The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during an IGF virtual call. 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.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Good afternoon, morning, ladies and gentlemen. I will start in two minutes. Let us give the people who are still loading the software on a little bit of time.
Okay. Let's start the meeting. Unfortunately, Lynn is traveling today, so she cannot chair this meeting, so I'll step in for her. She will try and log on and listen in, but she's going to be traveling through, you know, customs and security, so she won't be able to speak.
We are going to use the hand-up system today. If you're logged on via computer, you can see it on the screen. So could you please put your names into the system if you want to speak.
If you're unable to log in, just either email Luis or put your name into the chat queue, and then Luis will put your name into the speaking queue.
Okay. Okay. Now, the first order of business, as usual, is to approve the minutes. Does anybody have any amendments -- amendments they would like to make to the minutes -- I mean to the agenda, or shall we consider them passed? I'll give it a six count, as Lynn usually does.
Okay. So on AOB, there's a request for a third face-to-face meeting Arnold has suggested. Okay. We can discuss that under Any Other Business.
Okay. So I'll consider the agenda agreed upon, and we'll go to Item 2 of the agenda, which is the miscellaneous updates from the Secretariat.
Now, as you know, the -- we have extended the deadline for the workshop proposal submission until the 6th of June. So far we have received 112 draft proposals. I think the French offer -- they made an offer to hold -- they made a formal offer to host the IGF 2018 meeting on the 24th of May. I think the French President announced it. This offer is with DESA, and DESA is in the process of sending a reply, and this is the only offer that we have received, so we just have to wait for the formalities to take place before it's officially accepted, but I don't see any other offer coming from any other place, so I think we can fairly safely just continue our business as if we are going to have the meeting in Paris.
As you know, with the meeting, it's going to be three days instead of the four days. It's -- this is according to the information that I have. Online we do have a representative of the French government who is here and can answer any questions if there are any questions concerning the French offer. They're still working on details of Day 0, so once we get that information, we will send it out to the MAG list as well.
I think I'll -- let me just continue, and then I'll open it up for questions. And this Monday, we also launched calls for the Open Forums and the IGF Village booths, and we are going to have all the requests for rooms -- everything that is going to affect the rooms before our next face-to-face meeting so that when we select the workshop proposals, we also know how many Open Forums that we have or how many DCs that we are going to have as well.
We may have to do a little bit of juggling with the schedule. The Secretariat is also in the process of producing a blank schedule because we do have to have some recalculation of the sessions that we can have for the IGF 2018 meeting.
I think with that news, I'll open it up to the floor.
>> DALILA RAHMOUNI: Hello. Hello.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Hello. Yes.
>> DALILA RAHMOUNI: Hello. This is Dalila. (Off microphone)
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes.
>> DALILA RAHMOUNI: I would like David Martinon to take the floor some minutes.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Oh, sure, please.
>> DAVID MARTINON: Good afternoon, everybody. So my name is David Martinon. I'm the French Ambassador for Digital Affairs, and I am happy and proud to confirm what you have just said currently to the members of the MAG. It is the fact that the French President actually proposed that France host the 2018 IGF. We have managed to find three days in November to organize it, so it would be on the 12th, the 13th, and the 14th of November.
As you rightly said, we are trying to find the right formula for the Day 0. The initial idea was to juxtapose the Paris Peace Forum and the IGF, so the Paris Peace Forum is sort of a new forum dedicated to all forms of governments, and it will be attended by a great number of heads of states and government, so the idea was to make the most of the presence in Paris of these heads of state and government and invite them to attend and participate in the opening ceremony of the IGF.
The location would be UNESCO because, of course, if we could obtain a positive decision from President Macron, it was provided that the cost of the event would be as limited as possible, and budgets have already been voted for in France, so we have to organize something in six months, so obviously we needed to do it to -- on the basis of costs that could not exceed the Swiss addition, so this is why we worked on that with UNESCO. UNESCO has a particular rule -- financial rules, so we're trying to adjust that. We'll work with the -- for the rest, we'll work with you, Chengetai, and we'll work with DESA on this. We're positive -- we're optimistic we'll find a way to cover the necessary expenses, and we believe it's a great signal to have the IGF hosted at UNESCO because of the rich organization and mission, and so we've activated -- I mean, we've sent a message to the French (Off microphone) Society so they can submit their ideas of (Off microphone). We look forward to sincere conversation with the MAG on this. We definitely need the French (Off microphone) Society to be onboard, and we are working hand in hand with the French chapter of the IGF. We're attending meetings right now and in July, and we might make stock of the results that they will have obtained in the -- in the meetings that they are organizing.
So this is basically what I can say for now, and, again, very happy to hear comments and suggestions and remarks. And, of course, this three days that we've identified for the organization of the IGF are mixing with the end of the ITU Plenipotentiary. They're aware of that, but if you see what happened in the last (Off microphone) in the world, we don't see any other option, but, again, as I said, we will have a presence in Paris of this group of heads of state and in government because we see it is necessary now that heads of state and government get involved in intergovernance issues and discussion, one.
Two, we want to avoid, at all costs, December. We believe it too late, and so if we do that, we don't see how we could do it at other dates than the three dates I identified. And by the way, the experience is the Plenipot is the interesting stuff is done in the first week and the last week is (Off microphone), so the (Off microphone), so we believe that it would affect the outcomes of the effort.
I'm done, and I'm happy to hear the suggestions.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, David, and, again, I'd like to express our gratitude to the French government and also your hard work to bring this about. Thank you.
In the speaking queue, we have Arnold, who's asking for the floor. Arnold, please.
>> ARNOLD VAN RHIJN: Thank you, Chengetai. Can you hear me?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can.
>> ARNOLD VAN RHIJN: Well, thank you, and good afternoon from the Netherlands to all, and thank you to the French Ambassador David Martinon for his explanation, and of course, many thanks to the French government for their offer to host the IGF 2018. It is really good news, and meanwhile, the MAG has worked hard to prepare already this conference, so we're really looking forward to come to Paris; however, I had some questions related to the date.
You already mentioned the French Ambassador that there will be an overlap with the Plenipot in Dubai, and I also noticed an overlap with the Paris Peace Forum, which is going to be held from the 11th-13th of November. As we all discussed, there is a strong wish within the IGF community to have more involvement from the private sector and the technical community to the IGF.
I foresee -- and I hope it's not true, but just an observation -- that since there are two parallel meetings, interesting meetings, the Paris Peace Forum and the Plenipotentiary in Dubai, that lots of governments and private sector will choose for those meetings instead of the IGF.
I've heard in Brussels, here at home, and other places, and specifically on the question where are you going to go, either to the Plenipot or to Paris, and they said I'm going to the Dubai meeting since there are negotiations foreseen on issues, related issues like cybersecurity, and that means that these negotiations will continue throughout those three weeks in Dubai, and as we all know, at the end of the three weeks, it will be tough negotiations. At the end of the Dubai meeting, we can see, then, the final results.
So at least the last week of those three weeks of the Plenipotentiary in Dubai will be very important, so that means that many governments and private sector will be there to see that there will be no resolutions adopted, which go beyond the mandate of the ITU, so it's very important, and that means looking at the IGF -- I hope I'm wrong, but I think it's a challenge from the French government to do their utmost to get more companies and governments to Paris that we have them onboard, and looking at the agenda of the Peace -- the Paris Peace Forum, it's a broad agenda. It deals with governance solutions on five key issues, like peace and security, environment, development, digital and new technology, and inclusive economy, so I just wonder whether those people attending the Paris Peace Forum are familiar and acquainted with the issue of Internet governance and will go to the IGF meeting, which, as I've mentioned before, is partly already in Paris, from the 12th-14th of November.
