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.
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: We'll be giving the traditional two minutes, just to let other people join in.
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to a MAG meeting/open consultations on the format and designs of IGF 2021. Just before we start, just a reminder that meeting is being recorded. There's ‑‑ of course it's being transcribed, live transcription.
And we do have the speaking queue. So if you could kindly use that speaking queue. If you can't use the speaking queue, you can also raise your hand and we will note down your name and then you can speak when the Chair has called you.
One thing is that since we will have some members ‑‑ some new member on, when you speak, could you please just very quickly introduce yourself, but very, very quickly, your name, your organization, and you can also say personal capacity if it's personal capacity. And thank you.
And then there is also going to be a summary report of this meeting that will be published either at the end of this week or very early next week.
And with that, let me please give the floor to Anriette, our chair, Anriette Esterhuysen to start our meeting.
>> CHAIR: Thank you very much for that, Chengetai, I'm Anriette Esterhuysen. Thank you. I see we have past MAG members. So welcome back to those, and the many MAG members that are with us, as well as observers.
To the MAG members, I know there are other issues we are dealing with at the moment. We are still finalizing the decision on Best Practice Forums. We also still finalizing MAG Working Groups for this year, but I want you to put that aside. We really want to focus today on processing the input received through the stakeholder consultation on MAG 2021 and format and design.
So as you will see, the agenda is about our stocktaking. We will start with the presentation or synthesis of the inputs and the Secretariat will share with you, we received quite a large number of inputs. And after presenting that synthesis, we will then have the Working Group strategy, who had also worked on some proposals based on previous MAG discussions on format and design. And we'll have a general discussion then.
But really, the bulk of our meeting today will be for you to breakout into groups. So that's item number four, where you will be randomly split into groups to deal with one of those particular topics. They are on the agenda in front of you, and they are taken from the synthesis paper. It's very important and I hope you all had a chance to read the synthesis paper.
And then you will work in groups for about 30 minutes, maybe just a little bit longer if we can allow to discuss that particular topic, and that section of the synthesis document in more depth.
Your tasks for the groups ‑‑ and I will revisit the first letter, but it will be to come up with recommendations for implementation in 2021.
After the breakout groups, we will come back to plenary, and we could have a little break then. I think you will probably need a very short break. So we can have like a five‑minute break. It's not in the agenda, but I asked Chengetai to remind me and Krzysztof my cochair. And then we will go in group reports. And we ask you to share the reports in writing afterwards and then we will have general discussion.
Finally, we will come back to next steps going forward to finalize our approach to program structure and design. If there are any other matters, please if the people can alert us in the chat if they want to add anything to the agenda.
So while you think about whether you have questions on the agenda ‑‑ and I will check the chat, I'm going to hand over to our host country, cochair, Krzysztof.
>> KRZYSZTOF SZUBERT: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have the pleasure of being a cochair from the host country perspective. I'm very happy to welcome you all today and to really be interested in joining the discussion about the format and the design of the upcoming IGF 2021. It's already a few months since the first ever virtual IGF 2020 has been conducted and during this time, all stakeholders have been asked to provide input containing their reactions and concerns regarding the organization of IGF 2020, as well as suggestions for improvements regarding the IGF 2021 in Poland which is really extremely important to us.
From what I know from the IGF Secretariat, the IGF Secretariat has received a good number of submissions in both IGF 2020 opinions and the IGF 2021 suggesting improvements. Please be sure that we have all of your contributions well received and we take them into consideration while designing the format and the structure of this year's IGF.
From our perspective, being the IGF 2021 host country, it's extremely important to bring all the communities and the stakeholder voices on board and to find the best and the most suitable form of conducting this event.
Also, we are eager to work closely with the UN DESA and the newly appointed UN secretary envoy from technology and the IGF Secretariat which are always giving us great support and hopefully we will find the right balance between the current circumstances with regard to the COVID‑19 pandemic and the expectations to include into the agenda many various topics.
Therefore, we are counting on your support and feedback during our today discussion on the IGF '21 format and design. It's really a unique opportunity from our perspective to hear your voices and thoughts on these issues. We will do our best to include them into the final formula of the event. As you know, within less than a month we will call for a workshop and other sessions. So this is really a great moment to be in the discussion.
From our side, very shortly, I mean basically from the maybe logistic and PR perspective, all is going very well. As you know, we are on board here, in Warsaw, we have onboard a great team, a dedicated team to support us in organizing the IGF 2021. So we are at your support and time.
I wish you a very fruitful discussion and excellent meeting and it's my personal wish to see you all physically in Katowice in December of this year. Thank you very much.
>> CHAIR: Thank you very much for that Krzysztof. I see there's one question on the agenda. Karim, the agenda refers to section X in the document. Which document?
Karim, this is the document that Chengetai shared with the MAG and that was posted on the MAG website last week. It's the synthesis, the integration, the combined report of all the comments that the MAG received in response to the open call for input on IGF 2020 and proposals for IGF 2021.
I understand some of you may not have had a chance to read it, but don't worry, you can read it during the breakout room and you will hear a comprehensive presentation now from the Secretariat.
So I think on that note, we can consider the agenda adopted. I don't see any other comments on agenda and I invite the Secretariat to present the synthesis paper.
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Anriette. First of all, this is just a short ‑‑ a short summary of the synthesis paper, we did assume that people would be able to read the synthesis document and if not, I just ask somebody from the Secretariat just to put a link to it in the chat. So you can look through it and peruse true it and when you are in your groups as well, you can just look through it as well. It's a quick read. It's not that long or complicated.
So there's the link there.
We did have a stocktaking session after the IGF 2020, and we noted the remarks there. And we also had this call, and we had 50 submissions that we received. It was interesting to note, we are broadening out the boundaries of people who are interested and in involved in the IGF. I mean, such organizations that you wouldn't expect like the world Yoga Association, which I think it's very good because everybody is involved in the Internet and everybody should have a voice in the Internet. And also how the Internet is governed.
As far as the stakeholder distribution of the inputs are concerned, from the private sector, we had 15% government, 11% intergovernmental organizations 4, and the technical community contributing to 15% of the contributions.
As far as the regional distribution is concerned, Africa, we had 30% from Africa. Asia Pacific 12%. Eastern Europe 8%, GRULAC 8%, WEOG 28% and IGOs, since they don't work for ‑‑ they don't work from a particular region, 14%.
So that was ‑‑ but that was the regional distribution of the inputs, which we think is quite good. Especially there's a large voice from Africa. Yes, there needs to be some improvement from the Asia Pacific region, and eastern Europe and the GRULAC region is holding its own. I think those two numbers are perfect.
So we just have to make more efforts encouraging the voices from Asia Pacific to be heard.
Now, just starting with just some general contributions. There was a comment on the ‑‑ or there were many comments on the improved communication efforts such as the newsletter, the open online meetings, the mailing lists that we had, and people say that that was very good and they also held had the publication of the calendar of events, including the calendar of MAG meetings. So this enabled people to be better organized to know well in advance when these events were taking place.
This was a mention of the bottom up development of the annual program, and this was praised and it was said that this should continue. There was a call for more clarity on how the thematic tracks were selected and defined. It was also mentioned that stakeholders should not be limited to submitting proposals with predetermined issue basket or baskets. A suggestion was also shared to leave the flexibility of addressing other important issues, not necessarily falling under the selected thematic tracks through an abridged call for lightning sessions, for instance.
Some advice to avoid workshop mergers and to instead work with the proposals to ensure that there's a distinction between two good proposals.
