The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF intervention. 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, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> MODERATOR: Is this working? Hello, everyone. Good morning, welcome to this session that will be looking at the future of Internet governance through the lens of the gender and environmental sustainability priorities.
Some background to set the conversation. In 2021, APC and partners that have joined to organize this session carried out a series of multistakeholder regional dialogues. And conversations in Asia, Latin America and Africa to discuss how the Internet governance should look like in 2025 with the inputs of the regional convenings, we had a session at the IGF last year using the methodology of future scenarios to take stock of the IGF process and looking at alternative principles, modalities, structure and dynamics for the future for a people‑centered, bottom‑up and impactful Internet governance. The goal of this particular session today is for us to provide additional perspectives in relation to the future of the Internet as a contribution for the Global Digital Compact, with a particular focus on two of the themes, two of the issues that the Global Digital Compact is looking at. The gender and environmental sustainability. For that, I am pleased to have a panel of the partners that have got together to put together the contributions of the compact. Latin America, APNIC, dot Asia, and Kictanet for Africa together with the association of progressive communications. We will have three parts.
The first will provide input for the conversation around the two main focus of the session for gender and environmental sustainability. And we will have digital priorities. We will have the partners bringing the regional input to the conversation.
The last part will be the final remarks with some of the concluding aspects with my colleague Paola. We will also have the opportunity to bring your input, questions and comments during this session. Welcome, once again. I would like to start with Gayatri Khandhadai, the head of technology and human rights from the business and human rights resource center. Gayatri Khandhadai will join us remotely she will tackle the environmental sustainability issues. And the issues that play out in terms of the people centered sustainable Internet digital future. Gayatri Khandhadai, welcome. I am happy to hear your contribution.
>> Gayatri Khandhadai: Thank you, it is fantastic to see you Valeria Betancourt. And it is not very long ago that I was (distorted) in the conversation. Can you tell me if I am audible enough? Am I speaking slow enough for the captioners? Should I take that as a yes?
What I would like to do in the next few minutes, is touch on issues with the environment sustainability debate and with tech companies, I will frame around environmental sustainability and around items that seem positive and provide more advocacy at the moment. That is how the intervention will look like.
(Audio is distorted).
Before we get into the environment we have to look at it in the broader context of the fact that all accountability from the tech sector have been hard. It has been a difficult journey in terms of pushing tech companies to realize and the facts in the function and system they have responsibilities. The responsibility to respect our rights.
In ethical terms to refrain from causing harm. It is obviously hard to cause no harm because of the significant harm they've already caused.
At the moment our ask is to really get them to halt the cause they're harming and not further. That is the view at the moment. When it comes to the environmental impact of tech companies, it is across the life cycle of tech companies, all kinds of tech companies, not just privately owned tech companies, but partially state owned companies and fully state owned infrastructure related to tech.
Overall, throughout the life cycle of the entities there is significant environmental cost. We talk about the infrastructure level, the amount of land and metals in the structure, the damage caused to many lives, and the ocean in the process of the speed at which we are trying to connect. I think at that stage there is that. And at the hardware stage, there is little that needs to be said in terms of precious metals, the intensive need for precious metals, especially with electronic vehicles and the technology that goes into electronic vehicles.
At the hardware stage, there is a lot of physical environmental damage you see in terms of the extraction of water, oil, all of those things.
Then when we move into the youth stage of technology ‑‑ talk about the user interface and experience of technology, the amount of energy and carbon footprints in tech industries is costly. Not only by its own operations, but also in terms of the business model that is applied. The tech industries obsession with optimization, with the profitization and posturing until the last minute move fast and brake quick approach that the tech industry has. That is causing us to connect more, to interact more, to do more. Which all has a significant energy cost and a carbon footprint cost as all of you might know.
When we move to the third phase ‑‑ I am broadly categorizing it as a pre‑user phase, user phase, and post‑user phase. The third phase in terms of the different users of technology and industry (?)
(Distorted) it is not only e‑based, it is the kind of culture in tech companies of not necessarily paying attention to the environmental costs to the kind of operation that they have. The kind of energy consumption they also have, that leads to a lot of other kind of (?) and especially the name of the creation and making users comfortable in big tech companies there is a lot of this that is generated beyond (?)
