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.
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: We are supposed to start at 3:20. But I don't know if we can already start or if we can see the on‑site venue? Are we still waiting for people to join in the room?
>> Yes, we are just waiting for the slide presentation to appear on the screen, and then we can start.
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: Okay.
>> NNENNA NWAKANMA: Hello. I'm just trying my mic. Can everyone hear me?
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: Yes, Nnenna, we can hear you. So it seems that you will be able to talk today.
>> Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us for this session, which is going to look at the Civil Society engagement into the Global Digital Compact, in the 2021 common agenda, the U.N. Secretary‑General proposed to agree on a Global Digital Compact with the motivation to come up with a set of principles for a free, inclusive, open and sustainable digital future. Since the Global Digital Compact was launched as an initiative, the U.N. has opened a process to invite the different stakeholders to join this multistakeholder digital technology track in preparation for the Summit of the Future, during which the Global Digital Compact will be agreed upon.
We, Civil Society organizations, working on various aspects of digital technologies including the intersection of digital technologies with development with human rights, with gender, with social justice, et cetera, have identified this process as a crucial one in terms of not only imagining but working towards the digital future that we want. And we should answer the call of the U.N. to bring different perspectives and to facilitate the inclusion of voices, including and with a particular emphasis of voices of marginalized groups. And we have been contributing since then through various initiatives to the Global Digital Compact. It is obviously a deliberative process, creating a public engagement through information, facilitated discussion, and a structure aggregation. And our focus has been around doing so.
In the session today, some key Civil Society organizations that work both globally and regionally and that have facilitated engagement of Civil Society groups around the world will share experiences, histories, and also lessons learned of the processes that we have been conducting so far. The aim of this session is also to include ‑‑ to discuss some next steps in relation to Civil Society engagement in the global digital process.
We will have Yu Ping Chan from the Office of the U.N. Tech Envoy to share the current time line and also some developments of the Global Digital Compact. We will have also Nnenna Nwakanma from the worldwide web foundation who will tell us about the initiative. We will also have Antoine Vergne from Missions Publiques who will also share the initiatives that they have been undertaking. So welcome again to the session. And with that, I will give the floor to Antoine who will give us some context of the Global Digital Compact. So Antoine, you have the floor.
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: Yes. Hello. Thank you. And hello, everyone. First of all, I am part of the digital crowd today in the room. So thank you and welcome to all the participants that are online. I will be also looking at the chat. So we are here today to talk about the engagement of citizens and stakeholders, including the digital global compact, what is it about, what you are seeing, that Yu Ping is going to explain in a bit. She is in another meeting, so she will join a bit later. So I will start explaining the context on behalf of her, and then she will join to share some experience they have done at the U.N. Tech Enjoy Office. And for that ‑‑
>> Sorry to interrupt you, but Yu Ping is already here.
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: Oh, okay. So Yu Ping, so you can start. So I would like to give the floor to Yu Ping from the U.N. Tech Envoy Office. And if you want to guide us on the process and the first learnings you have, that would be great. Thank you.
>> YU PING CHAN: Apologies, Antoine. I had the opposite today. I'm a little bit early. No problem. I just want to start by saying how much we welcome this opportunity to hear views from stakeholders into the Global Digital Compact. Many of you might have heard already a lot of references to the compact and that the fact that we at the Office of The Tech Envoy at the United Nations really want this to be inclusive and transparent. And that's why a lot of the thinking around the Global Digital Compact at this part of the process is to hear from different groups, different stakeholders, try and listen as much as possible, and engage as much as possible.
So what I will do is update you on the process, and maybe we can go to the first slide. Thank you. And then maybe we could also take questions later.
>> Could the host please put the slides on the screen? Thank you.
>> YU PING CHAN: To where we are right now, the negotiations on the Global Digital Compact will be a member state in that process. The President of the General Assembly in the United Nations in New York has appointed facilitators to lead where they discuss the Global Digital Compact. But there is contributions and engagement. And here we are really hoping that besides having inclusive cuttles and dialogues, be there will also be a strong push by stakeholders and member states to really say that as part of the member state in that process, there will be more than enough ample opportunity for stakeholders to also be part of the process itself. So not just in consultations and dialogues but also when the negotiations themselves start, whether there can be some input processes for stakeholders as well. So this is where we at the Office of the Tech Envoy have already created this sort of infrastructure around having inclusive consultations and dialogues. And that's where, for instance, on the website of the Office of the Tech Envoy, we have launched a public call for inputs to hear from anyone anywhere as to what you think should be part of the Global Digital Compact.