Some suggested supporting youth inclusion by adding a related mandatory requirement in the session proposal form, and it was also underlined that the cooperation between the former, current and future host countries should continue.
>> CHAIR: Chengetai, sorry to interrupt. Is it I believe to scroll down to the section that you are talking about?
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: I made a summary of the paper and I'm just reading off my notes.
>> CHAIR: Okay. I see.
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: As far as the intersessional work and the NRIs on the work concerned, because I actually thought it would be better than just reading off from the screen because everybody can have a copy of the paper, but I will just continue.
Intersessional work and NRIs, the value of work from the BPFs and DCs was recognized, and there were suggestions for advancing the intersessional work outputs that could be achieved to have politically relevant topics and connecting them to decision making levels.
And some inputs particularly welcomed the newly announced focusing on the environment, that is the policy network on environment and digitization.
Some suggested that evidence‑based research could be conducted for the intersessional work streams to foster better linkages with other Internet Governance processes and decision‑making processes.
It was further added that the DCs and Best Practice Forums have the enormous potential to be transformed into policy incubators and debates, agendas and policy developments happening in other fora.
There was a comment saying that there is a need for a strengthened cooperation between the intersessional work and the national and regional initiatives, as well as the intersessional work and other global initiatives.
For example, the Best Practice Forum on cybersecurity achieved with the open‑ended group and group of governmental experts.
The global IGF also considered hosting an intersessional global IGF, which might serve the purpose of accommodating a larger number of discussion topics, whose outcomes could be informed and the annual IGF meeting hosted over fewer days with sharper thematic focuses. So a separate kind of session for intersessional activities.
The work came from the need for a dedicated support from the IGF Secretariat's focal point. DC produced an article to benefit from a more strategic support through the coordinated dissemination across the IGF ecosystem, more like what we are doing with the IGF meeting outputs.
And the stakeholders called for more efficient mechanisms between DCs and Best Practice Forums and focused on similar Internet Governance matters as well as the DCs and NRIs. For example, a DCs could benefit from inputs from the National Regional Initiatives while Dynamic Coalition experts can enrich NRI discussions.
Specific inputs also came on the work for national regional initiatives, the publishment of an annual calendar of NRI events early in the year, so people know when these events are taking place in good time and encouragement of cross‑national and coordinated regional dialogues throughout the year.
Not just at the annual meeting. The Secretariat support for the national regional initiatives was praised and it was called for its facilitation of the NRIs collective work. One input called for more transparency in how speakers were delegated for the national and regional initiatives main sessions.
For the IGF annual meeting structure, design and content, overall positive feedback was expressed for the organization of the IGF 2020 in the COVID‑19 pandemic moment, and its overarching theme and thematic tracks. Some noted that the meeting was too long, and called for traditional format of one plus four days to be applied in 2021.
Suggestions were shed for a clearer distinction of clearer events from the regular program sessions that go through the evaluation process there were calls for more concise program with fewer tracks and are limited on a number of strategic issues. This would help to avoid duplication of content as noted by some.
Some say that this could be a space on the margins for annual meetings for addressing other issues of priority that would not make it into the program. I suppose this is also connected with the short flash sessions that we had earlier on in the program.
Submissions praised the innovations in the program structure, namely the high‑level leaders track, parliament track, as well as youth‑focused track. However, some cautioned against creating separate tracks for one stakeholder group as it goes against the IGF's mandate and multi‑stakeholder nature.
Some added that engagements between governments or parliamentarians themselves could be done through side events hosted on the margins of the IGF 2021 annual meeting, particularly for the parliament round table. It was also suggested that this evolve towards a format called IGF meets parliament as a form of interactive exchanges of parliamentarians and all other stakeholder groups.
The meeting outputs were praised by many, with some calling for a more structured approach to those producing multiple messages was confusing. The IGF 2021 could develop a strategy on the matter beforehand.
That's not too clear to me about the multiple messages, but I think we can discuss that when we break up.
The information source leading up to the ‑‑
>> CHAIR: Chengetai, I can clarify that, I think, because I have the document open in front of me. And it's basically saying that there were different outputs. There were thematic outputs and high-level outputs and, you know, like various, you know, different types of outputs. So it's saying here that fewer, clearer outputs could be easier to digest as advised by ‑‑ so that's really it, the different types of outputs.
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: Okay. Thank you.
Many noted that the meeting should be action oriented. Several submissions praised the call for voluntary commitments, that that was done at IGF 2020, and called for us to be advanced in 2021.
The IGF village was seen as important, noting that it faced logistical challenges in a fully online setup. They have the session formats to support more interaction.
Many praised their enhanced diversity among participants at the IGF 2020, including more high‑level stakeholders and those not traditionally presented at the IGF. Young people and stakeholders from developing countries.
Country suggestions for improving the IGF '21 ‑‑ 2021 participation was also shared. Shall I go in these ‑‑ also these or should we just stick to the program and structure. Question to the chair.
>> CHAIR: I think run through them because you have done a summary. I think it's helpful and then we can consider them, even if we don't have a breakout group on that topic.
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: Okay. Thank you.
More stakeholder cooperation on youth engagement is needed. It's suggested to build a database of youth searchable by age, Region, country, background and Internet Governance issues of interest to support intersessional work and annual meeting exchanges to reach out to youth.
Session organizers could also be encouraged to engage youth as resource persons.
Dynamic Coalitions could support the engagement of parliamentarians by briefing them on IGF issues, dedicated observatory could also help this effort.
Increased high‑level participation from the private sector. That's CEO level, as well as from heads of states and governments should be had.
Other comments included a simplified access to a more friendly and inclusive meeting platform was called for. For the in‑person 2021 meeting it was also said that there's a need to advance the online participation to ensure equal participation for everybody. I think this is just a reference to the hybrid‑type of meeting that we have to strengthen the hybrid nature of the meeting.
And a dedicated meeting page was also said to have helped greatly the navigation to the meeting by many.
That's the end of my summary. As I said, it's just a brief summary, since the ‑‑ it's a summary of the summary, since the summary of the contributions is available, and you can all read it from the link. Thank you.
>> CHAIR: Thank you very much, Chengetai.
In the interest of time, I know that some of you will have some questions and comments on this. But we structured the agenda in such a way that ‑‑ that we would have the report from the Working Group strategy on IGF format and design first. And then we'll have some general discussions. So if you have questions for Chengetai at this point, please start noting them in the chat. And ‑‑ but now the floor goes to cochair from the Working Group strategy MAG member from last year, Titi.
>> CONCETTINA CASSA: Can you hear me?
>> CHAIR: Yes, we can hear you.
>> CONCETTINA CASSA: Just a few words from the MAG Working Group that was established by the MAG at the beginning of 2020, to develop a proposal of actions implementable in the sort and medium term. And position it strategically in the digital corporation landscape. The Working Group has around 60 members that are made up of MAG members and past MAG members who have been active in the process. So the Working Group strategies is just to hold the IGF mandate in the Tunis agenda and the UN Secretary General roadmap of digital cooperation. It's for a more focused IGF agenda to produce more tangible outcomes and also to better follow up the pro e posed action and the recommendation emerging from the IGF discussion.
And also another scope of the Working Group is to have a better recognition to improve the visibility and information and communication and outreach and increased participation from governments, parliamentarians and other leadership from stakeholder groups. This is available in the craft.
The Working Group draft of this document is titled "Proposals On Strategic Improvements On the IGF and Operational Measures In 2021."