Sorry for the length of my intervention. I hope I can get an answer from the Ambassador or from you, Chengetai, to see how we can get more private sector, more governments to come to the IGF meeting in Paris. And once again, thank you so much for the French government for their effort to step up and, of course, also to the IGF Secretariat and the chair for their -- well, their intensive efforts to finally get a location for the IGF 2018. Thank you very much.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. Thank you, Arnold. Yes, I mean -- just for my part, yes, it is unfortunate that the PPT is happening at the same time, but I think we can also draw some people from the Peace Conference, and we shouldn't also forget that there are missions in Paris that have people going for UNESCO, so maybe we can draw those people, those people from the missions, just like when we had the IGF here last year. We had a lot of people from the missions based in Geneva, so we can do an effort to attract those. They may not be the same old regular faces that usually come to IGF meetings, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. If more people from the missions get to see what the IGF is about and, you know, the more feel from the governments that participate in the IGF, I think it is better.
We will try and reach out to the business people, and that is also one of the good things that it is in Paris, which is a great commercial center, and there are a lot of headquarters from companies that are based there, and we will try and reach out to them to come to the IGF.
I will hand it over to David if he has anything more to add or -- David, please.
>> DAVID MARTINON: What I can say? I don't think we will welcome exactly the same persons from government. It is true that some of the topics that we usually deal with at IGF will be for the first time held or discussed at the Paris Peace Forum, which, again, is part of the mission for it, and we see that, a great advantage to bring new people, new speakers, new government to the governance discussion. We think it's a unique opportunity to bring new attendants, new audience to this topic, and so obviously, the people who will attend the Paris Peace Forum are not initially going to be the same as the IGF, and we see that as a great advantage. (Audio breaking up)
The Paris Peace Forum has a much wider range, much wider reach than the IGF (Off microphone) digital (?), and so we are currently working on the right mechanism, the right logic to bring new people to the IGF from the Paris Peace Forum and to sort of attract the usual attendees of IGF to other topics, like climate change, like, you know, (?) in general, which we (Off microphone) also in Paris at the same time. By the way, we are working on a scenario in which the (Off microphone) of the IGF will be partly organized as Paris Peace Forum so that the usual attendees of the IGF could have a chance to discover other topics than (?) relations, referrals.
As regards the PP, again, my experience is that most of the discussions will happen at the beginning of it, and I understand after ten days, we're done and we're left with the real technical discussions, and I don't see any reason to imagine that it would be different in time, and if there is (?) on the very -- how do I say? -- digital argument, which is Internet governance and stuff like that, I do believe anyway there will all be people represented (Audio breaking up).
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: All right. Thank you very much. I'll call the next speaker, which is Jutta, please.
>> JUTTA CROLL: Hello, Chengetai. Can you hear me?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can.
>> JUTTA CROLL: This is Jutta from Germany. I'd like to take the opportunity to thank the French government for hosting the IGF this year, as we have waited so long for a decision to be taken, we are very happy of your offer, and also to thank David for all the good explanation he has given so far. I do think that a shorter and more concise meeting, which is only three days, could also be beneficial. I do think we need to take that into account when we do the proposals, what we are talking about a little bit later on the agenda.
I have one practical question, probably to you, Chengetai. Will there be an official announcement, a press release from the United Nations about the place and date of the IGF 2018, and will that be taken as an opportunity to also announce the MAG members for 2018? Thank you.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Jutta. Yes, there will be an official announcement -- well, I can speak for our website. It definitely will be there, and we'll work with New York to make a press release from the Secretary General's office.
As far as the press release for the 2018 MAG members, I will also convey that message to New York and ask them if they could at least, you know, put them together in the same press release. I think that would be good.
We just have to wait. New York is telling me a week or two. There just needs to be some formalities that needs to be done, and then there will be an official acceptance and announcement of the venue. Thank you.
And now I have Raquel.
>> RAQUEL GATTO: Yes. Thank you very much, Chengetai. Hi, everyone. I also want to add my thanks to the Secretariat, Lynn, and to (Off microphone) who joined the call and make those explanations and to finally have a venue to work with in Paris. My point -- I have two comments.
One is -- Jutta has already started. I see the venue being smaller and the shorter agenda scheduled as an opportunity to really implement what we've been doing right now, thinking on a more focused and a more concise agenda, so I really think this will push us in the right direction in terms of setting the agenda for the IGF 2018.
Now, regarding the clash with the -- the conflict with the ITU Plenipotentiary meeting, I think we need also to consider and not underestimate the impact it might have. One is the travel arrangements, and, of course, we might lose some of the government participants, especially the last week where decisions are going to be made, but we can work around that. But also, is the message we are putting out for the Internet governance consistent, and that is if we're going out with a press release and if we can reach out as early as possible to the ITU and see how we can mitigate this impact, that would be wonderful. I'm at your disposal also to work to make this happen the best way possible. Thank you very much.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Raquel. As far as the venue is concerned, I don't think it actually is smaller. We do have enough rooms, so it's not smaller, and there is a possibility -- I mean, we're still discussing this -- whether or not we can have more time, so the days may be also a little bit longer, but that's still under discussion. Thank you.
Now, if there isn't anybody else who wants to talk on this topic -- yes, if there isn't anybody else who wants to talk on this topic, I'll go to the next agenda item, Shaping the IGF Programme.
>> RAQUEL GATTO: Sorry, Chengetai. I think Timea had her hand up.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Sorry. Timea now.
>> TIMEA SUTO: I forgot to come off mute. Thank you. Just a quick announcement to thank the government and David to procure a venue for us here in Paris, and we're looking forward to work on that. And I'm just thinking. Obviously, we'll need to adjust our workshop evaluation and location process to accommodate a shorter IGF, but just to echo a comment that was said before, that might not be a bad idea to see how we can -- as we were striving to streamline the agenda and have a more compressed timeline, but also, that might also help us to improve the quality of the event because we have to input the greatest content, as we always have, in a shorter time frame, so I'm looking forward to working with you all on that.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Timea. I have Rudolf. Rudolf, please, you have the floor. I'll just give it a five count, and then we can carry on and then come back once the audio is fixed.
Okay. We'll go to the next item, Shaping the IGF Programme.
Okay. Now, due to the announcement and the French offer, we did revise the timeline, and I sent that out via email, and I'm wondering if they can display it. Yes.
So we have now got a new revised timeline. We're now in the Call for Workshop Proposals phase, so that's going to end on 6th of June, and then from 7-12 of June, that is six days, the Secretariat's going to screen and group the evaluations without those ones that obviously do not conform to the requirements that have been put, and then we're also going to group the evaluators according to your preferences that you have indicated, and Rasha is going to speak after me and outline how the grouping is going to occur.
Currently, we've only got 38 submissions of the preferences out of 55 MAG members, so only 38 MAG members have submitted. I would, again, please ask all MAG members to please submit because we're taking this as an indication of those ones who will actually complete the evaluation, so if you have not completed the form, then we will not allocate you workshops, and then that will mean that people are going to be marking more workshops than they would because if we do allocate you workshops, and since we've compressed the timeline, and you don't mark them, then we have to redistribute them, further increasing the amount of time, so please -- everybody please do complete that preferences form.
So the MAG evaluations are going to take two weeks, and then on the 28th of June, for seven days, we are going to do the usual analysis of the evaluations and also try and get some thematic tracking formation, which will help us when we have our face-to-face meeting and make the final decisions on which workshops that we're going to take, and as I mentioned earlier, before the 11th, we'll also know how many Open Forums we're going to have and Dynamic Coalition sessions we're going to have, and then we can have a discussion either beforehand or at the face-to-face meeting what percentages we are going to allocate to the timetable, and the Secretariat is going to distribute an empty timetable with a number of slots so that people can get an idea of how many slots that we do have.
