IGF 2016 - Day 0 - Room 6 - IG Academy


The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Jalisco, Mexico, from 5 to 9 December 2016. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 


It is very hard for people who are regularly volunteers in their countries, trying to set up an governance our approach is to develop with the fellows road maps, road maps consist of a strategy tool kit that includes a SWOT analysis where people assess the strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities and threats in their respective countries and out of that, develop a funding strategy, a communication strategy, and what our aim was to really document all this, document all the work that the academy of fellows did in the last couple of months for two reasons, first of all, these can be developed further. Funding provided, we will keep on working on these different tool kits and refine them next year, you know, when some people have already had experiences with running a local IGF, they can share the experience with other people from other fellows from other countries, at the same time, we want to be really open about this and share this knowledge. This is why we put out a first iteration of that tool kit today and you can also find this on IGF.Academy.

First of all, it's a brief introduction in the different tools that we have been using, the SWOT analysis, the funding strategy, the communication strategy, and the road map itself.  And secondly, already a condensed version of the experiences that people have made this year working towards creating or enhancing their national and local IGF structures.  So if you go to that website, you can download these as a PDF, and we will publish by the beginning of next year, hopefully end of January or beginning of February, what we call a transfer guide, which gives a little more detail on the processes and the procedures, give a little background on this, and hopefully will enable people in other countries to use this tool kit to start their own initiatives or if they already have an initiative, to enhance that initiative, to make it better than it is right now.

Okay.  Let's do a quick second round, and what we would like to do is talk a little about the challenges and the opportunities or we can call it the tops and flops of what we have experienced in the past six months since we have been working on that.  This time we will go the other way around.  So, would you like to start with that?

Yes. So, some of the tops for both will be, for example, for the first one, they see positive activity of the government being interested in involving in the future internet governance process because when looking at the fellows, we have, one of them is a journalist, one of them is from the ministry of communications of ‑‑ so we can see the government interest in becoming involved in that. And for the second one, one of our partners is another fellow from ‑‑ a consultant working with the government, working for the advisory. So there are a wide range of stakeholders that could come from these backgrounds.

So the stakeholders’ involvement might be a positive, but on the other hand it, when thinking of the flops, it will also be one of the most challenges we see in the both countries, even though they are interested, there has to be a lot of things to be done in the sense for capacity building.  Because in the first one, I have heard there isn't any organizations that are working on issues around internet focusing just on internet.  And without society stakeholders like this, we will be letting a voice, as well, but in ‑‑ in capacity building, we do have some civil societies that are becoming much more interested in internet issues.  But when looking at the other civil societies like, for example, human rights organizations, the lawyers association, so, there are a lot of stakeholders that are still needed to be built up capacity to actually to involve in the conversation. So capacity building of the stakeholders is a very big challenge.  That both of us is facing.

Okay.  Thank you.

Again ‑‑ already had local ideas, so that because of that, we have common backgrounds or our flops and tops are ‑‑ will be same.  The challenge, the main challenge, I believe is the knowledge and the human resource, then the finances.  And the media ‑‑ regarding the internet governance.  These are the three main challenges that we have.  The human resource ‑‑ things happen, the people who, with the knowledge in internet governance are very rare, it happens, the organize is ‑‑ problems.  The ‑‑ may not know what it is, even though they participated, they expect some result out of the ideas.  So normally this is not a ‑‑ project of IGF, internet governance forum, it's a forum, we are open for discussions regarding the internet issues.

So the ‑‑ what we have to do, there are, after the challenges we have to always think what we can do and what we have to do.  The ‑‑ part, the ‑‑ kind of thing I have participated ‑‑ is here who conducted that part of it, and ‑‑ also going to have school of internet governance internet governance, so it helps to challenge in old age and the regional people have to the local community.  So, the finances, we ‑‑ really good responses.  Some sponsors have some tag lines, so it is a challenge to act very balanced with the finances.  Finances means they will give the money, but they have to advertise and they have the ‑‑ so the idea of a balance place, no biases to be making the ‑‑ so we have to be careful and it's a challenge.  And the media, we need media advocacy and ‑‑ for special groups, we have to make special groups to make things happen, because this is not ‑‑ it is not a thing that we are gaining any product output from the idea.  