This document draws on the MAG's reflection on 2020, as well as further input from the community. So it's a document which two main session. One is more on the strategic vision of the Working Group on how to have a more inclusive strategic impact for sustainable IGF, and the other part, the annex includes some proposal for the IGF 2021 process and design. And this includes several ideas. The one is to have a more focused and interconnected IGF agenda.
Another group of suggestions are related to the workshops. Then there is a third group that reflects to the intersessional works and the Best Practice Forums and national and regional IGF initiatives and youth initiatives and Dynamic Coalitions and the last two groups are related to the format and phases, and the last one is how to capture and communicate messages and outcomes.
So just starting with the first group of suggestions that is represented. First of all for the Working Group, and the recorder community. There should be no more than three policy issues or questions, defined by the MAG based on community input, and also specific suggestions coming from Dynamic Coalition.
So the Working Group thinks that the call for workshop proposal can invite for the exploration of this question. From different and diverse perspectives and the parliamentarian track should address this policy question.
Then the Working Group also sees as an opportunity to have pre or side event which can cover other events which are not linked to focused policy around which the core program is built. This could include open fora.
Another important suggestion was related to the IGF program development that should be more comprehensively issue driven.
In fact, the Working Group is proposal that MAG works with issues in a more comprehensive and consistent manner. Selecting fewer issues and then analyzing and refining these in a way that integrates the different perspective on these issues, including regional perspective, thematic agenda, and multidisciplinary and also stakeholder specific perspectives. So the Working Group thinks that the response to the more MAG call for issues should be used as basis for the MAG to define what two or three policy issues ‑‑ the two or three that will be dealt with the annual agenda that will be in the main session and the workshop.
And then after a call for participating in the organization of the workshop proposal, could be ‑‑ that should be guided by the work of the issue team, an issue team.
And it’s that the high-level tracks should address these issues. And then also that there should be an increasing involvement of relevant decision making, both in the planning of which ‑‑ 2020, that can be linked to this involvement to the issue driven program management.
So the MAG could invite them to contribute to the issue, and to participate to the issue teams and these teams could also reach out to them as part of their standard activities. So this was the first suggestion.
The second point was related to the workshop proposal. The Working Group proposed that the call, and the selection for workshop should be shaped by the comprehensive issue‑driven approach using the number of workshop and also avoid duplication on content of workshop. But it was related to the international decision on work so the BPF, the suggestion, this in this case is that the links between the issues form the agenda are welcomed and not mandatory as the BPF should develop and follow their own program, in discussion with the BPF participants. And also the BPF should kick off their activities before the MAG concludes its discussion for the annual meeting. And then the Working Group also endorse the findings of the BPF that includes ‑‑ and includes also the recommendation to announce the future BPF work summarized in the document, IGF 2020 BPF on BPF's overview of recommendations.
The NRI will address the issue driven questions. And they develop a session to report back on their perspective on this question and also the NRI are invited to join the issue teams.
About the youth initiative, the Working Group proposed that the IGF initiative and the youth structure should also be invited to address the issue policy and the MAG convenes the consultation on youth integration. For the Dynamic Coalitions the same. They should be invited to address the given policy question that are addressed by the IGF, and also they should be part of the issue themes.
For the format, it was suggested that the ‑‑ that ‑‑ it should be designed by the IGF that includes virtual components and use also the call for issues to develop and headline program which can then form the basis for organizing the session.
Last group of suggestions were related to capturing and communicating messages and also the suggestion from the Working Group is to improve the style of reporting from the IGF session and also the annual communication and strategy.
So the Working Group suggests that as was done for IGF 2020, the IGF Secretariat should produce a guide to address issues and themes that elaborates the focus policy question.
And also, including in this guide the list of stakeholders and institutions to whom this question and issues are relevant. And then it suggests that each session is linked to the focused policy did, or policy question and also should have independent rapporteur. And that ‑‑ and that also that five or ten minutes before the end of the session, the rapporteur should read the room ‑‑ the room session messages, the key points that came out in the discussion and invite the participants to comment.
Then also the Working Group suggests that the session messages or takeaways should be consolidated in thematic messages organized to the according to the thematic tracks and policy questions as defined in the guide to the IGF issues and themes.
And last, the outcomes of IGF should start to be actionable and should identify as far as possible the kinds of decision-making fora and the kind of action that this kind of output this should be related to.
So what is the next steps that the Working Group should suggest. The next is for the MAG to consider this proposal that will be presented by the Working Group for strategy in the context of synthesis in the response for call to input.
I want to also point out that I just shared a few of the suggestions that. The complete list is available on the website, on the document that has been submitted. I just mentioned some of them.
Thanks a lot for your attention.
That's all from my side.
>> CHAIR: Thank you very much, for that Titi.
And Luis, thank you for bringing back the agenda.
Before I open the floor for input, I just want to contextualize this report we had from the Working Group. And I know it's been shared with the MAG before. But really, the purpose of today's meeting is to discuss the stocktaking input, not to discuss the MAG Working Group input, the MAG can continue to do that, are and, you know, in other MAG meetings, but by tabling this report, it just makes it easier for the MAG members who are part of that working group to integrate some of the reflections of the Working Group into the discussion. Stocktaking report.
But as you will see from the agenda, the breakout groups are focusing on the structure of the synthesis document, but the MAG members are obviously free to respond and integrate.
So Carlos in response to your comment. I don't think we can say that we have rough consensus on the proposals of the Working Groups yet.
But that's something that we can still come to. At this point, really, the focus should be to keep those in mind if they are useful, but our priority is to discuss the stocktaking input.
And I give the floor to Adam peak and then we'll have general discussion for a little but then we have to be brief.
>> ADAM PEAKE: Thank you very much, Titi, it's a very, very substantive piece of work. I do have one question and it's ‑‑ is there any particular reason that this was not submitted into the stocktaking. I think it would make it easier for us as the MAG to ‑‑ to sort of evaluate all the proposals and in particular on transparency this is a very substantial piece of work. It's almost as if you have done a lot of what we're in the process of beginning to do now.
I think it would be very helpful if the rest of the community, were able to consider this document as well, but it doesn't look like the MAG then favors a Working Group report over there. And have contributed ‑‑ contributions to the stocktaking. I think it would be generally a little bit easier for the process if we could consider the documents in the whole as it were and that everybody else from the community who participated as participants in the IGF various formats over the years. I think that would be helpful if we could consider everything in its entirety.
>> CHAIR: Thanks, Adam. I mean Chengetai can respond to that later and explain why it was added as an annex and not integrated.
But now let's first go to Tereza, and then we'll come back to your question later.
>> TEREZA HOREJSOVA: I'm a MAG member. I have a question when going against the presentations, it was praised in Chengetai's presentation, that there were quite a bit of inputs. Receiving 50 inputs, if I'm not mistaken was one of the most attended IGFs ever, is a shockingly low number, actually and it also leads me to the question: How much representation sample of what the community really thinks about how the IGF went this is.
>> CHAIR: Thanks, Tereza.
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: Can I answer a little bit on that one.
>> CHAIR: In fact, you can take both questions. I don't see any other hands.
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: Oh, okay.
Yes, I know there were 50 inputs. That's for 50 written inputs. We also did have a taking stock session after the IGF 2021 meeting, a session, I think it was on the ‑‑ I can't remember, the 26th of February. I can't remember exactly which dates it was on, and so we spent a couple of hours taking stock of the session as well.
And we had one in between as well, a midterm taking stock. So it's a ‑‑ it's a accumulation of taking stocks. So ‑‑ and this is basically the third one round. So, yes, of course we want to have 120 inputs because people have already said their piece and we are not throwing those away. Of I mean, they are also summarized and taken note of. So, yes.
