Plans for hosting of the IGF 2021 Meeting

At the center of Internet Governance, stands the principle of safe, secure and open Internet and web. The internet has revolutionized the world like nothing before. The invention of the Internet and Web sets a stage to affirm reality of opportunities and challenges particularly for the Pacific and small island developing states. In these turbulent months of uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, we are all at the forefront of an experiencing challenges that require a multistakeholder approach.

The Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society (PICISOC) is a chapter that represents the interests of users in the Oceania- Pacific region. It focuses on local issues and developments in the Pacific region, and seeks to provide impartial advice to governments and the public on Internet related matters that are relevant to Pacific Island people. PICISOC and the AsiaPacific TopLevel Domain (APTLD) formally launched a partnership by signing a MOU in 2020 to build a strategic partnership to explore possible areas of cooperation in the field of outreach and engagement of, and building capacity for ccTLD managers across the Pacific Countries and Territories.

As an indication of commitment to the partnership, PICISOC in collaboration with APTLD will team up with other key partners such as InternetNZ, an APTLD’s founding member and the University of the South Pacific (USP) to facilitate the APTLD meeting and the Pacific Internet Governance Forum in Fiji from 6 – 11 September 2021.

The USP, PICISOC, APNIC, ISOC, APTLD, InternetNZ, ICANN, IGF and key partners in the region will working together to host the Pacific Internet Governance Forum from 6 – 8 September, 2021 – a member’s forum to facilitate dissemination, impact, promote the collaboration, and ultimately sharing of knowledge and good practices and innovative organizational-specific solutions. The Pacific Internet Governance Forum will ensure a multistakeholder process, bringing together stakeholders from the Asia-Pacific region to join the Internet Governance debate and policy discussions to ensure that the internet remains safe, secure and open. 

Structure and outline

The Pacific Internet Governance forum will ensure a human-centric design thinking process to create new and innovative ideas to deal with the challenges faced by our members in the Pacific. The forum will not be limited to a specific area of expertise – it’s going to focus on people, processes, technology and the ecosystems to solve multifaceted problems in the area of Internet Governance. With support from key partners, we hope to create a multistakeholder approach and create opportunities for our key members to highlight their challenges and also to look at opportunities to promote knowledge sharing and identify ways to work together to solve a problem. We want a faster, better-informed process with the right solutions that will fit the Pacific context. 

The Pacific IGF committee organised a short survey to tailor it to the PICISOC audience to choose a Pacific IGF theme and sub-themes of common interest. Based on the response, the following theme were suggested by the Pacific members:

  • COVID-19 response and contingency plans on ICT and Internet Governance
  • Access and connectivity 
  • Cybersecurity
  • Digital Inclusion – e.g., addressing gender divide, digital divide and working with disability and vulnerable groups  •           Universal Connectivity for all
  • Secure, secure and stable internet e.g., cyber safety, cybersecurity initiatives
Objectives
  • Inspiring participants to think out-of-the-basket through case studies, new ICT and Internet-related initiatives and trends
  • Getting participants to focus on creativity and innovative thinking – presenting their initiatives, case studies and stories on how they defined a problem, determined a solution, implemented it
  • Finding new ways to solve a problem – what’s working and what isn’t work in their country or community
  • Strengthening a multistakeholder process using knowledge share fair, fireside chat, fishbowl techniques to facilitate sessions that might be outside of our comfort zone 
  • Driving participants to choose a particular focus area around the Pacific IGF theme and focus on a collaborative brainstorming session, as opposed to one-way presentations 
  • Highlighting key challenges, opportunities and lessons learned
  • Speakers should be able to tell a story to their audience so that they can ask the right questions and brainstorm to identify solutions to the problems 
Format/Dates

The Pacific IGF will take place back-to-back with the APTLD meeting from  6 – 10 September, 2020 – it will be a hybrid format (online with local hubs in the Pacific). Being inclusive and diverse has been our key priority – we have a diverse group of individuals who represent their communities – persons with disabilities, rural and remote communities, LGBTQI groups and other vulnerable groups. PICISOC has been established since 1994 and we have always had great representation from the small island states. We continued to focus on ICT and Internet issues for the Pacific Islands region, and it works with various organisations and governments in ensuring the continuing development of ICT in the region. 

The online participation will be set up using a hybrid format and this will be hosted and managed by the University of the South Pacific (USP) and

APTLD secretariat. USP has nine other campuses which have their own satellite connnectivity in Niue, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tokelau, Vanuatu, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands. Having the satellite and internet connectivity will be ideal for the hubs using a hybrid format. We are thinking of creating an in-person gathering in these hubs with multiple destinations and spoke format – this will also include an audience of online viewers that may involve interaction with a single platform or via social media networks. We will be having the hybrid learning combined with face-to-face to ensure that we create small hubs and communities of practice – it will be a blended version. USP will run the main event using the main agenda and the hubs will tune in from their countries – the hub will be managed by a facilitator who will ensure that they have discussions and break-out sessions to discuss the topics or issues.

Activities
  • Establish a working group committee, led by USP and PICISOC – working group to meet every month 
  • Conduct a short survey around the Pacific IGF them and sub-themes and invite speakers to suggest a list of workshops and sessions  •         Develop a creative agenda 
  • Invite a list of organisations and key stakeholders to participate in the Pacific IGF 
  • Invite a list of sponsors and financial partners to provide the resources for the event
  • Develop a spreadsheet of tasks and requirements for hosting the Pacific IGF o Assign responsibilities to working group – sub-groups 
  • Designing visibility products
  • Inviting media 
  • Designing the agenda for the Pacific IGF opening ceremony
  • Establishing fellowship criteria

A draft programme for the Pacific IGF can be found here or downloaded. The agenda is under planning by the multistakeholder organizing committee and the meeting will be hosted onsite with possibility for a meaningful online participation.

Other information on Pacific IGF 2021 can be found here.

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