To make something happen, to make policies happen, we need strong media advocacy.  So I have ‑‑ with me, fellow, he is a very good ‑‑ and he will be there now.  And the things, the positive way we can handle those challenges for the next internet governance, because we had more discussions with the academy.  Regarding the ‑‑ what we have, after ‑‑ IG, we have a community.  We have a mailing list of around a thousand plus, so, it's a big ‑‑ and which already exceeded a thousand, we have a big community there for internet issues.  So, internet governance, we have introduced internet governance to them, so almost we have a community.  

Then we have ‑‑ what we have to do, we have to begin from the scratches.  So it will be a ‑‑ point for us.  Again, we have some money lest from the first IG, it will be another ‑‑ point.  Not totally ‑‑ government civil societies ‑‑ so the next time there will possibly be more positive than last time because still the community, they are communicating with us, we are hopeful that they will help us and we can move on from there.  Thank you much.

Okay.  Thank you very much, and just as another bit of information about how IGF academy works, what we also do is we have regional meetings of the fellows where people meet in person, which is really important, because most of the time, most of the year the process is completely on‑line, meaning that they are teleconferences, there's collaborative work in different work spaces, but it's really, really important to just meet in person, and we have basically two opportunities to do that here.  I mean, I'm just talking about this year, this was the first year, but we are hoping to continue with that and that is the regional meeting, one in Asia and one in Africa, and of course the global IGF where we can exchange the experiences that he alluded to, how to get governments involved and find be then funding.  So, please, over to you.

Okay.  So, I will start with my country, Togo.  So far, this year ‑‑ I think since ‑‑ parts of the of the IGF academy, and ‑‑ is design, the road map, this analysis we have, the communication strategy and the fund raising strategy we had, I think you really help us, or help me to bring new ideas in the national IGF community.  I will start with the flops and end up with the tops.

So, as challenged, we had this ‑‑ government.  So, our new strategy is that we are ‑‑ the government, we are able to approach them another way, unofficial ways, meeting them, talking to them as ‑‑ explaining the process to them.  Because in Togo and most of the African countries, they don't understand what's the IGF means, so, when you invite them to meeting, they don't want to get involved, they don't want to put them self in trouble, so they don't come.  This year we try to explain all the process to them ahead of the IGF so we get them involved.  And we did this on several other ways, especially this year we include some topic that have interest of the government.  I mean, we give them the opportunity to come, and explain the project.  I mean, the ‑‑ in the internet sector to come and talk about it, so it was actually a platform for them to come and talk to the ‑‑ and all the stakeholders and listen to the other stakeholders, too.  

So we have persuasion from the government, we have ‑‑ ministry, and ‑‑ participate.  So very good involvement of the government.  So, we also have a ‑‑ youth participation.  When I take my country, for example, the population, it's a representation of the population and ‑‑ 35 years old.  We have the very strong young population.  Those young people, they are internet users, they are the ‑‑ but in the past, I mean, the technical community was organized, the IGF did not ‑‑ this side of the population, the youth.  This year we give the opportunity to the youth to come and explain their problem, to express themselves see we include some topics that interest the youth.  How to start your business in the IT sector.  Those kind of topics that we include in our national agenda, having ‑‑ of the young people.  We have almost 400 people that ‑‑ IGF compared to the other years where we have 70 people, a hundred people.  So it's been a very good opportunity for us.  

So, we also have people who are ‑‑ online, which was very good opportunity to express them self.  We have the media ‑‑ because we forgot on the media, in the past, when the, we organized the IGF, we don't focus on this side of stakeholders, we don't see the media that something that can boost the IGF in Togo.  So, this idea ‑‑ ahead of the IGF, we have a very strong media advocacy.  Every program ‑‑ we talk about the IGF, so people don't get exactly what it means, what will they gain by participating in the IGF process, it was very good observation.  And also we tried to not rely on the ‑‑ because that has been one of the challenges, they always rely on ‑‑ the US dollars and sometimes the moan doesn't come on time and ‑‑ really affects the process.  So what we did this year is, we had a ‑‑ observation of the business in the private sector, we give them the opportunity to participate, sponsor us as donors so they come, we give the opportunity to showcase what we are doing, and also participate in the debates.  That was a very good experience, too.

