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.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Hello, everyone. It's the top of the hour, but we'll wait another minute or two to let people finish joining.
Okay. It's two past the hour, so let's get started. The first item of business is approval of the agenda, which is there in the chat room and was sent out some days ago. I will note that I'd like to add one other item on AOB, mainly an update to the MAG, and this is some difficulties we've been having with the WebEx platform in terms of supporting all communications. There's -- it's not compliant with a lot of Accessibility Guidelines and has been giving us some real issues in some of the intersessional activities of the IGF, so in a -- well, since I'm halfway there, I guess, in a call tomorrow I will be taking this up with the Secretariat out of UN DESA, but, again, we can talk a little bit more about that under AOB.
Are there any other edits or suggestions to the agenda or requests for AOB? I'm doing a slow count to six.
Then we will call the agenda approved and also note that we are, in fact, using the queuing system. Luis has put in the chat room there the links to request the floor, and if you need any help, he is available in the background.
And I'll give everybody a moment to get familiar with the new kind of screen layout here. We, obviously, are making the transcript available with the live captioning in the bottom corner, but, again, let me just give a moment and see if there are any questions from MAG members with their ability to participate fully in the meeting here.
Okay. Not seeing any, and, again, Luis is here from the Secretariat, Luis Bobo, and if anybody has any questions, they can just contact him direct limit so let's move to the first item, which is miscellaneous updates by the Secretariat or the Chair. Eleonora, I know you have some very good news on the mergers. If we could hold those updates until Item 4 under the Thematic (Main) session, I think that would make the most sense, but are there any additional updates that you or any of the IGF Secretariat staff would like to share just now? And I'm hopeful that we will have somebody from the host country on in a few minutes. If not, there are one or two updates we can provide on their behalf there, but Eleonora.
>> ELEONORA MAZZUCCHI: Hi, Lynn. Hi, everyone. So as you said, there is some good news on the mergers. I'll hold off on those until we get to the relevant agenda item.
The only thing I would have to add is that the schedule, which I'm sure many people are eager to see, will be published within the 17th. We were just waiting on a few logistical details from UNESCO and the French government, and we were able just recently to get those, so this will be up very soon and may very well be done in the new scheduling system that Luis has developed. We will use the next few days just to finish testing on that.
I don't know if Luis wants to add anything on the scheduling system, but -- but that's -- that's all on the publication of the programme.
>> LUIS BOBO: Hi, all. Yes. We said something already about this new scheduling system. It will have the same functionality of our previous sched. Simply it's a system -- it's an internal system. It has to still be approved, but in principle, we will go on with this new system. It has to be decided by the end of this week, and after that -- so the schedule will be published in the new system.
If we move it for next year, it will be the case -- we will use the previous schedule system.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Luis, did you want to also give a quick update on the recently launched effort for translation to parts of the website?
>> LUIS BOBO: Sure. Thank you, Lynn. This is also a very important point for accessibility. We are, you know, in a collaborative voluntary effort to translate the content of the IGF website, so we have started this process sending to the NRI communities or worldwide community a quick manual about how to participate. So what we're going to do next is to send this same manual to the MAG community. Thank you, especially, also for these people that have already said that you would like to collaborate. This is very much appreciated, and you will contribute to the IGF.
It is that the regular NRI community or the wide community participates in translation, and the MAG members participate in review, only MAG members can review the content review meetings to see the translation and to approve a translation, which would be the case in general, or just put some notes back to be translated. Of course, we can also make -- and we would maybe do also this, give you the possibility to translate because maybe you just want to make a small change and just approve the content.
When you approve the content, it will automatically go to the website, so everyone who is accessing in, for example, Arabic or Russian, if the content has been approved by you, they will directly access the translated page into the Arabic and Russian language.
So this is a two-step process. First, the community enters our translation platform. They -- this is a voluntary work, so -- and collaborative, so anyone can enter, anyone, for example, prepared to translate into Chinese can enter and translate some content that they decide into Chinese, and at the same time or days later or -- other members from the MAG member community could enter the platform and could see this translation already done, and as soon as they approve a translation, it will automatically go to the site. So it's as easy as that. This will be easy to use. So the next step is that Lynn or I can -- it depends on -- I mean, it's not -- that's not a problem. We can send to you this manual, and, basically, it's that you officially tell us about your collaboration, so you create, like, your translator account, and we'll give you the rights to see the content to translate or to approve for your case, and that's all. Then you -- according to your time, you could enter the translation platform, see what content is there available, and just approve the content, and if you have time, of course, you can also translate, but this is the point, that this is a voluntary work, voluntary effort and collaborative, so it is important to say that the most people we have collaborating, the smoother and faster we will be able to translate content in our website. So I hope I have been clear.
The next step is to send you this manual, and you will come to us with an official I want to collaborate on this, and that's all. Then it is an ongoing process because the content is already being created or updated, and it is -- it depends on your time, so you can enter and participate whenever you have time. That's all from my side, Lynn. I think it's more or less clear otherwise. Lynn?
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: (Inaudible) current effort.
>> LUIS BOBO: Yeah, sorry, Lynn, you were muted, so --
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Oh, okay. I was saying thank you for everything you've done, certainly, to extend what, as you said, was a current effort. We'll get the manual out, and if there are any further questions from the MAG members, I think we can take that up on the MAG list. Once you've seen the process, I think it's a lot more clear. It's obviously a very important piece of work. Clearly translating more of our website will help greater participation, so I would appreciate everybody jumping in and doing what they can to help advance that.
With that, one final call to see if there are any other updates from the Secretariat.
If not, we'll go to Host Country preparations, and I'm not seeing anyone on from the Host Country, I'll jump in with one or two updates. I'll jump in with one or two Host Country updates. If they should come in later, maybe, Eleonora, if you could let me know if I don't notice it, it's quite a long list in the participant list there, and we'll see if they can add to anything.
They are just coming back from holidays in the last week, so we've been communicating with them on several issues, and they're very actively trying to move everything forward.
One of the, I guess, complications is that the Ambassador, who actually led the -- this effort for French -- France to hold the IGF is actually transitioning to a new position, so while he's still engaged, his efforts are somewhat divided, and they're putting some more staff to this as well.
They have decided on a title, which was approved by the Office of the President. It's also been approved by the IGF Secretariat and by DESA. It's based on the discussions and submissions or proposals we had during the second physical MAG meeting, and it's called the Internet of Trust, and I believe the Secretariat is working to implement that as we speak.
They are actively working on their website and extending that. I know there have been lots of questions on visas and hotels owner a number of other things. They are aware of those questions or requests. We are specifically calling them out to their attention. I will work to get a further update on that from them over the course of this week, again, if they don't join this call. I did think they were going to be on the call based on some earlier communication this week, but we'll make sure we get a fuller -- more fuller update.
Eleonora or anyone else in the Secretariat, are there any further updates from the French --
>> ELEONORA MAZZUCCHI: Lynn. Hi, Lynn, sorry. It's Eleonora. I notice that we have Deniz and Wai Min on the call. I know it's very early for them in New York, so I'm not sure if they're actively on because they might be on their morning commutes or something, but we did, in the Secretariat, receive a number of updates from them related to the host country yesterday. I'm wondering if they want to come in directly and share those.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Okay. Wai Min or Dennis, are you able to? Helani, I'll get to your question in a minute. Let's see if we can pull Wai Min in again.
>> WAI MIN KWOK: Hi, Lynn. This is Wai Min.
>> LYNN ST. ARMOUR: Hi, Wai Min.