The different spaces we're seeing significant harm that tech use and tech companies are causing. Unfortunately, I would say a lot of focus from what I have observed has been more about how consumers can mediate this and consumers can lower the environmental cost. Consumers have a role to play. The problem here really is tech companies and even Governments, the way we talk about tech and spending more time online and more time on the (distorted) (?) each on YouTube, it is difficult for consumers to pull back. In a culture that is pushed opposite to that arc.
It is almost to addressing tech companies' responsibilities around energy use and environmental impact. Broadly, the impact on tech, the platforms that are available for us to have this conversation are unfortunately limited. Because most digital rights spaces are grappling with the level of digital rights abuses that we are not able to get past to delve deeper into the larger systemic issues. The environmental rights are not specific tailored to the conservation. The digital rights are limited in that sense. The expertise that needs to be in the space and actors to be in the space to make change are not necessarily there.
If we move to the traditional human rights spaces. I just got back this morning from the U.N. Forum on human rights. There are several organizations with environmental sustainability, but there was no conversation about this particular sector. A sector that is causing so much harm.
A lot of the conversation in the business and human rights platforms and spaces have been tailored or targeting for lack of a better word traditional industries like mining, oil, those industries. Even health industry gets attention. In the business and human rights platform spaces, the Working Groups, tech industry is not specifically talked about. There could be many reasons for it. One is that digital rights groups are not active in those places because obviously our place is full and currently dealing with different priorities and different (?). (Distorted).
There is a third kind of platform, which is the environment focused platform. The Sustainable Development focused platform. That, too, unfortunately technology doesn't have that much significance. The amount of work gone into getting visibility for other industries is still in the making for the tech sector.
For digital rights groups and environmental groups, there is a lot of work that needs to still take place for (?) and environmental issues into these policymaking platforms and to the larger banner raising issue.
I would like to move to the last bit of my intervention, which is around a specific development, regulatory development currently ongoing. The EU digital directive on managing human rights and due diligence ‑‑ (?) (distorted) last week over 75 human rights digital organizations signed on to a joint statement asking for the due diligence directive to be strengthened, especially in the application to the tech sector. I'm just sharing that link in the chat. Several members who signed that are members and partners of APC's own network. Give me one second. I'm sharing that link here. At the human rights resource center we did an analysis about the directive in the current form, looking at it from a tech perspective.
(?) it is something that is getting mention in the directive. There are promising with particular relation to the environment and climate change. Overall sense and feedback we receive from the group is that it is not as strong or doesn't as mandatory especially climate change, it is not seen as mandatory as the human rights positions that the directive is pushing.
It means the directive that is being developed in the EU, like all other ICT regulations will have an impact on other jurisdictions. We're currently looking at a policy that is being developed in Japan, which went through comment phase and likely to get finalized in the next few months, similar to the EU due diligence directive, which mentions environment, which includes tech companies as a positive outcome from the Japan process. But we are going to see more regulation across the globe. The U.S. is the first jurisdiction where recycling and e‑based disposal regulations were brought in. Most recently in India, there is discussions ongoing about developing a law or regulation or policy. We don't know what exactly it is going to look like, which talks about standardization of charges, (?) we don't know what the focus of the policy will look like.
In the Global South there are multiple developments as far as regulation is concerned on environment and tech industries, due diligence and tech industry. Human rights and environmental due diligence in the tech industry that are going to be newer developments that are going to come up, which means that this is also a moment for us to mobilize, organize, and have a clear thinking around what is going to be our ask, how the regulations should look like and then comes the Battle of How tech companies will embrace these regulations and consequences of the tech companies if they don't. How the due diligence should look like within tech companies.
What I would also say is this regulation, especially the (?) and human rights due diligence pieces is important. It is the starting sets. It is requiring companies to do an analysis before the harm is done. So they can mitigate the harm. The problem really has been in terms of getting tech companies to know and then also show they understand the harms that their operations are likely to cause.
What is one of the key challenges with the regulations around human rights and environmental due diligence has been the fact that the value chain for tech companies are a little bit different from the value chain of traditional sectors, so to speak traditional sectors, in the sense that for tech companies, it is not only the supply chain that matters, actually the downstream aspects of the tech companies in terms of how they move the products, move their services, dispose of the products and the waste they generate, that is extremely critical.