So if you go to the website, there is a specific section where you can submit your inputs and those inputs will be displayed publicly for everyone else to see and to interact with. And we hope that that will be the opportunity to really hear from everyone, every member of the public, every organization that's interested, networks, constituencies, as to what you want to tell the U.N. and the member states and the negotiators for the Compact, what should be the content of this compact itself. So that's the public inputs that we are hoping can be as diverse and representative as possible, and then we as a Secretariat will compile this together and present it to the member states hopefully to actually give them the ammunition to say that this is what the global community wants to see, and in the process of negotiation of the compact itself, also make sure to feed in these diverse voices as well. And then the Global Digital Compact will be adopted at the Summit of the Future which will take place in September of 2024. This has been announced by the Secretary‑General of the U.N. as part of a major report that he issued one year ago called our Common Agenda where he has called for a Summit of the Future which is not just about digital but other areas as well such as youth participation, outer space, environment, emergency preparedness, peace, a new agenda for peace, which digital being one of the key aspects of the Summit of the Future. So that's the Global Digital Compact. Could we have the next slide, please?
A little too fast?
>> (Away from mic).
>> YU PING CHAN: Yes, September 2024. If you look at the slides and time line, this is basically background of where we are and where we hope to be in September 2024. It all started with the report that I mentioned, the Secretary‑General's Common Agenda report that was issued in September of '23 and then what we did as to launch the platform, earlier this year. And then there were also these consultations that were organized in New York among the member states and stakeholders initially around the Common Agenda report. And now we are in the phase where we're going to have consultations for the Global Digital Compact itself with the collection of all these various inputs from stakeholders and the facilitators for this process have actually already been appointed by the President of the General Assembly. He will be the permanent representatives of Sweden and Rwanda in New York. So the ambassadors that lead the delegations there in New York, and they will also be using all the inputs that we help as an office help gather, the systemwide sort of initiation of activities that the rest of the U.N. system are embarking on to prepare for the Global Digital Compact as well. Some of you might have been in the open forum that just took place where the U.N. agencies were all talking about what they are doing vis‑a‑vis the Global Digital Compact, events they are organizing, activities that they see as contributing to the thinking around the Global Digital Compact and how they see the Global Digital Compact as impacting the world in the long run. We are right now in that sort of consultation phase, which will then lead to, I know, it's a lot of U.N. processes. So bear with me as I go through them.
The next sort of big milestone will be in September of 2023. So not September '24 for the Summit itself, but next September, there will be a ministerial meeting on the Summit. There will then be the Summit itself in September of '24. You'll see the Secretary‑General of the United Nations and our office are producing these issue briefs updates on the process with some of the thinking where we will be collecting a lot of these public inputs, results of consultations like this, views that we solicited and we've heard from stakeholders as part of that preparatory material to be compiled and presented to member states as part of the negotiation towards the Global Digital Compact. Can I have the next slide?
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: If I may, I moved it because I was thinking you would read it later. So you have five or six slides and then comes yours. And then we will see yours.
>> YU PING CHAN: Yes.
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: Here. Right.
>> YU PING CHAN: Perfect. Thank you, Antoine. So these are the areas where the Secretary‑General in his original report outcome and agenda proposed suggestions for inclusion in the Global Digital Compact. So if you go to the tech envoy website, you'll see that the initial areas that we suggested to get views and inputs on are these seven listed here. So connect all people to the Internet, avoid Internet fragmentation, human rights online, protecting data. This is where the inspiration for the IGF comes from. The five priority areas, the tracks for this year's IGF with these seven areas. That's why we are seeing cuttles and discussions as very important as feeding into the Global Digital Compact because it's precisely these types of discussions we are having here that will be the basis of these inputs and the consideration for the Global Digital Compact. So this alignment that we've had with the IGF this year has been very valuable and we are really looking to all of you to provide the concrete meat of these recommendations from the IGF into the U.N.
So these are the seven areas that have already been proposed as part of the Global Digital Compact. But in stuff the discussions that we've had so far, some of the consultations that we've held, there are been suggestions for other areas. Can with we go to the next slide? Some of these are other issues that seem to have come up already. There are opportunities through our website to talk about other areas. Also to suggest some of these other areas. We also welcome further thinking around other areas as well that you can, you know, approach my office to continue a consultation on, provide more substantive inputs on. These are areas that have come up. There is a sense we also need to focus on the opportunity side of digital technologies. And I think you heard the tech envoy emphasize this point that besides addressing the challenges and risks of digital technology which is very true, we also need to realize what the transformative potential of digital technologies are and to relook at how digital tech can be part of achieving the sustainable development goals. In terms of some of these areas, the nexus between digital and environment, the issue of digital public infrastructure, Digital Economy and so on, that's a lot of the issues coming up including at discussions here.