For the second ‑‑ for Adam's question, the Working Groups report if you look on the page of where the inputs are, it is there. It is right at the ‑‑ it's at the bottom of the page as I think it's the last input. So it is there. And I think there is also a link to it in the summary report. So it is taken into consideration.
We didn't merge it with the other inputs because these inputs are to the MAG. So it's a bit of circular of the MAG. The MAG Working Group is, you know, run by the MAG. So it's a bit circular if the MAG puts inputs for themselves, but we thought that, yes, it is important that other stakeholders would be able to read it. That's why there is a link there and there say link in the summary do.
>> CHAIR: Thanks for that Chengetai. And I think the MAG ‑‑ the MAG members would still be able to consider the Working Groups' recommendations once it has made more of a ‑‑ reflected on what to take from the stocktaking and work with that. I don't think they are mutually exclusive, and I understand your perspective, but I also understand the Secretariat's approach. You know, there is generally the tradition that with the stocktaking, we listen to the community and then the MAG speaks after.
I think the Working Group's strategy report is a little bit of a hybrid and in that sense, it's a little bit difficult.
And Courtney, you are next. Go ahead.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: I'm with the community to protect journalists and a civil society member. I'm new to the MAG. I have a couple of questions. One is ‑‑ I think that several of the things in stocktaking that came out was the importance of communication and needing to do that better and more comprehensive way. I think one thing that stood out as was mentioned earlier is that there were, you know, a handful ‑‑ or, you know, significant number, but still make the less than, for example, how many submitted responses on the call for issues that contributed to stocktaking. And I think one aspect of that is how it's communicated, what the stocktaking does and how that feeds into the next IGF because I have ‑‑ I have no idea before being part of this process.
And then I have another question, which is to what extent and how much does this stocktaking define what next year should look like. You mentioned the formal kind of stocktaking session, but what about also, for example, just stocktaking that comes through conversations around the IGF, the MAG's interaction with other participants. If you could just get a sense of how we are supposed to incorporate these different types of feedback, that would be really helpful for a new member.
>> CHAIR: Thanks, Courtney.
You know, I would say that you have actually just captured in your question what the role of the MAG is.
You know, the MAG ‑‑ yes, to go back to your comments on the process for the stocktaking call, it was a little bit different there year and sometimes there's a call that combines the call for issues for the stocktaking and sometimes it's separate and this year was a little bit different because we did so many other stocktaking sessions last year.
So, yes, I think that can be done in a more clear and structured way for future. So definitely. I think something that didn't come out in the stocktaking report or even from the Working Group strategy, but which I noted for myself and raised with the Secretariat last year is evaluation. We don't actually do any kind of immediately after the IGF evaluation.
We could have done it, but we need to plan for it in advance. I think that's something that I would suggest that the MAG considers for 2021, actually planning before the event a participant evaluation that can then be administered immediately after the event and we can use that as feedback. But that's another new idea.
To respond to your question about how the MAG should process it, it's really about listening, and reading and taking on board all of these proposals, as one is conversations you have talked about, as well as your experience as participants in the IGF and session organizers. And then taking that into your ‑‑ your thinking about how to conceptualize and plan IGF 2020. And that's really the role of the ‑‑ of the MAG, is to listen. It's to listen, to absorb and reflect and think about how we do things be innovative, through your input your judgment and experience.
So that really is what the MAG will do. And it will come in bits and pieces. As you will find, Courtney, that as we go through the planning process, and then the program design process, it becomes easier to do that, but that's basically what the MAG does.
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: Yes. I'm sorry, Anriette. Or underline. It's a continual process. It's not just this session or the other sessions that we have had. I mean it's constantly being updated. You are constantly getting feedback and also your experiences at other conferences as well. So it's a continual process. It's not just a set time period. Yes.
>> CHAIR: Thanks, Chengetai. It's a continual process.
So I don't see any further hands and I think at this time, we'll now go into more in‑depth discussion of the document. And Luis, who is in the Secretariat, our technical support person, will break us automatically into Zoom groups and I know some of you might not be in the group that ‑‑ that you would like to be in, but don't worry about that. So Courtney, for example, I know you are very interested in communications but even if you are not in that group, you will have other opportunities in the coming months to contribute to that particular area.
So at this point, this is to get not just MAG members but all the participants in this call to hone in on those different aspects of the stocktaking synthesis.
So I think on that note, I see no questions. I don't see any hands. Luis, can you break us out into groups. Just a reminder, everyone, before you do that Luis, each group should appoint a chair and a rapporteur and refer to the guidelines. We will post that in each group. They are on the website. Luis has brought them up on the screen.
So thanks, Luis, you can go ahead and put us into our breakout rooms and we'll work for about 30 minutes.
(Very low audio).
>> CHAIR: Luis, I cannot hear you.
>> LUIS: Is that better now? I was just saying that I ‑‑ (Inaudible).
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: You are fading out now again.
>> LUIS: I will send a link to the group soon, it will be broadcast to the group.
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: Okay. The link will be broadcast to the group shortly. Yeah. Mm‑hmm.
>> LUIS: Okay. Thank you.
So the rooms will be opening now. Five groups.
>> CHAIR: Welcome back to all of those who have joined us. Luis, Working Group one is just finishing. So I think if you can give them the close out one minute warning, that's fine. And I think we have already ‑‑
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: Three and four as well.
>> CHAIR: And three and four as well. Two and five are already back with us. So I think you can close out the other two as well. They'll still get the one minute warning. And welcome back, everyone.
And let's take a little break now. So if everybody wanted to take a very short break, we'll restart the plenary reports at exactly 22 ‑‑ actually, let's make it on the quarter hour. So we'll restart at quarter to. That would be 14:45 UTC. So if people want to grab something to drink or take a body break or bathroom break, now is the time.
I will put that in the chat as well.
>> CHAIR: I see people are coming back to the room. So welcome. We are still waiting for everyone to return. We are now taking a little break. So please feel free to take a short drink break or bathroom break. We'll start with the plenary reports at 14:45. So that's in like a few minutes. Nine minutes.
>> JUTTA CROLL: Hi, Anriette, are those your dogs.
>> CHAIR: It's good to see you.
>> JUTTA CROLL: I'm glad to be here. I was just wondering whether that's your dogs barking in the background.
>> CHAIR: It's not mine. It's my neighbors. I'm sitting here with two sleeping cats next to me. They are not barking. They are sleeping.
I'm not sure if you can see the cats, Joyce. I'm trying to show the cats.
Thank you everyone for posting the rapporteurs. Tamea for group 3 and June for group 4, and I'm still waiting for group 5, just to tell me who the rapporteur will be.
And welcome back to the meeting, everyone. Thank you for your patience. Thanks for bearing with the fact that there was a little bit of coming and going and it can take a little while for folks to have gotten to their groups. I'm sorry to have rushed you.
So our process now will be really for each group to share its report, and then afterwards, we'll have a plenary discussion. And then our goal is towards the end of this meeting to decide on next steps.
So to not waste any further time, can I invite Joyce Chen from group one to do the plenary report and Joyce, just a reminder after the call, if you can send the report to the Secretariat, please. Joyce, do have the floor. Do tell us who is in your group if you still have the names.
>> JOYCE CHEN: Thank you, Joyce Chen. I'm a new member and my group as group one. I'm sorry afraid I can't remember everybody's name in my group, but we did have Mateo, who agreed to chair, and then we had Christian, and we had Wynn and we had Sofie. If my group members want to put yourselves in the chat, please do go ahead.