>> WAI MIN KWOK: Hi, everyone. This is Wai Min from UN DESA. We do have some updates, but I must admit that these updates have not been confirmed at this point. We have different discussions, including the Secretariat, colleagues, like Eleonora, with the host government, with the Office of President, as well as also with our UNESCO colleagues. There is actually some still ongoing discussion to see how the DESA will be received between the IGF and the Paris Peace Forum. At this point, we can share in advance that the Secretary General is likely to be there. We have yet to confirm his specific itinerary, and let me -- let me just raise that this has not been confirmed, but there is actually the likelihood. If that is the case, we will -- this, of course, we have to work very closely with the Office of the President to -- to determine the timing of the opening session.
So, Lynn, I will stop here because really a lot of things are still ongoing, and I don't think we have much confirmation, but from DESA we will -- our director will be in Paris in about a week from now, and that's also planned for him to talk to the Office of the President as well as the Office of the Secretary General who is coordinating the preparation for the Paris Peace Forum. Thank you, Lynn.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Wai Min. I can add a little to that as well. There are discussions. They do still want to have a high-level meeting. In the past it's been called the Ministerial meeting or a High-Level meeting. Typically they took place on Day 0. They are still interested in such a meeting but are still working on the plans with respect to whether that takes place on Sunday or, in fact, somehow on Monday alongside the IGF meeting. So, again, as they get a little more specificity on the possibilities they we will be sharing those with the MAG.
And the other point, I also am in discussions on what we might do to help with outreach or help to showcase the IGF at the Paris Peace Forum. I specifically asked if there was an opportunity to do that somewhere formally in the programme or perhaps even through some exhibition activities they have planned, and, again, as has been said several times, all of this is open and under discussion, and they're just coming back from their holidays and trying to address all these issues.
I've also been invited to Paris at the end of the month to finalize some of the preparations and specifically some of the kind of specific outreach between the Paris Peace Forum and the IGF meeting itself and working to accommodate that.
I'll come to Helani's question in just a moment, but first, are there any other specific questions that MAG members would like to us to bring to their attention or any comments on any of the updates to date? Again, we're using the speaking queue, so if people could indicate there if they'd like the floor.
Just giving everybody a moment to find all the appropriate controls. Okay. Wisdom. Wisdom, you have the floor.
>> WISDOM DONKOR: Hello, and -- hello. Can you hear me?
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Yes, we can.
>> WISDOM DONKOR: Yeah, thank you, and good morning to everyone. I just want to make a follow-up. I think -- I guess (Audio garbled) on the list. I think I made some coordinations, and I just want to follow up on that. I think among the recommendations I've made, one of them was (Audio garbled) issues, so I just want to find out if we are looking into this. There is nothing concrete. Sometimes getting this is difficult.
And then also, (Audio garbled) as part of our country unique to book an appointment online, and sometimes when you go online, people have booked up to, let me say, next year, even before you get an appointment at the Embassy, so I just want to find out if the Host Country will be able to give our session to (Audio garbled) the appointment should be kind of (Audio garbled) when they have indication that they can just work at the Embassy to (Audio garbled) visa.
Apart from that, I also brought issues on accommodations. It looks as if most of the hotel and apartments that is close to UNESCO have already been booked, so I don't know if the Host Country can (Audio garbled) coming for the IGF to locate where they can get some of their (Audio garbled) and all that.
The other issue is speaking of budgets, it looks like (Audio garbled) budgets can be printed in advance sooner, so people can work on their budgets on Sunday. I'm just looking at where we are going to have a (Audio garbled) that will consume most of our time, so some of us can even catch up with some sessions and all, so I think these are the few issues on top of my mind now. Thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Wisdom. The audio wasn't particularly good, but I believe all of your questions that were just raised now were raised in your MAG considerations memo earlier.
>> WISDOM DONKOR: Yes.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: I know the French are aware of those questions, and we will work to get an update from them. Hopefully we can get something before the end of this week. I mean, they're obviously very important, particularly those questions that pertain to visas and to accommodations.
>> WISDOM DONKOR: Thank you very much.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Any further questions or comments? And I see Mary's question also asking, again, about the invitation letter for visas. I know they understand the process and we'll make sure we get a statement from them just as quickly as we can.
So not seeing any, I'd like to move to Item 4, and here I'd like to actually ask Eleonora to introduce every one of the Thematic (Main) sessions by starting off by just informing us, you know, sort of very quickly of any status on the mergers or any other key points, and then if the co-facilitators have been selected by the group, we can turn to them for an update on the work. Again, we need to move pretty quickly on these to ensure that we actually have both the sessions defined, titles agreed, and all of that obviously starts with facilitators to help lead the work.
So Eleonora, are you able to do that, again, just one by one, introduce the Main sessions? Any specific updates from the Secretariat specifically as it relates to any mergers that were under those themes, and then if the co-facilitators are known and on the call, we can give the floor to them to comment.
>> ELEONORA MAZZUCCHI: Sure. Hi, Lynn. Hi, everyone. So I think I would separate out the mergers issues from everything else that has to do with Main session preparation, so I'll start with the mergers, and I -- I'll be relatively quick.
So seven out of the eight themes had mergers on them. So for Cybersecurity, two out of the three are complete.
For Human Rights, Gender and Youth, one out of three are complete; for Digital Inclusion and Accessibility, all are complete, there were two; for Development, Innovation and Economic Issues, there was one merger, and we're just waiting for final confirmation that this is complete; for Evolution of Internet Governance, there were two, these are complete; for Media and Content, there was one, and this is complete; and for Technical and Operational topics, there was one, and this is complete.
So what that brings us to is four out of the 13 mergers are pending completion, but the Secretariat has been in frequent communication with those workshop organizers, and the mergers are well under way. Some have just asked for a little bit of additional time, and we've given them that flexibility, or we're just waiting for, you know, a final confirmation email that says this is -- this is done, but we have every indication that for all of these mergers, the organizers are working together and working together well, and we expect all of them to be complete, just the four remaining ones, to be complete within the end of the week.
I know that Jutta Croll was helping one group of organizers with their mergers and they asked for a little additional time. I don't know if she wants to add anything to this if she is on the call. Yes, she is on the call.
>> JUTTA CROLL: Yes. Hello, Eleonora, this is Jutta speaking. Yes, I got this morning the email that a new text for the workshop proposal is nearly completed. There are just a few questions regards the speakers because one of the confirmed speakers just had to withdraw today, so they're arranging that, and I do think the new workshop description will be uploaded during the course of the day. Thank you.
>> ELEONORA MAZZUCCHI: Thank you, Jutta. So I think that's everything for the mergers. MAG members may have noticed that for the themes where the mergers were complete, the Secretariat sent out some emails just to confirm that the mergers were complete and to close on that for those particular themes. I think that that's it for the mergers.
As regards the Main sessions, I mean, it would really be best for the relevant MAG members to come in on those, but from what the Secretariat has noticed, there are some themes which seem to have some proposed co-facilitators on them, and I think it's not the majority of themes as of yet. We've noticed that there was a proposed co-facilitator for the Cybersecurity theme, for the Digital Inclusion theme, and for the Media and Content theme, and we have not seen much activity yet on the Technical and Operational topics theme, so it seems that -- well, actually, it seems that maybe for all themes except for Technical and Operational topics there are at least proposed co-facilitators, and as MAG members know, the Evolution of Internet Governance and Development, Innovation, and Economic Issues themes are co-organized with Dynamic Coalitions respectively and national and regional initiatives, so -- and there is organization under way for those, but I don't know if maybe the MAG members who have started discussions on the Main session mailing lists want to come in and give any other updates.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: I think that would be useful. What would also help here is maybe we can get a status sent out to the MAG identifying those Thematic (Main) sessions and the facilitators or co-chairs, whatever -- whatever titles they're being assigned, so that that's known to everyone on the MAG, and if people have suggestions of speakers or thoughts or -- then they have an easy path to reach them.