So these are additional areas that, you know, have come up and we encourage others to consider as well. So, for instance, there's been a push for gender to be at the heart of the Global Digital Compact, and that is something that should be addressed. So I think I'll stop there so as to give enough time for other comments and reflections. But happy to take any further questions.
>> Thank you so much, Yu Ping. I think it's important to take the opportunity since you are here, if there are questions in relation to the process and the time line. Starting perhaps by sharing the deadline for contributions. It could be important to hear about that and then please let me know if you have any questions for Yu Ping.
>> YU PING CHAN: So the public call for inputs, the deadline for submission to my office through the website is March of ‑‑ 31st of March next year. So there's still quite a little bit of time. I mean, I will be very frank and say that is the official deadline that's on the website. So we really encourage people to get it in by then. I think, though, that there will be opportunities also to reflect on further inputs a little bit later on. But please try and get it in by 31st of March because we want to use that as the means to consolidate a report from our office and member states and that would at least also give enough time for others to look at your inputs and also think about how to engage collectively. This is why I actually think that the most impact will come from coalitions of like‑minded constituencies, networks, NGOs, coalescing around certain themes. If you put your info on the website, you'll see other like minds around key areas of interest.
>> Thank you so much. Is there any question for Yu Ping in relation to what you have heard? Please go ahead.
>> Thank you, Yu Ping. Quite clear but always fast (laughing). What I see is that even as you said, putting your suggestions or one's suggestions on the website will give opportunities to see where you can build coalitions, I think that some of us who work in this space, we already see the potential for pulling together coalitions, in which case pulling together a coalition and actually getting feedback from focus group discussions and other kinds of stakeholder engagement, probably we are not going to be there fully by March. And so I think that there's individual organizational feedback, and then there should be coalition‑type feedback. And just because we are in the room, I'm just thinking, because I represent an intergovernmental council. And usually whenever we are talking about these things, we focus a lot on Civil Society. When it comes to digital, we now have to focus a lot more on the private sector. But I wanted to suggest that we could give some guidelines as to how to do the stakeholder engagements in such a way that they are really multistakeholder. Because if we talk among ourselves, most of us are already persuaded of what needs to happen. But it's only by listening to others that we can figure how we are going to make it happen because we understand better the other points of view. So I just wanted to say that. We are just coming out of a session which was looking at ‑‑ how can we put it ‑‑ forced ‑‑ let's say child abuse online. Let's simplify that. And this is a major issue and a very tricky issue. It goes to the heart of different value systems that exist globally. So I just wanted to mention that because it's not there, and children's rights and child abuse is, I think, one that all of us are concerned about, not only for the traditional kinds of pornographic elements, but also now with the involvement of major digital platforms in education, we are looking at children's data rights and their rights to privacy as well. Thank you.
>> YU PING CHAN: I think it's a very important issue. I really hope that you can raise this by the platform but creating constituencies. One other idea I have on this idea that's very important to have also feedback on this. I think also you should look to which agencies in the U.N. system that want to bring up these issues and make sure that these issues have a life beyond the GDC. So the GDC is a document, but what we also want to give is give the guidance and motivation and turbocharged parts of the U.N. that are already working in the space. So for example for online protection, there is the global partnership to end violence against children which is very active and has been talking to my office and myself about how they can precisely amplify this issue of child rights and child protection online. So in the same way I really do encourage colleagues, if you are interested in particular areas, come and reach out, and I'll try and connect you with the parts of the U.N. or other like‑minded partners who might want to make sure that precisely you have that feedback and coalitions and try and initiate types of activities that can go beyond just the GDC but also persist in concrete ways beyond just the compact itself.
>> Thank you very much. Any other question before we move forward? Go ahead, please.
>> Thank you. Thank you so much. My name is Franca, and I'm from Uganda. I have specific questions around leadership involvement. If I heard you right, you mentioned the inputs supposed to come from the various countries, right?
>> YU PING CHAN: So the platform is actually open to anyone anywhere. Private individuals actually have been writing in to the platform. So you as an individual can submit. We allow for governments to submit. We allow for NGOs, organizations. And so it can be really literally any organization, any person. It doesn't just have to be governments.
That's the point of it being multistakeholder. It's open to everyone.