The EU Council has come out with the position paper. I think it was late yesterday or midday yesterday that there are some disappointments, no doubt. But for the environment, it still looks okay. (?) pretty much the same on the environment. But several sectors. So I think all of these are things to be alert to and that requires a lot more mobilization, a lot more conversations and articulation for different ways of looking at it. Looking at it from digital rights and environmental justice perspective and feminist perspective and corporate accountability perspective and Sustainable Development perspective. It will require a lot of work, which means it needs to become a priority in the middle of all other priorities that we have at the moment. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Yes, thank you, Gayatri Khandhadai. Definitely backing the particularities of the tech value chain is a priority in terms of understanding the impact and how the regulatory and legal developments can respond to those challenges and the implications for the different jurisdictions. Thank you for bringing the issues for us and putting on the table those important elements for the conversation.
Next, I would like to invite my colleague Smita from the human rights program, to share the digital future, if we want Internet governance to really incorporate and add and respond to the gender dimension of Internet governance and gender dimension of digital technology. Welcome, Smita.
>> Smita: I don't know if it will work. Okay.
Keep playing musical Chairs in all of the sessions. Good morning, thank you for having me here. I'm really glad to join this discussion, because another thing we need to pay attention to is very much environmental justice within the technology spaces. I want to talk about gender and how do you ‑‑ you know, before going into gender in Internet governance spaces, I want to talk about what does a gendered Internet look like. And what are we speaking about this?
The reason why I think this is relevant to speak about, as I said in another session is that in the opening ceremony of this IGF, women and LGBTQ persons were mentioned once in all of 90 minutes. One Black woman speaker. This is a problem, right? This also really shows what are we thinking about when we talk about gender. Is it seen as important in these spaces?
For women as a particular person and persons of divergent identities and marginalized locations, the Internet is becoming a difficult space. This is because of the current social political positions and the authoritarian spaces. The censorship is one, and a big reason like online gender‑based violence which is targeted at women and queer people that work online. Especially if they work against the ruling Government in a country against dominant, religious norms in the country. Or just speaking and existing.
This is not unique to the Internet. That is something we need to remember. The power structures there in the Internet today are very much offline power structures which are translated into the Internet and online spaces. Which means a patriarchal society would be patriarchal online as well. If anything, it becomes worse. Homophobia offline is reflected online. Same with racism and casteism and the structures in the offline spaces is more online.
One of the spaces to talk about this is IGF at the global, regional, and national levels. The spaces are not accessible. They're not accessible for women, they're not accessible for LGBTQ persons. They are restrictive activity in terms of how many women are in the room and how many gender-diverse persons are in the room? It is a person where the conferences are held in terms of Visa, safety and language and accessibility. Right?
The reason why I keep saying gender diverse women again and again is because we are stuck in the idea that gender is binary. We're gender inclusive if we talk about women and have more women in the room. It is not. Gender is a spectrum. A universe. There are thousands of gender identities, we can start with a few. If we are stuck in the binary of man and woman, it is difficult to include people later. We know this best because it is difficult to bring women into the spaces which are largely white male dominated. Especially men from Global North countries. CIS gender heterosexual men. If it is difficult to bring in women and wait to bring in trans persons and queer people, we'll keep waiting.
Another reason to talk about and break the binary in how we understand gender in policy spaces is because policies love boxes and love putting us in boxes and making laws and a guideline on how it applies to. Policies need to be fluid if they understand and recognize that people are fluid. People are multiple things at the same time. I'm not just a woman, I'm and Indian woman, queer person, I'm all of these things at the same time.
If the policy looks at only one version, the policy will never address all of the rights I have or need in any space, right? In terms of accessibility and particularly because this IGF's key theme is building a resilient Internet that is sustainable and shared, it is important to talk about women and LGBTQ persons in emerging technologies coming up and what we are planning around these. Increasingly camera ‑‑ slower, sorry, yeah.
Increasingly, you know, there is more and more Governments which are implementing facial recognition softwares, algorithms, you know, increasing different sorts of surveillance technologies to govern or control the people. When the technologies themselves are problematic they again through certain marginalized identities identified again.
For example, if facial recognition is used as evidence in a judicial process, it is a problem. Because it is inherently racist, doesn't recognize women ‑‑ it has a zero percent rate in identifying trans and gender diverse identities. It recognizes Black women badly an confuses them with other people.
If you use this as evidence of proof in the case of the judicial system, it is a problem. If you use this mechanism as a way to ensure security in a space and you will not let some others that don't match ‑‑ this computer is saying are not right, it is a problem. It will become increasingly restrictive.