Are there any specific updates from any of the facilitators of the Thematic (Main) sessions? At this point, I actually don't have the list of facilitators for those Main sessions that have agreed, so I can't call them out individually. I'll give just a minute to see if anybody wants to request the floor, and then if not, Eleonora, if you could -- and the Secretariat -- work to get a list for those MAG sessions that have facilitators appointed to date.
>> ELEONORA MAZZUCCHI: Sure, we can do that.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Again, it's important that this work get under way. We are -- you know, we're eight, nine weeks away from the MAG meeting -- from the IGF meeting, and, of course, we need to get support from the MAG for the various thematic sessions and identify and get speakers there, et cetera.
>> JUTTA CROLL: Lynn, Jutta speaking. May I step in because the speaking queue seems not to work.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Yes. No, it's just refreshed, so, yes, Jutta, you have the floor.
>> JUTTA CROLL: Ah, it just came. Thank you. I just wanted to step in on the thematic session on Development, Innovation, and Economics. That is already in preparation by the group that is on the list, and it's the session that is prepared together by the Dynamic Coalitions and members of the MAG, and so we already had a preparing call, and yesterday in the Dynamic Coalitions' monthly update call, we also discussed the plan for the thematic session with the members of the Dynamic Coalitions, and if you'll allow, I would like to hand over to Timea, who is a co-facilitator for the MAG for this session and can give a little bit more input on what we are attempting to do and how we have brought together the SDGs and the work the Dynamic Coalitions are doing. Thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: That would be excellent. Thank you, Jutta. Timea, you have the floor.
>> TIMEA SUTO: Thank you, Lynn. Hello, everyone.
So, yes, thank you to Jutta for handing the mic over to me, and you know both her and I volunteered to help facilitate this session, and since we had -- Markus Kummer from the Dynamic Coalitions sat onboard with us as well. We started some initial planning for it. We have a very draft skeleton structure that we've shared with the help of Eleonora with the Dynamic Coalitions yesterday -- was it yesterday or Monday? I -- early this week, and we had also a very productive call yesterday with the Dynamic Coalitions Coordination group, so we are hoping that we will hear from the Dynamic Coalitions on the initial skeleton structure to try and put more flesh on the bones, but what we are trying to look at, given that we have around 18 minutes for the sessions, is to work with the Dynamic Coalitions to see how would they like to position their work in terms of innovation and development and SDGs. There's some really good work under way with preparing a matrix of -- where their work is relevant to what SDG, and taking that as a base, we'd like a very inclusive discussion at the IGF but also would like to invite a couple of expert speakers who have a more depth of knowledge from different areas together to consider what and how ICTs and facilities would help improve our work on furthering Sustainable Development Goals, what are the challenges that people find and try to address when trying to implement projects that use technology to further development, and then in the end, to arrive to a discussion on what policy elements should be there to create an enabling environment for technology to further the SDGs.
Now, this was our initial thoughts, but as I said, we really want to go to develop this session in collaboration with the Dynamic Coalitions and all interested MAG members, so the draft has been shared both to the Dynamic Coalitions and also to the list of organizations that was set up by Luis, so we're just looking at the people's ideas and that you share your thoughts with us, and then we'll finalize our session structure as soon as possible and go from there to invite speakers and everything else that's been done.
One more thing I would like to highlight is that we really hope to work together with the Youth Coalition and Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability to make sure that the sessions are inclusive as well to everyone as possible. Thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Timea and Jutta.
Raquel is making a comment that we should also coordinate with the CENB track, as it has very similar goals. In fact, in a moment, I'd like to ask Raquel to come in give us an update on the CENB, as she's not able to stay with us beyond the first hour, but let me just hold off on that for one minute. There are a couple of other comments in the chat room as well, which I'm sure you're taking note of. I'm trying to read them here in the background. Before I go to, for instance, Mary's questions, are there any other comments for Jutta or Timea on that particular Thematic (Main) session?
And then let me go to Mary's question, and then if I can, just because I think it's particularly pertinent now, I'll ask Raquel to come in on the CENB update, and then we'll come back to the thematic and Main sessions.
But Mary made a comment that she said she noticed MAG members signed up for two or more as co-organizers. I'm not sure, Mary, if it's co-organizers or they're -- some individuals may be signing up to some of the Main sessions just so that they can sort of understand their intent and their focus and support where they can or perhaps looking for, you know, interdependencies or points of intersection. I, for instance, know I'm signed up to all of them, but that's more just to watch and be in a position to help, if appropriate, rather than fully participating in the work. I suspect that's true of other MAG members as well.
But let me ask you specifically if you saw any individual MAG members requesting to be co-facilitators for more than one session, because I agree with you, in the time we have, I think that would impose a problem with respect to supporting it appropriately.
I'm not seeing Mary come in. I think we can just manage that through the Secretariat and myself online.
The -- Sala had a good point as well, and Working Group members, we'll try and come to that later. Basically our point is to ensure that the work continues as seamlessly as possible with respect to transition plans from one -- one year to the next, and I think that's good advice. We can make sure that that's noted in the meeting summary in the appropriate place.
Raquel, could you give us an update on the CENB? As you said, there is some similarity with the efforts in this last thematic session.
>> RAQUEL GATTO: Sure. Thanks, Lynn, and hi, everyone. Good morning, afternoon, and evening and so on.
Just quickly, thank you for putting me first in the agenda, and apologies in advance, I'm going to leave on top of the hour, but just -- as you know, I've shared in the list the CENB call for inputs for the fourth phase is out now through the 3rd of September. The CENB, as approved by the MAG in its fourth phase, is following up on the previous years where you collect precisely the policy options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion, connecting to SDGs. Last year we connected with SDGs related to education, gender, and infrastructure development. This year we're going further with SDG 7 about the environment and clean energy, about the 8th on the future of jobs in the digital society, and then the 9th (Audio breaking up) also interested in the multi-stakeholder model close to this partnership's goal.
And overall, what do we need now? A couple of asks. We are looking -- as Timea was mentioning -- for those cases, examples, successful examples on the ground from the community that are really advancing, using the Internet as the game changer or somehow building the future of the Internet within the SDGs alignment and accomplishment, so so far we haven't received much input, and the deadline is the end of the month, so the first ask I would do for my colleagues is to help spread this call. I will put it in the chat just in a minute with the link, but we really need help to get it out there and to get more of these local cases.
In terms of preparations, we've also taken advantage of the face-to-face meeting in Geneva, and we spoke about doing webinars perhaps in other languages, and I'm organizing with Israel Russell as a former MAG member to see if we can do that in about ten days, but, I mean, I would invite others if you can help.
Also, Lynn, if I may ask for you and the Secretariat to put perhaps a highlight in the front page of the IGF. I was looking for -- I know the other -- and we're going to have other updates on the BPFs, also have their deadlines, their call for inputs out, and so it's not easy to find out, and so having, perhaps, some spot on the deadlines and how we can contribute, it's also important for the community.
And I think that's it for now. Thank you very much. And I'm open to any questions if you have.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Raquel. And I think that is a good idea. I will ask the Secretariat to identify any pending deadlines with respect to requests for updates on any of the intersessional activities.
Are there any further questions for Raquel on the CENB?
Seeing none, thank you, Raquel, and we'll revert back to the Main sessions. Are there any other co-facilitators that are prepared to give an update on the work-to-date?
So in that case, I think what I'd like to do for our next meeting, which is in two weeks' time, is I will work with the Secretariat to extend the agenda such that we call out each thematic session separately, noting the co-facilitators and ask for a formal update to the MAG at that point in time. Again, time really is moving on, and we need to start having some substantive progress and updates to the MAG, so we'll dedicate a longer portion of our session to that, and we will call out and expect individual updates on each of the Thematic (Main) sessions.