>> Okay. So now, that's my comment is most of these ‑‑ for example, The Global Compact in my country back home in Uganda, the people that would be implementing this would be the country leadership. We have the minister, we have the telecommunication companies, Uganda Communication Commission, and I'm not sure the extent to which these stakeholders are aware, because even when we come to this table and we discuss all these issues, personally, of course, I'll go back and put my comments and also be able to reach out to a few other stakeholders and they'll give you inputs. But at the end of the day when it comes back to the countries because we are supposed to carry this forward in terms of policy implementation, the people that are going to be implementing this may not specifically be aware, it might be a challenge. So for me, I think it links back towards what you mentioned, the level of stakeholder engagement, maybe we have a country‑first involvement, while we have the top leadership. For example, representatives from the ministry in my own country, the telecom companies, because these are stakeholders, and Civil Society organizations like people working on civil rights and then you have a collective effort. And then those discussions that feed into that online template come from a focus group discussion of all those stakeholders, because at the end of the day, we are going to have individual people giving their opinions, but at the end of the day, it is the people that have no power that are going to give their opinion. And those that have power and mandated to implement these policies will not be able to take effect. So I don't know if you have a solution around that. Thank you.
>> I will just take two more questions, and then we will move to the presentations of the experiences of consultations and development of submissions so far, and then we can go back to questions. And then I will give the floor to someone who is participating online.
>> Yes, thank you very much. And thank you, Yu Ping, for running through the context and the time line for the process of engagement for stakeholders. My name is Mark Arvel. I'm a member of Euro DIG, and I'm leading and running an online consultation which we've got. We've got a commenting platform ready and actually open to start receiving contributions from stakeholders across the European region. And so we plan to submit a response, a contribution, in line with your consultation process early next year.
My question is really about the process beyond the report you mentioned is going to be a compilation, and the ministerial meeting in September next year, and beyond that leading up to and including the Summit of the Future. Will there be further opportunities for stakeholder communities, including regional IGF, to engage in the process while the member states are negotiating and hopefully doing so in an open way? So that's my question. What will happen in terms of openness and engagement beyond the summer? Thank you.
>> Perhaps a question from remote participant, Sergei, who is asking about the legal force of the Global Digital Compact. Is there a digital compact to any legally binding document in and then we will go back to the other questions at the end of the session.
>> YU PING CHAN: Thank you. Very quickly, let me start from the back. No, it's not meant to be a legally binding document. But I think links to what the first colleague mentioned, right? At the end of the day, it is still a document that is to be signed by the heads of states of all countries. So in the same way that we look to normative guidance or soft law instruments from the U.N., you take this document and say, your head of state committed to these specific commitments and actions and we expect you, ICT regulators, ministries, government officials to abide by these principles that your head of state have already committed to. So this is why I also make an appeal to stakeholders. The more concrete these suggestions can be, the more you build these coalitions and press member states to put in that kind of specific language, the more we can hold people to the specific asks from Civil Society and the community of what we expect to be in the Global Digital Compact. And then so to the second question from Mark about opportunities for engagement. To be very frank, it is ultimately a member state‑led process because it occurs in the U.N., which is primarily a member state institution. And so in some ways it's not for the U.N. Secretariat to decide the process itself. And because the PGA has appointed the co‑fill Tatars, the Swedish, it's for them technically as representatives of the member states to decide on the formal process of negotiation and how stakeholders will be involved. We are certainly doing what we can to make sure that stakeholder inputs are really factored in and to clearly communicate to them that there is strong commitment, enthusiasm stakeholder community to be part of that process. There is huge value in making sure that communities are consulted because you have the technical expertise. In New York these are representatives of the ministries of foreign affairs. Precisely not the regulators and technical experts and so forth. It's really important that the discussions be informed by those who are working in the field directly with policies, affected by policies, marginalized communities and so forth. But then what we do need is for everyone to really activate that sort of constituency that you have with member states as well to make sure that that is fed into the member state‑led process. That the member states that really do value the IGF, the multistakeholder inputs also say this when it comes to negotiations around process in New York itself. So the Secretariat that's at the highest level, the Secretary‑General has said that he expects the Global Digital Compact to be the outcome of a multistakeholder digital track. But what we need to do is make sure that that message is also clearly communicated through New York as well.
>> Thank you so much, Yu Ping, and everyone for the questions and the interest. So let's now hear from Nnenna in relation to the initiatives that the worldwide web foundation have been undertaking. So I'll hand it over to you.
>> NNENNA NWAKANMA: Hello, everyone. Hello, everyone.
>> Yes, go ahead.
>> NNENNA NWAKANMA: I am live from Estonia. (?) I don't want you to concentrate on the match.
>> Nnenna? Nnenna? Sorry to interrupt you, but we are really having problems hearing you, if you can go to a quiet place or get closer to your mic, we would really appreciate it.
>> NNENNA NWAKANMA: Can you hear now?
>> No. Really are struggling.
>> NNENNA NWAKANMA: Now?
