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: There was a question in terms of sort of the process we were following. I responded I think at some length on the mailing list, but rather than going back through all that, let me see if there are any other comments or questions or maybe it is fair for those that are just commenting in now as well to just state that the process, secretary and I understood we were following was that the MAG had approved the top 40. And it was expected that they would be accepted in the program. And that there would be no additional requests for mergers, although we might point out to them that there had been some suggestions for mergers in case there were any other interesting viewpoints or possible speakers that might care to pull in as well. And then the MAG went through an exercise to rebalance according to the proportion of workshops by theme that we saw in both the conf issues and the workshop submissions. And that actually left us with 68 workshops because a couple of the themes were actually oversubscribed with respect to the top 40 workshop selection.
Equally there was a request to merge quite a number of I think there were something like 70 proposals from the French community and I think only two or three accepted, something like that. There was a request to merge some of the topics and some of the workshops. And that was debated at the MAG. And I thought there was support from the MAG in Geneva to pull those in. It wasn't unanimous support to pull those were fitting. It helped us to flush out one of the categories that sort of undersubscribed but had been a category of significant interest from the community earlier. And then there were two specific requests to pull in some workshops. And one of those requests had very significant support from the MAG. Again it was done online. So there was nobody who descended against that but still relatively small number of MAG members that weighed in in support. And then there was a request for another workshop to be pulled in on jurisdiction. And that one had relatively little comment from MAG members. Those that did were supportive, but I think there were two or three comments from MAG members on that workshop. And then a request from another MAG member to merge a workshop that one of those workshops was already in the list. It took care of itself and didn't result in any net add.
On the list historically the Secretariat has had some level of discretion, the principle is consensus and MAG support. But I think I was quite clear there have been a couple of other outlying requests and that the Secretariat has had discretionary rule to pull a few workshops in. It is a combination of for those few extra workshops that were pulled in MAG support, but also some Secretariat discretion, again well, sort of the pleasure of the United Nations Secretary General in terms of program preparation. That's always been accepted as a fair practice. That did leave us with 71 which is more than 60. We thought we might be in a position to accept as the Secretariat. Many of the workshops came in at 60 minutes and not 90 minutes freeing up additional space.
And Sala is in the process of rerunning all the diversity statistics based on speakers. And we will publish that as soon as we have that. We are also going to look at pulling in some of the other diversity statistics from things such as the main sessions which are still to be organized from the open forums from lightning sessions and that sort of thing. All of those are an opportunity to continue redressing any imbalances that we see. And I think the major imbalance while there was great diversity in each one of the individual submissions, that, of course, was a criteria for acceptance and part of achieving the acceptable scores. When you actually look at it by region there is a very high percentage of Western Europe and other group speakers and that's simply because a recession has one or two WEOG speakers on it.
When you are working on lightning sessions, open forums, main sessions that we work to make sure we addressing some of the speaker imbalances. Let me stop there and just open the floor and see if there are any comments or questions. This is continual improvement. And there is still room for improvement. And I think we made tremendous progress in the last few years. And really hoping that the Working Group on eval will schedule a call with the full MAG, not just the Working Group, and help us learn from these experiences and document proposed process for the next year. Again I'm going to open the floor. Any comments or questions? I'll go back and try to read the chat room again. It is a little hard to follow at the same time as speaking here. But any requests for the floor? I want to extend to Elenora. Feel free to come in with any clarifications, corrections, anything that you feel that has been overlooked.
>> Hi. It is Elenora. Sorry I have been so quiet. I'm working a lot in the background trying to figure out some technical things, but I think you were very thorough, Lynn. I see there are some specific questions in the chat. And I can definitely help take questions as they come in.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Okay. Thank you. I think we have Raquel with a hand up.
>> RAQUEL GATTO: Yes. Thank you very much. First to thank everyone, Lynn and Elenora and the Secretariat for pulling this together and also we know it is a lot of work and sometimes things get confused. I understand your explanation regarding Silvia's questions on the process. And I think that clarifies a lot. In terms of the numbers and that's something we were talking in the chat, we have so just to be clear, we have 71 workshop proposals. And then we are going to add the open forums, the main sessions, the flash sessions or perhaps anything else. There is considerable sessions. And we would end up with nearly 120, is that correct? That's my first question. The second one is related to the MAG mentorship for those workshops that needed some help. So I think we agreed there would be three kinds of approved workshop proposals. The ones that are fully approved, the ones that are approved for recommendations and the third one that are approved with conditions in terms of merging, in terms of having this mentorship. And so to have any clarity on how we are going to select and also putting myself for helping with this process if needed. Thank you very much.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Let me try and answer those. I will answer them and then I am going to refer to Elenora and then Miguel will come to you in a moment. In fact, there will be more than I don't know what the number will be. But some of the other sessions that are also in the IGF annual meeting that you didn't mention, of course, are the D.C. sessions and the best practice forums and CM and V requester forum which has always been the case. In fact, last year there were roughly I think 100 workshops that were approved through the workshop process, through the MAG process. And there was another 100 across all of the other sessions, BPS, open forums, lightning sessions and that's the same this year as well. I don't know if Elenora has another total, but I would suspect if we are at 71 it is probably closer to 150 or so.
So I think where all this leaves us is with about a 30% reduction from last year. Admittedly we do have one last day. So that's driving part of it. But I think to have driven for further reductions would have been I think a fairly big change for the community overall given we are down one day. So yeah, I feel like that kind of in spirit we met the goal which was less parallel sessions. In fact, we aren't we will have one less parallel session than last year. 10 instead of 11. But again I think with the one less day for the cut, that would have been a big cut. And as said the MAG did not seem to be willing to go from the 68 back down to 60 because that would have required taking some of the top 40 out. And that was a place that we weren't willing to go as the MAG. And we have a lot of competing priorities or a lot of competing values. We want to respect the community's desires. You know, we want the top rank 40. We want diversity. And I think we are trying to optimize across all of those. And there is to my mind no one higher level kind of principle that rules out all the others. So this second question, the facilitating the merger processes, what we have done in the past years, you know, Raquel, because you mentored a few last year, ask MAG members to mentor those few workshops that were accepted with a merger or those simply requested a merger. We can certainly do that this year.