So if we move now to the MAG Working Group Updates, let me see if we have -- is Julian here? Is Julian prepared to give an update on the Working Group on Improvements? I actually don't think I see him on the call. Is there any other member of the Working Group that could give us an update?
Okay. Well, I know that --
>> FLAVIO WAGNER: Hi, Lynn.
>> LYNN ST. ARMOUR: Oh, hi.
>> FLAVIO WAGNER: This is Flavio.
>> LYNN ST. ARMOUR: Okay. Hi, Flavio. Thank you.
>> FLAVIO WAGNER: So I was thinking that Julian was also on the meeting.
So the Working Group has progressed. If you remember, we have split all the recommendations we got from different sources into eight different baskets according to the subjects, and small teams of two or three members of the Working Group tried to assess the recommendations in each of these baskets and put the first assessment of each of these recommendations, and we are at this point now we have just concluded the first assessment of the recommendations. The Working Group will make a new round. Other members will then try to give their own views on this assessment that has already been made by the other members, and I suppose that in one or two weeks we will hand out all this material to the MAG so that all the MAG members can also contribute to this assessment, so this is the point we have arrived at until now.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Flavio. Thank you for stepping in. I appreciate it.
Any extra questions from MAG members?
(Echo in audio)
I'm not seeing any, and, of course, we can take them to the MAG list if you wish to later.
Let's move to the next one. Rasha, I see you're on the call. Do you have an update on the Working Group on Evaluation, (Off microphone) on Evaluation? Rasha?
Let's try and get Rasha on in the -- oh, Rasha wants to be unmuted. You're now unmuted, Rasha.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Hello. Can you hear me?
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Yes, we can.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Good. Thanks. Hi, everyone. Again, I have to do my projects because I'm going to have to run to class in about 12 minutes from now. I don't have any updates right now, but I would like to call for a meeting of -- of the Working Group/MAG to sort of receive their final round of feedback for this year's selection process, including whether or not, I guess, the MAG thinks it's a good idea to separate the sort of programme information from the workshop evaluation or to have them handled by the same Working Group, so I suppose I can maybe suggest a few dates and times and send that to Lynn and the Secretariat and maybe do -- have a Doodle Poll or something and see what happens for the most members and perhaps go from there.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Sure. I mean, you can also feel free to set the Doodle Poll up yourself with a few dates and send it to the full MAG. I think in the last physical MAG meeting we had said it would be important to open up the participation up on this particular topic to the full MAG, and, I mean, just feel free to send the invitation. Working Groups are pretty much self-supporting. We try not to draw on the Secretariat resources, as they're stretched.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Okay. Sounds good. So I'll do that and send an email to the MAG.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Rasha. That's really important work. I think we should get that under way before we lose state of the --
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Yeah, and I hope there's someone who will carry the torch for next year since I'm not going to be a MAG member anymore. I'm certainly around to help, but I would like to see someone just take on the very, very trivial task.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: No, I think that's important, and, you know, following the comment earlier in the chat room, perhaps in the Working Group we can start to identify who might want to facilitate or be co-facilitators for this work going forward. You know, ideally, at least one of them would be someone who's participated in the work to date so that there is some continuity. Maybe that's something we can take up in the Working Group.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Great. Thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you. I don't see Mamadou on the call. Is there anyone else prepared to give an update on the Working Group on Communications and Outreach? I know they've been fairly active. And Miguel -- I mean, sorry, Mamadou did send an update to the MAG list yesterday, as he said, he wasn't going be able to participate. Miguel's saying he can barely hear me. Am I clear to others? Clear to some; low to others. My volume's up full.
>> I hear you loud and clear.
>> We can hear you fine.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Okay. Great. Thank you, everybody. So there remain, then, two more Working Group updates, one on fundraising and one on the Multiyear Strategic Work Programme. I will talk to the fundraising one first. Again, we're continuing to work to an interim process on a shortlist of donors. Luis and the Secretariat has actually prepared an online platform so we can all share kind of current status of those -- of those potential donors, and various Working Group members have reached out to the intersessional activities, specifically that's the BPFs, the DCs, and CENB, looking for any kind of win-win situations where we could approach an organization, specifically to see if they were interested in participating in the work of those intersessional activities, and, of course, the assumption is finding value in that work, they would also be a good candidate for donations, so that work has been started some time ago and is continuing.
There's been quite a lengthy discussion in the Working Group on Fundraising on various letters or leaflets or templates to reach out to potential donors, and it ranges from a leaflet or high-level letter specifically targeting, for instance, those who might participate in the high-level meeting at the IGF or those senior VIPs that would participate at the Paris Peace Forum, all the way, of course, to templates and letters for kind of the ongoing fundraising effort.
We're also working with DESA to update some of the processes and specifically to provide some additional resources to those that would be soliciting donations, you know, such as in a Frequently Asked Questions or some easy text we could pull from the website on specifically particularly impactful pieces of work the IGF is doing. Obviously, organizations have specific interests, they don't all have a broad interest across a full panoply of IGF activities, so we want to make that a really easy exercise for those MAG members that are approaching donors.
We're also looking and working with DESA, potentially, of putting some text together or maybe even a small number of Frequently Asked Questions to comment on, you know, the relationship or the linkages between the IGF and the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. Specifically in this field, that panel is soliciting contributions from the same group of people as has traditionally given to the IGF, and it is raising some questions amongst them, so want to work to have some hopefully common text between ourselves and the HLPDC. If not, I'm recommending that we come up with our own text and bring that forward.
And, also, the -- we've just had a Working Group member offer to help update some of the charter certainly for this Working Group but also some of the supporting documents. There were some comments raised with respect to kind of what documentation exists on a number of these activities and suggestions for how they could be improved, and this is a second stream of work that's taking place within the Working Group.
We've also had great support from DESA in this Working Group on Fundraising between both Wai Min and Deniz, and I think Wai Min is prepared to give a couple of brief updates as well. Wai Min, is that still the case? Wai Min? Let me see if we can raise Wai Min.
>> WAI MIN KWOK: Yes. Hi, Lynn. Yeah, I may have some background noise. Yes. We are actually working together (Audio garbled), so as what Lynn mentioned on all the various steps, in particular also we are doing a (Audio garbled), so I identify as Lynn advised on -- to look at the schedule of the (Audio garbled).
The other part which (Audio garbled) formal way to point to the UN group, so we will work out together with the Working Group to see (Audio garbled). We do understand (Audio garbled) with very connection that we are (Audio garbled).
Lynn, maybe I will end here. I think there's some background noise.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: There is a lot of background noise. I know you're trying to arrange a conference call for later this afternoon, so perhaps we could just send a quick update out to the MAG on your comments there because they weren't very intelligible.
Let me see, then, if there are any comments or questions on that update. Again, I want to thank Wai Min and Deniz in particular. We're getting great support and really good participation in our biweekly meetings, and it's really helping us to move forward.
>> DENIZ: Lynn, if I may interrupt. Deniz here.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Hi, Deniz.
>> DENIZ: So I can just give a quick update. I know we discussed in the Working Group about in-kind contribution, so we had an update on that. Any in-kind contribution needs to be formalized with a pledge letter and acceptance letter, so this is possible, and this was done in the past, and we also need to attach a reasonably estimated value to the in-kind contribution. I think I heard some questions about this from some MAG members. And also, we will be working in the coming days, as Wai Min mentioned, on the Frequently Asked Questions about the -- about the -- anything related to donor community, and one thing that we are doing here in DESA is also sending out -- following up with existing donors, like signing a thank you letter and just checking how we are doing with the contributions. So anything else, I can try to respond. Thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Deniz, and the points that Deniz just made were the ones that I think Wai Min was making as well, so we will document. We have had a number of questions particularly on the he in-kind contributions, so we'll be documenting that process and at the same time recognizing some of the current in-kind contributions we actually get.