>> That's better.
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: So Nnenna is trying to engage 60,000 people on the Digital Global Compact during an futbol match in Qatar. And we will see what the results of that engagement are in a couple hours.
>> NNENNA NWAKANMA: You should be able to hear me now.
>> Nnenna, let me ‑‑ are you back, Nnenna?
>> NNENNA NWAKANMA: Yes, I am.
>> Okay. Go ahead.
>> NNENNA NWAKANMA: Great. So following up from Yu Ping, I wanted to share two or three things. We have the context. This session is supposed to be for one hour. So we should be mindful of the time. The first thing I wanted to ask to look at is how do we maintain civic engagement? From the Web Foundation side, we have had five consultations, in‑person consultations. Across media, across activists, across West Africa, across rural women, across women who work in the Women Rights Online Network. These are different communities. So my question to Antoine, from the consultations we've had, is across, number one, for civic engagement, I think we need to think of community coalitions (?) And Yu Ping mentioned it, community‑based coalitions. In other words, people who have ‑‑ who are in the same region can have a coalition and follow the process. The other one is policies. Are you interested in human rights?
Are you interested in connectivity? We have coalitions around us and contribute and follow the process. So that's my first recommendation.
My second recommendation is on the sustainability. I don't want to take all the time. It is true that we host the coalition of about 100 organizations. (?) 2024, I don't know when. We may not always have a Web Foundation. You see what I mean. So it is very important for us to maintain sustainability. And I don't see it. My third and final point is on engaging international level. Our friend from Uganda spoke about it. It is not enough to engage from the Office of the Tech Envoy, but it is important that we get on the ground with all our member states because they are the ones who will negotiate.
Finally, as I said to member states that invited me around this time last week, we must ensure that the communication and transparency is key, because when we know how the process is going, it is easier to accept the end product. Now, be mindful that the outcome is not satisfactory to you, and that is when you need to engage. At a minimum. Thank you very much. The match is about to start. I'm going to be off camera and off mic. Thanks and I will remain online in case there are questions. I may chime in. But feel free to email me or on Twitter. Thanks, everyone.
>> Thank you, Nnenna. It was indeed surprising to hear you with the background of the anthem of my country. That's weird. Okay. Now let me go with someone in the room. I would like to invite one of the organizations who are part of the program committee of the IGF, the regional Latin America and the Caribbean who align its process this year with the Global Digital Compact, so we will hear the process and also the concerns and the priorities that the regional community identified. So Jamila will comment.
>> Thank you. Yes, my intervention goes a bit in line with what was said before on the need to converge debates and conversation about digital cooperation in relevant and consolidated multistakeholder processes and also reacting a bit to what Nnenna was saying, finding their form of reaching sustainable engagement from the communities. So I will quickly bring the case of the IGF as was mentioned, together with APC, also are members of the program of the IGF, and this year we saw great value in using such space to advance the regional agenda and to engage the different stakeholders to join conversations around the Global Digital Compact. And it was also an opportunity to resignify this as a key regional coordination space. The Latin America and IGF this year happened online as in the previous editions, and it had more than 400 registrations and participations online during the three‑day event. The first day of the LACIGF was dedicated to youth sessions, and it had a significant youth participation calling for cryptography as a fundamental mechanism for the digital world and the need for secure systems, acknowledging the rapid evolution of computing power in the add vents of quantum computers in a way that is more accessible to people in how people can intervene in the way these emerging technologies are built. The need to create secure software and web accumulations and accelerate adoption of common standards. The need for security by design. And some of the future challenges for the world of education and work. During the following two days, four sessions were organized in topics identified from the Global Digital Compact agenda by the Latin American community through a public consultation facilitated by the program committee and highlighted the following regional priorities which I will try to synthesize as much as I can.
In terms of connectivity, there was a call for an enabling environment that allowed the co‑existence of different models of provision of connectivity and access as well as special measures oriented to ensure affordable access to Internet and not cumbersome access to licenses and spectrum, redesigning the universal services funds with gender and diversity perspectives, the need for investments ‑‑ the need for incentives for investments, tax reductions, et cetera.
On the protection of human rights and digital environment, the diagnosis is that digitization of ‑‑ digitalization of public services has accelerated in the past years without considerations on human rights, at the same time some of the challenges identified in the regions had to do with the advance of biometric or facial recognition technologies, the tendency for governments to acquire technologies for surveillance, intrusion, as well as attempts to limit and end encryption in the region. Another was related to tech facilitated gender‑based violence which have concrete impact on survivors' lives is participants highlighted in institutions, the need for institutions to also take responsibility on handling sensitive data and on answering to these issues.