Accessibility is another element that we need to talk about. The reason I bring in other identities and locations and, you know, issues is because I don't think it is right to talk about gender as only gender as women, as sex, right? Because women are not just women, they're Black, queer, disabled, trans persons, all of this. Gender has to be read in an intersectional way. It is more than just man and woman. It needs to start now, because it is late, to be honest.
In terms of accessibility, I'm happy to see IGF, national and international spaces are accessible to persons with disabilities, increasingly. That is good. There are glitches to be worked out. That is always there. The good thing is we thinking about it actively. And language is a big barrier in who is in the room. The Internet is more available. In India I can say without knowing exact numbers, majority of the users that use the Internet are not English speakers.
If they want to talk about the problems they face online, there is no space for it, no language for it. How do they learn about this. They go to YouTube ‑‑ it is huge in many countries. I'm glad the IGF videos are in English and the U.N. languages which is not the majority of languages in the world. That is a big problem.
I want to talk about like the security. When we talk about policy, one of the things constantly coming up is security. Right? When we come into IGF spaces, we have to show our national ID or passport which has names which may have genders that we may not want for admission into the space. In the name of security, who are you throwing under the bus? People that don't look the part that they should be at IGF. People that look like they don't belong here. And that is how it is read. That is not ‑‑ it starts with like people who are gender nonconforming who don't fit the boxes of how man and woman should look. But people that are dressed differently, could ‑‑ all of this could be part of the continuum.
One of the things needed for the Internet governance is we need to talk about Internet shutdowns. Shutdowns are one of the biggest ways in which people are shut down. Access is shutoff. It disproportionately impacts women. There are millions without Internet access. Palestinians are censors on the expression online. Not just Palestinians, anyone talking about Palestine is banned and stopped from talking about it now. In the Internet governance it should include women and queer people in these spaces now.
Colonial power structures are not the only ones to dismantle. There are power structures in each country that need to be addressed. We can't hide behind decolonizing alone. This is something I heard in this IGF as well. Speakers and people said we don't want to get political here. We want to remain neutral. Your choice to remain neutral is political. You cannot be apolitical when talking about people. Internet governance is automatically about the people. If not about the people they will be words in the Cloud, unintended. Yeah, that is all. I will end there. Thank you very much.
>> MODERATOR: Around people and around people and other beings on the planet, thank you for reminding us for that. For the sake of time, we will move quickly to the multistakeholder panel, which we are going to be hearing regional perspectives around the two issues, the two angles of the digital future agenda and environmental sustainability. I want to invite Juan Carlos Latin America, ED of (?) Who is a convener of Latin IGF. Juan Carlo, happy to hear the priorities in Latin America in relations to the issues.
>> JUAN CARLO: Thank you for being a part of the panel. I have little time, so I will go quickly through this intervention. As was said, one of the conveners of the event is the multistakeholder committee in charge of the process. In that discussion the gender perspective was not one that took a separate and was transversally in the meeting.
From the priorities discussed throughout the session and thematic areas that were not about gender but had gender dimensions, will mention a few that are important on the firsthand is the idea digital future requires addressing gaps that effect gender intersectionally. Including digital gender gaps from basic policy levels by facilitating access for connectivity in the policy level by facilitating how licenses, how spectrum is allocated, how universal service funds are allocated with gender and diversity perspective to be integrated into those and to ease how difficult it might be to have access to the funds.
Also from the work with regards to connectivity and participation of online governance, we have seen that in those venues for decision‑making including not just Internet governance Forums at global, national, regional levels, but participation into protocol discussions. With no inclusive avenues for participation.
From the LAC IGF two big problematic areas were mentioned throughout the sessions. One has to do with gender‑based violence as real violence and concrete impacts on survivors. And the sensitive data handling of sensitive data. Including the gender identity of people impacted by the violence where there is insufficient sensitivity by the state agents and state systems that should be reacting to this violence which is criminal in many cases. Secondly, and to finish that this point gender disinformation was also part of the discussion as a problem that requires the approach and sensitive to the definition and impact, acknowledging that gender disinformation can be seen as a subset or at least a phenomenon with a huge overlap with gender‑based violence as a tech facilitated phenomenon with real impacts that should be kept in mind.
On the environmental justice side I want to bring up the discussions on this at a regional meeting last year. I will not assign names to that discussion because it was a closed door discussion virtually during the pandemic where some of the things highlighted were about dialogue between different sectors. Because in the Latin America regulatory and Caribbean, I must say, we see many gaps where the cost of the digital development worldwide is basically paid, basically burdened by majority world countries. Where we see that the big data centers are located from Monterey to Santiago in the south. Overwhelmingly owned by U.S. companies, where extractivism and exploitation of natural resources happens throughout the Region where the lithium and copper reserves are in South America as well. Where energy demands from the connectivity is not sufficiently covered by the cleaner energies and disposable devices that are not recycled or repurposed basically become more sources of pollution in our countries as well.