The -- sorry, I'm just trying to catch up on the background here in the chat room. Wafa, I'll come to your question in just a moment.
Again, on the fundraising, you know, as we've shared before, the situation with respect to the financial resources for the IGF is -- you know, is quite serious. That's why we're putting this effort together. It is a responsibility, if you will, of the MAG to help ensure that we have the appropriate support and resources. If any MAG members are aware of organizations that you think would be a great partner for the IGF, obviously, somebody who can participate in the work and is interested in these activities is a much more natural donor, so if you can identify organizations, and, please, don't hesitate to send them to myself or the Secretariat so that we can follow up. It does take quite a bit to follow up with each one of these potential donors, so at this point in the game, I think we need to ensure that they're, you know, fairly interested and could, in fact, make a fairly substantive contribution. I think we'll leave that there for the moment.
There's one more Working Group to give an update on -- and if I could go to that, then perhaps afterwards we can see if there's still any open questions with respect to renewal of MAG members, which I think is the current conversation in the chat room there.
The final Working Group update is from the Multiyear Strategic Work Programme, and myself and Sheba are the co-facilitators of that Working Group. There are three major efforts. I'll ask Timea to give an update on the first one, which is a proposal for the IGF framework. At the last meeting, we were told that there was -- that the framework was being prepared for broad community review, possibly including a few questions to draw out input, and in parallel, I know the Secretariat has been reviewing options for the review platform. Timea, do you have any updates from the -- from that effort?
>> TIMEA SUTO: Thank you, Lynn. We are still at the same -- a little bit further but the same juncture, hoping to really get to a final text between myself and Susan and hoping to share that with you. I think we have the next call next Thursday, hoping to be able to share with you and the Working Group by then.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Timea.
The -- and, yes, we do have -- both for the Working Group on Fundraising and the Working Group on Multiyear Strategic Work Programme we are having biweekly calls, and our next for both of those is tomorrow, as Timea has just said.
There are two other efforts -- actually, three other efforts taking place within that Working Group. One of them is the option paper and methodologies for the development of written IGF outputs, which was -- the MAG was updated on our last call as well. Again, we're having the call tomorrow. The Working Group has the draft proposal from an external company to help facilitate both an offline -- you know, an online process and a physical meeting process that would help test, I guess, community support for more concrete outputs and some possible forms of those concrete outputs. I think the Working Group felt that it was important to understand sort of what's possible, what the community believes is appropriate, and at the same time sort of check into new tools and processes that are available.
I don't see Jeremy on the call. He's leading that effort for us here, but we can prepare another update for our next MAG call and following our Working Group call tomorrow.
There's another effort, which is Strengthening Cooperation in the Context of the IGF. This follows an effort from the effort in the last couple of years by a community member, and some four or five days ago, I think last Friday, he sent out an Executive Summary or next steps for the Working Group to review. That is basically sort of a longer-term pilot, which would actually have the community developing a position on a particular topic and taking it through to some form of concrete output. That's sort of a -- a second phase, which is hoped to actually extend the previous pilot I just mentioned, sort of a meeting halfway, if you will, testing the back end of the process while we allow a longer time frame for the full process.
And then finally, there's a drafting team that's been established to work on finalizing a concrete proposal on how the MAG and the IGF community could advance a Multiyear Strategic Work Programme. There have been a number of suggestions that have come up over the -- through the Working Group, and certainly, over the course of the year, we've had some very good signals from the community, whether it's through the Call for Issues or the workshop selection process in terms of issues they feel are particularly pertinent. I think it now just remains to actually determine what the process should be with respect to properly engaging the MAG and the broader community, and, again, a drafting team has been established to put a concrete proposal in front of the Working Group and then ultimately in front of the MAG.
Are there any comments or questions on -- on that Working Group?
Then let me move just quickly to the comments in the chat room on -- since the deadline is today. There were a couple of questions with respect to the membership renewal in MAG. The deadline is today. I think each community, and specifically speaking about Private-Sector Technical Community and Civil Society here, each community has determined their own process, and I know some communities in the past have kind of requested those MAG members that are still eligible for a second or third term to sort of reapply in the sense of informing the Nominating Committee of their activities, but, again, that's up to each community to do so or not. It's not required -- as I understand, not required by the process run by DESA.
Eleonora, maybe you've had a chance to look through the comments in the chat room a little bit more carefully. Is there anything you'd want to add to that or Wai Min?
>> ELEONORA MAZZUCCHI: Hi, Lynn. I'm not really an expert on the process, but I do know that the -- that existing members are not required to submit nominations for themselves. I don't know if our DESA colleagues want to add anything.
>> DENIZ: Eleonora, I can only confirm what you just said.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: So from the UN perspective, no need to submit a nomination, but if any community members here have different information from their own community processes, that is the one that should guide them.
If there are any further questions, then feel free to jump in now or to put the question in the -- in the chat room as well.
Okay. Let's move to the Intersessional Updates. Shall we start with the BPFs? Is there someone here who's prepared to give an update on -- it doesn't matter to me which one we continue with. I know Ben Wallis and I think -- Markus, are you the co-facilitators of the Cybersecurity?
>> WIM DEGEZELLE: Hi, Lynn. It's Wim speaking. Martin asked me to give the update on cybersecurity.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Excellent.
>> WIM DEGEZELLE: We can start with that. This update, the BPF Cybersecurity, as you know, is focusing on norms and values in cybersecurity. We sent out a call for public contributions, which is on the website, and if you give me a small second, I'll post both links in the -- sorry -- in the chat.
So there are basically two calls for contributions. One is a public call that tries to find out whether or not there are different understandings on what is meant with the concept of norms and values in a culture of cybersecurity, asks for examples of norms and values that worked well, asked for issues with the implementation of understanding of those norms, and also asked for examples of possible nonstandard values that lead to a security -- digital security divide or could lead to a security divide.
The second call for contributions was specifically dedicated to the NRIs. It is similar content but more specifically asking how NRIs deal with the topic of -- in the culture of norms, cybersecurity norms and values, sorry. The both -- for both calls, we have put a deadline on the 15th of September, which is the end of this week. We have received so far not as many at least compared to last year. We have received six contributions on the public call but so far no input on -- from the NRIs, so in the coming days, we will send out reminders, but I think also MAG members could help by reminding people about the call for contributions.
In fact, the -- there is a deadline the 15th of September, but the idea of the BPF is to keep the call for contributions open so people can continue to give input. The only difference is that the 15th of September, so as from next week we will start to analyze what we received and start writing the document, so any contribution that -- contributions, sorry, that comes in after the 15th, we do not guarantee that it will be included in the analysis of the document or the document itself. The later contributions come in, the more chance that they are added at the -- just at the end of the document in an overview or summary. I think that is the most important for cybersecurity at the moment.
Unless there are questions from MAG members, I would like to continue to give a brief update also on local content. The local content BPF had a call on the 3rd of September. The BPF is focusing on developing a local content value chain, so local organizations, local, small businesses, setting up or developing local content compared to, well, content imported from -- existing content, sorry, imported from outside the country or local community.
During the last call, a couple of suggestions were made to also specifically look at the situation in some parts of Africa and the situation -- specifically the focus on infrastructure as, I mean -- the remark was made not to pay too much -- well, not to forget that if there are still issues with infrastructure, there might be good ideas and there might be people wanting to take initiatives, but these should still have to be solved.
Also, a remark was made to have a look or a suggestion to look at the IDNs and the role the IDNs can play, and the suggestion was also made that we should look for contributions or people that could help us with giving some input from the Arab region or. That also last year remained a little blind spot in the BPF. There is a new call planned for the BPF on Tuesday, the 18th, or next week Tuesday, so all interested, please join that call.