And while lack of a single standard for the governance of artificial intelligence in other regulatory matters was highlighted as an issue, a strong statement was made that there are big challenges in adopting global frameworks as they do not ‑‑ particularly when they do not adapt to local realities. This was also an issue highlighted in a second session about data protection when, again, comments were made that some common regional standards are used for the advance of data protection frameworks in Latin America, but that doesn't mean they have to be the same. And, again, a call on contextualized regulation was also made, and for a stronger connection among the development or standards and regulation and the living realities of people that are being affected by regulation and technology.
Finally, there was a session dedicated to disinformation and platform regulation and the participants highlighted the need for the state and private sector to agree to human rights accountabilities and mechanisms and also shared concerns around how public authorities discourse may potentially violence in and disinformed speech and also represent misuse of the public infrastructure they are supposed to take care of.
So I will keep it here. There were some mentions about the need to tackle gender disinformation, emphasis on digital literacy, and an equality‑sensitive approach when dealing with these aspects. We think this was a great opportunity, again, to start building a common space for a discussion again on relevant aspects for this process, and we hope to use this to develop a Latin American contribution to the Global Digital Compact with other committee members.
>> Definitely the IGF has confirmation that it can be a platform for channeling and enabling and facilitating the conversation and policy dialogue but also contributions in the perspective of aligning with the other processes that are relevant for the regions. Next we will hear from Antoine from Missions Publiques about the initiatives that they have been conducting in contribution to the Global Digital Compact. So Antoine, let's hear from you, please.
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: Yes. Hello and thank you. So we will be two voices. Antoine and Yaul. I will introduce and then I will give the floor to Yaul to introduce one of the pilots we have done on citizen engagement. And then I will also shortly talk about another experience, engaging non‑usual suspects into Internet governance.
But first, one principle is ‑‑ so when the speaker was saying how do we go and listen to others, and that's what we try to focus on at Missions Publiques with our partners worldwide, is to go and look for people that never talked about Internet, never talked about Internet governance, and even don't have Internet. The goal is to engage non‑experts, ordinary citizens, through what we call a democratic process. So the goal is to randomly select a group of citizens which are representative of the diversity of their country or region, and to give them the keys to have the good questions to the questions that stakeholders are asking themselves, but also the basic informations, contradictory informations on the topic in order to be able to discuss those topics. We have been doing these kind of processes at local, national, and global level since 20 years at Missions Publiques. And since 2017, we have been working on the future of the Internet with that basic idea of involving the people who have to bear the consequences of the policies.
In 2020 we had a global citizens dialogue on the future of data, the future of information and disinformation, artificial intelligence, and Internet governance. And many of the reasons were around Internet governance and the future of Internet governance, so the work that has been done after on the roadmap was also very in line with that dialogue, and we would like to go on working with citizens on their recommendation for the Global Digital Compact. And that's our work. We've been having the chance to have one pilot. And I will give the microphone to Yaul who is going to explain to us a bit more on that pilot. Yaul, the floor is yours.
>> Thank you. If the host could please unmute them. Thank you.
>> Hello. Can you hear me? Thank you very much for this opportunity that has been given to us to talk about the Global Digital Compact. As was already mentioned (?).
>> Sorry. I'm sorry. Not coming ‑‑ not coming through clearly. We cannot hear. And the transcripts are not being able to capture what you are saying. So if you can just check if there this is problem with your mic, please, and share what you wanted to ‑‑
>> Can you hear me?
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: Not well.
>> Can you hear me now? Can you hear me?
>> Yes, we can hear you. Maybe you can share, Antoine.
>> Thank you, Antoine. Okay. So I was just saying that thank you for the floor that has given to me to talk about the experience of Burkina Faso, being without the Internet first and also the opportunity we had to introduce the Global Digital Compact to the citizens of Burkina Faso. And just a bit of history, the Global Digital Compact was introduced in the context of the COVID‑19, of course, and also a bit of instability in the country, but we were able to manage and handle the Global Digital Compact in this session. Basically, the session was actually about talking about the Internet, which Antoine expressed, how we give the floor to citizens to engage in the dialogue about the Internet governance. The dialogue has become our common ‑‑ sorry ‑‑ okay ‑‑ has now become our common goal that everybody is using the Internet. But we have noticed that this actually has not given the chance to express themselves, especially youth. They have not given a chance to express themselves in the country, given what they are going through with the use of Internet. So the opportunity was given to introduce the Global Digital Compact on the Internet in Burkina Faso. And among other discussion, they were given the choice to the participants to choose six priorities aligned to the Global Digital Compact. And through the discussions of the Global Digital Compact, citizens came to the conclusion about the top two priorities they think are really relevant to them when talking about the Global Digital Compact. But before that, I would like to talk about a bit how, in getting together to speak about the compact. If we can go to the next slide, please.