All of this presents an environmental cost, again, burdened by our countries that is not sufficiently ‑‑ not proportional to the benefits that are obtained by the digital economy.
Through connection of different agendas we could think about policies in different areas to integrate the perspectives into regulation, but we need an approach that takes into account not just national concerns but also regional and global ones and the inequalities that belie under all of the problems. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Juan Carlos. I will move quickly to Asia. I invite nerve, Jennifer Chung is the Director of corporate knowledge at dot Asia, happy to hear the priorities in Asia around these issues.
>> Jennifer Chung: Thank you. My name is Jennifer Chung. I'm now going to speak with the hat of Secretariat of AP Regional IGF because that supports the convening and logistics and undertaking of the annual meeting in Asia‑Pacific. I want to touch first on the gender aspect of our meeting.
I think this is the second year in a row that we had a very high‑level speaker at the opening and closing plenary. The digital Minister of Taiwan. Sensitive in our region for obvious reasons. They're a nonbinary person. Audrey Tang is a prominent digital Minister. They're knowledgeable, especially in the topic of e‑waste and gender‑based violence online. They have enacted a very interesting policy, especially in Taiwan to combat all of the informations.
In the agenda of the IGF, we had 18 very good workshops, but a big portion was to address persons with disabilities. That is something we have tried to include in the agenda setting, both from the planning into looking at speakers to content to make sure we include diverse voices.
In the sessions, of course gender has been touched on in many dimensions of course gender‑based violence. Looking at online harassment requires a shift of paradigm of thinking. Law enforcement, Government, and Civil Society. Of course Civil Society is most well-known and understanding of the issues. Law enforcement, in particular, when addressing the cases of online violence need to have expertise in online gender‑based violence to be able to correctly address all of these perpetrators and not have it turn into some form of victim blaming. That is a huge problem we have seen. Unfortunately, I think there was statistic that was pointed out in one of the sessions where online misogyny and violence has risen in an incredible amount during the pandemic. Because everybody's lives, work‑life, social life has been shifted online. The unfortunate matter of the thing is if you can hide behind anonymity online, you discharge responsibility in the words you put out there. That is something that is unfortunate and needs to be addressed in a holistic manner. We looked increasingly at the shrinking of civil spaces to be able to speak and advocate for different priorities online.
Finally, I want to touch on the environmental aspect. We had an interesting session in Asia‑Pacific this year talking about the carbon footprint of the Internet. While we have noticed there is the rise of people online and the amount of time spent online, does the carbon footprint of the Internet affect the overall percentage of the carbon output of the countries.
The Internet itself is relatively clean piece of technology, but it does depend on the power grids that are in each jurisdiction. It depends very much on which ISPs, the power grids and electricity use, if it is connected to renewable source or nonrenewable source.
There was a pilot study done for six different jurisdictions in Asia‑Pacific. Hopefully, this coming year there will be an expansion of 15 to 20, looking at different dimensions from the efficiency of the Internet, from the economic aspect and from the energy aspect.
The three different axes can show and allow us to compare across the different jurisdictions to see how we can improve and going forward how to take the findings to actually go to our different Ministers of energy, different Ministers of ICT to kind of encourage them to look into these things, to green the Internet and allow us to maintain the sustainability of the Internet as a whole. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Jennifer. Please do share the link to the study. I'm sure it will be of great interest of the ones following the issue.
I will now move to the African Region with Barrack Otieno from Kictanet, the ICT network. The floor is yours.
>> Barrack Otieno: Thank you. I will try to follow suit and be brief. My name is Barrack Otieno. I'm from the Kictanet network. Currently our tag line is the power of communities. We're doing a number of initiatives or engaging a number of initiatives aimed at contributing to the subject that we're talking about. I will focus on matters that touch on agenda and the environmental issues that are: Shaping how the Internet of the issue should be like.
I will focus on three core or three key initiatives and I will also touch on principles because I believe that one of the important outputs of this session is to come up with principles that will help us shape or guide the Internet of the future.