There was also another possibility which since we have a theme base and even more theme based approach this year to our processes as well as to the program, that the organizing team that was going to come together under organizing the thematic main sessions might actually take responsibility for mentoring any of the suggested mergers that fall within that theme as well. I think in this case I don't think, necessarily want to come to Elenora, I don't think that the Secretariat has a preference one way or the other. So it is up to the MAG to determine what you think is I think probably the most effective and the most lightweight way to mentor and review those merged workshop proposals.
>> Hi Lynn. It is Elenora. The Secretariat does not have a preference. Helpful last year was the coaching from the MAG members to the proposers who were asking to merge. The result was great. The Secretariat in that case was a connector between the proposers and the MAG members. And it was a process that worked out well.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Elenora. Raquel's also I think looking for a bit of additional information in terms of how we are and what we have said to those workshop organizers that were accepted and those that were accepted, you know, conditionally. Maybe you can talk through that process and forward looking to the process that you are going to follow with respect to following the organizers.
>> Sure. Just to make one thing clear, all proposers get a message from the Secretariat informing them of their status, the ones that were approved, the ones that were approved with some comments or recommendations. And those who were not approved, too. And so for those that fall under the mergers categories, specifically the Secretariat gives them the information on the other workshop or workshops that they are can asked to merge with. They we inform them that, you know, they are not by any means obliged to merge. But if they decide not to, that could put their slot in the program at risk. And they are also encouraged to reach out to the Secretariat for any questions or help with this process at which point the Secretariat will connect them with MAG members who have volunteered to mentor, mentor them and help them through the merger process if there are such MAG members. There is sometimes mergers occur without an intervention from MAG members, but again I witnessed that and saw that it was so appreciated by the proposers.
And they would have roughly one month to kind of redraft a description and it would be republished on the website under the original kind of workshop slot that one of the of one of the original proposals. And they can decide which one they are going to kind of combine everything under.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Elenora. I will give you a chance to read the comments in the chat room. And we will go to Nachos' question and then come back to any additional clarifications. Nacho, you have the floor.
>> Hi everyone. Thank you. Can you hear me?
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Yes, we can.
>> I wanted to recognize the Secretariat and your work. To deal with all our interests and our I'm still I think the MAG, the MAG missed a great opportunity to change the idea in to something better and more relevant. I think we have it has been great until, I don't know, a couple of years ago when it started losing more and more relevance because many sectors are having their own event and they are missing interest in IGF. And we had a chance this year, and I think we missed it, reducing 11 parallel sessions to 10. It is the same. We have more parallel sessions than combined. For sure there will be two or three sessions in which many people will be splitting. So I don't know, it is my last year at the MAG. We will be able to help during the next years but I think we are missing a great opportunity here. We have a three day event. We have many chances to reduce the amount of workshops and and also the amount of open forums and wouldn't do that.
So I know, I am kind of sad about this because I think everyone, everyone attending IGF will be the same that was attending last year and the year before. Maybe this is open code for the MAG for the next year MAG to start thinking about this, to start thinking about the really relevant idea. IGF that has placed and maybe what's interesting in other sectors, the private sector, for example, they are going but they are not. I don't know. I'm really I'm really sad about losing this opportunity. Next year the MAG could be able to start reducing the amount of workshops to start focusing on what is relevant and interesting for people we need to go for the people need to be there and they are not going now.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: This is an important discussion and we should set aside a MAG call just to do this. And I think you have made these points before. I think we need to find a way to have a discussion with the MAG on these. I do want to point out though that we did make significant reductions. I mean the open forums, for instance, went from 41 to 27. Roughly that's a 25 or 30% drop if I am doing the math quickly. The same thing in a number of sorts of other forums. If we had a four day meeting then I think we would have been down to something like seven or eight parallel sessions, not ten. I do think that, you know, we didn't understand that there would be a three day meeting when we were planning a lot of this out and putting out some of the earlier calls for submissions and things. And we need to also recognize the community puts a lot of their heart and soul in to the workshop process as well. And I think to drop the workshop selection down to 45 workshops or so which is 10% or I don't know what it was. 15% maybe. The submissions it was just a very big step that I don't think we because we didn't have the time that we hadn't really prepared the community well for. I think with respect to relevance, we are doing what we can. I am sure we can do more to get more senior level policymakers and certainly more private sector. I think that's a responsibility on all of us every day in terms of pulling them in. I hope with the fact that we had the MAG reviewing the workshops by theme meant we have less redundant and more complementarity between the workshops that are between any theme. I feel like we didn't get as far as some would like in the MAG, but I think we made some very significant steps. I am so happy that Johan is pulling forward the appointment process for the MAG. If we can have the MAG appointed before this current year's MAG is stood down, that gives us an extra three months, almost four months of MAG time and activity to take on some of the more strategic and to pull the community. Solicit the community and set expectations with the community. Revisit the processes while all hands on the deck in terms of process. I don't want to take anything at all away from what you said because I think we are all very interested in making the IGF impactful and relevant. And there are lot of things we need to look at to do that. But I do think we did take a number of significant steps this year and there is and there is more to do certainly.
So I would be interested if maybe you could start a discussion, a concrete discussion online and we can then determine whether or not we perhaps had one of these virtual MAG calls that are dedicated just to the more strategic direction of the MAG. Not specifically the workshop process and number of workshops and things but strategically that what we are doing to increase the importance.
>> Regarding the days from four to three days. No one from Government would attend a four day event. No one who takes decisions from Government would never be in a four day. It is impossible. It is a great opportunity and on reducing the amount of workshops we just reduce one day. It is not that we reduce from the total number. And if there were more workshops proposals, for example, if we get a thousand proposals next year should we have a bigger event for those proposals? I think that's not that's not okay. So I don't know, maybe it is just my opinion. I think the amount matters, matters a lot. The amount of workshops and how many days' events and the parallel sessions, I think those things matter and matters a lot. So I don't know, I will try to do my best to help improve the IGF in the future years. Not being in the MAG but helping in whatever the MAG may need me.