Happy to answer any questions, and I think Titi will update on the IoT cybersecurity, but I'm happy to answer questions on those two updates.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Wim. Let's take questions on those two updates, and then we do, of course, have the BPF on Gender and the BPF IoT and Data, but any questions for Wim on those two BPF updates?
I'm assuming Renata's hand up is for an update on BPF Gender. I'm not seeing anybody else in the queue. Why don't we go to Renata. Again, if your comment was, in fact, for one of the last two BPFs, then by all means, jump in, and if not, we'll move to the BPF Gender.
>> RENATA AQUINO RIBEIRO: Thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Renata, you have the floor.
>> RENATA AQUINO RIBEIRO: Thank you. Renata. I guess -- I just added a comment in the chat on the BPFs, but I will just bring our update. This time we've done a collaborative update with the help of our facilitator, Radhika, and there were -- there were general -- there were no objections to this, so I'm going to read it.
The BPF Gender as its objectives do alternative models of connectivity to support the needs of underserved population of women, and we are currently studying the impact of initiatives that support and develop alternative models of connectivity that directly or indirectly respond to the needs of underserved population of women and gender-nonconforming individuals. Alternative models of connectivity refers to improving telecommunication infrastructure models that not only speed up the pace at which unconnected populations can be supported with Internet access but also complement existing models in making communication accessible to all, like community networks, public Wi-Fi, TV white space.
Specific attention will be made to the following communities, nonbinary entities, LGBTQIA, indigenous women, women refugees, women of disabilities, to identifying women leaders with stories that have changed their lives through access, we'll put together best practices that encourage women to take leadership positions. This will be complemented with analytical evidence wherein data exists.
So we currently have a call for inputs in a Google forum. We have received already seven submissions, and we will also circulate an online survey -- it's in Google Docs -- to circumvent places where Google Docs can be used -- can't be used, so I am adding on the chat our call for inputs, and please help us share it.
And we also have a new email ID, firstname.lastname@example.org (Inaudible) for submission queries. We also plan to receive videos submissions. If so, we'll create a channel on YouTube for the same, and we will use WhatsApp. We have a prepaid number with terms agreed to have it used for receiving inputs on also Signal and Telegram, and we'll be able to use it for outreach for those who do not have access to the survey.
Submissions are also encouraged in the form of documents of existing studies, website URLs.
We have three calls, one about Community Networks next week, and we are planning on nonbinary identities, so we're using IGF social media as well to publicize these actions, and we also have a volunteer form that has received 28 responses, and focal points are being identified and contacted to collaborate.
Our timeline, we opened our call for inputs on the 1st of September, and on the 30th of September we plan to close it. I will send in also our call for volunteers to help to be focal points to interview specific communities or volunteer available data, so that would be it. Thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Renata, and thank you to all the BPF members as well. Particularly interested in a lot of your more innovative outreach channels and use of some of the newer apps as well. Very interesting.
Any comments or questions for Renata from the BPF on Gender and Access?
Seeing none, let me call for an update on the BPF on Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and Big Data, and Titi, are you prepared to give an update?
>> CONCETTINA CASSA: This is Titi. Can you hear me? I will give a brief summary about the BPF. Actually, the last call was on September the 6th, and the summary of the last one and also the one on the 23rd of August has been added on the website, and then now the BPF is working on the formulation of global good practice principal on ethical consideration and the continued development application in a sustainable way.
Then the BPF has launched a call for contributions to collect best practice examples in order to stimulate more development application of IoT, Big Data, and IE in an ethical and sustainable way.
Then also, actually, we are working on a document that will be shared with the BPF list, mailing list, to have input, and will be also shared with the organizer of the workshop and also will be shared on Dynamic Coalition IoT mailing list and so on.
Then we are planning the next BPF call on next Thursday, on the 20th of September. Please join. It's just an invitation to the other people who want to join the discussion. Thanks.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Titi. Are there any questions on the BPF on AI, IoT, and Big Data? Doing a slow count to six.
Okay. Seeing none, that brings us to the Intersessional Updates on DCs. Markus, I think you're going to speak to that?
>> MARCUS KUMMER: Trying to unmute. Can you hear me?
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: You were successful.
>> MARCUS KUMMER: Essentially, the DCs, we had our call yesterday, and that is really feeding into preparing the Main session, and you had a report on that from Timea and Jutta, so for us, the main thing was to see whether we had a common basis. Now we do have a common platform to move forward, but the action will change now to the dedicated list that has been set up to prepare this Main session, and we will organize calls on that list from now on.
I did request to report on an additional issue under Any Other Business, but you anticipated that. That is essentially the difficulty we have with the remote participation to WebEx, as it was impossible for a spokesman of the DCAD to participate. He's a well-known expert, but he is blind, and despite all the help from the Secretariat, he was unable to log in.
This is a much broader issue that goes beyond the Dynamic Coalition, so I think it's best to address it under Any Other Business, as you had suggested. Thanks.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Markus, and I will address it under AOB because it's just very disturbing how difficult it is and all the difficulties we're having. We need a different process to determine what the requirements are and some different solutions, so -- but let's come to that under AOB.
I did have a question. Renata said she'd like again to come back to the question on what are any of the ideas or initiatives that have been put forward to invite or integrate the intersessional activities into the Main sessions, and I can certainly open that question up to the floor now, as well as I think putting a specific question out to the -- to the MAG list and also to the co-facilitators of all of the thematic sessions asking them specifically to comment on what they are doing to both recognize and, where appropriate, of course, integrate the intersessional activities. I think that's important. I think it will enrich not only the Main sessions, the thematic sessions, but also help set the intersessional activities up for even more success.
So let me first see if there are any comments or questions just now from MAG members with respect to the question Renata's posed, and noting at the same time that we will bring this to the MAG and the Thematic (Main) session organizers separately.
Again, the request was are there any ideas or initiatives that have been put forward with respect to integrating intersessional activities into the Thematic (Main) sessions? I'll do a slow count to six, and if not, we'll put the call out on the list. And I want to thank Renata for bringing that up as well because it was a key point that's been made several times over the last few years.
So Renata is saying, sharing a brief of Main session with BPFs so we can help too. Yes, in fact, I think that's a very good suggestion, and maybe we need a little more process behind some of the Main session activities so we make sure that the Main sessions are reaching out -- reaching out appropriately to all the intersessional activities. I'll work with the Secretariat on that.
>> ELEONORA MAZZUCCHI: Lynn, sorry. It's Eleonora. If I may just quickly remind that earlier in the call, actually, Raquel suggested that the CENB group work closely with the development Main session on the SDGs, so although there's no specific initiative yet, I do think the co-facilitators of that session would be ready to work with the CENB. Just to note that that initial proposal was made.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Right. It only leaves seven more.
Thank you, Eleonora.
Let's move to the NRI Updates, Anja, as the NRI focal point, if you could give us an update.
>> ANJA GENGO: Thank you, Lynn. Thank you, Lynn. I hope you can hear me. So just very quickly, then, I will just start briefly saying about the NRI meetings happening globally at this moment, and then I will move to the NRI integration into IGF programme, giving an update compared to the last MAG meeting where I also gave an extensive update, so I will try not to repeat myself.
As for the NRI's meetings, as this moment, I believe in two hours from now, the first annual meeting of the National IGF of El Salvador should start. I think there is a streaming, so it will be also great if the community could join because the agenda is very interesting. And tomorrow is the first meeting of the Haiti IGF. That meeting had -- well, that IGF had a long journey to be finally established and recognized. The agenda is very interesting. Obviously, it's focusing on connectivity and access but also given very unique challenges they have, I think it's going to provide interesting perspectives. They also invited a lecturer to speak at the opening, so I believe Julian will also participate, and we will, of course, follow online as much as we can given the time zone differences. That would be for the meetings that are happening in the very near future.