We have been working in the area of community or of ensuring that more people in the communities are able to access the Internet. And we have had a project with APC, the lock net community championing the community networks. This is significant for the future, we are trying to bring the power of the Internet at community level.
Communities should be able to design and build infrastructure that suits their needs and that addresses their issues at local level.
So more of a bottom‑up process of ensuring that communities are involved in Internet governance processes.
May I also state that recognizing the ICT action network has been convening the Kenya Internet governance Forum. We're in our 17th edition. We have focused on a range of issues from the year 2008, starting off with infrastructure issues to current issues that are focusing more on the user or human centered design issues such as AI and data protection issues to name but a few.
In the 17 years, we saw it fit in 2016 to start the Kenya School of Internet governance. And to date we have trained over 300 participants that are active practitioners in their own way, championing various aspects of the Internet that have actually been discussed by the previous panelists. I think the community networks initiative has been very significant. Because we're seeing it is not only in Kenya, I'm aware it is also taking place in other African countries. It has brought forth issues that are important pillars for the Internet of the future.
The first one I would wish to submit to discovery is promoting digital literacy as a basic right. This is the first point that will ensure that there is inclusion from the ground up. More off than not, we have the conversations in privileged environments, such as the one we're in or from the comfort of our capital cities, wherever we come from.
As the previous speakers said there are many people in other areas that can barely afford to have a conversation around Internet because they can barely put food on the table. Who needs to be included in this conversation?
The second issue that we have been doing, which will touch on the environment pillar. Kictanet has been working with partners with the support of UK8 on the digital accessibility program or digital accessibility initiative.
To date, over 1,000 farmers have been trained on different areas of digital literacy. We know in most countries, farmers are the ones who really engage with the soil. Most of us who are from the cities, the environment is when we discuss the environment when you are talking about pollution of air and say noise.
But when it comes to usage of soil, planting of crops or maintaining an ecosystem that actually countries a decent environment, you find it is the farmers that do this. Kictanet has been training many farmers through the digital accessibility program.
This program is actually being scaled throughout the country. I believe that it is something that other countries can be able to borrow from.
It leads me to the second principle that I wish to promote, which is promoting community‑centered design in addition to human‑centered design in tech development.
We can only be able to come up with solutions that are suitable for the community by involving the community from the word go.
Building up the capacity to be able to appreciate how technology can be able to ensure we're better at managing the environment, and better at addressing gender related issues.
And the last point that I wish to also address are best on the agenda lenses. Again, Kictanet with APC and other partners have developed a digital inquiry kit. It is online, with the support of GI Zed. It is an online tool. Currently as we speak in the last three months or so, it is a nationwide initiative starting with Kenya to create awareness on online gender‑based violence.
This content is on a platform called Atene, I believe it is accessible to the global audience. I believe it is a small way of ensuring we create more awareness on online gender‑based violence. And we also give the power to community members to be able to address issues that touch on online gender‑based violence.
As I conclude, and as I touch on the remaining principles that are ‑‑ that I wish to propose for consideration, again, there is need to focus on championing for enabling legal and regulatory frameworks. And in our work, whether it is with ‑‑ through the APC lock net program or digital accessibility program, one thing we are doing is influence the policy environment to make sure there is supportive, legal and regulatory frameworks to make sure people can access the Internet affordably and the Internet is resilient. Towards this end, with the support of the partners I mentioned. Kictanet working with the communication it is authority of Kenya ensured that we developed a community network license in record time. And currently, our regulator working with Kictanet and other stakeholders is looking at ways of actually ensuring there are more community networks in the country. Beyond the licensing framework looking at financing of community networks.
Again, the issue of digital literacy is very key. We are looking at how together with other stakeholders to raise resources that make sure that digital literacy programs are conducted at community levels.
I would also like to mention that open infrastructure and accessible infrastructure is very key. As we know, many times our infrastructure environments are gender driven as opposed to solution oriented.
When we talk about communities, sometimes communities cannot afford the technical solutions that are devised by international operators. It is important to consider open solutions, open licensing to make sure that the marginalized are involved. Sustainability can be pegged on institutionalization. I have had alternative conversations that we should be free to do things the way we want.
I think looking back, Kictanet, I believe is among the many initiatives that partners like APC started from the word go.
The reason we have been able to come this far and even having this conversation is because we have built communities of practice that are now sustainable. I would wish to stop at that. Thank you very much.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, we're running out of time. I would like to give the opportunity to you all here in the case that you have questions and comments or reacts to what you have heard from our speakers or also if you want to share any perspective in relation to both the responsibilities of the tech corporations in relations to environmental impact or gender considerations for the digital future. The floor is open for any one of you who might like to intervene. Please go ahead.
