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The purpose of the workshop, organized by the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organization (CTO) was to inform stakeholders of the work of the Commonwealth within the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) under the umbrella of the Commonwealth Internet Governance Forum(CIGF).
Mr Shola Taylor, Secretary General of the CTO, who moderated the session, threw more light on the purpose which was to encourage greater engagement by Commonwealth stakeholders in Internet Governance (IG); share national/regional best practices pertaining to the potential role of IG in inclusive and sustainable growth and inform stakeholders of the upcoming activities meant to promote internet governance.
Mr Mark Carvell, ICANN GAC Policy Vice Chair, outlined the principles underlying the CIGF. According to him, four principles were agreed at the Commonwealth ICT minister's forum, as a guide for members to plan and implement actions in policy development, legislation, cross-border collaboration and capacity building. The first principle is to contribute to a safe and effective global cyberspace. Second is to support broader economic and social development initiatives. The third principle is to enhance international cooperation through key initiatives such as the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative. Finally, the fourth principle is to uphold the rights of members. These include defending human rights, freedom of expression, and access to knowledge leading to empowerment, and protecting vulnerable members of the community.
Taylor, highlighted initiatives CTO is embarking on as far as Internet governance is concerned. These include broadening the CTO membership base to enhance its value (e.g. including OTT providers like Facebook); creating of investment platforms (e.g. first Commonwealth Investment for ICT for Emerging Markets, Dubai, 10-12 April, 2017); promoting a culture of cybersecurity and effective cyber-governance; promoting the development and usage of use of ICT applications among others. He directed participants to visit the CTO website for more information on the initiatives as well as main achievements.
Mr Tracy Hackshaw, Technology Coordinator at the Ministry of Science and Technology in Trinidad and Tobago, gave a brief about the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative (CCI). CCI was endorsed as a programme of the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2011, to assist member countries through multi-stakeholder partnerships, to create a comprehensive program to reduce cybercrime among CTO member states.
According to Hackshaw, CCI has an objective of duplicating efforts of cybercrime initiatives among the Commonwealth countries. It therefore works through working groups and consortium comprising about thirty organizations including the African Union Commission, Caribbean Telecommunications Union, the CTO, Council of Europe, DiploFoundation, Interpol, ITU, etc. He also mentioned that for 2016, CCI organised needs of assessment in the Caribbean. For the Pacific region, a criminal justice training workshop was held in Tonga in February. Several initiatives also happened in Africa.
Taylor, in closing the meeting entreated all to make it a point to attend the IGF meeting in Geneva in 2017 where the next CIGT meeting will occur.
by Jacob Odame-Baiden, Internet Society Ghana