It is just not finished. I wanted to share that with you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: I know you have been clear on that a number of times. I think I don't think this matters if we get a thousand we are forced to take a bigger number. I think it is about setting community expectations. And I think we didn't have enough time in this year's process to do that. And, you know, I was the one who suggested the MAG meeting, going from the 68 to 60 and driving harder towards a rebalancing which meant those themes that were oversubscribed, in other words, had workshops that were in top 40 would be taken out and that was not supported by the MAG. It is why I think this discussion is really good because I think there is I'm not even sure there is a difference of opinion, but when it gets down to the selection process there wasn't support for taking that harder line. And I think the time to do that is ahead of time when we can discuss it strategically, set the strategic goals and work with the community to make sure this is in support of their vision and no surprises. And then I think it becomes easier to execute, even easier to execute against a nested set of priorities and requirements. This is really good discussion. We should keep it up.
I'm trying to see, is Rocha the next one in the queue? That's what I see. So Rocha you have the floor.
>> Rocha: Thank you, Lynn. Can you hear me?
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you.
>> Rocha: Thank you and thanks for your efforts and the Secretariat's efforts to come up with a final list. I do agree with Nacho, we still have too many parallel sessions. I don't think the problem is with the number of workshops accepted. We need to increase the number of workshops that we can accept, but I think the problem is with the number of sessions that get by without MAG review. And this is also my last year on the MAG, but I think the MAG needs to look at this very carefully and figure out a way to increase the input from the community and somehow decrease the number of sessions that get by, that get by with no review. And I understand the structure of the IGF and that it is an UN operation and all of that. And that has merit, of course.
But I think that maybe a Working Group can take a closer look at this and just see because I think the ultimate goal is to involve the community even more. And I'm not sure that's what we are doing by rejecting a large percentage of the workshops that presented to us and accepting sessions that get by with no review. I think there needs to be a better balance in this regard. Thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: I'll make one comment and then I think we need to move on to the rest of the agenda and maybe set up another call for this. I think if we have the extra time for the MAG what the MAG should do, I would suggest to the MAG's Chair of the next MAG is they set aside a two day meeting, really bulk of that meeting is set on exactly these sorts of questions. The whole reason we worked on the program document this year and one of the Working Groups is working on this kind of program roadmap is to make it really clear what are all the component pieces that make up the IGF ecosystem. Not just the annual meeting. So open forums were started some time ago to support Governments and Intergovernmental organizations from coming in, precisely because we wanted to reach out to that particular group. We have a lot of Intersessional activities which frankly deliver some of the most concrete outputs from the IGF ecosystem, from the IGF system and process. And those are some of the other activities that gets slots at the workshop. I think, you know, that's been accepted and understood because it helps facilitate their work and again because their work is extremely useful or seen by many as delivering some of the more concrete puts and some of the more kind of impacts at the local and regional level. There are different rationales for every piece of the IGF ecosystem.
It would be useful to take some time and look at those component pieces, see if the rationale for including them still, you know, exists. Still important and what changes should be made. But again I think we need to do that in a strategic context. And I think it is also not quite right to say no review. They are reviewed differently. Some of these criteria are set by the groups themselves. Some of the criteria set by the Secretariat and they are measured against the criteria before they are allowed in to the program as well. I want to make sure we are not doing all those activities a disservice.
Interested in thoughts online. If people want a separate meeting to go through this, what might be really good would be to walk through the program roadmap that the working group on multi use strategic program has been working on. It took the component document from last year which identified all the component pieces that make up the IGF ecosystem and made it clear what responsibility it had or didn't have and gave pointers to their guiding documents. And then the Working Group this year actually put it in to a presentation which really looks more like kind of a flow and also talks about what are the inputs, groups and responsibilities and what are the outputs. And it is one of the updates I was going to give under my Working Group update. It is time to bring that out to the MAG and broader community to get some input. It really just today captures the current state. But again I think that could be a really useful document in terms of having this fuller discussion.
But if we can go back to the first item here, I'm also conscious that I hope we still have Dalila on from the French Government. I appreciate it is late there. So we can get an update from them as well.
>> DALILA RAHMOUNI: Yes.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Dalila, if you are there, terrible echo. I will put myself on mute. But if I could ask you to give an update on some of the critical items on your end. And then Elenora, you and I can come back to the remaining items in the miscellaneous update section because I think some of this might actually have a comment by the host country. If everyone is okay with that little, while we still have Dalila on the call. If you can provide any additional updates.
>> DALILA RAHMOUNI: Do you hear me?
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Yes, we hear you now.
>> DALILA RAHMOUNI: Hello, everybody. Thank you very much for giving me the floor. So I would like to give some points about the organization of IGF in Paris. As you know the IGF will take place in the UNESCO building in Paris. And we actually have some very short process for the visa. I had today an exchange with your own general counsel to have a specific process and procedure for the IGF participants. So I think at the end of August, first week of September we will have something specific for the participants of the IGF. This is the first point.
The second point is about the website. You know this is holiday. So it is difficult to have all the team working on the website. But I hope at the end of August the website will be online with the main information about the hotels and visa and venue and all the useful information. And also we are trying to find because at the same time just for you, at the same time in Paris you will have two other digital events. First of all, at the 12th November you will have the Paris Summit which is a summit about the governance of different issues of materialism. And you have one of the issues is the question of the digital. This is this Paris forum will be in Lovelet in Paris. After that you will have the starting of IGF. And you will have the Government Summit in the in the Sunday of the IGF about all the startups concerning the public sector. And for this free event you will have a lot of a lot of people in Paris. So we are trying to find some hotels available and try to organize all the digitized for the venue. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask me.
>> Sorry for the echo.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Dalila, if you can keep your phone muted, there is feedback from yours.
>> So I have a couple of questions. First of all, as far as I understand there will be like a lot of VIPs coming on the Thursday IGF in the morning for some High Level Event. Is that going to be part like will there be sessions parallel to this, like workshops and stuff or is it going to be a morning focused only on the visions, VIPs and whatever else is there? And that's one thing.
