the success in preparing this event. I wish you, distinguished participants, a safe trip back home, and the conference is adjourned.
Host Country Honourary Session:
Preparing the Young Generations in the Digital Age: A Shared Responsibility
The First Lady of Egypt, H.E. Ms. Suzanne Mubarak, President and Founder of the Suzanne Mubarak Womens International Peace Movement, addressed Forum participants in a special session. Her address focused on youth empowerment, and the safety of children and young people on the Internet.
The First Lady was introduced by the Chairman, H.E. Mr. Tarek Kamel. Mr. Kamel informed the meeting that Ms. Mubarak had been one of the very early voices worldwide to support the empowerment of end-user views on the Internet. The First Lady had also long supported initiatives to address the challenges associated with child online safety.
Ms. Mubarak, in her opening remarks, noted how timely the themes of the 2009 IGF were. She praised the Forum for enriching the debate on Internet governance, and for having brought vital social dimensions to the heart of discussions. The IGF had integrated central topics and ideas such as digital citizenship, media literacy, culture creation, and youth empowerment, to explore how the Internet could be used to benefit all people. She commended the Forum on the choice of the overall title of the event: Creating Opportunities for All. She noted how the theme shared important interdependencies with other human development goals, such as health for all, education for all, and food security for all, a topic she had addressed at the FAO a few days before. The theme also raised questions about the current status of our socioeconomic development, and about our ability to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Ms. Mubarak illustrated how the IGF could be used to help ensure that these goals were achieved.
Ms. Mubarak noted Egypt's population was more than 80 million people and continued to grow. The country had struggled to bridge the divides that hindered capacity for how the Internet could be used, and how human development goals could be advanced by the Internet. Egypt had worked hard to reduce access and language barriers to modern technologies, and had made ICTs more affordable and useable. The increased use of ICTs had a profound effect on society, and had brought many changes. The Suzanne Mubarak Women's International Peace Movement had launched the Cyber Peace Initiative to capitalize on the powerful medium. The Cyber Peace Initiative promoted young people as leaders, and sought to create a global forum of peace, using the Internet.
Egypt had succeeded in reaching out and had engaged parents, educators, and especially youth, along with members of government, law enforcement, the judiciary, the private sector, and the civil society in a serious dialogue on Internet safety. Practical steps had been taken to protect and expand children's rights. The Cyber Peace Initiative had formed Internet safety focus groups, bringing together young people and their parents. They had brought attention to the need to bridge the digital divide between generations.
Ms. Mubarak highlighted that technical dimensions of the Internet such as information leakage and regulatory models for privacy, or ethical dimension of the Internet such as the control of one's own data and respect for privacy, could not be considered without taking into account the impact on children and young people as the direct beneficiaries. In addressing all these problems, she remarked that she was proud of the achievements of the Cyber Peace Initiative regionally and internationally. Further, she noted the creation of new initiatives such as World Wide Web Foundation, launched by Sir Tim Berners-Lee at the opening session of the IGF, the 2CENTRE Cybercrime Training Initiative and the teens' Internet safety camps.
The First Lady reminded the Forum that the Internet would continue to be a reflection of the global reality we lived in. As the divisions between transparency and privacy were erased, as the walls between the physical and virtual reality faded away, we would continue to feel reverberations of those challenges on the net through more discrimination, more violence, more instability. And it was for this reason that we should work harder to ensure that the focus of Internet governance became more people-centered, and that the Internet became a catalyst for human development. In closing, she outlined her vision of the Internet of tomorrow which held the real promise that we would be able to look at our computer or mobile screens and see a world where people lived in dignity, security and peace.
Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang thanked Ms. Mubarak for sharing such an important message. He noted that the future of the Information Society would be led by today's children and young people, and that, fundamentally, sustainable development was about meeting the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. He said the Information Society had to be made safe for children and young people, and that this could be achieved, as Ms. Mubarak suggested, by education and shared knowledge. He said the First Lady had provided much food for thought for the session that was to follow on new social media and collaboration tools. Mr. Sha presented a small gift on behalf of the IGF to Ms. Mubarak as a token of thanks for her important contribution to the Forum.
Ms. Hoda Baraka, First Deputy to the Minister of Communications and Information Technology of the Arab Republic of Egypt, moderated an international panel that commented on the issues raised by the First Lady.
The panel consisted of the following personalities:
Ms. Baraka introduced the panel with a statement that the empowerment of youth had already been evidenced at the IGF by the youth involved in logistics, many workshops and in other roles at the forum.