>> ATTENDEE: Thank you very much. I want to thank the panelists for their presentations. However, I just want to state that God created man and woman, we can't runoff from that. All the recalling considerations are man's creations. And in this digital space, we also have to note that countries have laws that they put in place and in considering the freedoms over the Internet, the laws in those countries must be respected to ensure that there is no violence and there is no computer misuse. So that is just what I wanted to state. Thank you very much.
>> MODERATOR: Please. There and yes. Please go ahead. First there and then you.
>> ATTENDEE: Okay. Can you hear me. I'm from Indonesia, the freedom of expression network. I just want to understand how are we going to be able ‑‑ one of the biggest uses of Internet is the social media platform. And then now we have a situation where Elon Musk is buying Twitter and making ruckus on Twitter itself. It is affecting so many things especially when Indonesia has a good use of Twitter through the political situation in our country. And I would like to know how we can intervene such situation. Because the thing with Elon Musk and Twitter, it shows that the digital ... that the platform itself is very fragile. The digital platform itself. The ecosystem itself is very fragile. I don't know how we can intervene when people like Elon Musk have such stage in the digital ecosystem itself because I can see that it could be a precedent, especially the ongoing conversation about Apple and Twitter dynamic they have just two days or yesterday. I know this is affecting because we at south net have a help line to help the online gender‑based violence. When Elon Musk throw at Twitter, it is hard to communicate with the Twitter teams when we are trying to escalate our reports on online gender‑based violence so on. I would like to know if maybe we could have also this discussion? Thank you so much.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. Let me take other question. Then I'll get back to the panel for reactions.
>> ATTENDEE: I would like to say I'm quite uncomfortable with a religious statement getting involved in such conversations. When we look at religion and we all have different religious perspectives. We see gender‑based violence justified in many religions. If you think there is a particular God that created gender. There are also people that don't fit the binary female or male system. If you believe in God, I think those people are created by your God as well, probably. So it might be a good time to maybe reconsider our language in terms of how we think about what we're going to respect and what we will prioritize and whether any particular belief is more important than people's actual experiences in eliminating violence. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, I would like to give the opportunity to the panel to react and respond. Back to the panel. There is another question. Please, go ahead.
>> ATTENDEE: Thank you our able panel for the discussion. We are so grateful for whatever we are discussing today that has to do with gender.
I want to ask this question. What can we do to bridge the gap between gender and ‑‑ between male and female in the Internet space? What can we do to build the capacity of females to deal with gender‑based violence on the Internet? Thank you.
>> Thank you, I will give a go at the questions. I will start with the first one on Twitter. To me, it is a great opportunity that is presenting itself as a challenge. We can vote with our feet. There is no obligation to be on any particular platform. And that's why I advocate for the power of community networks. We build our own infrastructure, which we have control over. The problem with commercial entity is it is commercial. (Barrack Otieno)
Elon Musk can decide to shut it down today. Allow me to state his name, if he shuts it down or turns it into whatever he wishes, it is within his right within the jurisdiction where it is located. That is why we need open systems that have no particular ownership and no commercial background. I think with the work that we're doing with communities, this is very possible to be able to do it.
I'm sure there are many alternatives. I know most of us who have been in technology for a while, we have moved across many companies that we cannot remember. So nothing is permanent in the world of technology.
On the issue of the last speaker has asked, I wish to point a few facts that I had included in my notes. There needs to be deliberate effort. I have seen Telcos in my country, Kenya, where I come from, support women enterprises that are in technology. And I think it's worked really well. Because not to say that ‑‑ forgive me if I may use the wrong words ‑‑ that there is any less of an agenda, but I think sometimes the realities in our society require that we consider ways of ensuring that actually women are in the mainstream. These are things that corporate entities can be able to do and Governments can be able to do, and we can push for this deliberately.
Secondly, we have seen also corporates support a range of issues even with ranging from U.S. to environmental sustainability and the like we need to raise and amplify our voices.