And the second thing, I have been to the UNESCO building and I don't remember it well. And I don't know if you know it well, but is there going to be enough space for all the booths and class sessions which are supposedly happening parallel again to the workshops? Thanks.
>> DALILA RAHMOUNI: About the first question, as we don't have any information, we have the idea shared with Lynn of highlights of the IGF events by trying to attract some Governmental personalities because many governments will be in Paris for the Paris forum, but it is not now confirmed. So I think in September we will have more information about that. And I hope if it is happening it will be part of the IGF opening ceremony or something like this. We have to discuss this at the relevant moment.
And for the second question I don't have very good understanding about the booth and all these things. I think the IGF Secretariat will be I don't know, Elenora, if you have more information about the booth of these things.
>> Hi. I will defer to Anja on the booths because I think she has drawn up a specific plan for and communicating specifically on that with UNESCO. But I think then he also asked about the flash sessions or as we have called them for the last couple of years, the short 20 minute sessions that we have in open spaces in between the rooms that are meant to be more informal and engaging. And I am talking to UNESCO about an appropriate space for that. I we feel confident that there will be a space. The specific spot has not been identified yet however. And as Dalila was also saying on her side there are a lot of people on holiday right now. It is tricky at this particular moment in time to get the right people to get you the information. We are hoping by next week we will have more detail on that.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Anja, do you have an update on the village, the booth space?
>> Anja: Yes. I hope you can hear me. Very quickly, the Secretariat has a layout of the floor design for 56 booths. And on the layout you can see that there is kind of a promising design that there will be a lot of space. We also have a design of individual booths. The reason it is not communicated to the board or to the wider community because we are trying to see with the host country whether we will be to do the redesigning of this initial design and maybe try to accommodate more than 56 booths because we received a significant number of requests. And there are some really respectful organizations that we are hoping we will be able to find additional space and to have them accommodated. The colleagues in the host country are on holiday. But just very quickly and then the I think there will be a lot of space and also the village could be divided in to across two floors. But let us communicate official information hopefully to the next year. That would be the information we have so far.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Anja. Let me see if there are any further questions for Dalila. Any other hands up? Yes, it does mean another two weeks before the website is up. If there are any particularly critical questions that folks need, need some information on or would like someone, please drop a note to myself and the Secretariat. And we will work to see if we can respond either on a kind of one off basis or perhaps putting some interim information up on the IGF website or something like that. But do let us know. So Renata, you have the floor.
>> Renata: Hi it is Renata. I don't know if you can hear me.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Yes.
>> Renata: My question is about pending booth mergers. There were some booths that were pending requests and some have indicated audible booths that they could merger with. And that was all I wonder if there is any response on that end. Thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Renata. Elenora?
>> Yes. Renata, we are hoping we can find a couple of additional slots so that each booth will have its own individual slot. And if not we will start negotiating with organizers and potential mergers. And that's why we ask for the understanding of booth organizers and applicants to more than two weeks to have the information finalized with the colleagues from the host country.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: I know you have been catching up on e mails.
>> We do have the room capacities for each of the rooms that we are being given. I think the only thing that remains to be seen is whether we might not use some of those rooms which seem to be a little bit small as bilateral rooms but certainly we have the time, workshop rooms and they are spacious.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you. It might be useful to put that out on the mailing list. Sala, was your hand up or was that your question? Hand down. Okay. Just coming back again to item 3, Dalila, are there any other updates you would like to give or any other requests for MAG members for the floor here for Dalila?
>> DALILA RAHMOUNI: Thank you very much. And thank you for being patient with us because as you know we are very short to organize all the IGF, but be sure that in September you will have all the relevant information.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Dalila. Not only are you organizing the IGF but the Paris piece as well. We appreciate all the effort. Last call, any further questions from MAG members for Dalila? Seeing none this certainly won't be the last opportunity. Let me pop back up to the second item. I think we have covered the village and new sessions. Elenora spoke to that earlier. Any updates on open forums or any questions from MAG members on open forums or any other general updates? And we will come to the facilitator workshop mergers in a moment.
>> Hi. So our open forums list has been finalized for quite some time. The only thing that I will say because there have been some questions on this is about the slot for the high level panel and digital cooperation. And I think maybe some members were asking why it wasn't appearing on the list. I just want to I guess in a sense reassure everyone that that slot is being held for them kind of in the background until they are ready to come back to us with a little more detail on what information they want to make public about the session. So very likely we will end up with 28 open forums. So once we have that publicly listed.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Elenora. Any further questions or comments on open forums or Elenora any additional updates?
>> There is nothing else from me at the moment.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you. We have one last item under 2 which was facilitating the workshop mergers. And I think we have two proposals. One is, you know, straightforward we ask the MAG members to volunteer to mentor those. And we can get a list of the mergers from the Secretariat, or we ask the organizing teams for the main sessions to take responsibility for kind of nurturing the mentoring of any of the merger sessions that fall within their theme. The Secretariat has no preference. I certainly have no preference. I think it is expeditious and probably kind of lightweight with respect to organizing.
Sala is suggesting okay. So let me just see. Sala, there are a number of questions in the chat room. Sala said we do a doodle for. If we can get the merger numbers, the titles and the themes, and then I think we'll we can take it forward from there. We either ask MAG members to put their hands up and support it or do it by theme.
I think we have got hopefully should be quick and easy to organize on the list once we actually have the list. I'll come to Raquel in a moment, but Nacho, I think that Elenora answered your question earlier on flash sessions, but maybe you can repeat your question if she didn't cover it fully.
>> Yes. Sorry. Yes, I was asking if there was a place or reset for flash sessions. Maybe I missed your answer.
>> It is okay. I probably was talking too fast, but in short we are discussing that with UNESCO and we hope to have more details next week.
>> Thank you very much. And just we take in to account what happened in Guadalajara and then what happened in Geneva. And if we can have a better place than we had in Geneva that would be great.
>> We will definitely take that in to account.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Raquel, you had requested the floor. You have the floor.
