[Read more session reports and live updates from the 13th Internet Governance Forum]
SEEDIG is organising its fifth annual meeting in Bucharest, Romania 6-8 May, 2019. The Executive Committee presented the work of SEEDIG over the last year, including SEESummaries, the Regional survey, the Youth School, the Fellowship programme, Internship programme, and the SEEDIG Ambassador programme. The community agreed that the future course of SEEDIG should include more emphasis on the local and national levels, deeply focused topics of most relevance for the region, and more outreach in building partnerships.
Ms Sorina Teleanu, Chair, SEEDIG Executive Committee, moderated the outreach session of the South Eastern Dialogue on Internet Governance (SEEDIG). Teleanu invited all interested parties to join the regional community and get involved in the work of SEEDIG. SEEDIG 2019 will take place in Bucharest, Romania on 6-9 May.
Mr Andrea Beccalli, European Stakeholder Engagement Team, ICANN, praised the SEEDIG community for its proactive attitude beyond holding only one yearly activity. 'We are amazed at how this community was able to grow and structure themselves in a way that is rare across the other national and regional initiatives,' Beccalli said. He stressed that SEEDIG should now aspire to get a better grip on the local level in the region and build long-term partnerships. The governance model in place now across the NRIs is strong, but governments are increasingly challenging it. Beccalli concluded that SEEDIG should strongly focus on its own region, with its own concrete activities, and ensure regional ownership of this platform for dialogue.
Teleanu agreed with the proposals and in that light, she presented the new vision and mission of SEEDIG. SEEDIG recognises that digital technologies play an important role for the development of the region and aims to facilitate a healthy, sustainable dialogue. Teleanu noted that most of the work is done on the mailing list, by the elected Executive Committee and during several inter-sessional activities throughout the year. SEEDIG is focused on specific topics relevant for the region, which might not be as relevant for the wider European region.
Ms Su Sonia Herring, Youth IGF, Turkey, presented the new three-tier programme for the Youth School 2019. First, students will have multiple online sessions prior to the annual face-to-face meeting open to bigger number of students, as it is cost efficient for outreach. Second, a group of students will be funded to attend the 2019 meeting in Bucharest. Third, three distinguished students will be chosen to attend the EuroDIG 2019 meeting. Herring also mentioned the monthly SEESummary as the only publication in the region focused on Internet governance. The summaries are curated, thematic, brief, and carefully edited.
Teleanu added that the fellowship programme is dedicated to professionals working in fields related to digital policy and Internet governance. Mr Dušan Caf, Digitas Institute, Slovenia, said that SEEDIG is experimenting with improving its outreach, and has therefore introduced the Ambassadors programme to promote SEEDIG in a decentralised way. Another capacity building activity is the internship programme, which is also a way for the Executive Committee to support its work and keep people in the community.
Ms Lianna Galstyan, Internet Society Armenia, pointed out that SEEDIG also works with national IGFs to strengthen the cooperation with countries in the region. Some countries in the region need help in establishing their national IGF and SEEDIG assists them in achieving that.
Teleanu stressed that SEEDIG is more focused and locally engrained, and that the fifth meeting in Bucharest already has some support from the national government, academia, and is reaching out to private and civil society actors. The call for general issues is out until December and many ways are available to get involved. Teleanu also introduced a completely new, pilot project called SEEDIG Road Show. The idea behind it is to organise a series of activities on a national level and small events to do capacity building, outreach, and build partnerships.
Members of the community in the room raised questions on increasing youth participation, communicating better on the mailing list, expanding the programme and marking the fifth anniversary appropriately.
By Jana Mišić