But I will go straight into the content itself.
So we had a suggestion based on the call for issues that the MAG could ideally select three, maximum four themes for IGF 2021. This is similar to the proposal for the Working Group for strategy suggestion.
And then in addition, the MAG would have three specific policy questions per theme and inviting workshops on those. And then there could be sort of a space that would be reserved for other workshops that didn't fall into any of the questions or themes that we came up with. Another thing that we looked at for Section 1 was this thing about merging proposals. We thought it would be good to remind MAG members not to merge proposals and work with workshop proposals, the organizers to clarify and narrow down their proposals first, before we go with the merging idea.
We had discussion as well about a hybrid program for IGF. And we know that putting together a Working Group to look at this, but we did discuss the importance of designing a virtual meeting that would allow greater interaction between the participants. It's very important that they be able to participate equally and they should consider having a remote participation sort of manager to look at who the online participants are and what they are saying and then feeding it back into the main session, if we were able to have a hybrid meeting.
We also talked about the suggestion for having a mandatory requirement for youth inclusion. So we felt like there are a number of recommendations for putting a panel together, like being gender balanced.
We felt we may be imposing too many limits if we also included one mandatory requirement for youth inclusion. So it's nice to have a recommendation to make an effort to include youth, but then we didn't feel it should be a requirement per se. So, you know, not to be so prescriptive. It shouldn't be an obligation and we also felt that, you know, if we were to do this then the evaluation would be very time consuming. So we thought engaging youth is a good thing, but definitely, I think it shouldn't be something that's mandatory because then it may become a bit too artificial and you might sacrifice the quality of the panel, you know, just because of certain mandatory requirements.
And instead, we really should be looking at the overall quality based on the diversity of expertise and knowledge, that were formed sort of a baseline.
We also talked about suggestions to improve regular communications with stakeholders. So we noted, you know, that it's very encouraging that we have started to communicate regularly, you know with the news. And we felt it could be done better. Maybe we could have a comprehensive communication plan ahead of IGF 2021. And I think the coms should be action oriented and it should be meant to inform and empower the audience, the readers.
And then we also noted the suggestions to increase transparency and in our evaluation process. So somebody made the comment about the lack of clarity on deciding on how the MAG was deciding thematic tracks. So one way was to look at, you know, the IGF. If we were heading to a multiyear strategy, could we look to the future, how to link several topics and if they came to a conclusion, then there would be a consensus buildup and we could use the intersessional activities to build discussions over time.
The group also felt like maybe it's not that there is lack of clarity on how the thematic tracks are decided. It's pretty transparent. It's more the issue that people may not know how to get involved, how to follow the MAG calls and discussions, you know, with the exchanges and how the decisions were made based on the input it received.
So it could be going back to communications again, informing people about this decision‑making process and enabling them to participate from it.
So it's really about going back to the basics on what is needed, what will it be used for and explaining the different roles and the different types of sessions, et cetera.
I think we finally closed with one of our members basically encouraging that the MAG should set intellectual leadership to identify the topics for discussion so that that's our group.
>> CHAIR: (No audio).
>> JOYCE CHEN: Sorry, Anriette, I don't know ‑‑
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: Let's give her a three count.
>> CHAIR: Sorry, I didn't catch the last ‑‑ can you hear me?
>> JOYCE CHEN: Yes. I will share the report with the Secretariat because I took the notes as well.
>> CHAIR: Thanks very much for that, Joyce, and everyone else in group one, which dealt with preparatory process.
And next we have group two. That's the group that looked at intersessional work and NRIs.
And Tereza, you are the rapporteur. Please take the floor.
>> TEREZA HOREJSOVA: Thank you, Anriette. Our group was chaired and our group was...
So we went through the comments in taking stock, and one comment that has been coming up, in the distributions received by the Secretariat as it's necessary to link the work of these initiatives and NRIs to the ongoing policy processes.
Our group discussed that it's also important not only to have the other processes feed into the work of the ‑‑ of where these groups are going but also the other way around. We need to make sure that the work ‑‑ that the IGF work is also of relevance to other processes, and in particular, other UN bodies.
A lot of the comments in taking stock were focused on the need for more coordination and communication among these various groups. This is definitely crucial as was confirmed in our discussion but it's also challenging as there is a clear proliferation that puts a lot of pressure on the Secretariat.
Talking about pressure on the Secretariat, one possible solution for kind of more coordination among these groups would be having a focal point. It would be desirable if that person is in the Secretariat but hand in hand with, that resources for such function would need to be brought up.
It such a focal point exists, it would also help with kind of evaluating and assess work of all of these groups. Some of the tools that can be used for better coordination are sharing practices, stuff like really sharing practices, sharing schedules, and sharing outputs. We called for more partnerships in session organizations. So inviting, you know, speakers from various sessions to participate in the others.
And one suggestion was also to organize the work of these initiatives more thematically and ask various groups to share the topics that they are working on.
Some of the taking stock contributions called for more transparency and the focus on the bottom up drive especially for the Best Practice Forum. So our group noted that it's crucial to take this into account also in the current MAG discussion on review various proposal for Best Practice Forums, making sure that also governing structures of all of these forums are very transparent and topic driven.
One of the key topics, it's also important to make sure that some of the key topics that are discussed in the regional levels, such as in the NRIs are brought back to the global level. So this is something that needs to be strengthened. Besides that, the group appreciated all the work that the Secretariat is doing in doing the synthesis, and all the work in connecting the dots.
>> CHAIR: Thanks very much for that, Tereza.
Next we have group three. Looking at annual meeting structure, design, and content.
I'm not sure who the rapporteur is for group three, but please go ahead.
>> Hi, this is Tamea. Hi, everyone. I am the rapporteur for the third group. I apologize for not turning my video on. My broadband doesn't support it today. So our group was quite a diverse group. I'm not sure if I can remember everybody's names. I didn't take them down, but Jutta was chairing our meeting sort of organically, and we had also participation from Titi, Sandra, Paul Charlton, Victor from the Polish government organizing team and a few others that I'm missing now, but please, everyone, do note your name in the chat.
And we started out discussing the format of the meeting and then went into looking into how to make sure that the meeting is interactive and useful for everyone.
I will start from our discussions on whether a meeting should be aligned on site or hybrid format as one of our participants noted, 2021 is going to be a hybrid year. It was a pretty strong support for the idea of having hybrid meetings.
We discussed potential ways of organizing hybrid meetings. And what will be highlighted is that it seems that the community and all of us agree that it needs to be a manageable time frame if we do an event and if we are to have both offline and online sessions and then the participation cannot, differentiated and that online participants need to have the same consideration as the participants on the ground.
We also talked about potentially having pre‑events or preparatory events even a few weeks or days before the IGF, as an on‑site event would happen in Katowice.
We shouldn't have the community who would be ‑‑ or the part of the community who would be able to travel by December, to engage both in online and offline events in a very short time frame, because it would require quite a bit of preparation and pairing that up with travel time might be a bit challenging.
What we also highlighted in our discussion was that the IGF can be sort of an early adopter of these new ways of organizing conferences. We all felt that the COVID experience is going to have ‑‑ to leave its mark on how conferences and meetings are organized in the future and so online participation is here to stay. So we need no make sure that ‑‑ that that is done in a meaningful way and everybody participates.
And that we actually make use of the time that we do offline for ‑‑ for things that we are all missing from ‑‑ from the old way of doing conferences.
