Dynamic Online Coalition on Small Island Developing States in the Internet Economy

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[Read more session reports and updates from the 14th Internet Governance Forum]

The Dynamic Coalition on Small Island Developing States (DC-SIDS) had its working meeting at the 2019 Internet Governance Forum (IGF). Mr Tracy Hackshaw (Trinidad & Tobago Chapter, Internet Society) framed the session around the action plan for DC-SIDS.

Before formally adopting the plan and its implementation, all session participants presented the challenges they face in their countries, and a number of other updates. Ms Maureen Hilyard (Pacific Islands Chapter, Internet Society) from the Cook Islands referred to the issue of insufficient co-ordination within the Pacific region. She appreciated the support of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Society (ISOC), the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), and .asia, and informed about expected support from Internet New Zealand and Asia-Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD).

An overlying issue for many participants was the question of how we can build the capacity of small island developing states (SIDS) to deal with Internet governance issues. Not all governments understand the complexity of Internet governance, even though many recommendations are issued. In some cases, policymakers lack an understanding of how to use the Internet more effectively.

Other participants mentioned issues linked to the environment and cybersecurity, and the involvement of civil society in influencing policy decisions in Internet governance issues. The issue of access in rural regions came up often, including practical discussion on how to encourage operators to invest more in technology. On a related note, even if people in rural remote regions have access, they are often uneducated, so there is a need to increase digital literacy.

Ms Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro (Credo Global) from Fiji was very vocal, and called for more awareness of SIDS’s issues in global policy centres and forums such as the IGF. She encouraged DC-SIDS to encourage more champions to join in the IGF’s Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), as three MAG members attended the DC-SIDS meeting.

Tamanikaiwaimaro said: ‘I am tired of seeing our countries beg for funding to build infrastructure like global submarine cables and satellites'. She said it was encouraging to hear the Secretary-General of the United Nations directing the MAG to comply with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and for the Second UN Committee to deal with infrastructure funding. Since policy voices from SIDS do not always make it to Geneva and New York, she suggested that DC-SIDS should host a symposium in these policy centres and build portfolio case studies to explain where funds need to go.

The session then concentrated on the DC-SIDS Action Plan, the formation of sub-committees to implement the plan, and DC-SIDS’s future plans.

By Tereza Horejsova

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