For other meetings, you have the IGF calendar. They are reflected all in the calendar, and, of course, the Secretariat is at your disposal if you have any questions.
When it comes about integration of the NRIs in the 13th annual IGF meeting in Paris, I did share an update last week on the last MAG meeting saying we are working on finalizing the preparations for the Main session in terms of the content and format, so the follow-up updates to that update would be that four potential policy questions for structuring the content of the Main sessions are identified. The colleagues are now reviewing with their teams and communities, and hopefully by the end of this week, they will come with the final round of potential edits and updates to those policy questions before they are finally endorsed, but just for the information of the MAG, I will quickly say that those questions are focusing on the NRIs bringing examples on how the application of the multi-stakeholder model for discussing the Internet Governance with any matters contributes to the development of Internet Governance. They will also focus on what are the challenges they face while implementing the multi-stakeholder model for discussing the Internet Governance-pertaining matters.
After that, they will move on how can we improve the implementation of the multi-stakeholder model on the national and digital levels.
And the session will be concluded with reviewing the status of the multi-stakeholder model on a global level and what are the recommendations for improvements. The community, the wider community was, in particular, keen to discuss the functioning of the multi-stakeholder model on the UN level and, in that context, to discuss briefly what is the future of the IGF.
So we will see by Friday whether these questions will be adopted as -- in this form or there will be some minor adjustments.
For the format we are also discussing, most probably the approach will be adopted, but there are a couple of alternatives we're looking at, so we will inform the MAG once the NRIs agree on the final format as well. And after that, we will enter the process for trying to identify who could be the potential moderators for this Main session.
For the NRIs' collaborative sessions, I briefed the MAG last week on the five topics that were agreed by the NRIs, so the follow-up update would be that by the -- well, actually, by the end of today's date we will have the final compositions of the teams that will be working on those topics, and we will come up -- we will approach the BPF on Cybersecurity starting from tomorrow to specifically work together on the collaborative session that will focus on cybersecurity in order to avoid any potential duplications and overlappings.
Final remarks before I conclude this update is that I heard what Wim said at the beginning during the update on the BPF on Cybersecurity that still that BPF did not receive any contributions from the NRIs. We, from the Secretariat side, will also send a couple of reminders to all the BPFs and, of course, Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion and invite colleagues and encourage to contribute. It could be that the reason is that there are so many meetings of the NRI that are scheduled in this period, and also, it's very intensive work of the joint agenda we're working on, so it could be that that influences their response, but we will definitely commit in sending a couple of reminders.
That would be all from me, but I'm here if you have any questions, and thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Anja. Let me see if there are any questions or comments from MAG members to the NRI report.
Let me just say that I know, you know, everyone, the MAG and all of these intersessional efforts and MAG Working Group efforts are all working hard, you know, in a compressed timetable, and it's much appreciated. I also recognize that a lot of this does culminate in a request for participation or support from the NRIs, simply because they're such a wealth of knowledge, and obviously much of this gets implemented at a local level, so we really appreciate both the tasks they have and everything they do to support the full breadth of IGF activities.
Renata, you have the floor.
>> RENATA AQUINO RIBEIRO: Yes. Renata. Thanks, Lynn. Thanks, Anja, for this comprehensive update again, and I have been thinking about this issue of gathering inputs from the NRIs. Indeed, maybe there should be a strategy we can -- I don't know -- streamline these contributions. I know the NRIs have a lot of calls and the BPFs also have -- in the case of gender, we have the IGF theme calls, so perhaps we should have dialogues between -- I know in the Cybersecurity BPF did a call or something, but maybe we could organize NRIs intersessional dialogues. That would be a way to streamline gathering those inputs and also help the NRIs in their own preparation, in their own regions finding speakers and so on, so just an idea out there for us to integrate more. Thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Renata, and I'm sure all ideas are appreciated. I don't know if Anja has any comment to that. If not, we can let her take that away and consider it with the NRIs.
>> ANJA: Thank you, Lynn, thank you, Renata. Not for the comment side, but I will gladly forward this input to the NRIs.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Any further comments or questions from MAG members on the NRIs?
Not seeing any, that brings us to AOB, and, I mean, I'd like to make a couple of opening remarks and then, with MAG support, ask Andrea Saks to come in as well. I -- we just reach, as far as I can tell, the limits of what our current online platform supports. There are easily between 30 to 40 memos between last night and this morning, I think 20 have come in over the course of this call, outlining some of the difficulties and problems with the current platform. It's clear to me that we need an active subcommittee, if you will, to help address this. We need people that understand deeply the sort of issues and the sort of platforms that best address the broad set of needs, and I'd like to ask for support from DESA. In fact, I have a call with DESA tomorrow, and this is one of the things I'd like to address with them, as well as support from our DC and Accessibility DCAD and also engagement with some of the other parts of the UN system that seem to be having better success than we do with platforms and tools.
So I think just to sort of underline how, I guess, serious this is -- I hope we all understand how important it is to do everything we can to maximize participation from everyone, to be as inclusive -- (Feedback) -- just share a little bit of the difficulties. I'd like Andrea just to give us kind of a brief list of some of the considerations we should be taking into account so that people have better familiarization and I hope a better appreciation of this (Feedback).
Luis, can you help with that interference. I'm going to put myself on mute now and ask Andrea to speak, and then we can come back and see if there are any further (Off microphone) how we can address a very serious issue. Andrea.
>> ANDREA SAKS: I don't know if anybody can hear me. Can anybody hear me?
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Yes.
>> ANDREA SAKS: Can -- great. Because I was listening on the phone because I cannot get audio on WebEx right now, and how I've been following is on captioning and using my phone, which I've just shut off because that was the background noise you just heard.
The problem with conferencing tools -- and there are many -- is that it has to be very easy to use, not only for persons with hearing disabilities but visual disabilities, but people who have physical disabilities who need to be able to set it up, manually communicate with it, listen, and be able to speak or type.
Now, today, if you've got this up, you can see the biggest space is given to the speaking queue and the brief agenda, and we've got three lines for captioning.
What I've had to do so I can follow myself, just to give you examples of things, is I've had to get another website up called Streamtext on another web browser, which I flip back and forth when I cannot hear -- which has happened often -- another speaker. I am slightly hard of hearing now due to age. I wasn't before, but the main problem was Jerry Ellis, who is -- feel the benefit, who is blind, could not be added on. That's extremely bad because Jerry is going to be running the DCAD meetings, the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability, and our workshop this year, because unfortunately, I won't be there to nag, as I have to deal with the Plenipot at ITU to make sure that the accessibility resolution is changed properly to update what we need.
WebEx likes designing wonderful doodahs and gadgets, which I think the rest of the world think is wonderful, and they can be in certain situations, but it is not applicable to what we need. We also need to be able to adjust or get audio by ourselves, we need to have some control at the user end, which we do not.
We need to train -- and Luis, by the way, is wonderful. He tries everything -- every moan I have, he comes back and tries to do something, so it's not down to technicians, but we need to educate technicians on how to set up a page that is going to work for persons with disabilities.
I still do not have any sound coming from my PC. Well, now it's important, otherwise we'd have feedback, but it's important to be able to listen, to be able to view visually the text in the chat box, to -- why we have up on the top the little squares saying Luis Bobo, Renata, Anja, Lynn, and -- I can't read -- I can't read that other one. I mean, I've got my face right up to the beginning. Why we need that there, I don't know, but I have seen, for instance, GotoMeeting have squares like that with sign language so there's five or six different sign languages, so WebEx is not geared to persons with disabilities at the moment.