>> RAQUEL GATTO: Thanks. It was easier to speak than writing in the chat. What I wanted to say is in terms of the MAG members entering or guiding the workshop merged proposals, I think we need to be expeditious and agile. And it might work better either we put in to the poll and pick the volunteers where we go with the main sessions but we need to decide that I think now and just follow with one of the paths. I think both ways it will lead right to the same goal. And it will guide the MAG members. That's my quick comment on that.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you. And quickly reading the comments in the chat room here, it may be best to actually just go quickly for some volunteers. Again once we have the list we will know exactly, you know, what the size of the task to here. Tomai made the point that people, of course, have day jobs. Plus if you are part of the main session organizing team, that will be a fairly big lift as well in the next few months. So perhaps looking for volunteers that would be willing to mentor is the better way. If the MAG is okay, if you I'm happy to work with the Secretariat to look at the mergers that are there, look through the comments in the chat room and the script here and propose again an expeditious but lightweight way forward because we do need to get that started quite quickly.
I think that's everything under the second item which moves us to item 4, the thematic main session process, which is what some of the chats in the comments in the chat room are currently reflecting. I had put out a proposed process two weeks ago I think which basically kind of laid out some of the key considerations. We were on the eight themes and also included a link to a doodle poll. And I did send a reminder out a couple of days ago. So far there have been about 25 MAG members that filled in the doodle poll. We don't need 55 MAG members spread across the eight themes. But I do want to make sure that all the MAG members look at it and that we have got good diversity, stakeholder and region and gender in the organizing team. So I'm and then I think we need to what I would suggest is that, you know, we could send out mailing lists for each one of those main session organizers. And I think it is up to each one of these organizing teams to self organize, to choose your facilitator or facilitators and to, you know, start holding the sessions with respect to what the discussions, with respect to what the themes or discussions need to be. So we can take the next step on the process if we need to. We can hopefully this serves as a reminder for those people who haven't looked at the doodle poll. When I looked at it earlier this morning cybersecurity only had four folks signed up and one of them is if need be. That one could use a couple of individuals. And a couple of the other themes only had five sort of individuals.
The process was sent out. We have a lot of good guidelines from past years. I think most of these are still relevant. There may be some tweaks that need to be made because of the thematic focus and in particular two of them that be co organized with the DCs and NRIs, but I think the guidelines were mostly about kind of diversity and community engagement, interests, processes. I think a lot of it is still very useful information.
Let me see if there is any any additional questions or suggestions from the MAG members. Actually I think it is fairly straightforward if we can get it kicked off. I appreciate this is big holiday period in the Northern Hemisphere. I'm sure that is impacting some of the signup. Any floor is open. Any suggestions, improvements? Today is Wednesday. Why don't we I mean people can always sign up later. Again recognize it is the holiday period. But Elenora, would it be appropriate to ask the Secretariat to set up mailing lists by theme for these MAG members that have indicated their interest by Friday and we can put a note out to the MAG and make it clear that additional folks are certainly welcome to sign up and participate? But then they could actually start organizing amongst themselves.
>> Hi. I think the mailing lists would be a really practical way of going about this. My only question as you were suggesting this was would it be okay with MAG members for the Secretariat to straightforwardly sign them up based on the interests they indicated in the doodle poll.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: GDPR and all that.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Maybe what we can do is send a note to the mailing list, the MAG list and indicate that, you know, as of let's say Friday noontime, Central European time we will set up mailing lists, that we we need to be careful of the language I suppose. But we assume that indicating interest in the doodle poll was permission to sign up for the list and move forward unless people think that that's not quite (inaudible) enough.
>> Sorry, Lynn. I will just add that the Secretariat may need Luis' help with creating the lists. We can try to see offline if there is something that we can come up with.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: That's fine. Luis is back this weekend, right?
>> On Monday.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: That's fine. Let's send a note to the MAG list reminding everyone of the doodle poll, saying and whatever he thinks is appropriate. If he wants to maybe that's the better way to do it. Set up the mailing list and then we can send notes to everyone asking them to subscribe if they are still interested in participating in this May session group. You and I can talk tomorrow in terms of getting that through. But the notes would be by Monday we have early stages of the list set up by themes and that the groups would then start self organizing to deliver the main sessions. And again the main sessions are the responsibility of the full MAG. So those organizing groups would be asked to touch base, engage, update the full MAG on a regular basis and certainly ahead of any kind of critical decision points.
Any comments, reflections, improvements on that? Just before I forget, I'd really like to thank you can probably tell here that between Elenora and Anja and myself we are juggling a number of different roles and picking up tasks that we necessarily didn't have in the past. And we are trying to do that as a virtual team around holidays and things. So, you know, if it is a little lacking in smoothness, our apologies. But I think we are all doing our best to keep things moving forward and certainly hope the replacement for Chengtai comes in soon.
So let's move Luis who is on holiday actually just said the mailing list can be set up. So we'll work towards that as well.
So the final item here for today is the MAG Working Group updates. I think it was wisdom maybe it is who sent in an update on the Working Group on communications updates and sent in a written update? I will let you go first. We will go for some quick verbal updates. Mamadou, can you give us an update on the Working Group on outreach and communication?
>> MAMADOU LO: Hello. Can you hear me?
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Yeah, we can.
>> MAMADOU LO: Hello. I said in the mail we start working on communication relating to the workshop both in English and French. And then also we have to communicate and focus on English and French also. And also on the post election and workshop, it is the without communicate.
The next step is we are trying to see in the group how we can communicate the value of the IGF meeting between IGF, like some event happening in African nation or (inaudible) to see how we can communicate more the value of IGF. Thank you, Chair.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Mamadou. Any questions or comments from MAG members for Mamadou? Just waiting. I'll count to six. Not seeing any, Rasha, are you still on the call? The participant's list collapsed. And if so can you give us an update on the working group?
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Yes. I'm here. Thank you. We actually haven't done anything since the face to face meeting. I have been in and out of Cairo frequently. I won't have my regular schedule back before the last week of August because we have a Muslim holiday coming up. But what I would like to do is I organized that call that you talked about with the whole MAG early September for everyone just to give us their feedback on the valuation process and suggestions for next year so that we can sort of document the recommendations maybe for whoever is going to carry on with this work for next year.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Rasha. Yeah, I think if we could set that up sooner rather than later, we can certainly wait until everyone is back from vacation and things have settled down a little bit for you, but while we still have a strong memory of the process and areas for improvement.