Okay. Now, with that, I would like to call upon Rasha, if she's there, to update us on --
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Hello.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, please, Rasha.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Thank you. I just have a question before I start. I thought I saw an email with an updated timeline where the timeline for MAG evaluations was only one week. Am I confused?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yeah. I have the -- no, it is two weeks. It is two weeks.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Okay.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: The timeline you're seeing now displayed on WebEx and the one that I sent a couple of hours ago is the correct timeline.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: The one that you sent five hours ago says -- oh, okay. The 13th-27th. Okay. Okay. I'm sorry. My mistake.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Thank you, Chengetai, and thank you for allowing us to present what the Working Group has arrived at. We met on Monday virtually, some members of the group that could make it, and we arrived at some suggestions, which we sent to the MAG list by email, and I'm basically going to go through these and summarize what we have arrived at.
Concerning the grouping of the MAG members for workshop evaluations, we think that the best way to go about it would be to create specific groups of MAG experts and non-experts, and by that we mean that if the group is, say, 11 or 12 people, we would have -- four out of these would be experts on the theme, and, of course, the four would be -- we would ensure that the basic tenets of diversity is there within, you know, stakeholder groups, gender, whatever, so there would be, like, four expert members on a particular theme, and then the rest would be non-experts or non-experts basically means any MAG member, people who have not particularly specified that this would be their number one priority to discuss, and then we would assign a particular theme to each group.
The advantage of this is that, basically, the MAG members are able to compare -- compare workshops that are on the same topic. This would allow them a chance to maybe flag possibilities for mergers as we go and also be able to figure out, like, what are the best workshops on that particular topic. Particularly this year, as we've all heard, we're going to -- we're going to have to limit the number of workshops accepted, and, of course, we're waiting for the calculation to know exactly what that number is, but there are definitely going to be much fewer workshops than every year, and so we need to be very careful with which workshops we allow to go through because we, obviously, only want the highest-quality workshops to go through that, but this arrangement we thought would give us the best of both worlds because it will help us avoid bias if, for example, all the members were experts; therefore, they felt very strongly about the topic that they were evaluating, we would tend to have a bit of a great inflation there, if you might, if that were the case, and at the same time, we ensure that there are enough people with expert knowledge of the topic at hand so that we wouldn't be missing an important aspect of the topic being evaluated, so we thought, basically, that was the best solution that we could arrive at, and I believe Luis yesterday and Eleonora indicated that that would be doable by the Secretariat, that that would be a good thing.
The other thing that I just wanted to mention, based on Chengetai's comments right now, is I think MAG members who do not specify a particular priority should just be treated as non-experts, so we would still allocate them workshops because there's a large number of workshops, and we need everybody to pitch in, but they would -- they would not be considered an expert on any topic, they would just be, you know, among the randomly chosen eight people that would be added to a particular group.
And, again, we would ensure that the diversity guidelines exist among the members, both the experts and the non-experts that are allocated to a particular group.
So that was what we had agreed on regarding the grouping of MAG members. Regarding the programme structuring, we think the best way to do it would be to structure the programme thematically so that people who are following a particular theme would much easier, basically, find it. That would add a lot of things to the programme, and that was one of the basic concerns we had for this year. What we will do is, basically, we will be guided by the number of, first of all, overall proposals that get submitted per theme because that's not going to be an equal number for us, and then we will choose the highest-rated proposals in every theme; one, making sure to push, like, a minimum number per theme if there is a particular theme that's -- that hasn't had a lot of evaluations, but still, even those that we push through needs have, like, a minimum standard of quality. We suggested -- we actually suggested this for 4. I thought I'd put the 3.75 there just in case we needed it, but I would make sure that the proposal has at least a score of 4 to go through.
The cutoff point last year was 4.04, and this year we're going to choose a smaller number, so the cutoff point is going to be higher than that, so I think a minimum of 4 would be good. If there are very few workshops within a particular theme and none of them is of high quality, I think we should work with the proposers if we are keen enough on having that theme in the programme. We should not just allow the workshop to be in with -- not with the best quality that we would like. We should work with the proposers before we allow them in, and, of course, they would be allowed on, like, a wild card kind of thing.
The percentage of accepted workshops per theme will determined based on the total number of the proposal submissions as well as the calculation that we're waiting for from the Secretariat to tell us exactly how many sessions that this year's venue can accommodate, so we're waiting for these numbers, and then we can figure out how many workshops do we -- can we accept, basically, by theme.
In terms of the speaker limit, the Secretariat said that it would be possible for them, easily enough, to spot speakers with more than three sessions listed and then contact them to basically drop the extra session, so choose three and drop the rest.
Of course, the problem with that is that people use names to get their sessions through, so that's why I had advocated limiting the speakers at the proposal stage, not later, at least to, like, five, and then they choose three because you might find that some of the popular speakers will be listed on, like, ten sessions and they will only end up on three, so that sort of inflates the results for other workshops even though these speakers are not going to end up appearing on them, so I think this is one thing maybe for next year -- I'm not going to be a MAG member next year, but maybe whoever is working on this next year can just take this into consideration.
It was also suggested by Lynn, actually, that sessions with more than five speakers may be conditionally accepted or provisionally accepted until the organizers sort of bring the number of speakers down, and this is something for the MAG to discuss. We thought this was the only way to limit a workshop to five speakers after the workshop has been submitted with more than that.
So I'll stop here, and I'm happy to take any questions. Thank you.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Rasha. I'll just go back to Rudolf quickly to see whether or not his mic is working. Rudolf.
Okay. Then I'll open it up for questions, and I -- according to the queue. No, Rudolf, we don't hear you at all.
>> JUTTA CROLL: Hello. Jutta here speaking from Germany. Can you hear me?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, I can.
>> JUTTA CROLL: Okay. I've had a look at the workshop process timeline, and I'd like to make a small suggestion. I recognize the overload, the work the Secretariat will have during the prescreening and grouping with only six days to do that. I do think that's very tight. But I also see that maybe there are some of the workshop proposals where it's very obvious that there are a remit of a certain group of MAG members to evaluate them, so I was considering whether it might be possible that you give those workshop proposals where it's quite clear to whom they will go for evaluation -- to give them directly to them and not wait until the end of the process on 12th of June to start with the evaluation of the MAG members. Could it be a process during these six days, or do you really need to complete the whole process and then forward the proposals to the MAG members that shall evaluate? Just a question. Thank you.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. Thank you, Jutta. We're going to look into that. I have to ask Luis whether or not it's possible to give MAG members the workshops as we select them or is it better to distribute them entirely and then give them to the MAG members or release them at the same time. We can talk internally and then we can get back to you on that. Thank you.
>> RAQUEL GATTO: Yes. Thanks, Chengetai. And thank you so much, Rasha, for reporting back on the group.
I do have -- my first comment on the merit of the proposal, it looks really great. I think it shows also what we discussed in the meeting in the MAG some weeks ago, and it reflects well this shaping up of the workshop evaluations, and congratulations.
On some of these, what I also would add is, one, the rebalance after the MAG evaluation, after the first step of the MAG evaluation. This was real important, I think, last year, and we should bring this process back, not only looking into rebalancing the proposals based on -- in that case it was the thematic ones, like the access workshops that were not in the final agenda selection, and also the stakeholder groups, like the government proposals that didn't make for the final cutting, and I think we called -- I was trying to remember the white cards or something like this, so -- for the MAG members to make these proposals of rebalance on outstanding workshop proposals that were not contemplated in the final cutting, and that's my -- one of my points.
And in terms of more, let's say, housekeeping, I was worried because I subscribed -- as soon as you made the call for volunteers, I followed the instructions and subscribed for the mailing list, and it was pending approval, but I've never received any message, so if you can also make some -- perhaps look into the approvals, and I would be glad to join the next calls and help as much as I can. Thank you very much.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Raquel. We'll look into those.
For the white cards, I will leave it to the Working Group -- to Rasha's group to recommend that, but, yes, I do remember the process that we did last year as well.
>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you, Chengetai. Can you hear me?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, but you're very faint.
>> MARY UDUMA: Okay. Can you hear me now?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can.
>> MARY UDUMA: Can you hear me now? Is it better?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, it is, slightly better.
