Synthesis document – a collective output shaping the future of IGF and NRIs: An experience from APrIGF

21 Dec 2017 09:00h - 10:30h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 12th Internet Governance Forum]

This session was aimed at explaining the process, outputs and thinking of the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) Synthesis Document, from which to consider the prospect and value for similar undertakings at other IGF related meetings. Onsite moderator of the session Ms Jennifer Chung, Secretariat of APrIGF, explained that the format of the session would be roundtable and encouraged audiences to actively participate in the discussion. She provided the background and origin of the document by mentioning that the APrIGF Synthesis Document was first raised and discussed at the APrIGF New Delhi 2014 Multi-Stakeholder Steering Group (MSG) meetings, and further refined over the course of MSG deliberations throughout the year. She further mentioned that the Synthesis Document aims to identify items of common interest and relevance to Internet governance within the Asia Pacific region. The MSG decided to implement this experimental approach for the first time for APrIGF Macao 2015 and it became an integral part of the programming for the APrIGF from 2016 onwards.

Paul Wilson, head of APNIC, the Regional Internet address Registry for the Asia Pacific, comparing the MSG for APriGF with the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) of the IGF, explained that, as the MAG was advising the UN on the Internet state, the MSG had wanted to do something similar at the regional level in Asia Pacific. This thought was what led to the advent of the APriGF Synthesis Document. Describing the MSG as a “very open steering group”, he encouraged people from the region who were interested in contributing or participating to join. He further acknowledged the knowledge and continuous support of the Asian organisations, Secretariat and individuals who have been with them for the entire time and who have contributed hugely to the ongoing success of the APrIGF at both the regional and global level.  He credited the APriGF Synthesis Document a very important mode through which Asia Pacific voices could come out and be heard.

Ms Maureen Hilyard, a representative the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) at ICANN, mentioned that, as the Chair of the Drafting committee of this Synthesis Document, her role was to “Just coordinate the worthwhile inputs and concentration in the Asia Pacific community”. Providing further background on the process of developing this Synthesis Document, she mentioned that the overarching theme and sub-themes were developed in coordination with the MSG, and from them, a skeleton of the document was developed that went online for the community to add their remarks and comments. At the end of the yearly APrIGF event, a two-day town hall session was held that was open-mic and provided an opportunity for people from the community/region to discuss, or raise any concerns about, any issues that had come out of the workshops they attended or had arisen from discussions that they had had. She mentioned that she had chaired such a session along with her colleague Chat and remembered her experience as “We were really thrilled with the interaction with the audience because it was their — it was their session and it was their opportunity to have input into what has resulted in the Synthesis Document”.

Winston Roberts, from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and National Library of New Zealand, shared his experiences working as part of the Drafting committee of this Synthesis Document. He mentioned that the community was very accommodating and open to him, despite his not being an MSG member. Giving background to his long involvement with the Internet governance community, he mentioned “I’m interested to see what has come out of it in the sense of understanding attracting actions, tracking the development of themes, tracking the babble that some of these discussions and teams have had in our particular region.”

By Mohit Saraswat