The panel talked about current trends and concurred on the importance of involving youth and young people in discussions on Internet governance. Young people were leading the Internet revolution. It was noted that over 1.5 billion people were using the Internet and that the Internet was moving to broadband and as a result there was an exponential increase in traffic worldwide, driven by video. A unique characteristic of video was that it allowed communication in natural culture, fostering participation and cultural diversity. Video was a socio-economic driver for youth; the promotion and enablement of video content was therefore desirable. As the Internet spread, and content and services became more sophisticated, programmes such as the Cyberpeace Initiative would become more important. The Internet could be leveraged to produce opportunities for young people as well as challenges. It was suggested that the long-term way to deal with Internet safety and security problems as related to children was by parental involvement and oversight, and by the teaching of values.
One panellist noted that the IGF had served as a bridge between various players in the rapidly changing digital world, between the players he referred to as "digital natives", that is users who grew up with the Internet, and the "digital migrants", the generation of users that adopted the use of the Internet later in life. The DiploFoundation was given as an example for the process of online learning.
The "culture of the IGF" had helped bridge the interests and concerns of the old and new users of the Internet in their respective online experiences. Young people often did not distinguish between the online and offline worlds. Young peoples skills and leadership in a lot of areas online meant that the traditional roles of adults and young people were in many ways reversed in our digital world.
Speaking about the need to protect children on the Internet, a panellist referred to a survey of governments conducted by the ITU in the field of child protection and child safety on the Internet. Over 80% responded that exposure to illegal and harmful content as well as bullying were their priority issues. The panellist held the view that not enough was being done and not fast enough by the Internet industry to protect children.
In the final part of the Honourary Session, Ms. Mubarak witnessed the signing four partnership agreements on behalf of the Cyber Peace Initiative with key organizations and multinational corporations and presented three certificates of recognition to young people and organizations that excelled in serving the young generations through ICTs.
The partnership agreements were with the following institutions:
Certificates of recognition were presented to:
Internet governance Setting the Scene
Ms. Nermine El Saadany, Director, International Relations Division, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Egypt
Mr. Markus Kummer, Executive Coordinator, IGF Secretariat
The session was introduced by Mr. Kummer who said the intention of the session was to help newcomers and other participants understand the IGF and to find their way around the programme.
He invited Ms. Divina Frau-Meigs to commemorate Mr. Francis Muguet, who had passed away unexpectedly on 4 October 2009. Mr. Muguet had been a keen and significant participant in the World Summit on the Information Society and the Internet Governance Forum. Ms. Frau-Meigs noted that his contributions were many, important, and that he would be missed. The meeting observed a minute's silence to honour his memory.
Introducing the IGF, Mr. Kummer remarked that the IGF had been convened as a platform for multistakeholder dialogue. Different from other UN processes, in the IGF all stakeholders were in the room as equals, and while the IGF did not have "the power to take decisions", it had "the power to put issues on the agenda of international cooperation".
Ms. Nermine El Saadany, the co-moderator of the session, welcomed the participants to Sharm El Sheikh, the city of peace, and introduced the panellists. All speakers then stressed the importance of the multistakeholder model of the IGF and its role as a forum for dialogue as being essential and unique. One speaker noted that as the IGF matured, it should strive to feed into more formal processes organized by IGOs and other entities, and also that the IGF should be considered within the broader perspective of WSIS.
A number of panellists noted the importance of the IGF to development, and that this reflected the success of the theme of the 2008 IGF, "Internet for All". The 2008 meeting had been able to help stimulate Internet governance related discussions and activities in many countries. The meeting in Sharm should ensure the development agenda was further brought to the forefront of discussions.
Panellists also emphasized the importance of capacity building, and that many organizations were now conducting training and education related to Internet policy issues. One speaker noted that the digital divide in Africa was as deep as ever, however, the cross-cutting themes of development and capacity building combined with the non-binding nature of discussions in the IGF had made it easier for developing country stakeholders to participate more fully in discussions. Regional and national IGF processes were noted as a new phenomenon that were helping to spread the development agenda, but more needed to be done.
Panellists from different stakeholder groups and regions described new partnerships and working relationships that had been enabled by the IGF process. It was also noted that the "footprint of Internet governance had increased enormously over the four years of the IGF. As the Internet had become more central to people's lives answers, practical questions such as the need to protect children online, issues raised by social networks, and the need to include consideration of human rights in the Internet governance context were important.
The moderators provided a walkthrough of the programme, and noted the visit of Ms. Suzanne Mubarak, First Lady of Egypt, who would give a special keynote presentation and lead an honourary session on "Preparing the Young Generation in the Digital Age, a Shared Responsibility."