So basically, we managed to have 200 citizens participating in the hybrid format. More than 100 participants were online. Also due to connectivity issue, all of them could not stay until the end, but we managed to hear their voice and discussion. And as I mentioned, two priorities came up out of six priorities that were presented to the citizens. And all in all, they all agree upon priority 1, which is connecting everybody, meaning everybody should have quality Internet access. And the second priority that I think is really relevant is data protection. You know, the data protection to ensure that everybody that is protected and regulated either use or transfer, also disclose data ‑‑ data from each users.
So this is because mainly in the country, the Internet means having access, means also having access to information. It also facilitates communication with family, friends, and other stakeholders. And for them, protecting data is important to (? ) And also safeguard the privacy of the users. So among also what we mentioned, the less important priority of the participant agreed upon, it's priority 6 and 7 which were about intelligence artificial. The priority is not really relevant, is not really appealing to them because it's not in line with their day‑to‑day, you know, struggles they are facing. So they also tried to come up with some guidelines to different stakeholders in line with the different priorities. They said those are key priorities they wanted the government to be focused on. And the key element for the public sector and the government regarding priority number 1, which is connecting everybody, they wanted the government, the national authority, to ensure that the entire region, entire country, is connected.
When it comes to data protection, they want the government to pass a law that enforce citizens protected nationally and also internationally. They also invited the Private Sector to engage in the dialogue and also to engage in working to comply with the data protection law online and also offline. They also engaged the private sector to work closely with the government to reduce Internet access costs. And one of the recommendations to Civil Society is to work in raising awareness about the use of the Internet and also raising awareness in the scope of online data protection.
The participants also made some recommendations to international stakeholders, helping the country in terms of the Internet governance. They mentioned that each country must connect to its entire developed country must bring their expertise to developing countries in technology, and each government must also, of course, ensure that the data stored on the servers are well protected by laws, and they (?). In the international private sector, to them they request that they work in compliance with the regulation at a national level when it comes to data protection.
So those are a few, I would say, commitments and recommendations to citizens where able to make with regard to Global Digital Compact in February this year. And some lessons we learned ‑‑ next slide, please. I also try to stress lessons learned so that we can make the next Global Digital Compact discussion in the region and also in other countries more, you know, ready, readiness, in terms of readiness to discussions. Next slide, please.
So some lessons we learned from this discussion, Global Digital Compact, lessons learned, what worked and what did we learn? So we can say that the hybrid format works, and people were able to communicate and engage. And we used sets of different tools of maintaining communication with the participants, including online forums and also online documents that they can contribute together at the same time.
So engagement from participants were really important, and we really appreciate that. The participants were really engaging, and all the topics discussed were of high interest to them. And also we have the chance to have the representative of the person in charge of digital affairs. This is something we think for future event like that, it's going to be really, really relevant to have representative from Ministry of respective ministry in charge of the Internet and Internet governance to be part of the discussion.
We didn't have a chance to have a, I would say, private sectors because we still invited them, but they could not make it to the event. Private Sectors were also invited. And the activity was also high in interest for the media. And facilitators also were highly informed. They took on information in the discussion in explaining, deepening the understanding of the Global Digital Compact to the participants so that they could get more insight on what it expected from them and what they can give in terms of return. Also, a concern about why not engage, the high‑level discussion among citizens who are digitally literate. Those who know about ‑‑ those who are really informed about the Internet and Internet governance to have a set of maybe high‑level discussions among those citizens and to have‑‑ collect data from them, alongside with the generosity and discussion.
So what we learned also is that the participants want more contextualization of the Global Digital Compact. The participants also want more word from high‑level person at the U.N., as we did during the global citizen dialogue on the future of Internet in 2020.
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: We need to move on.
>> Oh, sorry.
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: Yes. We have three minutes left. And I wanted to ‑‑
>> Oh, sorry.
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: Yeah. I wanted to maybe ‑‑
>> Do you want me to wrap up?