I think -- I want to propose an idea for the future. Why don't we put out the call and maybe even have a contest for someone to design a good-for-all but predominantly persons with disabilities communication tool for conferences that is accessible for persons with disabilities and adjustable by them consistently so that they can manage and follow meetings because right now they are not included, and this goes against the very UN Convention, and if the UN persists in using a tool that is not accessible, then we have a problem in actually applying it from the UN.
To go through all the technical details of the other aspects is a little difficult for me at the present time. I think I'd take up too much of your time. But I would like to bring those people together since I mainly work within the ITU with accessibility in both the development sector, the radio sector, and the T sector, which does the standardization, and I include persons with disabilities in the meetings that I organize and attend. I would like to suggest that maybe Luis and some of the other individuals who might be interested get together with our team and we hash it out. We have definitely rejected using WebEx. We do -- we do try to use Zoom, but it doesn't work that well.
GotoMeeting has limitations, but Adobe Connect seems to fill all of the boxes -- most of the boxes. In fact, the caption box was designed by one of the people with Caption First, but it isn't solvable with what's out there now.
We need to do something about the future, so maybe this idea of having a contest of some kind is something that we all could think about, and I'm going to propose it to the directors of the ITU to see if they'd be interested, perhaps during Plenipot, to see if we can organize something like that. I hope this has been helpful. I don't want to take too much of your time, Lynn. Thank you for the floor.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: No, Andrea, thank you. I mean, you made so many good points, I mean, obviously, not just specific to the tools but, you know, the screen we see in front of us when we're trying to hold these meetings, which is why I think we need either to get a small subteam, including some of the -- you know, the experts that you've mentioned here, or another possibility is we ask the Dynamic Coalition Accessibility and Disability to drive both recommendations on a different platform for the IGF's activities and possibly also the idea of a contest, which I think is actually quite -- quite interesting.
I would like to ask if you have any thoughts as to whether or not this is something the Dynamic Coalition can take on. Again, I fully appreciate that they are very busy at the moment with various preparations for IGF meetings and such. If they can't take that on, then I'm wondering if there's, perhaps, a small number of people that could join the Secretariat, myself, and I'm hopeful DESA as well, in terms of really understanding what we can do in the fairly near-term to fix this. I mean, it really is not a good situation. I'm trying to be diplomatic here because I'm a bit frustrated myself at some of the things I've heard here over the last few days and, in fact, several years.
So, just, Andrea, any thoughts? Is this something we could ask the DCAD to take on, or are we better off in terms of getting maximum traction in a relatively short period of time of getting just a small kind of impromptu --
>> ANDREA SAKS: Okay. Am I on?
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Yes. You are, Andrea.
>> ANDREA SAKS: Great. Okay. Yes, we can take it on. I mean, DCAD is there for that reason. I can enlist everybody I know in the world to help me take it on. I'm going to several other organizations, like in the United States, because the problem is there too. I don't see any reason why not. I -- the more help I can get, the better, obviously, and I like your idea of perhaps getting a small group together of the people because I don't mind which group wants to sponsor the idea of setting up an organizational team to see if we can solve this and maybe have the ITU join it. It's something that I can promote within the ITU for a fact. I can do that. My big mouth can be useful as well as annoying.
I really would love to take that on with you, and I don't understand fully how we'd have to do that within IGF. I know the ITU more, but I do work with the U.S. State Department on delegations. I will be talking to them when I go to Plenipot. I also will be going to the longest-running deaf communications organizations, Teletypewriters for the Deaf, Incorporated -- Telecommunications. It's changed its name since we have Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing during the months of November to -- there's a big, big, big confab of that.
I can certainly put it there. Everybody now talks to everybody else by various means, not uniformly with the same systems, but I still maintain, if we can have the telephone, contact any telephone in the world, which was my original premise when I started trying to get text phones used for deaf people back in the '60s and in the '70s, in the other century, that if hearing people can use the telephone all over the world, why can't deaf people? Well, the same applies to a remote participation tool, everybody should be able to have a design that they can use so that they could be included, and we can learn from them as well as give information that they need all over the world.
If you think I'm a bit of a soapbox person, I am. Back over to you, Lynn.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Andrea.
And so what -- what I'd like to propose is maybe there are two streams. I said I have a call with DESA tomorrow. I will talk to them to understand what, if any, considerations we need to take into account as we look at other solutions for the IGF, and then I think there's the longer-term fuller solution which you're searching for, but most immediate, I think we need to find a way to significantly improve the IGF functionality in this area.
I think working with the ITU is excellent. I mean, in fact, the IGF is meant to work with other organizations, and, of course, the DCAD, the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability is in combination with the ITU, so I think anything we can learn from them or any other organization that, you know, has advanced this will be helpful.
So I think just in summary, I will talk to DESA tomorrow, who luckily are also on this call, see if we can come together with a kind of concrete approach to immediate improvements to the IGF tools and systems, even if the first step is only the layout that we're all looking out on the screen here, but that we also put together, you know, a solid plan for addressing this more comprehensively and more concretely going forward, and then come back to you. We can continue this on the list we have going in the background here and then work to establish more formally a -- you know, a small Working Group or whatever we think is necessary, but just -- I think the takeaway to you is that we're committing to do everything we can to fix this in the very short-term and work, I think, with you and through DCAD, I think, would be excellent to find a longer-term, more comprehensive solution. So thank you for bringing that up. Thank you for sitting here for two hours through all this meeting with all the pain you've been experiencing just to help us advance this. Much, much appreciated.
With that, I think that brings us to the end of our agenda. I'll give one final call to see if there are any other comments or questions from MAG members here, either on this topic or other topics. Maybe while I'm doing the slow count to six in the background, I'll just mention that these meetings -- our MAG meetings were set up through the end of September some many months ago. The Secretariat has actually just extended the schedule for MAG members out to I think it's the first week of November. You can find that in the calendar link that was sent to the MAG earlier this year, and I've just been reminded from Helani, thank you, there's a request as to whether or not there's a MAG meeting in Paris. I think there's two kind of complexities with that.
First of all, if we assume that the UN is going to have the new MAG and Chair appointed before the IGF concludes, I think it would obviously be important to have the first meeting of the year be established with the new MAG. It is equally important that, of course, we take all the learnings and that we have a robust transition between the current MAG into the new MAG. One option is certainly to do that the day after the MAG meeting. I think that presents some participation problems, but we could certainly have online participation as well as participation in person. It may present a problem for getting enough of the new MAG members to be present in Paris, and all that depends on when the selection process from the UN is complete.
I think there's also a question as to whether or not immediately coming off of a MAG meeting, which is pretty intense for most participants, not just MAG members, having that immediately the next day has really sort of left enough time for reflection. One possibility is we have a Virtual Meeting with the outgoing and incoming MAG members in the weeks after the IGF. I think the other complexity, of course, is whether or not there's financing available to bring MAG members to Paris, and I would guess that that actually looks somewhat doubtful just now with the finances we have in front of us.
Maybe this is something I can take up tomorrow on the call with DESA as well. We can look at the financial situation and perhaps put a specific question out to the MAG list to see where -- kind of what MAG members would feel would be most helpful, from both the perspective of a transition as well as, of course, getting started on next year's work.
And the problem with an informal MAG meeting, Renata, is I think it's not as inclusive as we'd like all of our meetings to be. If there's an informal meeting there, then they tend to be more social events than specifically ones to advance the work.
Let me talk to DESA tomorrow. I would ask any MAG member that has any, you know, thoughts or suggestions on this particular item, to kind of put something out in the MAG list as quickly as possible. I'm covering some new ground here, and I'm not really sure what's possible and what's best at this point in time, so very much need to hear from the MAG members with respect to what you think would be most helpful.
And thank you, again, Helani, for both bringing that up and reminding me.
All right. So with that, I'd like to thank everybody. See you all online, and our next call is in two weeks. Thank you.