Thursday, November 02, 2006

IGF 2006: Chair's round-up session

This morning was the Chair's round-up session for workshops. Some of the Chair's pretty much lost the plot and went into long drawn out rhetoric reading reports. I kept mine short and simple, highlighting the need to keep things practical, and consideration been given to the needs of remote communities at future IGFs, which includes communities in mountainous regions and other similar disparate areas. I was pleased that Nitin Desai, the IGF Chairman, picked up on this issue for remote communities in his overall summary later. My work (at least in the IGF 2006 context is done).

I also highlighted another favourite topic of mine - global warming - if our islands don't exist with a rise in sea levels, then what the IGF is all about, and what it is trying to achieve would be of no consequence to us. I saw a lot of nodding heads in the audience as I was speaking, so hopefully what I was saying was hitting home (unless of course these were attempts to shake off the effects of last night's drinking.....)

The full text of what I said follows:

Thank you, Mr. Chair. My name is Rajnesh Singh from the Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society. I am here to speak very briefly on what we discussed on ICT to Achieve MDGs and in particular, on issues facing small island states and developing economies. Our workshop was intended to highlight real issues facing small island states and developing economies, and what we hoped we would do is promote a bit of awareness and understanding of real world issues that we face. We hope through that that we fuel some discussion amongst stakeholders and that these stakeholders will then interact with us to work out what we need to do. Dr. Cerf was one of our panelists at the workshop and he said to really understand the issues facing small island states one has to physically visit the islands. Having a philosophical approach is fine, but unless and until you see what actually goes on in the islands, then only will you be able to appreciate what challenges we face. Just to add to that, I would also like to highlight the effects of global warming. If our islands do not exist, then all that we are doing here is of no consequence to us. I would also like to suggest that apart from island states, there are also some communities, perhaps in mountainous regions, that face similar issues to us, and we would like the IGF to consider for future meetings whether they could consider a specific focus on what needs to be done for these remote communities, be it in the islands, up in the mountains or wheresoever. Thank you very much, sir.

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