>> MARY UDUMA: Okay. Quite better. Okay. Good afternoon, everyone, and I want to thank Rasha for the great presentation. One of the things I want to raise -- somebody has raised it at the evaluation period. To make the timelines so tight, I hope we'll be able to get that, and Chengetai, you have given a good answer.
My -- the -- where I want to raise issue is, first, as groups evaluating the proposals. When I was making my submission, I was making submissions based on preference, not necessarily an expert in subject or the theme or the subtheme, so I don't know whether other MAG members are in the same position like me, but I did not select with the fact that I'm an expert in such topic or theme, so probably that might be clarified, not necessarily that person is an expert, so she has explained it.
Second question is would -- will the provisioning of speakers be evaluating the proposals, and, you know, those given less number of panelists make -- get more time than the others? Thank you. I hope you got my questions.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes. I'll answer the first question, and then I'll give it to Rasha to answer the other two questions.
For the first question about your preferences, you were saying that they were your preferences, not your expertise. Since there will be -- so I've got two answers to that. Since there will be 12 people or so marking a group -- and we're not too sure until we get the final groupings done -- this may balance itself out, so -- but if you do feel that you do want to change your preferences, just send an email to Luis, and he can give you access and you can redo your preferences.
Okay. For the -- for the other parts of your questions, I will give it to Rasha to see what the Working Group recommends.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Hello.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes. We can hear you.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: I'm sorry. The audio on Mary kind of failed me a little bit. Could you repeat the question, please, Chengetai.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. Mary, are you still there? Yes.
>> MARY UDUMA: Rasha, can you hear me?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes.
>> MARY UDUMA: Rasha, can you hear me?
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Barely, but go ahead.
>> MARY UDUMA: Okay. Can you hear me now?
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Yes.
>> MARY UDUMA: Okay. You can hear me. I was asking about the evaluation of the proposal. Would proposals -- would proposals with more -- more panelists means minus, and would those who show up on the list get more MAGs, so I just wanted to clear that point whether it has anything to do with the scoring whether the number of panelists would count in scoring.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: That's actually a good question because we ended up -- the way it was raised at the end was a bit vague, so -- I guess on purpose because the MAG members were kind of divided on that, but it does say -- right now it does say in the form that if there is an excessive number of speakers that that would basically downgrade the scoring, and there is a good point to that because the thing is if you list, for example, ten speakers on the workshop, they're going to get cut down to five, so we know half of those speakers aren't going to be there. So we can't judge you on how great the speakers are because we're not sure which ones are going to disappear, basically, and it usually is the higher-profile speakers are going to disappear because they are going to be on ten workshops and they need to choose three at the end, which is, again, why I had wanted to limit the number from the proposal stage.
But I guess we're going to have to play this by ear. If somebody has, like, six speakers, you know, maybe we let it go, but if somebody has ten, definitely, that would be a minus because we know half of these people are not going to be there. I hope that answers your question. There was something about the workshop being on the list, but I'm not sure which list you mean.
>> MARY UDUMA: Hello.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Yes.
>> MARY UDUMA: Hello. Okay. No, you answered it. I mean, the list of panelists.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Oh, okay. Great.
>> MARY UDUMA: You answered it.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Okay. Thank you, Mary. Thank you.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: All right. Thank you, Rasha, and thank you, Mary.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: May I also add something else on the comment, Chengetai?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, please.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: As far as the working group is concerned, I don't approve members, so if there's a technical difficulty, that would be our wizard, Luis, can probably intervene and figure out what's wrong, but members are automatically added. I don't do anything with that.
The wild cards are basically, you know, the term that we give to workshops that we push through at the third phase of evaluations when we meet face-to-face, even though we -- even though these workshops did not make the scoring cut, and this year, again, as we have to choose the fewer number of workshops based on scores and the ones of utmost quality, we would hope, there actually will be quite a few good workshops that will not go through just because it's a supply-and-demand thing, so my suggestion is we need to be very careful with that. We don't want to -- we don't want to give too many exceptions. We usually give exceptions based on diversity, so if there's -- if there is a particular regional -- a particular region of the world that's underrepresented or a particular stakeholder group that we think needs to push, like, one very important workshop that lacked something, so maybe we can work on that something and push them through, but I think we need to be very careful because there will be a lot of good workshops that, unfortunately, will not make it just because of the numbers that we have to choose.
So I would -- I would advise MAG members when they're evaluating not to be too generous with the grades because we're going to end up with, you know, 130 workshops scoring very, very close to each other, all very high scores, and then we won't know what to do with it.
There is somewhere -- I was going through the documents yesterday on the website, and one of these documents that has, like, the criteria for evaluations and the guidelines and stuff -- one of the documents has a definition of the scores from 1-5, and I would suggest that we try to stick with that. I don't know if there is time that we can even maybe do a trial run on one proposal and sort of agree that this proposal gets a 4 or gets a 5 on the different criteria just for reliability, you know, so, of course, we're going to disagree on something, but the end result is that we say, okay, if the proposal is that good it gets, you know, a 5 on this, a 4 on this, and a 3 on this, just so we're all on the same page. It increases the reliability of the scoring, but I don't know if we have time to do that, but I would just advise you not to be too generous with the grades. Thank you.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: (Speaking on mute). Sorry, my unmute button didn't want to unmute. Ben, please, you're next in the queue.
>> BEN WALLIS: Thank you, Chengetai. Rasha, thank you very much for the work that you've led and the efforts of the Working Group. I've got two questions, and I apologize if they were already covered at the last meeting. I'm asking as a new MAG member, so -- and maybe it's just worth raising the questions anyway.
The first question is whether there's guidance about conflicts of interest, so when and how would I recuse myself from evaluating a specific workshop which I might think I have a conflict of interest about?
And the second question is whether there's some kind of template to help us evaluate the workshops. I think I understand that we -- we're going to be inputting scores into a web form for each workshop, but I can imagine that I would, you know, try and do them all offline, as it were, you know, maybe use a Word document to kind of put everything in and then go in and insert the scores later after I've evaluated everything.
If everyone had a similar template for filling in their scores, it might help to have a more consistent approach and remind people of the criteria for scoring and the points to allocate and all of that, so I wonder if that's something that's been thought about before, so, yeah, the two questions are whether there's any guidance about conflicts of interest and whether there's some kind of template that we can use as MAG members to help us when we evaluate the proposals. Thank you.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Thank you, Ben. For the conflict of interest, we advise MAG members, if they can, to please go through the list of workshops that they receive as soon as they get them, within the first day or two, just glance through them and just see if there's something that you want to recuse yourself from, and please tell the Secretariat as soon as you can because they will need to reroute that to somebody else; however, if you didn't do that and at the last minute you found a workshop that you still have a conflict of interest with, we would ask you to please also report it, but, obviously, it would make the Secretariat's life much easier if you do it earlier on in the process.
As for the template for evaluation, there is a template. I did them online last year. The template is new, of course. Last year was the first year that we've implemented the system. Before you used to just give one score for the whole workshop, but now we've -- basically, what you do is the -- here's the template. Luis has got it on the screen. Thank you, Luis.
So, basically, what you do is you score every workshop on four criteria, it automatically calculates the average of your scoring, and that becomes the final score for your workshop. And there is also a space for comments, if you wanted to add comments to the proposers.
I am not sure if you can do that offline or not. Luis, can -- can advise us on whether that's possible or not. I believe there must be a way, but I'm not sure of the technicalities.
I would advise MAG members -- the other thing to recommend would be to do them in one sitting, if at all possible, or maybe two sittings. It just, again, increases the reliability. This is what I do when I create my exams. I like to do them all in the one sitting. It's not like one day I'm more generous than the other, and it keeps me more -- it keeps the scores more standardized, it keeps them more reliable, and so if you can do that, I would recommend that. Thank you.
>> BEN WALLIS: Thank you, Rasha.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: I would also like to remind everybody that in the Comments box, those comments that you put in that box are sent to the workshop proposers, so they have to be helpful comments because we've had a few cases when some of the comments were not entirely welcomed by the workshop proposers. Thank you.