So, also ‑‑ we don't have workshops ahead of the IGF to let people understand the ‑‑ so when they come to the IGF, they find a way of.  And also I was looking ‑‑ the government, for example, we give ‑‑ the opportunity to come and talk about the love issues ‑‑ policy in the country, so it was a very strong participation, too, which is kind of government stakeholders.  And I think all those tops I just mentioned come from the different meetings we have during our monthly meetings with the IGF staff, bring in our strategies, trying to make it very clear so all those meetings have passed to ‑‑ strategies and apply them.  Basically that's what we did in Togo.  And in Congo, too, I think it's the same thing.  They are trying to put up the communication strategy, the fund racing in general, when they organize the national IGF, it will be a very successful participation of the government and ‑‑ thank you.

Thank you very much.  And before you start, just reminder here that after her tops and flops, I will open up for question and answer, so if would have anything that you would like to ask, unfortunately be invited.

Thanks.  I think for both ‑‑ I think it's a global issue.  The challenges that we need to provide, media information ‑‑ people need to understand the power of media and how it can be used, but we need to add IG literacy to it as well, ensuring that the users also understand what their rights, freedoms and responsibilities are.  We are always focusing on rights and freedoms, but do we actually talk about the responsibilities that we have in regard to freedom of expression?

Another challenge that we have in both Mumbai and South Africa is between our governments, verbal and public statements around freedom of expression and the policies that are developing and implement.  So there is, lucky for us in both Mumbai and South Africa, we have strong vibrant civil society sectors that is consistently pushing back.  And I always say to my colleagues that we just have to accept that governments naturally would always want to have more power.  So that is why it is important that we have strong and vibrant civil society and media sectors.  

The media sector, what is happening and what they can do to be involved and participate in the process, and a civil society sector that ‑‑ the public and engages with government and advocating and lobbying.  That's what we do at civil society a lot in Mumbai and South Africa, holding government accountable, lobbying and advocating for the removal of problematic clauses in our laws and policies, and that's why you will find that we have a lot of bills that have been on the shelves for a couple of years because it's a constant back and forth between civil and society ‑‑ civil society and our governments on issues related to freedom of expression.

For us in ‑‑ we just started our organization around IG two months ago.  So for us right now, it is critically important to build our capacity.  And understanding internet governance issues and for us, a civil society, making the linkage between the internet and human rights.

So building our capacity and I'm always challenging and motivating my colleagues and saying that we cannot just build our capacity on the IG issues and because in the ‑‑ our government is just as clueless on IG as we are.  So I insist that we capacitate our government as well, so that we are all on the same page and 'we all understand what is important and what we need as a country in terms of IG.

We also have a conversation ‑‑ I just want to note that I will probably speak more about this country, but the IG process, I have my colleague here.  He is the editor of a magazine and he wears many hats.

So our, what we would want, we are members of the actual coalition, which is actually a grouping of civil society and media organizations and individuals interested in FOE issues, and ‑‑ information issues.  We have been working together since 2013, so we are very cohesive, well working group, and I think that is why it's so easy for us to take on the IG issue and to push it further, we have been doing this around FOE and ‑‑ information foreign the past three years.  As the actual ‑‑ it's important that we as a civil society, before we establish and are ‑‑ to formulate a position.  What is it that we in a civil society would want in regard to IG and what is it that we need for that to happen?  It's very important for us that we formulate the position early on.  If government and the business sector want to do that, they are welcome to do that as well.

Yeah, I think that's it.

Yeah?  Okay.  Thank you very much.  And now, is there anyone who already has a question in the room, to our fellows here and the way they ‑‑ in the back?

We have a microphone, please ‑‑ can someone pass on the microphone?  Thank you very much.

Thanks for the very insightful presentations from both fellows.

So, I just wanted, before I ask the question, I just wanted to say that maybe I think what you guys are doing is a very good approach to actually helping the ‑‑ this morning when we had the newcomer session in this very same room, we had somebody ‑‑ members, I also raised an important issue to say that I think there is a challenge ‑‑ I mean, you can go to IGF schools, but at the end of the day, you go back to your country and you have to obviously contribute to your society.  There's no specific document that actually helps you to build capacity and actually establish an IGF.  What I wanted to find out, I have seen that there are some documents that you are working on and also in this meeting, maybe the members should look at having this document as well as the best practices, with an exchange point ‑‑ I don't know whether you would want ‑‑ or you guys would want to work with the MAG members in terms of coming up with this document.  Thanks.