>> RASHA ABDULLA: Yes, sure. Thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Are you able to give an update on the Working Group on improvements? I saw Julian on the call earlier I thought. Is there anybody else from that Working Group who is able to give an update? I exchanged some e mails with Julian in the background. I know that he has some sort of exhorted the Working Group members to complete their reviews of this useful database. They have all of the suggestions for improvements that come up with stock taking and CSDC Working Group on IGF improvements through the WSIS+10 assistance 5, et cetera, et cetera. They are working to conclude on that and they will be posting the current version of that spreadsheet up on the website soon. And then we will be prepared to take it the next step which again they are pretty much identifying the current state against those suggested areas for improvement. And I believe the next ask in front of them is to identify where any kind of open items should be dealt with and try and kind of facilitate a transfer so we have a home for those improvements and action against them.
I don't know, is there anybody else who wants to comment or question or add to that if there are other people on the call that are participating in that Working Group? All right.
Thank you, Raquel. So there are two Working Groups left. One is the Working Group on fundraising. And in that particular Working Group, the Working Group, we have had four or five meetings and the meeting summary from the last meeting is yesterday to be written. Our next meeting is next week. But we will get to that in the coming days. They agreed to follow two tracts. One is sort of a current effort focused on bringing in donors now. I think that everyone is pretty much aware of the significance or seriousness of the IGF fundraising effort here. And there is work going on with respect to some supporting materials and messaging, a letter and/or leaflet. I think we will conclude on those in next week's meeting. Some of them will be targeted towards the current outreach for potential prospects. Some of them some of those messaging materials would be targeted towards the IGF and the Paris peace forum. They are within obviously second effort here.
We are focused on a smallish number of prospects. Again because to kind of bring donors in does require a fairly significant amount of work and follow up. Depending on who you talk to anywhere from probably four or seven additional discussions or touch points to bring them in. And we have approached various members of the Working Group have approached some of the Intersessional activities, specifically the BPS DCs and the CEMV to see if there is a win win here. If there are some organizations that would be very helpful to those efforts, we could work together and partner to reach out to them and make sure they are aware of these activities in the IGF to encourage their participation and hopefully that would lead to a donation as well. So we are looking for some win wins there across those fairly significant IGF opportunities.
We have a company list under development, early development and there has been a draft process proposed in terms of the type of information we collect. I think the next significant step was really kind of determining how we are going to approach these list of donors, who is going to approach them and making sure we have got sort of frequently asked questions and other supporting materials available so that people can respond to any questions they might get from them.
Dessa has joined our last few Working Group calls. Dennis was on one and it has been extremely helpful both in terms of strengthening the links back to the UN and in term of various activities to shore up the operating procedures for our current donors. I think it is, you know, not inappropriate to say that they were certainly undocumented and unfairly personal who was in the various positions and that doesn't transfer well from sort of one cycle to the other. So we are working to shore up all those procedures and document them.
There was another piece of work which is a Working Group had agreed to take on and that was based on an extensive set of comments from one of the MAG members now Working Group member with respect to really making the entire process I think more formal if I can use that word. Certainly better documented and highlights roles and responsibilities and expectations. I think we are all learning as we go through this kind of current kind of pragmatic effort, but that is a piece of work that we need to pick up and, of course, my hope is that the person who made the extensive comments on the Working Group list and charter would actually put their hand up to drive that through the Working Group. It is clear there is a lot of good thought and a lot good comments and it is an important piece of formally shoring this work up. And it transitions from one year one cycle to the next. Let me see if there are any comments on the Working Group fundraising or any questions before I go to the last one.
Not seeing any. Hi Sala.
>> SALA TAMANIKAIWAIMARO: Hi. Yes, I wanted to I had set up a call in the June call in relation to the original statements that happened in some of the regions. (Sorry, can't hear her). And that's it. And
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Sorry, can you speak up? We are all having a hard time hearing and the transcriber couldn't either.
>> SALA TAMANIKAIWAIMARO: Can you hear me now?
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Yes.
>> SALA TAMANIKAIWAIMARO: I haven't checked with June, June in Geneva about potential targeting Governments in terms of knowing that Government's budget cycles. And if there would be some sort of coordination between Working Group on outreach and communication and Working Group on finance and having presence or visibility from the IGF Secretariat or the MAG Chair, who happens to sit in this particular Working Group to sort of that level of visibility and get communications from the Governments. And it can be scaled for different Governments. For example, the Least Developing Countries and LIDCs and that sort of thing. To the different levels of economic status and that sort of thing. If we can find some level (Off microphone). That's just a comment. (Off microphone). Thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Sala. Those are good suggestions and the Governments are some of the ones that we are targeting. We had a Government representative of the MAG join the Working Group and participated and made a lot of very helpful suggestions. I think we certainly will do that. We were some of the things that we talked about is the approach missions in Geneva and New York with outreach and the Under Secretary General in Dessa we are working on some talking points. He already mentions the IGF and trust fund opportunities when he can but to make some of those points more strongly. The same thing using the VIPs at the Paris peace forum. And then I think there is a whole spectrum of other sorts of activities that we can do. At this point we think it is fair to say that the Working Group is trying to focus on a relatively small number of donors that we believe can contribute significantly if only because it often takes as much effort to bring in the larger donation as the smaller and certainly the need for the IGF is fairly significant.
I can tell you very quickly roughly the operating budget that's captured in the project document assumed is 2.8 million dollar operating budget for the Secretariat and that includes things such as consultants for the Intersessional work and includes travel for developing country participants to MAG meetings in the IGF and the Secretariat staff and various tools supporting that sort of thing.
The Dessa had put in a 50% operating budget for two years which would have left us looking for 1.4 million as the running rate for operating costs. And last year we ran a little under a million. And so far this year we have got roughly 400, 500,000 in. So we need to pick the efforts up. Last year was quite a big year in terms of donors coming in relatively speaking but that was because a couple of significant donors were delayed in their payments. Several years came in all of last year. So that's just for a scale. And that's the that's the effort we are all trying to work towards so build up very quickly the funds for the IGF.