The next person is Liesyl.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: Hi, everyone. Can you hear me?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: Okay. Thanks, Rasha, for all the work and explanation on this. I guess I just have two questions, and I'm sorry if you've covered them somehow before. One is with regard to workshops' formats and whether or not there is -- do we still have a kind of accommodation for, you know, roundtable, vs. a panel type of workshop that, A, gives a sense of what -- you know, sort of what the style of the workshop will be and, thereby, can accommodate maybe more speakers than in a roundtable format than in a work -- than in a panel format or a debate format or something like that. Are we still retaining that kind of issue in this proposal process?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: I'll answer the first part of that question. Yes, at UNESCO the rooms are of different configurations. I can't recall off the top of my head exactly how many of each type of configuration there is, but they are there, so if somebody does request a roundtable or a classroom setting, we can try and allocate them that type of room configuration.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: Okay. So maybe if -- if there's a way to reflect that -- and I don't know if this -- the workshop proposal -- excuse me -- call for workshops that went out if it provided that different kind of workshop style that could accommodate more speakers in a roundtable, say, than in a panel, and perhaps we can take that into consideration in our -- in our grading.
And then I just wanted to make a comment about the wild card idea which came out of I think last year's proposal process. I agree with you, Rasha, not to be too generous with regard to the scoring so that we don't bulk up, you know, artificially a -- you know, 300 of the best workshops. As you point out, that will be some very good workshops that don't make it. The idea was to give MAG -- at least as I envisioned it at the time was to give MAG members the ability to flag one -- likely only one workshop proposal that did not meet muster but could have -- could seem like it would be very interesting or add to the balance that we're looking for or whatever reason, it struck somebody as a -- you know, that had potential -- you've got potential, kid, that could be flagged but really keeping it to one, and I realize that could be 55 could be on a list of wild cards that also wouldn't make it, but it would help us on the back end try to get the balance on either gender or geography or topic or, you know -- that we would want later. It was just a way to flag that on the front end rather than trying to go back and do it sort of retroactively, so if there's a way to accommodate that makes sense to you all, then I still like the idea, but I understand that -- you know, I'm not trying to inject any more complexity or bulk on the process. Thank you.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Thank you, Liesyl. If I may comment on that. You raise a couple of important points, actually. The workshop format, yes, it is supported in the form that people choose the workshop format that they want, and, yes, thank you for reminding me to also speak to that point because when we're grading, that does make a bit of difference. For example, with the number of speakers, so some of the formats accommodate more speakers. For example, if it's a roundtable, then it's fine to have, you know, ten speakers or more. If it's a -- I think a lightning session is the one that has one or two speakers, and that's basically it, so if it's -- you know, if the format supports only one or two speakers, then, obviously, we cannot ask them to have the same diversity components that we ask of a workshop proposal -- a panel workshop proposal.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: Exactly. Another good point. Exactly.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Yeah. So things like that, of course, we need to take into consideration. I think -- if I remember correctly, I think these are the only differences with the roundtables and the -- but there's -- also, there is an explanation of the different formats on the documents on the website, so if particularly new MAG members can please read that just for you to get an idea of what the different formats mean to the proposal because the number of speakers is going to differ according to the format. That's an important point.
With regards to the wild cards, yes, we can flag them, of course. Basically, flagging means just keep a note to yourself, you know. I mean, when you're grading -- same thing with mergers. If you see two workshops that can be merged just put them somewhere on a file in your computer, put the number of these files -- of these workshops. And the same thing with a wild card. If you think there is a very good workshop that didn't score high enough for some reason, just keep a note of that, but it needs to be, like, a special reason. It can't be that this -- oh, it's too bad this workshop won't make it because there will be a lot of these this year, unfortunately, because we have to be limited in terms of the number, so it can't be that, you know, this is a good enough workshop because, you know, there will be probably 70 others, but if there's a particular reason, particularly that has to do with diversity, for example, that you think this workshop should really go through, just keep track of that number, write it down somewhere, and we can discuss it in Phase III of the evaluations. Thank you.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: Okay. Thank you.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. I'm going to try Rudolf again, if he can try and make an intervention.
>> RUDOLF GRIDL: Can you hear me?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can.
>> RUDOLF GRIDL: Oh, very good. Actually I was just asking for the floor for the sound check. I'm very happy, and thank you very much for this good proposal and the evaluations.
I -- I am new. I'm very excited about this template and really want to be looking forward to working this. Just to -- just to be sure, we will be by the Secretariat divided into groups, and then the groups will get a bunch of proposals to evaluate them, if that's correct, and then we will do it along the lines of this workshop evaluation form? Is this the correct procedure?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes.
>> RUDOLF GRIDL: Okay. Thank you.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. Next person in the queue is Julian.
>> JULIAN CASASBUENAS: Thank you, Chengetai. Can you hear me?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can.
>> JULIAN CASASBUENAS: Yes. In previous evaluation of the workshop we had the variance of -- in the scoring that I understand is applied to see if the evaluators, the MAG members are in the same path, in the same score in evaluating a workshop. I would like to know if we are keeping, like, this idea of variance in the scoring system and how it will be handled when there is a high variance in the scoring of a workshop.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: The Secretariat will provide that information about the variance. Now, what happens when the workshops -- when the workshops with a high variance are identified, I will leave that to Rasha to answer.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Thank you, Chengetai. Sure, yeah, we do at the end -- at the end of the process, the Secretariat provides us with a scoring sheet with all the workshops, the score that they received, and the standard -- the SD, the standard deviation. A high standard deviation would be one aspect of -- of alarm would be something for us to look at, but, I mean, alone it doesn't really mean much unless it's a really high variance. I mean, we would look at that workshop, see why it scored that way, and if there is something that we need to discuss about it, we would -- of course, if we think it deserves a wild card, that would be one reason why it might receive a wild card, but we would need to identify a reason behind the variance. I mean, we would need to figure out why are that would mean that this workshop needs a wild card, and that we do by -- basically by discussion among the MAG members and trying to reach an agreement about it, but, yes, this would be something to flag if you have a workshop with a very high standard deviation.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: All right. Thank you, Rasha. Do we have any other questions on this agenda item?
>> LIESYL FRANZ: Chengetai, I did want to come in on something really quick. This is Liesyl.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, Liesyl.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: I'm sorry if I missed this somewhere, but because we're being put into a set of groups, then it will be the same MAG members evaluating the workshops; correct?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, correct.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: In this, is there prospects for the people who are in the same workshops to come to some kind of collective evaluation or recommendations about that set of workshops, or is that just a way to mete out the workshops to those people that, you know, for whatever theme they were assigned.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: I think we're going to take this sort of as it comes.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: Okay.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Because we're not sure how the process is going to work itself out because, again, we're implementing a new system this year.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: Right.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: So if that happens, it's going to be at Stage 3. I know Flavio suggested that, and it is an idea that has some merit, but I think maybe we wait and see what the scores look like, and then we can decide, maybe very quickly at the start of the face-to-face meeting, if we wanted to sort of break out in groups or if we can do it as a collective MAG, I think.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: Yeah, or maybe for, you know, those that are anomalies or something like that, maybe the group could get together. I'm not necessarily looking for it. I think we've tried some variation of this in the past that sort of became -- I mean, it had its pluses and minuses, I would say, maybe more minuses, but --
>> RASHA ABDULLA: I would rather do it collectively at this stage because basically at this stage we're looking at anomalies, we're looking at things that I think would require the agreement of the MAG at large. This is just my, like, feeling, but maybe when we get to that stage, we'll have a better idea of what works.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: Yeah. And by collectively, I meant within the group that's evaluating the same set.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Yeah, no, I meant the MAG -- yeah, I meant the MAG at large.
>> LIESYL FRANZ: Okay. Fine. Great. Okay. Thanks. Thanks.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. Thank you very much. Shall we go on to the next topic?