Thank you very much for the comment.  And ‑‑ yeah, yeah.  But ‑‑ there was a question.  So I would like to ask the other fellows to answer that., from the IGF's academy's point of view, of course, if you would be interested in cooperating there.  And we are also working in the remainder of the process and hopefully next year, to end up producing such ‑‑ we usually don't, we don't want to call them best practices, but, you know, like good examples of how you can deal with the challenges in your respective countries.  Okay.

Thank you.

Just keep talking, I think it's on.

It works.  First of all thank you, I would like to thank Lorena for this wonderful work.  I don't know how many of you were ‑‑ I mean, today, but let me just say, a lot, probably, let me just say I work for the Secretariat and I have a pleasure to work with many of the national ‑‑ IGF's which is my core responsibility, there are 79 now, NRI's, and also ‑‑ what I wanted to tell you is that you are completely right, the things that you are identifying here are being identified through the IGF and through many of the virtual calls that the IGF is coordinating with many of the initiatives for many, many years.

What we are trying to do now with the IGF Secretariat first of all, to develop a tool kit.  But what we were trying to do was establish a core document that will explain what are the key principles and how to organize IGF initiatives.  As you know, the IGF, as a global IGF, they have five keys that they follow, and ‑‑ that tool kit kind of aims to explain what does it mean to be a standard of care, what does it mean to be open, transparent.  You are more than welcome to join us after this. 

The second document that we want to do, we are going to to be kind of case study document, and this is something that the colleagues were referring to previously, which is I think very important.  We are going to gather the best practices and see how do you cope with certain issues within your respective community so we have one unique ‑‑ if funding is your big issue, you open the book and see this is what this country does, this is what they do.  And maybe land from other countries.  That's the idea.  I would use this opportunity to invite you.  I think it's wonderful that you organized this session and that you can establish this discussion and I believe the rapport that we will have from this session will be a very useful input to that publication.  

Let me just say that currently we are working with 79 national regional IGF's, which is equal footing.  No hierarchy between the global and the national and the regional IGF's.  We kind of look at it as a partnership and we are very happy that we have so many colleagues and friends.  And as you know, I think this side IGF is so critically important, for the very first time, we have the main session.  I think many of the stakeholders within the IGF still don't know about the others.  This will be a unique opportunity to make us visible.  We are giving a lot to the global IGF.  As you know, the work, the, they are the biggest contributor when it comes to sending inputs from the field. 

You ask for the inputs, that means you are getting information that are critical because the team are operating on five key principles and basically collecting the interest from the compliant.  In that sense, IGF is really aware of the fact that we are taking a lot from you, but maybe not giving enough.  We want to change that practice.  I'm going to invite you to attend the main session, to actively participate, to listen to the colleagues, what they need to say.  And on Friday, which is the coordination session, which is probably more important for us than the NGI, they will show us as being visible to the community so the community is aware of us.  

But the free session will have the key stakeholders within the global IGF there.  It will be a unique opportunity for us to say what do we want and how can them and the community can help us in what we need.  Thank you so much, I took a lot of your time, but I wanted to use this opportunity.  There's not a lot of these opportunities where I can speak to them and I think this is something we need to change and Lorena and the team recognized this.  Thank you so much for changing and making the G ‑‑ visible.

I think you for all of the important points, especially mentioning the main session and Friday session.  So, please look it up on the schedule and all the people who are interested in the work of the Secretariat with the ‑‑ that would be good opportunities to talk about it.  For us at the academy, it's really important that all of what we are doing is in line with criteria as the IGF Secretariat.  First of all, we agree with that and secondly, when it comes to legitimacy, it's important that all of these local and national IGF's are recognized, because that's what we want to achieve.

Anyone else of having questions for our fellows here?  I have one because I think we need to ‑‑ we don't need to, but it's a good opportunity to just give a couple of examples of how you can creatively come up with ideas to include more people, more stakeholders, but also just plainly more people in the process.  Please tell us about the situation in your country and your IGF, you already said you had an attendance of 400 people which is enormous, but also you had a good idea of how to include younger people who entrepreneurs, and not at all interested about IGF internet governance, how did you make them interested in that?

So, in my country, back home, young people are not really interested about this or this ‑‑ properties going on.  Because the ‑‑ that doesn't mean ‑‑ what we do is, they are more ‑‑ they are looking for job, they are there, nobody is listening to them.  So we think that the IGF ‑‑ can help us, that we can highlight all of those problems that the young people are having entrepreneur, and we have funding opportunities across the continent.  We try to put ‑‑ in our agenda, the IGF agenda, so the young people basically are, they come to listen to that.  And also listen to ‑‑ what is going on in the IGF sector.  