So we put a lot of emphasis on networking and interaction on that many people had missed from the online IGF last year and from other online events that we have had in 2020.
So what was highlighted is also to make sure that we focus on networking events, on involving everyone who is participating and to focus on interactions and interactions also mean discussions between participants and panelists to make sure that we have avenues for that interaction, but also for networking between participants themselves. So to focus that only on substantive sessions but to provide those opportunities and this seems to be also in line with ‑‑ with COVID precautions and sanitary precautions where some of our members of the group highlights as well that we should not plan on sitting in large conference rooms, all of us, hundreds of us together for long period of time, but to think about having smaller group discussions and break out and change rooms and change scenery as much as possible, so that we can make sure that everything has time to air out and ‑‑ and it's safe to return to meeting rooms between sessions.
So I think that was most of what we discussed. If I missed out anything, I ask my team members to ‑‑ to compliment, and I will send some of these notes inviting as well to the Secretariat.
>> CHAIR: Thanks very much for that, Tamea. And, yes, three comments make it clear that it's not trivial. You know, in the same way that it was very challenging to organize a virtual IGF, organizing, a hybrid IGF is also challenging.
Now, we have group 4 on participation.
Please go ahead and present your report. I think it's June.
>> JUNE PARRIS: This is June Parris, former MAG member. I volunteered to be a rapporteur. And we had Susan, and Innocent. He's part of the youth, Carlos and some others that I didn't get to write your names down. We discussed the document, and we sort of agreed that some improvement is needed in the process.
The question was, are these issues new and we sort of ‑‑ again, we talked about it and not all of these issues are new. The idea is to have some sort of transparency and improve the MAG and improve the process.
So we agree that there should be some more improvement in database, and we suggest ‑‑ some suggested that the IGF process gives better information. The big talking point was to try to get the youth engaged. How can we lead ‑‑ learn from this process of engaging with the youth? We had Innocent present and he gave his opinion on what happens before, during the IGF and after the IGF. There is actually no follow through. There's no follow‑up from the process. One ‑‑ innocent is a youth ambassador and he's very knowledgeable in this topic but, again, not all can navigate the website. The website can be a bit difficult for some members, especially new members and for the youth.
So we sort of agree that we should probably have some sort of mentorship for the youth, ambassadors and mentorship programs for the youth so that we can keep an eye on them, and help them through the process.
So we need to follow up and encourage them as well. There should somebody sort of reporting back process to keep them engaged. Perhaps again, the IGF website needs to be more improved, revamped ‑‑ it's been revamped anyway at the moment, but it still needs to pass the compliance test.
How can we also engage parliamentarians and the business sector? We can communicate with them in a more active way. We can follow through with newsletters, engage with them in all process, high‑level involvement has also improved, but, again, we need to be more in contact with them.
At the moment, UN DESA is in collaboration with this sector and also with the ICC.
Various comments were made about engaging and following up. The problem ‑‑ but we do have parliamentarians engaged in the IGF process, but the issue was brought up that parliamentarians can't always discuss everything that we want to discuss until it's passed in their parliaments and they have so many other things going on at the moment. But we hope to continue with the process and we hope to make things better for everyone, so that there's more participation.
>> CHAIR: Thanks very much, June. Are you done? Is that it?
>> JUNE PARRIS: Yes, I'm done.
>> CHAIR: Thanks a lot and just a reminder to the rapporteurs to send the reports. Now for the final group, which is group five, reporting on communications and technical improvements from the synthesis document.
So over to group five.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Thanks so much, Anriette, that's me for group five and we had Adam Peake, Karim and some non‑MAG participants as well which were great, Mark, and Andre.
So our ‑‑ we kind of found about three different buckets that we needed to focus on in terms of taking on the recommendations. One is overarching communications strategy. So the strategy for communications as a whole needs to be dressed and as we have heard in several of the reports back, there's a communications element to everything, from the ‑‑ from the beginning and lead‑up to the IGF, during the IGF and the outcome.
One question we had is whether there is ab existing Working Group on communication strategy. So that would be great to find out if that's the case.
There was an agreement that this strategy should really be year long and there's a need for a professional communications person because, you know, this is a skill to be able to communicate in a way that gathers media attention, that communicates with policymakers, that can get other stakeholders who aren't directly involved in Internet Governance still interested and engaged in the issues that are raised and it highlighted the lack of formal communications during the year.
I think that building this capacity to communicate more effectively both within the Internet Governance community, the IGF community, with ‑‑ sorry, both within the Internet Governance community, within the broader IG community and then with communities that are potentially impacted or where the outcomes are relevant to them, but maybe they are not engaged in Internet Governance at all, but are thematically relevant, so, for example, the environment.
The question ‑‑ another question kind of in terms of whether the UN media team was involved in the IGF as much as in the past, and what they're thinking about with the communication strategy for the gambit, how it's been successful from the Digital Agenda from Secretary General and noting that there was a low level of media coverage and this can be contributed to several things including the difficulty of kind of accessing and navigating the website, which we'll come back to which was its own bucket, and effectively communicating, again, both before, during and after and we'll get to some of the kind of technical aspects of that in a moment.
The ‑‑ we also discussed the need for the final report to synthesize key messages and that needing to come out quickly and to be concise and accessible including to the media but also to say the private sector, that, you know, or government officials who are not going to read a very long document. And so focusing communications on outcomes with maybe, for example, three per theme, like what are the overarching there.
But also communicating better within the Internet Governance Forum community so that the different outputs and takeaways and policy recommendations from DCs from BPFs, et cetera, are ‑‑ are cross communicated.
Relatedly, there was kind of a discussion, this goes back to another session earlier about, you know, get it ‑‑ looking at the IGF as a year‑long process, so that first of all, the term "intersessional" didn't have a lot of fans in this group. A lot of people thought that was the wrong terminology because it implies that the IGF is not continuing the whole year, and so maybe rethinking about some of that language, because there is this ongoing work that feeds to be communicated throughout the year.
And that specifically on social media, there's a very big opportunity for this, and really linking up to the speakers and the organizations and the outcomes and the work that's going on, and having regular social media posts throughout the year that relate to the intersessional work that could expand the network and get beyond the different stakeholder groups would be helpful.
And to that and the recommendation to use YouTube was one that we definitely felt should be kept because that's accessible to a much broader community but again, using tags and better descriptions can be helpful.
The website also was its own kind of issue that everyone recognizes the need to redesign that, to better show content to make it accessible to people who aren't just insiders to the community and that means also including thematic linkages, trying to make navigation clearer. And they ‑‑ it was pointed out that there is a website called Friends of IGF.org that has started to do this in terms of thematic linkages and that might provide some sort of idea about how no go about that.
And that they could do a better job linking resource people, maybe, again, integrating all of that information so if a resource person has spoken on a panel and they have a YouTube video and there's a transcript of the session, that could all be linked to those people so that that would also link to other goals like diversity, like figuring out, you know, who you can put on your panel from different stakeholder groups and not just having to determine that based on a couple of different characteristics that are identified in one line but you can see that person and do they speak well? Do they have ‑‑ you know, are they focused on what you want them to focus on.
And then we talked about Zoom as a platform. So there was, I would say, some tension in ‑‑ between definitely wanting to have are month interactivity and being able to see who is present. I think there's consensus that you should be able to see who is present. The interactivity should depend upon the objective of the session, and, of course, there's an undergirding recognition of the risk that, you know ‑‑ the security risks that would need to be addressed with greater interactivity but also having some balance between discussions that are, you know, led by a smaller group and designed to have a certain outcome where maybe interactivity doesn't help to get to those objectives.