I do see that Natasa did put an intervention, but I think we've covered most of her question. Rasha, do you think we need to say anything in response to that?
>> RASHA ABDULLA: I think we have to wait for your calculation of how many sessions we can afford --
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, yeah.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: -- basically, but I don't think it will matter while we're grading the workshops. The most important thing is just try to be uniform when you're grading, and then we'll look at all the scores and we'll take a certain percentage of the top scores. That percentage will depend on the venue, on how many sessions we can accommodate, basically.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, mm-hmm. Okay. Thank you.
I will now go to the next agenda item, since, I think, we have discussed this. If anybody has got any other questions, you know, feel free to contact the Secretariat or contact Rasha. I mean, there may be questions after this, so -- but that's fine. That's how we do things.
So the next agenda item is main sessions and other next steps, so I intend just to start the discussion or to start your thinking about the main sessions. The aim of this is not to come to any conclusion now at this Virtual Meeting, but let me just start by just saying a few points, is that since we do have three days and -- so three days is basically six sessions, and we have an opening ceremony and a closing ceremony, so we do have four three-hour blocks that we can use for the main sessions, and we don't have to have a main session for three hours. We can divide that three-hour block into two. I mean, it won't quite be 90 minutes because we need some time for the changeover process, and the reason why we are talking about three-hour blocks is that the -- these sessions have interpretation, and there are rules governing their interpreters that they can only work in three-hour blocks. That's why I'm talking about three-hour blocks. So we can divide them and have, you know, two main sessions in a three-hour block. I mean, that will, of course, double, and that will make it eight sessions. There has been some talk about whether or not we will make them thematic sessions and move away from this main session idea and just call them thematic sessions that we'll have.
There also is the proposal that the NRIs sent -- our focal points sent to the MAG chair, which I shared just before the meeting, about the NRI would like to have a main session, and I can call about the NRI focal point to say a few words about that.
>> ANJA GENGO: Yes. Hi, Chengetai, and greetings to everyone. This is Anja Gengo from the ITU Secretariat. You've seen the note that was shared to you by Chengetai this morning. The note is a result of bottom-up approaches that started immediately after the 12th IGF ended through the taking stock process, and then it was continued all the way until yesterday. The NRIs are firm on the fact that they would like to host a main session as well this year as they did for the past two years. The process for determining the topic that's of mutual interest is under way. It's a very complex process because it means that the NRIs, first of all, need to run the bottom-up processes with their respective communities. Then they need to submit the final results to the Secretariat and then the Secretariat needs to run the clearance process with being very sensitive in determining what are the mutual interests on certain topics among 103 active NRIs, so in that sense, I ask for your understanding. I hope the process will be finalized soon. As I said, it's under way, but what's a bit problematic is that the majority of the NRI annual meetings are scheduled for later in the year. That means that their processes are being delayed in terms of determining the topic.
As for the main session, just very quickly, I believe it's indicated and outlined well in the note, the main session is, first of all, excellent opportunity for the, I believe, IGF for bringing the national and regional perspectives to the annual meeting, but it's also very important for the NRIs as it strengthens the bandwidths that exist, first of all, among them, but also to the NRIs as well. It also shows our commitment on how the NRI processes are very important. That would be very much in short, but I, of course, am here for any follow-up questions. Thank you.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. So as I say, this was just to start off the discussions. The MAG is the one who decides how to divvy up the timing for the main sessions.
I will now open the floor. The first person is Rudolf, I'm told. Rudolf, please.
>> RUDOLF GRIDL: Hello. Hello. Do you hear me?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can hear you.
>> RUDOLF GRIDL: Hello. Okay. So I sent around a short email, and having already having had some reactions on that, I just want to share some views on this.
The first thing is that I am very much actually in favor of this idea of thematic sessions rather than main sessions because of the -- I think what I detected common wish of the MAG to get some more streamlining and some more focus and perhaps even efficiency into the IGF proceedings, so I think it will be a good step to have this kind of thematic or you can call it thematic main sessions, if you wish, in order to group around it some of these themes that we have called upon and we got very good responses. That's the first thing.
Secondly, on the issue of the NRIs, I still really -- and I'm, of course, a newcomer, but perhaps a fresh look on it. Still, I'm not convinced that the only reason that it has already been like that the last year and the year before is sufficient to have this now agreed upon. We have very little slots, only four real slots. Perhaps we can split them up, but for the moment it's four. And following this idea of a thematic session, I would really like to see what is the theme that the NRIs come up with and does it fit into what the MAG considers to be the focus, the streamlined, efficient proceedings of the IGF in 2018, and when it fits, I am more than happy to invite the NRIs and to have the thematic or main session, but without the theme, really, just because it's the NRIs, I do not really think that this is enough, specifically given what we have seen up to the previous point where we have the workshops where we have a very strict and very precise template of consideration and evaluation, and I think for very good reasons, so that is my point on that, and I know that there are other opinions on that, but I just wanted to state this also here in the Virtual Meeting. Thank you very much.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Rudolf. Raquel.
>> RAQUEL GATTO: Thanks, Chengetai, and I will follow +1 to Rudolf, actually, because I was also going to raise the need to give further look into the thematic approach that we are now considering forward.
I do believe that, first, I don't want to confuse the -- this with supporting or not the NIRs (sic). On the contrary, I think. NRIs will have a more stronger role in the agenda and visibility in the IGF if they're part of the agenda and not having their own siloed discussions, and by that I mean, not only the main sessions but the collaborative sessions.
I remember last year -- and it's not to consider the discussions over and over again, but last year it was an exceptional consideration that we did for the collaborative sessions from the NIRs because the workshop proposals deadline had already expired, so they were looking to the agenda. They don't see themselves reflected with the themes and the proposals on the table, and so we agree on this exceptional measure to include the NIR discussions.
But, again, this year the workshop proposals are open, and I think the NIRs would have a much stronger role if they're part of the workshop that -- the extending workshop proposals, and if we can continue with this more integrated approach rather than evaluating into separate space, and then the -- let's say the coordination within the NIR itself is another session and not the schedule of the IGF, I would say. I don't know if that makes clear, but I would support to review and dialogue with the NIR leaders. Anja, thank for your great work, and I hope this is not being misunderstood that it's not supporting but rather really strengthening their participation. Thank you very much.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. Thank you. Jutta.
>> JUTTA CROLL: Yes. Thank you, Chengetai, for giving me the floor. I wanted to strengthen that already given by Rudolf and Raquel, I think. I do think we all value the work the NRIs are doing. Still, it needs a qualitative approach to the choice of the themes set by the NRIs, and I don't think it should be just chosen by the majority of the NRIs, it needs a qualitative approach, and that's why I also value what Kenta wrote that it needs to be assessed by the MAG of its appropriateness to fit into the whole programme of the IGF. Thank you.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you. Ben.