More than 100 events would be held outside the main sessions, all were self-organizing and were based on the principle of multistakeholder cooperation. Through this methodology, real partnerships had emerged. Like the Internet itself, the value of the IGF was at the edges. A highlight of the programme was identified as a session focusing on persons with disabilities. The moderator reminded the Forum that according to UN statistics about 10% of the world's population were people with disabilities. There were UN conventions in place on disabilities, there were both obligations that addressed the issues and tools available, and the session would be aimed at raising awareness.
One speaker joined the Forum virtually from her home in Venezuela and emphasized the importance of remote access. The meeting would connect 11 remote hubs around the world and potentially many hundreds of people. Remote access could help overcome temporal, travel and financial constraints, it allowed people to contribute and made the IGF more inclusive.
Ms. Christine Arida, Director of Telecom Planning and Services, National Telecom Regulatory Authority, Egypt
Mr. Markus Kummer, Executive Coordinator, IGF Secretariat
The session panellists were introduced by Ms. Christine Arida. They and brought together different regional experiences as they had emerged from various regional and national meetings, discussed how their different priorities were linked, and identified the commonalities and differences of each region.
Speakers presenting on the East African and European IGFs noted that they were not held as preparatory meetings for the global IGF, but had independent value, designed to identify local needs and priorities and to seek local solutions. Both noted there was a need for discussion to continue at a global level, but the regional initiatives could and would continue independently of the global discussions. This was noted as an interesting development, one speaker from the floor observed that the inspiration behind the IGF was global but the impact had now become local.
Each regional IGF had a different structure. The Caribbean IGF held its fifth annual meeting in August, noting it had existed longer than the global meeting. The Arab IGF team was also not formed specifically to contribute to the global IGF, but had been working independently, particularly on issues of domain names and multilingualism. The priority of the Arab region had shifted in the past years from those of language toward those of access. Access was noted as a priority by all the regional contributors, with problems of high prices as well as availability of broadband infrastructure common to all. Access to content and the creation of local content, and quality of service were also a theme mentioned by multiple presenters. Both the Latin American and East African speakers mentioned harmonization of national regulations and policy on access as priority issues.
The East Africa IGF involved five East African countries, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, with observers from Sudan and Somalia. It was described as a three stage process that began with a national online discussion for a period of about one to two weeks, moderated by national animators. From the online discussions, face-to-face national IGF meetings were organized for all the stakeholders to validate the online work, and consensus was built on national IG issues. The regional IGF brought together the national initiatives and provided an opportunity for national issues to be debated and discussed at the regional level. The presenter informed the Forum that an outcome of the East Africa-IGF was a decision by the government of Kenya to offer to host the global IGF in 2011.
The presenter from Europe emphasized the outreach to and inclusion of participants from eastern and southeastern Europe, and the increased and very active participation of youth as important developments. Cybercrime and cybersecurity were noted as key issues by all participants, the Arab and East Africa region described the creation of CERTs/CSIRTs at the national and regional levels as priorities that should be implemented. The Latin America and Caribbean regional meeting stressed the importance of privacy and remarked on the need for legal and regulatory harmonization generally within and among countries. Further, concern should be focused on the user and their rights, and that particular attention should be paid to social networks, cloud computing and e-government services. The European meeting known as European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) also noted questions of privacy, as well as the reliability of the Internet.
All panellists described how their respective meetings discussed critical Internet resources, focusing on the joint project agreement (JPA) between the U.S. Government and ICANN. The meetings in West and East Africa and the Arab region noted the importance of ccTLDs and that they operated in a stable and secure manner. A representative of the African Union Commission introduced a regional African discussion that had been held in Sharm shortly before the IGF began, and also noted agreement that ccTLDs should be managed at local level and domestically have the needed skills and experience to manage their critical resources. He also noted Africa needed more national, regional and international peering points so that the cost of Internet traffic could be reduced and sustainable development ensured.
Each meeting had produced reports of their respective events, the presenter from Europe described how they had created a notion of messages as an outcome. The document, Messages from Geneva was not a negotiated document, but from each session a message of outcomes and recommendations, if appropriate, had been written, and everyone participating was free to say if they agreed or disagreed with the message.
Presenters from the floor informed the Forum about national IGF initiatives that had taken place in Spain, which would host EuroDIG 2010, and IGF USA, which developed a national perspective on the global IGF issues. The meeting in the US also included a youth panel, and discussed issues that were central to the IGF meeting in Sharm el Sheikh.