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: That's a good wrap‑up on the experience. I wanted to add a very short thing. Can we see the next slide? Because this is the kind of process that we have piloted. And there is another one that we had the chance to work at Missions Publiques. It was the conference On The Future of Europe. It was launched by the parliament, the European Commission, so the member states in Europe, and they engaged citizens randomly selected from all the member states of the EU into a discussion on the digital future. One of those panels, citizens panels, was on stronger economic and digital transformation. And the citizens had the occasion to give 40 recommendations to the parliament on the future of digital matters in Europe. And, of course, many of those topics were around topics that were also covered by the digital compact. This is more about the process and to share with you that it is possible for very international organization for roll out citizens engagement with ordinary citizens and that it can have an impact. I just wanted to share that experience because it's a very good way of showing how citizens engagement can have impact, and actually this Friday, the European commission and the council will come back to the citizens, and we'll deliver and present what they have done with the recommendations of the citizens. So I can only wish that we could have the same thing, the same process, with the Global Digital Compact, and we are going to work on it. I give you the floor back in the room.
>> Thank you very much, Antoine. Let me just briefly give a couple of minutes to the room in the case that there are ‑‑ are there any initiatives that you are engaged with and would like to share? Have you engaged, any of you, with the Global Digital Compact discussion, and how so? Is there any update from you or also if there is any ‑‑ a specific recommendation on how to continue and sustain the input from Civil Society, your ideas are also very welcome. So let me just give you the floor in the case that you have some suggestions.
>> Sorry. If any of you are interested in going to the Friendship Park, there are some shuttles that's going to start collecting people at 6:30. So if you're interested, yeah. Okay, sorry.
>> Okay. We will make sure that we are done by then. Thank you. It is up to you. You want to share anything or share suggestions in relation to what to do next to sustain Civil Society, and input in the process, your ideas. Otherwise let me just thank you, and I'll just check if there is anything.
>> Sorry, I had my hand up. My hand was up.
>> Okay, go ahead.
>> Okay. I'm not looking at it.
>> NNENNA NWAKANMA: I just wanted to say that (?) In collaboration with the Office of the Tech Envoy is organizing regional consultations.
Three of them, actually, in Africa, Nairobi, next week, another one in Latin America and another one in Asia. So I don't know if you are aware of it. I know that this is an international cooperation‑driven event, but I think that we should be aware of it and keep in contact with the office of tech envoy. One other thing I would like to lay at the table, I don't know if Yu Ping is still there, is regular communications on the website so that we know what is happening when it's happening. I know that Rwanda and Sweden will do their part, but I think that ultimately they are accountable to the office of the President of the General Assembly and not to Civil Society. And so we are hoping that the Secretariat will do their part and keep us updated through the website. Thank you.
>> Thank you, Nnenna.
>> Thank you very much. Judith, external senior adviser for the U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion. As we know and we want to thank APC, as always, for the support for Civil Society engagement, the special rapporteur values extremely any views, ideas, and thoughts that Civil Society may have, and we would also commit to both receiving any inputs and suggestions that Civil Society representatives may have either as a collective, as individuals, or from individual organizations, and as we prepare independent experts input into the existing and the open consultation, we would be very happy to take those views into account but also, as always, to maintain an open dialogue with Civil Society to hear your perspectives.
>> Thank you so much. It's very important, also in terms of alignment and making the most of the possibility to contribute to the processes, and because they talk to each other. So thank you so much for attending this session and for your contributions. And I hope we see you in future engagements that the organizations in relation to the Compact. Definitely there are some plans ‑‑ do you want to ‑‑ yeah.
>> Do you mind if we do have a few? I know you want to let people out a little bit early, maybe. But just to know for people who are interested in what are cross‑cutting issues, there's a lot of work that's happening on gender.
And so U.N. Women have been working with Yu Ping, with.
Amandeep on the U.N. tech envoy's office on cross‑cutting issues, of which there are many, one of them is gender. You saw one of the components is human rights. So we can intervene just on this. But also if we look at this cross‑cutting, because what we're seeing is happening is a lot of the gender issues are getting siloed, and the perspective that we had from the Web Foundation is we're seeing the increasing hostility on the Internet on the web that is losing women's voices, women's political leadership. So it's actually the way that the web and the way that the Internet are governed are affecting our democracies, our sovereignty, and so these are really these critical issues, freedom of expression, freedom of information. So the Global Digital Compact open consultations are closing at the end of March. Earlier in March is the commission On the Status of Women. U.N. Tech Envoy and U.N. Women are closely working together on that. There's a movement of many different Civil Society organizations that are delivering on that as well. APC, Digitalis, Access Now, Women's Rights Online, some of us would really welcome, if that is something you are keen on, there's sort of a four‑month deliverable on that front and would welcome your collaboration. Thank you.
>> Thank you so much for the reminder of the possibility to contribute to the cross‑cutting issues and the possibilities for collaboration. So watch for those opportunities, and I hope we see you around those efforts. Keep the Civil Society voice active and vocal around the global digital process. So thank you very much, everyone.
>> ANTOINE VERGNE: Thank you. Bye.