Also just as a quick note, the high level panel on digital cooperation we have been told several sources are also looking to some of the same donors to the IGF trust fund for support for their activities. One of the things that we suggested on the last Working Group call was that we perhaps prepare a set of talking points or frequently asked questions that specifically speak to kind of the value of the IGF, the value of the HLPEC, the purpose being to make clear the difference between those two efforts. So that there was some kind of hopefully minimal confusion and frankly hopefully minimal impact to the IGF funds. Veni, you have your hand up? You have the floor.
>> Veni: Yes, thank you. I find it. I find it one of the Working Groups that is crucial focus of the IGF, although it has been a very close alternative with the group with the discussion of what the whole IGF will be. We have to fund the IGF. And others say we return funding but you have the the IGF will never be affected for future donors. And expand their participation especially by businesses. So we are really where 12, 15 years later we understand that the IGF pay are very active. This is one of the (inaudible) at least for discussion of all the Internet and under the UN umbrella. But we need to focus more and reach out to the businesses and the Government of the meeting in Paris is a unique opportunity to reach out to Governments and businesses at the same time. So again I mean we have in the small Working Group, but again I urge everyone to think outside of the box and think how we can reach out to Government officials who will be there and bosses who will be there in Paris and how we can make a case why they should become IGF champions or you can call them whatever you want. Governments and organizations that support the IGF as one of their goals in the next year to come.
So we are not talking here only bringing money for the next IGF which will be Germany but bringing money from the German businesses but talking about the IGF continuation until 2025 and beyond. Because if we are successful, if we can make it to be effective then we will have no problem finding donors who have no problem finding participants outside the usual participants and who are familiar with the UN system and the IGF ecosystem. So I don't know what else I should do to make the case. I think I am speaking I am preaching here to the choir and/or in Bulgaria you would say you are knocking on an open door. But we have to be active and make everything possible within our and our friends and colleagues and others so we don't miss this opportunity. I kindly ask you to think bigger. Thanks.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you, Veni. Those are very important comments. Let me see if there are any questions. Of course, people are free to join any of the Working Groups. You can do that right from the IGF website. You will see the charters for the Working Groups as well as the sign up lists and the past meeting summaries. Our goal was to have by the end of August the process in place and some activities started. Again August is a slow month in at least part of the world. We can start up actively in September. I am doing some outreach to a number of companies as we speak. I know a number of other Working Group members are doing everything they can to reach out to companies and get the right connections. I think we all need to be aware of that and do what we can. And if there are connections or companies that you think are particularly appropriate or particularly interested, then don't hesitate to just drop a list of the Working Group or I guess to myself at the moment.
Moving on to the final Working Group, Working Group on multi year strategic work program or MWP, there are three we had our fifth meeting next week. The meeting summary is outstanding. Our next meeting is next week. We are working on sort of three main programs at the moment all specifically targeted on getting to a multi year view of a small number of strategic work items for the IGF. So the what we are doing in one case, I spoke about this earlier, the proposal for an IGF program framework comes from the work that was done last year from the Secretariat which looked at the components, we call the components document of the IGF. Susan Chalmers and other people have put that in to a document that actually sort of treats it as a flow, separates it from inputs and outputs. Just documents the status quo. It is based on that program components document. I wouldn't say there is any liberty taken with respect to changes to the process. And the Working Group has decided that, you know, it is ready to go out for a broader review across the community Intersessional activities and the MAG and the broader community as well. We are working on the right platform. That would facilitate getting broader comments. Is something called the PRESI format. And hopefully we will be able to progress on that as well if Luis is back next week. You can see all these resource documents if you go to the Working Group MWP and you go down to the bottom, all the resource documents are there as well as many of them are linked from the various meeting summaries.
The second so what we are trying to do, I am going to go to the third one. With what we are trying to do is to establish a process that gets engagement across the community and that's across the full broad IGF community as well as all the Intersessional activities MAG, et cetera, to help set the agenda, if you will, for a small number of strategic items, the kind of notion being that to really have impact on some of the bigger, trickier issues requires more than one cycle. It is well suited to continuing work, not breaks between MAGs and that sort of thing. But also would if we could go out several years and it would allow us to plan and project the work better but also allow us to bring in additional participation, additional support rather than treating it as frankly almost sort of a compressed fire drill every year.
So that was some of the rationale initially. We are actually looking at the process that would solicit thoughts from across the full IGF ecosystem. Ultimately would have the community choose a very small number of potential issues which we could develop positions on. And the goal would be to have that kind of culminate in IGF 2019. Again just recognizing that this is probably at least a year plus, year and a half cycle to advance any issue significantly. That kind of process, the genesis of it came from a paper which is written called strengthen cooperation in the context of the IGF for 2018. Of course, it has been discussed in many different places and forums as a need. The Working Group is trying to pull together a specific process that would support that activity. It is kind of sometimes called kind of an agenda setting process that would help drive some strategic focused work items before the IGF. In preparation for that though because I think what previous pilots have shown it is that we need a little more experience to really understand how far the IGF community might be willing to take kind of a position development. We have best practice forums which, of course, make recommendations on particular targets that go through the best practice forums. We have other activities which Dynamic Coalitions, for instance, that deliver papers and useful direction or advice or guidance but we are trying to see how far we could move forward with respect to really getting even more complete concise outputs from the IGF ecosystem again.
And one of the things that we are looking at is trying to understand kind of what advancements might have been made and tools that would allow the community to kind of weigh in on particular issues and do that in a very global perspective but in a really kind of deliberative manner as well.
And, of course, trying to do that raises all sorts of questions which is how do you define the IGF community. How do you call whether or not there has been kind of adequate engagement of the community. How would you even classify whatever information you got from that process. Obviously at one end there would be a consensus position and on another would be a diversity of views. But really trying to understand some of the kind of new collaborative tools that are out there and how much they might try and facilitate some of the work happening across the IGF. The Working Group has been looking at a couple of tools. May be close to recommending that we kind of pilot one. The thought would be that because we want to pilot the tool and want to get some experience and exposure to some of these questions around the IGF community and, you know, what is an adequate process and that sort of thing, that we start with a position that's kind of we assume to be broadly supported across the community. One of those might be through the global security commission on cyberspace, which has actually developed a norm about protecting the core of the Internet, which again I think has pretty broad support.