>> BEN WALLIS: Thank you, Chengetai. Yes, I -- while I'd agree with all the other speakers, I like the -- the way that put it of having the NRIs integrated into the -- the thematic sessions and the main sessions rather than being in a stand-alone session. And I think it sounds like, you know, as we're learning today we're reducing from four days to three, there's going to be a reduced number of sessions, and so that sounds like another reason why it'll be important to find ways to involve NRIs in other sessions rather than giving them their own session when there are fewer slots available. So, yeah, I'm just supporting the comments from the other three. I think it would be interesting to explore -- explore that. Thank you.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. Paul.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Yeah, hi. I haven't been to an IGF yet, but I am involved with the national NRIs, particularly in Namibia, and I think it's very important that, you know, they have a key role to play at the IGF. They should be involved in the workshops, and they will be, but from a grass-roots perspective, you know, it's -- you've got the uniqueness of having the people that are on the front line of all of these key issues in their own countries that need to have some way to express and communicate that voice, and it's not a shared voice because we have different experiences based on the different continents and the different parts of the don't tent that we come from, but when you take a lot of the workshops, these are driven by, you know, global, often developed country-driven themes, and the impact on the NRI in the specific country can be quite different, so I feel that there has to be -- I like the idea of having a session with the NRIs where they can have this debate and discussion, and when we look at the themes, you know, the NRIs have very conscious of the themes that the IGF is driving, and I think you'll find an alignment around that. It might not be the same, but it will be aligned and quite similar but very relevant for the NRIs and for that grass-root approach.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Paul. What I was hearing -- I have Mary, but let me just say a sentence first. What I was hearing from Rudolf's approach and the +1s, Rudolf was saying that the -- it shouldn't be automatic and we should see what the NRIs are proposing and see if it's in line with the rest of the programme. I think that was what Raquel was saying as well. So, I mean, that's one way of going forward. Let the NRIs discuss it, come up with a theme, and then they can present it to the MAG, but --
>> PAUL ROWNEY: I think that is the understanding from the NRIs, you know, that they will make a proposal.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: It needs to fit. I don't think they expect that whatever they say will automatically be accommodated, but, you know, they want to have a voice, they want to have a session, they want to feel relevant. It is something that they work towards. The individual sessions that each country has, you know, is very conscious of what's happening from the global IGF, so no one's expecting automatic inclusion of that specific topic, you know, but they do want to be respected and taken seriously. If there needs to be amendments or adjustments, I don't think anyone around the NRIs have an issue with that.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: All right. We'll have Mary, then Titti, and then we'll see if we can more on with the next topic. Mary, please.
>> MARY UDUMA: Can you unmute me, please. Can you hear me?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, but you're still very faint.
>> MARY UDUMA: Okay. Can you hear me now?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can.
>> MARY UDUMA: You can hear me now?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes.
>> MARY UDUMA: Hello. Hello.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Hi, Mary. We can hear you.
>> MARY UDUMA: Okay. Okay. Thank you very much. This is Mary from Nigeria. I just want to say that I think we're getting -- those that are commenting about the NRIs and a proposal to be given an opportunity to start bottom up and come up with some of the topics that are peculiar, and they're coming from the perspective of their countries.
I think the issue is not that NRI is different from the NIGF. The fact is that the greatest outcome that the NIGF has, one of them, is the NRIs. The group, the organic way from bottom up and sharing in being able to bring the local perspective to the global level, it cannot be quantified, so trying to shoot it down now, I think we should give the NRI the opportunity to be able to do the process, as they've done before, and what are we talking about? We're talking about sharing local and national perspective of what the IGF is -- for the NRIs, sorry, for each country, so I think that -- I don't think the NRIs want to dodge the -- bringing a proposal. There was a report on what happened during the 2017, and if members don't want the report of what happened, fine, they -- I'm not sure I want to support the fact that the NRIs' sessions are not important. They are very, very important because that's where the grass-roots is, and that's where if anything happens -- the other -- you just -- you talk about the global thing, people come to share their expertise, people come to say some of the things they think about the themes, but coming to the grass-roots is the NRIs that will bring it down and share -- share -- exchange best practices and share information. And they take back these things that they do at the global level back to their countries, so I don't know why -- I don't see the reason why we should be (Off microphone) gotten back to their proposal, but I know the NRIs will not compete with the workshops. They will not be bringing topics at the workshop that the MAG's evaluating so that they do not conflict.
They'll be looking at what is best for the NRIs.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you, Mary. I think everybody is appreciative, I'm very appreciative of the NRIs and what the NRIs have done, and I think from what I'm getting is they're not saying there's not a need, they just want to look at the proposal that the NRIs have come up with, so maybe the NRIs should come up with a proposal and then present it to the MAG, and then we can have the discussions. That's what I'm getting from Rudolf's and Raquel's interventions.
>> CONCETTINA CASSA: Hi, Chengetai. Can you hear me?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, I can.
>> CONCETTINA CASSA: Okay. So I want just to tell you all that I agree with what Mary and Paul have just said. I think NRIs have an important role in the IGF, so this is an important moment for them to discuss, compare, and debate different views on IGF topics, so I think it's important to have this main session.
So about the theme. I am -- as they said, most of the NRIs, they are a nation initiative on the second half of the year, so that's why the topics have not been expressed by whole, but there is already a list of topics that have been proposed, so I think it could be useful to maintain to keep the message on the floor for the NRIs, so thanks.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much. Timea.
>> TIMEA SUTO: Thank you, Chengetai. I want to jump in here quickly to suggest that perhaps we put this request from the NRIs on the agenda at the next -- or the later MAG call to discuss this in more detail because I think we might be running out of time, so if we can look at the whole roster of their implication and their requests for the collaborative sessions as well as main sessions and to look how we can accommodate their role in the programme, because I agree -- I agree, you know, with what Paul and Titti and Mary said, the NRIs are really, really important, and they should be part of the discussion, but I think they should be part of all the discussion at the IGF, and, you know, if we think about having thematic sessions -- I think Rudolf had a great suggestion there -- I think we should maybe think about how we integrate the NRIs, not just on the one issue they might end up selecting among themselves but to have their voice heard throughout the sessions in the importance of the IGF that the MAG picks out as valuable for a main session.
And I don't think that it would be, you know, a proposal that will be rejected by the MAG if, you know, MAG members come together and want to organize a main session, if NRIs come in and say, we want to participate in this thing, we have an opinion that might not be reflected well with the roster of speakers you're proposing, or this issue is just not considered from all the sides that might be involved and here, we want to propose a different view, I'd be very surprised if any of the main session organizers would reject that proposal, so I think we need to give some, you know, more time for this and talk about it maybe in more detail, but I think we need to find a way to reflect the NRIs' views throughout the IGF and not in one main session.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Timea. Yes, this conversation was just a starter conversation. We can go back, think about it, discuss it online, and then during the next Virtual Meeting, we can get down and see which way we go with the main sessions.
I think -- I don't -- do I see any objection to that route? I'll just give it a six count.
Okay. No objection, so that's good.
Okay. So the next item is -- on my list, which is Best Practice Forums and the CENB updates. From the Secretariat point of view, we have sent the request for the consultants to New York. They are approving them and I think will be advertising them soon, so hopefully they will be in place during the month of June. That's the consultants for the Best Practice Forums and the CENB. So that's the update from the Secretariat side.
Now, would any of the leaders want to make an intervention on their Best Practice Forum or their CENB? I think I've got Ben Willis for cybersecurity Best Practice Forum?
>> BEN WALLIS: Yes, hi, Chengetai. I can give a very brief update. We've set a date for the first meeting, which is next Tuesday, the 5th of June, and we sent an initial email out to the group to send out, that Doodle Poll and kind of announce the work for this year and sure the proposal that was approved by the MAG.
One issue that we reported on the last call, the Secretariat had identified an issue with our mailing list, which had the year 2016 in its title, and so we've moved forward to create a new list, which is simply BPF Cybersecurity, and explained this to all the members of the current list asking them to sign up to the new list. In
We're going to slowly transition over to that new list to try to avoid losing people, give people time to sign up to the new list, so we'll keep sending information to both the new and the old list for the next month or so. So, yes, the work will kick off next week. Thanks.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Ben. Then I have Titti for the AI Best Practice Forum.
>> CONCETTINA CASSA: Okay. Hi, Chengetai. I want to give you a short update about the BPF forum and artificial intelligence, IoT on big data. We have activated mailing lists and we have received 14 -- we have 14 MAG members who have subscribed to the list. Then we have also involved in this BPF Martin Botoman and (?). They're working on the Dynamic Coalition, and we are also going to run (?) to have the first meeting in the next week or ten days. Okay.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much. Raquel for the Gender BPF.
>> RAQUEL GATTO: Thanks, Chengetai. The Gender BPF, the co-facilitators are meeting next week and we are going to outline the list the community who has already been for the BPF, so it should have more soon.
As for the members, we have from the MAG, Renata, Aquino. Also, we have APC efforts going on since they were the leaders for the last BPFs, and anyone interested, we are more -- is more than welcomed to join us, and I can share the details for the call.