What we did is, when ‑‑ the government sometime, they don't really know the real challenges, those young end entrepreneurs are facing.  So when I give the example, they kind of ‑‑ in Togo today, but because we are not listed, so the consulate and the government, they don't know those challenges.  The young people ‑‑ they don't know the consulate.  But we include those subjects, we bring aspects to talk about it and all of this ‑‑ they are able to see or to listen to all those challenges and we put in our recommendation, how the government can help those young people fix those challenges.

So as I said ‑‑ it come, mostly come to participate, to listen, to, you know, all those things.  But also see what is the idea, what's our contribution, what are we ‑‑ so it was a strategy to also bring them.  For the business sector, for example, the ‑‑ we are about to bring them on board to come and showcase what they are doing.  For example, in Togo, most of our internet providers and ‑‑ belong to the government.  But we also have only one that belonged to a private business.  

So what we do is, we approach them and tell them that's every kind of product that we are being, you know ‑‑ circuit on TV, bring it to the ‑‑ for example, if you have a Wi‑Fi box, bring it to the IGF, share it ‑‑ to participate.  They share those gifts ‑‑ participate and talk about this.  So is it very good to advertise what in fact they are doing, and also ‑‑ because the government is there.  When you are talking about public policy, they are talking about the government's project, all ‑‑ to ask questions, to extend the debates.  So it was a kind of strategy we use to bring all those different stakeholders on board.  Thank you.

Thank you very much.  I see there is a question from the remote participants.

Okay.  We have a question.  It says the problem of awareness and capacity building is not just a question of one awareness campaign.  I think it requires more collaborative and sustainable approach.  What would be the correct approach in terms of political leadership in your perspective countries.  This is a remote question from ‑‑

Okay.  Yeah, thank you very much.  That is a big question.  We are running out of time, we only have five more minutes.  So of course we want to answer it.  But please be as brief as possible.  Would you like to take a shot at it and then we go around the table as the last round with this question?

So, definitely the involvement of political leadership is important.  And so we have to, you know, think about, creatively how we can get these stakeholders to involve, particularly the government, the ministries, and one of the, our IGF fellow had pointed out that focusing on issues that are interests of them.  For example, the government will be very interested in open detail and those sort of things, so we have to get them involved by using these types of, kind of topics that would be very important and interest this them as well.

Thank you very much.  Do you have a brief comment on that?

It can be best practice, but making them ‑‑ internet governance is one thing.  And again, we need relationship with them to get them into the IGF.  What ‑‑ IGF was IGF ‑‑ we appointed two persons from government and let them scam the department and government ministries to get them involved.

Okay.  Thank you.

Okay.  Not really ‑‑ comments on the question, but I will just be brave.  I think when we organize our national IGF, it depends on the countries, in our country, I think it's very lard to explain this into the government off line, bring them to the IGF, because when you just organize the IGF and you also hold them accountable, most of them ‑‑ never come.  It's better to explain it to them off line and bring them to the IGF to open the debate.  Thank you.


I agree with everything that was said.  But again, I just want to repeat, emphasize what I said earlier.  I'm a democrat, so for me, it's about ensuring that as many people are involved in whatever process, and basic quality and equal participation.  And that civil society is strong and vibrant and the media is diverse and ‑‑ independent.  And these sectors hold government accountable.  I think if these thee sectors are working together, consultation and parts participation, and the mind is empowered, then the media information, literacy, campaigns will be a success, but campaigns ‑‑ I want to turn it over to the ‑‑ but campaigns that are relevant, that are responsive to the environment.  Thank you.

Okay.  Thank you very much.  I think that was a great last round.  So if you need more information on IGF academy go to our website, IGF.Academy.  Also, this is a founder of IGF, we will still be around as well as all of the fellows that are here at IGF 2016.  So if you have any more questions to ask, please approach us and for the rest of the day, have fun, and for the rest of the IGF, have a very good conversation, good conversations, good networking and ‑‑ what was that?

Yes, please, hands up.  Yeah, thank you.  That's a very good point.  Show them who the internet governance fellows are.  Hands up, people.  Okay.  Okay.  Thank you very much.  And, yeah, have a good rest of the IGF that hasn't even started yet officially.