But to again try and test the tool and see if there is support of that. And another area that we actually talked about was disability guidelines which had been developed by the Dynamic Coalition on disability which is advanced through the DC and also in concert with the ITU, DC working with the ITU. That's a possibility to pull that one forward. Again it is sort of advice on how best to ensure your system's insights and tools and applications, et cetera.
Support the best practices in terms of accessibility. So that's another possibility. Again these discussions are underway within the Working Group. You can see them documented fairly well in the meeting summary. There we have a draft meeting summary in front of the Working Group. And we close on that next week. And then another one a couple of weeks after that as well. But by all means please join the Working Group even if it is to sit on the server so you can follow the thread of the conversations. And again the primary focus is going back to Nacho's comments at the very beginning of the call is how do we get the most concrete, concise outputs that we can out of the IGF ecosystem.
I think I saw TD's hand up a little while ago. And I'm not sure if that's the comment you put in the chat room which is just about changing the title of the BPF. You have the floor.
>> TITTI CASSA: This is Titti. The comment was about changing the title of the BPF because there was some suggestion during the last virtual meeting as the new title makes more related in the context of IGF and also serves the purpose more on the issues related. So I wonder if it is a problem to update the website and also to make the changes where it is needed. So I want to inform you about this decision that has been taken. I hope this will not cause a problem.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Titti, the BPFs are approved by the MAG. If you can put a short note out to the MAG list and make it clear what you are changing and why you are changing and why to leave it open for a week and that would be appropriate.
>> Okay. I will do it.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: I see a comment on June. Has AI given an update? We should schedule updates for the best practice forums on the next call. It wasn't a part of this agenda. With respect to the tool, Sala, I think we can it is probably best between the Working Group and the Secretariat. If people want to look right now, the kind of leading candidate is Sinmind. I will put the thing in the chat room in a moment, but basically it is an organization basically puts the position statement out and then allows people to comment and it is done in a virtual manner. But it is fairly lightweight and yet hopefully pretty broad. That seems to be the leading candidate from a few that a few that were looked at and I say looked at, kind of advisedly because it is it has not been sort of a comparison or review. We are looking for some suggestions for tools. And then, of course, we need to either get support for the tools or get incoming support or something similar.
Sala, you had your hand up?
>> SALA TAMANIKAIWAIMARO: Yes. Can you hear me?
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Yes.
>> SALA TAMANIKAIWAIMARO: Okay. Just a very quick comment. This is in relation to comments raised by Nacho. And he made very good points. Even though the Working Groups, even the different Working Groups exist. And we all have various recommendations and problem threads and problem threads and that sort of thing. At some point, some mechanism for improvement, each time we post a Working Group update call and then alternative call which is the Intersessional and the various ones. I think it is critical at some point for a total MAG call from overview for how to implement some things that can actually be implemented. And I know we can't do it all the time, but if we can at least schedule like three to see what can be immediately implemented to bring about the relevant improvement. Yeah. Those are just some things that I'm thinking about. So I just wanted to put it on the record. Thank you, Lynn.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: I mean you are welcome, Sala. I mean it is a really good point because, of course, the Working Groups can't commit for the whole MAG. The Working Groups were here to kind of facilitate and advance the work, but anything that resulted in, you know, a significant kind of commitment or direction or absolutely is meant to go to the MAG for review and support. And so part of the purpose of these updates and reminding everyone of Working Groups and posting meeting summaries so it stays in the forefront of MAG member's minds and they are kind of tracking the work and tracking the activities in parallel. But absolutely. These Working Groups are not meant to shortcut or undercut the overall MAG's responsibility.
So you should see once the Working Group really has kind of closed on a recommended next step or something that that would go to the MAG at the appropriate times and we can certainly schedule conference calls if that's appropriate. I think oftentimes the MAG meetings themselves or even the mailing list could meet that criteria.
Any other comments? I hope I tried to read all the comments in the chat room. I'm not sure that's a good thing because it sometimes makes me lose my train of thought when I am speaking. Any comments that I missed or anything that people want to bring up or point out now? Doing a slow count to six. Any other requests under AOB? Not seeing any I think our next call is in three weeks if I remember correctly.
>> Lynn? I think Sylvia wanted to put a plug in for the AprIGF.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Okay, Sylvia.
>> SYLVIA CADENA: Thank you, Sala. I already said it on the chat that just that the AprIGF is starting next week and we will share a little bit of information about the remote participation. I know some of you will be there. And I hope anyone else that is interested can experience what it takes to run an event like this in a small island nation in the Pacific ocean. We will update you more. And we will have Chengtai there. And we have a great event that's happening last week. Bear in mind because that means we are submerged or swamped by the AprIGF as well. Hope the silence on the MAG list kind of stop my silence or confusions. Will be clarified as I can pay more attention for this when I finish my role for the AprIGF. Thank you.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Good luck. Good IGF. Let me not keep anyone any longer. Again appreciate those of you on the call where it is very late or very early. It is important that we rotate these in terms of trying to maximum participation and kind of level the playing field. Appreciate that it can be a bit of a hardship sometimes. Thank you. And as Vince was saying we will see you on the net. Thank you. And thank you so much to the Secretariat for all their support. Luis for hanging in there in the middle of your vacation. Elenora as well as for everything that you are doing. Everyone is making a concerted effort here to cover a lot of ground, some of it new. Thank you.
>> Lynn, also thank you for yourself. I'm sorry to say that. But you have been very, very good.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Thank you. Thanks, everyone.
>> Thank you. Thank you, everyone. Bye bye.
>> LYNN ST. AMOUR: Bye bye.
>> Thank you, Lynn. Bye, everyone.
>> Bye everyone.
>> Bye bye.
>> Bye bye.