And Chengetai, do you want me to give also the CENB update?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, please do.
>> RAQUEL GATTO: Okay. So as for the CENB, we -- as soon as the workshop proposals are finalized, we are able to issue the first round of -- of calls for inputs from the community so it doesn't mess up with the ongoing process right now.
As you know, the CENB fourth phase has the suggestions to focus on the SDG-1 about poverty, the 7th about clean energy, the 8th about the future of jobs, the 9th, which is the closest link to Internet issues, and the 17th with partnerships and also is the closest to the multi-stakeholder approach.
I have so far annotated for supporting it Wisdom Donkor, Paul Rowney, and I'm reaching out to Ji Haojun, also from China, because he was the one suggesting the poverty -- the no poverty approach.
We also were able to secure the previous co-facilitators, Constance and Christopher Yoo. Christopher is also going to support, as he did in the previous year, with some of the external consultant work, and I'm glad to hear also, Chengetai, that we might have the early consultants onboard, and that's going to make the work easier, so I think that's about it right now.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: All right. Thank you very much. We do have the Local Content Best Practice Forum, but I don't see them on the call. If anybody else wants to step in and say something? If not, we can just leave it until next time. I'll just give that a six count and then move on to the next. Okay. We'll have an update on that in the next Virtual Meeting.
Wisdom did say something in the chat room about having a session for MAG members during the IGF meeting. Yes, that's a possibility that we will look at. The timing may be a bit difficult, but we are going to try and look at that.
This year the aim is to also have the 2019 IGF MAG announced by the time that the IGF 2018 takes place to be announced by or before the last day of the 2018 IGF, so hopefully we can do that, and then we'll just have a smooth flow and we can have a joint meeting between the two MAGs, but those details still have to be worked out.
Okay. Then the -- do I have any questions, sorry, before I move up? Raquel.
>> RAQUEL GATTO: Yes. No, it's just a practice question, Chengetai. I really love the idea to have this also early announcement and work process for the MAG -- for the next MAG. Just, if you can also flag for the stakeholder constituencies to get their nomination processes as early as possible when this is confirmed because it usually takes, like, two months or so to -- it takes some time to get the names for the short list and then go in for the MAG approval, et cetera.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, exactly. I mean, that's what we're also trying to give time for. I mean, at the moment, our timeline is to give this whole, you know, consultative process, the call, to be open for two months, for eight weeks, so hopefully that will help the whole process, but noted, Raquel. Thank you.
Okay. If there's no questions on that, then we'll go to --
>> BEN WALLIS: Chengetai.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes.
>> BEN WALLIS: It's been Wallis.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, go ahead, Ben.
>> BEN WALLIS: Last year I think the deadline for MAG nominations was the 8th of November, and if you're going to try it, if you’re going to have the MAG in place by the time of the meeting, does that mean you're going to bring forward kind of the deadline for MAG nominations, you know, into, I don't know, September maybe or --
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: September, yes.
>> BEN WALLIS: Yeah, okay. I think that would be helpful as well. Thanks.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you. Okay. All right.
Okay. MAG Working Groups is the next agenda item. Sorry, we've got nine minutes left. So the -- this is an update from Lynn. The Multi-Year Strategic Work Programme and fundraising -- and the Fundraising Working Group met, and they've held their meetings, so their report is going to be sent to the MAG list shortly, if not this week, very, very early next week. I think we also had a meeting for the workshop evaluations. Rasha just gave the report, so -- and the physical report is also going to be sent out.
I don't think -- I think that's all the Working Groups. Israel. Is Israel there?
Okay. If Flavio is there, if he can give some update, if he has any, on IGF improvements. Flavio.
>> FLAVIO WAGNER: Can you hear me?
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can hear you now. We can hear you.
>> FLAVIO WAGNER: No. The Working Group has not met yet. We are just now figuring out how to move on, but we hope to have a meeting in the next few days and then give some report to the rest of the MAG. Sorry.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. It's no problem. Thank you very much.
And if Israel has any updates, he can send them to the mailing list. Thank you.
Okay. So if there's no questions, then we will go to --
>> JULIAN CASASBUENAS: Chengetai.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes.
>> JULIAN CASASBUENAS: Yes. This is Julian Casabuenas.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, Julian.
>> JULIAN CASASBUENAS: Yes, we have been discussing in the workshops of the improvement, the necessity to get MAG members to cost share the group. I'm willing to take that -- this role, but I also want to propose to have Flavio to also co-share this work group so we can move forward and react vacate the activities and also taking this opportunity to ask other MAG members that would like to have this role to consider this, and if the MAG agrees, of course, I will be happy to have this role but also to encourage other MAG members to join, especially those that have been involved in the process of the IGF improvements, those that attended, an example, the retreat, and that has been involved in these discussions as well. Thank you.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Julian. It's much appreciated, you volunteering. If there's no objections, we'll just add you as the co-facilitator. And I don't think there is.
And we will send out the URL for -- which lists of all these Working Groups and the mailing list just to remind everybody. I did see something from Jennifer. Is Jennifer able to speak?
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Hi, all. This is Jennifer. Are you able to hear me? I'm sorry, I'm not in a very good place to be speaking because the audience is very loud.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Yes, we can hear you. I mean, there's a lot of background noise, but we can hear you. Please carry on.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Yes. So actually the update from the Working Group on outreach and engagement is not a true update. We sent an email asking people to join. We haven't had our meeting yet, but once we do, we'll send it to the list.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: All right. Thank you very much, Jennifer.
Okay. Now we have our last agenda item, Any Other Business, and Arnold had something. Arnold.
>> ARNOLD VAN RHIJN: Thank you, Chengetai. Very shortly, I have a request for the consideration of the MAG colleagues and, of course, the Secretariat and the chair to propose a third face-to-face meeting, MAG meeting, to discuss in-depth the improvements of the IGF to focus more on improvement and also perhaps discuss the possible leftovers with respect to the preparation of IGF 2018 but focus mainly on the improvement issue. I know there are lots of working groups trying to include -- to formulate these tasks to follow up on that, but I think it's wise to see whichever NRIs. I mean, we have only had one face-to-face meeting a couple months ago. In the summertime, there will not be as many MAG members, at least those who are on holidays won't be there, including me, so I think it's wise, especially when you are trying to have more in-depth discussions, that we consider the sense of the room, see each other, and really tackle those issues, and so that's why I'm proposing just for your consideration -- you don't need to respond immediately but to think about it, whether we can meet face-to-face for a third time this year, and then the timing would be in September or October. The location could be not this time in Europe but perhaps at the UN in New York or elsewhere in the world, and let's involve also the co-facilitators of the Working Groups and those involved in Best Practice Forums, so call it a MAG Plus. You can also have this meeting preceded by open consultations. It's just a proposal, and perhaps we can come back at a later stage, but appreciate the fact that we can have our discussions during those Virtual Meetings, but I see this as the next best solution, and I fully understand that because it takes a lot of time and cost to come to a meeting where we see each other face-to-face.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Arnold. I will consult -- consult with the MAG chair and consult with New York, and we'll see the feasibility of that because, as you said, we have to look at various factors, including the financial aspect of it, and then I'll come back and -- come back to you and let you know.
Okay. All right. Thank you very much. It is now 3:00. If there are no other interventions or questions, I will close the meeting, and I'll ask Eleonora to tell us when the next meeting is going to be.
>> ELEONORA MAZZUCCHI: Hi, Chengetai. I don't have the calendar in front of me. You took me by surprise. It will be in two weeks on Wednesday, and the time -- the time is in the calendar.
>> CHENGETAI MASANGO: I'm sorry. Yes, it will be on the report in any case, so you'll know when the next meeting is.
Okay. So thank you all for making the time to be on this meeting, and it's going to be on the 13th of June at 8:00 -- at 20:00 UTC, 13 June. Okay. Thank you all.