I go back to the point on community‑centered designs. Sometimes I believe women are left out because of the kind of responsibilities they have to undertake. We need to bring technology closer to them. We need to make it more accessible to them. And being someone that is running an infrastructure company I have seen and mention out of experience that women really utilize technology for the benefit of the wider community. We have to be deliberate and intentional about bringing technology closer to them. Never mind considerations such as whether they're return on investments and the likes. The fact of ensuring inclusion and equity we need technological solutions that are closer to where they're working from so we can be able to leverage on the unique strengths and also make sure they're particle and parcel of the Information Society we're building. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. Reaction. We're running out of time and need to summarize.
>> Smita: To respond to the last question. One thing to really do to improve access and meaningful and safe access for women is start at your home. This is not to say that systemically, they take time. I know for a fact in India, young women get phone last in the family. Boys get phone at 13 years. Girls and unmarried women's use of mobile phones are heavily monitored by the men in the family. After marriage, it is monitored by the husband. These are things we need to challenge at individual and family level, to start with. If you want to address online gender‑based violence, one of the first things to do is when women tell you hey this happened on the Internet and I'm bothered by it, we believe them. We don't say oh, it is just on the Internet, why are you so bothered by it. These are things that you start by.
When advocating with the Government, you know, they think that people that talk about gender are soft and only talk about feelings, it is not just that. By leaving out women you lose billions in GDP. We need to do research to find out how much is each country losing. Internet shutdowns in 2020 it cost $126 billion for the countries where Internet shutdowns took place.
When women are not present in digital spaces you literally lose a trillion dollars in a year across countries.
If money is what we need to use to motivate people to care about gender and women online we use that. Which means we need to do research and find out what is actually happening. These are ways in which we can address it. That's all. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much. I want to ask my colleague, Pablo Hinojosa the policymaker in APNIC to share the view of what we are hearing contributing to the global digital compact, we have the motivation of compiling input for the digital future we want.
>> Pablo Hinojosa: I will try to highlight the main points. They are policy focused. We're looking at the digital compact as an opportunity to address the issues. I want to say the policy solutions are a small piece and can't stand alone. We talked about capacity building and movement building and what to do now is see how all of that relates to this policy issues that I am going to highlight right now.
So I think we had both issues concerning process and content. So I will start with process and clearly, like the main issue here is inclusion and really discussing what is the procedure, who is in the room? What we mean and how we operationalize that. So we discussed exclusion factors like language, disability, Visa. I like the Visa. The format. And how you define gender. And really, the importance of not working with a binary approach to gender.
Then moving to the more substantive discussions, these are substantive discussions as well. But looking at gender and environmental as substantive issues, the first thing that was raised was that really, we still don't have a good map of all the harm that the tech factor or technology and the environment. We need that. We need to look at the whole value chain from the product and extraction of the things to produce, then the production itself. The use and disposal of the devices. If we don't look at all of that, we don't have the clear idea of the harm. As Juan Carlos was saying, the issue we have already observed, confirmed is that most of the cost for all the harms is being ‑‑ how ‑‑ transferred. To the Global South, like he said, the rest of the world. The cost is an environmental harm. There is a discussion, an idea that the use of technology can reduce carbon emission, but we need really more information to each question that and have evidence if that is the case. If not, what is exactly going on.
There was an important part of the discussion that focused on the importance of communities. So it is about inclusion, but also about a better way of developing policies and developing technical solutions. So Barrack Otieno talked about community lead solutions and design and how digital literacy is key in this aspect so we can build the solutions and then replicate the solutions that are created really from the needs of the community.
This is a strategy, actually to work on the two main issues, environment and gender. It is a strategy for working on the issues, how you can better address the issues is really at the community level.
Looking more specifically at other gender key concerns that were raised, the two main ones were clearly online gender‑based violence and gender gaps in relation specifically to digital inclusion and in a more expanded way.
Then we talked about regulatory frameworks and how enabling regulatory frameworks are important, financing options, affordability, the role of open technology and open solutions more broadly like open licensing schemes. And financial finally related to what I said before, policy and movement get together. There was the suggestion of investing more in communities of practice.
At the end now, during questions we discussed about platform accountability and platform accountability has to do with regulatory framework. So it is building on that.
In a nutshell.
If you have other points or want to contribute more to the process of brainstorming for the Global Digital Compact, talk to us at the end of the session.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Paula and everyone, this expands what we are doing for input in the Global Digital Compact, we intend to put together a contribution for the Global Digital Compact and other opportunities to engage with the process. And we will be also happy to share news in relation to what is coming in our own contribution. I know the opportunity to keep engaging in conversations towards imaging together a digital future. Thank you so much everyone for coming to this session. And hope to see you soon. Thank you, everyone.