One of the overarching kind of goals, I think for communications, for the website, for the platform should be that it is objective driven.
So what are the policy objectives that we're trying to get to? What are the session objectives? And that that should drive the session designs. It should drive communications.
It should, you know, be, for example, thinking about anticipating emerging issues so workshop proposals can be constructed with that in mind. Reporting backs on different kinds of sessions, and that there was a recommendation that the MAG should look at other kind of similar conferences in this space, for example, rights Con as an example, both doing excellent communications both in advance of the call for proposals, during that, as well as, you know, during the individual sessions and really within the community.
And then as well, in terms of how they help guide people who are submitting proposals or ideas for sessions by suggesting the right kinds of format for that.
Similarly, EuroDIG, looking at how their program is built, and the focus on a thematic approach, which gathers interested people together under themes and then they can work together to propose workshops.
And, again, they are moving towards a year‑long approach which a lot of people felt like the IGF should be moving towards.
So I think in a nutshell, that is our report. I hope I have done everyone justice.
>> CHAIR: Thank you very much, Courtney and everyone else in that group.
So we now have just over 15 minutes left until the end of our meeting. And let's dedicate this time to talking about ‑‑ well, sharing reflections and then making suggestions for the next steps.
We have a MAG meeting coming up in the week of 22 February, and in that meeting, we can actually concretize what we decide. So I'm not expecting us to make decisions today. Let's just have slightly deeper discussions on this.
So thanks, everyone, for these inputs. I will quickly respond to Courtney's question. There isn't a MAG Working Group yet this year on communications. We have had several MAG Working Groups going back over the last six or seven years on communications and outreach or outreach and engagement.
But on strategic communications, not yet or communication strategy, so there's definitely a room for that. I think it's a really good idea.
And Chengetai can tell you more about the way in which UN Coms have been engaged in the process or not.
And also what the plans are for this year.
But definitely, I think if there's a desire to form a MAG Working Group on strategic communications or communication strategy, that could be very helpful, and ‑‑ and it could be helpful for the Secretariat as well.
So I open the floor. I see no one in the speaking queue. And just to remind all the observers, you are also welcome to speak. Our protocol is that we let MAG members speak first because it's a MAG meeting, but if there are no MAG members in the queue, anyone can take the floor.
So I see one hand, and that is ‑‑ I can't find it now. It's Xianhong. Please take the floor and introduce yourself.
>> XIANHONG: Thank you, Chair. I'm representing UNESCO, as the representative of MAG for many years. I would like to thank MAG for organizing such an open consultation. It's well organized and well streamlined and I was also in the group discussion. I found that this manner is very effective.
Just to add a few more points, I basically second everything that has been said about the colleagues, maybe picking on a communication that's really the key as internet forum, the educational capacity is still not yet perfect for particularly a website. Not only the home page but also if you look at the intersessional page, there are tremendous initiatives deeply hidden under best practice platform. Basically each initiative of IGF, there's zero product or zero outcome of IGF, they should be more visible. And each one deserves better visibility, and better function.
I just give a personal example, since I'm also leading the UNESCO‑led Internet universality Dynamic Coalition. It is listed among many DCs there, even me, as scroll down from the page up and down several times, I couldn't find my Dynamic Coalition. So you can imagine how do people find what is a want or a need.
I think you need the structural improvement and also target the digital use as well. Not only go ‑‑ I mean, Twitter now is basically used by the older generation and Facebook also for the middle-aged generation. Look at the new platform, and record some shorter video to really communicate with the younger generation in our platforms. That's really a huge task for the communication dimension.
And my second point I would like to add is that under group one, I want to appreciate the UN DESA and UN coordination meeting before the last virtual IGF.
I found this very effective to convince this kind of meeting, because I didn't mean to single out the stakeholder of intergovernmental organizations, but it is comparative advantage of our forum, I mean compared to other Internet issues forum because we are well connected. We are in the UN system. We are able to network with perhaps 30 UN agencies and organizations.
So I would also expect this coordination information ‑‑ information meeting, coordination meeting to be more regularly convened not only just ahead of IGF, but maybe even before and also after to support more UN constructed effort, particularly in light of SDGs, launching of digital roadmap implementation.
I think I made most of my points. I also hope there is an engagement with different stakeholders can be perhaps more tailored. For example, was the concrete different ‑‑
>> CHAIR: Xianhong, can you ‑‑ if you can try and finish, please.
>> XIANHONG: Yes. Yeah, yeah, I'm almost ‑‑ thank you again. Just finishing by saying that I look forward to working further with you in general and also particularly in ‑‑ for those kind of intersessional initiative, I would like to have particular Working Group to discuss specific issues specific to those initiatives. Thank you.
>> CHAIR: Thank you, Xianhong, and sorry to interrupt you, but we are down to the last few minutes.
I don't see anyone else in the queue. We only have ten minutes left, but clearly communications and the website stands out. So I think that's definitely something the MAG needs to ‑‑ to work with the Secretariat, collaboratively. The Secretariat actually would have plans as well. And maybe we can't do that now, but when we have our meetings later this month, they will share more on that, and on the website, updating that's happening which might not be in time, but it is going to happen.
I think the other thing that really stands out for me, which I think the MAG needs to consider and the MAG Working Group on workshop process or maybe we need to rename that, Working Group a little bit, but the way in which to ensure participation, and engagement and the process while also having a narrower focus, I think that stands out for me as a key challenge, and then the hybrid meeting. It's come up again and I'm very glad that we have a MAG Working Group. Will urge all participants of the meeting and the MAG members who want to be a part of it, to join that working group. There is a Working Group on hybrid meetings.
Because I sense what people want is more than just hybrid meetings. They also want closer engagement, more personal interaction, more networking. I think that the report or the proposals that we heard on not having large rooms full of people, that strikes me as well and facilitating more substantive discussion.
I think that's part of a narrow focus. You know, narrow focus is not just about fewer sessions. It's ‑‑ or fewer people for that matter. It actually has to be about deeper discussion.
So I think these are all very important considerations.
Adam, you have the floor and please, other MAG members and observers, we only have a few minutes left. So now is the time for you to comment. Adam?
>> ADAM PEAKE: Thank you, Adam Peake for the record. It was really responding to your question, what are the most important issues we think are before us? And you have just conveniently mentioned two that are in my mind. One is that being last year in the taking stock and also over the years, really, has been a quite consistent call to reduce the schedule, reduce the number of sessions, et cetera, et cetera.
I think if we are going to do that, it affects our work throughout the year. And particularly, the next major task which is the call for proposals and so on, if we are going to make a substantive reduction in the number of sessions that will be on the schedule, then we should make that clear up front, so that people are not surprised by it.
It's very often a very popular idea. It suddenly becomes less popular and I have been in this situation myself, when it's not your session being accepted. So fully supporting the notion of a tighter schedule, less parallel sessions and less sessions overall, it becomes hard when it's your session that's cut. And it's very hard work, I would imagine for the MAG to do this.
The clarity up front in the next major task, hybrid meetings and the notion of that, yes, again, if we are going to ‑‑ what do we mean by hybrid meetings? I suppose is one important aspect of that. And Tereza, and I support Tereza's idea to create this group on hybrid meetings, Working Group on hybrid meetings. One of the main concepts was that people whether online or offline, whether they are on site or accessing remotely should be equal in the way that they participated and experienced the IGF.
But what does that mean when we are designing the event? There are many things there. What does it mean when we are designing the schedule? Does it mean held over a longer period? Does it mean focusing the time zones and the sweet spots. And then it brings into the things of taking stock, the meeting went on too long.
And the hybrid meetings it begins with the point when we are designing the meeting, thinking about what hybrid means ‑‑ and this as much of a question as a statement. To begin with the notion that we are designing the best IGF possible. We are not beginning with the outlook that it is the technology that drives the IGF. We should begin from the point of view of our goals are to create this meeting that is as inactive as possible, but don't ‑‑ don't be ‑‑ don't be narrowed by what we think the expectations of one particular platform are. Begin with what our goals are as opposed to any limitation in our minds by the technology at the time.
I will stop. I know we are short of time. Sorry for talking so long.
>> CHAIR: Thank you for that, Adam. Sorry to rush everyone, next we have Giacomo, and then Courtney and Joyce.
>> GIACOMO MAZZONE: My two cents proposal.
>> CHAIR: Remember to introduce yourself.
>> GIACOMO MAZZONE: Yes, Giacomo Mazzone. We need to have the priority for each year and to have a multiyear plan. And once we have the priorities, then we can try to be effective in those priorities in order to the IGF to bring some recommendation or conclusions or documents or whatever.
This will also have an impact on participation on one side and on the other side, on communication. Strategic communication. If people know that there are things ‑‑ important outputs coming out from the IGF, then the communication will be easier.
Let's remember that the virtual meetings are very unpopular among journalists. They are very difficult to report about. So if you don't have contents to ‑‑ there's no communication. And the effectiveness for the IGF would be reduced. Thank you.
>> CHAIR: Thank you, Giacomo. And that echoes the report that Titi presented earlier. Courtney, you were next.
>> COURTNEY: Thank you. Just a couple of small points. Given that it will likely be some aspect virtual, allowing people easy opportunity to jump in and out and not having to participate, I think is also important. We have seen a lot of groups actually get a lot more people listening in and so I think we do want to recognize that, that as important as it is, to have engagement and to open that for those who want to be engaged, there are people who just want to learn and listen. So make sure that we are thinking about how no incorporate that. And on the communications, the strategic communications, I think that we should ‑‑ and I'm happy, like, how to figure out this, but think about a Working Group.
I understand that it sounds like there's already a website redesign happening. I want to know how those things are kind of integrated and how that leads into all of the other communication needs of the different sections that the outcome documents, all of that because, I mean, even if you have the most amazing, you know, in‑person meeting, if there's nothing important coming out of it, the media is not going to report on it.
And I think that there are a lot of important discussions that are both making policy recommendations on the one hand, but some that are just emerging issues and I think back to like, Azerbaijan, when we had some of the first sessions on human rights and making that link. And so I don't want to have us miss some of that by becoming just too focused on policy‑oriented outcomes thank you.
>> CHAIR: Thank you, Courtney. And Joyce.
>> JOYCE CHEN: I'm Joyce. MAG member. I wanted no reiterate my point that I made on the chat. It's good to discuss what we're saying about, you know, improving communications but I think we should also consider if we are doing enough to encourage participation into our processes, and ‑‑ and maybe to have a deeper discussion about whether the issue is really about increasing visibility of our work or that we should be looking at a broader, you know, aspect of whether we are being very transparent in our processes as well.
So I guess there is room for review in these things as well.
>> CHAIR: Thanks very much, Joyce and everyone else who has contributed. I'm just running through the chat quickly. Karim, a MAG member was talking about language. And the importance of reinforcing the multilingual dimension of our activities, and we'll learn more about that when we listen to the report from the Working Group language at the next meeting.
And Roberto is making more points on what it means to be ‑‑ to be hybrid.
And then we had Giacomo talking about the multiyear structure, which he made in his vocal input and Joyce's point about participation and I think that was it.
And Marco made a comment about interactivity and the use of virtual meeting technology, and that it's constantly evolving to make meetings more personalized. And that we need to seek advice on that. I think I would link that to ‑‑ to the comment from Adam on ‑‑ that we need to also work out what we want and then find the technology to meet our needs.
So we are at the end of our meeting. I have a request from Jutta, Jutta Croll to have a few words. So I will give you the floor.
And then I will hand over to Chengetai and then I will close the meeting. Jutta.
>> JUTTA CROLL: Thank you, Anriette. I wanted to inform the MAG and the participants in this meeting that on Thursday last week, that children's rights committee of the United Nations have adopted a general document on children's right in the digital environment. I do think that this is a major step forward so the UN rights on the child has interpretation on what children's rights mean in the digital environment. I hope that this will be taken into consideration also for the program of the IGF 2021.
And I invite you to celebrate with us this huge step forward. Thank you.
>> CHAIR: Thanks very much, for that news, Jutta and congratulations to you and everyone else who have worked to achieve this.
>> JUTTA CROLL: Thank you.
>> CHAIR: To Chengetai, I wanted to know if you wanted to respond a little bit and then I will close the meeting, and propose our immediate next steps.
Chengetai? You have the floor.
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, Anriette. I'm not too sure what to respond to. As far as the website is concerned.
>> CHAIR: I mean, I think ‑‑ yes, I think just update the MAG members on that process, please.
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: Okay.
We have identified a vendor. We are in talks with them. We have done a preliminary review of the tasks at hand, and the different modules and now we're processing the contract. Once the contract is done, there's been ‑‑ it's taken slightly longer than we had expected. We had expected to have done this ‑‑ completed in January, but due to circumstances, we're still doing it, and hopefully within the next week or so, that will be completed.
And once it's started, then, yes, they will engage in the actual revamp of the website, plus also interviewing the various user groups of the website to see what they ‑‑ what the different user groups would require and recommend for improvements to the website.
And that's how the website goes.
I will keep on informing the MAG once everything is in place, but ‑‑ yes.
>> CHAIR: And what is the deadline? What is the target date for the new website going live?
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: Oh, the ‑‑ well, I mean, there's several components of it. I mean there's the interface design and the different communities, so it's a stepped implementation, but we hope to have finished everything by August so it should be ready for the 2021 IGF meeting.
>> CHAIR: Thanks for that, Chengetai.
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: It's step‑by‑step. There's different steps to it. Yeah.
>> CHAIR: Thanks a lot. So everyone, we need to bring the meeting to a close. It feels a little bit truncated. The Secretariat will compile the outcome of the group discussions today. And we'll put that in a document, alongside with the synthesis of the stock taking, and you also will have the MAG Working Group strategies proposals and I suggest that they are discussed further in the MAG list.
And then what we will do is bring all of this to go in our MAG meeting in the week of 22 February, and we'll circulate an agenda tomorrow, I promise. And I think that that ‑‑ it might feel at the moment as if our process is slightly chaotic and I do think that making these types of decisions about format and process, particularly about changing design of the IGF is very difficult to do virtually, much more difficult than to do online.
If I compare this with how we started last year, but we will do it. It will come together. It will all fall into place. So I just want to ‑‑ to reassure everyone who feels that the process is a little bit scattered, to just persevere. I think we are making strong progress. We have good input and we have got very clear directives of where we need to prioritize in the planning for 2021 and we will get there. So thanks everyone for your participation. Thanks to the Secretariat. Thanks to our captioner and to all of our MAG members, past MAG members, thanks for joining us and all other observers.
Thanks very much, and I close the meeting.
>> CHENGATAI MASANGO: Oh, and thank you very much to the Chair. Thank you very much, Anriette.
>> CHAIR: It's a pleasure, I hope. It's difficult, but a pleasure.
>> Good‑bye, everyone.
>> Thank you very much, all.